October 30, 2014

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Gas-Spewing Icelandic Volcano Stuns Scientists.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Elon Musk and Other Visionaries Are Worried About the Future of AI.

ASHE SCHOW: 2014 midterms are a proving ground for the ‘war on women’ narrative.

With Colorado Republican Bob Beauprez up by 21 points among men, the “war on women” stuff may be generating some blowback.

MARK RIPPETOE: The 3 Most Effective Ways To Waste Time In The Gym. From my own experience, I have to disagree with him on stretching, with this proviso: I don’t think stretching helps my workouts so much as it helps me deal with the consequences of spending a lot of time at the computer. But it most definitely helps with that.

IN THE MAIL: From David Weber & Timothy Zahn, A Call to Duty (Manticore Ascendant).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 539.

NICK GILLESPIE: This One Picture of Telly Savalas Refutes All Fears That Progress Has Ended. Not sure I’m buying this analysis. . . .

JUST GET THEM VOTING REPUBLICAN AND THE PRESS WILL BE TELLING US HOW THIS TRAVESTY MUST BE STOPPED RIGHT AWAY! John Fund: Non-Citizens Are Voting: James O’Keefe documents the problem in North Carolina, where the Senate race is close. “O’Keefe had a Brazilian-born immigrant investigator of his pose as someone who wanted to vote but was not a citizen. Greg Amick, the campaign manager for the Democrat running for sheriff in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), was only too happy to help. . . . It’s no wonder that the two Old Dominion professors concluded that non-citizen votes may have been responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina.”

WORLD-CLASS TROLLING: Free Beacon Election Forecast: 51.7% Chance Obama Resigns After the Midterms.

BETTER IDEA: GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND SHARE THEM WITH THE POLES. Nervous Swedes Eye NATO Membership.

Russia’s repeated little “visits” with subs and planes might finally be enough for famously neutral Sweden. For the first time, an opinion poll has found that the majority of respondents want to join the NATO alliance. . . .

Sweden’s new center-left government came into office having made anti-NATO pledges, but the conversation seems to have shifted significantly since then. Not only have the Russians been (supposedly) poking around in Swedish waters; they’ve also entered Swedish airspace. As a similar incident over Estonia makes clear, the Russians are testing how much leeway they have in the Baltic after an easy win in Ukraine—but it appears they are finally getting some pushback. . . .

But even if Sweden did join NATO, its military weakness would leave it vulnerable. Meanwhile, NATO’s European members are historically weak, even on paper, and even more so in the field. And above all, American posturing and retreat over the Ukraine crisis has called into question the alliance’s ability to deter Putin from further aggression in the Baltics.

It’s good to see some of the Europeans start taking this threat seriously. But Putin is bringing hard-power realities back to the fore, and should not be underestimated.

For two more years, at least, NATO probably won’t do much.

AMAZING WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT THE INFLUENCE OF THE NATIONAL MEDIA: Election could tip historic number of legislatures into Republican hands.

TO OIKOPHOBIC LEFTIES, THAT’S NOT A BUG, IT’S A FEATURE: Why Middle-Class Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Liberal Cities.

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EVERYTHING SEEMINGLY IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: NATO says Russian jets, bombers circle Europe in unusual incidents.

CDC: Well, yes, actually droplets from a sneeze could spread Ebola. “Dr. Rossi Hassad, a professor of epidemiology at Mercy College, said droplets could remain active for up to a day.”

UPDATE: Ebola outbreak: Nurse Kaci Hickox defies quarantine.

Related: Ebola In Texas: Austin Nurse Self-Quarantines After Returning From West Africa.

Also: California Announces Ebola Quarantine Rules.

GOOD QUESTION: How Did Alan Grayson’s Wife Get Approved For Public Assistance?

TO BE FAIR, WARREN’S FROM MASSACHUSETTS, WHICH IS NOWHERE NEAR EITHER VERMONT OR NEW HAMPSHIRE: Elizabeth Warren: Jeanne Shaheen “out there working for the people of Vermont.”

ASHE SCHOW: Insight into how campus sexual assault panels are being ‘trained.’

Much of the focus on campus sexual assault has been on who should handle allegations. Those pushing the idea that the problem is widespread on colleges have demanded training for campus administrators.

If the Obama administration and proponents of certain bills claiming to end or reduce campus sexual assault get their way, the question will then become: “How will campus administrators be trained?”

This is something that should be just as frightening as “yes means yes” laws, or any other bill that doesn’t include due process rights for the accused, because the people being trained to adjudicate charges are not being taught objectivity.

K.C. Johnson — co-author of a book about the Duke Lacrosse rape case — recently discovered a guide for training college administrators in how to handle complaints of sexual assault. The guide was developed in 2012 by women at the University of Pennsylvania — the university’s general counsel, the director of the Office of Student Conduct and a consultant. The document also specifically thanks the input of the university’s Women’s Center.

The guide is meant to be copied and pasted for other schools to use when “training” members of student discipline panels. It flat out says to just replace certain portions of text with information relevant to the school.

The guide includes 17 “tips” for adjudicators. As Johnson notes, ten of these are neutral, but six seem to pressure panelists to vote guilty. The remaining “tip” could be read either way.

Of course, the very first tip is a restatement of the myth that one in five women will experience sexual assault during college.

The most harmful tip, though, is the one claiming that “False allegations of rape are not common.” The source for this claim comes from clinical psychologist David Lisak, who found that over a ten-year period, 5.9 percent of cases at “a major Northeastern university” were deemed to be false allegations. The UPenn guide also notes that “Other reputable research places the rate in the general population between 2% and 10%.”

A 1 in 10 chance of a false accusation is actually large enough that it should give panel members pause, but this guide frames false accusations as a “myth.”

Kangaroo courts. Why would anyone send a kid — especially a son — to institutions that would do this? Would you send a black kid to institutions with disciplinary manuals written by the KKK?

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! (CONT’D): Video: New Mexico Officer Cleared of Sexual Assault by Body Camera. “Arrested for drunk driving, an Albuquerque woman tried to flip the script on an Albuquerque Police officer, accusing him of sexual assault. Cops say when 23-year-old Deanna Griego was placed under arrest for DWI she tried to hatch a false sexual assault accusation against the cop who arrested her. The officer was wearing a lapel cam and the video contradicted her claims.”

Plus: “Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Tanner Tixier told TheBlaze on Monday evening that police were not pursuing additional charges against Griego because, despite the apparent falsehood of her sexual assault claim, police did not want to set a precedent that could discourage other potential victims of sexual assault from coming forward.”

Don’t we want to discourage liars from lying?

ASSOCIATED PRESS: If Ebola batters US, we are not ready. Do tell.

ROLL CALL: Democrats Losing Youth Vote: Millennials Turning to the GOP.

Democrats have lost ground with millennials compared to past election cycles — a development that suggests the country’s youngest voters are open to both parties, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

The nationwide poll of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 to 29, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 9, found significant political divisions across racial lines, no significant gender gap in the age group, and a slight Republican advantage among definite voters going into the 2014 midterm election.

“A lesson here, for us, is that young people, millennials, are no longer the political outliers that they once were,” said John Della Volpe, the Harvard Institute of Politics polling director, on a conference call with reporters. “In contrast to where we were four years ago, the youth vote is very much up for grabs politically.”

The 2014 poll shows that 51 percent of millennials considered most likely to vote would rather see a Republican Congress — 4 points higher than those who prefer Democrats. That’s a 16-point jump from 2010, when that group preferred Democrats by 12 percent.

Millennials “could be a critical swing vote in races across the country,” said Maggie Williams, the Harvard IOP director. “The message is clear: Ignore millennial voters at your peril.”

Della Volpe said the shift is indicative of enthusiasm levels this cycle for young Republican voters vs. Democrat voters. Those who voted for Romney in 2012 are more likely to participate this November, he said.

Even a flatworm is smart enough to turn away from pain. And since Obama was elected in 2008 — and, really, since Dems took over Congress in 2006 — there has been a lot of pain for millennials.

TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Death spiral? Short-term health plans grow as cheap alternative to ObamaCare.

THE HILL: Top Dem ‘shocked’ by ‘chickens—’ remark.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hit the Obama administration on Wednesday over an official calling the Israeli prime minister a “chickenshit.”

“I was shocked and disappointed on reading the comments in The Atlantic,” Engel said in a statement. “I call upon the Administration to reassert the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, and to reaffirm that the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable.

“I realize that two allies, such as the United States and Israel, are not going to agree on everything, but I think it is counterproductive and unprofessional for Administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way,” he added. “I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials. This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

Engel is responding to an article in The Atlantic detailing the Obama administration’s frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The article quotes a senior Obama administration official as calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit.”

The statement from Engel, known as a strong supporter of Israel, adds a Democratic voice to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) criticism of the comments.

Just more “smart diplomacy” from our JV administration.

PAUL RAHE: Our Ebola Policy: Serious Grounds for Distrust.

INCISIVE ANALYSIS FROM THE KEEN MINDS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: If You Vote Republican Next Week, You’re A Bumpkin.

Well, okay then. “Now that you’ve been insulted by the vaunted NYT, all you shambling dimwits in that terrifying wasteland between LA and NYC, I trust you’ll think twice about your vote. . . . You wouldn’t want to draw the contempt of the Paper of Record, would you? You wouldn’t want them to think you’re not one of them, right? Be sophisticated. Be smug. Vote Democrat.”

October 29, 2014

IT’S PROBABLY WITH LOIS LERNER’S EMAILS: Poof: Casino ethics complaint against Reid disappears. “Nobody is saying ‘cover-up’ just yet, but an ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid received by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics nearly a year ago has mysteriously disappeared, and the panel claims it never received it despite a signed receipt.”

WISCONSIN: Mary Burke’s Old Boss: “To say it bluntly, she was fired.” From the family business, for heavy-handed incompetence.

DAVID BERNSTEIN EXPLAINS OBAMA’S “CHICKENSHIT” PROBLEMS. “The Obama Administration came in to office thinking it could either force Netanyahu to make concessions, or force his government to fall. . . . Instead, Netanyahu has managed to stay his own course, and still is in no danger of losing his parliamentary majority. Hence administration frustration and ‘chickenshit.’”

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MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Secret Service Agents Pay a Visit to Anti-Obama Artist Sabo — and the Entire Exchange Is Seemingly Captured on Video. Sabo, however, seems un-cowed:

“I realize we have a f***head in the White House and the Constitution no longer means s**t, but as far as I’m concerned we still have the First Amendment, correct?” he said, sitting behind a desk featuring Obama’s face painted on toilet seat covers.

Yes, we do. And some people are pretty unhappy about that.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Police: High School Dance Teacher, 37, Had Lesbian Sex With Girl, 16.

WAR ON WOMEN: Rep. Alan Grayson’s Estranged Wife & Kids on Gov’t Assistance as Dem Refuses to Support Them. “Barely a week after being named the 17th richest member of Congress, liberal firebrand and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is refusing to support his estranged wife and their kids, and his wife has turned to government food stamps to support her family, WFTV 9 Orlando reports. . . . Barely a week after being named the 17th richest member of Congress, liberal firebrand and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is refusing to support his estranged wife and their kids, and his wife has turned to government food stamps to support her family, WFTV 9 Orlando reports.” They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney. . . .

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Sex with 21 women lowers risk of prostate cancer, academics find; The University of Montreal has found that men who had sex with more than 20 women lower their prostate cancer risk. “Men who had slept with more than 20 women lowered their risk of developing cancer by almost one third, and were 19 per cent less likely to develop the most aggressive form. In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who have never had sex with another man.”

THAT CATCALLING VIDEO: It’s a racist production about white women not wanting attention from black and Latino men. “The video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, ‘The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?’”

Maybe she did.

UPDATE: Catcalls And The Death Of Chivalry.

After a brief search on social media, the video was being shared by several flamboyantly contrite men and enraged women. “Wow! I guess men still don’t get it.” “Men are disgusting animals.” “All you men should be ashamed of yourselves.”

I didn’t have the slightest shame watching the video, nor should any male with whom I associate. We don’t catcall. Of course some guys are boors as are some women. I don’t need a video to prove that human nature is a thing.

In the young woman’s 10-hour stroll through New York City, the video shows 20 incidents of harassment (two per hour), while text at the conclusion alleges more than 100. Some of the behavior is downright creepy while much isn’t disturbing at all.

Apologies to the video editor, but “how you doing today,” “how are you this morning,” and “have a nice evening” hardly count as harassment. If they do, I’m violated by polite tourists, panhandlers, and assertive shopkeepers every time I stroll along a busy city street.

All gentlemen agree that catcalling is a bad thing. In fact patriarchal Victorians were so disgusted by such rudeness, they enforced an elaborate public morality that elevated women with a higher level of respect. Thank goodness feminism and secularism drove a stake through chivalry’s heart.

Chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral obligations on both women and men. Women found those obligations too onerous, but still expect men to shoulder them.

And let’s be honest. What makes these catcalls offensive isn’t that they come from men. It’s that they come from low-status men. Like an unconsented kiss from President Obama, if the catcalls came from George Clooney there’d be much less female outrage.

In fact, maybe these catcalls are a way of striking back at privilege. Any grievance-studies major should be able to flesh out this line of thought . . . .

SHOCKER: Being married has a lot to do with economic success.

TRIFECTA: FEC May Yank 1st Amendment Guards for Drudge, Rest of Internet.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Romney Foreign Policy Team Is Schooling 2016′s Republicans.

Well, in retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.

THE BEATING IS WORST when you stop moving.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? ‘Sneak and Peek’ Warrants Intended for Terrorism Mostly Used in Drug Cases.

CUT THEIR BUDGETS, AS THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS: More Cops Investigate More Teens ‘Sexting.’ Now What?

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POOR ASHE SCHOW. SHE’S ALWAYS HAVING TO PLAY WHACK-A-MOLE WITH DISHONEST NUMBERS: No, 1 in 6 MIT undergraduates have not been sexually assaulted.

But I say, Why take chances?

[INSERT OBVIOUS SEXBOT JOKE HERE]: Will Your Next Best Friend Be A Robot?

SPYING: Research links massive cyber spying ring to Russia. “The group, dubbed APT28 by the company, has targeted high level officials in Eastern European countries such as Georgia, and security organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminal groups are known to conduct massive campaigns aimed at stealing money and financial information, APT28 focuses solely on political information and state secrets, according to FireEye. The report argues that the group is closely tied to Russia and likely part of Moscow’s intelligence apparatus.”

SHOCKINGLY, NOT A REPORT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM: This Is Your Brain On Magic Mushrooms.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST A WORD FOR THE THINGS THAT WE DO TOGETHER.

COLORADO ELECTION SHENANIGANS: GOP: Some Boulder County election judges are Democrats posing as Republicans.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 538.

CAR WARS: Uber and Cabbies in a D.C. Death Match.

As it has become clear that their friendly neighborhood taxi commissioner will not be able to shut down services such as Uber and Lyft, taxi drivers have increasingly adopted a new tactic: blocking traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue. They staged another slowdown today as the D.C. Council prepared to take a final vote on a bill that would legitimize and regulate Uber-like services.

Much venom has been spilled toward the taxi drivers on my Facebook feed. But here’s what I want to know: What the heck is the point?

The Teamsters union organized hundreds of cabbies to drive around the Wilson Building today while the D.C. Council was expected to vote. But the city council already knows how taxi drivers feel. The problem is, there are more Uber riders than taxi drivers, and those folks also feel pretty strongly. I’ve seen it suggested that this is a show of force to remind the council that it is risking the large sums that taxi interests routinely contribute to campaigns. That’s the sort of reminder I’d think would be better delivered over drinks, in the form of an unsigned check.

Meanwhile, this campaign has been 100 percent successful in alienating folks who might have been sympathetic before they started asserting their civil rights to shut down a major artery in the name of protecting their cozy monopoly. It seems like this is all cost, no benefit.

. . . At least to the taxi drivers. On the other hand, for the Teamsters, it’s important to show that you’re Doing Something in the face of an enormous threat to your income. And using their vehicles to interfere with traffic is what the Teamsters know how to do. This may not get the taxi drivers what they want. But it might well buy the union some loyalty from its members. When you’re fighting a lost cause, the important thing is to be seen fighting.

Leaders are more interested in leaders’ positions than in followers’ well-being.

REMEMBER THIS THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE THE TIMES EDITORIALIZE ON THE EVILS OF CORPORATE MONEY AND LOBBYING: NY Times Hires Lobbyist to Advocate on ERISA Update. I’m sure lobbyist Harold Ashner will be pushing for changes that make life cushier for workers and retirees. . . . .

MOLLY BALL: The Democrats’ Ground Game May Be Falling Short in Iowa.

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TRIFECTA: Free To Be Quarantined: Does Ebola Fear Justify Involuntary Detention?

OUR BRAVE “PUBLIC HEALTH” PEOPLE SEEM KINDA SELFISH: Ebola Nurse In Maine Says She Won’t Follow Home Quarantine Rules. Really setting an example there, honey.

Or maybe she’s just following this example: Report: ‘Hero’ Ebola doctor lied to the NYPD; Said he’d ‘self quarantined.’ Putz.

Funny, the public health crowd loves telling others what to do, but doesn’t seem so big on following instructions itself. This does not inspire confidence, and will make it much harder to get ordinary Americans to comply with public health measures in the future.

Meanwhile, such behavior just strengthens the case for mandatory quarantines for everyone entering the country from Ebola areas. We obviously can’t trust their professionalism and willingness to engage in self-sacrifice — at least, unless they’re from Tennessee.

THE HILL: Report: Secret Service prostitution investigator resigns after own incident.

The investigator who led the internal inquiry into the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal resigned in August after he was implicated in his own incident involving a prostitute, according to a report from the New York Times.

Local law enforcement in Florida reportedly saw David Nieland, the investigator, going in and out of a building they were surveilling as part of a prostitution investigation. The prostitute later identified Nieland as a client.

Nieland said that the allegations were untrue in a statement to the Times. As of Tuesday, he had not been charged in connection with the incident.

Nieland is said to have resigned after he refused to answer questions from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office. DHS is the supervising agency of the Secret Service.

Nieland was the lead investigator examining charges that several Secret Service agents used prostitutes while in Cartagena, Colombia in advance of a trip to the country by President Obama.

Nieland has said that he was asked to keep information out of his final report to protect the child of a Democratic donor, who was volunteering with the White House advance team on the trip. Some were suspicious that the volunteer had brought a prostitute back to his room.

He says that he was later suspended without pay for two weeks as retaliation. His supervisors have said it was because he circulated around his office images of a female intern’s feet.

So is he being smeared because he leaked? Was he chosen to investigate because he was smearable? Or is everybody at DHS seeing hookers? None of these possibilities look good.

THE RED CROSS GETS BETTER PRESS THAN IT DESERVES: The Red Cross’s Secret Disaster.

The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”

During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, “just to be seen,” one of the drivers, Jim Dunham, recalls.

“We were sent way down on the Gulf with nothing to give,” Dunham says. The Red Cross’ relief effort was “worse than the storm.”

During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground.

Funny that it’s taken so long for people to report on this. I guess covering it in 2012 would have undercut the triumphalist Obama narrative.

JEB BUSH: Obama ‘incompetent’ on Ebola.

I THINK THIS MEANS THAT IF YOU DON’T VOTE REPUBLICAN NEXT WEEK, YOU’RE A RACIST: Wave Would Mean a Diversity Boost for House GOP. I mean, nothing’s more important than diversity, right?

ONE THAT RESPECTS DUE PROCESS RIGHTS, EVEN: An alternative to Congress’ campus sexual assault bill could be coming.

An anti-domestic violence organization has drafted legislation that would ensure the proper authorities – law enforcement – handle sexual assault accusations and not college administrators.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, which bills itself as “a victim-advocacy organization working for legal reform,” first drafted its legislation a couple months ago in response to the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter forcing colleges and universities to implement new rape-prevention measures. The organization has edited their draft since then in response to new federal regulations and feedback from congressional offices.

The latest draft includes mandatory sexual assault prevention training for new students during college orientation, interim protection measures for accusers (such as counseling and changes in classes to remove accusers from situations where they feel threatened) and extra accountability through statistical reporting. . . .

“All allegations of campus criminal sexual assault that are brought to the attention of campus security or the campus disciplinary committee shall be immediately reported and referred by the personnel or committee to local law enforcement officials,” the draft says. “Exclusive jurisdiction for investigation and adjudication of the complaint shall reside with local criminal justice authorities.”

The SOS Act — not to be confused with the SOS Campus Act, which has already been introduced — also requires universities to treat acquitted students with respect and provide confidentiality.

“Absent a criminal plea agreement or verdict of guilt, colleges and universities shall respect and maintain the presumption of innocence with regards to the accused,” the draft says. “The accused shall enjoy the same confidentiality and privacy protections as the identified victim.”

This seems much fairer.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Half of MIT Students Think It’s Possible to “Accidently” Rape Someone (Thanks, Affirmative Consent!)

Media are reporting that one in six female undergraduates at MIT have been sexually assaulted (with this translating in some headlines and social media shares to “one in six have been raped”). But the MIT survey suffers from the same issues that plague previous studies on campus sexual assault.

First, the survey’s methodology: In April, MIT emailed its sexual assault survey to all 10,831 undergraduates and graduate students. Students could then opt to take the survey or not. Ultimately, 35 percent of MIT students did. But whenever you have an opt-in survey, those who self-select to take it are not necessarily representative of a given population. Or, as MIT researchers put it, “response bias is expected in virtually any voluntary survey, particularly one focused on a narrow topic. … the rates based on those who responded to the survey cannot be extrapolated to the MIT student population as a whole.”

It’s also worth noting that the definition of sexual assault—in both the MIT survey and previous campus sexual assault studies—is a broad one, including forced sexual penetration, forced oral sex, and unwanted “sexual touching” or kissing. Of course there are all sorts of levels of sexual assault, and just because something doesn’t approach the level of forced intercourse (i.e., rape) doesn’t mean it’s not a serious violation. But let’s be clear that MIT’s “1 in 6″ stat is decidely not about the number of students who are rape victims, nor is the much bandied-about “1 in 5″ college women stat.

So!, now that we’ve cleared up what the MIT study did not find, let’s look at what it did, starting with intriguing student attitudes toward sexual assault. Contra the affirmative consent crowd, it doesn’t seem that a lack of respect or enthusiasm for obtaining sexual content is a big problem: 98 percent of females and 96 percent of males agreed or strongly agreed that it’s important to get consent before sexual activity.

But students are confused about how alcohol and intoxication affect consent, which perhaps speaks to increasing progressive activism around the idea that drunk people can’t give consent. Only about three-quarters of respondents said they feel confident in their own ability to judge whether someone is too intoxicated to consent to sex. And more than half agreed that “rape and sexual assault can happen unintentionally, especially if alcohol is involved.”

I just want to repeat that one more time: Half of the MIT students surveyed think it’s possible to “accidently” rape someone. When you consider undergraduates alone, this rises to 67 percent.

This is what we get when people push an idea that rape is really often a matter of consent confusion or a drunken misunderstanding and not something that one person (the rapist) intentionally does to another. This is exactly what those of us opposed to affirmative consent standards mean when we worry about it muddying the waters of consent and confusing the definition of rape.

Good grief.

WHY DO DEMOCRATS HATE POOR PEOPLE? Liberal Cities Like L.A. Face Much Higher Housing Prices.

The Democrat-Republican divide often comes down to the difference in how we believe America can best prosper. Democrats say the collective power of the people can protect the financial interests of the everyday worker. Republicans often argue that freedom from government fosters economic well-being.

It turns out the Democrat way of doing things doesn’t seem to help middle class citizens when it comes time to make the biggest purchase of their lives. . . .

L.A. is one of 28 “dark blue” markets in which Democrat Barack Obama trounced Republican Mitt Romney for president by at least 20 percentage points in 2012. Prominent dark blue cities also include New York and San Francisco.

Guess what else they have in common?

Yes—they’re the most unaffordable cities in America when it comes to housing, not only according to Trulia but also according to other reports we’ve highlighted in the past.

The website says that these “blue markets have lower home ownership and greater income inequality than red markets.”

If you assume that people intend the natural and probable consequences of their actions, then Democrats hate poor people and the middle class.

October 28, 2014

WELL, THAT’S CERTAINLY THE WAY TO BET, ISN’T IT? Is the Washington Press Corps Covering Up Another Obama Administration Fiasco?

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL CALLS BIBI NETANYAHU A “CHICKENSHIT,” and Ed Driscoll notes the obvious comparison.

obamavbibi

VA WHISTLEBLOWER THREATENED FOR SPEAKING OUT.

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ROCKETS EXPLODE SOMETIMES: NASA-Contracted Rocket Bound for Space Station Suffers ‘Catastrophic Anomaly,’ Explodes.

Of course, using old Russian engines may increase that problem. But, then again, the source may be something entirely different. I’m currently reading Charles Murray & Catherine Cox’s Apollo history and I just got to the part about the fire. So compared to that, this catastrophe appears comparatively mild.

UPDATE: More here.

AS MANY AS THEY CAN: Steven Hayward: How Many Elections Will Democrats Steal Next Week? Despite what we’ve been told, electoral fraud clearly isn’t a myth.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): The young and the disconnected: America’s youth unemployment problem. Note, though, that one thing making the featured protagonist in this story unemployable is a conviction for violating Washington, DC’s absurd gun law, a law which surely has a tremendous disparate impact on young minority males — and, in fact, was designed to.

But it’s not just “disconnected youth” who have a problem in the Obama Economy:

Up until a decade ago, Bird said, it was easier for them to find service jobs. But now they compete against college graduates who can’t find professional work, or adults looking to support their family.

“I know it’s hard,” Hernandez said. “My cousin has a master’s degree and has to look for jobs on Craiglist. Just like me.”

Fundamentally transformed.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: NSF Grant program to support nanotechnology and other infrastructure.

POLICING: 24 Armed Officers And An Armored Vehicle Dispatched To Collect Civil Judgment From 75-year-old Man. Quoth the sheriff: “People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now.”

YEAH, NOT A GREAT START: Amazon sitting on $83 million of unsold Fire Phones.

TODAY IN LAW ENFORCEMENT: California Cops Passed Around Explicit Photos Harvested From Arrestees’ Phones.

DOING JOBS AMERICA WON’T DO: Australia imposes travel ban on Ebola-impacted countries.

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WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Meet “The Reason,” A New Metal 3D Printed Gun.

AN ALMOST DRUDGE-WORTHY JUXTAPOSITION in the NYT science pages.

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But, I feel sure, unintentional.

IF THEY’RE ALSO SEXBOTS, WE MAY SEE A WAVE OF EARLY RETIREMENTS: Your Retirement May Include a Robot Helper: As industrial robots become more capable, they could start helping out around the home.

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Improving Your Memory With Chocolate.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE! How a False Domestic-Violence Charge Ruined An NBA Career. “If you’re wondering whether authorities will charge this woman with perjury, think again. Forged documents, false allegations, and defamatory lies in police reports or restraining-order petitions are met with a shrug. The county attorney refused to charge Cunningham’s accuser with making a false police report, telling the AP he was reluctant to bring those charges for fear of ‘a chilling effect’ such an action might have on future victims of domestic violence.”

You’d think you’d want to chill people who make false accusations.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Mine An Asteroid.

INCAPABLE OF FUNCTIONING IN A FREE SOCIETY: Berkeley Muslims Prove Bill Maher’s Point. “In his comments on his HBO show, Maher noted that too many Muslims reject the very notion of free thought and free speech, that the problem is not just ‘a few bad apples.’”

WISCONSIN: Scott Walker, in Dead Heat, Faces Third Election in Four Years. The Wisconsin Deep State has pulled out all the stops to defeat Walker by fair means or foul, and I take Obama’s rare campaign appearance for Burke as evidence that they believe the fix is in.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Solve the kidney crisis with a free market in organs.

IN THE MAIL: From William S. Lind, On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009, now #1 in military strategy.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 70% Off Necklaces: $15.99 – $179.99.

And, also today only: Rocky: The Heavyweight Collection, $18.99 (68% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 537.

ROBERT MCMANUS ON EBOLA: The Trust Deficit: Why the Public Is Twitchy.

Govs. Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey responded as might be expected — politically if not thoughtfully, but for the short run understandably and correctly.

They imposed mandatory quarantines — driving the usual suspects into a dead swoon.

Number the president among the suspects. The White House has been wagging a bony finger at restrictive responses to Ebola in general — and now at Cuomo and Christie, too. They’re not above criticism, to be sure, but for the president to be dishing it out is a little rich.

For the battle against Ebola in America is all about trust.

That is, can New Yorkers worried about dying a loathsome death from a disease now largely confined to three countries 4,500 miles away really trust presidential reassurances?

After President Obama said ISIS is the JV, and then all of a sudden told us it was an existential threat? After “you can keep your doctor” and then, oops, you can’t? After the IRS scandal and Fast & Furious and Benghazi?

With two weeks to go before midterm elections, the president hires a Washington uber-fixer, lobbyist Ron Klain, to manage his Ebola response and people are supposed to assume that health policy is driving the operation?

Alas, neither does Cuomo inspire confidence.

Yes, nothing says our policy is science-driven like putting a political fixer in charge.

THANKS TO ERIC BOEHLERT, WHO BY MAKING A FOOL OF HIMSELF let us know what the lefties are afraid of.

Related: Washington Post: Sharyl Attkisson’s computer intrusions: ‘Worse than anything Nixon ever did.’ Note that both an analyst hired by CBS and another outside expert consulted by Attkisson found evidence of U.S. government tampering, with the latter commenting: ““This … is better evidence of the government being in your computer than the government had when it accused China of hacking into computers in the U.S.” So you can see why this is the kind of story the folks at Media Matters would like to laugh off.

Also related: USA Today’s Susan Page: Obama administration most ‘dangerous’ to media in history.

FORGET KANSAS, WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH LIBERALS? “Liberal icon Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?, is the latest lefty to compare President Obama to Jimmy Carter—and he doesn’t mean it as a compliment.”

NICE POLL KID. DON’T GET COCKY: Poll: Midterm momentum belongs to GOP.

Republicans enter the final week of the midterm campaign holding higher ground than the Democrats, aided by public dissatisfaction with President Obama’s leadership, with the overall direction of the country and with the federal government’s ability to deal with major problems, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Driving attitudes is a pervasive sense of a country in trouble. Overwhelming majorities say the country is badly off-track and give the economy negative ratings. Economic expectations are little better today than they were at this time four years ago.

Six in 10 say they cannot trust the government in Washington to do what is right — the same as a year ago in the aftermath of the government shutdown and the botched rollout of the federal Web site for the Affordable Care Act.

With multiple crises confronting the country — including the spread of Ebola in West Africa and cases here at home, as well as threats from Islamic State militants — a majority now says the government’s ability to deal with big problems has declined in the past few years. Among those who say this, more — by 3 to 1 — blame Obama and the Democrats rather than Republicans in Congress.

Well, that’s who’s been in charge for the past 6 years. And the GOP hasn’t controlled Congress since 2006.

MICKEY KAUS: Do We Need An Ebola Luxury Resort?

Voluntary quarantining has proven incompletely effective. At the same time, we don’t want to discourage volunteer health care workers from traveling to West Africa, where the main fight against the disease is being waged. They’re not exactly encouraged to make the trip if they know they’ll have to spend 21 days in a tent with a portable toilet on their return.

What to do? Protect the public here or incentivize workers to go there? This is a false choice! What’s needed is a quarantine so luxurious that health care workers will look forward to their 21 day quarantine, or at least not dread it. What if the federal government took over an isolated resort, say on the Gulf Coast. Stocked it with finest foods and wines in the land, and the best films and recreation and wireless Internet access and volunteer musical acts — a French widow in every room, as a friend of mine used to say, equivalent to a very expensive vacation, available for free to any returning volunteer. The only catch is they couldn’t leave for 21 days. (They could bring their spouses and partners, if they wanted –but then the spouses couldn’t leave either.)

This makes a lot of sense, and hence won’t be adopted by the authorities so long as any other alternatives exist. . . .

CNN MEDIA REPORTER: Carol Costello Deserves All The Criticism She’s Getting. I’m glad to see CNN drag this out, as it makes extra-clear what one-sided hypocrisy all the “war on women” stuff has been.