June 1, 2015

CHANGE: Ebb Tide in the Golden Country: All is not as it was for Jews in America. “The golden age of the American Jews was just a moment in time.”

ROBBY SOAVE: “Feminism Devouring Itself:” We Literally Can’t Afford to Let the Title IX Inquisition Continue. “The prevailing interpretation of Title IX is a problem—not merely for freethinkers and contrarians, but for the basic operations of the university and for the bank accounts of today’s college students. Everyone can be accused of Title IX retaliation, and everyone can accuse everyone else of Title IX retaliation. The university will hire loads more bureaucrats to deal with the complaints, the lawyers will collect their checks, and tuition prices will continue to soar.”

ROGER SIMON: Keep Hillary-Slayer Carly Fiorina in this Thing.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO SEE AN ACTOR WHO ISN’T AN IDIOT: Vince Vaughn Thinks That Guns Should Be Allowed In School.

LIFE AFTER Mommy-Blogging. “The blogging world has gotten rather toxic and I just feel really drained. . . . The publishing schedule is just so extreme now. There’s an expectation that you’ll post at least once a day.”

FOR GERMANY, demography is doom. “Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: 4 Pieces of Conservative Advice For Young Conservative Men.

ED KRAYEWSKI: The Long War On Guns. “The ATF started as an Internal Revenue Service spinoff that supplemented its arrests of moonshiners with arrests of firearm handlers. In 1980, Lewis reported that the bureau was more interested in justifying its existence by producing offenses such as paperwork violations than in preventing guns from being used in violent crimes. Today the agency has evolved into offering services and resources to police departments in increasingly common joint local/state/federal law enforcement operations.”

Abolish it.

ADHD LINKED TO COMMON PESTICIDE: A new study published in the journal Environmental Health has identified an association between a common pesticide, pyrethroid, and ADHD in boys.

Boys with detectable urinary 3-PBA, a biomarker of exposure to pyrethroids, were three times as likely to have ADHD compared with those without detectable 3-PBA. Hyperactivity and impulsivity increased by 50 percent for every 10-fold increase in 3-PBA levels in boys. Biomarkers were not associated with increased odds of ADHD diagnosis or symptoms in girls.

Pyrethroids are an insecticide used in mosquito control, flea/tick pet treatments and bug bomb foggers.

POLITICS: Corruption Is Winning.

MORE ON THE NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY KIPNIS AFFAIR FROM ED MORRISSEY.

Also from Ashe Schow.

FLASHBACK: Infographic: Women Control The Money In America.

ABERCROMBIE LOSES RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION SUIT: The Supreme Court ruled today in favor of a Muslim young woman who was denied a job at an Abercrombie store because she wore a hijab, thus violating the store’s “look policy” for salespersons, which prohibited the wearing of any caps or other head coverings.  The policy violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Justice Scalia, writing for a 7-Justice majority (Justice Alito concurred separately in the judgment but didn’t join the majority), concluded:

Instead, the intentional discrimination provision prohibits certain motives, regardless of the state of the actor’s knowledge. Motive and knowledge are separate concepts. An employer who has actual knowledge of the need for an accommodation does not violate Title VII by refusing to hire an applicant if avoiding that accommodation is not his motive. Conversely, an employer who acts with the motive of avoiding accommodation may violate Title VII even if he has no more than an unsubstantiated suspicion that accommodation would be needed.

Thus, the rule for disparate-treatment claims based on a failure to accommodate a religious practice is straightforward: An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions. For example, suppose that an employer thinks (though he does not know for certain) that a job applicant may be an orthodox Jew who will observe the Sabbath, and thus be unable to work on Saturdays. If the applicant actually requires an accommodation of that religious practice, and the employer’s desire to avoid the prospective accommodation is a motivating factor in his decision, the employer violates Title VII.

Abercrombie urges this Court to adopt the Tenth Circuit’s rule “allocat[ing] the burden of raising a religious conflict.” This would require the employer to have actual knowledge of a conflict between an applicant’s religious practice and a work rule. The problem with this approach is the one that inheres in most incorrect interpretations of statutes: It asks us to add words to the law to produce what is thought to be a desirable result. That is Congress’s province. We construe Title VII’s silence as exactly that: silence. Its disparate treatment provision prohibits actions taken with the motive of avoiding the need for accommodating a religious practice.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter, concluding:

I would hold that Abercrombie’s conduct did not constitute “intentional discrimination.” Abercrombie refused to create an exception to its neutral Look Policy for Samantha Elauf ’s religious practice of wearing a headscarf.  In doing so, it did not treat religious practices less favorably than similar secular practices, but instead remained neutral with regard to religious practices. To be sure, the effects of Abercrombie’s neutral Look Policy, absent an accommodation, fall more harshly on those who wear headscarves as an aspect of their faith. But that is a classic case of an alleged disparate impact. It is not what we have previously understood to be a case of disparate treatment because Elauf received the same treatment from Abercrombie as any other applicant who appeared unable to comply with the company’s Look Policy. Because I cannot classify Abercrombie’s conduct as “intentional discrimination,” I would affirm.

I think Justice Thomas has the better argument here, as Abercrombie’s policy did not appear to be motivated by intentional discrimination against Muslims or any other religion.  Such neutral policies should be presumptively not discriminatory absent strong evidence to the contrary.  But the Court has been very protective of religious exercise in recent cases (both constitutional and statutory), and this decision’s rationale can be extended to provide more robust protection for all religions, not just Muslims. Employers, however, will likely be more constrained in their ability to impose dress restrictions (hair; facial hair; clothing) that disproportionately impact certain religions, as it will be argued that their dress policy “motivates” an adverse employment action, because they don’t want to “accommodate” a person who doesn’t satisfy their policy.

STACY MCCAIN ON THE TUMBLR FEMINISTS:

The thing about Tumblr feminists — as with all feminists, really — is their bedrock conviction that men know nothing. All men are bad and wrong and stupid, the feminist believes, and the only things men ever do is (a) enjoy male privilege and (b) oppress women.

Fortunately, the suffering victims of oppression have Tumblr, where they can advertise to the world how pathetic they are, and how racist/heteronormative their mom is, etc., etc.

When I call attention to these pathetic creatures, I’m sometimes accused of an intent to “bully” or “harass” them. Because this is the definition of “harassment” in 2015: Quoting what people publish on their blogs.

All I did was search Tumblr for “heteronormativity,” see?

Strange people you can find, if you know how to find them.

Would I like to help these crazy people? Sure, but feminism by its nature means that nothing I say is valid, all my ideas are wrong, and no advice I might offer would be helpful. The young feminist must only ever listen to what her fellow feminists tell her, because everybody else is evil in this world full of heteronormativity, misogyny and, of course, racism.

They have been catechized, as it were, into this belief system.

Well, people are vulnerable when they have no other.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Advice to take the bite out of bug season.

K.C. JOHNSON: Blue State Justice Rarer Than Red. “In a polarized country, it probably should come as little surprise that campus due process also is becoming polarized over alleged sexual violations. While the Office for Civil Rights seeks to eviscerate the rights of accused students nationwide, accused students increasingly have more rights in red states than in blue states—largely because blue state governments are eagerly taking those rights away.”

A GOOD SIGN FOR THE HOUSE LAWSUIT:  Judge digs deeper into House GOP’s lawsuit against Obama. The appropriations count of the complaint is very strong. If the House cannot protect itself against executive encroachments on its power of the purse, no one can, and this aspect of separation of powers is rendered merely precatory. The good news is that Judge Rosemary Collyer (a smart cookie) seems to understand what is at stake in this lawsuit.

MEGADOWNLOADS: The Insta-Wife’s documentary, Six, has gotten over one million views on YouTube.

AT AMAZON, deals galore in Training & Fitness.

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

Plus, Generators and Portable Power for Storm Season. Just remember, when winter storms are over, spring and summer storms are on the way.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, ON THE KIPNIS AFFAIR: Today’s Feminists Are Too Fragile To Read.

USELESS PIECE OF . . . . : French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says a nuclear deal with Iran will be “useless” unless fully verifiable, including allowing access to Iranian military sites, which Iran has stated it will not allow.

THE SCIENCE ISN’T SETTLED. IT ISN’T EVEN SCIENCE: Sting Operation Shows How Full Of Crap Health Journals Are When It Comes To Dietary Studies.

FASTER, PLEASE: Hacking The Human OS. “Medicine has always sought to understand the human body’s operating system. Now, with biometric sensors and big data analytics, we’re learning how to fix the bugs.”

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The U.S. Air Force Wants Laser-Firing Jets By 2022.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, ON THE KIPNIS AFFAIR: Today’s Feminists Are Too Fragile To Read.

MAURICE STUCKE AND ALLEN GRUNES: Debunking the Myths Over Big Data and Antitrust.

IN THE MAIL: From Bertram Chandler, Gateway to Never (John Grimes).

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 50% Off Select Logitech iPad Accessories.

And, also today only: “Smallville: The Complete Series,” $94.49 (67% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 753.

WHEN UNIONS FIGHT FOR A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE, THEN WANT EXEMPTIONS:

Los Angeles recently decided to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour across the board, including even tipped workers like waitstaff. A lot of businesses opposed the new rule on the grounds that it would make their operations unaffordable. Now a new group is joining them in saying the law’s not right for their operation: union leaders.

You read that right. Union leaders are saying that the $15 minimum wage is a bad idea. Not for everyone, of course; for most businesses and workers, they think it’s splendid. But for union operations, they need an exemption. Rusty Hicks, the head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said businesses that have collective bargaining agreements with employees should be able to negotiate a wage below the “minimum.”

This has been greeted with jeers from both left and right, though Matt Yglesias does mount a defense.

You can count on Matt for that sort of thing. But my take’s more like this one:

If workers have to have $15 an hour to live in LA, and that’s a level the economy can support with minimum job loss, then the $15-an-hour wage should apply to everyone. If in fact this wage level is too costly, then LA should lower it for everyone. Lowering it only for favored political groups is a terrible idea, and the unions have earned every bit of the catcalling they got for suggesting it.

Yep.

JERRY BROWN AND EDUCATION: The governor who didn’t bark. Schools are raiding money earmarked for poor students, and siphoning it off into teacher raises. And Jerry isn’t saying anything.

GOING AFTER BADTHINK: Justice Department Studying ‘Far-Right’ Social Media Use.

A CANCER IS SPREADING: ISIS claims responsibility for suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia. ISIS’s targeting of Saudi Arabia means awful things for the U.S.:

What these attacks say is that Riyadh doesn’t have the comforting control over its land that Americans like to believe it does. And if the royal family doesn’t have its territory as buttoned down as Washington assumed, what other weaknesses has it been masking? What other vulnerabilities now are on view? . . .

The real reason is that it casts into doubt all of the mythology America has created around its favorite autocratic kingdom. The royal family operates a government that is truly authoritarian. It abuses the rights of its citizens. It discriminates against women. It does frightfully little to protect its minority communities. Beheadings. Disappearances. But, damn, it sure is quiet over there. And man, that’s gotta mean those guys are as tough as we need them to be, that they are the mighty Sunni power that’s going to help us do one thing in particular—keep Iran in check.

It’s about to get very noisy. And Iran won’t be kept in check; it is emboldened.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Former Assistant Dean, Tenured Law Prof Sue Cleveland-Marshall Dean, Claim Retaliation For Formation Of Faculty Union.

AT AMAZON, fresh deals on bestselling products, updated every hour.

Also, coupons galore in Grocery & Gourmet Food.

Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.

And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN, ON THE KIPNIS AFFAIR: Today’s Feminists Are Too Fragile To Read.

THE WORLD SMELLS WEAKNESS: A confluence of events this week emphasizes that the world–especially its worst characters–smells the pungent aroma of American weakness thanks to President Obama’s purposeful, “leading from behind” philosophy of non-leadership:

Iran is brazenly trying a Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian for espionage, ignoring State Department entreaties to release him. It also has ongoing ties to North Korea, which is providing nuclear weaponry expertise, even as Iran claims to be negotiating the the Obama Administration to halt development of its nuclear weapon program.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is forced to pitch his country’s concerns about the Iran nuclear deal directly to Congress, and our President won’t even meet with him.

President Obama will meet with Arab Gulf leaders, however, in an attempt to pitch them on his Iranian deal. But the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain snub the President and don’t attend. Saudi Arabia sends its own troops in to fight ISIS in Syria.

China is building up strategically located islands in the South China Sea–including construction of a military airstrip–destabilizing the area and warning the U.S. not to fly or sail near them.  After Secretary of Defense Ash Carter responded tepidly, a Chinese Colonel said Mr. Carter “wasn’t as tough as I expected.”

To counter Putin’s overt aggression in Crimea, Lithuania and Poland tell Congress they want U.S. military bases to protect them.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter admitted that the US-trained Iraqi military forces have “no will to fight” ISIL–the official excuse for why Ramadi and other major cities in the region are falling.  But then again, the Administration doesn’t exhibit a will to fight ISIL either.

The Obama Administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS-supporting Syrian rebels have been disasters.

The question is: What will 18 more months of an Obama Administration mean for U.S. national security?

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Reverse swing: Blatter and Beijing: Let us give thanks to the United States, and take comfort from the fact that it is the world’s judicial superpower. “It is customary to talk of American strength in military terms, and while that strength is on the wane — distressingly so, for those of us who want to keep China on a leash — it is still a match for the challenges and torments that beset the globe. But there is an aspect of American ‘policing’ that is frequently overlooked: its positive resort to the law, and to legal muscle.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, here’s the video of my Stossel appearance talking about higher education.

ASHE SCHOW: Former NY lieutenant governor blasts campus sexual assault policies.

Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York under Gov. George Pataki, has taken current Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task for his “toughest in the nation” proposal for campus sexual assault policies.

“It would make campuses in New York a hostile environment for young men,” McCaughey wrote in the New York Post. “One misstep and they could find themselves accused of ‘sexual assault,’ denied a fair hearing, expelled and unemployable.”

She also said Cuomo’s proposal, which introduces “affirmative consent” to private colleges, “criminalizes normal sexual interactions.” Affirmative consent requires a “conscious and voluntary agreement” that is “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” This means a person must ask for consent at every step of the sexual encounter, from the first kiss through the end. And revoking consent at any time has come to mean even after the encounter has ended. . . .

“Affirmative consent is dangerous enough, but Cuomo would also deny accused students due process,” McCaughey wrote. “What goes on in a dark dorm room is usually one student’s word against another’s.”

She also described the bill’s use of the word “victim” or “survivor” as a “bias that the accuser is always right.”

McCaughey says the real problem on college campuses is alcohol abuse, which should be the focus of any college policy – not “stripping college men of their legal rights and criminalizing dorm-room hook-ups.”

She’s right, of course.

IT’S ALWAYS FUN TO MAKE TWITCHY, but this time was especially fun.

ERIK WEMPLE: Hillary Clinton’s team takes another hit on media briefings.

Media organizations are at the wrong end of a power dynamic vis-a-vis the Clinton campaign: They number in the hundreds — thousands, perhaps — and they’re all vying for whatever meal scraps they can scrounge up. There aren’t too many levers that reporters can pull to change that imbalance. Publicly chiding the campaign’s briefings is one of them, however.

Just start covering her like you’d cover a Republican.

RICO: A NEW FRONT ON THE WAR ON FREE SPEECH:  As preposterous as it sounds, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has an oped in the Washington Post arguing that the federal racketeering law, RICO, should be used to prosecute those who deny global warming climate change:

Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.

Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise. . . .

The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking.

In the case of fossil fuels, just as with tobacco, the industry joined together in a common enterprise and coordinated strategy. In 1998, the Clinton administration was building support for international climate action under the Kyoto Protocol. The fossil fuel industry, its trade associations and the conservative policy institutes that often do the industry’s dirty work met at the Washington office of the American Petroleum Institute. A memo from that meeting that was leaked to the New York Times documented their plans for a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to undermine climate science and to raise “questions among those (e.g. Congress) who chart the future U.S. course on global climate change.” . . .

To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.

Senator Whitehouse seems to be utterly ignorant of the fact that the “science” supporting global warming climate change is far from settled, unlike the situation of the tobacco litigation, which involved, in the judge’s words, evidence that the tobacco industry “suppressed research, [] destroyed documents, [] manipulated the use of nicotine so as to increase and perpetuate addiction, [and] distorted the truth about low-tar and light cigarettes so as to discourage smokers from quitting.”

First, this man should be voted out of office as soon as human possible.  His ignorance is dangerous. Second, the state bar should require him to undergo at least 100 hours of mandatory continuing legal education on the subject of constitutional law, with emphasis on the First Amendment. Newsflash: joining together to discuss common interests and even–gasp!–funding research, white papers and lobbying efforts to advance one’s perspectives on an issue isn’t illegal; its free speech.

THIS SHOULD HELP BOOST GOP TURNOUT IN 2016: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Intends To Push Gun Control As A Health Issue.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: When District Attorneys Attack: The GOP should turn its attention to prosecutorial misconduct. “This is not a one-off. Prosecutorial misconduct is a plague upon these United States, from the vodka-pickled Democratic political jihadists in Austin to California, where judges complain of an ‘epidemic’ of prosecutorial misconduct abetted by Democratic attorney general Kamala Harris, who is seeking to replace retiring Barbara Boxer in the Senate.”

JUSTICE: Investigators Raid Home of Chris Collins’ Chief of Staff.

You know, I don’t know anything about this case, and corruption in New York State is easy enough to believe. But I’m sufficiently cynical the justice system these days that I wouldn’t be shocked to see a lot of prosecutions of Republicans between now and 2016, prosecutions that would have the effect of undercutting GOP attacks on the rampant corruption of the Obama era.

DAILY BEAST: Obama’s New War Plan: Nothing. “The self-proclaimed Islamic State has claimed a major provincial capital in Iraq and taken over another strategically key city in Syria. In response, the Obama administration plans to do—well, not much of anything new. Four defense officials told The Daily Beast that there’s still strong resistance within the Obama administration to making any serious changes to the current strategy for fighting ISIS—despite mounting skepticism from some in the Pentagon about the current U.S. approach to the war.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How Denny Hastert and Harry Reid Got Rich While Serving In Congress. “All of this self-dealing is a major reason that Americans hold Congress in such low esteem today. It helps explain why GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is bringing audiences to their feet when she cites a recent Rasmussen Reports poll: It’s sad, she says that ’82 percent of the American people now believe that we have a professional political class that is more focused on preserving its power and privilege than it is on doing the people’s work.’”

TOM BLUMER: The Economy Has No Clothes: So they further define down the “new normal.”

On Friday, the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the nation’s economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.7 percent during this year’s first quarter, a sharp drop from the barely positive 0.2 percent it estimated a month ago.

Ignoring for now the current absurd allegations that Friday’s reported decline overstates how bad things are because the BEA must not be properly performing its seasonal adjustment calculations — a matter I will address in my next column — I’m more than a little surprised that the contraction wasn’t worse.

Many key components of what the nation’s gross domestic product truly is — “the (real) value of the production of goods and services in the United States” — turned in seasonally adjusted first-quarter results far below those seen last summer and fall. In certain key instances, the first quarter of 2015 actually came in below the far more winter-ravaged first quarter of 2014, effectively reversing all of the growth occurring during the quarters in between. . . .

Many economists and analysts have revised their original estimates of second-quarter growth dramatically downward. As of May 26, the Atlanta Branch of the Federal Reserve, whose GDP model based on the data available in late April almost exactly nailed the government’s original positive 0.2 percent first-quarter growth estimate, projected that the second quarter will come in at an annualized 0.8 percent. As of Friday, even the incorrigible Keynesians at Moody’s were predicting only 1.5 percent.

You might expect that policymakers and pundits would be looking into why the economy continues to crawl along at subpar speed and occasionally contract, which has now happened three times since the recession’s official end. Dream on. In addition to the whining about seasonal adjustments noted earlier, they’re also declaring that the U.S. economy simply can’t grow any faster, no matter who’s in charge and no matter what their public policy prescriptions are.

Yeah, I don’t believe that.

A SMALL DONATION TO THE CLINTON FOUNDATION MIGHT HELP: On the trail of Hillary Clinton, not everyone is allowed to jump into the press pool.

PROBABLY BECAUSE IT’S WORSE THAN THEY’RE BEING TOLD: Why don’t Americans feel better about the economy?

May 31, 2015

HMM: Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in older men with hypogonadism may be safe and even improve cardiovascular risk. “It seems to be safe with the meta-analyses and the recent data from a cardiac and prostate cancer perspective. However, we still have to do more due diligence to say that it’s absolutely safe.” Well, absolutely safe is setting the bar pretty high.

AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Men’s Denim Store.

Plus, deals on Hunting & Tactical Knives.

And please remember: InstaPundit is an Amazon affiliate. When you do your shopping through the Amazon links on this page, including the “Shop Amazon” tab at the top or the searchbox in the right sidebar, you support this blog at no cost to yourself. Just click on the Amazon link, then shop as usual. I very much appreciate it when you do.

ROSS DOUTHAT: The Prospects for Polygamy. “I feel safe predicting that polygamy will not be legally recognized, with fanfare and trumpets, in 2025. But it might be recognized in 2040, with a shrug.”

HIS HAIR IS, BUT NOT HIS ARTICLE:  Bernie Sanders tries to explain his bizarre fictional sex story, “Man and Woman,” as “Something like Fifty Shades of Grey.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What’s that tiny hole in airplane windows? Good to know–was always curious about that thing.

CRIME WAVE: The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing. The main victims of growing violence will be the inner-city poor.

The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.

A 20-year decline in violent crime reversed in six months. Fundamentally transformed.

THAT’S NOT NICE: Cat Lick Blamed For Woman’s Blindness.

ACTUALLY, IT STUNK PRETTY BADLY FROM THE GET-GO:  The New York Post editorial today, “As Five Taliban Officials Walk Free, Bergdahl Deal Stink Grows.

[R]etired Gen. Stanley McChrystal revealed last week for the first time that he’d been informed almost immediately after Bergdahl’s 2009 capture that the soldier “walked off [his base] intentionally.”

Yet years later, in the runup to Obama’s trade, National Security Adviser Susan Rice claimed Berghdal had been “captured on the battlefield” after serving “with honor and distinction.” The State Department dismissed claims he’d deserted as “rumors.”

Under the terms of the deal, the five were shipped to Qatar, where they were banned from travel and subjected to monitoring. That arrangement expires today. . . .

The danger can’t be overemphasized: These were all senior commanders — one a deputy defense minister, another head of intelligence. At least one has been in touch with the Taliban and two others have met with the al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network in the past year.

Now these five terrorists, let go to bring an accused deserter home, may be free to once again target American soldiers. Some bargain, Mr. President.

Treasonous, frankly.  And as I’ve written about before, illegal.

BUT THE PROCESS IS THE PUNISHMENT: Laura Kipnis Is Cleared of Wrongdoing in Title IX Complaints. And that process-as-punishment makes this angle particularly self-serving:

In a post on the philosophy blog Daily Nous, Justin Weinberg, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina, took issue with Ms. Kipnis’s portrayal of the Title IX cases as overreach. “It turns out that the process she had been demonizing — which of course may have its flaws — pretty much worked, from her point of view,” Mr. Weinberg wrote.

Should Mr. Weinberg find himself the subject of such a complaint, he may take a less rosy view.

I’LL TAKE “SHAKEDOWN MONEY” FOR $100, ALEX:  National Review has an intriguing report on the shady activities of a non-profit headed by Al Sharpton’s daughter, Dominque Sharpton, called Education for a Better America.

Even as Ms. Sharpton runs an organization focused largely on college preparedness and college education, it’s not clear that she herself is a college graduate. National Review confirmed that she has completed three semesters at Temple University but could find no indication that she obtained a degree. . . .

According to non-public tax records released by EBA to National Review, the bulk of the nonprofit’s $195,500 in 2014 revenue derived from corporate donors, many of which have also made hefty contributions to National Action Network.

It sounds like a boondoggle to me. The EBA’s website suggests it participates in a bunch of semi-useless career planning workshops and events that are co-sponsored with her father’s organization, National Action Network– you know, the one that gets “contributions” from big companies desirous of avoiding Sharpton’s ire.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IF IT’S DRIVING SYPHILIS RATES UP, MAYBE THAT’S JUST AS WELL: Technology Is Making Us Socially Awkward.

ELON MUSK’S BUSINESS STRATEGY: Take full advantage of government subsidies. Green tech is always subsidy-dependent, because it’s just not very good.

TITLES OF NOBILITY ARE ILLEGAL: Windsor Mann: Stop grovelling to civil servants.

Government employees are suffering from low self-esteem and high self-regard. That was the unintended message of Public Service Recognition Week (May 3-9), which lasted six days longer than Memorial Day. This year’s theme, “Government Works,” was both true (the federal government employs more than two million civilians) and truly risible. It is one thing to have a job, quite another to get the job done.

It should come as no surprise that most of the people who celebrated Public Service Recognition Week were public “servants.” The most recognizable of them, President Obama, hailed government employees as “exceptional leaders” who operate in “a political climate that too often does not sufficiently value their work.” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) praised “the heroic work” of federal employees, many of whom reside in his district, and encouraged members of the public to thank bureaucrats via email (ThankAFed@mail.house.gov).

I would like to thin their herd substantially, which might render the remaining government employees more admirable.

POINTS AND FIGURES: The Third Wave. “Steve Case saw the first two waves of the internet. Now he is predicting a third. But, it’s not going to happen overnight. . . . The third wave will be more disruptive to our daily lives than the first two. Just imagine what driverless cars could do to an urban environment. Imagine all the current jobs that will go away. Now, try to imagine what kinds of jobs will be created in that kind of environment.”

UNDER THE RADAR: Ted Cruz Gets Fmr NH Speaker Bill O’Brien Behind Him. “Oddly enough when I googled his news there was not much reporting on it, a Union Leader Story, a NH public Radio story and WMUR but I think this is a pretty big deal, particularly combined with Senator Bob Smith as co chair and a large field.”

ED DRISCOLL: Thurston, We Have a Problem: John ‘Crash’ Kerry Breaks Leg Biking.

SENATE HAS VOTES TO EXTEND NSA “METADATA” COLLECTION:  The Senate is back in session today, trying to reach compromise on the controversial provision of the Patriot Act–section 215, which has been used to collect cell phone “metadata” (phone numbers called; time/duration of calls). This provision of the Patriot Act will expire automatically at midnight (June 1) if the Senate fails to do something.

Senator Rand Paul is still withholding consent to move forward on the measure, and this may mean the provision will expire, at least temporarily, though there is a majority of Senators who now appear willing to approve the House version of the reauthorization, which would allow such metadata to be collected and stored by private phone companies rather than the NSA.

UPDATE:  More on Paul’s procedural maneuvering here.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Syphilis Soars 79% in RI Thanks to … Social Media.

SCIENCE: Treating Depression Early May Protect the Heart.

BECAUSE THEY’RE SO SPECIAL: California lawmakers have a special staff of two employees whose job is to drive drunk state senators home. The special drivers are paid over $2,500 per month, at taxpayers’ expense.  Can’t they just call a cab like everyone else?

MOVE US EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM?: Jeb Bush told reporters on Saturday that the U.S. should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as he agrees that it is the capital of Israel.  The issue is controversial because, although there is a federal law that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the past three presidents, including Obama, have waived the law under their constitutional authority to receive foreign governments under Article II, section 3.  The disagreement between the legislative and executive branches on the status of Jerusalem has caused the issue to reach the Supreme Court, which is presently considering the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, involving a plaintiff’s desire to have his U.S. passport list his place of birth as “Jerusalem, Israel.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Bunk But I Don’t Care.

AT AMAZON, Father’s Day Gifts in Kitchen & Dining. Or just buy something nice for yourself.

Also, Deals On Tools.

THAT’S SOME DIET COKE: A muslim chaplain wearing a hijab was allegedly denied an unopened can of Diet Coke on a United flight from Chicago to Washington. The reason? ”We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane,” she recalled the flight attendant telling her. A United spokesperson says the incident was a misunderstanding. The flight attendant and the pilot later apologized to her.

My opinion? She is making a mountain out of a molehill.  She sounds like a rabble-rouser looking like her 15 minutes of fame.

IT’S COME TO THIS: The French Government Wants To Tone My Vagina. “But you know what? Despite the occasional embarrassment, these sessions actually work.”

WELL, THEY WERE SOCIALISTS: Former Nazis received $20.2 million in Social Security benefits. 

A report from the Social Security Administration’s inspector general revealed that more than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards and others who may have participated in the Third Reich’s atrocities collected $20.2 million in retirement benefits. . . .

The watchdog report comes seven months after The Associated Press revealed benefits were paid to former Nazis after they were forced out of the U.S. The AP found that the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. in exchange for Social Security benefits. IF they agreed to go voluntarily or fled the country before their deportation, they could keep their benefits.

Congress passed legislation to close the loophole and bar Nazi suspects from receiving benefits. President Obama signed the measure into law last year.

But hey, as Socialists, the Nazis appreciated all this cradle-to-grave government support.  They only got cut off because of the political pressure put on Congress.  Now, if only they could somehow make statutory entitlements a constitutional right.  Oh, wait. . .

YEAH, THAT’S WHY I HAD MINE ENCRYPTED: The Vagus Nerve: A Back Door for Brain Hacking.

SO, “FAKE BUT ACCURATE” SCIENCE, THEN? Study Using Gay Canvassers Erred in Methods, Not Results, Author Says.

More here. “But the allegations about the study go far beyond these admitted misrepresentations — rather, there is doubt about whether the survey was even conducted as LaCour described.”

THE NEW DEMOCRATS: MATTRESS GIRL AND PAJAMA BOY: Peter Alberice at Breitbart has an oped lamenting the loss of the old Democrats, concluding:

Under Obama, divisiveness and the politics of envy overrode the unity and a sense of purpose under JFK that the party once stood for. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” has been replaced by “You didn’t build that.”

“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” has become “leading from behind.”

The Democratic Party will continue to champion divisiveness through single-issue political infighting, a failed progressive economic agenda, and an almost nonexistent foreign policy. The party that once stood with our allies abroad and supported robust economic growth has been replaced by whiny radical feminism and an overwrought sense of entitlement.

Mattress Girl and Pajama Boy are the new Democratic Party; Truman and Kennedy would be embarrassed.

Indeed.

AT AMAZON, deals on Business, Industrial & Scientific Supplies.

WELL THEN, WE’VE GOT THAT GOING FOR US ANYWAY: Windows 10 build 10130 rolled out with slightly less ugly icons.

MORE EXECUTIVE LAWMAKING: According to The Hill, the Obama Administration is readying more than a dozen new gun laws regulations, ranging from restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements. “Congressional efforts to expand background checks and keep guns away from dangerous people have failed in recent years, but the legislative defeats won’t stop the Justice Department from regulating.”

No, no it won’t. Nothing stops this President from getting his way, least of all a legislative branch or a Constitution that assigns to it “all legislative powers.

I GUESS A FART JOKE WOULD BE TOO OBVIOUS: Google and Levis Are Teaming Up to Turn Your Jeans into a Trackpad.

9th CIRCUIT INVALIDATES IDAHO’S 20-WEEK ABORTION BAN:  The court determined, in McCormack v. Herzog, that banning abortions at 20 weeks violates the viability line drawn by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Ninth Circuit panel concluded:

The Supreme Court reaffirmed in Casey that an undue burden exists if the purpose or effect of a provision of law places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus obtains viability. Casey, 505 U.S. at 846. In Planned Parenthood of Cent. Mo. v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 64 (1976), the Court further explained that “it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability, which essentially is a medical concept, at a specific point in the gestation period.” Because § 18-505 places an arbitrary time limit on when women can obtain abortions, the statute is unconstitutional.

As I noted in an earlier post, the Ninth Circuit similarly ruled Arizona’s 20-week abortion law unconstitutional in Horne v. Isaacson, so this decision isn’t all that surprising.  What is interesting, however, is that the House of Representatives recently passed a similar 20-week ban, which has its own unique constitutional problems, since it is questionable whether Congress has the power, through the Commerce Clause, to regulate abortions.

To avoid the Casey viability issue, States should simply ban abortions after 24 weeks instead. Congress should stay out of it.

IN THE MAIL: From Rip Pauley, The Divided.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Save 30% or more on select Graco playards, highchairs and swings.

And, also today only: 40% Off Sport-Brella Sun Shelters.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 752.

DECLINE: Black Workers Can No Longer Rely on Blue Jobs.

Public sector jobs are in decline, and one community has been hit particularly hard: African Americans. Historically, the black middle class has relied on the government for good jobs. One in five African Americans are employed by the government, making them more dependent on public sector employment than whites and Hispanics. But those jobs are disappearing. . . .

The loss of these jobs has and will hit the African American community hard, putting it in an even more economically precarious position in the coming years. But there’s no reversing the economic and technological trends of the last half-century that have eroded the blue model and employment it generated. These jobs are gone and it’s futile to lament the end of the glory days of peak blue—or strive to bring them back.

Instead, those concerned for the welfare of the black middle class should be putting more energy into considering what the high-wage middle class jobs of the future will be.

Better to keep them dependent and voting Democrat.

NOT ME:  Who voted to bring 33 million immigrants from Mexico?

Americans pride ourselves on being people who have a government. But these days, it more often seems as if we’ve got a government that has people.

And that government is even selecting who its people will be, having–within a generation–essentially imported a state’s worth of new people through immigration.

Since 1970, the number of “Hispanics of Mexican origin” in the U.S. has jumped from fewer than 1 million to more than 33 million. If all these Mexicans were a state, it would be the second largest in population in the country, trailing only California.

Did you vote to approve that immigration policy? Did anyone? In fact, the federal government allowed it to happen without any voter input. That’s by design.

It’s no accident. And Americans overwhelmingly believe (77%)  illegal immigration is a serious issue, and 63% still agree that the U.S. military should be used along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.  And while 60% think illegal immigrants should not be allowed to vote if they can prove they live in this country and pay taxes, a shocking 53% of Democrats disagree, and think tax-paying illegal immigrants should have the right to vote.  Yep, you read that right: a majority of Democrats think illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote.  So much for the rule of law. But then again, it’s not about law; it’s about growing the ranks of voting Democrats.

A BIGGER BATTERY? What Would It Take to Double a Cell Phone’s Battery Life?

AT AMAZON, fresh deals on bestselling products, updated every hour.

Also, coupons galore in Grocery & Gourmet Food.

Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.

And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!

SMELLS LIKE POLITICS: Alan Dershowitz says Hastert indictment “smells.”  The federal structuring statutes that Hastert is accused of violating are aimed at sniffing out drug money, tax evasion and other illegal activities. But paying “hush money,” as Hastert was allegedly doing, isn’t illegal.