July 24, 2014

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? China’s terrifying debt ratios poised to breeze past US levels.

July 23, 2014

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Elijah Cummings admits he doesn’t know fellow committee members’ names.

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ROGER SIMON: Congress Must Investigate The UN Role In Gaza.

THE SECRET GUILD of Silicon Valley. “They wear ironic t-shirts, and that is the outer limit of their fashion sense.”

Back in the 1990s I was at a Foresight Institute gathering talking to a VC, who pointed at a group of “cypherpunks” and joked, “The only code they’ll never crack is the dress code.”

UH OH: Democratic senator from Montana accused of plagiarism in Army War College assignment. His excuse: PTSD. Uh huh.

Related: Democrats About Ready to Chalk Montana Up as a Loss.

UPDATE: From the comments: “The War Colleges offer a nearly year-long in-residence program for senior officers who are being groomed for flag rank — a place for them to go and think deeply, after a couple of decades in uniform, about history, strategy, and the intellectual burdens of senior command. Half-assed plagiarism of half-assed papers — at this level! — is a sign of institutional rot, not just personal failings. No one noticed? What’s the general level of officer scholarship at the War Colleges? What’s the general level of quality in the contemporary flag ranks?”

There’s a lot of institutional rot in a lot of places these days.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Debating the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

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WHY WE CARE about other people’s sex lives. I don’t particularly, except for a general hope that they’re having fun. But, then, I’m a man: “Although the stakes may have changed, sexual judgment remains a form of self-preservation. The Archives of Sexual Behavior study isn’t the first to posit that women, in particular, are hardwired to slut-shame out of self-interest (among the judgers, women were more opposed to casual sex than men).”

LANGUAGE: Historical Slang Terms For Having Sex, From 1351 Through Today.

PRESUMABLY, THIS WILL JUST MAKE IT HARDER FOR BIG CITIES TO ATTRACT CAPITAL: Detroit’s record bankruptcy is likely to hit investors much harder than pensioners.

Related: Puerto Rico debt crisis headed for U.S.-style bankruptcy resolution.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obama’s LGBT Blunder. “The President’s executive order creates a two-tier system whereby any firm that wants to do business with the United States government—and only those firms—must abide by the mandate; the Obama administration cannot impose the mandate by regulation on all businesses generally. But this raises a key normative question: should the government be able to impose by contract mandates on businesses that it could not impose on them by legislative action?”

President Ted Cruz will get a lot of use out of this precedent.

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why Does Sleeping In Only Make Me More Tired?

IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN, I SHALL BECOME MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE: Once Again, Attempts To Block Access To The Pirate Bay Only Increase Traffic.

ARI KAUFMAN: The 10 Most Underrated Destinations In The Midwest. Yeah, but now that The Gobbler is out of business, what’s the point?

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: The ethics and economics of vampire re-ensoulment.

THE POSSIBILITIES OF smart contact lenses.

UM, HELEN SLATER AS SUPERGIRL? I certainly haven’t forgotten her.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Married via Craigslist’s “Missed Connections.”

YEAH, BUT IT’S THE SEXBOTS THAT WILL REALLY SHAKE THINGS UP: We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does. “Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores. There won’t be much work for human beings.” Hmm. We’ll see. Meanwhile, here’s something I wrote on this evergreen topic a while back.

YEP: Affirmative Action Equals Discrimination Against Asians.

IN THE MAIL: From Michael S. Malone, The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 440.

MEGAN MCARDLE: ObamaCare Takes A Body Blow.

The case, Halbig v. Burwell, involved the availability of subsidies on federally operated insurance marketplaces. The language of the Affordable Care Act plainly says that subsidies are only available on exchanges established by states. The plaintiff argued this meant that, well, subsidies could only be available on exchanges established by states. Since he lives in a state with a federally operated exchange, his exchange was illegally handing out subsidies.

The government argued that this was ridiculous; when you consider the law in its totality, it said, the federal government obviously never meant to exclude federally operated exchanges from the subsidy pool, because that would gut the whole law. The appeals court disagreed with the government, 2-1. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million people may lose their subsidies as a result.

This result isn’t entirely shocking. As Jonathan Adler, one of the architects of the legal strategy behind Halbig, noted today on a conference call, the government was unable to come up with any contemporaneous congressional statements that supported its view of congressional intent, and the statutory language is pretty clear. Members of Congress have subsequently stated that this wasn’t their intent, but my understanding is that courts are specifically barred from considering post-facto statements about intent.

When you read through the ruling, it’s easy to see the many ways in which the law’s architects brought this on themselves. The law was highly complex, badly drafted and highly controversial. When a Republican won a special election for the Senate in Massachusetts (!), the Democrats had to push it through on a straight party-line vote with some adroit parliamentary maneuvering — which gave them a health-care law, but one that was badly put together and couldn’t be substantially amended. The gaping holes were patched with administrative fixes, like an Internal Revenue Service ruling that held federally established exchanges to be equivalent to an exchange established by the state. But the vast scale of the law meant that the administrative gymnastics that held it together might not be sustainable.

To cobble together a win, the Obama/Reid/Pelosi folks broke a lot of rules. That has risks.

Here’s more from Jonathan Adler.

Also, related: Fourth Circuit upholds IRS tax credit rule.

PHILIP KLEIN: Seven potential effects of the D.C. Circuit Court’s Obamacare ruling.

THEODORE DALRYMPLE: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back In the Battle Against Tuberculosis.

KEVIN DRUM EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT that he couldn’t turn out ravening mobs to enforce leftism. Silly Kevin. Obama only threatened the investment bankers with pitchforks to get them to give him money. That’s why you failed, Kevin. Because you chose a corrupt leader. But had you chosen an incorruptible one, it would have been worse. Especially for you.

YOU CAN’T PROTECT THE FLOW OF GRAFT WITHOUT BREAKING A FEW EGGS, OR SOMETHING: NY’s War on Uber Sweeps Up Innocent Drivers. “New York City may be so intent on stomping out new taxi services that innocent city dwellers are getting caught in the crossfire. According to DNAinfo, over the past year employees of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission have been seizing cars that they believed were being used as part of an illegal taxi service. Here’s just one example DNAinfo highlights, in which a New Yorker named Kareeal Akins was pulled over and his car taken on suspicion of offering cab rides. . . . The fact that this crackdown is spilling over to deprive ordinary citizens of their cars is typical behavior for a bureaucracy that cares more about protecting established interests like cab companies than serving the people.” Tar. Feathers.

ANNALS OF THE COVERUP: The Hill: Experts Say Lois Lerner’s Emails Could Have Been Recovered From Hard Drive.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said that the committee had learned that Lerner’s hard drive was “scratched,” and that private sector specialists likely could have recovered emails.

IRS technicians also recommended that the agency seek outside help in recovering the emails, before the hard drive was recycled. A Ways and Means spokeswoman said the information came from an analyst with the IRS’s criminal investigations unit, which examined Lerner’s hard drive.

The IRS has said for weeks that Lerner’s hard drive crash left them unable to reproduce all of her emails for more than two years.

Last week, agency officials said under oath in court filings that Lerner’s hard drive couldn’t be restored, and was then destroyed to protect confidential taxpayer information.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” Camp said in a statement.

“The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.”

Raises questions, answers them, whatever.

DIPPING INTO THE TAXPAYER’S POCKET: How Obama cuts down on the campaign costs of his fundraising trips.

MAYBE IF YOU’D READ THE BILL BEFORE YOU PASSED IT, HARRY, YOU COULD HAVE FIXED THAT “DRAFTING ERROR.” Reid: ‘Absurd’ Obamacare Decision Vindicates ‘Nuclear Option’ (Video).

GUN CONTROL KILLS JOBS: Beretta Moving Its Entire Maryland Manufacturing Facility To Tennessee.

As SayUncle says, welcome to America.

And Bill Quick thinks it was my invitation that did it. You can thank me later, Gov. Haslam.

SPENGLER: Why Israel Needs To Finish The Job Now.

IN A SQUEAKER: Perdue wins Republican Senate runoff in Georgia. “The outcome is a blow to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which made a sizable investment on behalf of Kingston.”

UPDATE: From the comments: “It should be noted that Kingston, unlike some others, immediately tweeted a message of support for Perdue upon learning that he’d been defeated for the nomination. He should be commended for his generosity in defeat.”

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Three people died in illegal human experiments carried out by John Podesta backer’s firm. “The federal judge who heard the case said the company’s ‘pattern of deception is unparalleled.’”

I THINK THE STATEMENT WAS SELF-VALIDATING: The Ivy League Is Overrated, Says Ivy-Dominated New Republic. I think the Michael Kelly era at TNR is further support.

DAVID CATRON: ObamaCare Slowly Succumbs To Its Birth Defects.

BRING BACK DDT: Over 500 chikungunya cases in the United States.

FLASHBACK: Mitt Romney Now Makes Obama Look Dangerously Foolish in 46 Second Exchange Over Russia. Obama was dangerously foolish then, he’s dangerously foolish now, and the American people were dangerously foolish to elect, and re-elect him.

OBAMA IS SPYING ON YOU: White House Website Includes Unique Non-Cookie Tracker, Conflicts With Privacy Policy.

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Are Female Journalists Softballing Jill Abramson Because She’s A Woman?

Here’s the thing. I don’t begrudge Abramson the right to pick the journalists she believes will give her the warmest embrace, or will accept her terms for an interview. Why shouldn’t she do that? In this case, she’s not in the role of “journalist,” she’s the newsmaker trying to spin her version of events. And on that score Abramson has a deft touch. She is not only brilliant at overseeing the news, she is also brilliant at managing the news, particularly when it’s about her. In the weeks since her firing, the public relations skirmish looks something like: Abramson 7, The New York Times 0.

But it is an absurd display of credulity and clubbiness on the part of her interviewers to take dictation on whatever Abramson says, to accept her version of highly controversial events surrounding her firing at The Times and then call it a day.

There are plenty of questions still to be asked: What about Abramson’s compensation battles with her bosses and, if true, her extraordinary decision to hire a lawyer when she was the executive editor? What warnings was she given that she might be fired? What did she tell then-managing editor Dean Baquet about the prospect of another managing editor coming in? Is his version of events complete?

I happen to be one who thinks there indeed was a double standard operating in the executive suite at The Times, and that a man would not be dismissed for his management style when his performance as a journalist was unsurpassed. But I was hoping for some better understanding of this issue when Abramson finally started speaking.

I’m beginning to think the details may never come out. Abramson has mainly dodged male reporters. And the male reporters I know would just as soon stay clear of the whole matter anyway. Most men don’t go rushing to cover tempestuous stories of sex discrimination.

That means it’s probably up to female journalists to seek complete answers to an event that’s still of no small importance in some quarters, particularly the quarters containing the young female journalists Abramson says she cares about most.

If female journalists want to be treated equitably, they should abide by their own principles of fairness. That means not giving your own a slide because you think they deserve it. Behaving otherwise is convenient, but it’s not journalism.

If it weren’t for clubby double standards, today’s journalism wouldn’t have any standards at all.

THE PATRIARCHY claims another victim.

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SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.”

A COVERUP UNDER EVERY ROCK: White House Fights to Keep Shirley Sherrod Emails Secret: Admin says public does not have ‘any need for access to those documents.’ Yeah, that’s not the standard, guys.

ECHOES OF KRISTALLNACHT: Anti-semitic mob vandalizes and loots Jewish businesses in Paris suburb.

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JOEL KOTKIN: America Down, But Not Out:

America, seen either from here or from abroad, doesn’t look so good these days. The country that maintained world peace for decades now “leads by behind,” or not at all. You don’t have to have nostalgia for George W. Bush’s foreign policy to wish for someone in the White House who at least belongs in the same room with the likes of Vladimir Putin. Some wags now suggest that President Barack Obama has exceeded Jimmy Carter in foreign policy incompetence – Carter certainly was more effective in the Middle East.

What about space? Remember, we won the space race but now have to depend on Russian launch vehicles to do much of anything in orbit. President Obama thought we could rely on the Russians to provide us with cheap rides into orbit, but Putin squashed that notion after we objected to his actions in Ukraine. John Kennedy must be turning over in his grave.

And as for our domestic economy, the best you can say is “It could be worse,” particularly if you look at what’s happening in torpid Europe. It’s a sign of our utter lack of confidence that the current administration, and much of the punditry, still thinks we should follow the Continent’s economic and social policies.

Yet, despite all these challenges – and two presidencies the public ranks among the worst in history – it’s far too early to write off the United States. After all, no one else is doing very well.

We’ve had a worldwide epidemic of bad luck.

PRAGER UNIVERSITY: The War On Work.

THIS TIME, it’s Biblical.

UPDATE: Heh. Netanyahu calls for immediate U.S.-Al Qaeda ceasefire.

Here’s a transcript of Netanyahu’s remarks yesterday: “As I’ve said many times, the United States has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda. And as a result of its war in Afghanistan, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the United States has already done significant damage to Al Qaeda’s infrastructure. I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number civilian deaths from drone strikes and the potential loss of American lives from terrorism. And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians.”

Perhaps he’ll ban flights here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the comments: “I hear that seven Hamas terrorists were killed yesterday by an IDF soldier armed only with a replica of Obama’s jawbone.”

CHINA AND THE MYSTERY OF THE VANISHED RIVERS.

CLIMATE CHANGE SAME: Climate models that accidentally got El Niño right also show warming slowdown.

#GREENFAIL: Opel Dropping Amera, The European Chevy Volt, Because Of Weak Sales. “The car was a relative hit back in 2012, when it was named the European Car Of The Year and sales topped 5,200 units. Compared to 2012 numbers, which were good, Ampera sales dropped 40 percent to fewer than 3,200 in 2013 despite a massive price cut. They are down another 67 percent so far in 2014 and the car has sold just 332 units through the end of May.”

WELL, GOOD: Chinese Researchers Stop Wheat Disease With Gene Editing.

I WANT ONE: The Shkadov Thruster, or: How to Move an Entire Solar System.

PAUL RAHE: Jerusalem Diary: Why Gaza?

IN THE MAIL: From Anthony W. Hursh, Self-Publishing With Burning Slug.

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“JEWS BACK TO BIRKENAU:” Police protect Jewish students from Pro-Palestinian mob…in Boston. “The mere presence of a gay pro-Israel couple at the rally ‘set off a hailstorm’ of venom from Hamas supporters that would no doubt be national news by now if the epithets had been hurled by, say, Tea Partiers.”

Except, of course, that Tea Partiers don’t do that sort of thing, except in the fevered fantasies of people who side with the Hamas protesters.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 439.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The New Republic: Ivy League Schools Are Overrated. Send Your Kids Elsewhere. “Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it. . . . At least the classes at elite schools are academically rigorous, demanding on their own terms, no? Not necessarily. In the sciences, usually; in other disciplines, not so much.”

Welcome to the party, TNR.

BAD NEWS FOR OBAMACARE: Halbig: D.C. Circuit strikes down tax credits in federal exchanges. Apparently, the regulation exceeded the authority granted in the statute. I didn’t know we still cared about stuff like that . . . .

RON FOURNIER: Is the White House Lying, or Just Bad at Crisis Communications? Ordering a cheeseburger with fries while a downed airline smolders may not have been a great decision.

The thing is, they’ve been both lying and bad at crisis communications since day one. The press has just covered for them. Now that Obama’s been re-elected, it’s safe to express a bit of the built-up resentment. But not in any way that would help the Republicans. Because the press knows its role with respect to this administration, having chosen it quite deliberately.

GEORGIA RAPPER ENDORSES REPUBLICAN. “The tweet irritated some of [the] artist’s 1.26 million followers on Twitter.”

THE MOTHER’S MILK OF POLITICS: Money Still Fuels The Political Machine.

In despair over money’s influence in politics, progressives have fitfully embraced plans for public financing of campaigns. Via Tyler Cowen, I see that a new paper from Andrew Hall explores the effects of these sorts of programs.

First, the good news: Public campaign funding would probably reduce the influence of “access-oriented interest groups,” which are made up of well-financed power players who use their campaign donations to get the ear of candidates. It would also reduce the bias toward incumbents, which I guess can be good or bad depending on how you feel about your local congressman.

Now, the bad news: That doesn’t necessarily lead to better political outcomes. When the money goes away, the candidates who are elected tend to be more partisan and divided. “Good government” may mean “more extreme government” — which, at least at the national level, may mean “government that can’t get anything done.”

This makes a certain amount of sense, when you think about it. Access-oriented groups care about getting things done. I may think that a lot of this stuff shouldn’t be done, and I’m sure you agree (though perhaps we are thinking of different stuff). But fundamentally, access-oriented groups are less interested in making emotive statements about free markets, sexual liberty, respect for immigrants or whatever you care to name than they are about getting actual laws passed. That gives them an incentive to favor candidates who will give them legislative results rather than the moral satisfaction of sticking to their principles.

The average voter — in particular, the average primary voter — cares a lot about moral purity and expressive politics. So if you disempower the money, you empower the ideological purists who want candidates first and foremost to demonstrate fidelity to shared principles.

Yeah, I think corruption will still find a way.

AMERICA IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution. “John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.” Well, that’s who they are, that’s what they do.

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CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS: Verizon’s Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn’t tell you.

AN AD from the NRA’s new Trigger The Vote Campaign. Chuck Norris wants you to vote.

PHIL HAMBURGER: Rule Of Law vs. Rule Through Law.

EQUALITY IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Obama Donor Fights to Keep Riff-Raff Away From Private Beach.

A wealthy venture capitalist and major Obama donor is fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent others from accessing his private Northern California beach, according to Bloomberg News.

Vinod Khosla’s support for Obama has paid off in the form of millions in taxpayer subsidies for green energy companies in which he has invested.

A prominent environmentalist, Khosla nevertheless cherishes his control over a private beach alongside his 56-acre property near San Francisco—which he bought for $32.5 million—Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Hey, he’s not protecting the environment for you to enjoy.

SEE, THIS IS WHY WE NEED NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY: Ryan Shucard Case Highlights Gun Law Discrepancies.

Staff in Rep. Tom Marino’s office are convinced that Ryan Shucard, the press secretary that arrived at the Cannon House Office building toting a 9 mm handgun on Friday morning, was not planning to harm anyone with the gun.

“No, not at all,” said Bill Tighe, chief of staff for the two-term Pennsylvania Republican, said when asked if staff thought Shucard had ill intentions. Capitol Police also indicated it was an accident, according to Tighe.

Tighe said he was not formally aware that Shucard, a resident of Alexandria, Va., owned a gun. Shucard was hired by Marino’s office in late May. Tighe said he did not know whether Shucard, 26, was registered, trained or permitted to hold a gun in Virginia, where gun laws are less strict than in the District.

Similarly, Jason Kalafat, a partner at Price Benowitz LLP who has been hired to represent Shucard in D.C. court, had no comment on his client’s status as a gun owner in Virginia. He said there is no allegation that Shucard had the gun unlawfully, and pointed out that he is not being prosecuted for the federal offense of carrying on Capitol grounds, which carries up to five years in prison.

Kalafat said the difference between gun regulations in D.C. and Virginia creates a “big problem.”

Because the Capitol grounds are federal property, they are not subject to the District’s strict gun laws.

Also, we need a federal law providing that the maximum penalty for anyone legally entitled to possess firearms under federal law violating any state or local law on possession or carrying of weapons is a $500 fine. This would get rid of the sort of in terrorem regulation I describe in my Second Amendment Penumbras piece.

ACTUALLY, I’D LIKE TO SEE ENOUGH TO GET HIM TO TELL THE TRUTH: Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings calls for end to ‘public harassment’ of IRS chief John Koskinen. Naming and shaming is all we’ve got, when the machinery of government has been totally politicized.

YEAH, BUT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS SUCH A WELL-OILED MACHINE, WHAT’S THERE TO OVERSEE? Bruce Braley Missed More than 75% of Full Veterans’ Affairs committee Hearings.

SO I GUESS THEY’VE HAD TIME TO FABRICATE SOMETHING: IRS: Lerner emails may exist after all. I hate to be so cynical, but when you act like a criminal conspiracy, people tend to get cynical.

JIM TREACHER: A Brief Conversation With Stephen King.

July 21, 2014

ALL IN ALL, YOU’RE JUST ANOTHER STONE IN THE WALL: IRS lawyer: By the way, the hard drives of some other employees who dealt with Lois Lerner also crashed.

SELF-DEFENSE: Attempted pogrom thwarted by Jewish self-defense groups. “This sounds like a headline from Tzarist Russia in 1910, but in fact it was last week in Paris. A group of anti-Israel demonstrators tried to storm a synagogue, but Jews had their own undercover agents at the protests so they could raise the alarm if any of the protestors started to engage in violence. They did so, and the rioters were beaten back by a combination of ‘right-wing’ Jewish youth groups and communal security. Unlike is Tzarist Russia, the authorities aren’t on the side of the attackers, and they eventually arrived in sufficient numbers to disperse the attackers.”

If I had a synagogue in Europe, it would have flamethrowers.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: All The News Hamas Sees Fit to Print.

IT’S ACTUALLY BEEN AN INCOMPETENT PRESS OPERATION ALL ALONG. THE PRESS IS JUST NO LONGER COMPLETELY SWALLOWING EVERYTHING. Reporters bristle as WH derides, then offers, anonymous sources.

Complaints from White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday about anonymous news sources prompted a testy exchange with reporters who noted that administration officials regularly demand anonymity.

Earnest was asked about a Washington Post report charging that the administration ignored predictions last year from the Department of Homeland Security about the surge of unaccompanied minors who have flooded across the border in recent months.

But the spokesman looked to challenge the report by arguing it was “based entirely on anonymous sources.” Earnest also offered a broader critique on the use of anonymous sourcing in a bid to challenge the credibility of the story.

“In the course of reporting, I think it’s important, based on my own personal view, for those kinds of quotes and those kinds of stories to be given greater weight than just anonymous sources,” Earnest said. “So, what that means is, if you have anonymous sources at the White House who are telling you something, and you’re gonna say to them — that anonymous source — ‘Look, I’m willing to give your side of the story a little less weight right now, because you’re telling me this anonymously.’ ”

That prompted complaints from reporters who noted that the White House routinely insists on anonymity when unveiling new efforts.

“Would you guys commit then, when you have situations like today’s call, which is people specifically picked by the White House to roll out a policy of the White House, would you commit to have those people speak on the record?” asked Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace. “Because there doesn’t seem to be a reason to put them on background.”

Now it’s the press corps that’s becoming “ungovernable,” I guess.

ANOTHER COLUMN ABOUT HOW IT’S NOT OBAMA’S FAULT, AMERICA IS JUST TOO GOSH-DARNED HARD TO GOVERN.

I predicted this line of punditry years ago, based on early evidence of Obama’s incompetence.

ACTUALLY INVADED, OR IN SUCH IMMINENT DANGER AS WILL NOT ADMIT OF DELAY: Texas Governor to Deploy 1,000 National Guard Troops to Border.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:

I think of student loans as the cockroaches of debt. The loans are hard to get rid of because for so long, people were told this was good and necessary debt and so it wasn’t a bad thing to have it hang around for decades.

When people ask me about what they should do about their student loans, I ask: What are you willing to do to get rid of them as fast as you can?

And here’s my suggestion: Live for as long as you can with your parents, relatives or anyone who will allow you to stay rent-free or charge you a super-low rent.

Related item here. And here.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Obama’s Tranquility.

A LEFTY COMPLAINS ABOUT HOW progressivism has ruined sex. Well, it ruins everything, you know.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: On Photography, Cops Need To Get A Clue.

THE CASE FOR CONCIERGE MEDICINE: In the trade-off between more patients and more personalized care, growing numbers of physicians are choosing the latter. “The concierge model of practice is growing, and it is estimated that more than 4,000 U.S. physicians have adopted some variation of it. Most are general internists, with family practitioners second. It is attractive to physicians because they are relieved of much of the pressure to move patients through quickly, and they can devote more time to prevention and wellness. . . . Of course, there are drawbacks to concierge practice. For one thing, some patients cannot afford it, and others will choose not to pay the fee. Critics also see such models as promoting a two-tiered system of healthcare, in which those with more money get better care.” An ironic — but entirely predictable — result of ObamaCare.

NONSENSE. IT’S ALWAYS THE FEMINIST THING TO PUNISH MEN, ESPECIALLY OVER SEX: Elizabeth Nolan Brown: Punishing Prostitution Clients Is Not a Feminist Solution.

My question is why all these so-called feminists are pro-rape.

HOW TO NEGOTIATE A LOWER CABLE BILL.

You could just get a Roku or Amazon Fire and cut the cable, of course.

WOMEN’S MEDIA BECOMING LESS SUPPORTIVE OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: 5 Ways The NSA Is Like A Psycho Ex-Boyfriend.