April 19, 2014

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WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Why There Will Be A Robot Uprising.

YOUNGER SKIN THROUGH EXERCISE. “Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life, according to surprising new research.”

A phenomenon I’ve seen frequently in new law-professor hires who come for practicing law is that they seem to reverse-age for the first year or two here, even though being a new law professor is actually fairly stressful — my first year of teaching I was working more hours than I had as an associate at Dewey Ballantine. But you have much, much more control over your daily schedule, which I think is a big deal. It may be that because of this, people are better able to exercise. But, then, sleep, diet, and such all play a role, too, and all are likely to be better among law professors than practicing lawyers, especially those at big firms.

FASTER, PLEASE: Stem-Cell Treatment for Blindness Moving Through Patient Testing.

SO, KINDA LIKE SELLING TESLAS HERE, THEN: Selling Teslas in China Won’t Do Much for the Environment. Now when the power comes from nice, clean nuclear plants — or, at least, nice, clean gas plants (go fracking!) — it’s better.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: My Popular Mechanics column: Should We Be Afraid Of The 3D-Printed Gun?

BLOWBACK: Western lawmakers gather in Utah to talk federal land takeover. “More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.” The feds have been poor stewards.

“RAPE CULTURE” IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: A painting of President Barack Obama by a shock artist with a rape fetish hung in the White House for at least two years. But the Churchill bust was sent packing.

IN THE MAIL: You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves.

Also, today only at Amazon: 50% Off NYDJ Jeans.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 345.

BACK-DOOR BOEHNER: A Trojan Horse on amnesty in the defense bill?

TRANSPARENCY: ABC News: Monica Lewinsky E-Mail Omitted From Latest Batch of Clinton Documents. “Vaguely referenced as concerning a ‘medical record,’ the omitted email is listed as four pages long.” Hmm. What could that be about?

MICKEY KAUS: Obamacare’s Core Flaw?

Risk-filled sump, update: If everyone knew the risk pool on the Obamacare exchanges would be sicker-than-normal — as the last sentence of this NYT piece suggests — then why throw the hapless unsubsidized people (e.g. singles making $46,000) into that pool, where their policies will inevitably be more expensive, with more restrictions, than if they were in a more normal pool? Did Obamacare’s designers think they’d be happy about it? This seems like the programs’ core flaw, no? It’s why, despite all the seemingly impressive numbers, Obamacare leaves a bad taste. … $350,000 a year lawyers with fancy employer plans get care from the best doctors and check into Sloan Kettering if they need it, while even previously insured $46,000-a-year suckers can’t, and are told that’s just the price of insuring the uninsured.

ObamaCare: Of, by, and for the 1%!

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): ‘This thing is working’? Widows of Alabama county workers dropped from health plans.

As President Obama touts rising enrollment in ObamaCare and declares “this thing is working,” one Alabama county has reported another negative side effect from the law — widows of county workers getting dropped from their insurance.

A report by Huntsville-based WHNT said that more than a dozen widows of retired Madison County employees lost their coverage earlier this year.

They originally had been covered under the county’s self-insured plan. But, according to WHNT, officials learned that it would have been too expensive to keep providing that coverage and comply with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates.

The county instead joined a statewide network that dozens of county governments already are in. That plan, though, does not offer coverage to husbands and wives when their government employee spouses die.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Er, but where’s my damn omelet?

IT’S COME TO THIS: Vet asked to leave Pizza Hut after manager thinks his USMC patches are gang symbols.

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VIDEO: How To Get Kicked Out Of A Clay Aiken Fundraiser. “While Aiken’s success could allow him to largely self-fund the effort, politics still requires you to get out there and do some fundraising, pressing the flesh with the local donors and power brokers. But as the following video shows, don’t bother stopping by if you’re a Republican. You’re likely to get an icy – and expletive laden – welcome.”

PAR FOR THE COURSE: Obama signs Ted Cruz bill into law, but says he won’t enforce it. “Obama frequently criticized President George W. Bush for such signing statements during his 2008 campaign.”

SPACE: Cargo Launch and Rocket Test Add Up to ‘Happy Day’ for SpaceX.

JAMES TARANTO: Shut Up, He Explained Again: Obama continues a debate he insists is over.

They say it’s the sincerest form of flattery. At a press conference yesterday President Obama asserted that when it comes to ObamaCare, the Republican Party “is going through the stages of grief–anger and denial and all that stuff–and we’re not at acceptance yet.” We used the same gag in October, though ObamaCare supporters were the butt of our joke. And we were recycling our own material: We also invoked the Elisabeth Kübler Ross “stages of grief” way back in November 2000 in reference to Al Gore’s refusal to concede his loss to George W. Bush.

Blogress Ann Althouse astutely observes that Obama skipped “bargaining,” perhaps “because he doesn’t want his party to have to bargain with the other side.” . . .

Another adjective that comes to mind is “unpresidential.” Obama, after all, isn’t president of only Democrats, nor are only Republicans opposed to ObamaCare or worried about its consequences. To those who see an inconsistency in this column’s criticizing Obama for using a gag we’ve employed in the past, let us clarify things with a Shermanesque answer to a question nobody is asking: We promise that we will never run for, or serve as, president.

Would that Obama had given such a pledge. And kept it.

TEXAS: Wendy Davis’s Deals Are The Subject Of FBI Corruption Investigation.

NON-COMPLIANCE SPREADS: Bob Corker, other Tennessee Republicans refuse subpoenas from Big Labor.

ORGANIZATION THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THE LITTLE GUY, HURTS THE LITTLE GUY: Six small shopkeepers are big losers in CFPB headquarters building renovation.

Federal officials have ignored six small businesses on the ground floor next to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new headquarters, refusing to share information about the building’s renovation or the future of their shops.

The shopkeepers’ fears are warranted, because CFPB’s renovation blueprints assume the businesses will be forced to leave in the bureau’s $136 million project.

The sight of CFPB officials forcing out independent shopkeepers may not sit well with Congress, which created the bureau in 2010 to protect consumers and small businesses in the marketplace.

Are there any federal agencies that actually help the little guy?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Reflections On The Confidence Gap: Why Are Feminists So Insecure?

Nothing shouts “be confident in your natural abilities!” like “your brain is mushy and able to be reshaped by propaganda!” But maybe that’s just me. Still, all this second-guessing of female traits doesn’t feel empowering. At all. Feminists seem to be on a constant campaign of obsessive gender reflection, the net result of which is to tell women they’re bad at what they’re doing. Don’t call bossy people bossy. Don’t be considerate of others. Please keep kids out of the picture for the vast majority if not entirety of your fertility. If you do choose to stop fighting your fertility for a brief period, you shouldn’t let kids affect your career. You need to crush or at least smother your maternal instincts at all costs. In order to succeed in life, you must be like men — emulate everything they’re doing.

I love being female, and I’m actually quite confident about being a woman, but the only time I even come close to feeling bad about myself is when major media outlets and elite feminists use their power to tell me there’s some major flaw with me being female.

Feminism is a political herding mechanism for insecure women. It’s thus no surprise that (1) feminists tend to be insecure; and (2) they send messages that tend to enhance insecurity in other women.

GOOGLE: The Unelected Superpower. “Google has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman is a White House advisor.”

TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE WARSAW GHETTO REVOLT. I recommend the miniseries Uprising, for those unfamiliar. Or you can always read Mila 18.

April 18, 2014

ANOTHER FRINGE BENEFIT LOST TO LONG-SUFFERING PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: Hawaii Police No Longer Allowed To Have Sex With Prostitutes.

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THE WAR ON STANDARDS comes to college debate competition.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS ON JOHN GIBSON’S RADIO SHOW: (Audio) IRS Scandal Makes Richard Nixon Seem Like A Pussycat.

TOOLS: The Silent Hybrid Motorcycles the Pentagon Will Use for Stealth Raids.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Facebook rolls out ‘Nearby Friends,’ a real-time friend tracker. Frankly, if it shows your location just as “Northwest DC,” that’s not very useful.

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HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Trust In The IRS Is At An All-Time Low. With good reason.

SO THEY’VE GONE FROM DENIAL TO ACCEPTANCE, THEN: Dem Sees ObamaCare Crisis: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch on Obamacare’s election toll: It’ll bury Dems.

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WELL, WELL, WELL: U.S. ground troops going to Poland, defense minister says. “Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.”

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: The IRS Scandal: One-Way Civility In Academia. “Conservatives are ruthlessly attacked in the most vicious of ways, so many tend to shut up and hide. You don’t get many calls for civility when the left’s war machine has sprung to life and targeted a conservative for an Alinsky-style onslaught. Even many conservatives duck and cover. Rarely does a liberal defend a conservative under attack. Usually, they are the ones launching it. This imbalance is particularly acute inside the Beltway.”

THEORY: There Was Never A Better Time To Enroll In Law School. “Is now the ideal time to enroll in law school? Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been making the counterintuitive case that it is. In a series of posts on the law professor blog The Faculty Lounge, he argues that the relatively small number of people set to graduate with J.D.s in 2017 will mean better job prospects for those who do. In short, the supply of new lawyers will be much more closely aligned with the demand for their services than for the Class of 2013. . . . Freedman is not the first to float this idea. University of Washington School of Law professor Ryan Calo made a similar argument in Forbes in November.”

Fine, just don’t gamble on this with a lot of borrowed money.

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN’T HURT US: LA Sheriff’s Dept. On New Surveillance Program: We Knew The Public Wouldn’t Like It, So We Kept It A Secret.

POLICE RAID MAN’S HOUSE over Twitter account parodying mayor.

THE DIESEL REVOLUTION: 2016 Audi A3 Sportback headed to US under diesel power.

I SHALL CALL IT “EARTH TWO.” First Earth-Sized, Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 344.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Maryland Puts Up Roadblocks to Online Ed.

Maryland has decided to stand athwart the internet, yelling “Stop!” The Maryland Higher Education Commission recently sent letters to numerous institutions across the country that offer online courses, demanding that they pay registration fees for the Maryland residents enrolled in them. However, there [are] no data available on how many are enrolled in online programs, or which programs they attend. . . .

On top of this, Maryland requires that online education programs undergo a lengthy accreditation review process, and now it seems to be vying for the title of least hospitable state in the union. (Meanwhile, the Department of Education is pursuing its plan to reinstate the requirement that distance education programs obtain accreditation in all states where they do business.)

The motives behind Maryland’s new restrictions couldn’t be clearer, according to Inside Higher Ed. The state wants to stifle programs that compete with the online programs offered by the University of Maryland University College. UMUC has already seen layoffs this year due to declining enrollment. With more than 34,000 students, it is an asset that the state will fight to defend.

The protectionism on display here is distasteful enough, but worse yet, the new regulations will fall hardest on those who already face steep obstacles to higher education.

Protectionism generally protects the haves against the have-nots. And, of course, all is proceeding as I have foreseen.

ANTARCTIC SEA ICE GROWS AT AN “ALARMING RATE.” Hey, Fallen Angels was just a novel, right guys? Guys?

NOW ON YOUTUBE: InstaVision: Geopolitics In Space: Will Russia Annex the International Space Station?

WHERE DEM POLITICIANS ARE CONCERNED, THE MEDIA ARE A BUNCH OF ROYALISTS: WaPo: Chelsea Clinton’s news: Not quite a royal baby announcement, but a pretty big deal. The Bush baby just didn’t get the same kind of treatment as Chelsea’s, which got ALL CAPS SQUEE from Candy Crowley on Twitter.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Oregon Provost Rejects Law Faculty’s Offer to Divert Money for Pay Raises to Public Interest Jobs for Students.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Investor’s Business Daily: New Emails Show Corruption At Heart Of Administration.

SCALIA AND GINSBURG talk about amending the Constitution. Not long ago, the Tennessee Law Review published a symposium on Article V conventions, including a staff-written section on procedure, a couple of years ago. Contributors included such luminaries as Randy Barnett, Richard Epstein, Sanford Levinson and many others. Here’s my contribution, which focuses specifically on spending. And here’s video of me talking about it at the Harvard Law School conference on constitutional conventions.

JAMES TARANTO: Poor Little Rich Man: How to become a millionaire by lamenting income inequality.

Being a “distinguished professor” of economics at the City University of New York is nice work if you can get it. “During year-one,” the boss explains in a letter to the new hire, “you will not be expected to teach or supervise students.” In subsequent years, “you will teach one seminar per year.” In addition, the boss informs the distinguished professor that he “will play a modest role in our public events” and “will be asked to contribute to the buildup” of one of the university’s programs.

The pay is $225,000 a year, plus a $10,000 expense budget–and the distinguished prof gets summers off.

Gawker.com reports that CUNY’s new distinguished professor is none other than former Enron adviser Paul Krugman. The program he’ll be helping build up in exchange for this generous compensation is the Luxembourg Income Study Center and particularly its “inequality initiative.”

Isn’t that rich?

Yes, it turns out lamenting income inequality can be quite a lucrative occupation. By comparison, Gawker notes that adjunct professors at CUNY make about $3,000 per course, or 1/75th Krugman’s rate, and undistinguished tenured professors earn a maximum of $116,364, a little over half Krugman’s salary, although presumably many of them teach a full course load. According to 2010-12 census data reported by the public radio station WNYC, the median household income in New York City is $50,711, or 22.5% of Krugman’s CUNY salary.

Love it.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Spengler: It isn’t that Putin is a genius, it’s that we are complete idiots. Well, he’s got Obama and the EU’s number. They don’t have his.

ROLL CALL: Republican Whacks Harry Reid in New North Carolina Senate Ad. Tying opponents to Harry Reid and national Democrats is good strategy.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Emails Show Corruption At Heart Of Administration.

THE HILL: CBO: Obama budget to add $6.6T in deficits.

LUCY STEIGERWALD: Cliven Bundy reminds us to keep putting cameras on law enforcement.

If they’re doing nothing wrong, they should have no objection. Plus, First Amendment aside, you have a due process right to record the police.

UPDATE: Link was busted before. Fixed now. Sorry!

RICH LOWRY: The Stupid Hounding of Condi Rice. “If Condoleezza Rice were as self-pitying and politically crass as Attorney General Eric Holder, she would be wondering aloud what it is about her race and gender that accounts for the hostility of her enemies.”

NOAH ROTHMAN: Criminal Justice Reform: The GOP’s Best Hope to Reach Minority Voters.

April 17, 2014

POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN OUR TIME: Woman cited for accosting GOP office worker. “A 54-year-old Sheboygan woman has been cited for disorderly conduct after she entered the Republican Party headquarters at 1122 Indiana Ave. on Tuesday and harangued an office worker there, including spitting on him. The woman was upset about an article she had read over the Internet.”

TO BE FAIR, THE GUY WHO SAID THAT WAS PROBABLY DRUNK: Secret Service threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he got close to President Clinton, says book.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Stall Tactics: Getting It On in Restaurant Restrooms Is More Common Than You Think.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have this. Though perhaps alcohol plays a role in bridging the gap. . . .

WARONMEN: Young Dads Are at Risk for Postpartum Depression. “A study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that men who become fathers around age 25 see a 68 percent increase of depression symptoms over the first five years of being dads—if they live at the same home as their children.”

UPDATE: Science provides an explanation.

WELL, NOW IT’S TRANSNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Tam: How National Geographic Has Changed. “Ah, National Geographic, you always were good at showing us looks into lost civilizations; who knew it’d be one so recent, though?”

I’M RELABELING ALL MY STUFF “EXTRA FATTENING:” What you expect a food to be affects your body’s response.

DOING SPRING CLEANING? Trade Your Stuff In At Amazon. Well, I don’t think they’d take all my old t-shirts, but it’s a good idea in general.

Also, Hot New Releases, updated every hour. Always something new.

FASTER, PLEASE: Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic.

Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready.

The method, successfully tested only in mice thus far, is a nasal spray of engineered proteins that coat the receptors in the nose and throat to which flu viruses attach.

Mice that got the spray as long as a week before being given a lethal dose of viruses from the 2009 pandemic flu were fully protected, according to the team at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland that invented the proteins.

That sounds promising.

FASTER, PLEASE: New drug to protect unvaccinated people from measles. “Like the flu, measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. There is typically a two-week window between becoming infected with the virus and the onset of symptoms like skin rash, runny nose and fever. The novel drug, termed ERDRP-0519, is specifically designed to work during this two-week window, when vaccination can no longer protect from disease.”

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

THE SCIENCE OF PROCRASTINATION.

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

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

SHOCK: Hillary Supporter Pleads Guilty To Massive Campaign Fraud.

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

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

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

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

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

POPULAR MECHANICS REPORTS from the New York International Auto Show.

RESEARCH ETHICS REVIEW: A Failed System Of Risk Management.

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

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

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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 343.

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

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

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

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

CAN LIMITING DIVORCE MAKE MARRIAGE STRONGER?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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