November 27, 2015

SKYNET SMILES: Robots Learning To Disobey Humans.


It is an ominous feature of our American times that the three branches of government that operate out of Washington — the Supreme Court, Congress and the presidency — have all three shown critical weakness or incompetence recently and have historically low approval ratings. The aspirants to the Oval Office in 2016 don’t offer much chance of renewal. Late in life, the great Amb. George Kennan declared that America needed a “council of elders” to contain the excesses of democracy. The governors, perhaps meeting in a selective and representative regional council, like a board of trustees at a university or a board of directors of a corporation, might offer America saving grace at a time of dangerous crossing.

Hmm. Our big problem today isn’t the “excesses of democracy,” but rather the excesses of a corrupt and incompetent political class. Can a “council of elders” save us from that?

HEH: Google deems Bernie Sanders’ economic plan a ‘phishing scam.’

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders’ economic plan triggered Gmail’s “phishing scam” antenna, with the mail system saying the senator’s liberal campaign promises — including lower prescription drug prices and free college for all — sound like frauds.

“Be careful with this message. It contains content that’s typically used to steal personal information,” Gmail said in a bright red warning box that appeared at the top of a message sent by Mr. Sanders’ campaign Friday, laying out his “Agenda for Working Families.”

“This message could be a scam,” Gmail says in its page explaining why it flagged the message as a “phishing scam.” Phishing is a specific type of spam email that scammers use to try to entice users to disclose bank accounts or other sensitive information. . . .

Ira Winkler, president of Secure Mentem and a cybersecurity specialist, said the campaign likely triggered Gmail’s filters because it included phrases that spammers use to try to sell prescription drugs and by offering things free of charge — in this case, the promise to pay for education at public colleges and universities.

Those bots may be onto something. People who promise you lots of free stuff are usually running some kind of scam.


GOOD: Breaking: Supreme Court Blocks Racially Discriminatory Hawaii Election.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Female teacher jailed for 10 years for sexually violating boy. “The starting point for Reriti’s punishment should be 14-15 years in jail, the prosecutor said. He suggested Reriti’s gender shouldn’t mean she should escape the sort of punishment a male teacher found guilty of child sex offences would face.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 932.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ivy League Presidents Try Appeasement.

With their campuses rocked by social justice protests, anxious Ivy League presidents are trying to appease campus radicals with huge payouts to left-wing identity programs. Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, apologized to protesters (“we failed you”) and wrote a campus-wide letter promising to create a new “university center” for the study of “race ethnicity, and other aspects of social identity.” He also pledged to double the budget for the African American, Native American, Asian American, and Hispanic cultural centers, and to devote new resources to “educating our community about race, ethnicity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Not to be outdone, Brown University President Christina Paxson has answered protests by unveiling a $100 million program for creating “a just and inclusive campus community.” Among the budget items: “expand mentoring resources for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and first generation college students”; create “workshops” to “foster greater awareness and sensitivity on issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression”; and “promote university-wide research and academic programming on Power, Privilege, Identity and Structural Racism.”

There is no doubt that there is still racism, sexism, and homophobia on college campuses, just as there is everywhere else in our society. But the idea that it can be stamped out with still more diversity training, still more cultural centers, and still more identity studies programs is a fantasy. American college campuses are already saturated with these programs (which, it goes without saying, inflate the budgets of colleges whose degree programs are already too expensive). If bigotry is still as widespread at Brown and Yale as the protesters claim, then perhaps the universities ought to try a different approach. After all, the available evidence suggests that diversity education programs are counterproductive, and segregated academic and residential programs may well exacerbate racial isolation and misunderstanding.

If a cabal of Evil Conservatives set out to destroy academia from within, what, exactly, would it be doing differently?


Current student anger eerily fits the pattern of most left-wing unrest, from the cycles of the French Revolution to the campus riots of the 1960s.

First, protests gradually grow more extreme. Venom is directed at fellow leftists who are deemed insufficiently radical.

In revolutionary France, wild-eyed Jacobins soon guillotined reformist Girondins, who were considered passé. During the Russian Revolution, extremist Bolsheviks marginalized liberal Mensheviks. In the 1960s, many members of the SDS and Black Panthers hated liberals who disapproved of their violence.

A group called the Black Justice League wants the name of liberal but bigoted President Woodrow Wilson removed from Princeton University. Liberals are aghast that the century-old memory of their progressive hero might vanish from the Princeton campus.

Don’t these wild-eyed “snowflake fascists” know that the memory hole is a weapon to be used only against Republicans?  And as VDH asks, will FDR be tossed down it next?

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. IF WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT FREE SPEECH, WE SHOULD SAY ‘JE SUIS DIEUDONNÉ.’ He’s a putz, but he should be refuted, not jailed.

AT AMAZON, Black Friday Deals Galore. Shop and save!

And remember, when you do your shopping through Amazon links on InstaPundit, it puts a little money in my family’s pocket at no expense to you. It’s much appreciated!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Some good news, for a change.

SPENGLER: Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Ted Cruz.

There’s a lot I like about Ted Cruz, but I’m not sure if I can vote a candidate so heavily tatted up.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UMass president aims to fire Dartmouth chief.

University of Massachusetts president Martin T. Meehan has moved to dismiss the chancellor of the Dartmouth campus, Divina Grossman, by the end of the academic year amid concerns about the campus’s performance, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

Under Grossman’s 3½-year tenure, enrollment has fallen and private fund-raising has plummeted, even as debt mounts.

In addition, the campus has cycled through three chief financial officers and as many provosts and fund-raising directors.

Obviously, they need to hire a new VP For Diversity.


Americans have become, Edmundson says, wholly pragmatic and small-minded, always on the lookout for the main chance and conditioned to be greedy for the gaudy trash supplied by our consumerist overlords. We move restlessly from want to want, never discovering any lasting satisfaction. As for living heroic or noble lives, our video games and movies do that for us. Meanwhile, Edmundson adds, “the profound stories about heroes and saints are passing from our minds.” Our days have no purpose. Instead of aspiring to grandeur, we surrender to pettiness and accommodation. . . .

It needn’t be this way. Edmundson devotes the first half of “Self and Soul” to several ancient exemplars of courage, compassion and contemplation, to those who, rejecting a safe and secure passage through life, consecrated themselves to some greater task. Achilles, for instance, knows he will die young, but his name and glory will last forever. In battle at Troy, he becomes fully himself. Alexander Pope summed up this warrior ethos in just three lines about another legendary fighter:

Now on the field Ulysses stands alone,

The Greeks all fled, the Trojans pouring on;

But stands collected in himself and whole

Today, Edmundson says, any commitment to military virtues is disdained “by middle-class men and women whose central aspiration is to endure and who seek not honor but respect, not ascendancy but stable existence.”

Now, one hardly expects an English teacher — a professor at the University of Virginia, no less — to celebrate the martial spirit. But Edmundson does, even going so far as to contrast Achilles with Hector, who is not just Troy’s greatest champion but also a loving son, father and husband. Nonetheless, he notes, Hector’s sheer humanity ultimately makes him a lesser soldier. Families call to us to be careful out there, to remember our children. The true warrior thinks only of honor and his code of valor.

The martial virtues are real, and are indeed forgotten today, though I am sadly near-certain that we will be recalling them more fully in the not-so-distant future. But a society that holds up the martial virtues as special exemplars is often a society in which other sectors are distinctly short on virtue of their own.

The book is Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals. Without taking anything away from Edmundson (to paraphrase Arthur Leff, when non-ironic odes to martial virtue emanate from the academy these days, attention must be paid) here are some related thoughts of mine on martial virtues.


Wait’ll he discovers some of the stories that Rolling Stone has tried to serve up in recent years

THE DEMOCRATS’ BOUTIQUE ISSUES: Understanding why their presidential candidates talk of nothing but climate change.

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: After Paris, questions for us all.


Related: Liberal Media Loses Interest in ‘Clock Kid’ After Islamic Attacks.

As Cindy Sheehan discovered the hard way when she was quietly tossed down the memory hole after November of 2008, in the future, everyone will be a mascot of the anointed for 15 minutes.


The Chicago government is under fire for taking 13 months to file charges against the officer, even with the video evidence. A lawsuit was filed by a freelance journalist to order the release of video. And the charges were only announced at the deadline set by a judge for the video’s release.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass noted that McDonald was shot in October 2014, and Emanuel was vying for re-election in the February 2015 vote.

“Rahm sat on the video, and kept sitting on it, all the way through his re-election, as black ministers and other African-American political figures rallied to his side to get out the black vote and deny that vote to Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia,” Kass wrote. “If the video had come out during the election campaign, Rahm Emanuel would not be mayor today.”

So Rahm suppressed a potentially career destroying video, and Hillary blamed a video for magically causing the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens while standing over his casket and simultaneously being complicit in suppressing its maker. But really, at this point, for both politicians’ Democratic supporters*, what difference does it make?

* Particularly in the television industry, appropriately enough.

FLASHBACK: Obama’s Syrian Refugee Debacle.

THAT SLY COME-HITHER STARE: “See how politics and witchcraft intersect. You knew they would.”

(So, second look at Christine O’Donnell?)

WHY DO THEY DESPISE US? “They invoke Allah, and we invoke John Lennon.”

(Headline via Mark Steyn: ”‘Why do they hate us?’ was never the right question. ‘Why do they despise us?’ is a better one.”)

THOMAS DEWEY, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Donald Trump mocks reporter’s disability:

At a rally in South Carolina Tuesday, when GOP frontrunner Donald Trump was defending the contention that “thousands and thousands of people” cheered the September 11th terrorist attack in Jersey City, New Jersey, he did an impression of a reporter’s physical handicap.

The reporter was Serge Kovaleski, who had, according to Politico, previously covered Trump when he worked for the New York Daily News. He also helped write a September 2001 Washington Post story that Trump has been using to back up his claim about what he saw at the attacks.

“Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You ought to see this guy,” Trump said.

When he made fun of Kovaleski verbally, Politico reported, he launched “into an impression which involved gyrating his arms wildly and imitating the unusual angle at which Kovaleski’s hand sometimes rests.”

Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, which according to the National Institutes of Health, can impact the function and range of motion of joints and can cause muscles to atrophy. Kovaleski was familiar to Trump because he had, according to Politico, covered Trump for several years when he worked for the New York Daily News.

Shades of another GOP presidential candidate from a bygone era:

Tom Dewey was cursed with just this sort of personality. He was short, immaculately and expensively dressed, and he sported a mustache that led Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously to describe him as “the bridegroom on the wedding cake.” (It is no coincidence that Dewey is the last nominee of either party to sport any facial hair.)

But Dewey’s snobbishness went far beyond looks. Indeed, a single display of it may well have cost him the White House. On Oct. 13, 1948, in Beaucoup, Ill., Dewey was speaking on the rear platform of a train—part of a response to President Truman’s 30,000-mile whistle-stop campaign—when the engineer mistakenly backed the train up a short distance. Dewey snapped that “this is the first lunatic I’ve had as an engineer. He probably ought to be shot at sunrise, but I guess we can let him off because nobody was hurt.” Dewey may not have realized it, but to the hundreds of thousands who worked on railroads, their families, and the millions of others in blue-collar jobs, this smacked of something less than respect for the working folks. And on Election Day, such voters helped deliver Truman razor-thin pluralities in Ohio and Illinois, giving him enough electoral votes to pull off the most remarkable upset in presidential history.

Of course, Truman smearing Dewey as a fascist just three years after the end of WWII in the week before the election may have helped as well; and the left have taken to playing that worn-out record as well this month against Trump. But as with Dewey in 1948, Trump is his own worst enemy.


Related: “Trump claims he’s never met a disabled New York Times reporter that he’s been criticized of mocking during a recent campaign rally…The billionaire candidate went on, claiming he had ‘merely mimicked what [he] thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago.’”

DEMOCRAT OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES: Suspended CNN Reporter Conspired With Clinton Campaign to Smear Rand Paul.

AT AMAZON, Black Friday Deals Galore. Shop and save!

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: A return to the paranoid style in African-American politics.

For example, I was listening to a program yesterday on Sirius XM Urban View (one of the half-dozen lefty-dominated stations that Sirius offers to offset its one conservative station, the Patriot) when the hosts presented as uncontested fact that Chicago’s street gangs, which are the source of much of the blood currently running in Chicago’s streets, are a creation of the FBI. Before the FBI, the host said, there were progressive community-improvement organizations in Chicago, not violent street gangs, but the FBI infiltrated these organizations and “turned them against each other.” Of course. “That’s what they do,” the host insisted. Who? They — you know: Them: the FBI, “sellout Negroes,” as the host put it. Never mind that that’s not only untrue but wildly, madly untrue — there are, for example, active Chicago criminal gangs that trace their origins back to the 1950s and earlier — it tells the sort of story that a certain kind of listener wants to hear. . . .

The conspiracy theory is tempting. But Detroit isn’t Detroit because of the FBI or the Ku Klux Klan or microaggression or privilege: Detroit has been for decades under almost exclusively black government, government that is at the municipal level in fact self-consciously black, practitioners of what one Detroit News columnist in 2009 called “the black nationalism that is now the dominant ideology of the council.” Detroit hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1957, and after its bankruptcy convulsions it elected Mike Duggan, a Democrat who is the first non–African American to hold that job since Coleman Young came into power in 1974. The implosion of Detroit ought to have occasioned some interesting discussion about the relationship between black-dominated cities, progressive ideology, and the Democratic party, but, instead, we got more conspiracy theory.

To be fair, there are plenty of people on the right who believe that the Clintons dictate interview terms and that the MSM supinely (or cheerfully) goes along, even sending out Clinton-serving tweets on command.

November 26, 2015

IF YOU TAX IT, THEY WILL GO: Pfizer’s Plan to Leave US Discomfits Drug Lobbyists.

It’s true internationally, as well as at the state level.

HOSPITALITY: Every Thanksgiving, My Parents Serve a Craigslist Stranger.


AT AMAZON, deals galore in the Holiday Gift Guide. Black Friday starts today!

And there are fresh “lightning deals” every hour, so keep checking!

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Light Treatment May Work on Nonseasonal Depression, Study Finds.

Bright light therapy has been used effectively for seasonal affective disorder, the kind of depression that comes on at a specific time every year, often the dark days of late fall and winter, and then lifts. Now a new study has found that it may work to treat nonseasonal depression as well.

Researchers randomly assigned 122 patients, 19 to 60 years old, with major depression to receive one of four treatments: 30 minutes of daily exposure to fluorescent light; 20 milligrams of Prozac daily; both light and Prozac; and a control group that received a dummy pill and exposure to an electric air purifier. The study, in JAMA Psychiatry, lasted eight weeks.

Using well-validated scales that quantify depression severity, the researchers found improvements in all four groups.

The difference between Prozac alone and the placebo was not statistically significant, but light therapy alone was significantly better than placebo, and light therapy with medication was the most effective treatment of all.

So, basically, your grandmother’s advice to stop sitting around moping and go outside for some fresh air and sunshine was right. But hey, if sunshine’s in short supply, you can always get a light box from Amazon!


Found via Maggie’s Farm, which also has a parody video of “Hipster Thanksgiving.” At least I think it’s a parody. In any case, I lasted about 30 seconds before wanting to go full ISIS on these people.

Related: “On This Thanksgiving, I’m Grateful For the Gullible Goons of Salon.”

A THANKSGIVING PERENNIAL: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

YOU KNOW, MAYBE HIGHER EDUCATION IS SUCH A HELLHOLE OF RACISM AND SEXISM THAT IT SHOULD JUST BE SHUT DOWN: Walter Olson highlights the demands of various student protest groups.


Obama Reminds Us That Pilgrims Were Refugees Once, Too “The world is still full of pilgrims.”

—Headline today.

Happy National Genocide (Thanksgiving) Day!

—Headline, Thanksgiving of 2013.

As Mark Tapscott noted earlier today here, the left might have had second thoughts about demonizing Thanksgiving so strongly in the past if they wanted to preserve it as a talking point to troll the rest of us.

HOW TO SAVE 500 CALORIES A DAY. I’ve got a friend with a weight problem who compulsively cleans his plate because that’s how he was raised. I keep saying: Just don’t finish the fries.

ACTUALLY, GERARD K. O’NEILL HAD THIS IDEA BACK IN THE LAST CENTURY: Airbus’s Dream For Faster Air Travel Is Planes With Removable Cabins. Though actually, his idea was somewhat better: The nose lifts up (already done) and the cabin floor and seats slide out and into the debarkation area on rails so that passengers just stand up and exit their seats to the side with no line.

I believe this was in his 2081: A Hopeful View Of The Human Future, which was a good book, if somewhat dated now.

FASTER, PLEASE: Ultrasound Microscopy Helps Image Tiny Blood Vessels.

BUT OF COURSE: Pardoned White House Turkey Defects To Isis.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Video: Atomic Precision For Medical Applications.

RED STAR FALLING: Ron Radosh on the Trumbo Train Wreck, and real story behind the pro-Stalin (and for a time pro-Hitler) author and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Top 10 Firearms Deals on Black Friday.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 931.



NO, WE AREN’T A “CHRISTIAN NATION,” BUT DEMOGRAPHICS SAY WE ARE A NATION OF (MOSTLY) CHRISTIANS: San Francisco is the country’s least faithful city but America’s most Baptist and Catholic cities aren’t where you may think they are.

WEIRDLY, SPACE POLICY IS AN AREA WHERE OBAMA IS OUTPERFORMING MY EXPECTATIONS. President Obama signs bill recognizing asteroid resource property rights into law. This is something I was working for as long ago as the 1980s, and it’s interesting that it’s coming true now.

Some background here.

BYRON YORK: A Brief Theory Of Trump’s Outrageousness.

The first thing to remember is that many of Trump’s supporters, and a large part of the American public in general, support the very statements others consider outrageous. Deport 11 million illegal immigrants? Many Americans, including almost everyone in the media, think that’s crazy. But many other Americans agree with Trump.

The recent brouhaha over whether Trump did or did not suggest a federal government database of all Muslims in the United States is another example. Trump didn’t actually suggest it — the idea came from a reporter with Yahoo News — but he never clearly shot it down, either. Like deportations, a poll on the Muslim database question would likely show a significant number of Americans agreeing with the idea.

So maybe Trump just has a lot of outrageous ideas. Or perhaps something else, something more strategic, is going on. . . .

Trump got to the heart of the matter. “The word compromise is absolutely fine. But if you are going to compromise, ask for about three times more than you want. You understand? So when you compromise, you get what you want.”

Perhaps deporting all illegal immigrants is the political version of asking for about three times more than you want.

Trump has repeated his deportation vow many times. But few have noted that when Trump rolled out his written immigration plan, posted on his campaign website, there was nothing about mass deportation. In addition to Trump’s famous “beautiful wall,” the plan had a lot of mainstream conservative proposals about securing the border and tightening interior enforcement.

The effect of Trump’s deportation proposal was to pull the Republican immigration debate toward immigration and further right — that is, where Trump wanted it to go. When Trump made an actual written proposal, even an abbreviated campaign-style proposal, it was more measured.

He’s also — and this is related, but not quite the same — moving the Overton Window by making things that were previously unmentionable into subjects of popular discussion.

FAA NEXTGEN PROGRAM BRINGING “massive jetliner noise” to LA?

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 FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.

NO, THE PILGRIMS WERE DEFINITELY NOT LIKE SYRIAN REFUGEES: The Daily Caller’s Scott Greer slices and dices the Left’s fallacious comparison like a succulent piece of Thanksgiving turkey. Here’s just a taste: “If it wasn’t for the Syrian refugee debate, sites like HuffPo, Salon and others would be running their usual ‘Happy Genocide Day’ coverage and dumping vitriol on the poor settlers who forged this nation.”

SOYLENT TOFURKY IS PEOPLE! Err, maybe not, but it’s awfully gross looking. Naturally, it’s a big hit with the Millennials.


GEORGE WILL: America’s Higher Education Brought Low. “People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by their negative examples, what intelligence is not.”

GOOD: At Princeton: A Pushback Against Campus “Cry-bullies.”

A group of Princeton University students are pushing back against the protesters on campus that are demanding the administration bend to their will.

The student group, calling themselves the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, wrote a letter to Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber, which has been posted in full on the Powerline Blog. The students were seeking a meeting with Eisgruber in order to give their interpretation of the protests.

“We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse,” the group wrote. “Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates.”

The group wrote they would “not occupy” the president’s office, as protesters had done the previous week, demanding Woodrow Wilson’s name be removed from campus buildings due to his racism. They also said they would conduct themselves “in the civil manner.”

I admire this, but Eisgruber has already shown you by his actions what kinds of tactics he respects. His response to this campaign will be telling.

MICHELLE MALKIN: Have a Happy, Politics-Free Thanksgiving.

(And Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at PJM.)

ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW: The New York Times finally discovers what the right has known for years: that “Progressive” icon Woodrow Wilson and the man whose wartime administration was the prototype for FDR’s New Deal (whose collectivist slogan was “We Planned In War” — i.e., WWI) was a stone cold racist. As Steve Hayward writes at Power Line, the Times “still haven’t been able to connect the dots between Wilson’s racism and his progressive ideology, nor grasp the irony that Wilson was merely aiming to provide blacks with a ‘safe space,’ as we say nowadays. We know liberals are slow learners, but this is embarrassing, unless the Times is planning to announce tomorrow that it has in fact decided to compete with The Onion.

Charles Paul Freund wrote of “Dixiecrats Triumphant: The menacing Mr. Wilson” at Reason magazine back in 2002. Jonah Goldberg wrote about Wilson’s racism and his administration’s central role as the prototype of the New Deal in 2008′s best-selling Liberal Fascism and in this concurrent excerpt in the Christian Science Monitor. But it’s nice to see the Times finally stumble kicking and screaming into the truth as well — if only to really make an unperson of “the menacing Mister Wilson.” (Don’t let them.)

EXPENDABLE: Poor boys are falling behind poor girls, and it’s deeply troubling.

It’s become a fact of American life that girls are better than boys at school. They get better grades. They’re suspended less. For every generation since the boomers, women have been more likely than men to earn high school and college diplomas.

In fact, girls are pretty much the only reason the high school graduation rate went up in past 40 years, according to calculations by Harvard economist Richard Murnane. The male high school graduation rate has been stuck at 81 percent since the 1970s, while the female graduation rose from 81 percent to 87 percent.

Women have been so persistently superior it is perhaps time for a new stereotype about the sexes — girls as bookish mavens like Lisa Simpson; boys as goof-offs like Bart.

Yeah, that’s not a new stereotype. And negative stereotypes about boys — which abound, especially among the overwhelmingly female teacher corps — are probably one of the reasons for this.

Which 2016 Presidential candidate will support legislation to protect boys in the classroom?

But it’s also true that the revolution in family affairs — that is, the rise of single-parent families — has indeed hurt boys worse than girls. (You can read this study, or you can listen to hiphop, in support of that). The study, though, seems to think that single-parent families are caused by “income inequality,” when it’s more likely that things are the other way around.

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE: For Thanksgiving, Is the GOP Down to Three with the Rest Turkeys?, asks Roger Simon.


DANA MILBANK: Barack Obama, President Oh-bummer.

The two presidents stood in the East Room on Tuesday afternoon, united in their goal of defeating the Islamic State but separated by a stylistic gulf as vast as the Atlantic.

On the left, facing the cameras, was François Hollande, war president. He spoke of “cowardly murderers” who “dishonor humanity,” of a “relentless determination to fight terrorism everywhere and anywhere,” of “an implacable joint response,” of “hunting down their leaders” and “taking back the land.”

On the right stood Barack Obama, President Oh-bummer.

Defeating the Islamic State?

“That’s going to be a process that involves hard, methodical work. It’s not going to be something that happens just because suddenly we take a few more airstrikes.”

A political settlement in Syria?

“It’s going to be hard. And we should not be under any illusions.”

Could the Paris attacks have been prevented?

“That’s hard — that’s a hard thing to track. . . . That’s a tough job.”

Obama, in Turkey last week, responded to those who believe he isn’t tough enough on the Islamic State. “Some of them seem to think that if I was just more bellicose in expressing what we’re doing, that that would make a difference,” he said.

Well, yes.

Tough talk won’t defeat terrorists — but it will rally a nation. It’s no mere coincidence that the unpopular Hollande’s support has increased during his forceful response to the attacks, while Obama’s poll numbers are down.


UNIVERSITY GRACIOUSLY AGREES to allow men’s groups on campus.


Trigger warning: The photo atop this article may count as a serious safe space violation. You’ve been warned.

IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO TRUST THE GOVERNMENT, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS RUN BY UNTRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE: Andrew Malcolm: One-in-five Americans still trusts the federal government!

A shocking new poll out on Americans’ growing cynicism about their federal government.

It’s not really surprising that after seven years of an administration of serial liars, empty promises and failed plans, an overwhelming percentage of the public does not trust elected officials, their politics or the government they’re supposed to be running.

What’s really shocking is that 19% of Americans still do.

Nearly one-in-five say they can always or most always trust that Washington crowd. Seriously? Who are these people? Cubs fans? Newly-arrived Martians? Rachel Maddowers?

Do you know five people who swallow everything they hear from the upside-down capital of our nation? How about two? ObamaCare is working really well? ISIS is on the run? The FBI is seriously probing Hillary Clinton’s email scam?

Nineteen percent trusting is actually among the lowest in almost six decades. People even had more trust in Jimmy Carter’s presidency. People had the most trust during the first year of Lyndon Johnson’s sudden presidency. But then came Vietnam and Richard Nixon.

The newest poll from the Pew Research Center is based on 6,000 interviews this fall. It confirms suspicions that most people have felt for some time. Trust in those institutions began sagging during the second term of George W. Bush. But has absolutely cratered during these past 2,499 days of Barack Obama’s hope and change.

Fundamentally transformed.

FLASHBACK: 3 Ways To Reduce Poverty.

WELL!  I FEEL SAFER NOW: Police Bust Weekly Mahjong Game Played By Elderly Women.

MY CATS ARE MICROAGGRESSIONS: Micro theory for dogs.

CUTE: Japan’s Funkiest Train Goes Star Wars.

AND WE’RE GRATEFUL: Those Zany Colonists and the Nation They Built.

WELCOME TO 1914: A Necessary Conversation.

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE: Islamic State Radicalizes ‘Thousands’ in United States.

REMEMBER: Required Reading.

SOFT SHELLED SNOWFLAKES: Ben Shapiro to Mizzou Protesters: ‘Toughen Up’ (Video).

November 25, 2015

FASTER, PLEASE: End of daily injections for diabetes as scientists restore insulin production.


AT AMAZON, 25% off select Dyson Products.

Plus, DuroMax Elite MX4500 4,500 Watt 7 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit, $409.98. Winter is coming.

And: $480 Off Nikon D3200 Two Lens VR Kit.

Plus, please do any Christmas or Hanukkah shopping through the InstaPundit Amazon links. I thank you, and my family thanks you.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.


The Statue of Liberty was originally designed to be a Muslim woman, the Smithsonian Institution’s magazine says.
An article on the government-administered museum’s blog, Smart News, claims one of the designers of Lady Liberty drew inspiration from monuments in Egypt and originally intended to construct a veiled female peasant on the Suez Canal.

But the Smithsonian gets its knickers in a twist over the sight of a WWII B-29 and in 2013, published an excerpt from a since massively debunked biography of Norman Rockwell, which attempted to retcon the beloved American artist into, as his granddaughter wrote in response, “a repressed homosexual with pedophilic impulses,” so take the above story with a grain of salt. (As Cuffy tweets, “Last week called, wants its clickbait back.”)

I blame myself for this latest bit of clickbait. In early 2011, for the PJM homepage illustration accompanying an article by contributor Howard Rotberg titled “Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address,” I created the following image:
Shortly afterward, some organization calling itself “Shariah4America” issued a statement demanding a burkha on the Statue of Liberty. And now the Smithsonian gets into the act. Oh well — Photoshopped in haste, repented at leisure.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Why the ‘Jon Stewarting’ of America’s Youth Is Awful For Political Discourse.

TOM BROKAW TURNED INTO WILLIAM DEVANE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED: For actor turned precious metals pitchman Devane, it’s always a good time to buy gold, no matter how well or how poorly the stock market is performing.

For newsreader turned Obama pitchman Tom Brokaw, it’s always a good time to raise the gas tax, whether the economy has just flatlined, or whether ISIS just terrorized a major European city.

In January, when “4 Of 5 Top Papers [Called] For Federal Gas Tax Hike,” the Media Research Center noted that the “Washington Post’s editorial board called it the ‘perfect time’ for Congress to raise the federal gas tax.” But for Brokaw and the rest of the MSM, when isn’t it the perfect time to raise the gas tax?

STUART TAYLOR: A Little-Understood Engine of Campus Unrest: Racial Admissions Preferences.

Why are some of the most privileged students in the nation plunging into a racial grievance culture and upending their campuses as though oppressed by Halloween costumes they don’t approve, imagined racial slights, portraits of Woodrow Wilson, a tiny handful of real racial epithets, and the like?

The reasons are of course multifaceted. But one deserves far more attention than it has gotten: Many or most of the African-American student protesters really are victims — but not of old-fashioned racism.

Most are, rather, victims of the very large admissions preferences that set up racial-minority students for academic struggle at the selective universities that have cynically misled them into thinking they are well qualified to compete with classmates who are, in fact, far stronger academically.

The reality is that most good black and Hispanic students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend.

That’s why it takes very large racial preferences to get them admitted. An inevitable result is that many black and (to a lesser extent) Hispanic students cannot keep up with better-prepared classmates and rank low in their classes no matter how hard they work.

Studies show that this academic “mismatch effect” forces them to drop science and other challenging courses; to move into soft, easily graded, courses disproportionately populated by other preferentially admitted students; and to abandon career hopes such as engineering and pre-med. Many lose intellectual self-confidence and become unhappy even if they avoid flunking out.

This depresses black performance at virtually all selective schools because of what experts call the cascade effect. . . .

It is critical to understand that these are not bad students. They did well in high school and could excel at somewhat less selective universities where they would arrive roughly as well prepared as their classmates.

But due to racial preferences, they find themselves for the first time in their lives competing against classmates who have a huge head start in terms of previous education, academic ability, or both.


COVERING THE IMPORTANT NEWS: How to Talk About Star Wars at Thanksgiving With Your Ignorant, Rebellion-Backing Uncle.

Related: NRO’s Katherine Timpf: “I Will Not Apologize for Making a Joke About Star Wars:”

More than a month ago, I made some jokes about Star Wars on Red Eye, a satirical political comedy show that airs at 3 a.m., and it has resulted in me being verbally abused and told to die by a mob of enraged fans for the past four days now.

The capital-offense comments were:

“I have never had any interest in watching space nerds poke each other with their little space nerd sticks, and I’m not going to start now.”


“Yesterday I tweeted something, and all I said was that I wasn’t  familiar with Star Wars because I’ve been too busy liking cool things and being attractive.”

Now, I received a few death threats right after I posted the aforementioned tweet — which, by the way, was why I was saying Star Wars fans were “crazy” in the first place. Overall, though, it wasn’t a big deal, and I kind of forgot about it.

Then, this week, one Star Wars super-super-super fan who calls himself “AlphaOmegaSin” made a ten-minute (!) video brutally ripping me apart.

She probably should consulted fellow NR contributor James Lileks, who discovered firsthand nearly 20 years ago just how much of the dark side of the Force Star Wars obsessives will conjure up, if you dare badmouth their imaginary universe.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.

ROOTING FOR INJURIES: New York Democrats Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo are having a homelessness-related “pre-Thanksgiving spat,” according to Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio pointed the finger back at Gov. Cuomo on the city’s homelessness problem, as the pair continued their pre-Thanksgiving spat over the issue.

“It’s time for the governor to step up,” de Blasio said Wednesday on Good Day New York.

Cuomo had charged Tuesday de Blasio’s failures of management — and intelligence — were to blame for the increasing number of homeless people on the streets. “Throwing money at the problem is not always the answer,” Cuomo said. “It’s understanding the problem and being smart enough to know how to manage the problem.”

Mark this day in the calendar — a Democrat actually admits that “Throwing money at the problem is not always the answer.” The first step towards the road to recovery from any addiction is admitting that there’s a problem.

On the other hand, Cuomo and de Blasio can collaborate well together when there’s serious work to be done — like removing the fascist-themed ads for Amazon’s new Man in the High Castle streaming video series from New York’s subway cars, thus generating massive amounts of free publicity for the Ridley Scott-produced venture. (Whose first two episodes were pretty darn good, by the way.)

PEAK GUARDIAN FINALLY REACHED: “Gender is a prison we all live in.”


NEWS YOU CAN USE: William Shatner and State Farm present “Eat, Fry, Love,” a turkey fryer fire cautionary tale (video):

At some point in his post-Airplane II career, Shatner apparently took Kevin Pollak’s impersonation of Shatner, made it his own, and dialed it up to Warp Factor 11. Who knew ham on Thanksgiving could be so much fun?

OBAMA SIGNS DEFENSE BILL DESPITE GITMO PROVISIONS: President Obama has quietly (and on the eve of Thanksgiving) signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which renews tight prohibitions against using any federal funds for the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S.

Obama has previously intimated that he would transfer Gitmo prisoners to the U.S. despite congressional opposition. It is unclear whether Obama’s decision to sign the NDAA indicates that he has abandoned plans for U.S. transfer, or whether (as some former Obama Administration officials have argued) Obama believes he has the independent constitutional authority to transfer the detainees to the U.S. anyway.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. This obsession with ‘cultural appropriation’ is leading us down a very dark path. “The idea of ‘cultural appropriation’ sums up everything rotten in today’s intensifying politics of identity. It’s fuelled by the borderline racist idea that to mix cultures is bad. It isn’t only yoga that’s getting it in its supple neck from these new cultural purists: white rappers like Iggy Azalea are slammed for appropriating black culture; students have been banned from wearing sombreros lest Mexicans feel mocked; non-black celebs who try out the cornrow hairstyle can expect to be Twitch-hunted by mobs of these new cultural purists who think black people and white people should stick to their own cultural camps.”

AT AMAZON, 70% Off Men’s Fashion.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 63% off Select “Batman” Special Editions and Bundles.

And, also today only: 25% Off Select Under Armour Fleece. Stay warm and comfy!



Thrush basically has two gaslighting modes when bad news strikes Democrats — explain it away as “badass,” which is he he described Hillary’s now-infamous email server, and bored y’all, which was the mode he switched to when the Obamacare servers blew up in the fall of 2013, and today.

The Washington Post isn’t much better — the young staffer writing up a leading news and opinion Website offering a “no surprises” interview to Chelsea Clinton dismisses it as “Politico just handed Republicans a ‘liberal media’ talking point.”

And there are so, so few of those to go around these days.

Related: “WaPo Attacks Republicans For Politico Offering Chelsea Clinton a Puff Interview” — “Democrats sure got it good.”

BURIED LEDE: “Officials confirmed Wednesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered them removed.”

NEVER LIBEL A LAWYER WITH A BLOG: John Hinderaker: Apology Accepted.

KEEP TRYING, GUYS: 11 Outlandish Attempts To Build The Next Concorde.