April 17, 2014

OBAMA’S THIRD TERM? Here’s What Drone Attacks in America Would Look Like.


WELL, YES: Court Declares That, Yes, Bloggers Are Media. “While it seems crazy that this kind of issue is still being debated in 2014, it’s good to see a court make such a clear statement on the fact that blogs will often qualify as media properties.”

AT AMAZON, New Deals In Fine Jewelry.

Plus, New Releases in Music, and deals on bestselling Box Sets.

MY LATEST POPULAR MECHANICS COLUMN: Should We Be Afraid of the 3D Printed Gun?

SHOCK: Hillary Supporter Pleads Guilty To Massive Campaign Fraud.

OR AN ALIEN SPACESHIP UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Cassini may be witnessing the birth (or death) of a moon of Saturn.

It’s all so obvious. Wake up, sheeple! You’ve read Footfall!

THAT WOULDN’T HAPPEN IN A NISSAN LEAF: That time Elon Musk got a speeding ticket showing off the Tesla Model S to Johnny Depp.

THE NATIONAL INTEREST: The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy. I think it’s called “smart diplomacy.”

Related: John McCain: Obama lets ‘bad people’ fill U.S. void, says Jimmy Carter was better.

POPULAR MECHANICS REPORTS from the New York International Auto Show.

RESEARCH ETHICS REVIEW: A Failed System Of Risk Management.

WHY ARE WE SUDDENLY HEARING SO MUCH ABOUT ELIZABETH WARREN? SHE’S THE BACKUP HILLARY. WaPo: Poll: Hillary Clinton’s numbers worst since 2008, as GOP brand surges.

IN THIS RECENT POPULAR MECHANICS PIECE, I ARGUED IN FAVOR OF curtailing click-through agreements. Now there’s this: “Like” General Mills on Facebook, Give Up Your Right To Sue. “In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.”

IN THE MAIL: From Caroline Glick, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

Also, today only at Amazon: Sling Media Slingbox 350, $99.00 (45% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 343.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: A New More Sinister IRS Scandal. “Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.”

THE POLITICAL-ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX: Dee Dee Myers to Join Warner Bros. as Head of Communications. “Dee Dee Myers, once the White House press secretary to Bill Clinton, will be joining Warner Bros. as executive vice president for worldwide corporate communications and public affairs, the studio said on Wednesday. Ms. Myers is not the first political operative to join Hollywood’s ranks. Jim Kennedy, recently named to the top communications post at News Corp. after serving in similar jobs with the Sony entertainment operations, for instance, had also served in the Clinton administration, and was once a deputy press secretary in the White House.”

Plus: “Ms. Myers’ husband, Todd Purdum, is a senior writer for Politico and was formerly a correspondent for The New York Times.”

CHARLES BLAHOUS: The Unfolding Fiscal Disaster Behind ACA Enrollment Figures.


I can see the appeal of making marriage more difficult to get out of. My brief tour through the divorce literature indicated that ending a high-conflict marriage is better for everyone, including the kids — despite the financial and emotional drawbacks, it really is better to have two homes, rather than one where Mom and Dad are engaged in a bitter civil war.

On the other hand, the evidence on ending low-conflict marriages — one in which maybe one party, or both, doesn’t feel perfectly fulfilled, but they get along OK — wasn’t so happy. Children of low-conflict marriages whose parents divorce have more difficulty adjusting than the kids of high-conflict marriages. It’s thought that the divorce comes as a shock to these kids; a relationship that seemed fine to them suddenly dissolves, which changes their ability to trust the world and other people.

These divorces aren’t necessarily so great for the adults, either. Divorce tends to be a financial disaster for all but the very rich, because it’s more expensive to support two households than one. And people who exit marriages don’t necessarily find this makes them happier. We tend to think that marriages are good, and then they go bad, and then you divorce and get happy again, but unhappiness can often be a temporary condition that later improves.

Some approximation of this insight is what structured divorce laws before the no-fault revolution. You exited marriages in which there was abuse, adultery, abandonment or wild financial irresponsibility, not because you were just sick and tired of being married.

So could we make marriages stronger by making it harder to exit? Keep people together who rush into divorce court instead of waiting out a temporary spell of unhappiness?

Maybe. But we should be cautious about assuming that this would definitely make marriage stronger. As with so many rule changes, it might have the opposite of the intended effect.

Perhaps we should make divorce a matter of contract instead of status. Let people make their own arrangements, and perhaps incorporate a surety or insurance aspect. But read the whole thing for some excellent cautionary notes.

ANNALS OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: New York gun owners shrug off tough new rules: What happens now? “The SAFE Act, passed in New York last year, had an April 15 deadline for owners of assault-style weapons to register their guns with the state. Some 1 million residents have refused to abide.”

REVOLVING DOOR: Shocker: EPA official leaves for environmental group. “Lisa Garcia, former associate assistant administrator for environmental justice at the EPA, will become Earthjustice’s new vice president of litigation for health — a position created just for Garcia.” How accommodating of them.

SHOCKINGLY, IT’S NOT JUST A PAGE OF TEQUILA DRINKS: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Amazon Cinco de Mayo Sale!

Plus, leave winter in the dust with the Amazon Spring Cleaning Sale. We’re redoing our master closet, which has produced massive throwing-away.

Also, Deal of the Day: Upstairs, Downstairs, the Complete Series, $68.99 (68% off). The original Downton Abbey.

INSTAVISION: Geopolitics In Space: Will Russia Annex the International Space Station? I talk with Rand Simberg, who’s also got a new book out.


ROBERT LEVY IN THE WASHINGTON POST ON JUSTICE STEVENS’ BIZARRE VIEWS OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT: “Responsible citizens who are concerned about extremist views on gun rights should condemn Justice Stevens’s foolishness.”

IN WHICH VIRGINIA POSTREL compares Paul Krugman to Kim Kardashian. That’s unfair. Kim Kardashian owes her success to her ass. Paul Krugman owes being an ass to his success.

On the other hand, they’ve got this much in common: “Krugman has something valuable to offer, and it isn’t his big brain.”

IT’S A ONE-PARTY STATE: Rod Wright and the California Senate’s Culture of Corruption.

JAMES TARANTO: Judd Gregg’s Warning About Obama’s Politicization Of Census Bureau Was Prescient.

Gregg served out his Senate term retiring after the 2010 election, when another Republican, Kelly Ayotte, was elected as his successor. The Democrats eventually got their 60th senator: In April, Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter switched parties, and in July, Minnesota’s Al Franken was seated after a prolonged recount. The Democratic supermajority lasted only seven months, until Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was seated after winning a special election occasioned by Ted Kennedy’s death. That was long enough to push ObamaCare through over united Republican opposition.

Now ObamaCare is providing evidence that Gregg was right to worry about politicization of the census. . . .

This isn’t the first instance of political shenanigans at the Obama Census Bureau. In November 2013 the New York Post’s John Crudele reported that in the run-up to the 2012 election, the bureau put out labor statistics that, “according to a reliable source, were manipulated.” The stats showed a decline in unemployment to 7.8% in September 2012 from 8.1% in August. . . .

As for McArdle, she acknowledges that the earlier census health-insurance reports “probably overstate the true number of the uninsured” and that the new method may be better. But she asks: “Why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years?”

Hey, good question.

With an obvious answer.

SO WE HAVEN’T RECOVERED YET? “In her first monetary policy speech as Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the nation’s economic recovery will be nearly complete within two years, but cautioned that the economy still needs the central bank’s support.” This has to be the slowest “recovery” since the Great Depression.

Related: Points and Figures: It Wasn’t A Financial Crisis, It Was A Systemic Run. “Current policy has guaranteed debt. The US has instituted program after program and the Fed has actively pursued activities that hold interest rates low. All this does is create poor incentives. Banks can game the system and run around any regulation. Regulation has also crushed competition, leaving Goliath banks. Cochrane says it plainly, ‘Too big to fail means too big to lose money, and too big to lose money means too big to compete.’”

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: The so-called “smoking gun” proving the Internal Revenue Service played politics with conservative groups seeking official non-profit, social welfare status over the last several years may finally have been found.

UPDATE: Today’s IRS Documents: What Do They Show? “My only other comment is that the emails are heavily redacted. Almost all of the redactions cite exemption b5, which is very general; it covers any document or portion of a document that would not have to be produced in a civil action. Actually, if documents fall within the scope of a Rule 34 request, the circumstances under which they do not need to be produced are quite narrow. While it is impossible to judge the appropriateness of a redaction without knowing what has been blacked out, there are a number of instances where it is hard to believe that any normally recognized privilege would apply.”

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Ashe Schow: Dry cleaners press Obama over ‘gender-gap’ rhetoric.

America’s dry cleaners aren’t happy that President Obama used them as an example in remarks last week about the economic gap between the sexes.

They say the disparity in dry cleaning bills is more complex than the systemized discrimination Obama hinted at in his April 8 remarks about the so-called “pay gap” between the sexes.

As an industry, dry cleaners do not charge more for a woman’s shirt than a man’s shirt, they charge more for a hand ironed shirt than they do a machine pressed shirt. If you check your own dry cleaning bill, you’ll find that YOU pay more for the laundering and finishing of your hand ironed tuxedo shirt, than you do for the automated processing of your everyday traditional dress shirt! The price is in the math as calculated by the labor required not the gender of the client!

Simple math. Hand ironing takes more time and requires more skill, and therefore costs the cleaner more to produce. Because it costs more to produce, he charges more for the work.

But I doubt this distinction would make it into Obama’s rhetoric, given his propensity to continue using the misleading figure that women only make 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Nope. If a lie works with gullible, low-information voters — which is clearly Obama’s perception of the women he’s targeting — then he’ll stick with it.

FOR THE AFL-CIO, YES. FOR AMERICA, NO. The Hill: AFL-CIO chief calls Elizabeth Warren ‘prototype’ of good president.

ROGER SIMON: College: The Sixty-Five Thousand Dollar Misunderstanding. Er, that’s $65,000 per year . . . .

There’s enough nonsense out there to fill a book.

TRAVESTY: Supreme Court (And Senate) Deny SCOTUSblog A Press Pass.

ELIZABETH WARREN: “I was hurt and I was angry.”

Flashback: Brown staffer heckled by Warren supporters for being gay.

THE ONION DISTILLS THE OBAMA ERA AS ONLY IT CAN: FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States.

Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.

Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

“And unfortunately, based on information we have from intelligence assets on the ground, this plot is already well under way,” he added.

But then, in Obama’s America, the line between parody and news is almost invisible.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): The US is an oligarchy, study concludes; Report by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities suggests that US political system serves special interest organisations, instead of voters. The SEIU, AFSCME, and Goldman Sachs were unavailable for comment.

REMEMBER, MALE TEACHERS ARE RARE BECAUSE PEOPLE THINK THEY MIGHT BE SEX PREDATORS: Florida English teacher, 29, ‘had sex with 17-year-old student up to 30 times before having an abortion.’ “A 29-year-old English teacher who allegedly had a four-month affair with her underage student and aborted his child, has been charged. Jennifer Christine Fichter was arrested yesterday after allegedly confessing to the 17-year-old boy’s mother that she’d had sex with the teen up to 30 times, loved him and had no regrets.”

REMEMBER, ADMINISTRATORS LIKE THESE NOW OUTNUMBER TEACHING FACULTY: Bergen Administrators Fear ‘Game of Thrones’ Quote, Censor Professor. “Displaying a lack of both pop culture and First Amendment awareness, administrators at Bergen Community College in New Jersey placed Professor Francis Schmidt on leave this past January, requiring him to meet with a psychiatrist before returning to campus—just for posting a picture of his daughter in a T-shirt quoting the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones.” I’m sorry, I’d sue all of these people personally, and make their lives a living hell until they left or were fired. And they should have to go through a forced psychiatric evaluation, too, to look at their tendency to abuse power and trust.

#WARONWOMEN: Elizabeth Warren Reveals Obama Advisor’s Sexist Comments Toward Her.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Radley Balko: How do we fix the police ‘testilying’ problem? I would abolish official immunity.

I also favor the “Missing Video Presumption,” where failure to produce video that should have been available is construed, essentially, as an admission.

April 16, 2014

ED DRISCOLL: Conservatives In The Mist, Yet Again. “I’m glad that Kohn and Powers have granted those on the right are, as Kohn notes, ‘personable and kind and human. Just like me.’ But why did it take working among them to make the epoch-shattering discovery* that half the country are actual flesh-and-blood humans and not The Other? . . . What will it take for those spokespeople for an ideology that routinely tosses around buzzwords such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ to allow themselves to view their fellow countrymen in an equally beneficent light?”

TEXAS WOMEN not so crazy about Wendy Davis.

BRYAN PRESTON: The Terrifying Implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ Connection.

REMINDER: PRIDE IS A DEADLY SIN. Michael Bloomberg Is Sure That He’s Going To Heaven.

SO, A GOVERNMENT-PROTECTED SHOOTER OF SORTS: Report: Kansas City Shooter Glenn Miller Was In U.S. Witness Protection Program.

DON’T SKIMP ON THE BEANO, THOUGH: Beans And Peas Can Lower Cholesterol.

YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP for cute dog pictures.

AT AMAZON, save up to 35% in Motorcycles & Powersports.

Plus, 20% off diapers at Amazon Mom.

Also, in the TV Deal of the Week: 59% off Barney Miller: The Complete Series on DVD.

SAY, DID I MENTION THAT Sarah Hoyt has a new novel out?

YOU KNOW, I MIGHT CONSIDER MOVING TO the new state of South California.

SO MAYBE EMPLOYERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE IQ TESTS: Yes, IQ Really Matters: Critics of the SAT and other standardized testing are disregarding the data.

SPYING: Obama: NSA Must Reveal Bugs Like Heartbleed, Unless They Help the NSA.

AT AMAZON, deals on 2014 Baseball Gear & Accessories.

Plus, leave winter in the dust with deals in Spring Cleaning.

And de-clutter for spring by trading in your old stuff.

LIFE BEYOND PARODY IN OBAMA’S AMERICA (CONT’D): Income Inequality Institute Will Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 Per Month. For unclear, but “modest,” efforts.

FOOD INFLATION: Beef, Pork And Shrimp Prices Soar To Record Highs.

IS ANYBODY HOME? “A new study has found that PET scans may help answer these wrenching questions. It found that a significant number of people labeled vegetative had received an incorrect diagnosis and actually had some degree of consciousness and the potential to improve. Previous studies using electroencephalogram machines and M.R.I. scanners have also found signs of consciousness in supposedly vegetative patients. . . . Too often, he and Dr. Laureys said, patients are labeled vegetative and sent to nursing homes where no effort is made to rehabilitate them, and where emerging consciousness might not even be recognized.”

TRUST: Google Apparently Chose Not To Tell The NSA About Heartbleed.

MEN ON SIX-MONTH MURDER SPREE were wearing GPS ankle bracelets the whole time.

GOING NUCLEAR: The Global Picture. If you’re not serious about nuclear power — and fracking! — you’re not serious about global warming.

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Happens If You Open A Plane Door at 30,000 Feet? The good news is that air pressure makes that basically impossible.

Also, “D.B. Cooper” is Don Draper.

WAR ON WOMEN: Did Mara Liasson Demean Women’s Intelligence? She certainly suggested that they’re gullible low-information voters.

FRACKING: NOT SO RISKY. “The data on hydraulic fracturing suggest that its risks are rare, but even rare risks need to be addressed. Addressing them, however, does not require oppressive regulation or production moratoriums.”

COMING ON MAY 7: The Federalist Society’s Second Executive Branch Review Conference. There’s a lot to review. It’s free and open to the public, and lawyers can get CLE credit.

ABUSE OF POWER: Breaking: New Emails Show Lois Lerner Contacted DOJ About Prosecuting Conservative Groups. Of course she did. And of course the DOJ is involved.

“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”

Muzzling political opponents is an across-the-board priority for this administration.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 342.

THEY’VE BEEN BINGE-WATCHING MAD MEN TOO MUCH: How Does The White House Think Women Dress for Work?

WELL, WHAT BOOKS HAVEN’T THEY COOKED? Is Obama Cooking the Census Books for Obamacare?

For several months now, whenever the topic of enrollment in the Affordable Care Act came up, I’ve been saying that it was too soon to tell its ultimate effects. We don’t know how many people have paid for their new insurance policies, or how many of those who bought policies were previously uninsured. For that, I said, we will have to wait for Census Bureau data, which offer the best assessment of the insurance status of the whole population. Other surveys are available, but the samples are smaller, so they’re not as good; the census is the gold standard. Unfortunately, as I invariably noted, these data won’t be available until 2015.

I stand corrected: These data won’t be available at all. Ever.

No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was. The New York Times reports that the Barack Obama administration has changed the survey so that we cannot directly compare the numbers on the uninsured over time.

If the numbers were good, we’d know about it.

Reminder: Obama moved Census control to the White House early in his first term.

WELL, THAT’S COMFORTING: France lost 2,300 tubes of a deadly virus. “A routine inventory turned up the disappearance of the tubes. The institute suspects they’ve been missing since January, and as of Wednesday morning, no one knows what happened to them.” But top men assure us that there is no danger.

AND THIS SUPRISES WHO? Study finds more immigrants equals more Democrats — and more losses for GOP. I mean, if more immigrants meant more Republicans, the Dems would be calling for a border fence.

AT AMAZON, New Releases On Blu-Ray.

Also, 70% off on Men’s Jewelry.

AN IDEA SO CRAZY THAT IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Fight federal abuse of property rights by making the government obey its own rules.

DONALD RUMSFELD TO IRS: My Taxes Are A Known Unknown.

ROSS DOUTHAT: The Case Against Higher Taxes. Taxes are a drag on economic growth. Regulation, and especially cronyized redistributionist regulation — of which we have a lot more than we had in past decades — is a much, much bigger drag.

Related: How Much Are You Willing To Pay In Taxes. Considerably less than I do.

JAMES TARANTO: Race Against Time: Is there a high-minded justification for Dems’ divisive rhetoric?

This column probably isn’t the first to notice a recent intensification of liberal and Democratic rhetoric about race. Last month Paul Ryan was the object of a Two Minutes Hate for some comments on the culture of poverty “in our inner cities,” which, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, were no different in substance from things President Obama had recently said.

This Sunday, as Politico notes, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that “to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” He did allow that “not all” House Republicans are racist, though he didn’t specify how many or which ones he thinks are.

Last Wednesday Eric Holder, in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, complained that he had faced “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity,” ABC News reports. “Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Although Holder didn’t specifically accuse his adversaries of racial motives, others, including Crowley, assumed that was what he meant. Politico reports that in her interview with Israel, “Crowley said that Holder believes ‘the treatment he has received in the House . . . would not have happened if he were not African-American.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, appearing on Sharpton’s MSNBC show, went so far as to suggest that Republicans had been soft on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because she’s white, as the Daily Caller reports incredulously.

For this rise in the racial temperature we blame not global warming but political cooling. As November approaches, Democrats face not only an unfavorable election map but an increasingly chilly electorate. From last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pulled presidential approval numbers for four key Democratic constituencies. Obama was below 50% among three of those groups: single women (48%, to 45% disapproval), Hispanics (49% to 46%), and voters under 30 (45% to 48%). Only among blacks was approval still strong, 78% to 12% disapproval.

By way of comparison, in 2012 Obama won the votes of 67% of single women, 71% of Hispanics, 60% of under-30 voters and 93% of blacks. It’s reasonable to surmise that the racial appeals are a reaction to this desperate political situation, an effort to minimize Democratic losses by motivating the party’s base to turn out.

My advice to Republicans is to target the Dem base with ads showing how they’ve been betrayed. The truth should be enough to get them to stay home.

ROLL CALL: Immigration Overhaul: Democrats Look to Flip 30 House Republicans.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Case for a Little Sedition: The Bundy standoff reminds us that government is our servant, not our master.

A great deal of the discussion about the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada has focused on the legal questions — the litigation between Mr. Bundy and the BLM, his eccentric (i.e., batzoid) legal rationales, etc. But as Rich Lowry and others have argued, this is best understood not as a legal proceeding but as an act of civil disobedience. John Hinderaker and Rich both are correct that as a legal question Mr. Bundy is legless. But that is largely beside the point.

Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition; Mr. Gandhi himself habitually was among the first to acknowledge that fact, refusing to offer a defense in his sedition case and arguing that the judge had no choice but to resign, in protest of the perfectly legal injustice unfolding in his courtroom, or to sentence him to the harshest sentence possible, there being no extenuating circumstances for Mr. Gandhi’s intentional violation of the law. Henry David Thoreau was happy to spend his time in jail, knowing that the law was against him, whatever side justice was on.

But not all dissidents are content to submit to what we, in the Age of Obama, still insist on quaintly calling “the rule of law.” And there is a price to pay for that, too: King George not only would have been well within his legal rights to hang every one of this nation’s seditious Founding Fathers, he would have been duty-bound to do so, the keeping of the civil peace being the first responsibility of the civil authority. Every fugitive slave, and every one of the sainted men and women who harbored and enabled them, was a law-breaker, and who can blame them if none was content to submit to what passed for justice among the slavers? . . .

If the conservatives in official Washington want to do something other than stand by and look impotent, they might consider pressing for legislation that would oblige the federal government to divest itself of 1 percent of its land and other real estate each year for the foreseeable future through an open auction process. Even the Obama administration has identified a very large portfolio of office buildings and other federal holdings that are unused or under-used. By some estimates, superfluous federal holdings amount to trillions of dollars in value. Surely not every inch of that 87 percent of Nevada under the absentee-landlordship of the federal government is critical to the national interest. Perhaps Mr. Bundy would like to buy some land where he can graze his cattle.

Prudential measures do not solve questions of principle. So where does that leave us with our judgment of the Nevada insurrection? Perhaps with an understanding that while Mr. Bundy’s stand should not be construed as a general template for civic action, it is nonetheless the case that, in measured doses, a little sedition is an excellent thing.

I think the problem is that the government hasn’t gotten enough pushback. The phrase “the country wouldn’t stand for it” has gone out of the political lexicon. I think it needs to go back in.

It does seem as if we’re seeing more resistance.

HEH: In Swipe At Harry Reid, Josh Romney Shows Father Paying Taxes. I’d like to see pictures explaining how Harry Reid became a very rich man while spending a lifetime in “public service.”

WAR ON WOMEN: Obama talks about pay gap, but then punishes working mothers. “New rules issued by Obama’s Treasury Department force many department employees with kids to burn a vacation day or take unpaid leave whenever snow shuts down the district. For a childless worker, on the other hand, a snow day means a free day off. The rules behind this cruel dynamic make some sense, but not if you care about helping women achieve pay equity.” Mitch McConnell and Kelly Ayotte want to fix, but Obama is talking veto.

UPDATE: From the comments:

There’s something even more revealing. Yesterday, I did my taxes with Turbotax. Part of the warnings that come with using the home office deduction are what that room cannot be used for. One was that it couldn’t contain a crib for a baby.

If a young mother is running a business out of her home, why shouldn’t she be able to have that baby sleeping alongside her as she works? How does that differ from having the baby in the next room?

I’m sure that idea flows from the nasty, Democratic-tilting little minds of the IRS rather than formal legislation. But it also offers the Republicans an excellent opportunity to offer practical help. Pass legislation that allows child-centered activities for either parent in a home office. Not only allow it to be OK, mandate that it is OK.

It’s not a bad idea.

SKYNET WILL NOT BE AMUSED: Humans Taking Jobs Back From Robots In Japan.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Oregon Law Prof Objects to Shifting Funds for Faculty Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students. The “jobs” appear mostly designed to improve the school’s U.S. News rankings. Funny, I proposed a similar nonprofit-based scheme to a colleague in jest a while back. Instead, I was ahead of the curve.

Plus: “As soon as money got tight, we seem to have turned on one another as if this was a zero-sum game.” That’s a serious risk for any institution in hard times.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Coalition of the Disappointed: Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote. Telling, isn’t it, that at this point in his Presidency he doesn’t have any actual, you know, achievements to stress?

If I were the GOP, I’d be targeting Obama’s base with ads and messaging stressing how much worse off they are than they were six years ago. It wouldn’t be hard. That said, the GOP hasn’t been very smart about such things — ironically, because they’re afraid of being called racists.

I’M SHOCKED, SHOCKED TO SEE CORRUPTION GOING ON: Chevron, Dole cases expose lawyer corruption: Foreign legal systems and American lawyers are found to cheat big business out of millions. “California courts found the litigation to be a ‘heinous conspiracy’ orchestrated by lawyers in the U.S. and Nicaragua who recruited fake plaintiffs, coached them to lie, forged documents, falsified lab results and threatened witnesses. One of the ‘sterile’ victims fathered three children, according to DNA tests.”

April 15, 2014

AMERICA IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Can the US Government Confiscate a Citizen’s Passport for No Apparent Reason? It Just Did.


America was founded on the notion that most politicians can only be expected to be ornery, low-down, crooks. Nobody in those days was fool enough to believe they could be Light-workers, Messiahs and create a world without guns. Thus in the Founder’s view the only way to guard against rogues was to ensure that government remained as small as possible relative to its essential jobs; to change those in office frequently and often, like we change underwear.

The Founders saw roguery as the byproduct of high office. And so they wrote a constitution — you know, the document more than a hundred years old that nobody smart reads any more — to keep the weeds down. For they knew better than our modern enlighteneds that any politician sufficiently powerful to disarm the people is sufficiently powerful to sell missiles bought from Russia to Muslim rebels in Mindanao.

Unless one remembers this there is no defense against crooks in high places.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Orin Kerr bursts the sunny bubble inhabited by Erwin Chemerinsky and Carrie Menkel-Meadow.

BILL DE BLASIO’S class warfare against poor immigrants.