March 27, 2015

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), is completely unable to park a car. “The result is a car that is not parked as much as abandoned.” It’s a pretty good metaphor for government in the age of Obama.

DOES KINESIOLOGY TAPE REALLY WORK?

It’s certainly colorful.

ARE TEENAGERS HAPPIER THAN THEY WERE TEN YEARS AGO? If so, maybe it’s because they’re spending less time around other teenagers.

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JOHN FUND: How Lee Kuan Yew Created A Viable Welfare State:

Lee Kuan Yew, a member of Britain’s left-wing Labour party while a student at Cambridge, managed to create a workable welfare state, one that provides for people without creating Social Security–like Ponzi schemes or unsustainable entitlements. Both liberals and conservatives have much to learn from what he built, the details of which are missing in most of the tributes to him. Lee’s first priority when he became prime minister in 1959 was to reimagine Singapore’s economy. “Back then, this place was a swamp, with no natural resources, and it even had to import its drinking water from Malaysia,” Jim Rogers, a noted American investor who has lived in Singapore for nearly a decade, told me during my visit there. By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That’s 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s. “A 2010 study showed more patents and patent applications from the small city-state of Singapore (population 5.6 million) than from Russia (population 140 million),” noted economist Thomas Sowell observes. But that wealth wasn’t used to create a traditional welfare state. Economist Mark Skousen notes that Singapore is rated along with Hong Kong as one of the two most free economies in the world. Any expansion of government is gradual and grudging. In 2013, when Singapore broadened its medical-benefits program, the local Straits Times newspaper made clear the government’s philosophy: “The first [priority] is to keep government subsidies targeted at those who most need them, rather than commit to benefits for all. Universal benefits are ‘wasteful and inequitable,’ and hard to take away once given, [finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam] said.” . . .

Singapore’s approach to the provision of health care, retirement income, and housing is in sharp distinction to that of other countries. People are required to make relatively high payments into savings plans from which they can later buy a home, pay tuition, and purchase a variety of insurance policies. For those under age 50, the employee contributes 20 percent of his income, and the employer 16 percent. A third of the employee’s share is put into a private Medisave account. When the balance reaches 34,100 U.S. dollars, any excess funds can be used for non-health-care purposes. All are enrolled in a catastrophic-health-care plan, although they can opt out.

Read the whole thing.

CONNECTICUT LAW TRIBUNE: Reining In Rogue Prosecutors Should Not Be Taboo Topic.

A SECRET OF GETTING AHEAD: The Power of Being Able to Do a Good Job at Tedious, Detail-Oriented Work.

COMPARING HER TO NIXON IS PROBABLY UNFAIR. TO NIXON. Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network. On the other hand, they make her lapses as Secretary of State even less forgivable, since she obviously knew what was going on. “Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations.”

FLIRTING ADVICE from a Tinder robot.

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ISN’T THE VERY TERM “TESTOSTERONE-ADDLED BRUTES” AWFULLY SEXIST? Plus: “If the brutishness of brutish men has a physical cause — testosterone — shouldn’t we be more empathetic the way we are toward other medical conditions that impair the mind? Isn’t it ableist of us to direct hostility toward ‘testosterone-addled brutes’?”

SO WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Extrasolar Planets Are, Almost, Everywhere.

PREPPING FOR A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: Amazon Robot Contest May Accelerate Warehouse Automation. “Amazon has already automated some of the work done in its vast fulfillment centers. Robots in a few locations send shelves laden with products over to human workers who then grab and package them. These mobile robots, made by Kiva Systems, a company that Amazon bought in 2012 for $678 million, reduce the distance human workers have to walk in order to find products. However, no robot can yet pick and pack products with the speed and reliability of a human. Industrial robots that are already widespread in several industries are limited to extremely precise, repetitive work in highly controlled environments.”

But the robots get better every year, while the workers stay the same. Or, perhaps, get worse.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader Paul Duffau: Surviving the Home Inspection: The Essential Seller’s Guide.

LESS THAN PERFECTLY: How Airlines Screen Their Pilots, and Watch Out for Warning Signs. Plus: “American regulations require that a flight attendant go in the cockpit whenever one pilot leaves. That is as a security measure, in case the remaining pilot has a medical issue and can’t open the security door. With an attendant in place, unlike in the Germanwings scenario, the co-pilot isn’t left alone. As CEO Carsten Spohr of Lufthansa (Germanwings’ parent airline) said in a press conference today, Europe doesn’t have such a rule.”

“GOVERNMENT” IS JUST A WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Like stage gladiatorial pit-fights with inmates for our amusement.

RUSSELL BERMAN: The Western Rift Over Iran. “Suddenly it is the US that is from Venus and the Europeans are from Mars, to use the imagery of earlier debates. . . . American policy has largely involved withdrawals—from the Middle East—and relinquishing of leadership elsewhere.”

IN THE MAIL: From Josh Silva, Maximum GPA in Minimum Time: 79 Quick Tips for Better Grades Starting Today.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 687.

IS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW AN EXCUSE? No, but Michael Cottone argues that maybe it should be, in his Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in the Regulatory Age. I think this is a very important topic and an important piece. As he notes, it expands (significantly!) on some of the ideas touched on in my Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is A Crime piece. (Bumped).

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Egypt-Saudi Invasion of Yemen Imminent.

The Egyptians’ decision to return to Yemen, which is essentially their Vietnam, is extremely significant. It reflects both enormous fear on the part of the Sunni powers and the strength of the Saudi-led alliance.

Events in Yemen continue to accelerate much faster than many experts predicted, and the potential for widespread sectarian war between Sunni and Shi’a grows more acute by the day. In some ways this portends even more trouble than ISIS’s fight against Iran’s proxies in Syria and Iraq: that fight is both bloody and strategically important, but ISIS is also an enemy of the Sunni powers (whose rule it wants to overthrow). Now, the Saudis and their allies are clearly prepared to confront Iran’s allies head-on.

The price of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive failure of strategy in the Middle East may be very high.

Before you can dub it a failure, you have to know what Obama is trying to accomplish.

ILYA SOMIN: Why mandatory jury service is a poor justification for mandatory voting.

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LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: FBI disrupts plot to kill scores at military base on behalf of Islamic State. “Authorities arrested an Illinois Army National Guardsman after he attempted to travel to Libya and fight with the Islamic State as well as the soldier’s cousin who was plotting to attack a U.S. military installation and kill scores, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Hasan Rasheed Edmonds, 22, and his cousin Jonas Marcel ­Edmonds, 29, both of Aurora, Ill., were charged with conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.”

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Chicago Tribune: Concealed carry enters second year in the Southland.

Hayes, who previously opposed the law, also said he noticed suburbanites who now have concealed carry licenses seem to be less fearful of crime and more confident in community safety.

“Law enforcement has two goals: reduce crime and reduce fear of crime,” Hayes said. “This seems to have an impact on law-abiding citizens adjusting to their fear level by confidence and knowledge.”

Lutger said he liked having a gun on him because police don’t always arrive on time.

“It’s a great equalizer if you’re attacked or if you have a bunch of thugs that rob you or want to kill you,” Lutger said. “This is strictly for self protection of myself and my family.”

Well, yes. Plus:

In the year of concealed carry permits in Illinois, there have only been a couple incidents involving legal gun owners that have created headlines. In July, a concealed-carry permit holder in Crestwood tried shooting at a fleeing armed robber, hurting no one but forcing a police officer to duck for cover. In Chicago a member of the military who had a concealed carry permit shot and wounded an armed man who fired into a crowd on Chicago’s Far South Side.

Nevertheless, Hayes said he stopped opposing the concealed carry law when he realized that the past year has not resulted in the level of violence some anticipated.

Yeah, funny: The antigun folks always predict that the streets will run red with blood, and somehow they’re always wrong. But they never change their story.

SO, BASICALLY THE COCKPIT DOOR IS LOCKED AND WE’RE HEADING TOWARD THE MOUNTAIN: U.S. Caves to Key Iranian Demands as Nuke Deal Comes Together: Limited options for Congress as Obama seeks to bypass lawmakers.

HARRY REID won’t run for re-election.

Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

It doesn’t suggest huge enthusiasm for 2016.

ASHE SCHOW: Mob Justice And The Obama Administration:

When someone faces a trial by media, the default public position of the Obama administration has been to support the prevailing narrative. But in three recent high-profile cases, subsequent federal investigations have overturned the conventional wisdom and vindicated the people pilloried for questioning it from the beginning. . . .

Just two weeks ago, the media had another narrative dismantled — the whole notion that unarmed Ferguson resident Michael Brown had put his hands up in surrender but was shot anyway by police officer Darren Wilson.

The narrative spun last summer and fall was that Brown did not fight with or charge at Wilson, as Wilson and some witnesses claimed. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder proclaimed that the Department of Justice would hold its own investigation of the Brown shooting, despite a grand jury refusing to indict Wilson. Sure enough, DOJ found that Brown had charged and fought the officer before being shot. Based on its finding, the DOJ declined to bring criminal charges against Wilson.

And just a week before the DOJ declined to charge Darren Wilson, the department declined to charge George Zimmerman with civil rights violations. . . .

The point here is that in example after example, the prevailing narrative sold by the media and social justice activists has been disproven after an investigation of the facts. When it comes down to it, it’s cheap and easy for Obama to say something in public to show solidarity with popular opinion. But having to back up that same popular opinion in a legal proceeding — or in Bergdahl’s case, by ignoring a possible crime — is often impossible.

But they wait until the press fever has died. And the Zimmerman hysteria was allowed to burn until after the 2012 elections, while the Ferguson report didn’t come out until after the midterms. In both cases, the mob anger was exploited in an effort to energize black and lefty votes.

THAT REUTERS STORY ON CAMPUS SEX ASSAULTS THAT I LINKED YESTERDAY is looking pretty bad. See the updates to the post.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, NIXONIAN ADMINISTRATORS EDITION: Murky Inquiry Targets Critic of N.Y.U. Role in Abu Dhabi, and a Reporter. “New York University’s fraught tenure as an intellectual prize of the Middle East has taken a new and mysterious turn: A private investigator has been making inquiries about an N.Y.U. professor who criticized the exploitation of migrant workers building the university’s campus in Abu Dhabi. The same investigator, working for an as-yet unidentified party, has also sought information on a reporter for The New York Times who wrote last year about the harsh conditions endured by those workers.”

The university disavows all knowledge of this operation.

THE HILL: Gun debate heats up in Senate budget battle.

Gun rights groups are rallying their members behind a series of budget measures aimed at strengthening the Second Amendment and restricting gun control efforts.

As the Senate debates the federal government’s 2016 budget, Republicans and gun advocates are pushing for a number of amendments that would expand concealed-carry laws and block the Obama administration from issuing what opponents call a “backdoor” ban on guns. . . .

The Senate is looking at a number of various pro-gun amendments that would expand concealed carry laws and block future gun control initiatives.

For instance, an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would block “any legislation that would place further restrictions on the right of law-abiding Americans to own a firearm,” according to the senator’s office.

The amendment would block gun control measures seeking to ban semi-automatic weapons and magazines, and create a national gun registry, unless they have support from two-thirds of senators.

The recent attempt by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to ban certain types of armor-piercing ammunition used in AR-15 rifles is still fresh in the minds of many Republican lawmakers.

The ATF dropped its bid to ban this high-powered ammunition earlier this month, but Republicans and gun rights groups are concerned the agency may try to revive the ban in the future.

In response, Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and David Vitter (R-La.) are pushing an amendment that would prohibit the ATF from attempting to ban bullets that are primarily used by hunters and sportsmen.

The Gun Owners of America and National Association for Gun Rights are both actively lobbying lawmakers in favor of these measures and urging their members to do the same.

Good.

RABBI DEMANDS: Let Jews Defend Themselves from Terrorism.

The recent atrocities remind of us of a time in Europe when Jews were prohibited from mere possession of a firearm. In response to street fighting in Germany in the 1920s, the Weimar Republic enacted stringent gun laws that gave the government discretion to deny permits to “untrustworthy” persons and to register and confiscate guns for “public safety.”

Adolf Hitler conveniently inherited this gun control scheme when he seized power in 1933. He quickly disarmed and crushed his political enemies, notably the Social Democrats.

As the Nazi dictatorship consolidated its power, anti-Semitic measures followed. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were adopted, depriving Jews of the rights of citizenship. Shortly thereafter, Werner Best, second in command to the Gestapo, issued a directive to all police authorities stating that “firearms in the hands of the Jews represent a considerable danger for the German people,” and thus no gun permits should be issued to them.

By the autumn of 1938, Hitler’s henchmen were preparing to launch a major pogrom. Jewish assets were confiscated. To ensure that they could not resist the onslaught that was to come, police throughout Germany ordered the Jews to surrender all firearms. Since the firearms were registered, the police knew who had them. The many who complied lined up at police stations to turn in their guns, after which they were interrogated by the Gestapo. Those who did not had their houses searched and were arrested.

Rather than surrender their guns, they should have opened a no-limit hunting season on Nazis. People who want to take your guns away aren’t doing it for your benefit.

WENDY MCELROY: ‘The Hunting Ground’: Reaping Profit from Rape Hysteria.

When the ‘documentary’ “The Hunting Ground” premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, it was advertised as a “piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses.” In fact, its objectivity and perspective have been systematically dismantled since then. The film is best understood as a volley in the campus consent wars now raging across North America. It is part of a manufactured and coordinated hysteria about campus rape that imposes a politically-correct agenda and strips accused male students of due process rights.

Peel back the panic and you will often find profit. Some PC advocates profit from the power and prestige that being a savior can bring. The New York Times article “An Unblinking Look at Sexual Assaults on Campus: ‘The Hunting Ground,’ a Film About Rape Culture at Colleges” (Jan. 25, 2015) quoted the Democrat Senator from California, Barbara Boxer, as declaring “[Y]ou’re going to see it in response to this film. Believe me, there will be fallout.” The article indicated that Boxer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are pushing legislation that could ride into law on a wave of emotion created by “The Hunting Ground.”

Political careers, administrative jobs, government grants, book and lecture contracts are just some of vast financial benefits that rest upon continuing the “rape culture” crusade on campus.

Yep. “Rape culture” may be a myth, but the rape hysteria industry is very real. Plus:

The most remarkable aspect of the recipient list, however, is the apparent lack of any grants to groups that focus on preventing rape or sexual assault. The names of recipient organizations drive this conclusion. A single grant to Planned Parenthood is as close as NEO seems to come to funding sexual health or safety. And, yet, the “Take Action!” cry from “The Hunting Ground” states that NEO ensures “that your tax-deductible donation supports student-led campaigns, public education, policy reform, and prevention approaches.” Wouldn’t that goal best be ensured by an organization with an established track record on sexual assault? There are many of them out there.

The 2013 form is similar in its disclosed disbursements; no apparent grants go to organizations that address rape and sexual violence, let alone rape on campus. The vast majority of recipients reveal that NEO has an entirely different focus. Only a few recipients have sufficiently ambiguous names to allow the possibility that they deal with rape in some manner.

No wonder the iconoclastic website SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) inquired after “the propriety” of “The Hunting Ground” being used to fund raise for NEO. SAVE asks, “exactly how much of movie-viewers’ donations will be used to underwrite Michele Lord’s excessive salary?” Or used by NEO to pursue partisan issues like immigrant rights? Or used by NEO to encourage people to vote Democrat?

Another question needs to be answered. If, in fact, NEO is using “The Hunting Ground” as a fund raiser, did NEO finance its development in any manner? Is there a connection between director Kirby Dick and NEO? The source of funding is difficult to uncover. Indeed, even how much the ‘documentary’ cost to make is something of a mystery. Mojo lists the budget for “The Hunting Ground” as “N/A.” Other sources claim it was $1.8 million.

The possibility of “The Hunting Ground” being a fund-raiser for social justice causes unrelated to rape is disturbing.

It’s Potemkin villages all the way down with these people.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: The Economist: Lawyers Beware: The Accountants Are Coming After Your Business.

I’D LIKE TO SEE MORE EVIDENCE FOR THIS CLAIM: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT …’Hero of Islamic State’?

March 26, 2015

HMM: ‘Space nets’ aim to capture threats to satellites and spacecraft.

WHY GUN RIGHTS FANS SHOULD SHOP AT KROGER’S. Kroger knows that MomsDemand is just another Bloomberg-funded astroturf group. Why listen to them?

PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: Wesleyan student: My college discriminates against fraternities. We’re suing.

Their arguments attempt to portray fraternities, including the DKE house where I live, as bastions of ‘white male privilege.’

Not only is this an unproductive and unfair ad hominem attack, it is entirely inaccurate: two-thirds of our organization is on financial aid (compared to less than half of the campus as a whole) and 12 percent is African-American (as opposed to 7 percent of the entire campus). . . . At first, it was suggested that fraternities promote sexual assault. Yet the university’s own safety report states that 13 out of 15 forced sexual assaults in 2013 occurred in the university’s own co-ed dorms.

University administrators tend to be totalitarians by inclination, and their biggest objection to fraternities probably isn’t even that they are associated with Evil White Males, but rather that they are alternative power centers, and university administrators don’t want any alternative power centers.

AND, AS WITH “BAN BOSSY,” IT’S BECAUSE THOSE WORDS DESCRIBE HER PERFECTLY: Here Are The Words Hillary’s Supporters Won’t Let You Say. Hmm: Polarizing, Insincere, Entitled, Calculating, Disingenous. . . . Well, yeah, I can see why Hillary supporters don’t want those words used.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Obama: Hey, ObamaCare Was The Republicans’ Plan!

WIRED: Top Gear Shouldn’t Go on Without Jeremy Clarkson. He should start his own show, and steal the audience.

PRACTICING FOR PROMOTION TO THE PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION DETAIL: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes, watchdog says. “Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia, according to a new inspector general report released by the Justice Department on Thursday. . . . The stunning allegations are part of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into claims of sexual harassment and misconduct within DEA; FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service. The IG’s office found that DEA did not fully cooperate with its probe.” Unlike the Colombian hookers, who. . . . Oh, hell, you can figure out the rest.

LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: Things Fall Apart.

FIVE PROPOSALS for reforming the TSA.

On a more serious note, I’d just flat out abolish it. It’s a waste of time and money, all in the service of “security theater” rather than security.

UPDATE: Convicted terrorist Sara Jane Olson went through TSA Pre-Check. “Convicted domestic terrorist Sara Jane Olson, 68, of St. Paul, was allowed to go through TSA’s expedited security screening known as TSA Pre Check last year, despite her criminal background. And when a TSA Agent at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recognized Olson, and alerted a supervisor, his concerns were ignored.”

Like I said. . . .

ED DRISCOLL: Synthespians: The Dawn Of The Digital Actor.

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MY PREDICTION: THE NUMBER OF NUKES IN EUROPE WILL INCREASE. The Future of NATO’s Nukes.

ABOUT TIME: Political Correctness Is Devouring Itself.

FLASHBACK: When Analog Computers Walked The Earth.

AT AMAZON, big savings on Spring Cleaning gear and supplies.

Also, get money back with Amazon Trade-In.

APPARENTLY, I’VE BEEN USING THE WORD “IMMINENT” INCORRECTLY: Researchers Predict ‘Imminent Collapse’ Of Universe After Period Of Rapid Expansion. “Physicists Nemanja Kaloper at the University of California Davis and Antonio Padilla at the University of Nottingham proposed the ‘imminent’ collapse – which on the cosmological scale is a few tens of billions of years from today.”

WELL, THAT WOULD CERTAINLY BE NICE: Single-Dose Cures for Malaria, Other Diseases.

YOU WILL SELDOM SEE A MORE WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND VILLAINY: The Real Life Tatooine is Under Siege by ISIS: The Tunisian filming location of “Star Wars” has become a major arms depot for the Islamic State.

READER BOOK PLUG: From Rod Magner: Where You Been, Boy? A Love Story. It’s about flying, and Magner is a Vietnam Navy pilot vet.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Automated synthesis expands nanotechnology building block repertoire. “The main limitation right now is that only 200 building blocks are available that carry both the halogen and the boronate groups, so only these can be used anywhere other than the first or last building block in the chain. If several thousand new building blocks become commercially available, it may not be too much of an exaggeration to talk about 3D printing of small molecules. . . . t will no doubt take several years to see just how big, how diverse, and how complex the products of this molecule synthesizer can be. It seems reasonable to expect a huge effect on drug discovery and other practical areas. Will it contribute to the development of APM? For example, could it synthesize small diamondoid parts? Could it produce useful catalysts or other functional components to attach to a large structural DNA framework? Or perhaps components for smaller, stiffer structural frameworks?” Faster, please.

IT’S MORE OF A GIFT, REALLY: Stephen Green: Obama Sells Out Israel To Iran.

UPDATE: Pentagon declassifies report, exposes details of Israel nuke program. “The Pentagon has just revealed a stunning amount of information on some of Israel’s the most closely guarded secrets, including details of its nuclear program. I haven’t the vocabulary strong enough to express what I think of the people who ordered and executed this.”

Two thoughts: (1) If the Obama Administration wants to ensure that no ally will trust the United States again, they’re doing what it takes; and (2) If I had as much to hide as the Obama Administration does, I’m not sure I’d start a leak-war.

DIESEL REVIEW: 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. “With the seats up the SportWagen holds 30.4 cubic feet, almost 8 more than the Golf. The gap widens to nearly 14 cu ft with the seats folded; a max capacity of 66.5 cu ft puts the SportWagen into compact crossover territory. That added functionality leads VW to think it can sway buyers shopping the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. And with the high-mpg diesel variant – 31 mpg city, up to 43 highway – VW hopes to lure those considering fuel-sipping MPVs like the Toyota Prius V and Ford C-MAX. What separates this Golf from those other two segments is the driving prowess we’ve come to expect from Wolfsburg’s best-selling nameplate.”

ASHE SCHOW: The Survivor Class: Coming To A Job Near You. “With all the attention being paid to college-aged social justice warriors and microagressions, one has to ask: What happens when all these delicate snowflakes enter the workforce?”

Related: Is the ‘Female Way of Learning’ Destroying Boyhood?

IN THE MAIL: The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Buddhism.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 686.

TALK OF CAMPUS “RAPE CULTURE” IS, BASICALLY, UNSCIENTIFIC HATE SPEECH, AS REUTERS POINTS OUT:

Campus rape is a serious problem. But while public attention is focused on students carrying mattresses and the discredited Rolling Stone report about rape at the University of Virginia, the fact is that sexual assault is more common off campus than on.

Consider this: If you lived in Gallup, New Mexico in 2013, you were 47 times more likely to be raped than if you attended Harvard, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics. Yet chances are you won’t see any protesters in New Mexico. Coverage of campus rape has likely increased for a variety of reasons – the social media influence of the at-risk demographic, the ability of victims and supporters to articulate the problem and because it — like any other type of violent crime in poor communities — is more of a surprise. That’s not to lessen one or the other; just a diagnosis of the arc of public attention.

A 2014 report from the Department of Justice called Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013 found that non-students aged 18-24 were 20% more likely to be sexually assaulted than students. Also, as these Reuters graphics show, the severity of the assault was worse for non-students, the rate of completed rape as opposed to other kinds of assault being 50% higher.

Follow the link for the graphics. Also, note that 6.1 out of 100,000 isn’t the same as 1 in 5.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh emails: “I think 6.1/100,000 is the yearly attempted/completed/threatened sexual assault rate as reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and so isn’t directly comparable to the 1 in 5 assertion, which purports to measure the rate for the entire span of time in college; to make it comparable, I think you’d need to multiply it by 4 or 5 years. The difference remains vast, but not quite as vast.” A fair point. 24.4 out of 100,000 is still well below the 20,000 out of 100,000 we’d need for the 1 in 5 figure.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently, Reuters is wrong. Eugene sends a further email:

Glenn: It looks like the Reuters story on which we were both relying got things badly wrong, and I’m sorry I didn’t catch it when I first corresponded with you. 6.1 per 100,000 would indeed be a very low attempted/completed/threatened sexual assault rate, amounting to only an equivalent of 9,000 per year for all women in the U.S. – even though women of college age are much more likely to be targeted for sexual assault than women who are materially younger or materially older. As the correspondent below notes, the original Bureau of Justice Statistics number (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf) is that the yearly victimization rate for college-age women is 6.1 per 1000, not 6.1 per 100,000. Again, even multiplied by 4 or 5 it’s well below 20%; but it’s about a factor of 7 or so below, not a factor of 700.

Wow. That’s quite an error.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Manual Labor, All Night Long: The Reality of Paying for College.

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HMM: Germanwings Co-pilot Likely Crashed Jet Deliberately. Bring back Flight Engineers on all flights?

BYRON YORK: Did you know Obama just took new executive action on immigration? “This week President Obama took unilateral executive action — again — to change the nation’s immigration laws. Almost no one noticed. Obama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay. . . . Also, under Obama’s new rules, Customs and Immigration Services adjudicators will not be able to consider whether or not there are American workers available to do the job when determining whether to grant an L-1B visa.”

As I’ve suggested, this kind of thing is a ripe target for the GOP.

ASHE SCHOW: No, there is no ‘rape lobby’ trying to keep sexual assaults from being investigated.

Salon (because of course) has published an article titled “Fraternities plan to lobby Congress to prevent campus rape investigations.” The website’s Twitter account called the fraternities a “rape lobby.”

The article claims that the lobbying group, FratPAC, is trying to “make it more difficult for colleges and universities to investigate sexual assault allegations.”

The inference, of course, is that fraternities are trying to make it easier to rape.

What the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (note that it represents sororities as well) actually wants is for the American justice system, which has the training and expertise to investigate felonies like rape, to do its job before colleges and universities become caught up in political witch hunts.

FratPAC also wants universities to stop overreacting to accusations of sexual assault by suspending all Greek activity when an accusation comes from a single fraternity — like what happened at the University of Virginia following a now discredited gang-rape allegation.

These are both commonsense requests that, outside of the activist cult and supporting media, are not seen as extreme or crazy positions.

But to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who actively refers to one of her constituents as a “rapist” even though he was exonerated by a campus investigation, these requests are “completely backwards.”

Kirsten Gillibrand is the Ben Tillman of the feminist lynching culture. She happily victimizes innocents for political gain, and she does it without shame. Of course, Tillman was a Democratic Senator too.

INTERESTING THAT DEMOCRAT MENENDEZ HAS BEEN NEUTRALIZED: New Jersey Republicans Set Stage for Fight on U.S.-Cuba Relations.

Lawmakers are always eager to use appropriations bills to make political statements; this year, House Republicans are using the power of the purse to weigh in on President Barack Obama’s move to normalize U.S. and Cuba relations.

GOP lawmakers began to set the stage Wednesday, when New Jersey Republican Reps. Scott Garrett, Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur officially asked senior appropriators to withhold necessary funding to fulfill the diplomatic process unless the Cuban government agrees to extradite copkiller Joanne Chesimard, an enemy of the Garden State and a longtime fixture on the FBI’s “most wanted” list.

Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 1977 of killing a New Jersey state trooper. Two years later, she escaped from her correctional facility and ultimately received political asylum in Cuba.

“It is unacceptable to me that President Obama would even consider normalizing relations with a regime that harbors someone convicted of murdering one of New Jersey’s finest, not to mention oppresses its own people and violates basic human rights and freedoms,” MacArthur said in a statement.

“The fact that Cuba flat-out refuses to extradite Chesimard and questions the judgment of our legal system proves they are not ready to continue discussions to normalize relations with the United States,” Garrett added in a separate quote accompanying the release of a letter the three lawmakers sent to the chairwoman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign operations, Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., respectively.

Full text at the link.

THE HILL: Black business owners backing GOP estate tax repeal bid.

Republicans seeking to repeal the estate tax have rolled out the endorsements of black business advocates who argue the levy is especially painful for minority entrepreneurs.

Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce and Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), separately argued in recent days that the estate tax is an especially bitter pill for minority business owners, many of whom only started getting successful in the last half-century or so.

“Full repeal of the estate tax would allow African Americans to pass the full fruits of their business success to the next generation and thereby laying the foundation for a permanent minority ownership class that can contribute to the economic growth and development of the United States economy,” Johnson, whose worth has been estimated at more than half a billion dollars, wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

Alford added in an op-ed for The Hill that black business owners are far more wary of the estate tax than entrepreneurs in general, making the case that what opponents dub the “death tax” puts pressure on minority-owned companies to sell at a discount price.

“It’s a legacy-killer,” Alford added in an interview with The Hill.

Well, pretty much literally.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Left-wing state legislator: Police are worse than ISIS.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Report: Homeland Security official used improper influence in visa cases involving prominent Democrats. “The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department improperly intervened on behalf of foreign investors seeking U.S. visas in three cases involving prominent Democrats, including a company run by the youngest brother of likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the agency’s inspector general said Tuesday.”

March 25, 2015

RERUNS: The Woody & Bill Show.

DISCONNECTED FROM REALITY: White House: U.S. has ‘succeeded’ in Yemen, as President Hadi flees country.

REMEMBERING NORMAN BORLAUG: He Saved A Billion Lives.

WE’RE #1! It’s always nice to be number one.

MONEY: House passes $3.8 trillion spending plan.

UH OH: Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit in Germanwings Plane Crash: “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

Related: Could Plane Cockpits Be Too Secure? Should pilots be allowed to lock themselves in the cockpit?

So over spring break we scored an upgrade to first class, and I saw something I hadn’t seen before: When the pilot left the cockpit to use the bathroom, the two flight attendants up front (1) barricaded the galley/lavatory/cockpit area with a cart; and (2) one of them went into the cockpit while the pilot was gone. Maybe this happens all the time, but I’d never noticed it before. Presumably the flight attendant went into the cockpit so that no one was left alone in there, just in case. Apparently, at least at American Airlines (the airline I flew out to LA), that has been a worry to be secured against. I asked a stewardess later if this procedure was new, but she just said they’re not supposed to talk about it.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: International Students Stream Into U.S. Colleges. Somebody on Twitter was presenting this as evidence that there’s no bubble. I think it’s more like evidence that tuitions have reached the point that there aren’t enough Americans willing to pay full-freight, and schools are having to look abroad, and in fact the story supports that take: “Amid rising costs, shrinking state support and student resistance to tuition increases, foreign students have become crucial to many public universities. Some hire foreign consultants to recruit students overseas, while others send their own staff on scouting missions.”

WE TRADED FIVE HIGH-RANKING JIHADISTS FOR A DESERTER: Bergdahl Charged With Desertion.

Related: Jen Psaki said Obama was “familiar” with the desertion accusations before making the deal.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Law School Dean Average Tenure Is 2.78 Years, An All-Time Low. At Tennessee it’s been roughly double that since I arrived. But we get a new Dean next year.

AT AMAZON, take 30% off sunglasses. Summer is coming.

Plus, big savings on Storage & Organization Solutions.

FRONTIERS IN FEMINISM: 10 Struggles Of Women With Big Thighs. Male privilege is everywhere! “6. You often find yourself comparing your thighs to thighs of the opposite sex. And when a guy has smaller thighs than you (which is pretty standard), you immediately want to curl up in a ball.”

SCIENCE: Men’s preference for certain body types has evolutionary roots. “This adds to a growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary, or ‘in the eyes of the beholder’ as many in mainstream social science believed, but rather has a coherent adaptive logic.”

FLY-FREE CORRIDORS: How Ancient Cattle Herders Avoided Sleeping Sickness.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: An Exoskeleton That Acts Like a Wearable Chair.

AT AMAZON, 20% off Women’s Dresses and Separates.

Plus, New Releases in Blu-Ray and DVD.

CLEANUP: 6 Ways to Solve Our Dangerous Space Junk Problem.

Here, by the way, is a piece Rob Merges and I wrote for the Environmental Law Reporter on this topic back in 2010.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader Grant Dossetto, The Hopping Bird, a baseball novel.

FOR MUSICIANS, survival in the age of Spotify. Hey, ASCAP just wrote me a couple of weeks ago to say that I’d never cashed a check from many years back — I don’t think I ever got it — and my thought was, hey for this $29 I’d have to have like twelve million plays on Spotify. . . . .

THE HILL: Clinton hit with racketeering lawsuit over emails.

DICK CHENEY: Obama to blame for Islamic State in Iraq, warns against nuclear Iran.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday night said President Obama “abandoned” Iraq despite warnings of chaos from Pentagon advisors, and the result is that “now you’ve got [the Islamic State] controlling a third or more of the country.”

In a forceful foreign policy address that was cheered at a fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Cheney also declared that America must never let Iran get a nuclear weapon.

Just a reminder: As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

AUTHORS AND the Kindle Unlimited program.

STEPHEN GREEN PROPOSES THE HOUSE OF DEMOCRATS: “All the trappings of power and none of the responsibilities? I say: Give them what they want.”

“SMART DIPLOMACY” UPDATE: Austin Bay: Yemen 2015: From Success to Cesspool.

BRENDAN O’NEILL: The vast Empire of Censorship in Europe – and how to fight it. The best cure for censorship is to punish a few censors. Like all bullies, they’re also cowards.