May 5, 2015

IN THE MAIL: A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 726.

YEAH, THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT: Hillary’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That She’s Old, It’s That She’s Corrupt And Incompetent.

Well, when you “gotta pay the bills,” you’re going to cut corners. As an aside, what’s wrong with Bill in this picture? He looks like he’s getting the Al Sharpton Lollipop physique.

UPDATE: Hillary’s Honesty Numbers Nosedive. “The bad news for Democrats is that the chinks in Clinton’s armor are growing wider. A year ago, only 29 percent of voters gave her a “very poor” grade in being honest and straightforward. Now that has risen to 43 percent in the wake of her e-mail and Clinton Foundation scandals. Only 42 percent of voters overall view her positively, and that number falls to 34 percent among independents. . . . What is remarkable about Team Clinton’s efforts to contain the e-mail and fundraising controversies is that they have until recently relied on a string of old-time loyalists such as James Carville and Lanny Davis to defend their position on television. When that didn’t work, they wheeled out Bill Clinton, the master communicator. But he apparently isn’t easily coached and was much less convincing than Team Clinton hoped.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Red Higher Ed Reforms Put Pressure on Carolina Blue.

A right-leaning public policy foundation is making waves in North Carolina’s public university system. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on how the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is getting traction among the state’s Republican political leadership. The Center, the Chronicle tells us, aims to “[make] public colleges more accountable to the public, by holding them to their ‘chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching’” and many believe its stances have influenced legislative proposals as well as the Board of Governors of the state’s university system, largely appointed by the GOP. . . .

The Center’s work and influence can be seen as part of a trend: red states are beginning to lean forward on their skis in dealing with universities—institutions that have historically been bastions of Democratic and left-wing ideas. With higher ed costs rising inexorably, many conservative state representatives are likely wondering just why the state is offering tenured professorships in Transgressive Gender Studies with lots of time for ‘research’, and they are becoming more aggressive in trying to shake-up the higher ed system.

There is a lot of anti-intellectualism mixed up in all of this, in addition to some good old fashioned score settling. But there’s also a lot that’s right. Costs really are rising unsustainably, and many administrative bureaucracies have lost touch with common sense—to say nothing of being economically useless administrative make work bailiwicks. Moreover, a number of disciplines are so dominated by one political point of view that they look more like PACs and NGOs than like assemblies of disputatious scholars.

Which is why complaints that reforms are politically motivated are so transparently self-serving. And why all is proceeding as I have foreseen.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Urban school closures help students academically. “Shutting down poorly-performing urban charter and traditional schools in Ohio helped students, according to a new study published by the Fordham Institute. School closures are often denounced as hurting public education. The results from Ohio give reason to question this conventional wisdom. The disproportionately black, economically disadvantaged, or low-achieving students affected may actually be fortunate their low-performing schools closed.”

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GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Who Pays When The DEA Destroys Your Vehicle And Kills Your Employee During A Botched Sting? Hint: Not The DEA.

Yet another reason why governmental immunity should be abolished.

ORWELLIAN DOUBLETHINK, RAPE EDITION: “Inspired by the recent performance of The Vagina Monologues” on the Claremont-McKenna College campus, student Jordan Bosiljevac has penned an exegesis of the progressive view of sexual relationships, titled, “Why Yes Can Mean No.”  Ms. Bosiljevac explains:

In discussing this experience with friends, we coined the term “raped by rape culture” to describe what it was like to say yes, coerced by the culture that had raised us and the systems of power that worked on us, and to still want ‘no.’ Sometimes, for me, there was obligation from already having gone back to someone’s room, not wanting to ruin a good friendship, loneliness, worry that no one else would ever be interested, a fear that if I did say no, they might not stop, the influence of alcohol, and an understanding that hookups are “supposed” to be fun.

For me, and many others like me, consent isn’t easy. Yes doesn’t always mean yes, and we misplaced ‘no’ several years ago. This experience isn’t random, but disproportionately affects oppressed communities. Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity. When society has taught some of us to take up as little space as possible, to take all attention as flattery, and to be truly grateful that anyone at all could want our bodies or love, it isn’t always our choice to say yes.

. . . . When you’re poor, disabled, queer, non-white, trans, or feminine, ‘no’ isn’t for you. I don’t mean to insist that every person oppressed in these systems of power can’t have empowering consensual experiences, and I know many who do. What I do mean to say is that for me, finding ‘no’ is a process, consent is elusive, and sometimes, even when people don’t mean to—they hurt me.

It should be sufficient to point out that consent is the basis of much of law, and if “yes” doesn’t mean “yes,” then there will be no objectively fair principles upon which to judge human interactions, whether one is “wealthy, cis, white, wester, able-bodied” or otherwise.  Ms. Bosiljevac may not yet understand it, but the presumption that individuals– other than minors or those non compos mentis– are capable of giving consent to transactions evinces a deep respect for individualism, and indeed is the embodiment of equal treatment under law that progressives such as she purport to support.  It is also a fundamental basis for the legitimacy of any government–progressive or otherwise. In the words of the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed 

Perhaps Ms. Bosiljevac should brush up on her liberal political theory.  She should have a lot of time, since I rather suspect she won’t be getting any dates anytime soon.

GIVEN THAT TWO HEAVILY ARMED JIHADIS WERE DISPATCHED BY ONE TEXAS COP WITH A PISTOL, WHAT’S THERE TO TAKE CREDIT FOR? Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas attack outside Muhammad cartoon show.

One does not simply “shoot up” a Texas art show.

TRUE: Carly Fiorina: Hillary Clinton ‘clearly is not trustworthy.’

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is officially running for president, and she’s quite explicitly framing herself as the Hillary Clinton antidote.

Hillary Clinton “clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina told ABC Host George Stephanopoulos on Monday. “She peddled a fiction about [Benghazi, Libya] for a month, she hasn’t been transparent about her server and her emails and now we see now all of these foreign government donations to the Clinton Global Initiative.” . . .

At least part of Fiorina’s appeal is her ability and willingness to combat the Left’s “war on women” narrative — in particular her ability to counteract Clinton’s strategy of collecting votes just for being a woman.

I like her. She fights.

USUALLY, YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE ELECTED TO START STONEWALLING: Clinton refuses GOP request to testify twice on Benghazi. Alternate headline: Subpoenas are for the little people!

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: Scott Ott reviews Charles Murray’s new book, By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: What Didn’t Happen Next.

A couple of ISIS wannabes tried to shoot up an exhibition of cartoons in Garland, Texas, and the police put them down before the civilians could get to them: a triumph for duty and marksmanship. What didn’t happen next?

There is a mosque in Garland, Texas. It was there yesterday, it’s there today, and it will be there tomorrow. After two radical Muslims attempted to massacre some infidels down the road a bit, there was no angry mob of Texans storming the place with F-350s and rifles. If any vehicle full of armed men rushed to the Muslims’ place of worship, you can be sure that it was the local police exercising an abundance of caution and nothing more.

It’s easy to be snarky–”Oh, yay for us! No massacre, give Texas a cookie!” But only those parochial minds with the narrowest of experience could fail to appreciate how unusual that is in the world.

People who say it’s okay — or at least “understandable” — to go after others who are “provocative” need to remember that a lot of people are exercising more self-restraint than that now.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Like Digging Through Whistleblowers’ Medical Records To Retaliate Against Them.

USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Only the Clintons seem blind to foundation’s conflicts: Our view.

As it is, the foundation is a mess. With Hillary Clinton running for president twice and serving as secretary of State in between, it was bound to be viewed as a way for foreign donors to get close to the Clintons — a danger the foundation appears to have discounted.

Much like the Clintons themselves, the foundation has seemed intent on playing by its own rules, and is highly defensive when confronted on its errors.

Its efforts at limiting influence-seekers have been, at best, weak. Earlier this year, the foundation admitted that it had accepted $500,000 from the government of Algeria, violating an agreement struck with the Obama administration to accept gifts only from governments that had a record of giving before Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.

More recently, the foundation admitted errors in not listing thousands of contributions on tax forms. One came from Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who has many issues before the U.S. government and has given the foundation millions.

In 2005, Giustra won a lucrative mining concession in Kazakhstan shortly after visiting there with Bill Clinton. Then, in 2013, he won approval from the U.S. government to sell his company to the Russian government, giving Vladimir Putin vast uranium resources around the world, including 20% of U.S output.

There is no evidence of a quid pro quo for the Giustra contributions, or from any other source. And Hillary Clinton was not involved in the decision to allow the Russian purchase.

Even so, the appearance of impropriety is hard to avoid.

Yeah, it’s more than just an appearance.

CIVIL WAR: Alan Grayson rips into national Democratic Party ‘bosses.’ I love Grayson’s slam on “out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, DC.”

May 4, 2015

FIGHT THE POWER: TN Gov. Signs Bill Prohibiting State Cooperation with Fed Gun Control Laws. “Sponsored by Senator Richard Briggs (R-Dist. 7), SB 1110 ‘prohibits the use of any public funds, personnel, or property to enforce any federal law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories.’ SB 1110 passed the house by a margin of 74 to 20 and the senate by a margin of 24 to 1.”

UPDATE: Michael Walsh emails: “Interesting to note historical parallel — this is exactly how some states responded to fed Prohibition law: by ignoring it and refusing to enforce. Certainly was true in NY state which, partly due to gangland influence, simply stopped cooperating with the feds on booze raids. In one famous case, as I learned when writing my Owney Madden novel, the NYPD tipped off Madden that the feds were going to raid his brewery on 10th ave. So he cleaned it up (it was the Phoenix Cereal Company) and had his crew take up all the parking spaces within blocks, so that when the feds got there they had to double-park. Then the NYPD came and ticketed and towed their illegally parked cars.”


JUST $2.99 ON KINDLE: Sarah Hoyt’s Witchfinder. She’s got a sequel coming out soon.

THE INSTA-WIFE: Is Pam Geller the Bravest Woman in the U.S.? “Love her or hate her, you have to admit that what she is doing is brave. How many women in this country (or men for that matter) would fight the good fight for free speech and do it at the risk of his or her life? How many Americans anymore really believe Patrick Henry’s famous words: ‘Give me liberty or give me death?’ Ms. Geller has shown by her words and actions that she believes these words and believes in her freedom and that of her fellow Americans.”


If it sometimes feels as if the Bill of Rights is the only thing standing between the little guy and majoritarian tyranny, that’s possibly because it is. Americans may be freer than most, but it is often thanks to Supreme Court decisions and not to public opinion that America remains an outlier. It is because judges have stepped in that it is legal to burn the American flag in protest; that the Westboro Baptist Church may stage its execrable funeral demonstrations without fear of tort liability; that seditious speech may not be punished by the government; that disgusting videos may not be banned; that conservative Christians have been spared the indignities of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate; that collections of citizens may engage in political criticism; that parents caring for their children may not be forced by the state to join a union; that the residents of Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other “blue” cities may buy and own handguns for their protection; that the government is prohibited from searching cell phones without a warrant; and so on and so forth. Looking around the country — and examining the attitudes that prevail in Washington, D.C., on our college campuses, and in our hopelessly excitable media — can we honestly conclude that three-fourths of We the People would vote today to so restrain ourselves? We are living on borrowed wisdom.

Borrowed wisdom, indeed. That reminds me of this from Neal Stephenson’s In The Beginning Was The Command Line:

But more importantly, it comes out of the fact that, during this century, intellectualism failed, and everyone knows it. In places like Russia and Germany, the common people agreed to loosen their grip on traditional folkways, mores, and religion, and let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abbatoir. Those wordy intellectuals used to be merely tedious; now they seem kind of dangerous as well.

We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and values systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals, and with anything like intellectualism, even to the point of not reading books any more, though we are literate. We seem much more comfortable with propagating those values to future generations nonverbally, through a process of being steeped in media.

Given the quality of our media, that’s probably a mistake.

WHEN FEMINISM IS HATE: Cathy Young: Bomb Threat Targets GamerGate Meetup (Hear From Somebody Who Was There). “If I had any doubts about defending GamerGate from its detractors, #GGinDC put them to rest. The men I saw were not creeps, and the women I saw were definitely not doormats. And while the bomb threat was fake, the meetup was a blast.”

Related: “Sadly for Chu and his supporters, Local 16 declined to eject the lesbians, blacks, transsexuals, gays and feminist professors who met up to share their love of video games and to advocate for higher standards in games journalism and a rejection of loony left-wing feminist criticism. . . . Contrary to the uniformly straight white middle-class conferences at which social justice warriors bang on about ‘structural oppression,’ the GamerGate meetup was packed to the rafters with ethnic and sexual minorities who came together to share their love of video games. ‎Between 200 and 300 people showed up in the end. . . . It doesn’t surprise me that when an NPR reporter got in touch with me about the event and I told him to come down and have his prejudices challenged, he suddenly lost interest in the story. GamerGate is winning in spite of the headlines and prejudiced reporting. It’s incredible.”

HOW LOW CAN THEY GO? NBC Anchor: Geller Caused Texas Shooting Herself, by Setting Muslim ‘Mousetrap.’ Well, if NBC wants to risk charges of racism by calling Muslims vermin. . . .

WHY DIETS DON’T WORK:  Actually, I think this is true, at least long-term.  Everyone has a “set weight” that one shouldn’t fight against, but simply accept.  But I’m a exercise junkie who doesn’t own a scale, eats junk food regularly, and have been blessed with apparently good “weight genes.”  I think exercise is the key–finding what you love to do, and doing it habitually.

UPDATE:  Fixed broken link!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Students Universities ‘Cannot Afford to Fail.’ “A recent investigative news program combined with a report from a governmental anticorruption commission have stirred up a debate in Australia about the prevalence of fraud in international student recruitment and the alleged slippage of academic standards as the country’s universities have grown increasingly dependent on the tuition these students bring. The debate in Australia — where international students account for more than a fifth of university enrollments, compared to just about 4 percent in the U.S. — arguably has implications for American universities as they seek to grow international student enrollments and increasingly embrace the use of commissioned agents in recruiting, a practice widely accepted in Australia.” Some American universities are already quite financially dependent on foreign students, and I’m sure it’s already affecting their behavior.

JUDICIAL IDENTITY DISORDER: Ed Whelan over at National Review labels a metastasizing legal disorder. “Unfortunately, no effective treatment for the condition is currently available.”  But at least we can identify the environmental cause:  long-term exposure to progressive ideology.

ATTEMPTS TO STRIKE DOWN PROF. MIKE ADAMS have only made him more powerful.

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NOW SHIPPING FROM MICHAEL Z. WILLIAMSON: A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement).

ROGER SIMON: Carly & Ben’s Excellent Adventure. “A Big Tent indeed: a pediatric neurosurgeon and former CEO (the anti-Hillary) simultaneously enter the GOP presidential race.”

If the GOP field were the Democratic field, and vice versa, we’d be hearing a lot from the press about diversity and dynamism opposed to old, white establishment faces.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Speak Power To Narrative: ‘Charlie Hebdo’ critics bend or ignore the reality of facts when facts challenge story lines.

This obsession with the idea that the heinous acts of the “powerless” are somehow justified runs through vast swaths of literary and journalistic cultures. (How many commentators rush to defend rioters on account of their sense of “powerlessness”?)

Many journalists recite Finley Peter Dunne’s credo that the press must “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as if it is their 11th commandment. The mantra of countless intellectuals is that they must “speak truth to power.”

The problem is that they define the powerful and powerless based upon their own preferred narratives. When the truth interferes with the narrative, the truth must be bent or jettisoned.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that while it is true “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless. They have enormous power — because they have the ability and the will to use violence to kill.

Meanwhile, Trudeau and the PEN dissidents have a very funny definition of courage. Trudeau has won awards and wealth by taking at best droll and more often clichéd potshots at Republicans at no personal risk to himself whatsoever. But he thinks it is cowardly to openly defy those who are eager to murder the mockers.

Yeah, he’s a putz.

EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH: On Fraternities And Manliness.

HEH:  Note to Jihadists: In America, we shoot back.  “It turned out those practicing their First Amendment rights were protected by those practicing their Second Amendment rights.”

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Vigilant police officer shot; vigilant policing under assault.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: WaPo: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor.

THE UPSIDE OF OWNING an old, crappy car.

To motorheads of this variety, let me echo the advice of the great Peter Egan: No matter how many “project” cars you own, be sure you have One Good Car — one that will always start on demand and get you where you need to go.

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GOOD NEWS, BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Speedy Drug Approvals Have Become the Rule, Not the Exception.

CAR AND DRIVER: Every Compact Crossover SUV, Ranked From Worst To Best.

THE WORLD, IN BLACK AND WHITE:  Normally a voice of semi-reason, Juan Williams has a race-baiting oped in The Hill today, titled “The Republicans and Racial Resentment,” in which he insinuates that the loss of white Southern Democrats (and concomitant shift of white, male voters to the GOP)– what Williams not so subtly calls the “former Confederacy”– is due to racist opposition to President Obama, and “has prompted alarm.”  In true passive-aggressive fashion, Williams then goes on to quote other liberal mainstream media commentators, who do Williams’ dirty work more directly, such as the New York Times editorial board and Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson.

What Williams– and these other liberal/progressive pundits–fail to appreciate is that “white flight” away from the Democrats has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with issues, as I’ve written about before.  In almost every major issue, blacks and whites have wildly different positions, with polling gaps exceeding 10 percentage points.  Obamacare?  83% of blacks support; 34% of whites support.  Obama’s handling of foreign policy?  68% of blacks approve; 29% of whites approve.   The Iran deal?  62% of blacks approve; 25% of whites approve.  Global warming Climate change?  17% of blacks believe there is no solid evidence the earth is getting warmer; 31% of whites think that.  Gun control?  34% of blacks think it’s more important to protect the right to own guns than to control gun ownership; 61% of whites think that gun ownership is more important than gun control.   Support for RFRA laws that allow business owners to refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings?  36% of blacks support such religious protections for business owners; 52% of whites support them. Same-sex marriage?  42% of blacks support; 53% of whites.

With such fundamental differences in how blacks and whites view various important policy issues, it is base to suggest (as Williams does) that white males are abandoning the Democrats due to race. Given the broad black-white gap on important issues, the demographic data from the 2012 presidential election–which shows that 39% of whites supported Obama while only 6% of blacks supported Romney (93% supported Obama)–frankly indicates that it is blacks, not whites, who are voting based solely on race.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Gold nanotubes engineered for diagnosis and therapy.

ED KRAYEWSKI: From the Drug War and Asset Forfeiture to Police Militarization, Why Does the Left Still Support Federal Control of Local Policing? Because they care more about power than about consequences.

SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE WORN THAT SHORT DRESS: Noah Rothman on the toxic implication that Pamela Geller had last night’s terror attack in Texas coming.

FLIP OR FLOP: Jacob Sullum: Hillary Clinton Is Suddenly Interested In Criminal Justice Reform. “For critics who have long argued that our criminal justice system puts too many people behind bars for too long, Clinton’s words of outrage were welcome. But they were also hard to take seriously given her history on this issue. While condemning overincarceration, she glided over her own role in promoting it and exaggerated her efforts to correct it.” History is patriarchal, and a concern with past behavior is misogynist.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON AL SHARPTON’S LATEST LOUSY IDEA: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it. Accountability comes from having law enforcement under multiple umbrellas.

IN THE MAIL: From Robert Conroy, 1920: America’s Great War.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 725.

PATRIOT ACT SHOWDOWN:  Several key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire June 1, including Section 215, which allows collection of so-called “metadata” business records, such as the timing, length and call logs of cell phone records.  The Obama Administration unilaterally modified the section 215 metadata program in early 2014, to restrict somewhat the collection of telephone metadata in response to public outcry.

If Congress fails to reauthorize section 215, the Obama Administration has said it will end the collection of telephone metadata entirely.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) have introduced a bill that would extend section 215, unchanged, through 2020. They have invoked a procedural maneuver that allows their bill to bypass normal committee consideration, and go straight to the Senate floor.

Last Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee, by contrast, passed the USA Freedom Act in a bipartisan effort, 25-2, which would end the section 215 telephone metadata program entirely.

The McConnell-Burr clean reauthorization bill has sparked strong opposition by libertarian-leaning groups, who have urged the Senate to follow the House lead and end section 215 telephone metadata collection. The National Security Council and FBI have stated that a lack of reauthorization of section 215 could hamper its efforts at tracking terror suspects, and it is speculated that other provisions of law could be invoked to continue surveillance of such suspects (without bulk collection of telephone metadata).

With all of the other horrendous events going on in the world, the Patriot Act reauthorization seems to have slipped off the radar of most Americans.


I don’t need to tell you that food has fashions. Remember when every restaurant with any ambition had a spinach salad with pecans, goat cheese and some sort of onion shaving? That’s now passé even in its last refuge, the twee cafes of Rust Belt suburbs. Or when truffles seemed to sprout from menus like, er, mushrooms, only to disappear almost as quickly, presumably off to hibernate in some subterranean darkness?

We are currently living through what I like to call the salted caramel inquisition, with every perfectly law-abiding caramelized dish in the land, however perfect in its simple sweetness, assaulted and forcibly converted to its more aggressive modern version.

For the last 5 to 10 years, the most notable fashion has been for the complex, spicy and exotic. Foodies exchange worried tips for storing the “basic” spices now grown too numerous for any sort of conventional cupboard. Bitter supertasters exchange angry polemics on the snobs who don’t seem to realize that those of us with less blunted palates might not want every alcoholic beverage well fortified with hops, Campari and an extra-strong helping of Angosturas. Those whose sensitive or aging gastrointestinal tracts cannot cope with all that glorious capsaicin sigh, and order the roasted chicken. Again.

History is reaction and counterreaction. The pendulum is swinging back, as gravity says it must, and I detect a new movement afoot: KISS. Which means, yes: Keep it simple, stupid. And I have to say, I like it.

But women and minorities will be hardest hit.

GARLAND UPDATE: Another “Known Wolf” Attack.

Related: Richard Fernandez: Obama’s Legacy: No One Is Safe.

ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROSECUTOR ABUSING HIS POWER AGAINST A REPUBLICAN: Lawsuit spells out ‘nightmare’ for California man accused without evidence.

MICHAEL TOTTTEN: The Iranian Leader’s Bizarre Twitter Feed.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON AL SHARPTON’S LATEST LOUSY IDEA: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it. Accountability comes from having law enforcement under multiple umbrellas.

NICK GILLESPIE: Free Speech: Never Give In To The Thug’s Veto. “The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Green notes that the New York Times’ Liam Stack tries to make it sound like Pam Geller is the crazy one — not the Muslim terrorists who wanted to shoot up her art show. Or course, as someone noted last night, it’s Texas, so even the art shows will probably have you outgunned.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: IRS Approved Clinton Foundation And Scientology, But Targeted Tea Party. “Will there be an IRS investigation of the Clinton Foundation? Even suggesting it sounds laughable, for few can stand up to the Clintons, let alone to a Democratic administration. Besides, the IRS Exempt Organizations Division used to be run by Lois Lerner, and it isn’t clear how much has changed.”

SALENA ZITO: A Disturbing Intersection for America.

The economic and political turbulence of the past decade is jarringly similar to the Panic of 1893 and the unsettling elections of 1884 to 1896. Those were eras when extraordinary wealth was created for the elites, and when ferociously competitive elections and ineffectual, corrupt government collided with an agitated, cynical electorate.

Progressives of that previous era — very different from our modern liberal brand — were born of economic dislocation that pressured the establishment, not unlike what is happening today.

In each era, both parties promised reform but didn’t deliver.

Consider Baltimore, ruled by Democrat machine politics for decades. What does the city have to show for that?

A jarring 37 percent unemployment rate for black men ages 20 to 24, a statistic that should be completely unacceptable in any American city.

Disruption and energy should be felt in Baltimore’s ballot boxes, not on its streets as a matter of violent protest and thuggery. Its communities should not allow themselves to be used to keep a political machine in power but then to be promptly forgotten when it comes to governing. . . .

It used to be that both blue-collar and white-collar workers held stable jobs, and living standards for all social classes steadily rose. That model has buckled and bowed until it no longer exists, and people are getting left behind at a staggering rate.

The gap between all things big (government, business, banks), the American people, and their political leaders is greater today than at any time since our little quarrel with England in the 1770s.

We are over-regulated, forgotten and over-taxed by a national capital that has become the Versailles of its time — the seat of not only political power but of unprecedented wealth, with a desire to emulate Hollywood rather than the regular people who have carried the burden of building and protecting that pretentious city.

Nothing brought that image into perspective better than watching a week ago as the cable-news networks covered their own press staffers attending the White House Correspondents Dinner with President Obama, the cream of Hollywood and selected members of Congress — while rioting young men stormed the city of Baltimore.

It was an unsightly, disturbing intersection for America.

We have the worst political class in American history.

JOEL KOTKIN: America’s Cities Mirror Baltimore’s Woes.

Certainly Sandtown-Winchester—where Freddie Gray, whose death sparked the riots, grew up—fits this mode. As the liberal Think Progress website explains, more than half of that neighborhood’s people between the ages of 16 and 64 are out of work and the unemployment rate is double that for the rest of the city. Median income is below the poverty line for a family of four, and nearly a third of families live in poverty. About a quarter to a third of the buildings are vacant, compared to 5 percent in the city as a whole.

Yet the people in these neighborhoods do not represent the majority of black America. Besides the gap between blacks and whites, there is also a growing one among African-Americans themselves. This is painfully obvious in the Baltimore region which, extending to the Washington, D.C., suburbs, has some of the highest black wages and homeownership rates of any of the county, and ranks among the best places for African-Americans in a new study I co-authored for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

In fact, five of the ten wealthiest black communities in America are in Maryland. Needless to say, residents in those towns are not rioting. There is an increasingly enormous gap between entrenched poor communities, such as those in Baltimore, and a rapidly expanding black suburban population. Barely half of the 775,000 African-Americans in the Baltimore metropolitan region live in the city, and those outside do far better than inside the city limits. In the last decade, suburban Baltimore County added160,000 blacks, far more than moved into the city (PDF). The black suburbanites not only make more money than their urban counterparts but their life expectancy (PDF) is at least eight years longer.

These trends can be seen nationwide.

Flee to the suburbs for the same reason white people did — to escape entrenched, corrupt urban political machines.

WELL, I GUESS IT’S TOO LATE NOW. MIGHT AS WELL BUY THAT SUV I’VE HAD MY EYE ON: Eight Years Ago Today: UN Scientists Say We Have Only Eight Years Left To Stop Global Warming.

On the other hand, maybe we managed to bring things under control just in time: Seven years after former US Vice-President Al Gore’s warning, Arctic ice cap has expanded for second year in row.

Related: Ed Driscoll: Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Washington Post: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor.

ROSS DOUTHAT: Our Police Union Problem. All public employee unions should be banned. But people who carry guns for a living especially shouldn’t be unionized.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY. And, really, NPR should be ashamed of that piece, and its dishonest headline, which was corrected to another that was . . . still wrong.

TO BE FAIR, HE’S THAT WAY ON MOST STUFF: Obama is all talk on press freedom, say many critics.

In advance of World Press Freedom Day on Sunday, President Obama took other nations to task for being openly hostile towards reporters, accusing them of squashing the free flow of information.

First Amendment advocates and White House reporters counter that Obama should perhaps first look in the mirror.

As he admonished foreign governments for suppressing the fourth estate, the United States ranked 49th (down three places from the year before) on the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, a list compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

Obama holds the distinction of prosecuting more journalists and whistle-blowers in leak investigations than any of his predecessors. It is that track record that has earned him comparisons with President Richard Nixon in media circles.

Yet, the president still insists that his administration is the most transparent in history, a model for other nations.

Yes, well, he engages in a lot of self-praise, too.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: US advisers in Iraq settle into life, daily work as part of Inherent Resolve.

Comments one observer: “It’s almost like we never left.”

Well, except that we did leave, creating a vacuum that ISIS filled. And with our once-extensive intelligence networks shut down, we didn’t even know about it until it was too late to nip it in the bud. But aside from that, sure.

May 3, 2015

JOHN HINDERAKER: Why Are Police Shootings Dominating The News? “Rarely has paranoia been more ruthlessly, or more dishonestly, promoted.”

21st CENTURY PORN:   A new website allows women (sorry, boys) to raise crowdsource funding by providing a little home-made porn.  I guess it does have the advantage of cutting out the middleman.

HEH: Iranian Foreign Minister “Punked” In New York City.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON AL SHARPTON’S LATEST LOUSY IDEA: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it. Accountability comes from having law enforcement under multiple umbrellas.

UPDATE: From the comments: “The primary characteristic of a police state is a state police. Keep it in mind.”

ED DRISCOLL HAS BEEN LIVEBLOGGING the failed Islamic terror attack in Garland, Texas, and the reactions thereto.

Me, I wrote a song, to the tune of You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me, Lucille. “You picked the wrong state to jihad, Abu. Texans have guns and they’re going to shoot you. You picked the wrong state to jihad, Abu.” Okay, I stopped with one verse, but you get the idea.

HEH: Baltimore Is Nothing More Than an Infomercial For U-Haul and The NRA.

OVER AT ACE OF SPADES, SOME THOUGHTS ON ENGAGING WITH THE LEFT: “EFF OFF.” “We have to stop granting the left, and especially the activist left, the SJW types, the courtesy of treating them as if they are legitimate. We need to tell them to eff off. We need to stop debating and start dismissing. Most of what they are saying is so stupid and flimsy that it NEEDS the prop of our treating it seriously to lend it the mantle of legitimacy.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Washington Post: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor.

WHEN HATE RULES: DC GamerGate meetup disrupted by ‘feminist bomb threat.’

A 250-strong meetup of GamerGate supporters, which included game developers, journalists and think-tank scholars were evacuated from a bar in Washington D.C on Friday after an anonymous bomb threat was made against the gathering.

This followed an unsuccessful social media campaign spearheaded by anti-GamerGate Salon columnist Arthur Chu to convince the bar’s proprietors to voluntarily eject GamerGate supporters from their establishment.

The event was the largest GamerGate gathering so far, with somewhere between 200 and 300 attendees. It follows a trend toward offline organising by its supporters, who up until recently have tended to congregate on social media and image boards.

The event was held at the Local 16 in Washington, DC, hosted by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and featuring AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers as its guest of honour. Although primarily attended by gamers, a wide range of journalists were also at the event, including author and Reason magazine contributor Cathy Young, Daily Caller columnist and policy analyst Mytheos Holt, and Washington Examiner columnist Ashe Schow.

Police arrived on the scene at approximately 12:15am, just over three hours after the meetup had kicked off. The evacuation began immediately, causing particular difficulty for the event’s two disabled attendees, who had to be carried down from the second floor. The other floors of the bar, which were occupied by regular customers, was also evacuated.

I wonder if the perpetrators will be found and punished? But nothing says we’re the establishment, they’re the crazy ones like a good bomb threat.

CONCEALED CARRY SAVES LIVES:  A man with a concealed carry permit in Utah shot and killed a man who was trying to carjack a woman outside a grocery store.  He shot only one round.  Now that police are being restrained by various political and legal forces, it’s good to know our neighbors can protect us.

ANDREW KLAVAN: It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way. “No wonder Hollywood has remade Poltergeist. When it comes to the very worst policy ideas of the 1970s, they’re baaaa-ack.”

TWO SHOT OUTSIDE MUHAMMAD ART EVENT IN GARLAND TEXAS. Unconfirmed reports from SWAT that they had explosives on them.

For updates, check the twitter feed of reporter Jobin Panicker and WFAA News.

Also, Pamela Geller is there and tweeting.

UPDATE: Robert Spencer is there and tweeting, too.

MORE: People Evacuated Singing Patriotic Songs.

And this is cute: “The would-be terrorists in Garland fell for one of the classic blunders: Never assume that you’ve outgunned an art show in Texas.” True!

WALTER HUDSON: A Selfless Parent Is A Bad Parent.

AT AMAZON, summer savings in Sports & Outdoor Play.

Plus: up to 73% off on Breaking Bad, on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Also: Shooting supplies.

EMILY BAZELON SAYS THAT JON KRAKAUER’S NEW BOOK ON CAMPUS RAPE is too politically correct and unreflective to be useful.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: It’s Me Or The Dog. “Don’t get me wrong. . . . It’s very attractive to me that you’re able to care for another living being. I love that. But it’s a step too far. It’s like having another person in the bed.”

DUMB ARGUMENT OF THE WEEK: Today in Congress, We Heard That Encryption is Enabling Upskirt Photos.

REVIEW: The 2015 Volkswagen GTI.

AT AMAZON, Spring Deals in the Sports & Fitness Outlet Sale.

Plus, Mother’s Day Gifts in Home & Kitchen.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Science Confirms: The More Coffee You Drink, The Longer You Will Live. You don’t want to be a science-denier, do you?

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: A 3-D-Printed Implant Saves Lives.

COMPETITION IS GOOD: Report: Comcast plans YouTube-like online video service.

BANNING POLITICAL SPEECH:  It has come to this.  New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has voted to ban all political, religious and opinion ads. The reason?  An April 21 decision by federal district judge John Koeltl to enjoin the Transit Authority from refusing to run an ad sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that said, “Hamas MTV:  Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.”  Underneath this caption, the ad said, “That’s His Jihad, What’s Yours?” Here’s a copy of the ad:

The ad was designed to be anti-Hamas and pro-Israel.  A similar, crowd-sourced ad campaign by AFDI was characterized as “Islamorealism.”

The Transit Authority cited “security” concerns in its decision to reject the ad, but Judge Koeltl responded:

While the Court is sensitive to the MTA’s security concerns, the defendants have not presented any objective evidence that the Killing Jews advertisement would be likely to incite imminent violence. Indeed, as the defendants knew when considering whether to run the ad, substantially the same advertisement ran in San Francisco and Chicago in 2013 without incident. The advertisement qualifies as protected speech, and the defendants have restricted it based on its content without a compelling interest or a response narrowly tailored to achieving any such interest. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is granted.

In an oped for Breitbart, Pamela Geller, co-founder of AFDI writes:

This is a classic case of the powerful trumping the rights of the common man so as to protect their little club. The political and media elites only allow the public discourse to fall within a certain political spectrum. My ads drove them crazy because they fell outside of that spectrum; I was vaulting over their controls and bringing truths to the public that they didn’t want known. They had to move to shut me down.

I’m siding with Geller on this one.  The NYC Transit Authority is banning all political/religious/opinion ads in an attempt to prevent its rejection of AFDI’s ads from being characterized as a “content-based” restriction on free speech, which is presumptively unconstitutional.  And while it’s true that the Transit Authority has now banned all such ads– not just AFDI’s–it’s a sad day when government opts to shut down all speech merely because some of it may be offensive.  The ad was not the functional equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater; it was controversial because it defies the liberal/progressive worldview of Hamas and the Palestinian effort as virtuous, and Israel as an apartheid state.

Free speech isn’t worth much if government can ban it whenever it offends.  As the Supreme Court said in its 1971 decision, Cohen v. California:

The constitutional right of free expression is powerful medicine in a society as diverse and populous as ours. It is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views shall be voiced largely into the hands of each of us, in the hope that use of such freedom will ultimately produce a more capable citizenry and more perfect polity and in the belief that no other approach would comport with the premise of individual dignity and choice upon which our political system rests. To many, the immediate consequence of this freedom may often appear to be only verbal tumult, discord, and even offensive utterance. These are, however, within established limits, in truth necessary side effects of the broader enduring values which the process of open debate permits us to achieve. That the air may at times seem filled with verbal cacophony is, in this sense not a sign of weakness but of strength.

NY Transit Authority’s action shows that, from the leftist perspective, Americans can’t handle potentially “offensive” speech by averting their eyes, but need to be paternalistically protected from being exposed to it at all.  We aren’t producing “a more capable citizenry” anymore; quite the contrary.  NY Transit Authority’s decision is a sign of societal decay and weakness, not strength.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Cops Investigate Report of Two Seven Year Olds Kissing at School. “I’ve always thought homeschooling was a great idea. After hearing this story, I’m more convinced than ever before.”

GALLERY: 50 Years Of The Camaro, In Pictures.


As this WaPo article — from last week — explains, Abbott sent the State Guard (not the Texas National Guard, as the NRP story originally claimed) to observe (not “stave off,” as the NPR article still wrongly claims) federal military maneuvers (not a “takeover” as the NPR article still wrongly claims). The WaPo story also explains why, for safety reasons, it’s a good idea for state officials to know about these exercises. Compare the treatment by WaPo — hardly an Abbott-friendly organ — with the NPR piece by Wade Goodwyn, which seems designed to produce agitprop headlines for Dems to share with each other over social media. Now note which one is supported by your tax dollars.


TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 724.

ICE, ICE BABY:   Stop. Collaborate and listen:  Ice is back, and apparently, it isn’t at risk of disappearing, as Steven Hayward explains.  Okay, it’s a bad reference to Vanilla Ice, but the horrific, imminent doom-and-gloom melting of the Earth’s ice caps–which Al Gore predicted would disappear completely by 2013– are doing quite well, thank you very much.  Indeed, satellite images show the Arctic ice cap has grown and thickened 43-63% since 2012.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website still claims that the ice caps are the “canary in the coal mine” and “harbinger of things to come” for global warming climate change.  Back in 2009, global warming climate change soothsayer James Hansen of NASA warned the globe that President Obama only “has four years to save the earth.“  Of course, Hansen’s wild exaggerations and data manipulation have been debunked, but this doesn’t stop the leftists, since we all know global warming climate change isn’t really about climate at all, but about wealth redistribution.

President Obama was just down here in South Florida, giving a speech in the Everglades on the hazards of global warming climate change, where he did his best Al Gore imitation:

This is not a problem for another generation.  Not anymore.  This is a problem now.  It has serious implications for the way we live right now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing.  The Surgeon General and I recently met with doctors and nurses and parents who see patients and kids grappling with the health impacts.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses an increasing set of risks to our national security.

Huh– that’s weird:  How come Obama and the Surgeon General are seeing “patients and kids grappling with the health impacts” from the “air that our children are breathing,” when the EPA’s own data indicates that U.S. air quality has improved markedly since 1980? And it seems odd to conclude that “our national security” is at risk due to global warming climate change, when the Obama Administration’s massive Clean Power Plan will cause severe electricity reliability problems, which could cause a major breakdown of law-and-order if coal-fired plants are shut down without first identifying adequate electricity generation alternatives to meet citizens’ needs.

It’s almost like Obama and the global warming climate change alarmists are making this stuff up or something.