HALF PRICE TODAY: Amy Alkon’s Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck.
July 28, 2015
THE ATTEMPTED COUP BEGINS: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) files a motion to oust House Speaker John Boehner.
Mr. Meadows, North Carolina Republican, filed a motion to “vacate the chair,” which could force a no-confidence vote by the full chamber and result in the removal of Mr. Boehner as speaker.
In the resolution, Mr. Meadows says Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, “has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.”
He also says the speaker has limited debate, pushed legislation to the brink to compel votes in a state of crisis and moved to “punish Members who vote according to their conscience” instead of how he wants.
Meadows, however, didn’t go as far as he could have. A motion to vacate the chair — last attempted roughly a century ago — is typically considered a privileged resolution. In that format, the House would hold a vote within two legislative days. Meadows, however, chose not to offer it in that form, which he said was a sign that he wanted a discussion. . . .
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work,” Meadows said.
Meadows and the House Freedom Caucus he co-founded has been at loggerheads with House leadership over numerous issues for months now. The GOP leadership has never been very welcoming of the party’s tea party members, preferring instead to vilify them and treat them as enemies. The question going forward is rather simple: Does the GOP leadership prefer to play in insider’s political game of D.C. business-as-usual (with a few skirmishes for show), or is it willing to listen to the outside-the-beltway voters, who are demanding bolder, genuine change? Has the GOP leadership heard, and does it even respect, its own base anymore?
WHO’S AFRAID OF UBER?
Journalists may be tempted to over-identify with anxious workers when Uber pops up in their cities, noticeably disrupting an old-fashioned industry. So we get a spate of media attention on worker dissatisfaction with the “gig economy” from people who were never previously moved to write about taxi driver complaints about, say, the very high crime rate faced by cabbies or their problems with the taxi commission — two problems that Uber has at least partially alleviated.
In other words, while Uber’s disruption of an existing labor market is not particularly important to the national economy, it ends up looking important to a particular class of people. And that class of people happens to be the one that writes all the news articles. Which is why we keep reading about the gig economy, even though much of the country would hardly have noticed it without those reports.
Anything that happens to journalists or their friends is by definition a hot national trend.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, DIVERSITY!: Lawsuit claims white male DC public works supervisor Christopher Lyons was fired because of his race.
Lyons claims in an explosive but little noticed federal lawsuit that he was fired as a District of Columbia Department of Public Works supervisor because black employees did not want to work for a “honkey,” as they repeatedly called him. . . . Lyons finally got the boot after just eight months on the job without explanation. But one employee certainly wished him a bon voyage. The day he was fired somebody posted a sign on Lyons’ door that said, “Get out white boy.” . . .
He was the only white supervisor at the DPW and apparently the first one ever at the Fleet division. . . .
Indeed, all the other workers in the fleet division were black, and if the allegations are correct, they almost immediately resented their new “honkey” boss.
When Smith addressed black workers at his first Fleet staff meeting in March 2012, garage mechanics called him a “cracker,” “white boy,” and “honkey,” the lawsuit says.
Yeah, the thing I love most about the Obama Administration is all the racial healing this country has experienced. The liberal/progressive emphasis on “diversity” sure is paying off.
DON’T BE SHTUPID, BE A SHMARTY: P.C. Police Go After Mel Brooks’ The Producers:
The intent behind The Producers can be easily discerned, if not from the material itself, then from the man who wrote it. Mel Brook’s is a Jew. So there’s that. Were that somehow not enough, Brooks has been explicit regarding his feelings toward Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Spoiler alert: he’s against them.
This protest points to a larger crisis of intellect in modern society. We’re losing the capacity to combat bad ideas with humor and mockery. Apparently, you can’t make fun of a thing without being accused of endorsing it. Amy Schumer’s a racist because she makes fun of racism. Mel Brooks is a Nazi because he mocked Nazism. God forbid this Imm see Blazing Saddles.
Which Brooks has stated in recent years could never be made in the ultra-PC climate his fellow Democrats have created. And as John Nolte warned at Big Hollywood a year ago, “‘Blazing Saddles’ Review: Buy a Copy Before the Left Burns Them All.”
THEY’RE CAPITALIZING ON OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT. Local Governments Are The Source Of Housing Inequality.
YASSER ARAFAT COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT:
A story about Jeb Bush being in favor of amnesty, er… sorry, “comprehensive immigration reform” shouldn’t be anything new. But at the same time, the candidate seems to have been sending some mixed messages to the base over the course of his 2016 campaign. Not that long ago he said that he would rescind the President’s executive amnesty program, but speaking to a different outlet during that same week he hinted pretty much the exact opposite. It can all be so confusing, can’t it?
Fortunately, Jeb has cleared things up: “Jeb Bush vows to enact comprehensive immigration reform. To Telemundo. In Spanish.”
But of course — what else did you expect him to say? After all, “It is immigration—its universally celebrated benefits and its barely acknowledged costs—that is the third rail of U.S. politics,” Matthew Continetti wrote on Friday in “Revenge of the Radical Middle” at the Washington Free Beacon. “Trump didn’t step on the third rail; he embraced it, he won’t let go of it, and in so doing he’s become electric. Republicans, Democrats, journalists, corporations all want to define themselves against him, and their flaunting of their moral superiority only feeds the media monster, only makes Trump more attractive to the dispossessed, alienated, radical middle.”
Jeb is taking the radical middle for granted; they’re being enthusiastically courted by Trump. Which approach is more likely to woo them?
ANTIRACISM, OUR FLAWED NEW RELIGION: “Opposition to racism used to be a political stance,” John McWhorter writes. “Now it has every marking of a religion, with both good and deleterious effects on American society.”
Nietzsche killed God in 1883, but man is hardwired to believe in something. Which explains why much of the 20th century was a search for alternate religions: The State, environmentalism, feminism, hallucinogenic drugs, and virtually all other aspects of the left take on religious aspects as they become more and more radical. But then, as Tom Wolfe wrote in “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” “It is entirely possible that in the long run historians will regard the entire New Left experience as not so much a political as a religious episode wrapped in semi military gear and guerrilla talk.”
That was written in 1976; and while, with a few exceptions, the left has retired its camouflage gear, the religious fervor of the movement sees little sign of abating. See also: Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, both in the rhetoric of his more impressionable early supporters (“The Lightworker!”) and his own eschatological rhetoric. (“At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you’ll say, ‘I have to vote for Barack.’”) Followed by the missionary-like tone of the Internet mob today. Repent! Confess your sins!
LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: National Security Will Drive Genetically Enhanced Offspring. “I expect offspring genetic engineering will lead to brighter, better looking, higher performing, and healthy children and adults. What I’m less sure about is personality traits and moral reasoning circuitry. What choices will people make about how conscientious and benevolent and considerate their kids will be? Will psychopaths choose genetic variants to create offspring who are even higher functioning psychopaths? Will skills in deception be desired by some? The average performance of predator humans may well rise.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: India Loves MOOCs: In a country of rigid teaching styles and scarce university slots, students and professors are exploring what online learning can be. “Goyal set out to sharpen his résumé. In early 2014, he enrolled in three online data-science classes via Coursera, all taught by Johns Hopkins professors. By earning certificates from the courses, demonstrating expertise in areas such as the programming tool R, Goyal impressed Dunnhumby, one of Britain’s largest customer-analytics companies. He now works there as a Delhi-based senior analyst, using data to figure out what British shoppers want next. Throughout India, online education is gaining favor as a career accelerator, particularly in technical fields.”
WOULDN’T THAT BE MASSIVE FRAUD? Happy Birthday Copyright Bombshell: New Evidence Warner Music Previously Hid Shows Song Is Public Domain.
THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK: Watch a Filmmaker Describe Why the Moon Landing Couldn’t Have Been Faked.
CAMILLE PAGLIA: THE CLINTONS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF MONICA LEWINSKY:
Bill Clinton used her. Hillary was away or inattentive, and he used Monica in the White House–and in the suite of the Oval Office, of all places. He couldn’t have taken her on some fancy trip? She never got the perks of being a mistress; she was there solely to service him. And her life was completely destroyed by the publicity that followed. The Clinton’s are responsible for the destruction of Monica Lewinsky! They probably hoped that she would just go on and have a job, get married, have children, and disappear, but instead she’s like this walking ghoul.
Fifteen years later, that’s still the sad role left for her to play.
Yes, it’s like something out of “Wuthering Heights” or “Great Expectations”– some Victorian novel, where a woman turns into this mourning widow who mopes on and on over a man who abused or abandoned her. Hillary has a lot to answer for, because she took an antagonistic and demeaning position toward her husband’s accusers. So it’s hard for me to understand how the generation of Lena Dunham would or could tolerate the actual facts of Hillary’s history.
So have the times and standards changed enough that Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if he was president today?
Read the whole thing.
IN THE MAIL: Inherit the Wind.
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A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE, MASQUERADING AS A COMEDIAN: Jon Stewart’s secret White House visits.
UPDATE: Jon Stewart Secretly Met with Obama, Worked ‘In Concert’ with White House. Potemkin Village? We’ve got a whole freakin’ Potemkin Culture.
ROGER SIMON: Donald Trump and the high priests of the press.
“It came slightly ahead of schedule,” The Wall Street Journal gleefully wrote last week, “but Donald Trump’s inevitable self-immolation arrived on the weekend when he assailed John McCain’s war record.”Uh. Hold the fire extinguishers. Because Trump did not burst into flame. His poll numbers actually went up after he attacked McCain, a man whose political base is largely made up of Sunday TV show bookers.
The Huffington Post was also in a snit. It declared it was not going to report on Trump’s campaign in its political section, but rather in its entertainment section. . . .
But The Des Moines Register nearly came down with the vapors. . . .The paper went so far as to demand that Trump drop out of the race, a decision, I always thought, the American people should make at the ballot box rather than a newspaper on its editorial page.
But what is the real problem? The rodeo clown or the people coming to the rodeo in order to see the clown? And if the people are gathering, should the press keep that a secret?
The mainstream media is also making a clown of itself by its indignant tone regarding Trump, emanating from both the political left and right. Has anyone watched MSNBC lately (to ask the question is to answer it, I know)? The level of discourse there is no more dignified than one would hear in an insane asylum. The editorial page of the New York Times is little better, and its opinion editorials offer virtually no balance.
So why is the mainstream media on both the left and right in such a tizzy over Trump? Because he is winning, and they hate that. The political left hates it because they are insanely afraid that Trump has awakened the silent majority, and they aren’t going to take the progressive agenda anymore. The establishment political right hates it because they are insanely afraid that Trump will beat their preferred “insider” candidates, and they consequently won’t have as much power and influence anymore. Others on the political right are simply not convinced that Trump is truly a conservative.
Whatever the reason for the apoplexy, as I’ve remarked before, it’s fun to watch. And I think it’s actually healthy for the country.
UPDATE [From Glenn]: This is the other Roger Simon, not the PJ Media one.
So I see that Seattle is considering rent control. For a columnist who covers economic issues, this is a little bit like hearing that residents are debating how big to make the reet pleats on their zoot suits. It’s hard to get economists to agree on much of anything, but as Alex Tabarrok notes, this is an area of rare consensus among economists: Rent control creates more problems than it solves.
If you want a vivid example of what those problems look like, you can do no better than a letter written by a resident of Stockholm to the good citizens of Seattle, quoted by Tabarrok: “Seattle, you need to ask your citizens this: How would citizens like it if they walked into a rental agency and the agent told them to register and come back in 10 years? … Stockholm City Council now has an official housing queue, where 1 day waiting = 1 point. To get an apartment you need both money for the rent and enough points to be the first in line. Recently an apartment in inner Stockholm became available. In just 5 days, 2000 people had applied for the apartment. The person who got the apartment had been waiting in the official housing queue since 1989!”
Now, Stockholm is extreme. But the general effect always goes in the same direction. Rent control creates two classes of tenants: people who have the right to rent at below-market rates, and renters who would like to get a long-term lease on an apartment, but cannot, or must pay through the nose for a limited number of uncontrolled properties. Meanwhile, landlords let the quality of the existing stock decline and become very reluctant to build new housing that they can’t make a profit on.
This is not some sort of arcane secret that has not reached the policy analysts in our nation’s fair metropolises. They’re well aware of what rent control does. So why is it ever on the table?
Because it offers copious opportunities for graft.
BRING ON THE REACTIONLESS THRUSTERS: Independent expert confirms that the “impossible” EM Drive actually works. Hope this pans out. Here’s the paper.
ANNALS OF SMART DIPLOMACY: CNN poll: Majority rejects Iran deal, 44/52.
Plus: “Speaking of 2016, the economy numbers in this poll don’t look very good for Democrats, either, and that will matter in the upcoming election cycle. The overall state of the economy only gets a 41/59 overall, 37/62 among independents, and 39/61 among women. Almost every demo except Democrats and liberals has a majority rating the current economy as poor or very poor, and almost no one is undecided on that point.”
TALKING TO THE VICTIMS: The Victims of Chikungunya. “Over a year has passed since chikungunya swept across the Caribbean, and millions have contracted the mosquito borne illness. While most recovered after a miserable ten days, some patients continue to suffer joint pain. For a number of patients, the ongoing pain is nearly crippling.”
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PBS DOCUMENTARY WHITEWASHES STALINIST THUGS OF THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY: “Even the filmmaker thinks it’s a ‘pro-Panther’ film,” Ron Radosh writes.
A decade ago, while reflecting back on his seminal “Radical Chic” article in New York magazine in 1970, Tom Wolfe said, “I just thought it was a scream, because it was so illogical by all ordinary thinking. To think that [Leonard Bernstein,] living in an absolutely stunning duplex on Park Avenue could be having in all these guys who were saying, ‘We will take everything away from you if we get the chance,’ which is what their program spelled out, was the funniest thing I had ever witnessed.”
But then 45 years later, the self-styled “Progressives” at PBS still don’t get that the joke is on them — not the least of which because their worldview hasn’t been updated in nearly half a century.
REMEMBER THE ‘AFFORDABLE’ CARE ACT? SUCKERS! Michael Walsh reminds readers that “Obamacare never had anything to do with ‘affordability’ or even ‘health care.’”
It was merely Hussein’s camel’s nose under the tent, in order to seize control of the insurance industry by forcing the citizens to buy their products, then offer substandard, expensive plans and provide taxpayer subsidies for those who — surprise! — couldn’t afford the new mandates. And now you know what the plan really was all along.
Read the whole thing.
WHY ELECT REPUBLICANS IF THEY’RE GOING TO ACT LIKE DEMOCRATS? Ashe Schow: Senate to hold one-sided hearing on campus sexual assault.
The Senate will hold a hearing Wednesday to discuss the alleged “epidemic” of campus sexual assault and how to combat the problem. To the dismay of due process advocates, the hearing panels are stacked against fair hearings for students.
The first panel features four senators — Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. All four were original sponsors of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act introduced in 2014, and all four are sponsors on the updated version introduced earlier this year.
CASA will surely be the focus of their panel, which is a shame because the bill is devoid of due process protections for accused students. When the bill was first introduced in 2014, I sent six questions to each of the original sponsors. Of the four sitting on the panel this Wednesday, only Ayotte’s office responded — and the response ignored a question about due process. A series of follow-up questions were never answered.
Neither Heller nor McCaskill’s office ever responded to the original questions. A staffer from Gillibrand’s office called me back but was uninterested in answering questions; instead, the staffer merely gave me an overview of the bill. . . .
Those are the eight people who will be addressing campus sexual assault on Wednesday. It is highly unlikely that even one of them will suggest that the draconian measures being thrust upon universities are fundamentally unfair and biased. Not one person is there to suggest that maybe colleges shouldn’t be adjudicating felonies. Not one person is there to suggest that if colleges do continue to adjudicate felonies, then they need to provide students the same protections an actual court of law would provide.
Those working to combat campus sexual assault should not ignore the rights of the accused or the possibility of false accusations. Current campus policies guarantee an increase of false accusations that will lead to more innocent students having their lives ruined for the sake of a preferred narrative.
It would be nice if these Senators heard from their constituents.
TRUMP: THE CASE FOR DESPAIRING — ABOUT AMERICA, writes John Podhoretz:
And while happy talk (some of which I’ve indulged in myself) may dismiss Trump as this year’s flash-in-the-pan like the 2012 Republican also-rans, right now he’s more likely a version of Ross Perot in 1992 — the man who got Bill Clinton elected. Perot managed to convince people he was only in it to talk about the deficit and the national debt when it was probably more the case he was running out of a long-standing personal animus toward George H.W. Bush and a desire to deny him the presidency based on an imagined slight. Trump doesn’t even have a real issue to bring in Democrats and Republicans dissatisfied with their choices. Trump is Trump’s issue.
These are unhappy times in the United States, and unhappy times generate unhappy political outcomes. Last week I made the case for despair following the Iran deal. I know people always want commentary that offers a path forward, a way out of trouble, a hope for something better. Sometimes, though, you just have to sit back and despair at the condition of things, and maybe from the despair some new wisdom may emerge.
Despair? You’re soaking in it: “Twitter to get much worse [today] with Daily Beast’s story of Donald Trump rape allegation.”
I wonder who dialed up the hit piece on Trump?
THE HILL: ObamaCare’s revolving door.
Marilyn Tavenner, who spearheaded the fraught Affordable Care Act rollout for the Obama administration, is but the latest ACA insider to cash in. Lobbying for America’s Health Insurance Plans is a natural transition for the former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Tavenner was chosen to run CMS principally because she was not a healthcare reformer like her predecessor, Dr. Donald Berwick, a pediatrician the Senate refused to confirm. Instead she was a colorless former apparatchik for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a company that once paid $1.7 billion in penalties for fraud.
The revolving door between industry and government existed long prior to the ACA, but the commingling of industry and government interests under the ACA brings with it new implications. Simply put, the ACA represents the biggest transfer of taxpayer resources to the private sector since Gilded Age railroad barons were beneficiaries.
LEFT-WING CARTOONIST TED RALL FIRED BY LA TIMES FOR LYING ABOUT LAPD: Rall “complains about the police officer taping him and the LAPD using their resources to dig up the now 14 year-old tape.”
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMNED WORD ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: Video shows Hillary Clinton boarding private jet just hours after launching global-warming push – and she’s using a French aircraft that burns 347 gallons of fuel every hour! “Its itineraries are secret because the owner has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to withhold flight plans from the public.”
IT’S AS IF ALL THESE “SOCIAL JUSTICE” GROUPS ARE JUST SHOCK TROOPS FOR THE DEMOCRATS: Black Lives Matter co-founder threatens to “shut down” GOP convention.
THE LEFT EMBRACES THE LOGIC OF FASCISM, WRITES ANDREW KLAVAN:
On a recent episode of Headline News’s Dr. Drew on Call, transexual Inside Edition reporter Zoey Tur put his hand on commentator Ben Shapiro’s neck and threatened to send Ben home in an ambulance. This was in response to the fact that Ben called Tur “sir,” and thus refused to accept him as a woman. Rather than make his case in response, Tur bought into the logic of fascism. After that, as far as I’m concerned, his opinion doesn’t matter. His gender doesn’t matter. His feelings don’t matter. When you go to violence in response to words, by my lights, you become a fascist; you become a thug. Your moral legitimacy is gone, baby, gone.
What Tur did bothers me and I think he should be charged with assault and battery (the touch makes it both). It hardly needs saying that if the positions had been reversed, Ben would have been arrested. The media would have demanded it, and they’d have been right. But what bothers me much more than Tur are the apparently sane and civilized people who swallowed the fascist pill right with him. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who did nothing to stop the incident and hasn’t condemned it. Panelist Segun Oduolowu who, speaking like a true fascist, said, “What [Shapiro] did was deliberately disrespectful. You call a transgender woman sir on national television you know what you are doing.” Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times, who mischaracterized the incident in an article and then called Ben the bully. Scott Eric Kaufman, who tried to make Tur’s violence seem heroic at Salon. Because, you know, words are like violence so…
Congratulations, gang. You bought in. Whether your political positions are right or wrong, you’re now fully in the wrong. Come up on stage and pick up your swastika.
Why, it’s as if socialism and fascism are deeply interrelated — someone should write a book about that! And note that the overculture has gone from claiming in 2011 that mere clip art and gun-related metaphors (and more recently, historical symbols) can magically cause violence, to outright advocating violence over pronouns. But then, if it wasn’t for situational ethics, would the left have any at all?
RELATED: “Here’s the way that it works,” Shapiro told Adam Carolla and Pinsky this past weekend. “If you’re part of the designated victims list, then it almost doesn’t matter what you do at a certain point, you’re going to be designated the victim no matter what. If you are not on the designated victims list, then you won’t be, and it really is that simple.”
RADLEY BALKO: Lessons From The Drug Raid That Burned A Georgia Toddler. “Last week, federal prosecutors announced that former Georgia deputy Nikki Autry would be indicted on charges of making false statements to a judge in order to obtain a warrant to raid a home in Habersham County. During that raid, one deputy blindly deployed a flash grenade that landed in a playpen, critically injuring a toddler.
MORE AND MORE THINGS SEEM TO BE MOSTLY GENETIC: The association between intelligence and lifespan is mostly genetic.
July 27, 2015
SO, TALKING ABOUT THE TENNESSEE CONSTITUTION ON FACEBOOK, I brought up this column from ten years ago: Religioso Ma Non Troppo. I thought it was worth a re-mention here.
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AT THE STATE LEVEL, the GOP is quietly amassing a decisive majority. “Since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Republican candidates in the states have promised that they would show the country another way of governing. They’ve delivered, and voters have responded. Judging by the evidence of 2014, the insurgency isn’t over.”
YOU KNOW, BACK IN THE 1970s, VANS WERE CONSIDERED SEXY: The 2015 Ford Transit 350 Wagon EcoBoost V-6: The alternative to contraception.
DANGEROUS SECRETS: Mark Thiessen: “Obama’s Secret Iran Deals Exposed.”
The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-releated agency.
In an interview, Pompeo told me that he and Cotton were meeting with the deputy director of the IAEA and the agency’s two top Iran negotiators just days after the nuclear accord was announced, when they asked how the agency will carry out verification at the Iranian military complex at Parchin. IAEA officials told them, quite casually, that the details were all covered in agreements negotiated between the IAEA and the Iranian government. It was the first they had heard of the side deals.
Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”
It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements (though you can see a picture of Iranian and IAEA officials holding up what appear to be the secret accords here).
In other words, Obama is gambling our national security and handing over $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, based on secret agreements negotiated between the IAEA and Iran that no U.S. official has seen.
Cutting a nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, without either realizing or revealing that there are “side deals” with the IAEA is treasonous. Members of Congress who now vote to support it without knowing the full terms of these side deals are likewise traitors.
JOEL KOTKIN: Putting climate change ahead of constituents. “Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward mobility, self-sufficiency and property ownership. This great betrayal has many causes, but perhaps the largest one has been the abandonment of broad-based economic growth traditionally embraced by Democrats. Instead, they have opted for a policy agenda that stresses environmental puritanism and notions of racial redress, financed in large part by the windfall profits of Silicon Valley and California’s highly taxed upper-middle class.”
MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Politicos Put Graft Before Progress.
Cynical or not, these statements accurately describe why economic progress is so much harder today than it once was. But why is it so much harder? And why are so many politicians coming out against innovative new services such as Uber or Airbnb? The answer, I think, is simple: Those new services offer insufficient opportunities for graft. The old services they compete with — hotels or taxi companies — offer politicians a better deal, even if the deal they offer for consumers often isn’t as good. And politicians back the companies because — and be clear about this — politicians don’t care about you, they care about using their positions to accumulate money, power and prestige. . . .
One of the reasons that America enjoyed such tremendous growth over the past century was that technology outran regulators’ ability to keep up. Will that remain true over the coming decades? Let’s hope so. We can’t make it in the 21st century with a 1950s economic model, however appealing that approach might be to politicians.
Read the whole thing, to coin a phrase.
CHANGE: Americans Are Finally Eating Less. “Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The number of calories that the average American child takes in daily has fallen even more — by at least 9 percent.”
Well, you know, calorie consumption probably fell during the Great Depression, too. But people also tend to eat less as they age, and the population is getting older; I can’t tell if the study addressed that.
I’m so old that when I was growing up, my stay-at-home mom stayed at home.
She didn’t take me to school. She just waved goodbye and off I walked, starting at age 5. When I got to the one suburban street I had to cross, who was there to ensure my safety?
A 10-year-old in an orange sash. The crossing guard.
No one witnessing this adult-unsupervised scene called 911 because — well, first of all, no one had a cellphone, and second, no one thought it was weird or wrong.
But today, we fear for kids any time they’re on their own. So even though crime is at a 50-year low — lower than when most of us parents were kids — only about 13 percent of American children walk to school. . . .
But in part it’s also because it has become downright unusual — and sometimes illegal — to let kids go outside unsupervised.
Well, you’ve probably heard about the Meitiv family in suburban Maryland. Parents Danielle and Alexander let their kids, 10 and 6, walk home from the local park and were investigated not once but twice for child neglect.
Eventually they were cleared of all charges.
But that wasn’t before one incident when the cops picked up the kids and held them for five hours without letting them call home.
Or how about the case just last month of Nicole Jensen in Westbrook, Maine? Her 7-year-old daughter was playing for an hour in the playground down the block — you can see it from the family’s porch. But someone called 911 to report an unsupervised child, and the cops swooped in.
I confess that I would never have allowed my child to walk to school, even though we live in a very safe community with sidewalks. But it would also never occur to me that allowing a child to do so should warrant an investigation by protective services.
I’ve written about this before. In a zeal to “protect” the children, some adults are becoming super-nannies, swooping down to call protective services anytime they spy your child alone in a playground, saying the wrong words, with dirty clothes, living without modern amenities, or getting the “wrong” medical care. They think they know how to raise your kids better than you, so your children become “the State’s children” until you can wrestle them back. We are punishing parents, too often, for being poor or bucking cultural norms rather than being physically or emotionally abusive. The constitutional “right” to raise our children is being eroded–a goal political leftists have long sought.
I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Studies supporting efficacy of “deworming” campaigns in impoverished countries turn out to be crap.
ANNALS OF IMPLAUSIBLE CLAIMS: Obama Claims Country Better Off Today?
Last week President Obama told a small group of wealthy donors that by almost every metric, the U.S. is significantly better off under his leadership than under Bush’s. Oh dear God this is just getting embarrassing! Can we please have a little reality check here?
The most basic metric for how well the country is doing is median household income – are families making more today than in years past? Errrr, not so fast there Mr. President. As the chart below shows (the red line) we are still well below we were when you took office… and that is despite the massive amount of government spending and monetary policy stimulus! Or perhaps, this is in fact because of all that insanity? In fact, median household income, after taking inflation into account, is where it was back in 1989, twenty-six years ago!
One of the reason household income is so low is that despite the often touted “unemployment rate” the more important number, the percentage of people in the country actually working is down to levels not seen since the early 80s and well below the ratio during George W Bush’s Presidency.
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?
SHOULD WE REALLY TRUST THAT DNC-MSM JOURNALISTS CAN SAFELY RUN WITH THEM WITHOUT HURTING OTHERS? The NH College Republicans are giving journalists “First Amendment Scissors” to cut any white rope that may appear.
FIRST THE VIDEO, NOW THIS: Anti-abortion hackers claim to have breached Planned Parenthood.
I think I’ll keep all my records on paper, and write with a mechanical typewriter.
THIS BALLOON HAS SECONDS TO LIVE! Before and after photos of a target balloon’s last moments on a timed course in Glen Rose Texas, organized yesterday by the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association:
I used a Panasonic Lumix camera with the focus racked out on a 60 frames per second burst mode; the dust and gunpowder inside the event made for lots of haze. (The faux-snapshots and woody-looking background is a slightly modified Shutterstock.com image.) The event was held this weekend at the Somervell County Expo Center, in Glen Rose, about twenty minutes from the Bullets & Bourbon event in December with Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Stephen Green, Dana Loesch, Ed Morrissey and Mark Rippetoe. More details about Bullets & Bourbon here.
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THE IRAN DEAL: WEIMAR DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN, Roger Simon writes. “Only this time the final solution will be written in Farsi.”
Read the whole thing.
THE FOUR MOST EMBARRASSING THINGS CECILE RICHARDS SAID IN DEFENSE OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD: “Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards gave her first interview this weekend, to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Considering Stephanopoulos is a longtime buddy of the Clintons, who are devoted to Planned Parenthood, the interview wasn’t as servile as you might expect. Richards was unrelenting in her robotic repeating of a few talking points, but Stephanopoulos tried in his own way to push back a bit,” Mollie Hemingway writes at the Federalist. “Amidst a flurry of words, the main point Richards said over and over and over and over again was that Planned Parenthood’s top doctors only appear monstrous because of entrapment and the magic of video editing. ‘Yeah, that’s the ticket!’ she should have added.”
And as Mollie notes, “One major difference between Jon Stewart, who actually doctors videos, splicing answers from one question to a completely separate question, and the undercover journalists hitting Planned Parenthood hard is that only one releases full footage for all to see.”
Read the whole thing.
KURT SCHLICHTER: The Coming — And Hilarious — Democrat Implosion. “Republicans fear a repeat of 1992, with a squishy Bush at the head of the ticket watching helplessly as some populist businessman/novelty act hands the election to a Clinton. But Democrats should fear the far more likely repeat of 1968. . . . Nineteen sixty-eight was the year normal Americans saw the Democrats for what they were, and that’s the danger for them in 2016 too.”
Plus: “Hillary is America’s First Wife, a sour, sexless, disapproving presence eager to spend the next eight years telling us all how we are failing to measure up to her exacting standards.”
IT’S AMAZING THAT HILLARY, WITH HER EXTENSIVE PRIVATE-SECTOR EXPERIENCE, DOESN’T GET THIS: What Clinton’s Capital Gains Plan Won’t Do:
On the margin, it’s probably going to affect investment if you raise capital gains taxes by a lot — and nonetheless, this is not going to do much to shift the incentives toward longer-term thinking at companies. That’s because Clinton seems to fundamentally misunderstand the reason that public companies are so focused on short-term results that impact their stock price, rather than longer-term growth. To the extent that you think this phenomenon is real, and a problem, the issue is not that American investors, for reasons known only to themselves, have developed the attention spans of gnats. Instead, I’d argue that the problem is the massive shift toward institutional management of equity assets.
Here’s SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar on this phenomenon in 2013: “The proportion of U.S. public equities managed by institutions has risen steadily over the past six decades, from about 7 or 8 percent of market capitalization in 1950, to about 67 percent in 2010.” Stocks used to be the province of affluent people who might hold them for decades — and might well take it into their head to show up at your shareholder meeting and delicately inquire why the chief executive officer is getting paid so much when quarterly results look pretty dismal. Now they’re the province of everyone — and everyone is in the hands of professional managers who don’t care how much the CEO is getting paid, would rather sell and buy something else than chivy the board into doing its job, and need to deliver price appreciation pretty regularly, lest their Morningstar profile become tarnished, or the regulators start asking the company to increase contributions.
Add to that the fact that you can now log in every day to see exactly how your 401(k) is doing, and you can see how short-termism might come to dominate executive offices.
But whether or not you think that institutional management is actually unleashing a great plague of short-termism upon the land, the important point is that the prevalence of institutional management will prevent you from fixing this problem by manipulating the capital gains rates. Pension funds do not pay taxes on the assets in their funds. Neither is your tax-deferred retirement fund subject to these taxes. And even taxable mutual funds are probably not going to be very responsive to this change, for a few reasons.
How are cattle futures treated under her plan?
IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO DEFENSE, BUT PUBLISHING THE LAW IS ILLEGAL: State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State’s Own Laws. Personally, I don’t think that laws should be copyrightable.
UPDATE: Eugene Volokh emails: “It turns out the Georgia copyright lawsuit is about the copyright in annotations, not in the laws themselves; see https://ia801504.us.archive.org/1/items/gov.uscourts.gand.218354/gov.uscourts.gand.218354.1.0.pdf and http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/State_of_Georgia_sues_Carl_Malamud_says_he_published_its_annotated_code_of. If the annotations were owned by LexisNexis, which creates them, it seems to me pretty clear that they could sue for infringement. But for some reason that I haven’t yet been able to figure out, Georgia has LexisNexis create the annotations and takes the copyright itself, though it then lets LexisNexis sell the annotated code and make money from it. My tentative sense is that this fact should not preclude the lawsuit, again because the material – annotations, rather than the underlying law – is copyrightable regardless of whether it’s owned by the state or a private party.” That would make sense.
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RASMUSSEN: Voters Aren’t Buying Obama’s Story About IRS Scandal. Well, it’s not only a lie. It’s an unconvincing lie.
“LAWLESS” PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP: David Rivkin and Lee Casey in the Wall Street Journal, “The Lawless Underpinnings of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
The Iranian nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make. However, because of the way the deal was pushed through, the states may be able to derail it by enacting their own Iran sanctions legislation. . . .
The Constitution’s division of the treaty-making power between the president and Senate ensured that all major U.S. international undertakings enjoyed broad domestic support. It also enabled the states to make their voices heard through senators when considering treaties—which are constitutionally the “supreme law of the land” and pre-empt state laws.
The Obama administration had help in its end-run around the Constitution. Instead of insisting on compliance with the Senate’s treaty-making prerogatives, Congress enacted the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015. Known as Corker-Cardin, it surrenders on the constitutional requirement that the president obtain a Senate supermajority to go forward with a major international agreement. Instead, the act effectively requires a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress to block elements of the Iran deal related to U.S. sanctions relief. The act doesn’t require congressional approval for the agreement as a whole.
Last week the U.N. Security Council endorsed the Iran deal. The resolution, adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, legally binds all member states, including the U.S. Given the possibility that Congress could summon a veto-proof majority to block the president’s ability to effect sanctions relief, the administration might be unable to comply with the very international obligations it has created. This is beyond reckless. . . .
The administration faces another serious problem because the deal requires the removal of state and local Iran-related sanctions. That would have been all right if Mr. Obama had pursued a treaty with Iran, which would have bound the states, but his executive-agreement approach cannot pre-empt the authority of the states.
That leaves the states free to impose their own Iran-related sanctions, as they have done in the past against South Africa and Burma. The Constitution’s Commerce Clause prevents states from imposing sanctions as broadly as Congress can. Yet states can establish sanctions regimes—like banning state-controlled pension funds from investing in companies doing business with Iran—powerful enough to set off a legal clash over American domestic law and the country’s international obligations. The fallout could prompt the deal to unravel.
Rivkin and Casey are right about the Constitution’s treaty power being circumvented, with the unfortunate blessing of a cowardly Congress. They’re also right that the Administration’s decision to obtain a speedy U.N. Security Council resolution prior to the Corker-Cardin congressional vote is a blatant and reckless end-run around U.S. sovereignty, bypassing our national legislature in favor of a multi-lateral, extra-sovereign body. Any future President wishing to unravel the Iranian nuclear deal–which Secretary of State has assured us repeatedly is “not legally binding“– will now be branded by the U.N. as an international “law breaker,” a point I made back in April.
I hope States do, indeed, continue to refuse to do business with companies doing business with Iran. The financial impact probably won’t be enough to trigger an Iranian accusation that the Obama Administration isn’t enforcing the deal, however, and consequently the Administration is unlikely to march into court claiming that the Supremacy Clause trumps States’ actions. So I doubt States’ doing this will “prompt the [nuclear] deal to unravel.” Nonetheless, this is one interesting and creative way that States can constitutionally push back.
HEY SEATTLE! HOW’S THAT $15 AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING OUT FOR YA? “The law of unintended consequences is a bitch, ain’t it?”
Dissatisfaction and protest are roiling the politics of summer 2015. They are evident in the response to the angry rhetoric from Donald Trump, in the crowds that come to hear Bernie Sanders bash Wall Street and in the rallies demanding racial justice. For presidential candidates, there is no safe harbor. Ignore the mood at your peril; engage it at your peril.
The discontent is real, whether economic, racial or cultural. It knows no particular ideological boundaries. It currently disrupts both the Republican and Democratic parties. It reflects grievances that long have been bubbling. It reflects, too, the impatience with many political leaders — what they say and how they say it.
The economic collapse of 2008 continues to ripple through the lives of many families, despite the drop in unemployment. Steady but slow growth has not been balm enough to give these families, many of whom see a system rife with inequity, much optimism about the future. Instead, they see the American Dream as part of the nation’s past.
Welcome to the era of Hope & Change.
FOX BUTTERFIELD, IS THAT YOU? “Scholar-activists must be ready to fend off the perception that their activism taints their scholarship, or that they’re going to indoctrinate students.”
Err, because they are? And note this:
Juggling the two identities isn’t new, but the task seems tougher today. The crowd was perhaps thicker during and just after the civil-rights and political movements of the 1960s and ’70s, which drew in so many young people, future professors among them. Now activists are more visible, their protests or remarks potentially bringing unwanted attention on social media or cable news — and prompting complaints to universities.
Yes, we wouldn’t want uncomprehending lay people to discover what’s going on inside the cloister; best keep the liturgies in Ecclesiastical Latin for that reason.
BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE DEATH WISH-TAXI DRIVER 1970s: Full Giuliani Rollback: New York Court Orders Re-Pornification of Times Square.
Just a reminder, this is what a certain Weimar-ish clique of dissipated elite New Yorkers have wanted ever since Giuliani cleaned the city up.
BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: “Bernie Sanders’ campaign speech in this suburb of New Orleans felt more like a union organizing rally from 1915 than a modern American presidential campaign pitch in 2015:”
“At the top of my list is the issue of income and wealth inequality … it’s the great moral issue of our time, it’s the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time,” he said at the top of his speech, before spending most of his hour-plus time on stage repeatedly hammering away at progressive economic issues.
There were nods to social issues, though Sanders rarely spoke about them separate from economic concerns, instead repeatedly linking social concerns to fundamental economic issues.
“For kids who graduated high school, who are between the ages of 17 and 20 if those kids are white their real unemployment is 36 percent. If they are Hispanic, 37 percent. If they are African American … the real unemployment rate is 51 percent,” Sanders said to boos.
Similarly, on women’s issues, Sanders said, “Speaking to my brothers here today, you’ve got to stand with us on this issue … when women earn nothing more than the same level as men, we’re going to take a huge chunk out of poverty.”
Bernie makes the country sound like it’s still at perigee of FDR’s Great Depression. Will the media ever explore the cognitive dissonance separating their own feel-good economic reporting post-November of 2008 and Hillary’s running as Obama’s successor, versus Sander’s nostalgic sepia-toned fire-and-brimstone doomsday rhetoric?
Two government watchdogs at the center of an investigation over Hillary Clinton’s personal email server say she shouldn’t have sent classified information over her private system while serving as secretary of State.
“This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community said in a joint statement on Friday.
True. Related: Hillary’s Email Troubles Deepen.
To explain the inexplicable rise of Donald Trump is to calibrate the anger of fed-up crowd that is enjoying the come-uppance of an elite that never pays for the ramifications of its own ideology. The elite media, whose trademark is fad and cant, writes off the fed-up crowd as naïve and susceptible to demagoguery as the contradictory and hypocritical Trump manipulates their anger. In fact, they probably got it backwards. Trump is a transitory vehicle of the fed-up crowd, a current expression of their distaste for both Democratic and Republican politics, but not an end in and of himself. The fed-up crowd is tired of being demagogued to death by progressives, who brag of “working across the aisle” and “bipartisanship” as they ram through agendas with executive orders, court decisions, and public ridicule. So the fed-ups want other conservative candidates to emulate Trump’s verve, energy, eagerness to speak the unspeakable, and no-holds barred Lee Atwater style — without otherwise being Trump.
Read the whole thing.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: WSJ: Advice For Parents With Children Living At Home After College. “Now that they’re out of college, you realize what wasn’t included in that $240,000 education: classes in life skills and decision-making.”
I have to say, this isn’t my experience at all. But then, we raised the Insta-Daughter with an eye toward independence.
July 26, 2015
I WROTE ABOUT THIS PHENOMENON IN ARMY OF DAVIDS: Meet The Teen Who Pays For College With A Jewelry Business. “LeiLei Secor, a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, is her own boss at her Etsy and online shop, Designed by Lei. Secor doesn’t simply sell the jewelry, she makes it herself with tools and supplies that are stashed under her dorm room bed and desk. Oh, and to top that off, she was the winner of the 2013 National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Now that’s what we call an extracurricular.”