November 28, 2015

WHY A DUCK? Why the internet is putting rubber ducks on heads of Isil fighters.

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ASHE SCHOW: Thanksgiving Dinner With the 2016 Presidential Candidates.

BUT THAT WOULD MEAN GIVING UP ON SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT AND SELF-IMPORTANCE AND CONTROL OVER OTHERS: The Food Cops and Their Ever-Changing Menu of Taboos; After decades of failure, maybe government should get out of the business of giving dietary advice.

With the release of the eighth edition of the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines expected by year’s end, it seems reasonable to consider—with the “obesity plague” upon us and Americans arguably less healthy than ever before—whether the guidelines are to be trusted and even whether they have done more harm than good.

Many Americans have lost trust in the science behind the guidelines since they seem to change dramatically every five years. In February, for example, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee declared that certain fats and eggs are no longer the enemy and that cholesterol is “not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” This, after decades of advising Americans to “watch their cholesterol.”

Such controversy is nothing new. U.S. Dietary Guidelines were first released by the Agriculture Department and the Department of Health and Human Services in 1980. One nutrition expert at the time, Edward “Pete” Ahrens, a groundbreaking researcher on fat and cholesterol metabolism, called the guidelines “a nutritional experiment with the American public as subjects . . . treating them like a homogeneous group of Sprague-Dawley rats.”

The original goals were to: 1) increase Americans’ carbohydrate consumption to 55%-60% of caloric intake; 2) reduce fat consumption to less than 30% from 40% of caloric intake; 3) reduce saturated fat to 10% of calories and increase poly- and monounsaturated fats each to 10% of calories; 4) reduce cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day; 5) reduce sugar intake by 40%; and 6) reduce salt consumption by 50%-80%.

These six goals, viewed in the context of what we know today, could hardly be more misdirected.

If only we could hold them liable the way we would if they were pharmaceutical companies that produced similarly defective and harmful products.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S hypocrisy on Syria. “In 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency promising that he would heal our political divisions. Instead, Mr. Obama has been as polarizing as any president in the history of modern polling. The debate over the Syrian refugee crisis illustrates why.”

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OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University! “If you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.”

BRENDAN O’NEILL: It’s Time To End The Domestic Imperialism Of The Welfare State.

Welfarism should be radically rethought not in order to save a few billion quid but in order to reverse the state’s spread into communities and to repair the self-belief and independence of working-class and poorer sections of society.

Both the right and left are failing on welfarism. The right ought to oppose it in the name of shrinking state interventionism. And the left ought to oppose it for the reason that many working-class institutions did oppose it when it was first being developed in the early twentieth century: because it makes people unproductive, and rips them from the society they live in, and because we should have full employment not paternalistic handouts.

The end result of this right/left failure is acquiescence to the rise of a new feudalism: millions of middle-class people employed by the state to look after millions of poor people. It is a scandal. It is domestic imperialism.

And, like the old-fashioned variety of imperialism, it provides employment for the unimpressive offspring of the gentry, as well as splendid opportunities for graft.

KATHLEEN PARKER: Trump is the Personification of America’s Vices.

Funny, that’s what many of us were saying about the candidate Parker endorsed in 2008 after years of posing as a conservative.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D EXPECTED: People having sex with horses is on the rise in Switzerland.


TRIBALISM IS NOT SCIENCE. SO YEAH. ‘I was tossed out of the tribe’: climate scientist Judith Curry interviewed.

I EXPECT THESE CALLS TO GROW LOUDER — AND, POSSIBLY, TO COME FROM OUTSIDE OF GERMANY AS WELL: Leader of German anti-immigrant party calls on Merkel to resign.

WE TELL OURSELVES STORIES IN ORDER TO LIVE: At City Journal, Ian Penman reviews a new biography of Joan Didion that isn’t quite up to its subject; Penman’s own profile of Didion is a great read, though:

If Didion possessed a quieter sensibility, it would be a mistake to peg it as a more defiantly “feminine”—or even feminist—one. Friends in liberal circles were delighted when she sent up “pretty” Nancy Reagan; less pleased when she did the same thing with some of the more starry-eyed avatars of the Women’s Liberation movement. She already had a sharp eye (and ear) for the little fudges and blind spots in ideological syntax on both sides of the street. As a working mother herself, she naturally saw the need for certain pragmatic political demands, but she talked also of “the coarsening of moral imagination to which . . . social idealism so often leads.” She seemed ill at ease with the all-or-nothing verities of an emergent identity politics: “The idea that fiction has certain irreducible ambiguities seemed never to occur to these women, nor should it have, for fiction is in most ways hostile to ideology.” And while it’s probably fair to say that she was never going to run for, or place, in any kind of Republican Mom-of-the-Year contest, she could offer scathing put-downs of her own gilded social circle: “[t]he public life of liberal Hollywood comprises a kind of dictatorship of good intentions, a social contract in which actual and irreconcilable disagreement is as taboo as failure or bad teeth, a climate devoid of irony.”

She certainly had Woody Allen’s number in the late 1970s; while most critics were dazzled by Manhattan’s gorgeous black and white cinematography and Gershwin score, Didion was astute enough to write:

This notion of oneself as a kind of continuing career — something to work at, work on, “make an effort” for and subject to an hour a day of emotional Nautilus training, all in the interests not of attaining grace but of improving one’s “relationships” — is fairly recent in the world, at least in the world not inhabited entirely by adolescents. In fact the paradigm for the action in these recent Woody Allen movies is high school. The characters in Manhattan and Annie Hall and Interiors are, with one exception, presented as adults, as sentient men and women in the most productive years of their lives, but their concerns and conversations are those of clever children, “class brains,” acting out a yearbook fantasy of adult life. (The one exception is “Tracy,” the Mariel Hemingway part in Manhattan, another kind of adolescent fantasy. Tracy actually is a high-school senior, at the Dalton School, and has perfect skin, perfect wisdom, perfect sex, and no visible family.

Tracy’s mother and father are covered in a single line: they are said to be in London, finding Tracy an apartment. When Tracy wants to go to JFK she calls a limo. Tracy put me in mind of an American-International Pictures executive who once advised me, by way of pointing out the absence of adult characters in AIP beach movies, that nobody ever paid $3 to see a parent.)

These faux adults of Woody Allen’s have dinner at Elaine’s, and argue art versus ethics. They share sodas, and wonder “what love is.” They have “interesting” occupations, none of which intrudes in any serious way on their dating. Many characters in these pictures “write,” usually on tape recorders. In Manhattan, Woody Allen quits his job as a television writer and is later seen dictating an “idea” for a short story, an idea which, I am afraid, is also the “idea” for the picture itself: “People in Manhattan are constantly creating these real unnecessary neurotic problems for themselves that keep them from dealing with more terrifying unsolvable problems about the universe.”

And the grownups would be in short supply ever since.

(By the way, fans of Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamour will find much to appreciate in Penman’s discussion of the timeless semiotics of the photo that accompanies his review.)

CHAOS ON THE BRIDGE: Late Thanksgiving night, I watched a surprisingly enjoyable documentary recently added to Netflix titled William Shatner Presents: Chaos On The Bridge, in which a curiously subdued Shatner* interviews the cast and many of the surviving — and still battle-scarred production team members of Star Trek: The Next Generation, to explain why the show was so cringe-worthy in its first two seasons. I started to write a post on it for Instapundit last night, then decided that given its length, it would be more suitable at Ed — please beam over** and read the whole thing.

* Because Shatner himself has to have some amazing stories about butting heads with Roddenberry and discovering in 1986 that he wouldn’t be starring in its first spin-off TV series.

** Sorry — but I really let my inner Trekkie out in the actual post.

FALLEN ANGELS WAS JUST A SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL, RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT? GUYS? Obama Sees Need for More US Icebreakers: Former Coast Guard Commandant.

(Via James Taranto.)

DEAR LIBERALS, STOP DEFENDING RACIST PROGRESSIVE WOODROW WILSON: “Surprisingly, the 28th president still has his defenders on the left,” Damon Root writes at Reason, although much like the MSM’s constant stream of “unexpectedly” bad economic news post-January of 2009, I’m not sure what’s “surprising” about Wilson’s sclerotic “Progressive” defenders:

Not everyone is quite so eager to see Wilson knocked off his pedestal, however. Writing at Politico Magazine this week, left-wing New York University professor Jonathan Zimmerman attempted to defend the beleaguered 28th president by reminding the ungrateful student activists about Wilson’s pioneering progressive agenda. Sure, Wilson may have been a racist, Zimmerman admitted, but “the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson” ushered in a new era of activist government that was ultimately “reflected” and enshrined in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Wilson was a founding father of modern liberalism, Zimmerman insisted, and therefore “deserves a good deal of credit” for improving the lives of “America’s poor and dispossessed, including minorities.”

I never cease to be amazed when I encounter this sort of liberal apologia for Woodrow Wilson. This is the same Woodrow Wilson, after all, who imposed Jim Crow on the federal government, praised segregation, glorified the Ku Klux Klan, spied on innocent Americans, censored the mail, trashed the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned multiple critics for the “crimes” of giving speeches, writing editorials, and distributing pamphlets. As H.L. Mencken once remarked about the ugly record of another unlikely liberal hero, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “If this is Liberalism, then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young.”

Well, it’s not – Mencken wrote that sentence around 1930; as Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, in order to put a fresh PR spin on their ideology after the horrors of the Wilson administration, the self-described “Progressives” of the 20th century’s early years began to call themselves “liberals” instead during the previous decade — a huge stolen base, considering that there’s a vast difference between the traditional laissez-faire meaning of classical liberalism and the racism, eugenics, and “moral equivalent of war” obsessions of “Progressivism.”

Apparently Hillary thought all of that baggage was forgotten by 2007, when she decided that due to the L-word’s own accumulated history from 1933 to the present, she rebranded herself as “a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.”

Mission accomplished, and then some, Hillary — a racist like Woodrow Wilson would be astonished that a black man was president, but he’d find much to admire in Mr. Obama’s own racialism, corporatism, foreign policy utopianism, and the chaos and riots that he’s sewn since 2009.

VIDEO: Vintage 1937 Film Perfectly Explains the Secrets of Engine Lubrication.

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LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Editing sperm stem cells could be the safest approach to genetically editing humans.

INSTITUTIONALIZED SEXISM: “Be aware that many legal clinics are reluctant to help fathers.”

TO BE FAIR, NEITHER DOES ANYBODY ELSE: Your Doctor Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Fitness-Tracker Data.

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FOUR WAYS RUSSIA’S MILITARY is more advanced than you might think.

PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR III: “Because, like I said, America is sickly. It’s getting weaker.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 933.

ARIZONA’S END RUN AROUND THE EDUCATION SPENDING LOBBY, as charted by Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Providing more resources to teachers and students is popular with many voters; paying higher taxes to hire district paper-shufflers is not. So Gov. Ducey came up with a clever plan to draw $2 billion over a decade from the state trust lands—a constitutional set-aside, established at statehood to promote public education, that currently holds about 9 million acres and more than $5 billion. The governor wanted to put that additional money directly into the classroom, rather than funnel it through layers of bureaucrats. Even with this outflow, the governor’s estimates showed, the trust would continue to grow in the long term, and its value would be higher in five years than today.

More money for schools with no new taxes: What’s not to like? A lot, apparently. Mr. Ducey’s plan disrupted the usual coalition of teachers unions and public school districts, leading some in the K-12 establishment—those administrators and union officials who have a way of soaking up dollars while doing little for students—to take the unfamiliar position of objecting to new education funding.

The superintendent of Mesa Public Schools, Arizona’s largest district, launched an email and robocall campaign to turn parents against the proposal. He insisted he was fighting for “the children,” but he was less upfront about disclosing that his lobbying effort was funded with school-district money that could have been put into the classroom instead.

Read the whole thing.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Ohio State Deans Berate Female Law Student Over Pro-Life Op-Ed After She Sought Protection After Online Threat. “‘I was so shocked. I’ve never been in a situation with people I respected and looked up to and felt so violated.’ Ms. Gesiotto knew that many of her peers at the law school would disagree with the column. She expected to take some flak. What she didn’t expect, she said, was having administrators show less interest in her safety than in tearing apart a column entirely unrelated to her coursework. . . . ‘I was there to report a threat. And then they tried to flip it around and push me into a facilitated discussion with other kids about my article. It was bizarre and very disappointing.’”

Lefties are indulged no matter how over-the-top. People on the right are told: You deserve the threats for making people angry. Also, you’re evil.

If people in the academy wonder why their stock is plummeting with the general public, it’s stuff like this.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Lessons In College Costs For Clinton & Sanders.

But even if we assume that higher education really is too expensive, we face a second conceptual difficulty: Subsidies may not make college significantly cheaper. Although the relationship between the level of aid available to students and the level of tuition has been controversial, this study released in July by economists at the New York Fed is persuasive. The authors found fairly robust effects, with an increase of 60 to 70 cents in tuition for each dollar increase of subsidized student loans. The effect was stronger at private colleges than at public schools, and, among private colleges, was least pronounced at those accepting the smallest proportion of applicants. As these tend to be the schools with the largest endowments, the effect is not entirely surprising.

The Clinton and Sanders plans are aimed principally at public colleges, where out-of-state tuition already rises with the size of Pell grants. One reason in-state tuition doesn’t capture the subsidies is political pressure from residents. So maybe the flood of new federal money would have no effect. On the other hand, given the growing need to compete with the wealthier schools in the educational “arms race of spending” — for example, to hire or retain top faculty — there’s a fair chance that we’d see some significant increases.

Of course it’s possible (some would say likely) that the web of regulations accompanying the grants under both programs would include implicit price controls. I’m no fan of this idea, but lots of smart people think I should be.

Finally there’s the Scottish experience. In 2001, Scotland began the process of abolishing tuition, a goal essentially accomplished in 2008. In a recent Vox article, Libby Nelson pointed to research showing, among other things, that although the change led to an increase in applications, the children of the poor still attend college at relatively low rates. In other words, what has been holding them back might not be the cost.

Read the whole thing.

WHY DO YOU NEVER SEE GASOLINE TAXES ITEMIZED ON YOUR RECEIPT? “Turns out a gallon of gas in Chicago has eight taxes on it.  In Park Ridge adds two cents more.” The Illinois Policy Institute produces a facsimile of what a receipt would look like if they were all listed.


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PREPARE TO BE BLINDSIDED IN 2016: “The last month has been an object lesson in the unpredictability of politics. We began November with news of an improving economy, with a rise in President Obama’s approval ratings. We end it with America and the world on high alert, with Obama on defense,” Matthew Continetti writes. “If the situation is so fluid now, how can we say with any confidence what things will look like a year on? Elections come into focus late. Why? Because most voters don’t pay attention to politics until the balloting is imminent.”

LIARS GONNA LIE: Wikipedia founder advocates for updating policies following ‘The Hunting Ground’ controversy.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is looking to tighten his website’s rules about editors altering pages with which they have a conflict of interest.

Wales renewed interest in the policies follows a Washington Examiner report that a crewmember of “The Hunting Ground,” a one-sided film about campus sexual assault, had been editing Wikipedia pages to promote the film and conform facts to its narrative.

“I have long advocated that we should deal much more quickly and much more severely with [Conflict of Interest] editors,” Wales wrote after citing the Examiner. “The usual objections (from some quarters — I think most people agree with me) have to do with it being hard to detect them, but in this case, the COI was called out, warnings were issued, and nothing was done. Now the editor has been called out by the media embarrassing him (he deserves it), his employer (who may not), and Wikipedia.” . . .

Another Wikipedia editor, KirkCliff2, chimed in on the thread by suggesting that the crewmember didn’t break just COI rules but also Wikipedia’s rules against gaming the system and neutrality. This editor also noted how Edward Patrick Alva, “The Hunting Ground” crew member, “has also been fairly disingenuous about his actions” and had been “shamelessly plugging the movie and the ‘stars’ thereof.”

Alva had made multiple edits to the Wikipedia pages of subjects from his film, including former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who was accused of rape by fellow FSU student Erica Kinsman. Some of Alva’s edits included removing information that cast doubt on Kinsman’s story and made the Tallahassee police look worse — in line with how the movie portrays the situation.

KirkCliff2, who wrote that he is “a veteran editor who rarely even weighs in on such issues” believes Alva “must be banned.”

Banned or not, his sleazy conduct should be widely publicized.

BECAUSE THINGS AREN’T WEIRD ENOUGH THIS YEAR ALREADY: #ColoradoSprings shooter’s only online documentation suggests HE identifies as a female.

The 24-hour rule applies, but the way things are going in 2015, this seems plausible. . . .

WEAK, CONFUSED AND ‘UNABLE TO GRASP:’ “Many bad things happen when a leader is weak, confused and forever in search of a credible reason to do nothing,” Wes Pruden writes:

For all his softness on Islam, Barack Obama has little insight into the men who send out mobs to cry “death to America.” He can’t imagine that men can listen to the call to evening Muslim prayer, which so captivated him as a boy growing up in Indonesia — “the prettiest sound on Earth” — and be inspired to dream of bringing down death on America.

The international order so carefully put together, and guarded so faithfully, by American presidents, Democrats and Republicans, after the Cold War was won, has unraveled under this president to the consternation of America’s most faithful allies and to the unexpected delight of the nation’s considerable enemies. The anarchy that will follow this unraveling will be the legacy he leaves behind him.

Read the whole thing.

ONLY FOUR COUNTRIES OUT OF 24 HAVE MAJORITIES WHO SUPPORT A CLIMATE DEAL: “In a similar poll before the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, eight countries had majorities favouring tough action.” This has always been an issue mostly for elites, probably because climate deals all tend to give elites more power and money.

RIDE THE PC RECURSION! Gay marriage is legal in America but not on Indian tribal lands.

Which group of what Thomas Sowell would call “the mascots of the anointed” will win out?

“WE GET ALL THE BENEFITS AND YOU GET ALL THE BILLS:” British video mocks migrants.

AND NOW, THE CALL FOR THE ‘WISE MEN’ TO SAVE OBAMA FROM HIMSELF: That would be the “council of elders” that columnist Bernie Quigley proposes at The Hill. At Red State, Moe Lane responds, “Shocker: 2008 Obama supporter thinks democracy doesn’t work!”

It never fails. You get some ostensibly well-meaning, but ultimately self-deluding guy (in this case, Bernie Quigley) who in 2008 declares Barack Obama to be the ” New JFK” who shows “organizational and conceptual abilities already that are superior to any candidate in our time.”  And, not least because of people like Mr. Quigley, Barack Obama gets elected – and then proceeds to demonstrate an appalling lack of organizational and conceptual abilities, to the point where the Democratic party outside of the executive branch now looks like a minor, regional party that is one bad cycle away from losing the East Coast*.  And, oh, yeah: the country’s foreign policy is in worse shape than ever, and things aren’t really improving.  One would think that this might suggest to people like Mr. Quigley that maybe, just maybe, he backed the wrong horse in 2008…. HAHAHAHA!

Nah, it just tells him that the country’s ungovernable: “Late in life, the great Amb. George Kennan declared that America needed a “council of elders” to contain the excesses of democracy. The governors, perhaps meeting in a selective and representative regional council, like a board of trustees at a university or a board of directors of a corporation, might offer America saving grace at a time of dangerous crossing.”  Because the problem’s not Barack Obama, you see. It’s democracy itself.

As Moe adds, Quigley “is one of the guys who can apparently write ‘the nefarious triumvirate of Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and especially George W. Bush’ with a straight face, and apparently no sense of shame.” Back in 2012, Quigley wrote that Elizabeth Warren’s “claim to be ‘part Indian’ is correct in mythical terms…In the heartland it is almost universal for those who have been there for a few generations to claim Indian blood; that is, to wish it were there even if it isn’t. It is not so much a lie as it is the acculturation of personal and regional American myth; the fabric of old-soul American consciousness.” Rachel Dolezal, call your office. You too, Dan Rather!

But regarding “the council of elders,” at the beginning of 2010, when Scott Brown was sent to the Senate by Massachusetts voters with the hope that he would save America from the debacle of Obamacare, Mickey Kaus wrote, “I’d guess we’re about 36 hours away from a Beltway call for ‘wise men,’” the first of several from pundits hoping to save Obama from himself. But unlike Lyndon Johnson, who met with the New Deal-era Democrat grandees dubbed “the Wise Men” in late 1967 and again in March of 1968, the latter meeting occurring shortly before Johnson concluded that Vietnam — and his presidency — both appeared lost, why would Obama listen to Quigley’s “council of elders?” After all, he professes to believe that “I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Between the race riots, the campus riots, the massive expansion of the federal government and the concurrent belief in its infallibility, the military debacles overseas, a feeling in general that the nation was out of control and now this latest call for the wise men to bail him out, it really does feel like we’re living out the last year of the Johnson administration, doesn’t it? Funny, when Democratic operatives with bylines were submitting Tiger Beat-style articles in 2007 and 2008 dreamily forecasting which Democrat presidencies Obama’s would most closely resemble, LBJ’s rarely made the list. Wonder why?

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I predicted this in 2009. And boy, was I right.


Mr. Sanders, who first publicly endorsed gay marriage in 2009, expressed varying levels of support for gay rights as he rose from the mayor of liberal Burlington to a congressman and then a senator with statewide support among more socially conservative constituencies such as hunters, blue-collar workers and older voters.

Hey, not everybody can be as progressive on gay rights as Dick Cheney.

JOHN C. WRIGHT’S: Somewhither.

THINGS THAT MAKE URBAN FANTASY WRITERS SQUEE: The Mysterious Secrets Of New York City’s Underworld (Videos).

MY DENTIST TALKED TO ME ABOUT THIS LAST YEAR: We’re going to be farmers of teeth, he said.

WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO LET IT WORK FOR US: Singapore: the Power of Economic Freedom.

WORTH READING: An Interview with Novelist Thomas Mallon.

THE BEST POET IN THE ROOM: Doesn’t want any wretched refuse!

I HAVE MENTIONED MY SHOCKED FACE, RIGHT? How The New York Times whitewashes Palestinian terror.

TASTE THE TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION: Newsweek didn’t fear the web in 1995.

STILL MORE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE: Number of Unaccompanied Kids Crossing Border Has Doubled in Last Year.

THIS IS MY REALLY SHOCKED FACE: VA spends millions promoting Obamacare, little cutting wait times.

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE: Obama’s new cancer Rx is a war on men.

IT’S ALRIGHT.  IT’S NOT LIKE I NEED TO SLEEP.  EVER: Obama’s Most Dangerous Year.

November 27, 2015


Satire: “Pardoned White House Turkey Defects To ISIS.”

DuffelBlog, yesterday.

Real Life:

Speaking at his annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning on Wednesday, President Barack Obama joked about raising teenage daughters, his critics and the 2016 presidential race.

“As you may have heard, for months, there has been a fierce competition between a bunch of turkeys trying to win their way into the White House,” Obama said.

Following a long pause and some laughter he added, “some of you caught that.”

Obama pardoned two California-raised turkeys, named “Honest” and “Abe,” who will retire to a historic farm in Leesburg, Virginia, rather than end up on Americans’ Thanksgiving tables.

The turkeys were raised by Dr. Jihad Douglas, whom Obama referred to as “Dr. Douglas,” side-stepping the man’s first name, which can refer to spreading Islam through violence. Obama referred to a second turkey farmer, Joe Hedden, by his first and last names.

—Reuters, Wednesday.

Pictured standing to Obama’s right in this photo at the National Turkey Federation Website, Dr. Jihad Douglas is the federation’s current chairman, and president of Aviagen Turkeys, Inc.

RANDALL KENNEDY: Black Tape At Harvard Law:

In a grand corridor of Harvard Law School, framed professors’ photographs hang on a wall. A week ago, someone put slivers of black tape over the faces of most of the African-American professors. I am one of those whose photograph was marked.

Last Thursday, on my way to teach contracts, I received an email from a student who alerted me to the defacement. I saw the taped photos, including my own, right before class. Since then I have been asked repeatedly how I feel about having been targeted by what some deem to be a racial hate crime. Questioners often seem to assume that I should feel deeply alarmed and hurt. I don’t.

The identity and motives of the person or people behind the taping have not been determined. Perhaps the defacer is part of the law school community. But maybe not. Perhaps the defacer is white. But maybe not. Perhaps the taping is meant to convey anti-black contempt or hatred for the African-American professors. But maybe it was meant to protest the perceived marginalization of black professors, or was a hoax meant to look like a racial insult in order to provoke a crisis, or was a rebuke to those who have recently been taping over the law school’s seal, which memorializes a family of slaveholders from colonial times. Some observers, bristling with certainty, insist that the message conveyed by the taping of the photographs is obvious. To me it is puzzling. . . .

Disturbing, too, is a related tendency to indulge in self-diminishment by displaying an excessive vulnerability to perceived and actual slights and insults. Some activists seem to have learned that invoking the rhetoric of trauma is an effective way of hooking into the consciences of solicitous authorities. Perhaps it is useful for purposes of eliciting certain short-term gains.

In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization. A colleague of mine whose portrait was taped over exhibited the right spirit when he jauntily declared that it would take far more than tape to slow him down.


THANKSGIVING FLASHBACK: The Pilgrims And Property Rights.

WELL, THERE’S AN ELECTION COMING: Number of Migrants Illegally Crossing Rio Grande Rises Sharply.


Paris (AFP) – A long list of seemingly harmless everyday actions contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other climate-altering greenhouse gases.

Driving a car and flipping a light switch have a clear “carbon footprint” — much less obvious is the harm caused by sending a simple text message or opening a bottle of water.

* * * * * * *

Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective, the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile).

The culprits are greenhouse gases produced in running the computer, server and routers but also those emitted when the equipment was manufactured.

It gets worse when you send an email with a large attachment, which puts about 50 gCO2e into the air. Five such messages are like burning about 120 grammes (0.27 pounds) of coal.

So imagine how much carbon a giant electronic news gathering operation connected to a large server farm such as AFP emits. Since they’ve demonstrated that they believe their own efforts are hurting the environment so badly, they must take the lead and voluntarily shutter their doors to send the correct message to the rest of us, to prove that they take all of what they’ve written above seriously.

After all, as Glenn likes to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves.

Speaking of which, note the dateline on the above article. Aren’t there other, more pressing stories going on in Paris these days for AFP to reporting on? (Or is their article a retreat to their ideological “safe space” while under siege?)

IMAGINE THANKSGIVING WITHOUT THE STRESS: I don’t have to imagine it. I can remember it. It was just yesterday. But this is pretty much the approach I follow: “You know what we’re having for Thanksgiving at our house this year? With minor variations, we’re having the same thing we’ve had every year since my birth in 1973.” In my case, we’ve been doing it pretty much the same way since we first added lamb to the menu, which was about 15 years ago.

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Which is a reminder that not everyone who gets mugged by reality becomes a conservative.

UNEXPECTEDLY: LePen Leads First Presidential Poll After Paris Killings. And note this:

Europe’s far-Right will gain a lot of strength after the Paris attacks—and for that, you can largely blame the centrists.
Not surprisingly, figures like Marine Le Pen are making hay. Just after the attacks, Le Pen called for the “immediate halt” of the admission of refugees. Hungarian President Viktor Orban crowed that he was right all along. But in doing this, the far-Right is essentially doing what it’s always done. And what gives it oxygen is also the same thing as ever: The centrists declare any discussion of immigration (other than “it’s wonderful!”) off-limits, and so drive concerned voters to where they otherwise would not go.

Even in the wake of Paris, Euro-centrists couldn’t seem to stop preening, impugning their own citizenry, and generally insisting that all must go on as before. Less than a day after the attacks, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that, “there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.” And while President Hollande has taken an admirably tough line on foreign policy and European matters, on November 18 he declared that France would increase its refugee intake over the next two years, to 30,000, in a speech whose upshot was that “France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.” Everything can go on the same as before, at the very least.

There may be both strategic and humanitarian arguments in favor of continuing to admit refugees, but the rhetorical tone on display from several of Europe’s highest-profile centrists, before and after the attacks, has seemed almost designed to alienate concerned citizens.

Hope is not a plan, and virtue-signalling is not a policy. American political elites have enabled the rise of Trump in much the same fashion.

NEITHER I NOR MY FAMILY ARE ANYWHERE NEAR THIS: And please note that despite being reported as Active Shooter Situation Near Planned Parenthood it’s noted later on that no one knows if PP is the target, or it just happened in the area.  I find it amusing they say Obama was briefed.  Really?  On a shooting in a Western town?  Why?  So he can make sure the crisis doesn’t go to waste?

TO BE FAIR, IT’S A CITY NOT KNOWN FOR QUALITY GOVERNANCE: Los Angeles Just Proposed the Worst Use of License Plate Reader Data in History.


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why Living “Presently” Could Ruin Your Entire Life. “Living for the moment is the reason people leave marriages, lose control over their health, and why America is trillions of dollars in debt.”

MARK RIPPETOE: Women In Ground Combat: A Strength Coach’s Opinion.

FLASHBACK: The Obama-Hillary Mideast Debacles.

SKYNET SMILES: Robots Learning To Disobey Humans.


It is an ominous feature of our American times that the three branches of government that operate out of Washington — the Supreme Court, Congress and the presidency — have all three shown critical weakness or incompetence recently and have historically low approval ratings. The aspirants to the Oval Office in 2016 don’t offer much chance of renewal. Late in life, the great Amb. George Kennan declared that America needed a “council of elders” to contain the excesses of democracy. The governors, perhaps meeting in a selective and representative regional council, like a board of trustees at a university or a board of directors of a corporation, might offer America saving grace at a time of dangerous crossing.

Hmm. Our big problem today isn’t the “excesses of democracy,” but rather the excesses of a corrupt and incompetent political class. Can a “council of elders” save us from that?

HEH: Google deems Bernie Sanders’ economic plan a ‘phishing scam.’

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders’ economic plan triggered Gmail’s “phishing scam” antenna, with the mail system saying the senator’s liberal campaign promises — including lower prescription drug prices and free college for all — sound like frauds.

“Be careful with this message. It contains content that’s typically used to steal personal information,” Gmail said in a bright red warning box that appeared at the top of a message sent by Mr. Sanders’ campaign Friday, laying out his “Agenda for Working Families.”

“This message could be a scam,” Gmail says in its page explaining why it flagged the message as a “phishing scam.” Phishing is a specific type of spam email that scammers use to try to entice users to disclose bank accounts or other sensitive information. . . .

Ira Winkler, president of Secure Mentem and a cybersecurity specialist, said the campaign likely triggered Gmail’s filters because it included phrases that spammers use to try to sell prescription drugs and by offering things free of charge — in this case, the promise to pay for education at public colleges and universities.

Those bots may be onto something. People who promise you lots of free stuff are usually running some kind of scam.


GOOD: Breaking: Supreme Court Blocks Racially Discriminatory Hawaii Election.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Female teacher jailed for 10 years for sexually violating boy. “The starting point for Reriti’s punishment should be 14-15 years in jail, the prosecutor said. He suggested Reriti’s gender shouldn’t mean she should escape the sort of punishment a male teacher found guilty of child sex offences would face.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 932.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ivy League Presidents Try Appeasement.

With their campuses rocked by social justice protests, anxious Ivy League presidents are trying to appease campus radicals with huge payouts to left-wing identity programs. Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, apologized to protesters (“we failed you”) and wrote a campus-wide letter promising to create a new “university center” for the study of “race ethnicity, and other aspects of social identity.” He also pledged to double the budget for the African American, Native American, Asian American, and Hispanic cultural centers, and to devote new resources to “educating our community about race, ethnicity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Not to be outdone, Brown University President Christina Paxson has answered protests by unveiling a $100 million program for creating “a just and inclusive campus community.” Among the budget items: “expand mentoring resources for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and first generation college students”; create “workshops” to “foster greater awareness and sensitivity on issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression”; and “promote university-wide research and academic programming on Power, Privilege, Identity and Structural Racism.”

There is no doubt that there is still racism, sexism, and homophobia on college campuses, just as there is everywhere else in our society. But the idea that it can be stamped out with still more diversity training, still more cultural centers, and still more identity studies programs is a fantasy. American college campuses are already saturated with these programs (which, it goes without saying, inflate the budgets of colleges whose degree programs are already too expensive). If bigotry is still as widespread at Brown and Yale as the protesters claim, then perhaps the universities ought to try a different approach. After all, the available evidence suggests that diversity education programs are counterproductive, and segregated academic and residential programs may well exacerbate racial isolation and misunderstanding.

If a cabal of Evil Conservatives set out to destroy academia from within, what, exactly, would it be doing differently?


Current student anger eerily fits the pattern of most left-wing unrest, from the cycles of the French Revolution to the campus riots of the 1960s.

First, protests gradually grow more extreme. Venom is directed at fellow leftists who are deemed insufficiently radical.

In revolutionary France, wild-eyed Jacobins soon guillotined reformist Girondins, who were considered passé. During the Russian Revolution, extremist Bolsheviks marginalized liberal Mensheviks. In the 1960s, many members of the SDS and Black Panthers hated liberals who disapproved of their violence.

A group called the Black Justice League wants the name of liberal but bigoted President Woodrow Wilson removed from Princeton University. Liberals are aghast that the century-old memory of their progressive hero might vanish from the Princeton campus.

Don’t these wild-eyed “snowflake fascists” know that the memory hole is a weapon to be used only against Republicans?  And as VDH asks, will FDR be tossed down it next?

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. IF WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT FREE SPEECH, WE SHOULD SAY ‘JE SUIS DIEUDONNÉ.’ He’s a putz, but he should be refuted, not jailed.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Some good news, for a change.

SPENGLER: Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Ted Cruz.

There’s a lot I like about Ted Cruz, but I’m not sure if I can vote a candidate so heavily tatted up.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UMass president aims to fire Dartmouth chief.

University of Massachusetts president Martin T. Meehan has moved to dismiss the chancellor of the Dartmouth campus, Divina Grossman, by the end of the academic year amid concerns about the campus’s performance, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

Under Grossman’s 3½-year tenure, enrollment has fallen and private fund-raising has plummeted, even as debt mounts.

In addition, the campus has cycled through three chief financial officers and as many provosts and fund-raising directors.

Obviously, they need to hire a new VP For Diversity.


Americans have become, Edmundson says, wholly pragmatic and small-minded, always on the lookout for the main chance and conditioned to be greedy for the gaudy trash supplied by our consumerist overlords. We move restlessly from want to want, never discovering any lasting satisfaction. As for living heroic or noble lives, our video games and movies do that for us. Meanwhile, Edmundson adds, “the profound stories about heroes and saints are passing from our minds.” Our days have no purpose. Instead of aspiring to grandeur, we surrender to pettiness and accommodation. . . .

It needn’t be this way. Edmundson devotes the first half of “Self and Soul” to several ancient exemplars of courage, compassion and contemplation, to those who, rejecting a safe and secure passage through life, consecrated themselves to some greater task. Achilles, for instance, knows he will die young, but his name and glory will last forever. In battle at Troy, he becomes fully himself. Alexander Pope summed up this warrior ethos in just three lines about another legendary fighter:

Now on the field Ulysses stands alone,

The Greeks all fled, the Trojans pouring on;

But stands collected in himself and whole

Today, Edmundson says, any commitment to military virtues is disdained “by middle-class men and women whose central aspiration is to endure and who seek not honor but respect, not ascendancy but stable existence.”

Now, one hardly expects an English teacher — a professor at the University of Virginia, no less — to celebrate the martial spirit. But Edmundson does, even going so far as to contrast Achilles with Hector, who is not just Troy’s greatest champion but also a loving son, father and husband. Nonetheless, he notes, Hector’s sheer humanity ultimately makes him a lesser soldier. Families call to us to be careful out there, to remember our children. The true warrior thinks only of honor and his code of valor.

The martial virtues are real, and are indeed forgotten today, though I am sadly near-certain that we will be recalling them more fully in the not-so-distant future. But a society that holds up the martial virtues as special exemplars is often a society in which other sectors are distinctly short on virtue of their own.

The book is Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals. Without taking anything away from Edmundson (to paraphrase Arthur Leff, when non-ironic odes to martial virtue emanate from the academy these days, attention must be paid) here are some related thoughts of mine on martial virtues.


Wait’ll he discovers some of the stories that Rolling Stone has tried to serve up in recent years

THE DEMOCRATS’ BOUTIQUE ISSUES: Understanding why their presidential candidates talk of nothing but climate change.

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: After Paris, questions for us all.


Related: Liberal Media Loses Interest in ‘Clock Kid’ After Islamic Attacks.

As Cindy Sheehan discovered the hard way when she was quietly tossed down the memory hole after November of 2008, in the future, everyone will be a mascot of the anointed for 15 minutes.


The Chicago government is under fire for taking 13 months to file charges against the officer, even with the video evidence. A lawsuit was filed by a freelance journalist to order the release of video. And the charges were only announced at the deadline set by a judge for the video’s release.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass noted that McDonald was shot in October 2014, and Emanuel was vying for re-election in the February 2015 vote.

“Rahm sat on the video, and kept sitting on it, all the way through his re-election, as black ministers and other African-American political figures rallied to his side to get out the black vote and deny that vote to Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia,” Kass wrote. “If the video had come out during the election campaign, Rahm Emanuel would not be mayor today.”

So Rahm suppressed a potentially career destroying video, and Hillary blamed a video for magically causing the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens while standing over his casket and simultaneously being complicit in suppressing its maker. But really, at this point, for both politicians’ Democratic supporters*, what difference does it make?

* Particularly in the television industry, appropriately enough.

FLASHBACK: Obama’s Syrian Refugee Debacle.

THAT SLY COME-HITHER STARE: “See how politics and witchcraft intersect. You knew they would.”

(So, second look at Christine O’Donnell?)

WHY DO THEY DESPISE US? “They invoke Allah, and we invoke John Lennon.”

(Headline via Mark Steyn: ”‘Why do they hate us?’ was never the right question. ‘Why do they despise us?’ is a better one.”)

THOMAS DEWEY, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Donald Trump mocks reporter’s disability:

At a rally in South Carolina Tuesday, when GOP frontrunner Donald Trump was defending the contention that “thousands and thousands of people” cheered the September 11th terrorist attack in Jersey City, New Jersey, he did an impression of a reporter’s physical handicap.

The reporter was Serge Kovaleski, who had, according to Politico, previously covered Trump when he worked for the New York Daily News. He also helped write a September 2001 Washington Post story that Trump has been using to back up his claim about what he saw at the attacks.

“Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You ought to see this guy,” Trump said.

When he made fun of Kovaleski verbally, Politico reported, he launched “into an impression which involved gyrating his arms wildly and imitating the unusual angle at which Kovaleski’s hand sometimes rests.”

Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, which according to the National Institutes of Health, can impact the function and range of motion of joints and can cause muscles to atrophy. Kovaleski was familiar to Trump because he had, according to Politico, covered Trump for several years when he worked for the New York Daily News.

Shades of another GOP presidential candidate from a bygone era:

Tom Dewey was cursed with just this sort of personality. He was short, immaculately and expensively dressed, and he sported a mustache that led Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously to describe him as “the bridegroom on the wedding cake.” (It is no coincidence that Dewey is the last nominee of either party to sport any facial hair.)

But Dewey’s snobbishness went far beyond looks. Indeed, a single display of it may well have cost him the White House. On Oct. 13, 1948, in Beaucoup, Ill., Dewey was speaking on the rear platform of a train—part of a response to President Truman’s 30,000-mile whistle-stop campaign—when the engineer mistakenly backed the train up a short distance. Dewey snapped that “this is the first lunatic I’ve had as an engineer. He probably ought to be shot at sunrise, but I guess we can let him off because nobody was hurt.” Dewey may not have realized it, but to the hundreds of thousands who worked on railroads, their families, and the millions of others in blue-collar jobs, this smacked of something less than respect for the working folks. And on Election Day, such voters helped deliver Truman razor-thin pluralities in Ohio and Illinois, giving him enough electoral votes to pull off the most remarkable upset in presidential history.

Of course, Truman smearing Dewey as a fascist just three years after the end of WWII in the week before the election may have helped as well; and the left have taken to playing that worn-out record as well this month against Trump. But as with Dewey in 1948, Trump is his own worst enemy.


Related: “Trump claims he’s never met a disabled New York Times reporter that he’s been criticized of mocking during a recent campaign rally…The billionaire candidate went on, claiming he had ‘merely mimicked what [he] thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago.’”

DEMOCRAT OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES: Suspended CNN Reporter Conspired With Clinton Campaign to Smear Rand Paul.