December 20, 2014

HARVEY MANSFIELD: Contradiction Rules Feminism.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: In 2014, only 39.1 percent of students who had entered community colleges six years before had completed a degree or certificate. And it’s not for lack of trying: “Despite many efforts and investment to boost college degree attainment, community colleges – which educate about 44 percent of the nation’s low-income students – have yet to make a dent in national graduation rates.”

Part of the problem, of course, is that these students come out of a broken K-12 system.

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FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists accidentally stop skin aging in mice.

FASTER, PLEASE: Bio Bigwigs Go after Drugs for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS.

SO WHEN NICK MCCALL WAS ON BOOK TV PLUGGING HIS BOOK THE OTHER DAY, there was also another guy on plugging his book. It was James Scott’s The War Below, which followed three submarines through World War Two. I got it, read it, and found it quite enjoyable.

SEAFOOD: Wild vs. Farmed.

SO WHERE ARE THEY? Why Superintelligent Machines Are Probably the Dominant Lifeforms in the Universe.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 590.

JIM TREACHER: Reminder: Hillary Clinton Has Directly Contributed To Rape Culture. “Many of the same people who make such a convincing ‘rape culture’ argument will also argue that you should vote for Hillary. Many of the same people who assumed the UVA Phi Psi house was guilty of gang rape, who say things like ‘I believe women’ when presented with evidence that a rape accusation is false, will defend Hillary because she was just doing her job.”

THE COST OF ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD: The Decline of the Indy Doctor, the Rise of Costs.

When doctors become employees, things start to get ugly. In City Journal, Dr. Joel M. Zinberg argues that independent practices are becoming increasingly uncommon as newly-minted doctors rush to become employees of hospitals. MDs, says Zinberg, are driven into the open arms of hospital administrators by the expensive and time-consuming overhead of operating their own practices—overhead that the ACA has only increased. . . .

When hospitals acquire doctors and independent practices, the cost of care actually goes up. It really, really does. Big hospitals with few independent practices means a more expensive system, not one that prioritizes cost-efficiency over patient welfare. In a time at which medical debt may be rising, that is reason enough to worry.


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AS OPPOSED TO THE USUAL EUNUCHS, I GUESS: Obama takes questions only from female reporters. But this is just sad: “Considering what turned out to be a poor ending for the year in women’s issues — namely campus sexual assault — Obama needed to bring attention back on women. Obama tried in April to spearhead a movement this year and continue the momentum of the ‘war on women’ narrative, but it suffered a number of setbacks: Due process supporters piped up, a major story about campus rape was exposed as a hoax, Republicans defeated candidates who overdid the ‘war on women’ theme. To put it briefly, the president needed a win, and this is what he came up with.”

SHOCKER: Texas job growth outpaces rest of U.S. combined.

Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas. Only 700,000 net jobs have been created in the other 49 states combined.

The remarkable employment growth in Texas looks even bigger considering its size relative to the rest of the U.S. Total non-farm employment has grown by 11.5 percent in Texas since December 2007. Employment in the rest of the United States has grown only 0.6 percent. Until September 2014, total employment growth in the rest of the United States since December 2007 was still negative.

Only North Dakota has outpaced Texas on percent job growth, thanks to jobs created by the fracking revolution. California, Texas’ biggest economic rival, has created 985,600 fewer net jobs during the same period. California’s 1.5 percent job growth is ten percentage points lower than Texas’ percent job growth.

I wish America as a whole were a lot more like Texas. Of course, it would be if it werent’ for the media. UCLA Professor: Without Media Bias the Average US State Would Vote Like Texas or Tennessee.

UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails: “Hell, without media bias England would vote like Texas. From the time they suspended the death sentence through today, a majority of English polled have consistently been in favor of the death penalty.”

This is why lefties are so determined to control the media and the terms of debate.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: New Treasury procurement chief steered contracts to friends while at VA.

HMM: House chairman urges sanctions on North Korea.

HEH: An Exclusive Look at Sony’s Revised Cut of The Interview.

ROGER SIMON: The Real Fallout From Sony Is Nuclear.

December 19, 2014

UVA RAPE HOAXER “JACKIE” plagiarized love emails from Scrubs, Dawson’s Creek.

JUSTICE: Silk Road prosecutors want to ban Ross Ulbricht’s libertarian politics in court. “Prosecutors in the case against alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht want the court to prohibit Ulbricht from saying almost anything political at all, according to a motion filed last week by the government. They’re worried that the jury might end up sympathizing with Ulbricht’s politics.”

FASTER, PLEASE: For First Time, Treatment Helps Patients With Worst Kind of Stroke, Study Says. “After three decades of failure, researchers have found a treatment that greatly improves the prognosis for people having the most severe and disabling strokes. By directly removing large blood clots blocking blood vessels in the brain, they can save brain tissue that would have otherwise died, enabling many to return to an independent life.”

TEST-DRIVING THE 2015 Volkswagen Touareg.

IT MIGHT WORK: How PayPal’s Founder Plans to Live to 120: Peter Thiel is taking human growth hormone daily, follows paleo diet. I like Peter Thiel, and I hope this works, though I’m not sold on HGH therapy. I fully endorse the red wine, though.

QUOTE OF THE MOMENT: “There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Why Women Won’t Date You If You’re Not Into Premarital Nookie.

WATER SHORTAGES LEADING TO greater interest in desalination.

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OBAMA: Sony Made A “Mistake,” And We Need More Controls On The Internet.

BUT JOBS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE UP, SO WE’VE GOT THAT: Fewer US-Born Americans Have Jobs Now Than in 2007.

IT’S POTEMKIN FAMILIES ALL THE WAY DOWN: NY Health Commissioner says he wouldn’t want his kids growing near fracking site, but doesn’t have children.

Zucker’s remarks appeared to make an impression on Gov. Cuomo. On Thursday, Cuomo said Zucker’s comments were “very sobering,” and helped to convince him that banning fracking was the right thing to do.

“Frankly, that’s enough for me,” Cuomo said, “because if the state health commissioner doesn’t want his kids living there, I don’t want my kids living there and I don’t want any New Yorkers’ kids living there.”

But questioned by the Daily News, Health Department spokesman Peter Constantakes on Thursday said Zucker was not married and had no children.

Standard for our political discourse these days: People without kids banning stuff “for the children.”

ANDREW MALCOLM: The Rolling Stone Story Is Part of a Broader Hoax.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Large, open protein cages designed and built.

I PREFER THE TERM “SELF-BECLOWNING,” BUT “AUTO-HUMILIATION” WORKS TOO: Tom Maguire: Let Me Highlight Charles Blow’s Auto-Humiliation. “We can find some answers to Mr. Blow’s questions in Mrs. Obama’s description of the same incident to David Letterman in 2012.”

EXACTLY AS EVOLUTIONARY THEORY WOULD PREDICT: Heterosexual men more upset by infidelity than women, gays, lesbians. Only heterosexual men risk being stuck raising someone else’s kid.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: World First: Man Controls Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind; Doctors wired them right into his nerves.

USING BLIMPS for missile defense.

SEXUAL ASSAULT IS SUCH A SERIOUS CRIME THAT INNOCENCE IS NO DEFENSE: Ashe Schow Tries To Find Out How To Prove Consent Under “Yes Means Yes,” Discovers That Nobody, Even The Sponsor, Has Any Idea.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: News Worsens for Law Schools: Fall 2015 Applicants Are Down 9.1%.

K.C. JOHNSON: UVA’s Troubled Campus Culture. “The actions of President Teresa Sullivan’s administration—joined by an array of professors and, most disturbingly, by the student newspaper—have provided an almost textbook example ofa campus culture gone awry, with a massive rush to judgment compounded by an inability to admit error. Close followers of higher education doubtless will recall the last time that Sullivan was in the news—in 2012, when the Virginian Board of Visitors unsuccessfully attempted to remove her as president. Based on what we’ve seen over the past month, the Board’s initial judgment regarding Sullivan was absolutely correct.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 589.

THE PR GETS MORE SHAMELESS AS THE NUMBER WHO BELIEVE IT SHRINKS: David Harsanyi: Let’s Talk About Obama’s Imaginary ‘Winning Streak.’ “There are two ways to explain this phenomenon: Some folks are engaged in a lot of wishful thinking or we’ve severely downgraded the meaning of winning. Then again, maybe it’s a little of both.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: Russia’s Problems Are Everyone’s Problems.

“Cyprus with nukes.” That’s how someone, maybe me, referred to Russia in an IM conversation this morning. It’s not really a fair comparison; Russia is a vast country loaded with natural resources, not a tiny island banking haven. But it does express a very real fear: that the world is about to experience a major financial crisis in a country that seems to deal with its internal troubles by slicing off bits of neighboring countries.

The ruble is plunging, for reasons that have roots in the falling price of oil. Yet the trouble now runs deeper than that, so the ruble’s problems will continue even when the price of oil recovers a bit. As our own Leonid Bershidsky explains, markets are no longer just worried about oil prices, but also about the Russian Central Bank’s apparent decision to bail out a suffering oil company by printing money.

Luckily, our government would never do that.

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Law Schools Have Shed 986 Full-Time Faculty (11%) Since 2010.

BYRON YORK: How rusty is Jeb Bush?

Jeb Bush, who on Tuesday announced that he has “decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president,” last ran for political office in 2002. (The race was for a second term as governor of Florida, and Bush won.) If Bush runs in 2016, that will be a 14-year gap between his last run for office and his attempt to win the White House.

That’s a long time. In fact, Bush’s 14-year gap is bigger than any general-election presidential candidate in recent memory.

When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, he had run for the Republican nomination four years earlier and for governor of Massachusetts six years before that. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he had run for the Senate four years earlier. When John McCain ran against Obama in 2008, he had also run for Senate four years earlier. When John Kerry ran for president in 2004, he had run for Senate two years earlier. . . .

Campaigns need fresh candidates. Talk to political consultants and they’ll tell you that sitting out even one electoral cycle can not only make a candidate rusty but can also make him or her unfamiliar with the sometimes overwhelming ways in which campaigns change over the course of four years. Jeb Bush might be able to overcome those challenges. But it probably won’t be easy.

I’m not impressed with his candidacy.

ROLL CALL: Will Russ Feingold Be Haunted by Campaign Problems Past? “Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore told Roll Call’s Alexis Levinson last week she expects Feingold to wage a rematch against GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in 2016 and to clear the primary along the way. But in the wake of his loss in 2010, it became clear Feingold’s campaign suffered from some internal campaign strife, which factored into his failure to re-create the maverick magic of his previous victories.”

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER FENCE: Review: Secret Service needs outside leader, more agents.

The report makes a number of other recommendations, chiefly ensuring that the safety of the president and others remains the agency’s sole priority. It calls for the department to do more to hold officers accountable and improve training.

The report also lauds the value of the fence surrounding the White House as a way to deter “frivolous threats” and help delay would-be intruders.

The officials don’t provide specific recommendations for a new fence, but say that the fencing must be taller, free of horizontal bars that make climbing easier, and curved at the top to thwart potential climbers.

Good thing we had a panel of experts to determine that.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Second Amendment and people who had been committed to a mental institution 28 years ago. An episode of situational depression isn’t enough to overcome the right to arms, according to a new Sixth Circuit decision.

December 18, 2014

JUSTICE: Family of Toddler Injured by SWAT ‘Grenade’ Faces $1M in Medical Bills.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student claims he was expelled from W&L for consensual sex.

A day after Rolling Stone published an article describing a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, a former Washington and Lee student claims he was expelled for having consensual sex with another student who eight months later regretted the encounter and claimed rape.

The former W&L student has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the private Lexington university discriminated against him because he is a male, and because it wanted to avoid the negative public scrutiny that UVa was experiencing. Moreover, the student, identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, contends W&L’s Title IX officer advocates to female students that “regret equals rape.”

Yes, taking responsibility for one’s choices and actions is totally a male thing. Because equality!

IT WAS INEVITABLE: Kim Jong-un to Host 87th Annual Oscars.

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JIM TREACHER: Patton Oswalt: A Tale Of Two Tweets.

HMM: CIA’s No. 2 tapped to be deputy national security adviser. “Avril D. Haines will become deputy to national security adviser Susan E. Rice, returning to the White House just 18 months after she left to be CIA Director John Brennan’s second in command, administration officials said Thursday.”

THE DETROIT PROJECT: A DOCUMENTARY ON WHAT WENT WRONG, AND WHAT’S NEXT. Trailer for the first installment, already out, here.

OBVIOUSLY THE NEXT STEP IS TO LABEL EXCULPATORY VIDEOS “REVENGE PORN:” Woman falsely accuses man of rape, and man captures it on video.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Leftists Mourn Possible End Of Cuban Poverty.

Related: Shep Smith Fails The Ailes Test.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Professor Suspended For Blogging.


ROSS DOUTHAT: On The Liberal Marriage Hypothesis:

But when you look specifically at sex itself, at patterns of actual sexual activity and their link to marital happiness and longevity, direct evidence for a permissiveness premium is extremely hard to find. And for women, almost all the the data points sharply in the opposite direction. Notwithstanding the potential for regrets, women who only had sex with their future spouse are more likely to be in a high quality marriage than women who had a higher number of sexual partners. Divorce rates are higher for women with multiple premarital partners than women who had only one; they’re twice as high for women who have cohabitated serially than women who only cohabitated with their future husband. Independent of marriage, relationship stability is stronger when sex is initiated later, and monogamy and a restricted number of sex partners is strongly associated with female happiness and emotional well-being, period. And these results hold irrespective of education levels, as this piece by Brad Wilcox and Nicholas Wolfinger points out: There’s a stronger correlation between multiple premarital partners and marital instability among less-educated Americans, but well-educated Americans, too, show much stronger marital outcomes when they have fewer premarital partners. (And interestingly, the usual connection between education and stability disappears entirely for people who married their first partner: They’re equally unlikely to divorce no matter whether they attended college or not.)

Hmm. This certainly doesn’t fit the narrative. And it may not be true for everyone, but I wonder if this will be another case in which American policy and mores were overturned for the benefit of a relatively small portion of the electorate who had disproportionate voice and impact.

MORE OF THAT “MYTHICAL” VOTER FRAUD ENABLING: Democrat PA Legislators Indicted for Voter ID Bribes.

#WARONMEN: The U.S. Government Wants to Keep You From Wearing “Comfyballs” Boxers.

BRING BACK DDT: Mosquitoes That Breed Year-Round Infuriate Residents On Upper West Side.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Oldest U.S. black college on verge of financial collapse.

Related: Studying Abroad In Cuba Is About To Get Easier.

I’M NOT HAPPY WITH OUR SITUATION: Interview: Paul Bracken on American nuclear forces in the 21st century.

ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS: MORE MEN ARE TURNING TO PORN BECAUSE MARRIAGE IS LESS APPEALING. Shock study: Marriage rate declines with porn use, threatening economy, society.

You could explore that possibility in a book or something. Maybe talk to some actual men, even. Just a thought.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Sororities call U-Va. freeze on Greek system a violation of student rights. “Last week, U-Va. president Teresa A. Sullivan told The Post that the suspension of fraternity and sorority activities would remain in place until Jan. 9, as the university pursues a wide-ranging discussion on sexual assault and campus culture.” So the story’s a hoax, but the punishment remains because conversation. Sullivan’s response has been disgraceful.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: As The Bubble Bursts, Opportunities For Reform.

ASHE SCHOW: Marginalizing The Already Marginalized:

Sometimes, small percentages of the American people are worth fighting for. And sometimes they’re not, at least for the Left.

About 10 percent of the American people are uninsured and can’t get health insurance? Better disrupt the entire healthcare system to help them.

About 6 percent of U.S. residents are here illegally? Better disrupt the entire immigration system to make them legal.

Less than 1 percent of women are raped each year while in college? Better redefine consent to turn nearly all sex into rape unless nobody reports it.

But 10 percent of rape accusations are false? (One study suggests it’s as high as 40 percent.) That’s negligible and can be ignored. . . . Those falsely accused in college can be kicked off campus or even expelled without due process or evidence. That’s a substantial loss of tuition. The black mark on one’s record can prevent a man falsely accused from getting into other colleges or even finding employment after graduation.

If sexual assault survivors are people, not statistics, then the falsely accused are also people, not statistics. And, as such, they cannot be ignored for a greater narrative and policies that are poised to increase the number of falsely accused.

It’s all about politics. The “compassion” talk is just a smokescreen. And college men need to realize that the feminists, and their Democratic allies like Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, are entirely happy to sacrifice your lives for a slogan.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 588.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Ecuador Family Wins Favors After Donations to Democrats. “The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials.”

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama Goes Cowboy On Cuba:

With respect to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, the true cowboy diplomat may be the White House’s current occupant.

President Obama, as he has shown all year, isn’t about to go quietly into the lame-duck night, even with Republicans ready to take full power down the street. With the stunning announcement Wednesday that the United States is set to normalize relations with Cuba, the president is closing his self-termed “Year of Action” with a thunderclap.

In doing so, Obama is serving notice to new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a sitting president trumps a Congress divided both along party lines and within them. The shift comes about a month after the last time the president thrust his stick into the GOP’s eye, when Obama announced he was unilaterally providing widespread deportation relief to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

Flashback: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.” That Senator Obama seemed like a sensible fellow. I wish he were President now.

SO YOU’RE NOT LIKE AL SHARPTON, THEN. GOT IT. Joe Scarborough: ‘Jeb and I Are Moderate … We Don’t Set Houses on Fire and Scare Kids.’ Well, that’s what they said about McCain and Romney, too. How’d they do?

MICHAEL BARONE: Let’s learn from Canada’s ‘bootstrap’ immigration policy.

Our friends and neighbors in Canada are giving us good lessons on immigration policy, as you can see from journalist John Ibbitson’s article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, forwarded by Minnesota reader David Sturrock. In that article and in this Centre for International Governance Innovation paper, Ibbitson described how Canada’s Conservative government has virtually eliminated family-based immigration and has reduced refugee immigration from “safe” countries (including the United States). Canada has increased immigration places for high-skill immigrants who are fluent in English or French and are ready to prosper in Canada’s economy: “bootstrap” immigration.

Yes, I think that immigration should be based on what they can do for us, rather than what we can do for them.


I’d still like to see the House Of Repeal in action, though. And I’d like to see it be highly productive.

CHANGE: Roll Call: McSally Win Gives Republicans Another House Seat.

Republican Martha McSally has officially defeated Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., after a protracted recount in the Tucson-based 2nd District reaffirmed her lead.

MsSally won the seat by 167 votes, picking up six votes after the recount, according to elections officials.

Barber conceded shortly after the official tally was released.

“Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans,” Barber said in a statement. “This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted.”

Including McSally’s victory, House Republicans picked up a net of 13 seats in the midterms, giving the conference a historic majority.

Just for the record, this is Gabby Giffords’ old seat, now occupied by a pro-gun-rights Republican.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Wisconsin won’t admit it, but its new egalitarian policy leads to grading quotas.

In fall 2009, the College of Letters and Science pushed further with a study of grading practices in five introductory courses. Its title was revealing: “Grade Gap/Future Gap: Addressing Racial Disparities in L&S [Letters & Science] Introductory Courses.” Departments were instructed to implement strategic action plans to “eliminate racial grade gaps by 2014.”

This targeted five introductory courses: Chemistry 103, Communication Arts 100, English 100, Mathematics 112, and Psychology 202.

Putting an even sharper point on the administration’s desires, the report explained, “. . . these courses have something in common, sharp disparities in grade outcomes by race. In all courses targeted minority students achieve lower grades than non-targeted students at similar preparation levels. In each course, targeted minority students receive more of the low grades and fewer of the high grades.”

No, that doesn’t explicitly demand grade quotas, but the unsubtle point can’t be missed.

Furthermore, to ensure “steady annual improvements,” the dean would create incentives and an accountability system.

The people who teach those introductory courses, mostly teaching assistants and instructional academic staff, are quite vulnerable to administrative pressure because they are on limited-term contracts. They are apt to decide that giving each individual the grade he or she earned is less important than assigning grades so that there is little or no gap between groups.

Rather than adjusting grades, however, the university suggests that faculty members who teach those courses should “discover pedagogical strategies that reach targeted and non-targeted students with equal effectiveness” to reduce the achievement gap.

Resorting to faddish education-speak, the university suggests that the faculty use “proactive multicultural competence” to make their teaching more effective for the targeted students.

Efforts to eliminate the grade gap are being intensified under UW-Madison’s “Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence” plan. Its Recommendation 1.5 calls for a “reduction in the achievement gap.”

I’m sure this will build confidence in the entire enterprise.

ASHE SCHOW: Defining nearly all sex as rape. “California’s ‘yes means yes’ law turns the idea of sexual consent upside down. Suddenly, nearly all sex is rape, unless no person involved reports it as such.”

THE HILL: Can Obama Lift Cuba Embargo Alone? Why the hell not? He does everything else that way.

President Obama has significant powers at his disposal to make the U.S. trade and travel embargoes on Cuba meaningless, though action by Congress is required to formally lift the sanctions.

Six separate laws dictate the terms of sanctions on Cuba. They range from the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

It was President John F. Kennedy who prohibited U.S. exports to Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act shortly after Fidel Castro took control of the island nation.

Since then, Congress has moved periodically to toughen the sanctions with legislation, and a series of presidents have also taken executive steps to tighten or loosen the screws on Cuba.

Experts agree that Obama, who with actions on healthcare and immigration has signaled a willingness to test the lengths of executive power, has significant discretion when it comes to U.S. policy toward Cuba.

The six laws are written in a way to give the executive branch latitude in enforcing the law, and regulations are used to implement many of the sanctions.

It’s clear that a lot of our immigration and national security laws were written with certain assumptions about the Chief Executive in mind, assumptions that no longer hold.

December 17, 2014

L.A. WEEKLY: Killing The Interview Opens Studios to Terrorist Manipulation.

You know, we need to start persecuting communists again. Apparently, that’s what it takes to get Hollywood to stand up for free speech.


A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans,” which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly.

“I hate Republicans,” communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece. “I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”

She writes that although the fact that her “tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased,” historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad! . . .

Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the “determined vilification” of others, and have “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.”

(Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.)

You know, if I were a Republican — or even Republican-curious — student at the University of Michigan, I’d feel unwelcome there. If I were a Republican governor or legislator in Michigan, and I think they have some of those, I’d be finding ways to encourage Michigan to be more inclusive and diverse. Especially given that — perhaps because of incitement caused by faculty views such as those above — the University of Michigan has already seen mob violence against conservatives. Perhaps Michigan lawmakers need to add political discrimination to their state’s civil rights code — at least as relates to institutions of education — especially in light of Cass Sunstein’s recent argument that political hatred is a serious problem in our society.

UPDATE: Some thoughts from Spengler.

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BYRON YORK: Did Ted Cruz really bungle the lame-duck session for Republicans?

There are four problems with the anti-Cruz scenario. The first is that on Dec. 9, days before Cruz threw a wrench in the works, Reid signaled his intention to confirm all of Obama’s remaining nominees, no matter how long it took. . . . The bottom line is that President Obama and Democrats got the confirmations they wanted — just as they planned and intended, regardless of anything Ted Cruz did. As he made clear before it all began, Harry Reid was going to make full use of his last chance to confirm his party’s nominees. It would have made no sense for him to do otherwise.

Yes, but both Democrats and establishment GOP folks are happy to band together to attack Cruz. Which says something. . . .

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: Texas Theater Will Show Team America in The Interview’s Place. I hope this catches on generally.

AFTER NORTH KOREAN HACKS AND THREATS, Sony Pulls The Interview From Distribution. Once you pay the Danegeld, you will never be rid of the Dane. That said, something about this whole thing feels “off.”

UPDATE: “No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.”


The popular image of scientists is of a tiny, elite (and possibly deranged) minority of people engaged in esoteric pursuits. One of the three most common responses when I tell somebody I’m a physicist is, “You must be really smart. I could never do that.” (The other responses are, “I hated that when I took it in high school/college,” and, “Can you explain string theory to me?” This goes a long way toward explaining why physicists have a reputation as lousy conversationalists.)

While the idea that scientists are uniquely smart and capable is flattering to the vanity of nerds like me, it’s a compliment with an edge. There’s a distracting effect to being called “really smart” in this sense — it sets scientists off as people who think in a way that’s qualitatively different from “normal” people. We’re set off even from other highly educated academics — my faculty colleagues in arts, literature, and social science don’t hear that same “You must be really smart” despite the fact that they’ve generally spent at least as much time acquiring academic credentials as I have. The sort of scholarship they do is seen as just an extension of normal activities, whereas science is seen as alien and incomprehensible.

A bigger problem with this awkward compliment, though, is that it’s just not true. Scientists are not that smart — we don’t think in a wholly different manner than ordinary people do. What makes a professional scientist is not a supercharged brain with more processing power, but a collection of subtle differences in skills and inclinations. We’re slightly better at doing the sort of things that professional scientists do on a daily basis — I’m better with math than the average person — but more importantly, we enjoy those activities and so spend time honing those skills, making the differences appear even greater.

Also, nowadays being a scientist means having an enormous tolerance for tedium, not only in the pursuit of science, but in the pursuit of funding.

WALL STREET: A Black Hole For Our Best And Brightest. When your smartest people go into finance, it’s bad news.