October 9, 2015

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: A “Victory Garden” In A Can.

AUTONOMOUS HIGHWAY DRIVING: Coming sooner than you think?

ASHE SCHOW: Hillary Clinton’s (Democrat) Woman Privilege: Hidden emails reveal laughable technological illiteracy, but the media won’t run with this narrative. “If she were a Republican man, she would be chastised for being so bad at, well, everything that has to do with technology. Heck, if she were a Republican woman, she’d be ripped to shreds as a moron on par with how the media treated former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin or former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. If either of those two women couldn’t figure out how to find an NPR station, for example (as Ms. Clinton couldn’t), they would be the subject of continuous mockery. . . . The bottom line is that there is a narrative here that is not being played out for Ms. Clinton the way it would be for a Republican. There’s comedy gold here, but pointing this out about Ms. Clinton—a woman—would be seen as sexist, even though similar claims of technological incompetence and being too old and out-of-touch have been lodged against Republicans.”

AND, IN FACT, PRETTY MUCH ALWAYS DO: Facebook Is Big, But Big Networks Can Fall. And though it may take a long time to happen, the unraveling process can be very sudden. “Looking at the most recent Pew study on Internet usage among young people, I see that 71 percent of teens use Facebook, with the median user having slightly less than 150 friends. Forty-one percent of them report that they use Facebook most often. But when I look at a similar Pew study from 2013, it looks to me as if 76 percent of teens were using Facebook, with a median number of 300 friends, and 81 percent of social media users reported that they used Facebook most often. If I were Facebook, those numbers would keep me awake at night — not because Facebook can’t survive with only 70 percent of the market, but because a network that is getting smaller and less valuable to its users is a network that is very vulnerable to disruption.”

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO SEE MEDIA NARRATIVES COLLAPSE SO THOROUGHLY: Common Response After Killings in Oregon: ‘I Want to Have a Gun.’ And it’s nice when the American public displays such obvious good sense.



The walls of our upstairs hallway testify that we once had photogenic children. There are rows of framed pictures that show them playing baseball, basketball, holding a toad and smiling in the sunlight at their eager parents. Everything is orderly and bright.

But these are pictures from another time. The children in those aging frames don’t look like the giants clomping around the living room and leaving their dishes all over the house even if I’ve told them a thousand times. Those older forms bolt the minute I incline toward the camera. Sometimes when I take out my phone to check email, the little Garbos vanish. The email icon and camera icon are right next to each other, and my children can’t be too careful.

Read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON TAXES AND MIGRATION: Are America’s tax migrants bringing California and New York’s high-tax views to sunny low-tax shores of Texas and Florida? “If I were one of those conservative billionaires (hello, Koch brothers! hi, Sheldon Adelson!) who are always donating tens of millions to support Republican candidates, I think I might try spending some of the money on something more useful: A sort of welcome wagon for blue state migrants to red states. Something that would explain to them why the place they’re moving to is doing better than the place they left, and suggesting that they might not want to vote for the same policies that are driving their old home states into bankruptcy.”

MIKE NEEDHAM: The Heritage Action CEO explains, “The reality that drove McCarthy’s exit from the Speaker’s race.”

The reality is simple: In the aftermath of the 2011 showdown over the debt ceiling—the showdown that led to the spending caps that Boehner, et al. are now attempting to bust—the GOP began taking a passive posture toward President Obama and a dismissive disposition toward conservatives.

That dynamic within the House Republican Conference has been building over the past four years. It came close to boiling over in January, and finally became too much in September.

Of course, Americans outside of Washington played an undeniably important role in this process. The revival of the conservative grassroots empowered by access to information and a proliferation of technology created an atmosphere that forced Boehner to resign. And in a nod to political reality, McCarthy said “I don’t want to make voting for speaker a tough one…” Indeed it would have been, because as Boehner’s second in command, McCarthy would have been viewed in a similarly unfavorable light.

Rep. Peter King, a liberal Republican from New York, suggested America is now “A banana republic.” That is a petulant, childish reaction intended to dismiss the serious nature of the party’s internal divisions.

To be clear, the solution to overcoming that divide is not some moderate caretaker or an absurd coalition-style government with Nancy Pelosi. . . .

The Republican Party has fallen into the same trap—refusing to recognize or address its serious internal problems. This is an action-forcing event, and every single Republican needs to recognize it as such.

Exactly. Is the GOP establishment listening yet? Somehow, I doubt it.


SOLVING THE IMPORTANT ISSUES: Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?

IN THE MAIL: From Ben Bova, Rescue Mode.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 50% Off ECCO Shoes. Walk in comfort.

And, also today only: 50-65% Off Women’s Wear to Work Apparel.

Plus: 32% off this Econo-Heat E-Heater.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 883. Plus, a reader poll on whether he should continue this daily coverage.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: College Debt Woes Point to Grim Future.

The problems detailed in this article are real and important, but there’s a big one that’s not mentioned: Sooner or later, interest rates will go up generally, and that’s likely to price some colleges out of the bond market completely.

This should remind us that America is locked into an educational model, that, like our health care system, rests on foundations that drive prices up faster than inflation year by year by year. Education is important to Americans, and we do what we can to keep up, but ultimately we need to figure out how to deliver the education we need at a price we can actually pay. Sadly, it remains the case that the people who know the system best are, for the most part, less interested in helping think through and implement creative reform than in perpetuating the privileges that come with their jobs in the current, outdated system.

If only someone had warned them.

GQ MAGAZINE COLUMNIST SAYS F**K BEN CARSON: “Writer Drew Magary (actual photo above) has penned a new piece for GQ Magazine titled “Fuck Ben Carson” because he’s clearly smarter than a pediatric neurosurgeon.”

The photo really says it all.

I JUST WISH THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LOATHE ME FELT THE SAME WAY: Brendan O’Neill: Why we must fight for free speech for people we loathe.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON TAXES AND MIGRATION: Are America’s tax migrants bringing California and New York’s high-tax views to sunny low-tax shores of Texas and Florida? “If I were one of those conservative billionaires (hello, Koch brothers! hi, Sheldon Adelson!) who are always donating tens of millions to support Republican candidates, I think I might try spending some of the money on something more useful: A sort of welcome wagon for blue state migrants to red states. Something that would explain to them why the place they’re moving to is doing better than the place they left, and suggesting that they might not want to vote for the same policies that are driving their old home states into bankruptcy.”

WHY SHOULD THE REST OF US FOLLOW THE LAW, WHEN OBAMA DOESN’T? U.S. officials conclude Iran deal violates federal law. “Some senior U.S. officials involved in the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal have privately concluded that a key sanctions relief provision – a concession to Iran that will open the doors to tens of billions of dollars in U.S.-backed commerce with the Islamic regime – conflicts with existing federal statutes and cannot be implemented without violating those laws.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Ben Carson suggests that gun rights might have changed history for Jews in WWII.

For a careful and meticulously documented history of the Nazis’ gun-confiscation efforts — which strongly suggest that the Nazis thought Carson’s opinion had merit — see Steve Halbrook’s Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State.” Some of this is summarized in this review by Clayton Cramer.

REPUBLICAN EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS TAKE NOTICE: With new equal-pay act, will Jennifer Lawrence get paid like Bradley Cooper?

Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence was paid 7% of the profit on the 2013 ensemble film “American Hustle,” a big payday for the A-list actress. But Bradley Cooper and two other male co-stars each earned 9%.

That’s the kind of inequity potentially targeted by California’s Fair Pay Act, which is aimed at leveling the compensation field between men and women. The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week, applies to businesses statewide but has particular resonance in Hollywood, where women have become increasingly vocal critics of the pay gap.

Indeed, the entertainment industry played a key role in pushing the bill forward. Patricia Arquette raised the issue of pay inequality while accepting the best supporting actress Oscar during this year’s Academy Awards — a moment that the Fair Pay Act’s author, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), said gave the measure momentum.

* * * * * *

“This will ultimately force production companies, studios, TV networks, talent agencies and management firms to look more closely at their practices to make sure that they are providing equal pay,” said attorney Bryan Freedman, a veteran Hollywood attorney and a founding partner of Freedman Taitelman.

Failure to do so, added attorney Seth Neulight, could expose studios to litigation.

“I think you’ll see studios and their counsel take it more seriously than they have in the past,” said Neulight, a partner in the labor and employment practice group of Nixon Peabody. “There is now another tool in the toolbox for female actors to speak out.”

And another tool in the toolbox for attorneys who want to cause far left Hollywood plenty of well-deserved mischief. (And why not repeal the Hollywood tax cuts in the process, as well?)

(H/T: Virginia Postrel.)

HOUSE DEM CRAFTS CRAIGSLIST AD TO FIND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Eh — it’s worth a shot; think of it as the Internet equivalent of preferring to search through the first 2000 names in the Boston telephone directory rather than the 2000 faculty members of Harvard, to modify William F. Buckley’s famous quip.

OBAMA’S HISPANIC PUPPETS: Congressional Hispanic Caucus admits that White House vets their press list.

ASHE SCHOW: Education Department officials’ candid acknowledgement.

For years, those opposed to campus adjudication of sexual assault have argued that the document declaring that schools must create court systems was not legally binding. It turns out Education Department officials agree.

The document, known as the “Dear Colleague” letter, was issued in 2011 and directed schools to create courts with severely limited to no due process protections for accused students. This was done supposedly in an effort to combat an “epidemic” of campus sexual assault. Schools that didn’t punish accused students — even if the evidence didn’t support the accusation — were at risk of losing government funding and threatened with federal investigations.

Those investigations almost always (except for once, to my knowledge) result in a finding that the school violated the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX, which is the basis for the Dear Colleague letter. Should a school find an accused student not responsible, the accuser would file a claim with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and the school would be investigated.

Organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have pushed back against the Dear Colleague letter, arguing that because the document didn’t go through the proper regulatory channels, it was not legally binding. . . .

Cohn has now documented two Education Department officials who have acknowledged that the Dear Colleague letter is not legally binding. Both acknowledgements have occurred in the past few weeks.

Colleges won’t fight, though, because they’re happy to throw young men under the bus. In the War On College Men, they’ve chosen their side.

WHY SUSAN RICE PLAYED THE RACE CARD: At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin writes:

The headline on the Politico website for the Ross excerpts when it went up on Thursday morning was one that used a quote in which the State Department veteran claimed that Rice spread the word that “Netanyahu did everything but ‘use the N-word’ in his interactions with Obama over Iran. Later in the day, that was changed to the more neutral (and actually more in keeping with thrust of the content of the story) headline, “How Obama got to “Yes” on Iran.” But as inflammatory as that initial headline was, that one line was what has everyone talking about Ross’s book today. Indeed, although Ross’s purpose is to try to repair what he correctly terms the unnecessary damage to the alliance that was caused by the administration’s combative attitude toward Netanyahu, that false allegation by Rice actually tells us more about what’s wrong between Washington and Jerusalem than anything else.

“Ross draws a distinction between Obama’s first term, when a figure such as National Security Director Tom Donilon worked to reassure the Israelis that they were not being left alone to fend for themselves, and his last,” Tobin adds. “In his second term, Obama ceased caring about what the Israelis thought, and Donilon’s successor Susan Rice acted on that imperative.”

In his 2002 article with the classic headline “Carterpalooza,” Jay Nordlinger wrote, “No one quite realizes just how passionately anti-Israel Carter is. William Safire has reported that Cyrus Vance acknowledged that, if he had had a second term, Carter would have sold Israel down the river.”

Think of the last eight years as Jimmy Carter’s long-lost second term – dialed up to 11.

THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS IS JUST A NOVEL, RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT? GUYS? Refugee Charity Stops Aid To Calais Because 97% Are Men With ‘No Real Reason’ To Be There.

BRAVE SIR BARACK RAN AWAY: White House Is Weighing A Syria Retreat. Bravely ran away he did, brave, brave sir Barack.

ROLL CALL: Senate Clears NDAA with Veto-Proof Majority. “The White House has threatened to nix the measure over its inclusion of tens of billions of additional war funds to supplement the Pentagon’s everyday operating costs.”

Prediction: Whatever happens here, Obama will be back asking Congress for more war money within a year.

EDWARD LUTTWAK: Putin’s Great Crime: He Defends His Allies and Attacks His Enemies. “Conduct particularly reprehensible in the eyes of the Obama Administration, which does the exact opposite.”


Other than no Republican ever being elected president again, what could go wrong?

WELL, GOOD: New Cornell president ‘would never’ require trigger warnings.

“A university is about the fullest and freest expression of ideas and arguments,” she said. “There isn’t any idea that ought not to be tested and questioned. Because that’s how we get closer to the truth.”

It’s sad that it’s refreshing to hear this from an academic administrator, but, you know, it’s refreshing to hear this from an academic administrator.

HMM: Issa Considering Running For Speaker.

Related: GOP Pressures Reluctant Ryan.

Also: 7 Republicans Who Could Be Speakers.

Plus, it’s open season for pundits running with the — correct! — notion that you don’t have to be a member of Congress to be speaker. My own choice: Mike Rowe. It’s one of the few Dirty Jobs he hasn’t done.


Something that can’t go on forever won’t, to only slightly paraphrase Herb Stein.


FORGET THE GENDER GAP, THE REAL ISSUE IS THE FEDERAL PAY GAP: Federal Employees’ Wages Growing Faster Than Everybody Else’s. “Federal civilian workers had an average wage of $84,153 in 2014, compared to an average in the private sector of $56,350. The federal advantage in overall compensation (wages plus benefits) is even greater. Federal compensation averaged $119,934 in 2014, which was 78 percent higher than the private-sector average of $67,246.”

IT’S A SIGN.  THE SOLAR SYSTEM IS OURS:  (Hey, look, let’s just get off the rock, okay?) Pluto: NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals blue skies and red water ice


BEATS OBAMA’S MOTORCADE: Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State. (And yes, it is a joke.)

STAND UP: The Real Benghazi Investigation.

MUSH HEADED: Russian Scientists Build Monument To Honor Lab Rats. Is there a monument honoring the kulaks, sacrificed in an attempt to risk an impossible future?  Mush headed.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED:  Muslim Brotherhood official, former Clinton Foundation employee arrested in Cairo.


REVOLUTIONARY OR A FLUKE: Scientists Sequence First Ancient Human Genome From Africa.

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH A CULTURE OF VICTIM GLORIFICATION: The Real Problem With Susan Taffe Reed and Fake Indian Tribes.

October 8, 2015


THOUGHT: The Tea Party wing of the GOP has put paid first to Eric Cantor, and now to Boehner. What’s left of the GOP establishment is saying that the insurgency is stupid. But if the GOP establishment had done its job, there wouldn’t be an insurgency. So who’s stupid here?

As Ed Morrissey notes: “In 2010 and again in 2014, Republicans won back control of Capitol Hill by promising not just to stop Barack Obama’s agenda but reversing it, even though simple majority control in Congress isn’t sufficient to do so while Obama remains president. The GOP overpromised and under delivered–a classic set-up for discouragement and backlash.”

OBAMA DOES WHAT HE WANTS WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE LAW. WHY SHOULDN’T THE REST OF US DO THE SAME? Obama weighs expanding background checks through executive authority.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Report: U.S. Concedes Air Superiority Over Syria to Russia.


MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON TAXES AND MIGRATION: Are America’s tax migrants bringing California and New York’s high-tax views to sunny low-tax shores of Texas and Florida? “If I were one of those conservative billionaires (hello, Koch brothers! hi, Sheldon Adelson!) who are always donating tens of millions to support Republican candidates, I think I might try spending some of the money on something more useful: A sort of welcome wagon for blue state migrants to red states. Something that would explain to them why the place they’re moving to is doing better than the place they left, and suggesting that they might not want to vote for the same policies that are driving their old home states into bankruptcy.”

THE GOP COULD DO FAR WORSE — AND LIKELY WILL: Newt Gingrich Open to Returning to Speakership.

IS FACEBOOK REALLY A PLAYGROUND FOR NARCISSISTS? MAYBE NOT. “The results were fascinating: The more narcissistic the posters, the less social attention they received from Facebook. In particular, this trend was driven by individuals scoring high in exploitativeness and entitlement, two components of narcissism. Notably, exploitativeness (i.e., taking advantage of others) and entitlement (i.e., believing that one is the best) are some of the most noxious and insufferable facets of narcissism. Simply put: Facebook friends recognized these individuals and distanced themselves from them by ignoring them.”

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HOW DID THE DEMOCRATS BECOME FAVORITES OF THE RICH? John Podhoretz dubs this New York Times article “an important piece by Tom Edsell, which is not something I usually say:”

Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.

The gulf between the two parties on socially fraught issues like abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage and voting rights remains vast. On economic issues, however, the Democratic Party has inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.

In this respect, the Democratic Party and its elected officials have come to resemble their Republican counterparts far more than the public focus on polarization would lead you to expect.

Well, speak for yourself, Tom. We’ve been writing about this trend since at least 11 years ago, when the Democrats nominated the second coming of Thurston Howell as their presidential nominee, a man who makes FDR seem positively plebeian. (As Mark Steyn asked around the same time, “Could Kerry slum it in the White House?”) As to the reason why, well, James Delingpole dubs it “The Drawbridge Effect” — “You’ve made your money. Now the very last thing you want is for all those trashy middle class people below you to have a fair shot at getting as rich as you are.”

This has its drawbacks — the left can’t preach what it practices, Charles Murray memorably wrote in Coming Apart. “That is certainly true,” William Tucker added at the American Spectator in his review of Murray’s 2012 book. “No one who has been through the American educational system can feel comfortable telling high school graduates that they should work hard, get married, and practice the virtues of thrift and honesty—even though they adhere to those values themselves.” Jonah Goldberg named this disparity “hypocrophobia,” noting that the wealthy have a far greater cushion in terms of both money and the protection it buys, when things go wrong:

What drives me crazy is when rich liberal single parents think they have legs to stand on when speaking on behalf of low-income single parents. I certainly understand the defensiveness, and no doubt they have some shared experiences. But the most infuriating problem with elite culture is its refusal to understand that it can afford its sins — or if you prefer something more secular, its mistakes.

People with lots of financial and social capital can afford to make bad choices that would be devastating for others. Rich single parents can afford nannies and tutors and play groups and summer camps. And parenting is only one aspect of it. The elite can afford rehab. If they get a DUI, they can afford a good lawyer. If they lose their license, they can take Uber. In terms of social capital, they get second and third chances from judges, schools, employers, landlords, et al.

But it’s good that the Times has finally noticed that the party for which they serve as house organ is the chief political party of the One Percent, as their (Gray Lady-approved) shock troops back during Occupy Wall Street would have dubbed their fellow Democrats.

HOUSE SPEAKER SELECTION DELAYED: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has dropped out of the race for House Speaker. Boehner has delayed the GOP conference vote (slated for today) indefinitely.

It happened suddenly. A source close to McCarthy told National Review on Wednesday that the majority leader was confident that he had secured about 200 votes, and possibly gotten all the way to 218. At 1:00 P.M., just an hour after the scheduled meeting at which he withdrew from the race, came a statement from his office: “Over the last week it has become clear to me that our conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put the conference ahead of myself. Therefore, I am withdrawing my candidacy for speaker of the House.”

Almost immediately, new names for the position began to float on Capitol Hill. Trey Gowdy (“If the Hillary hearing goes well, Trey Gowdy will get a tremendous amount of pressure,” says one House Republican, referring to the Benghazi committee’s scheduled interview with the former secretary of state, set to take place later this month. “I don’t know that he has the heart to do it.”) Peter Roskam. Jason Chaffetz. An interim speaker. Somebody, anybody.

In a phone call, McCarthy tells National Review he wants Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan to run, but Ryan issued a statement Thursday ruling out a bid. So right now, McCarthy says, the conference may be ungovernable. “I don’t know,” he says. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.”

McCarthy’s move followed something of a political rock bottom of his own that stretched over two brutal weeks. Even before he announced his bid, he faced resistance from conservatives who viewed him as too closely tied to Boehner, the outgoing Speaker. All week, the Tea Party Patriots had been circulating T-shirts on Capitol Hill with the term “McBoehner” emblazoned across the front, along with an orange, wine-swilling, cigarette-smoking amalgam of Boehner and McCarthy.

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)–a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives–is now emerging as a more likely contender, obtaining the official endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is still in the race, but appears to have fewer votes lined up than Webster.

Chaffetz was expected to finish third in the GOP caucus vote after McCarthy and Rep. Daniel Webster, a Florida Republican who on Wednesday nabbed the endorsement of the 40-something-strong House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Steve King, one of the House’s more conservative members, said that he saw Webster with up to 70 votes in the race so far and that he was far ahead of Chaffetz.

“What I saw was Webster’s numbers growing,” King said. “I didn’t see that Chaffetz’s numbers were growing and they may have shrunk, I don’t know.”

King said McCarthy’s withdrawal was an opening for Webster, not Chaffetz.

Asked whether Chaffetz now had a better shot, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was abrupt.

“No,” said the former chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Chaffetz now heads.

Boehner has not scheduled a new date for the GOP conference to vote on his replacement. Rumors are flying that Boehner is maneuvering to stay on as Speaker until a clear GOP consensus emerges. I have even heard rumors that Boehner is considering staying on as Speaker after his term of office expires (he has also announced that he will not seek reelection), as the Speaker of the House does not have to be an elected member of the House.

If Boehner stays on as Speaker much longer, it will be horrific for the GOP, further deepening the anger of the base and dividing the members of the House. It’s long past time for him to go, and his feeble attempts to stay on any longer is only harming, not helping, the GOP.

The GOP conference needs to pick a replacement as soon as possible. Once the GOP conference has picked its candidate, it will be incumbent upon all members of the GOP to unite and support that candidate, regardless of which “side” the candidate is on. To do otherwise would be to allow the Democrats to pick the next Speaker.

BUT ACKNOWLEDGING THIS DOESN’T FEED HILLARY-FRIENDLY “WAR ON WOMEN” THEMES: Barbara Kay: Don’t sell fathers short: They are as crucial to a child’s well being as a mother.

BUT IF THERE’S NO CRISIS, WHAT WILL THE CONSULTANTS DO? Brian Hall: There Is No Diversity Crisis In Tech.


I favor cuts in defense spending—I favor cuts in spending almost everywhere—but thinking about President Eisenhower earlier today (I do that a lot) made me want to put contemporary military spending into perspective. In 1957, the nation was more or less at peace, the budget ran a small surplus, and we spent 9.8 percent of GDP on national defense. That was down sharply from the years immediately before (winding down of Korean War expenses, I guess) but quite a bit higher than it was in 1950 and 1951. In 1950, we spent only 4.9 percent of GDP on national defense, half that 1957 number. This year, we’re going to spend about 3.3 percent of GDP on national defense. That’s less than we spent during the first Clinton administration, a fairly peaceable time. It’s less than we’ve spent since before the budgetary beginning of the post-9/11 era, by which I mean, since 2002. Looking at 1957 from the other side of the ledger, tax receipts were 17.2 percent of GDP. This year, taxes are expected to come in at 17.7 percent of GDP, a little bit more. . . .

The real lesson of 1957 is that you could—if you were so inclined—spend three times what we spend on the military in GDP terms, produce a small budget surplus, and reduce total taxes. You could do that if you were willing to do the work on the rest of the budget. I wasn’t around at the time, but I’ve heard that 1957 was not a time of stateless Mad Max anarchy and wanton savagery in the United States.

Politicians found better ways to buy votes, so money spent on, you know, actually doing things the Constitution assigns to the national government is squeezed.

WOLF BLITZER SKEPTICAL IN BEN CARSON INTERVIEW THAT ARMED JEWS WOULD’VE FARED BETTER THAN UNARMED JEWS AGAINST NAZIS (VIDEO): “Blitzer is so invested in liberal talking points about guns that he can’t grasp the value of an armed populace in the face of evil tyranny.”

But of course – considering the network’s history of coddling up to every dictator willing to smile in front of a minicam with a CNN sticker on it, why would any of their employees view tyranny as evil? (If Carson had really wanted to make Blitzer sympathetic, he might have compared European Jews in WWII to the protestors in Ferguson, considering how much CNN invested in setting that uprising alight.)

Related: Racism straight up, courtesy of Condé Nast.


What do the acolytes of the State want to ban this week? Which bootlace eyelet will they lubricate with eager spittle? Oh, the usual stuff. Fun. Your fun. Vox writer Dylan Matthews twittered his demands, and they’re quite ordinary — except for one new requirement. See if you can spot it.


Accompanying that fascistic cri de cœur to Ban All The Things is a sneak peak of one of their future replacements — the photos illustrating Lileks’ article featuring Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and Anthony Foxx, Mr. Obama’s transportation secretary, and a self-driving car that looks like a Weeblemobile.

Lileks ponders how that concept will play in Peoria:

Would the ban be for cities only, or for everyone? Would rural North Dakotans have to trade in their pick-ups for dinky bugs, or be required to retrofit their old trusty Chevys for self-driving units? Oh, what a madcap movie someone could make about the gubmint man who has to go to Elk Groin, Mont., and tell the lads down at the garage that they can’t drive their trucks anymore. Let me give you a web address with information about the new laws, fellas, and you can see how it’s just win-win for everybody. Amused at first, the locals decide to humor the fellow, and show him all the quirky joys of small-town life, and he becomes enchanted by a free-spirited woman who raises horses and drives big trucks, and takes him for a wild midnight ride where speeds exceed the legal limit. He goes back to the regional office, a changed man, his heart full of newfound admiration for the ways of these independent people and their curious, outmoded, backwards attachment to “shifting” and “steering” and all those old folkways. He starts to write a report about how the ban shouldn’t be applied to these people, but then shrugs and realizes he has a job review coming up, so he sends the IRS a memo: “You might want to audit all these people.”

You might think that’s a lot to get out of a tweet, but it reminded me of something I saw in a BuzzFeed article about self-driving cars, and why they’re awesome. The author, Mat Honan, made a good case, and I was right with him until the end, when the mask slipped and the Angry Man — whose excess of certainties is balanced by his deficit of wisdom — came snarling out.

Cars are giant, inefficient, planet-and-people-killing death machines. Self-driving cars — especially if they are operated as fleets and you only use one when you need it, summoning it Uber-style — would mean we could have fewer vehicles per person, less traffic congestion, less pollution, far fewer vehicles produced per year (thus lowering the environmental impact of production), and, best of all, safer streets. The blind, people with epilepsy, quadriplegics, and all manner of others who today have difficulty ferrying themselves around as they go through the mundanities of an average day will be liberated. Eliminating the automobile’s need for a human pilot will be a positive thing for society.

So go f*** a tailpipe if you love cars so much. Your love for cars doesn’t supersede the lives of 1.2 million people who die in automobile accidents every year. It’s not more important than the energy savings we’ll get from not manufacturing 60 million or so vehicles every year that spend most of their time idle. Turned off. Parked.

Well, at least he waited until the end of piece before dropping the mask. That puts him one up on the author of the notorious 2007 Time magazine article on “The 50 Worst Cars in America,” who began by railing against Henry Ford’s original sin of perfecting the notion of the mass-produced automobile in the first place, leading inexorably to every woe of the past 100 years, including the Iraq War and worse.

IT’S AS IF THEY JUST DOWNLOADED THE PLANS FROM OUR COMPUTERS OR SOMETHING: The Uncanny Resemblance Between Chinese and American Weapons.


Two in five of 1,789 vegetarians questioned owned up to treating themselves to a sneaky kebab after a few drinks.

And one in three said they indulged in meat every time they went out drinking.

Twenty-seven per cent of the lapsing veggies said they ate bacon, while 19 per cent opted for fried chicken and 14 per cent confessed to munching on sausages.

George Orwell, who railed against his fellow socialists’ obsession with vegetarianism in 1937’s The Road to Wigan Pier, noting with anger that “One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England,” wouldn’t be much surprised by their hypocrisy after knocking back a few.  Plus ça change.


And while leftists don’t have much sense of humor about themselves, they fully understand the power of ridicule. When they hear a vigorous claim that, “You can’t take away my guns because the Constitution guarantees my right to them,” they are apt to snicker, “Yeah, because you just might have to shoot at the invading U.S. army when the government declares a police state, right?”

Few people are willing to answer that mocking question with, “Well, yes, that’s right.” People who frame government as the perilous threat rather than the admirable “public servant” are lampooned as nutters by the media and many of their fellow citizens.*

Whether they should or shouldn’t be is beside the point. What matters is that you cannot make a compelling constitutional claim about gun rights unless you believe in the Constitution’s rationale for those rights. By and large, the public lacks that conviction … and that is why our debate is about struggling to limit the Left’s antigun agenda rather than asserting our own gun rights.

Read the whole thing.

* At least a third of whom believe that government murdered 3000 people on 9/11.

TEXAS TAQIYYA: Clock-Boy’s Father Pushes 9/11 Conspiracy Theories on Facebook:

Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas ninth-grader who was arrested and briefly detained for bringing what looked like a bomb to school, is in the news again thanks to his father.

Fox News has reported that Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed runs two Facebook pages – a pro-American Facebook page that is designed for the American public’s consumption, and an Arabic-language Facebook page that has a very different tone.*

The latter page is Mohamed’s National Reform Party page, and according to Fox News’ Trace Gallagher, it is much more active, and recently shared a disturbing 9/11 conspiracy video:

That account has shared a 14-minute conspiracy theory video on the 9/11 attacks and a post that shows the smoking Twin Towers, describing it as a U.S.-sponsored hoax to launch a worldwide war against Islam.

* * * * * * *

The president has invited Ahmed to the White House for Astronomy Night on Oct. 19.

* Yassir Arafat could not be reached for his stereo comments.

CHRIS PETERSON ON the future of the human lifespan.

AT AMAZON, deals galore in Training & Fitness.

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BBC ADMITS FAKING DRAMATIC VOLCANO ERUPTION SCENE ON NATURAL HISTORY SHOW: Footage of a ‘dirty thunderstorm’ in Chile on the BBC’s Patagonia programme was faked by splicing together two different volcano eruptions four years apart.

Michael Crichton, call your office.

(Via SDA.)

THE TWILIGHT OF FRENCH JEWRY, THE TWILIGHT OF FRANCE: French Jews are emigrating to Israel by the tens of thousands. Their departure isn’t just about them; it’s about the end of the French idea.

Earlier, Glenn noted that the London Times’ front page headline was “Millions of migrants in new flight to Europe,” as Europe continues to rearrange the deck chairs.

SPACE: The Google Lunar XPrize Race Is Officially On. Faster, please.

REMINDER: Amazon carries shooting supplies.

BECAUSE IT WORKS: Why Does DNC Media Keep Endlessly Repeating Already Debunked Talking Points? They’ll keep it up until it stops working, or at least becomes painful.

BOY, THERE REALLY ARE A LOT OF constitutionally illiterate pieces on the Second Amendment from academics lately. Here’s a hint: There’s a huge literature on this stuff. The Second Amendment wasn’t badly drafted or unclear, it was drafted by smart men who knew exactly what they were trying to say; you just don’t want to hear that. Your cocktail-party “insights” on the Second Amendment are neither interesting nor correct. This is Dunning-Krueger scholarship at its worst.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: “Maybe World War III has started already.”

IN THE MAIL: From Mercedes Lackey,et al., Collision: Book Four in the Secret World Chronicle.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 70% or More Off Women’s & Men’s Coats & Jackets. Winter is coming!

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Plus: 60% off this All-Clad Professional Cookware Set, 7-Piece.

WHY DID CNN CUT THE LENGTH OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE FROM THREE HOURS TO TWO? “Bernie and Hillary are too old to stand for 3 hours.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 882.

DEMS’ CLAIMS THAT THERE’S NO THERE THERE GET WEAKER WITH EACH NEW REVELATION: Clinton e-mails were vulnerable to hackers, tech firm warned.

ED MORRISSEY: The Coming Danger of a ‘Throw the Bums Out’ Election.

LONDON TIMES FRONT PAGE: “Millions of migrants in new flight to Europe.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.50.07 PM

UNEXPECTEDLY! Bern Notice: Socialist Venezuela Has World’s Worst Economic Forecast.

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Talk about rooting for injuries. But then, one man’s Web hacker is another man’s freedom fighter bound and determined to keep rockin’ even when facing 25 years of funemployment behind bars. Or something like that.

HMM. MY MONEY’S ON OPTION #2. Russia’s Syria intervention may force choice on Obama: Act or yield.


A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.

He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.

In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.

Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.


WHEN NOT HAVING ENOUGH ACTUAL RAPES IS PROBLEMATIC: Sex assault activists upset reality doesn’t conform to their beliefs.

Activists on at least two college campuses are upset that their universities aren’t showing the “epidemic” levels of sexual assault the activists believe exist.

At the University of Albany, the director of the school’s Advocacy Center for Sexual Assault, Carol Stenger, bemoaned the idea of schools wanting zero reports of sexual assault. Shouldn’t schools want zero reports? At least if it means there weren’t any sexual assaults? Well, that’s not what Stenger wants.

“But how could we have a zero? There are 17,000 students here. We know the national statistics. It’s happening everywhere,” Stenger said. “If we increase that reporting, that means more people are getting assistance. And assistance is the fastest way to healing.”

On one level I can see Stenger’s point: More reports could mean more people feel comfortable coming forward.

And there weren’t zero reports at Albany in the previous school year. There weren’t the thousands of reports that Stenger seems to want in order to fall in line with debunked national statistics (the claim that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college), either.

In the past year, Albany had 28 reports of sexual assault, twice as many as it had before Stenger opened her advocacy center. To get the number in line with the national statistics Stenger mentions that there would need to be more than 1,700 reports (population of 17,280, about half being women, and a fifth of them allegedly being sexually assaulted). Oh, and all 1,700 of those reports would have to be true.

For the record, those 28 reports don’t break down to what alarmist national statistics say they should.

“Nine of them were from students who asked the university not to take action. Six resulted in disciplinary proceedings that led to two student expulsions and one persona non grata order against a nonstudent,” the Times Union reported. “Six were from third parties (when reached, the alleged victims either denied any violence occurred or declined to speak). Four involved assailants whose identities were unknown. Three were outside the university’s jurisdiction.”

What’s missing here is police involvement in what are, last time I checked, still crimes.

Remember, this is all about shaming men and empowering campus activists and educrats. It has nothing to do with actually protecting students:

A more alarming issue going on at Albany beyond the school’s desire for more reports is that the person responsible for carrying out an allegedly fair adjudication process, Title IX coordinator Chantelle Cleary, is also an advocate for accusers.

“Her duties include compliance, prevention and education around sexual assault, but her biggest task is investigating reports of assault and completing reports that help the university make a finding of responsibility,” wrote the Times Union. (Emphasis added.)

So, her job is to find students responsible? Not find the truth? Even the Education Department thinks that’s a conflict of interest. She’s supposed to investigate, not advocate. If this is the way she operates, then accused students at Albany should immediately hire a lawyer, because they probably aren’t getting a fair investigation or hearing.

That’s my advice to any accused student at any school. But doesn’t a pervasive system of male-targeting and denials of due process constitute a hostile educational environment based on sex? I think that it does.

TO BE FAIR, IT’S JUST MEANT TO BE A CAMPAIGN TALKING POINT: Obama administration has doubts that key Hillary gun proposal can work.

Current law requires those who are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to get a federal firearms license — and to conduct background checks on buyers. Private sellers don’t need to conduct such checks. Gun control advocates have argued that administrative rules defining what that phrase means are too vague, allowing many private sellers who are actually selling guns as a quasi-business to do so without running checks on buyers. They argue that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could tighten this up with a rule that narrows the definition of who is “engaged in the business.”

The Obama administration looked at this idea, officials tell me, studying whether “engaged in the business” could be defined with, say, a threshold number of guns sold — say, 50 or 100 per year. If this were done, those who identify as private sellers (and sell without background checks) but sell that many guns could no longer do so without getting a license and performing background checks.

But the idea quickly presented complications. One former administration official involved in these discussions tells me that some officials worried it would present new and unforeseen enforcement problems. One senior administration official says some worried internally that defining a commercial seller through a hard sales threshold — as opposed to, say, leaving it to the discretion of law enforcement to determine who is a commercial seller — could be subject to legal challenge and could end up sweeping in people selling guns who clearly were not engaged in it as a long term business. This could create untold logistical — not to say political — difficulties.

“It was very clear that it was way more complicated than the other stuff being looked at,” the senior administration official tells me.

It’s less complicated if you don’t really care about the results.

REASON TV: How to Create a Gun-Free America in 5 Easy Steps.

BEAN-COUNTING IN AN INFERNO — New York’s mostly male FDNY begins a “diversity” initiative, Matthew Hennessey warns at City Journal:

If diversity training is a dead end, why is Mayor de Blasio insisting upon it? Because, like most progressives, his idea of social justice involves the “fundamental transformation” of society—and that project must necessarily begin in the city agencies that are within his sphere of control. There are limits to what a mayor can do, even one with a lapdog city council cheering him on. This mayor thinks tilting policy in favor of certain personnel is the fastest route to fundamental transformation.

How else to explain the decision earlier this year to allow 33-year-old Rebecca Wax to graduate from the Fire Academy despite having failed the Functional Skills Test five times? The FST was designed to mimic the conditions of an actual fire. Probationary firefighters are required to complete a grueling six-floor obstacle course while hauling 50 pounds of gear and breathing through an oxygen tank. Wax succeeded in completing the course on her sixth try but took nearly four minutes longer to do so than is typically permitted. Nevertheless, she was allowed to graduate and was assigned to Engine 259 in Sunnyside, Queens. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro admitted at a city council hearing in December that the department had lowered the fitness bar to allow more women to pass the test.

Read the whole thing.


If you look up “whole milk” in the government’s official Dietary Guidelines, it states pretty definitively that people should only drink skim or 1% milk. “If you currently drink whole milk,” it says, “gradually switch to lower fat versions.”

This is the same advice the government has been issuing for many years. And it’s wrong.

Research published in recent years shows that people “might have been better off had they stuck with whole milk,” according to a front-page story in the Washington Post on Wednesday. “People who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

The story goes on to note that the government’s push for Americans to eat a high-carb diet “provokes a number of heart disease risk factors.”

As the Harvard School of Public Health’s Walter Willett put it, the “campaign to reduce fat in the diet has had some pretty disastrous consequences.”

The Post goes on to note that this “has raised questions about the scientific foundations of the government’s diet advice.”

It should.

Based on flimsy evidence, the USDA first started urging people to eat low-fat diets in 1977. As evidence grew that this advice was misguided — at best — it steadfastly refused to change course.

Who am I kidding? The government isn’t accountable. That’s for the little people.

THIS ISN’T THE 21st CENTURY I WAS ONCE PROMISED: Necessity in a progressive-run city? Vox’s Matt Yglesias maps out San Francisco sidewalk obstacles: “A comprehensive map of human poop on San Francisco sidewalks.”

But then, as even the San Francisco Chronicle was recently forced to admit, “People come here thinking of this as the center of innovation and entrepreneurship, and they see a street scene that looks like something out of a Third World country.”

WELL, AFTER ALL, OBAMA’S NO BLACKER THAN THE OCC SHOOTER, WHO’S WHITE: Rupert Murdoch: Carson could be ‘a real black president.’ And, joking aside, it’s fair to say that Obama, with his white parents and tony Hawaii prep-school background, never had the connection with authentic black experience that, say, Ben Carson or Clarence Thomas had.

THAT’S THE CHICAGO (AND CALIFORNIA) WAY: Mark Steyn and Sean Hannity discuss, ‘The more illegal immigrants you have in your state, the greater the votes you have in the Electoral College’ (video).

A HILLARY DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND! Hillary Clinton: I Totally Oppose The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement I Negotiated In 2012, even though “In her 2014 memoir, Hillary Clinton listed the negotiation of TPP as one of her key accomplishments as Sec. of State.”  As Twitchy asks, “Did TPP flip-flopper Hillary even READ her book before sending it to GOP candidates?”

The Washington Free Beacon video supercut rounds up 24 Times Hillary Clinton Championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership While Secretary of State:

Jack Tapper of CNN notes that the number is nearly double: “45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes.”

And don’t get her started on NAFTA, either, which further demonstrates the paradox of Hillary’s campaign. It’s entirely based on the good time nostalgia of the 1990s, even though she has repudiated seemingly every aspect of her husband’s post-Reagan centrism that helped to create it, as part of her increasingly quixotic efforts to lock down her party’s radical socialist base.

Speaking of which, at Hot Air, Allahpundit writes, “the Hillarybot has decided that it’s in her interest to move left to protect herself against Sanders. Bad idea. Because not only will she irritate centrist Dems and Obama-worshipping liberals by crossing him on this, but hardly a single Sanders voter will reconsider her based on this position given how transparently politically calculated it is. As Gabe Malor says, ‘Clinton will get a 5 point bump from this. In the ‘not honest or trustworthy’ polls.’ In fact, if you were searching for a reason to watch next week’s debate, now you’ve got one: It should be high comedy watching Sanders feed Hillary tons of sh*t for her sudden pandering reversal on TPP. Can’t wait.”

Related: Plenty of room on Hillary’s server for a little Journolist-style action as well.

‘INTERRUPTING WHITENESS’: NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE TO BLAME WHITE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FOR SCHOOL WOES: Obama wanted “a national conversation on race.” This conference is what he meant: “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, “challenging white supremacy,” and eliminating the “white privilege” of Caucasian students.

Plus the real buried lede — it’s the long awaited return of the legendary Zombie to blogging.

WHY IS ESQUIRE’S CHARLES PIERCE so hostile to minority men’s genitalia? “Sexualized violence… it’s funny because…? Exactly why is it funny to you Charles?” Take the survey at the link. Is Charles threatened by minority males’ sexuality?