March 2, 2015

DR. HELEN: The Evils of the (Straight) Male Gaze.

COL. KURT SCHLICHTER FINDS THE SCHWERPUNKT IN THE CULTURE WARS: Let’s Destroy Liberal Academia. “Understand that the purpose of modern American ‘education’ is not to educate students. It is primarily to provide cushy, subsidized sinecures for liberal administrators and faculty while, secondarily, providing a forum to indoctrinate soft young minds in the liberal fetishes du jour. Actually educating students is hard, and a meaningful education is anathema to liberalism. In the liberals’ ideal world, the universities would simply fester with leftist nonsense and not even bother with trying to teach their charges anything at all. And today, it’s pretty close to being the liberals’ ideal world.”

SPACE: Spacex successfully launches two satellites in one rocket launch.

WALTER HUDSON: Atheists Can Be Moral Too.

If you’re interested in the question of whether morality can exist without God, you might enjoy Arthur Allen Leff’s discussion in Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law. Or, in shorter and more pungent form, his treatment in Memorandum From The Devil. Also, these — especially the latter — are two of the best-written law review articles ever.

THIS PIECE ON GERRYMANDERING IN THE WASHINGTON POST, is okay as far as it goes, but note the casual partisanship: The “abstract” red-and-blue example features gerrymandering by the red, and the real-world focus features Republican gerrymandering. With regard to California, we’re told: “California’s districts are drawn by an independent commission, not by the parties.” This is formally true, but the California Democrats famously outfoxed the state’s hapless GOP and took over that commission, something anyone writing about politics should know.

Anyway, back when Dems dominated state legislatures, gerrymandering was all in good fun, just part of the rough-and-tumble of politics. Now that the GOP has historically high levels of state control, gerrymandering will become The Great Political Evil Of Our Time.

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IT’S ALMOST AS IF THEY’RE NOT REALLY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, JUST WAGING LAWFARE FOR THE OTHER SIDE: Human rights lawyers accused of misleading a five-year war crimes inquiry by claiming British soldiers tortured innocent Iraqis.

This is interesting, though: “Now the government is gearing up to sue law firms for millions of pounds in legal costs and calling for the PIL’s chief lawyer, Phil Shiner, to be struck off.”


JOEL KOTKIN: Misunderstanding Millennials.

STUN GUNS NOT PROTECTED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT: A somewhat questionable opinion from Massachusetts.

“INSANELY DANGEROUS?” WELL, IT’S TRUE THAT I PREFER SCUBA. The Insanely Dangerous, Weirdly Meditative Sport of Freediving. I don’t think it’s really insanely dangerous.

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A NEW METHOD FOR GROWING BRAIN CELLS. “Before it grows in one of Lancaster’s dishes, a brain organoid begins as a single skin cell taken from an adult. With the right biochemical prodding, that cell can be turned into an induced pluripotent stem cell (the kind that can mature into one of several types of cells) and then into a neuron. This makes it possible to do things that were impossible before. Now scientists can directly see how networks of living human brain cells develop and function, and how they’re affected by various drug compounds or genetic modifications. And because these mini-brains can be grown from a specific person’s cells, organoids could serve as unprecedentedly accurate models for a wide range of diseases. What goes wrong, for example, in neurons derived directly from someone with Alzheimer’s disease?”

EBOLA UPDATE: Nearly Halted in Sierra Leone, Ebola Makes Comeback by Sea. “Public health experts preparing for an international conference on Ebola on Tuesday seem to have no doubt that the disease can be vanquished in the West African countries ravaged by it in the last year. But the steep downward trajectory of new cases late last year and into January did not lead to the end of the epidemic. . . . The wharf, Tamba Kula, is an informal settlement where hundreds of people live in shanties made of reclaimed wood and corrugated metal roofs. At the slum’s entrance, a towering sign displays an image of the Statue of Liberty, an advertisement for daily British Airways flights with connections to the United States that were canceled when the Ebola outbreak was declared.”

Plus: “I feel like these people, they aren’t ready to end Ebola yet.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: America’s High-Risk, High-Reward Higher Education System.

The wage premium attached to a BA is higher than ever, and AA’s have considerable labor market value as well. This is the “high reward” part.

But for too many others, it’s a risky investment. Many who start higher education never finish a credential. Just 31 percent of those students from the bottom income quartile who start college finish a bachelor’s degree. Recent data suggests that the returns to “some college” have essentially fallen to zero. Even among those who do finish, there’s a risk that the investment won’t pay off. One study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that the 25th percentile of bachelor’s degree recipients earn no more than a high school graduate, and haven’t since the 1970s.

Yes, that’s why the simplistic defenders of “a college degree” are being naive — or dishonest. There’s no such thing as a generic college degree, and the return on investment varies a lot. What’s more, there are many risks that are, from the standpoint of an 18-year-old college applicant, imponderable.

TEST DRIVE: 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk.

But if you’re going to read about that car, you should read P.J. O’Rourke. “One will be sold to Puff Daddy, and the rest will go to the Persian Gulf.”

MARK CUNNINGHAM: What Our President Should Say About Islam. This is clearly something Obama doesn’t want to say, though. Why not?

WHAT FREEDOM LOOKS LIKE: I built an AR-15 in my kitchen. “Buying this kind of rifle is the modern version of getting a Corvette during your mid-life crisis—but cheaper and probably less dangerous.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Quartering Spyware Troops In A Digital Age: Why Your Home Should Be Your Castle.

ANN ALTHOUSE: “Obamacare threatens to end John Roberts’s dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court.” “Just one headline that I’m quoting to stand in for all the articles I’m seeing that seem to be mostly only about scaring/manipulating/massaging the Supreme Court into feeling deep down inside that it simply must not ruin Obamacare. To my eye, this effort seems so transparent and desperate that it heightens a perception that the text of the statute just won’t work for what they really, reeeeeally need it to do.”

YEAH, I DON’T GET IT. What’s Eating Joe Scarborough? Host Grows Testy After Saying He’s ‘Available’ To Moderate GOP Debates. I, too, got an angry DM from Scarborough, just for RTing it, but couldn’t respond because he doesn’t follow me. And I’m still mystified. I didn’t think the story reflected badly on him, particularly, and it was just one RT out of the hundreds (or more) I do in a day. And, as everyone knows, RTs aren’t endorsements. Anyway, Joe, if you’re reading this, sorry!

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 662.

SALENA ZITO ON JOURNALISM: Arrogant media elites mock Middle America. Most of these media folks come from flyover country, and their main source of self-regard lies in feeling superior to the rubes they left back home, who never properly appreciated them in high school. . . .

PUTIN WON’T BE PLEASED: Is American LNG Ready to Help Europe?

When Russia threatened to cut off gas to Ukraine last year, policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic began to call for American gas producers to start exporting some of the enormous new quantities of shale gas to Europe as a way to help allies reduce dependence on Gazprom. At the time we pointed out two flaws in that strategy: first, constructing the requisite infrastructure on both ends of the supply chain takes years, so this would be no quick fix; and second, Europe would only receive American LNG if it outbid Asia, which at the time was ponying up a great deal.

That latter reasoning no longer holds, which changes the calculus somewhat. Already Europe is on track to double its LNG imports this year, though it’s still not sourcing that from America. That’s because the American LNG export infrastructure is still under construction. Just a few short years ago we were building import terminals; turning that completely around is neither cheap nor easy, and it won’t happen overnight.

Still, if Asian demand remains slack, Europe’s medium-term energy future looks brighter. Diversifying away from Putin’s gas supplies is obviously a top priority there, and American gas can help.

The more energy America produces — and exports — the more it hurts our various enemies around the world.

ANA MARIE COX: Why I’m Coming Out As A Christian.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Quartering Spyware Troops In A Digital Age: Why Your Home Should Be Your Castle.

ROGER KIMBALL: The Lessons Of Culture, Benjamin Netanyahu Edition.

Here we are on the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to both houses of the United States Congress. The Obama administration is acting like a petulant twelve-year-old —how dare the Prime Minister of Israel come to the United States and speak before Congress when he wasn’t invited by us? — and the rancid Pelosi-Reid contingent of the Democratic Party has promised to take their marbles and go home: they won’t even listen to what he has to say.

The ostensible issue is Iran, with which the Obama administration is currently capitula—er, negotiating. The presence of a Jew, and a Jew from Israel, in the nation’s capital (and Capitol) is sure to offend the Mullahs in Teheran and it might just upset the delicate diplomacy by which Obama privately assures that Iran gets nuclear weapons while publically pretending to prevent that eventuality.

Back in 2001, when Barack Obama was in the Illinois State Senate and still battening on the wisdom of the “Reverend” Jeremiah (“God-Damn America”) Wright, Netanyahu was more forthright, and more percipient, than most politicians about the Islamic terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those attacks, he said, were part of “a war to reverse the triumph of the West.”

Netanyahu was right then, and he is still right.

Well, that’s why so many lefties sympathize with the terrorists. They want to reverse the triumph of the West too.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: “Lately liberalism has gone from psychodrama to farce.” Plus: “The liberal left got what it wanted in 2009 with a supermajority in the Senate and large majority in the House, a subservient mainstream media, the good will of the American people, and the most liberal president in American history. It only took that the liberal hierarchy six years to erode the Democratic Party to levels that we have not seen since the 1920s. Almost every policy initiative we have seen — whether climate change, foreign policy, health care, or race relations — has imploded. The answer to these failures has not been introspection, humility, or reevaluation why the liberal agenda proved unpopular and unworkable, but in paranoid fashion to double-down on it, convinced that its exalted aims must allow any means necessary — however farcical — to achieve them. The logical result is the present circus.”

MIA LOVE: The Idea Of A Republican War On Women Is Absolutely Ridiculous.

Love, who spoke to the Washington Examiner after a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., said that the real issues facing Americans are not “gender specific,” but affect everyone.

“As a woman, I believe that I have the ability to … pay for and decide my own healthcare,” Love said. “I don’t need Washington to do that for me.”

She added: “I think that it’s actually insulting to claim that women can’t make decisions on their own, that they need a centralized government to make those decisions for them.”

In that respect, Love said, the war on women is really coming from Democrats.

“It comes from the idea that they’d like to separate us based on social status, gender, race, income levels,” Love said. “And we as Americans can’t allow that.”

Divide and rule has always been their strategy. Plus:

Love knows a little something about rising up from having nothing. Her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in the 1970s after fleeing from a ruthless dictatorship. They spoke no English when they settled in New York and, according to Love, had $10 in their pockets. Her father has expressed pride that he and his wife were able to support their family without welfare — just help from family members. It is that idea of community support, rather than government dependence, that resonates with Love today.

“I think that we, as Americans, need to trust people again,” she said.

Nonsense. We have Hillary — richer than Jeb Bush! — to tell us how to help the downtrodden. Hey, she’s worth 9 figures now, but she was “dead broke” in 2001. She knows about rising from nothing!

JOEL KOTKIN: The Empire Strikes Back.

In his first six years in office, President Obama has performed well for those who wrote those checks. He brought in Wall Street insiders such as Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to concoct his economic policy, which brought a recovery to the financial plutocracy before virtually anyone else. Wall Street was back by 2009; the rest of us have had to wait for 2015.

Obama and the Democrats in Congress also handed the big banks a nice gift in the form of the Dodd-Frank Bill which helped them achieve that “too big to fail” status and has accelerated the growing consolidation of the American financial system. Indeed, since Dodd-Frank was passed smaller banks’ share of banking assets has dropped twice as quickly as before, notes a recent Harvard Kennedy School of Government study. Smaller and community banks – historically more likely to loan to small businesses – have seen a 50 percent drop in their share of lending while the the five largest banks now control over 40 percent of lending, twice their share 20 years ago.

The big banks were saved as well by Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to engage in tough prosecutions of Wall Street’s biggest malefactors, in part, he explained, due to their enormous size.

Essentially, he has argued the giant banks, nurtured by the government, are too big to not only fail but see their executives placed in the docket.

To be sure, President Obama’s occasional populist rhetoric did offend many on Wall Street, which in 2012 shifted much of its support to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who, after all, was one of their own. Obama still did fairly well on Wall Street. In his two campaigns he ended up raising almost twice as much from Wall Street as his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Now that there are no new campaigns to fund, Holder is beginning to discuss prosecutions of grandees again, no doubt unsettling some on Wall Street and its associated hangers-on. But, even so, Treasury remains under the thumb of yet another insider, former Citibank executive Jacob Lew.

Yeah, if you want the big banks controlled, you’re better off voting for a non-establishment Republican.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Tuition at Top Law Schools Surpasses $55K Per Year. Bear in mind that this is “sticker price” with most students getting discounts disguised as financial aid.

IT’S BASICALLY A 21ST CENTURY REEFER MADNESS, AIMED AT COLLEGE MEN: Emily Yoffe: The Hunting Ground: The failures of a new documentary about rape on college campuses.

Any professor who shows it in class should probably be reported for gender bias, and creating a learning environment hostile to male students.

JONATHAN ADLER: The “censorious thuggery” of Ohio Judge Tim Grendell. “If you were a judge, would you threaten to hold people in contempt of court because of things they said about you in private conversations? As a VC reader, I am sure you wouldn’t. Alas, the same cannot be said of Ohio judge Tim Grendell of the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas Probate and Juvenile Division. And that’s only part of the story.”

DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: At least, not if you’re the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker. Ed Driscoll schools him on Reagan, Patco, and foreign affairs.

Note this from Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Schultz: “‘One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made.’ It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.”

WELL, I HOPE SO — BUT HE SURE WIMPED OUT LAST TIME: The Hill: Is Supreme Court’s chief justice ready to take down ObamaCare?

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts faced a conservative backlash after casting a decisive vote to save ObamaCare in 2012.

Now he must weigh in on the law once again.

The case of King v. Burwell, set for arguments before the Court on Wednesday, threatens to gut the law by invalidating subsidies to help millions of people buy insurance in the roughly three-dozen states relying on the federally run marketplace.

While it is legally far different than the 2012 case — a question of interpreting the text of the law rather than ruling on its constitutionality — Roberts faces the same kind of scrutiny.

After Roberts’s surprise ruling in a 5-4 decision to uphold the law the last time, conservatives denounced him as a sellout. Conservative host Glenn Beck printed T-shirts with Roberts’s picture above the word “COWARD.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, now a possible Republican presidential candidate, said Roberts was “just playing to the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times.”

CBS reported after the decision, citing two anonymous sources, that Roberts had switched his vote to uphold the law and withstood a fierce lobbying campaign from the conservative wing of the Court.

A more accurate account would note that he caved to a fierce lobbying campaign from Democratic academics and pundits.

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS: Political reporter ponders why people hate political reporters.

But being lazy, prejudiced political tools, eager to embrace the (Democratic) narrative of the day uncritically — the way so many of you jumped on the easily-debunked Jezebel Scott Walker story, because of course Republicans are Pro-Rape — might be part of the problem. Just sayin. . . .

March 1, 2015

THIS KIND OF THING KEEPS HAPPENING: Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at Louisiana lab. “A dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Officials say there is no risk to the public. Yet despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY.” Remain calm. All is well. We have top men working on this. Top. Men.

IN CALIFORNIA, foreign workers hired to process Americans’ unemployment applications. A perfect metaphor for Obama’s America.

A TARGET-RICH ENVIRONMENT: Mark Levin Obliterates the Democratic Party, Obama and the GOP.

I DUNNO. WHY DO WOMEN PREFER TO DATE MEN WITH TWICE THEIR INCOME? Why are older men looking at women half their age? It’s disheartening that men in their 50s seem so focused on looks.

Of course, while British women are complaining that “no man I know has ever been told that his powers, his allure, his charm have faded, and that he has to face up to that redundancy,” those middle-aged British men are committing suicide at increasing rates.

JOEL ACHENBACH: Is There Life Beyond Earth? Do We Even Want To Know? “Brin, a signer of the petition protesting the campaign for active SETI, said we don’t know what’s out there and shouldn’t presume that aliens are benign. He said there are roughly 100 scenarios to explain why we haven’t heard from the aliens so far. About a dozen of those scenarios are unpleasant, he said.”

Plus, Frank Drake comments: “I think it’s a waste of time at the present. It’s like somebody trying to send an e-mail to somebody whose e-mail address they don’t know, and whose name they don’t know.”

I’ve seen several recent discussions of this topic that seem unaware that there were international agreements entered into over two decades ago on the subject of whether and how to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligences. I discuss them at some length in this piece from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. They’re agreements, not treaties, and don’t have the force of law, but the press coverage seems entirely oblivious to their existence.

I also recommend Ben Bova’s book.

UPDATE: First link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

JOEL KOTKIN: The Three Faces Of Populism. “The real target of Davos populists is not themselves, of course. Instead, the effort is to further burden Obama’s version of Josef Stalin’s harsh treatment of Kulaks, the early Soviet Union’s successful but hardly ultrarich peasant class. Megan McArdle aptly describes Obama’s proposal – abandoned this past week – to tax college savings accounts to pay for subsidized college as ‘a plan to redistribute money from the upper middle class to the lower middle class.’ . . . Not surprisingly, after six years of minimal income gains and numerous tax increases, the middle class – Americans making roughly $60,000 to $90,000 – remains far less sympathetic to Obama’s policies than either the rich or the poor. Yet none of this likely affects the Davos attendees, like billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who said, to fight climate change, Americans need to ‘live a smaller existence.’ This, coming from a man with five houses, including a Beverly Hills estate listed at $195 million, does not constitute an ideal populist program.”

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Quartering Spyware Troops In A Digital Age: Why Your Home Should Be Your Castle.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: How Syria’s Christians stopped turning the other cheek. “For the last week, they have been fighting the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across a major front in north-west Syria, in alliance with the YPG, the Kurdish defence forces. They have had mixed fortunes, but the battle has energised Middle East Christians worldwide – many of them exiles who fled the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq.”

Praise the lord, and pass the ammunition.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Video: What the State of Law Schools Can Teach the Rest of Higher Ed.

THE SURPRISING ORIGINS OF WONDER WOMAN: “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Plus, her role in offsetting Batman and Superman’s “blood-curdling masculinity.” And: “Women enjoy submission—being bound.” Christian Grey, call DC Comics!

And: “Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.” Stacy McCain, call your office!

WITH SO MANY OPPRESSED GROUPS, who’s left at Wesleyan to do the oppressing?

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THERE’S A SURPRISE: White House Releases Draft ‘Privacy’ Bill That’s Not Very Good.

ANDROID FOR THE PARANOID: BlackPhone maker Silent Circle announces $50 million in funding.


UPDATE: I like this from the comments:

I hereby pledge my commitment to the Instapundit unilateral mutual defense alliance. Any harm that comes to Instapundit will be deemed a harm to me, and the responsible Jihadi will thereafter be subject to revenge.


That said, I’m not the Tennessee prof. they’re targeting.

HOPEFUL READING FOR BILL CLINTON: How To Restore Your Rusted Old Tools.

FORGET IT, JAZZ. It’s Capehart-town.

IN THE MAIL: Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 56% Off Select H&R Block Tax Software.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 661.

ANOTHER BIG MERCHANT dumps American Express.

It’s fair to say that this has been a terrible month for American Express. It also lost a partnership with JetBlue and, even worse, an important court case. American Express cards are more expensive for merchants to take than other cards, so merchants would like to ask customers to use other cards — only they can’t, because American Express merchant agreements forbid this. They can refuse to take the cards in the first place, of course, but then they lose customers who don’t have a Visa or MasterCard.

American Express has taken a unique approach to a competitive field. Credit cards are what economists call a “two-sided market”: They need to get both customers to take their cards and merchants to accept them. Visa and MasterCard keep their fees relatively low in order to woo merchants; AmEx has kept the fees high and passed some of that money back to customers in the form of lower fees and higher rewards. Essentially, it gambled that merchants wouldn’t dare refuse its cards as long as enough customers preferred to use them.

That gamble looks to have been a bad bet. A federal judge just ruled that it cannot place those sort of restrictions on merchants, which means American Express will have to lower its fees or lose transactions as merchants ask customers to put that purchase on another card.

I try to use American Express for everything where I don’t pay cash. I don’t like being asked to use other cards. I have other cards, but I don’t like to use them.

NO DHS FUNDING? No Problem! An innovative solution that, sadly, is probably about as effective as what we have now.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: St. Louis judge tosses out gun case, citing newly-enacted Amendment 5. “St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker ruled that the Missouri law prohibiting felons from possessing guns is unconstitutional as applied in the case of Raymond Robinson, in part because it fails to differentiate between violent and non-violent felons.” Note that the beneficiary of this decision is African-American.

ANOTHER CASE OF RECORDING POLICE OFFICERS PAYING OFF. “But here’s my question: Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail. If a group of regular citizens had pulled this on someone, they’d all likely be facing criminal conspiracy charges on top of the perjury and other charges. So why aren’t these cops and prosecutors? I could be wrong, but my guess is that they’ll all be let off due to ‘professional courtesy’ or some sort of exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

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HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW ATTACKS ON WALKER SEEM TO REBOUND ON THE ATTACKER? Media tries to smear Walker on campus sex assault reporting, gets it horribly wrong.

Members of the media were quick to report that, included in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, was a removal of the requirements that colleges report campus sexual assault statistics to the state.

The Daily Beast, Huffington Post and others all jumped on a report in Jezebel that tried to paint Walker as being unsympathetic to sexual assault victims. Daily Beast writer Brian Weidy went so far as to claim that Walker’s proposal was “just short of explicitly violating Title IX regulations” and possible even “crossing a legal line.”

So not only is Walker a terrible person who hates victims, but he’s also maybe breaking the law. Or so they said. But for all their eagerness to pile on a leading GOP candidate for president (note the contrast to reporting on Obama in 2008), they were just plain wrong. The outlets involved had to retract the story, although a simple Google News search could have spared them the humiliation.

Walker had actually included these changes in his budget at the request of the University of Wisconsin. The school had requested that the governor remove the requirements because they were duplicative.

What I really liked was that, yet again, lots of folks on twitter — including plenty of right-leaning journos who used to hold themselves above the fray — got involved in directly challenging these journalists by name, in public. Name and shame. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

And it all started here.

Related: Daily Beast Retracts Scott Walker Story. “Another major media outlet has apologized after getting a story about Scott Walker wrong. Last week, it was the New York Times; now, it’s The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast has retracted an article from one of its college columnists that claimed that the Wisconsin governor’s budget would cut sexual assault reporting from the state’s universities.”

Plus: “The most impressive thing about Walker’s Throne of Skulls: every single skull beheaded itself.”

THE HILL: GOP urges Obama to sign college savings bill.

President Obama should get on board with House Republican legislation passed this week expanding college savings plans, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) said in the weekly Republican address.

“Why would we make saving for college even harder? We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules — well, that’s what 529 plans are,” said Renacci, who touted his upbringing in a working-class union family.

“They empower families to set up accounts for their children, right from when they’re born, and then down the line, they can use that money tax-free on books, fees, tuition and room-and-board,” he added.

This week, the House passed a bill 401-20 loosening restrictions on tax incentives and expanding the college savings plan program, after Obama scuttled a proposal to eliminate tax breaks for the plan in his annual budget.

If I were in Congress, I’d introduce legislation capping tuition at tax-exempt institutions to the equivalent of the average family income. To prevent profiteering.

FLASHBACK: Russian Money Suspected Behind Fracking Protests.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: John McGinnis: Those missing law school applicants? They aren’t coming back. “The most important cause of the decline in demand for legal services is technological shock. Technological change has reduced the demand for lawyers, at least at the price point law schools were delivering.”

I SUPPOSE MISCHIEVOUS REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS MIGHT AGREE AND AMPLIFY THESE SENTIMENTS, INTRODUCING ALL SORTS OF ABSURD LAWS GOVERNING SEX ON CAMPUS UNTIL HIGHER EDUCATION IS CRUSHED UNDER THE WEIGHT OF its own sexual paranoia. “It’s the fiction of the all-powerful professor embedded in the new campus codes that appalls me. And the kowtowing to the fiction—kowtowing wrapped in a vaguely feminist air of rectitude. If this is feminism, it’s feminism hijacked by melodrama. The melodramatic imagination’s obsession with helpless victims and powerful predators is what’s shaping the conversation of the moment, to the detriment of those whose interests are supposedly being protected, namely students. The result? Students’ sense of vulnerability is skyrocketing.”

February 28, 2015

NOW OUT FROM STACY MCCAIN: Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.

ANTI-SEMITISM at UCLA. “In the video below, UCLA’s student council deliberates over the application of Rachel Beyda for a position on the university’s judicial board. Ms. Beyda is acknowledged to be ‘qualified, for sure’ and ‘a great candidate, obviously.’ Yet there is a problem. ‘I just worry about her affiliations.’ She is ‘a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community.’ The student council voted not to appoint Ms. Beyda to the judicial board.”

CARLY FIORINA ON SYRIAN REFUGEES: ‘Why Would We Think We Could Distinguish Good from Bad?’


MICHAEL WALSH: Why Do Democrats Hate Asian-Americans? Because They’re Smart And Successful.

FROM STEVE CALABRESI, some inside dirt on Supreme Court appointments.

JOHN HINDERAKER: The Obama Administration’s AR-15 Ammo Ban: What’s It All About? “Critics of the ban suggest that the Obama administration is trying to achieve a ban on AR-15 rifles through the back door. This ATF standard won’t achieve that result by itself, of course, as most AR-15 ammunition will remain legal. But the fear is not irrational; liberals have openly argued for attacks on ammunition as an indirect means of achieving gun control.”

SO LONG AS IT’S NOT FULL OF COOKIE DOUGH WHEN YOU NEED IT: A Respirator Device That Looks Like Cool, Retro Kitchen Gear.

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WHY DO SO MANY MIDDLE-AGED MEN feel lost? You won’t be surprised to find that, according to Lucy Cavendish, it’s mostly their fault. Well, and that of “outdated masculinity.”

There may be some other answers. Me, I predict a return of “outdated masculinity” in one form or another.

JOHN FUND: Comrades for Net Neutrality: The powers behind the FCC’s muscling of the Internet. “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.”

BETTER LIVING THROUGH engineered nanomaterials.

FOUND: Biomarkers For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

IN THE MAIL: From Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale.

Plus, today only at Amazon: $2.99 Best-Selling Paranormal Series.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 660.



Little-known fact: The first law review article ever published on the Third Amendment, in 1949, appeared in the Tennessee Law Review.


At the euro’s launch in 2002, the world witnessed the unprecedented formation of a new currency without a state. But while the introduction of the euro centralized monetary policy, it left most fiscal policy in the hands of national governments. The rapid acceptance of the euro as a viable currency and the deeper financial integration of the Eurozone that followed were greeted as stepping-stones toward greater prosperity across the European Union. Observers viewed Europe’s emerging large current account deficits, particularly those of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) as a validation of the gains associated with capital flowing from the center of the EU to its periphery, and a strong counter to the arguments about the limited benefits of importing foreign savings as a means of financing domestic growth.

The honeymoon period for the euro ended in 2010, however, as the unfolding crisis revealed the dangers inherent in the monetary union. Germany’s persistent current account surplus was putting intolerable pressure on the Eurozone periphery and creating a standoff between EU creditor and debtor countries. Germany’s economic and political decisions were creating instability within the EU, much in the same way German military power once did.

This should hardly have been a surprise. Germany is the largest country in the EU by population, GDP, creditor capacity, and among net contributors to the EU budget (16 billion euros). In addition, while 60 percent of German exports go to the Eurozone, Germany’s international economic reach outstrips all other EU member states: 27 percent of all EU exports come from Germany, several times the amount of France, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands, and Spain. Today Berlin accounts for about 25 percent of China’s total trade with Europe and is the most influential European player in China. A decade after its launch, the euro remains a currency without a state, but dominated by Germany.

This reality has become the subject of a lively debate across the EU and within Germany itself.

What could go wrong?

POLL: Voters: Ignore Obama vetoes, keep passing bills he doesn’t like. I agree. Make him veto stuff. He hates having to take an active role. And if Harry Reid tries to run interference even in the minority, then go nuclear. Harry already crossed the nuclear threshold — make them pay.

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VIRGINIA POSTREL: How Spock Became A Sex Symbol.

ASHE SCHOW: Mia Love discusses 2016 presidential field.

Utah Congresswoman Mia Love won’t say who she’s currently supporting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but she did say whoever it is should be “inspirational.”

When asked by the Washington Examiner how Republicans can combat the “war on women” narrative in 2016 against a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy, the freshman congresswoman said Republicans should be more focused on who they nominate than who they’ll be running against.

“We can’t think about — Hillary, as far as I’m concerned, is not even in the picture. I don’t even like mentioning the name,” Love told the Examiner after her Thursday panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I think that we need to focus on who is going to be inspirational, who is going to talk about upward mobility and move Americans forward.” . . .

“Who is going to be the one that says ‘You know what? I don’t know it all, I trust the American people to make decisions. Give them the reins. Let them decide what healthcare they want. Let them control their lands. Let them educate their children. Let them be able to keep a little bit of their funds to take care of their families and their communities.’”

When asked if there was anyone she was currently leaning toward supported, Love punted.

It’s early yet.

HE WAS AT THE BLS FROM 2008-2012. Republicans Name Keith Hall CBO Director, Replacing Doug Elmendorf.

ROBERT MCDOWELL: Overturn The FCC’s Power Grab.

Thursday marked the largest government intervention into the Internet ecosphere in American history. By equating the dynamic 21st century Internet to the telephone system of 1934, the Federal Communications Commission has thrust powerful but antiquated utility-style regulations onto the U.S. tech economy. . . .

The FCC’s power grab discards the bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework laid out during the Clinton administration. That hands-off approach made the Net the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

History teaches us that utility-style regulation raises costs to consumers, reduces investment and innovation, and creates uncertainty due to the politics-driven nature of “mother may I innovate” government mandates. Regulation only grows. Now the Internet cannot escape that fate.

The ultimate result of more government encroachment will be something akin to the sagging European Internet market, where investment in broadband infrastructure is only one-fourth of America’s due to heavy-handed regulations. Even worse, this new power grab could trigger expanded intergovernmental powers over the Web through existing telecom treaties, jeopardizing Internet freedom.

What many in Silicon Valley don’t understand is that, according to the Supreme Court’s 2005 Brand X decision, nearly any “tech” company that builds a telecom-style network to deliver its content and apps has the potential to be captured by the FCC’s new rules. If the agency tries to exempt some companies but not others, it will be choosing the politically favored over everyone else.

Well, that’s the whole point of this exercise, one suspects. I mean, isn’t it always?

BLUE COLLAPSE: Chicago nears fiscal free fall with latest downgrade. “Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts. The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future.”

And remember, it’s run by one of Obama’s more-competent former minions. . . .

MEH. THEY ONLY GOT IN BEFORE VIA COMPLICIT DEMOCRATIC STAFFERS: Code Pink Feeling Stifled by Capitol Police Crackdown.

Forced into handcuffs before and after congressional hearings over the past two days, protesters organizing with Code Pink are fuming about the beefed-up presence of Capitol Police when contentious, high-profile officials testify on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, officers arrested Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, when he rose from his seat to challenge Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. after the conclusion of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

And a right-leaning group would never get the degree of forbearance that Code Pink has enjoyed for over a decade.

THE HILL: NRA chief presses Congress on concealed-carry bill.

The head of the nation’s biggest gun rights group urged Congress Friday to pass legislation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

During the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said it’s time for Congress to act and pass the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

“It’s time for Congress to pass national right-to-carry reciprocity for the entire United States,” LaPierre declared to cheers from the crowd of thousands of conservatives gathered at the Maryland event.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is the chief sponsor of the concealed-carry bill in the upper chamber, while Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) is spearheading the push in the House.

Supporters of the legislation — expected to be a top priority for gun rights activists in the current Congress, — believe they can secure enough Democratic votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster and get the legislation to President Obama’s desk.


February 27, 2015

NANCY PELOSI: Congress Is Living Paycheck To Paycheck. “So you think you’ve got it bad? Try being in Congress. Those poor bastards are practically homeless. . . . Hell, Pelosi is so down on her luck these days, she had to burn the Constitution just to keep warm. Also, because she hates it.”