August 27, 2015

CATO: The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: Europe. “Thirty-five states offer a package more generous than the mean benefit package offered in the European countries analyzed. Many European countries have recognized the problem and have begun to reform their welfare systems to create a better transition from welfare to work. In fact, the United States is falling behind some European countries with regard to welfare reform.”

LOVE THE PHOTO OF OBAMA THAT THE HILL CHOSE: Federal judge blocks Obama’s water rule. “The decision is a major roadblock for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, who were planning Friday to begin enforcing the Waters of the United States rule, expanding federal jurisdiction over small waterways like streams and wetlands. But the Obama administration says it will largely enforce the regulation as planned, arguing that the Thursday decision only applies to the 13 states that requested the injunction.”

SOMEBODY TELL OBAMA THAT THE NUMBER OF “CRAZIES” IS GROWING: Maloney becomes sixth NY Dem to oppose Iran deal.

DOES HE EVEN WANT TO WIN? Jeb Bush Sides With Jorge Ramos Over Donald Trump: Deserved ‘A Little More Respect.’

CATALYSTS IN THE NEWS: Carbon Fiber Cloth Can Generate Hydrogen. “Hydrogen-generating catalysts often require acidic solutions to release protons. However, this new catalyst can generate hydrogen while in water. It also requires only 200 millivolts to produce the gas, and can even operate in seawater.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Final Fall 2015 Law School Applicant Data: Down 1.8%. At Tennessee we were up 79%, but we were one of just a few schools with that experience.

Related: Average Private Law School Tuition Discount Approaches 50%. If you’re paying sticker price, you’re a sucker.

And yes, well, I told you so.

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A SMALL VICTORY: “Hey, Conservatives, You Won/The College Board’s about-face on U.S. history is a significant political event.”

Last year, the College Board, the nonprofit corporation that controls all the high-school Advanced Placement courses and exams, published new guidelines for the AP U.S. history test. They read like a left-wing dream. Obsession with identity, gender, class, crimes against the American Indian and the sins of capitalism suffused the proposed guidelines for teachers of AP American history….

The earlier guidelines characterized the discovery of America as mostly the story of Europeans bringing pestilence, destructive plants and cultural obliteration to American Indians. The new guidelines put it this way: “Mutual misunderstandings between Europeans and Native Americans often defined the early years of interaction and trade as each group sought to make sense of the other. Over time, Europeans and Native Americans adopted some useful aspects of each other’s culture.”…

The previous, neo-Marxist guidelines said, “Students should be able to explain how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial, and ethnic identities.” That has been removed. The revised guidelines have plenty about “identity” but nothing worth mounting a Super PAC to battle.

Also new: “The effort for American independence was energized by colonial leaders such as Benjamin Franklin, as well as by popular movements that included the political activism of laborers, artisans, and women.” The earlier version never suggested the existence of Franklin—or Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison or anyone resembling a Founding Father. Now they’re back. Even the Federalist Papers were fished out of the memory hole.

Most incredible of all, the private enterprise system is, as they say, reimagined as a force for good: “As the price of many goods decreased, workers’ real wages increased, providing new access to a variety of goods and services.”

A lot of conservatives and libertarians think there’s no point engaging in these fights because you can’t win. But you can.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A daily dose of aspirin appears to cut the risk of a common type of cancer. “A new study finds that people who took 75 to 150 milligrams of aspirin every day for at least five years were 27% less likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than people who didn’t. (A tablet of regular Bayer aspirin, for instance, contains 325 mg of aspirin. The low-dose version designed to reduce the risk of a recurrent heart attack of stroke contain 81 mg of aspirin.) Other types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, appeared to reduce the risk even more. People who took non-aspirin NSAIDs for at least five years were 30% to 45% less likely to have colorectal cancer than those who didn’t take the painkillers. Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil and Motrin, among others) and naproxen (the active ingredient in Aleve) are two examples.”

ACTUALLY, IT’S JUST SINCE 2008: “The long, slow death of the rule of law in America.”

The most disturbing aspect of the scandal around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state is not the former first lady’s penchant for secrecy. . . .What’s truly unsettling is that it has been widely taken as read among both the media and the general public that Mrs. Clinton will likely avoid serious legal consequences for her behavior because the Justice Department is ultimately answerable to President Obama – and Democrats will not use the instruments of government to destroy one of their own. Whether that eventually proves true, the sentiment itself reveals a troubling trend in American politics. . . .

While this trend has been at work for decades – you can thank both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton for hastening the decline – it has reached escape velocity during the Obama years. The Justice Department, for example, already took a pass on prosecuting Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the scandal in which conservative groups were singled out for special scrutiny by the federal government on the basis of their political beliefs. If there’s anything that ought to be a matter of consensus in American politics, it’s that holding the reins of power doesn’t give you carte blanche to turn the power of the state against your partisan rivals. Yet Ms. Lerner, having done that very thing, doesn’t seem to be much worse for the wear.

This hands-off trend isn’t limited by any means to the DOJ. Consider the current debate over the nuclear deal with Iran. By any reasonable reading, the agreement should have been presented to Congress as a treaty, requiring a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate to take effect. The White House, however, has refused to classify it as such, leaving Congress to haggle its way into an arrangement whereby the president can have his way with the support of just one-third of either house of Congress. . . .

That’s the organizing precept of this era in American politics: The rules apply until they put those in power at a disadvantage. Because we’ve arrived at this point incrementally, perhaps we’re not conscious of how sweeping the transformation is. So let’s be clear about what’s at stake: This is a wholesale abandonment of the foundational American principle of the rule of law.

Yep. The rule of law has been D.O.A. since 2008. It has suffered some injuries and insults prior to the Obama Administration, of course, but somehow it survived because both political parties seemed to care about it. That’s just no longer the case for the majority of Democrats today, who repeatedly vote for party interests over the  rule of law.

The only real question is whether, assuming a Republican wins the White House in 2016, can the rule of law be revived through some prolonged CPR? Or are we past the point of no return? Time will tell.

GUITAR LEGEND STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN DIED 25 YEARS AGO TODAY: Read The Dallas Morning News coverage from that day.

I was never a full-fledged SRV worshipper back in my ‘80s band days, but I was well-aware that he had monster chops as a guitarist. I was about type “RIP,” but hopefully he’s busy having monster jam sessions somewhere above with Freddie, B.B., and his idols Albert King and Jimi.

IMAGES: Amazing ‘red lightning’ photographed from space. You know, pilots reported seeing all sorts of high-altitude phenomena for years and weren’t believed. Now there are pictures.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Bringing back blogging at The Atlantic.

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LIBERTY-HATING FASCISTS ARREST AMERICAN HERO FOR DISABLING RED LIGHT CAMERAS: “‘In order to do this successfully, you only need a pair of balls and a painter’s extension rod,’ [Stephen Ruth] says in a how-to video he published on YouTube.”

Back in 2012, Glenn put a quote from author James Scott on “Irish Democracy” into wide Insta-circulation:

One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called “Irish Democracy,” the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.

Do Ruth’s actions (not the least of which, his how-to video) qualify as yet another example of Irish Democracy?

LIFE IN DE BLASIO’S NEW YORK: Reports of subway assaults soar in the last year.

USA TODAY: Making college more expensive: Democrats’ proposals do little to rein in costs. “A better idea would be to take a magnifying glass to exactly why college costs have skyrocketed at three times the overall inflation rate since 1980. As with health care, the answer involves what happens when bills are paid with other people’s money.”


RACE BAITING + ENTITLEMENT = VERY ANGRY PEOPLE: Vester Flanagan Threatened Coworkers, Played the Race Card for Years.

Vester Lee Flanagan claimed in a suicide note Wednesday that June’s massacre of black parishioners at a South Carolina church was “the tipping point” that sent him on the path to murdering two journalists on live television Wednesday.

But in court papers and interviews with The Daily Beast, former colleagues describe Flanagan as a problematic employee, who was repeatedly reprimanded for his harsh treatment of coworkers, and complained racism was behind harsh evaluations of his work.

“He just had a history of playing the race card,” former WTWC anchor Dave Leval told The Daily Beast. “I know he did that in Tallahassee a couple of times…”

. . . .

But no one could guess that two years after he was fired, Flanagan would shoot two other journalists at his former TV station. . . .

“Vester was an unhappy man,” Marks said, adding, “when he was hired here, he quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with. He was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to.”

Flanagan also filed an employment discrimination suit against a Tallahassee, Florida, station where he worked from 1999 to 2000. (That case was settled out of court.)

According to one news report, Flanagan said he and another black employee were called “monkeys” and claimed a supervisor once said, “blacks are lazy and do not take advantage of free money” for scholarships and other opportunities. . . .

“The fact that he kept his job was because he was an African-American gay man. That’s pretty hard to say no to,” Sextro told The Daily Beast.

We have all encountered angry, entitled individuals like this. They aren’t just toxic to work with; they’re potentially dangerous. We typically give them wide berth, just to avoid the hurling of hurtful “racism!” accusations and potential violence that simmers just below the surface. Individuals like this may get reprimanded or bounced around (for the sanity of coworkers) but they rarely get fired, for fear of lawsuits.  This television station was frankly brave to fire the guy.

On a broader level, Flanagan is a sad but ineluctable product of the progressive left’s incessant race-baiting and claims of minority entitlement. He is, essentially, the love child of Al Sharpton and President Obama (with Elizabeth Warren as the surrogate).

MEH. I WANT ANTIGRAVITY AND REACTIONLESS THRUSTERS. The Transforming Vertical-Takeoff Plane That’s Better Than a Flying Car.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: In Europe, Immigration Drama That Has Nothing To Do With Donald Trump.

IN THE MAIL: From Harry Turtledove, The Victorious Opposition.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 840. “Nothing quite says truth and transparency like doing Uncle Sam’s work under your dog’s name.”

LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: “The fact that he kept his job was because he was an African-American gay man. That’s pretty hard to say no to.”

And this remains evergreen, alas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

Worst president ever.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: More Ominous Statistics for Higher Ed Industry.

Barely a week goes by without the release of new statistics pointing to the utter unsustainability of America’s existing higher education model. Last week, we reported that, thanks rising default rates, Moody’s is considering downgrading securitized student debt—a $1.2 trillion (and growing) problem fueled in part by federal subsidies for overpriced graduate programs. This week, the National Association of College and University Business Officers released a report showing that despite ballooning sticker prices, private four-year colleges have stagnant revenue because they have been forced to boost “tuition discounts” (grants, aid, and scholarships) to keep enrollment up. Nonetheless, enrollment is barely growing. . . .

The data point to serious trouble on the horizon for non-elite colleges, which are being squeezed the most. While more students are willing to play the sticker price (or something close to it) for selective institutions, non-elite colleges are forced to compete for students by jacking up aid further and further, and losing revenue as a result. . . . Higher education professionals are clearly concerned about the rising discount rates mean for the future of the industry. If revenue and enrollment stay flat, lower-tier colleges will be squeezed harder and harder, and perhaps some will need to close their doors.

If only someone had warned them.

BICYCLE DESKS: BETTER THAN THE GYM? Well, that depends on what you mean by “better.” But we have a FitDesk and the Insta-Wife likes it.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: In Europe, Immigration Drama That Has Nothing To Do With Donald Trump.

ED MORRISSEY: If Clinton Loses Her Security Clearance, Could She Still Be President?

TANNED, RESTED, READY: Biden donors lying in wait.

Major fundraisers for Joe Biden’s past campaigns have not committed to Hillary Clinton, leaving the vice president’s allies convinced he can win the financial support necessary to challenge her.

Biden would face a financial giant in the Clinton campaign, which has won over many of President Obama’s fundraisers and already had a vast financial network.

But a number of big donors with ties to Biden have not thrown their support to the Democratic frontrunner.

And Clinton, who already faces an unexpectedly tough challenge from liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has seen doubts creep into her campaign as she has dealt with the controversy surrounding her use of a private email account as secretary of State.

“If VP Biden decides to run I will support him 100 percent,” New York attorney Richard J. Davis, a campaign bundler for Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Hill. Davis is a long-term Democratic supporter who served as assistant secretary of the Treasury Department during the Carter Administration.

The organization urging Biden to run for President – Draft Biden 2016 – would not comment specifically on its fundraising challenges.

I’m sure Hillary is thrilled.

HERBERT HOOVER TRUMP COULD EMERGE AS MONIKER OF DONALD THE PROTECTIONIST: “Here’s a historical fact that Donald Trump, and many voters attracted to him, may not know: The last American president who was a trade protectionist was Republican Herbert Hoover. Obviously that economic strategy didn’t turn out so well — either for the nation or the GOP,” Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore write at the New York Sun. “Does Trump aspire to be a 21st century Hoover with a modernized platform of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff that helped send the American and world economy into a decade-long depression and a collapse of the banking system?”

Besides we already have a Hoover in the White House; far left Harper’s magazine compared Obama to the 31st president back in 2009, forgetting that Hoover was a fellow “Progressive” whose government-expanding policies were the prototype for the Roosevelt Administration’s further bloat, which did little but tread water and uselessly dragged out the Depression.

STRAIGHT INTO NIHILISM: Jason L. Riley on “Gangsta Rap’s Grim Legacy for Comptons Everywhere:”

Twenty years ago, sharp social critics like Martha Bayles and Stanley Crouch took others to task for indulging or playing down this celebration of delinquency instead of denouncing it. “Too many irresponsible intellectuals—black and white—have submitted to the youth culture and the adolescent rebellion of pop music, bootlegging liberal arts rhetoric to defend Afro-fascist rap groups like Public Enemy on the one hand, while paternalistically defining the ‘gangster rap’ of doggerel chanters such as Ice Cube as expressive of the ‘real’ black community,” wrote Mr. Crouch.

But that type of criticism was in the minority and ultimately lost the day. Scholars like Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. would argue that gutter rap verse comes out of a black American tradition that enriches our language and culture. Cornel West, in his familiar mix of Marxism and gobbledygook, once described rap as “primarily the musical expression of the paradoxical cry of desperation and celebration of the black underclass and poor working class.” And Michael Eric Dyson credited rappers with “refining the art of oral communication.”

Today, gangsta rap is no longer edgy or even very controversial. It can only be described as mainstream. On a 2013 track, Jay Z, one of the country’s richest and most popular rappers, name-checked a convicted drug dealer and hit man who terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in the 1980s. Lil Wayne, who specializes in rapping about drug-dealing and gun violence, has more entries on the Billboard charts than Elvis. In 2010, President Obama told Rolling Stone magazine that both rappers were on his iPod.

Read the whole thing. Considering the Last Poets were rapping nearly a half century ago, shouldn’t this exhausted genre simply be tossed into the nostalgia bin anyhow?

SO HE’S BASICALLY A BLACK DYLANN ROOF: Manifesto purportedly sent by Virginia gunman cites ‘race war.’

A fax attributed to Vester Lee Flanagan claims the slayings were a response to the Charleston mass shooting.

An apparent suicide note received by ABC News on Wednesday morning and attributed to Virginia shooting suspect Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, claims the killing of two reporters during an on-air interview was motivated by the Charleston church shooting and a desire to incite a “race war.”

ABC News says a man identifying himself as both Flanagan and Williams — Flanagan’s on-air name — first contacted it several weeks ago.

The man asked for a fax number, claiming he wanted to pitch the news channel a story.

A fax reportedly transmitted two hours after this morning’s shooting appears to contain “suicide notes” authored by a man named Bryce Williams.

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting,” the author says, referring to June’s mass shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. “And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

“As for [Charleston shooting suspect] Dylann Roof? You [censored]! You want a race war [censored]? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …[censored]!!!”

The author then claims “Jehovah” told him to act on his plans.

“Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there,” the notes continue, referencing the gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. “He got NEARLY double the amount that [Columbine High School shooters] Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin’.”

The fax, entitled “Suicide Note for Friends and Family,” concludes with a list of grievances that include “racial discrimination” and “sexual harassment” in the workplace, and makes reference to the author’s homosexuality.

Will we see culture war unleashed against any organizations he might have supported? Of course not. That sort of thing only goes in one direction.


Flanagan was also once reprimanded by WDBJ editors for wearing an Obama campaign sticker on his jacket while reporting from an election booth in 2012, saying it ‘demonstrated a basic lack of understanding of your role as an on-air journalist’ and was a clear breach of impartiality rules.

Will Obama apologize for the behavior of one of his followers?


JENNIFER KABBANY: In Defense of Offensive Speech: Off-Campus Tomfoolery Should Not Be Regulated By Overzealous Administrators. Nope. None of their business. If administrators want to make it their business, students should make it their business to ensure that they regret it.

MY BROTHER-IN-LAW’S BAR, THE HALF-BARREL, made #22 on this list of best college bars. Well-deserved.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Faith Academy teacher accused of sex with student.

TROLL LEVEL: GRANDMASTER. “Snooty Californian Wine Train Liberals Horrified By Black Book Club,” writes Milo Yiannopoulos.

But considering the amount of racism in the left-dominated TV news industry, in Hollywood (just ask any leftwing movie critic), and in other leftwing enclaves such as Manhattan (just ask Ta-Nehisi Coates), Chicago (as Michelle Obama herself has noted), Washington, and particularly among Hillary Clinton and her supporters, perhaps it’s time for the left to take a good hard look in the mirror about its rampant structural racism.

I’m sure MSNBC, aka “Jim Crow TV,” will get right on this topic.


J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Vester Flanagan/Bryce Williams July road rage incident caught on video?

WHAT TRUMP SHOULD DO: It’s time for The Donald to K.O. the reactionary worldview of Al Sharpton and other punitive leftists, Roger Simon writes.


August 26, 2015

THE CRONY LIFE: Obamacare Gives Big Windfall To Insurance Companies As Quality of Healthcare Declines.

SO BASICALLY EVERY CROOKED DEMOCRATIC OFFICIAL IS DOING THIS? Indicted Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane Kane Frequently Used Private Email Account.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane received message from colleagues on her private account, making it difficult for investigators to answer certain questions.

According to Michael Sisak of the Associated Press, the fact that Kane conversed with employees on her private email account will prevent investigators from seeing her responses.

A critical example of this concerns the all-important June 6, 2014 Daily News piece in which grand jury information was used.

Apparently Kane received links to that article the day it was published.

The problem is that last November, the AG told the grand jury she didn’t read the article until August 2014.

It’s lies and coverups all the way down.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major:

For all the recent skepticism about the value of a college education, a bachelor’s degree is still “worth it” on average. In fact, according to a recent analysis by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average value of a college degree is near an all-time high, even factoring in rising tuitions.

But the key word there is “average.” The same Fed researchers also found that the lowest-earning 25 percent of college graduates earn less than about half of high school graduates — and the high school grads also had four years to make money while the college students were taking on debt. And those figures don’t include the shockingly high percentage of college students who don’t graduate, many of whom end up with the worst of both worlds: saddled with debt, but with no degree to help their job prospects.

Do tell.

SIGN OF THE TIMES? Controversial petition to class feminism as terrorism. The actual petition is here.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: In Europe, Immigration Drama That Has Nothing To Do With Donald Trump.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: How To Destroy A City In Five Minutes:

You don’t need a weapon of mass destruction to ruin a city.

Well, maybe sometimes you do. You’re not getting rid of New York City without one. But some of the world’s cities are so vulnerable, so precariously perched above an abyss, that a single bloodthirsty nutjob with a rifle can bring it to its knees in a matter of minutes.

Look at Tunisia’s resort city of Sousse on the Mediterranean. Two months ago, an ISIS-inspired nutcase named Seifeddine Rezgui strolled up the beach with a Kalashnikov in his hand and murdered 38 people, most of them tourists from Britain.

The police shot him, of course. There was never going to be any other ending than that one. And before the police arrived, local Tunisians formed a protective human shield around Rezgui’s would-be foreign victims. “Kill us! Kill us, not these people!” shouted Mohamed Amine. According to survivor John Yeoman, hotel staff members charged the gunman and said, “We won’t let you through. You’ll have to go through us.”

Tunisia’s hospitality and customer service are deservedly legendary, but that was truly above and beyond. It’s how Tunisia rolls, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. Tourists are not going back.

A few still wander around here and there, but the locals are calling them ghosts. Who else lives in a ghost town but ghosts?

Hotels are laying off workers. Shops are empty and many will have to be closed. The city is reeling with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Guilt because one of their own murdered guests, the gravest possible offense against the ancient Arab code of hospitality, and anxiety because—what now? How will the city survive? How will all the laid-off workers earn a living with their industry on its back? Sousse without tourists is like Hollywood without movies and Detroit without automobile manufacturing.

Even Tunisia’s agriculture economy is crashing. Prices are down by 35 percent because the resorts don’t need to feed tourists anymore.

The terrorists won this one.

TESTING THE LIMITS OF CONTRARIANISM FOR ITS OWN SAKE, PART DEUX: Liberal Historian Calls POW-MIA Flag Racist, Then Apologizes While Attacking America.

CONSTRICTOR SNAKES DON’T KILL BY SUFFOCATION, but by interrupting blood flow.

TESTING THE LIMITS OF CONTRARIANISM FOR ITS OWN SAKE: Just a reminder: Don’t submit pieces to Vox that might challenge abortion.

CHANGE: Vegas health clinic gambles on a new brand of primary care. “It doesn’t feel like a funeral home, like most doctor’s offices. It’s a relaxed environment.”

ALL THE COOL STUFF WILL HAPPEN ABOUT 20 YEARS TOO LATE FOR ME: Privately-Owned Space Stations Are Just Over the Horizon.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: In Europe, Immigration Drama That Has Nothing To Do With Donald Trump.

SPOTTING HIGH ENERGY NEUTRINOS deep under the Antarctic ice.

TRYING TO DEFUSE A DEMOGRAPHIC TIME BOMB, China looks at population growth policies. “The focus sets the stage for a host of rule changes regarding health, pensions, social welfare and possibly lifting the caps on children some families can have, the person said. More than three decades into an industrial boom that has created the world’s second-largest economy, China’s struggling to get rich before it grows old. The working-age population shrank for the first time in at least two decades last year as growth slowed, echoing Japan’s downturn in the late 1990s. As part of the shift, the party may lower its hard growth target of 7 percent to a range between 6.5 percent and 7 percent and make that a flexible guideline, the person said.”

IT’S PADDY CHAYEFSKY’S MEDIA WORLD, WE JUST LIVE IN IT: So for the past month, a cartoon-like Manhattan real estate plutocrat has well-positioned himself to be the potential next President of the United States by sucking all the oxygen out of any room he is in, particularly as his churlish dowager opponent flails about while under FBI investigation. Yesterday, a Democrat party activist for amnesty for illegal foreign immigrants attempted to hog the microphone at the cartoon zillionaire’s press conference, and today justifies his boorish actions by claiming, as Allahpundit paraphrases, “My ‘right’ to talk over other reporters and ask Trump grandstanding questions was trampled” when Trump’s security man had him temporarily removed from the press conference.

Also today in a far more sinister media development, “A disgruntled former news reporter who shot dead two of his ex-coworkers during a live TV segment this morning is in very critical condition after attempting to kill himself,” according to the London Daily Mail:

Viewers of WDBJ, a small CBS affiliate in Moneta, Virginia, watched in horror this morning as the Vester Lee Flanigan II shot dead 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on live TV as the two were filming a light-hearted segment at 6:45am.

After carrying out the shocking on-air execution, Ward rented a car at the airport and then started driving east.

Police finally cornered Flanigan just before noon, about three hours northeast, in Fauquier County, Virginia, but he refused to stop and sped away from troopers.

Flanigan then crashed the car off the road and when police surrounded the vehicle, they found him suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound.

As I wrote in 2013, Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film Network, itself inspired by the on-air suicide of a distaff local Florida TV news reporter in 1974, really is Big Media’s How-To Guide for the Obama Era.

LYING IS WHAT THEY DO, AND WHO THEY ARE: The White House Lies About Gun Violence . . . Again. “‘Gun violence’ is not ‘becoming’ anything. Rather, it’s down — and dramatically.”

THE GREAT STAGNATION: Growing Input-Outcome Disparity In Biomedical Research. “Why does this matter? Our lives depend on the rate of advance of biomedical treatments. We all have an expiration date on our bodies absent some really big advances in methods to rejuvenate aging bodies. How many decades do you have left to live? Not as many as you would have if only increased spending on biomedical research had translated into a more rapid rate of progress in the development of gene therapies, cell therapies, and other therapies needed for tissue repair and rejuvenation.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Prof. Alice Dreger resigns over Northwestern University censorship.

NORMAN LEWIS: “The quest for robotic cars is underwritten by a suspicion of humanity.”

AUSTIN BAY: Terror and Surprise on the Paris Express.

Islamist terrorist Ayoub El Khazzani managed to evade security agency surveillance in at least five countries. Despite strict Belgian and French gun- and ammunition-control laws, not only did Khazzani acquire an AK-47 assault rifle, but when the moment came to wage armed jihad, he successfully evaded rail station security and slipped his AK with 200 rounds of ammo on board an elite trans-European express.

Wait, police spokesmen are wont to say, in a free society the cops can’t be everywhere all the time. Too true. And when targeting free societies, terrorists bank on it. Concealed in the open may be an oxymoron. Yet terrorists do conceal themselves in open societies by passing as peaceful members of that society.

Khazzani passed as peaceful. He intended to surprise the train passengers, and he did, sort of. Reliance on surprise makes terror attacks a type of ambush. By definition, in an ambush, attackers strike from concealed positions. In a military ambush, where soldiers ambush soldiers, the attackers must remain concealed until the second they trigger the ambush. If surprise is lost and the ambush is discovered, the ambushers lose their advantage.

Khazzani muffed the transition from concealment to attack. A French banker, identified as Damien A., saw him in a lavatory with his weapon. He grabbed at Khazzani. Khazzani ran into the rail car where passenger Mark Moogalian (an American living in France) accosted him.

Now Khazzani is targeting unarmed civilians. Blown ambush? Shouting? No problem. He has firepower. He shot Moogalian.

But other passengers had more surprises. Instead of cowering, they responded heroically. First one, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, got to Khazzani, and then a second, and then four were on him. He could not aim the weapon. In the hand-to-hand struggle, he pulled a pair of box cutters and wounded Stone. He drew a pistol. But Stone’s friends, Oregon Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and California college student Anthony Sadler, kept battering him. British businessman Chris Norman joined the fight. They disarmed and pinned Khazzani. To emphasize his disapproval, Skarlatos used the AK’s muzzle to make repetitive metal impressions on Khazzani’s head. Did the message get through? Khazzani was a finger twitch from eternity.

The en masse quick physical assault on Khazzani was somewhat like a tactic the military calls an instantaneous counterattack on a close-in ambush. In the ambush’s kill zone, the defenders have little chance, and so they instantly turn and assault the ambushers. Penetrating the ambush positions brings the battle to the ambushers. In the resulting melee, the ambushers lose the advantage of surprise.

It takes confident, trained and well-led combat units to respond that coolly and cohesively. But the comparison is instructive. . . . Can you train people to respond en masse to a terrorist attack? Sure. Group action by unarmed civilians can stop a lone gunman. A suicide bomber is another matter. Best be in a state that allows people to carry personal firearms. But an effective group response to any threat requires leadership, and in most situations, that means leadership by example. On the Paris express, I count five examples of leadership. One leader jostled in the lavatory. One gave warning. Three struck in a pack. Norman had the guts to follow. Free people in free societies can surprise you.

Read the whole thing.

IN THE MAIL: From Vox Day, with a foreword from Milo Yiannopoulos, SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 839.

GREEN CORRUPTION: Carbon Offsets May Have Dramatically Increased Emissions.

That’s the finding of a new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, which investigated carbon credits used to offset greenhouse gas emissions under a UN scheme. As one of the co-authors of the report put it, issuing these credits “was like printing money.” . . .

The SEI sampled 60 random projects and found a whopping 80 percent of them to be of questionable green merit. The majority of these bogus Russian and Ukrainian offsets were used by the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (the EU ETS), a program already bogged down with problems pricing carbon. “[T]he poor overall quality of [Joint Implementation] projects may have undermined the EU’s emission reduction target by some 400 million tons of CO2,” said Anja Kollmuss, one of the leaders of the study.
This has huge implications, then, for Europe’s green goals. For years EU members have chosen to outsource emissions cuts with these carbon credits, but the lack of proper oversight at the UN level of the projects abroad supposedly generating these cuts now leaves the supposedly eco-conscious bloc in a bind. “If the EU was taking its climate targets seriously, then at least 400 million ETS certificates would have to be deleted to counter that,” Kollmuss pointed out.

But perhaps worst of all are the perverse incentives the SEI report alleges these credit swaps have created for actually increasing emissions. According to a study released in the journal Nature Climate Change, plants in Russia “increased waste gas generation to unprecedented levels once they could generate credits from producing more waste gas,” resulting in an increase in emissions as large as 600 million tons of carbon dioxide—roughly half the amount the EU’s ETS intends to reduce from 2013 to 2030.

It’s like the whole thing is just one big scam.

GUNMAN, STILL AT LARGE, SHOOTS, KILLS two Virginia TV journalists on live TV.

Here are a couple of screengrabs of him. Somebody out there knows who this is.



UPDATE: Shooter is apparently another reporter at the station, who has shot himself now. “Becky Coyner, with the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities had been looking for Vester Flanagan, 41, whose used the name Bryce Williams while working for WDBJ. Video has been posted on what appears to be Williams’ Facebook page showing the shooting from the perspective of the shooter. The gun is visible and a victim, Alison Parker, is seen being shot.”

I predict a rapid falloff in media interest now that it’s clear the shooter was a black guy and a journalist. “Flanagan, whose TV name is Bryce Williams and was employed by WDBJ7, began tweeting Wednesday at 11:09 a.m. ET about the incident. Flanagan tweeted that Parker made racist comments and that he filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report. He also tweeted that Ward went to human resources on him ‘after working with me one time!!!’”

But don’t worry, the press has figured out what group is really at fault:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 12.22.51 PM

If she’d blamed his entire race, instead of his entire gender, she’d never work again. Because bigotry is unacceptable!

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INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: IRS Scandal: Toby Miles, Secret Government Employee.

IMMIGRATION: Refugees race into Hungary as border fence nears completion. “Thousands of refugees, most fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been snaking northward through the Balkans in recent days, confronting a Europe woefully unprepared to deal with them at every step. Most endured a perilous crossing to Greece aboard rafts and boats, some barely fit to sail. They traversed Greece, a nation paralyzed by economic crisis and too poor to handle a flow of people that in July hit a record high. At the border with Macedonia late last week, they trudged through a wall of riot police, who fought them back with tear gas before relenting. Now, the asylum-seekers, thousands a day, are racing into Hungary, which is rushing to complete a barbed-wire border fence by the end of the month to force them to seek other routes.”

ASHE SCHOW: Mozilla’s Discriminatory Anti-Discrimination Crusade:

Setting aside the irony of telling an employee who does not like the current attitudes of activists in the tech industry that their kind doesn’t belong at Mozilla, Beard is continuing a new tradition at the company.

The former CEO, Brendan Eich, was forced to resign after it was discovered he had donated — six years previously — to an anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8, in California. Same-sex marriage supporters protested the years-old donation by boycotting Mozilla, resulting in Eich’s departure.

The boycotters conveniently ignored the fact that Proposition 8 passed comfortably in the liberal state of California in 2008. Incidentally, when Eich made the donation, then-senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama was still saying marriage was “between a man and a woman.”

But at Mozilla, holding someone accountable for views that do not jibe with the present moral authority is apparently a company policy. And those who dare to question the acceptable narratives are cast out as heathens.

Unsurprisingly, as Silicon Valley has gotten less and less productive of revolutionary new products, it’s gotten more and more into “social justice” crusades. Or, hey, maybe it’s the other way around.


Ten months after graduation, only 60 percent of the law school class of 2014 had found full-time long-term jobs that required them to pass the bar exam.

Even that improvement over the class of 2013 (a 57 percent employment rate) came with three asterisks: Last year, the American Bar Association changed the job-reporting rules to give law schools an extra month for the class of 2014 to find jobs; graduates employed in law-school-funded positions count in the employment rate; and the number of jobs that require bar passage fell from 2013 to 2014.

Amazingly (and perversely), law schools have been able to continue to raise tuition while producing nearly twice as many graduates as the job market has been able to absorb. How is this possible? Why hasn’t the market corrected itself? The answer is that, for a given school, the availability of federal loans for law students has no connection to their poor post-graduation employment outcomes.

Students now amass law school loans averaging $127,000 for private schools and $88,000 for public ones. Since 2006 alone, law student debt has surged at inflation-adjusted rates of 25 percent for private schools and 34 percent for public schools.

The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t owe more than your first year’s salary. Few legal jobs start at $88,000, fewer still at $127,000.

DID A LOCAL NEWS STATION JUST COME OUT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP? “Here’s a very interesting screen cap of a post now removed from the ABC7 Los Angeles Facebook page. Their original question accompanying the video of Trump and Ramos: ‘How long will the GOP allow this?’”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Hillary Pulls In Contributions From Twice As Many Lobbyists As Nearest Candidate.

In early March, lobbyists were fretting over whether Hillary Clinton would allow K Street contributions to flow into her campaign. Now, Hillary is leading the pack when it comes to money pouring in from Washington-based lobbyists.

Hillary tops not just her Democratic rivals, but also Republicans. In fact, her nearest threat to K Street donations received contributions from half as many lobbyists as she did thus far into the election cycle.

Remember, she’s running as the candidate of the middle class.

NO. NEXT QUESTION: Will Joe Biden Have To Answer For His Long Record of Terrible Decisions?

SO MUCH FOR “SAFE, LEGAL AND RARE:” Eighth Planned Parenthood Video: ‘They’re a Volume Institution.’

SALENA ZITO: Of alternate universes and the pitfalls of populism. “First: it’s early. We have no idea what the field is going to look like in January when the first caucus and primary votes are cast… and certainly no idea what it will look like by the time primary races matter in February and March. Second: there is always an insurgency candidate who early-on captures the imagination of voters and the press… until competition, the candidate’s own behavior and public scrutiny brings them back down to earth. The only populist candidate ever to really capitalize on voters’ discontent and win the presidency was Andrew Jackson.”

August 25, 2015

WELL, SHE’S A KENNEDY, WHICH MAKES HER EVEN MORE ENTITLED THAN A CLINTON: US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy used private email for official business.

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BRENDAN O’NEILL: The Calais migrants and the moral bankruptcy of PC.

AN ADMINISTRATION THAT WENT TO WAR ON FAULTY INTELLIGENCE: Inquiry Weighs Whether Data on ISIS Was Distorted. “The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry. The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser.


SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: No, You Do Not Have To Drink 8 Glasses Of Water A Day. I’m beginning to think that a lot of the health pronouncements we’ve been hearing for years are bogus.

TRUMP’S “I’M PAYING FOR THIS MICROPHONE” MOMENT? Trump security man ejects Univision’s Jorge Ramos after he attempts to hijack press conference.

Alternate headline: The Donald finally picks on someone who isn’t with Fox News.

(Not that you need it, but here’s the headline explanation for our younger readers.)

Ramos is yet another Democrat operative with a byline; yesterday on CNN, he “accused Donald Trump of spreading ‘hate’ by referring to illegal immigrants as ‘illegals’ and the children of illegal immigrants as ‘anchor babies.’” And as Allahpundit adds today in his post on Trump’s ejection of Ramos (“Alternate headline: ‘Trump rises another 10 points in Republican polls’”), “He’s the most shameless amnesty shill in American media and makes no apologies for it; his advice to colleagues in journalism is ‘Don’t be neutral. Neutrality is for referees in a football game.’”

But from global warming to gay marriage to amnesty, is there any topic left that today’s “reporters” are actually still neutral on?

UPDATE: “Journalists angry at Trump for tossing out Ramos, when’s the last time you had the balls to challenge Obama as voraciously?”

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THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, GAY ESCORT SERVICES WOULD BE TREATED AS NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Homeland Security Raids DHS “will use its unique authorities to disrupt and dismantle” gay escort sites, says special investigator.

How about we dismantle the Department of Homeland Security, which was a mistake from day one.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why salad is so overrated. “It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate. . . . Four of the five lowest-ranking vegetables (by serving size) are salad ingredients: cucumbers, radishes, iceberg lettuce and celery. (The fifth is eggplant.) Those foods’ nutritional profile can be partly explained by one simple fact: They’re almost all water. Although water figures prominently in just about every vegetable (the sweet potato, one of the least watery, is 77 percent), those four salad vegetables top the list at 95 to 97 percent water. A head of iceberg lettuce has the same water content as a bottle of Evian (1-liter size: 96 percent water, 4 percent bottle) and is only marginally more nutritious.”

I like a nice salad. But yeah.

I MENTIONED THE Bug-A-Salt Rifle yesterday.

Here’s a review by SayUncle. I think, though, that this is the original model, not the 2.0 version linked above.


“Not since the Vietnam War has there been this level of disappointment in the behavior of America throughout the world, and I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together…Everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Hollywood mogul David Geffen, via Drudge.

WE’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WITH IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS: Inside the Migrant “Jungle” in Northern France.

IF YOU THINK GOVERNMENT SHOULD EVER BE LIMITED, YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE IN FIRES: “Hey, that’s not me saying it. That’s Slate saying it.”


Mine was clearly sending me mixed messages last week: