SOCIAL ENGINEERING PILED ON TOP OF SOCIAL ENGINEERING: California’s ZEV Tax Rebates Are Now Income-Dependent: The state’s tax rebates on fuel cell and electric cars just got a lot bigger for average-income families—and disappeared for the very wealthy. More like kinda wealthy. Or maybe “comfortably well off.” I mean, Elon Musk is very wealthy. A doctor who makes $250K a year is not.
July 7, 2015
FASTER, PLEASE: Blocking brain protein could stop memory loss caused by ageing.
There might be a way to stave off the memory loss people experience as they get older.
As people age, a protein that disrupts brain cell repair gradually builds up. The offending protein, called beta2-microglobulin (B2M), has now been shown to affect how mice perform in memory tests.
Work is already under way to identify drugs that mop up or destroy B2M which will allow the researchers to test if the same applies to humans. If so, the same drug could offer a solution.
“Right now, the idea is to develop antibodies or small molecules that can either block the effects of the protein or help to remove it from old blood,” says Saul Villeda of the University of California at San Francisco.
Villeda’s discovery is the first detailed investigation of a so-called “anti-elixir” factor, in other words one that builds up with age and causes brain degeneration.
Most research aimed at reversing ageing so far has focused on “elixir” factors – agents that bring back lost youth. For example, when the the blood of young mice is injected into old mice, it halts brain and muscle degeneration, helps fractured bones heal and prevents heart damage.
Ultimately, the best strategy to combat ageing might be through treatments combining “pro-youthful” factors with drugs that neutralise “pro-ageing” factors like B2M.
Well, speed it up, guys. None of us is getting any younger.
IS HILLARY CLINTON PROMISING TO BE A ONE-TERM PRESIDENT IF ELECTED? “This is my last rodeo,” Hillary, who would be 69 in January 2017, vows in her speech today in front of crowd of 250 at the Iowa City Public Library. Will any interviewer ask her if she’s hinting that she’s planning to forgo another “rodeo” of a reelection bid in 2020 if she’s elected next year?
Or would that risk another painful hogtying by Hillary the wannabe rodeo queen?
SO I GUESS DONALD TRUMP HAS STARTED ONE OF THOSE “NATIONAL CONVERSATIONS” PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS CALLING FOR, ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND CRIME: Top Dem Steny Hoyer To Sanctuary Cities: Inform Feds About Felons.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WOMAN ON THE PLANE WHO YELLED AT MY BABY: To be honest, as someone who doesn’t have kids and can get a little irritable when trapped in a tiny coach seat on a long flight, I’m sympathetic to both sides of the argument.
VIDEO: DC RESIDENTS SAY TAKE DOWN JEFFERSON MEMORIAL, RENAME WASHINGTON, DC:
“It should come down,” one D.C. resident told PJ Media, referencing the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.
“If we do that, though, George Washington owned slaves. Should we rename Washington, D.C.?” he was asked.
“You have to draw the line at some point, I guess, maybe take a poll across the country and see what people think about it and if they want to rename the city, do it,” he said. “I would support changing the American flag as well. America is based on a lot of mass killings and slavery and the history is just – look at the Germans, they own up to the Holocaust, nobody is proud of their history. Americans, at least, you should not be proud of any mass killing. You should not be proud of anything wrong that’s been done in the past or any symbols that represent that and that’s all.”
Leave no black armband behind.
RELATED: Perhaps it’s time to rename the Washington Post, considering its namesake’s background. Either that or admit, as Marc Thiessen does within its pages that “Our country is in a miasma of political correctness,” and that “The recent criticism of the Confederate flag is really not about a flag — it is about the people of the South. It is driven by the notion that most Southerners are a bunch of racists who agree with the Charleston shooter’s murderous actions. As we saw after the shooting, nothing could be further from the truth.”
UPDATE: Heh, indeed:™
Washington Post shouldn't have to rename. They should just lose their trademark…like the Redskins. @EdDriscoll
— Colin Fraizer (@cfraizer) July 7, 2015
SO HOW MANY STORIES LIKE THIS ARE THERE? Previously-Deported Illegal Alien Charged With Murdering Washington Woman And Her Son.
See, in North America, we argue over whether or not bakeries should be compelled to bake gay wedding cakes. In much of the Muslim world, the gay rights issues are different: they debate whether to hang gays, as they do in Iran; or throw them off the tops of buildings, as they do in the new Islamic State.
Shunned shows western liberal audiences — who often condemn Israel, for trumped up “human rights offenses” — that when it comes to basic civil rights, Israel is miles ahead of any other country in the region.
Video at link.
WAPO OP-ED BLAMES AMY SCHUMER FOR ‘INSPIRING’ CHARLESTON SHOOTER:
All this time we were blaming the Confederate flag, it turns out comedienne Amy Schumer was the only who “inspired” Charleston shooter Dylann Storm Roof to murder nine African-Americans.
So argues a Washington Post op-ed written by Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard, who are regrettably both college professors. Titled “Don’t believe her defenders. Amy Schumer’s jokes are racist,” the pair rip apart Schumer for racial insensitivity in her comic material.
C’mon – it was really Sarah Palin’s clip art, wasn’t it? I bet it was the clip art.
UPDATE: “Turns out the writer sliming ‘racist’ Amy Schumer is a NASTY piece of work,” Twitchy notes, archiving her many deleted race-obsessed tweets.
No, free speech does not end when it touches something that offends you, and you have no equivalent right to silence those who are insensitive to your feelings.No, you have no right to feel safe.You have no constitutional right. You have no moral right. You have no right at all. You have a right not to be physically harmed, but your feelings, just like everyone else’s, are fair game for bruising. No one says you have to suffer in silence. Don’t like how your Columbia professor uses classic literature that “triggers” your unsafe feelz? Go to Dartmouth. Don’t like how other people on the internets call you stupid? Don’t be stupid. Or turn off the computer. Or only click on links to cute kitteh pics.
MSNBC’S LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: ‘ESSENTIAL TRUTH THAT WE’RE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW’
Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell gushed over Bernie Sanders’ authenticity and the consistently large crowds he has acquired in his speeches across the country. The July 6 edition of The Last Word featured a panel discussion which emphasized that the Vermont senator’s policies aren’t that far outside the mainstream.
O’Donnell asked former Vermont governor Howard Dean if Sanders has “managed to educate Vermonters to the essential truth that we’re all socialists now?”
Huh — Newsweek told me at the start of 2009 that newly minted President Barack Obama meant “We Are All Socialists Now:”
So how are seven years of those socialist policies working out for everyone?
RELATED: Video Flashback: Senator Obama Endorses Socialist Bernie Sanders For U.S. Senate.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Republican Rubio calls U.S. higher education system ‘cartel,’ urges overhaul.
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Tuesday called for an overhaul of the U.S. higher education system, saying colleges were operating as a “cartel” and were not meeting the needs of students or the economy.
“We do not need timid tweaks to the old system. We need a holistic overhaul,” Rubio said in a policy speech in Chicago. “We need to change how we provide degrees, how those degrees are accessed, how much that access costs, how those costs are paid, and even how those payments are determined.”
Well, he’s right.
THE 21ST CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I EXPECTED: The Battle For Control of the Breast Milk Industry.
IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: Turns Out the EPA Didn’t Come Up with the Talking Points for Its Controversial Power Plant Program. “Newly-surfaced emails revealed that a prominent left-wing group played a large role in the creation of the talking points for the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial new power plant regulations.”
I dunno, space policy has actually been one of Obama’s more successful areas.
GOOGLE MUST APOLOGIZE FOR ITS HIGH-TECH BIGOTRY: Probing the Dark Side of Google’s Ad-Targeting System: Researchers say Google’s ad-targeting system sometimes makes troubling decisions based on data about gender and other personal characteristics. Uh, dude, that “dark side” thing is problematic.
If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East. . . .
That’s why a recent controversy over Iran’s compliance with the interim accord now governing its nuclear work is troubling. The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, but required that amounts over a specified ceiling be converted into an oxide powder that cannot easily be further enriched. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran met the requirement for the total size of its stockpile on June 30, but it did so by converting some of its enriched uranium into a different oxide form, apparently because of problems with a plant set up to carry out the powder conversion.
Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense — and heatedly attack the institute as well as a report in the New York Times.
When the United States is more interested in protecting and defending Iran and its nuclear “deal” than confronting Iran’s cheating behavior, it acts like an insecure, vulnerable spouse making excuses for a cheating husband/wife because fear prevents him/her from confronting the sad reality. If the U.S. looks the other way now, the precedent will be set, the cheating will continue, and predictably will become more brazen. No good can come from the Obama Administration’s tactic of sweeping such transgressions under the rug, and certainly not from attacking experts and officials who report the transgressions.
IT’S ONLY BECAUSE THE SCIENTISTS WERE WEARING THE WRONG SHIRTS: Don’t Believe the Hype About Life on Philae’s Comet.
RANKING THE STATES by fiscal condition. Tennessee does pretty well. New York, California, Illinois not so much. . .
SCIENCE: Researchers learn to measure aging process in young adults. “Most participants clustered around an aging rate of one year per year, but others were found to be aging as fast as three years per chronological year. Many were aging at zero years per year, in effect staying younger than their age.”
Measuring aging: Good. Slowing aging: Better. Reversing aging: Best. Faster, please.
IN THE MAIL: From John C. Wright, Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Denon AVR-S700 7.2-Channel A/V Receiver with wifi,Bluetooth, 4K capability, $299.99 (40% off).
And, also today only: Up to 60% Off “Cowboy Bebop: The Compete Series.”
WELL, IT’S ALL JUST ABOUT HILLARY BATTLESPACE PREP ANYWAY: ‘Affirmative Consent’ Will Make Rape Laws Worse.
The “tough on crime” posture is going out of style, even on the right, except when the crime in question is rape. Advocates complain that it is too hard to lock up predators. And so, according to Judith Shulevitz, the American Law Institute, an influential, invitation-only body that publishes model codes and other suggestions for legal reforms, has been considering how we could make the law harsher.
Here is a hypothetical that some concerned members of the group have raised:
Person A and Person B are on a date and walking down the street. Person A, feeling romantically and sexually attracted, timidly reaches out to hold B’s hand and feels a thrill as their hands touch. Person B does nothing, but six months later files a criminal complaint. Person A is guilty of ‘Criminal Sexual Contact’ under proposed Section 213.6(3)(a).
Okay, we can all agree that this is nutty. But as Shulevitz goes on to point out, this is what happens when you combine two principles designed to make it easier to prosecute sexual assault: affirmative consent and “enlarged definition of criminal sexual contact that would include the touching of any body part, clothed or unclothed, with sexual gratification in mind.” The result is that “if Person B neither invites nor rebukes a sexual advance, then anything that happens afterward is illegal.”
Defenders of the thinking behind this proposal might say no prosecutor is going to bring such a silly case, but that’s the opposite of comforting. Who would pass a law intended to be unenforced in almost every case? It’s eerily totalitarian: a sort of blanket mandate convenient for targeting undesirables and threatening suspects.
And that’s the other thing. It’s about empowering the administrative class at the expense of everyone else. Tar and feathers is an appropriate remedy for this kind of “empowerment.”
THOSE RACIST MINNESOTANS: Professor says Minnesota’s flag is racist, too.
As the campaign to tear down the Confederate flag from statehouses, shops, and memorials continues to be waged across the country, one professor has chosen to weigh in on a flag she says is similarly offensive: Specifically, the state flag of Minnesota.
At a glance, Minnesota’s flag seems pretty bland. Like many states, it simply has its state seal on a blue field. Said seal shows a pioneer working his fields, while a Native American rides southward in the background. But Judith Harrington, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, published an argument shortly before the July 4th holiday complaining that the flag creates a racist contrast between peaceful whites and supposedly violent American Indians.
Professor Harrington says the flag must go. Of course she does. Because, you know, academics.
While we’re on the subject, I think all good thinking liberals/progressives should call for Massachusetts to immediately take down all state flags, which portray an Algonquian Native American with bow and arrow.
It’s all very Washington Redskins-y, and I’m sure must equally deeply offend Native Americans, including Elizabeth Warren and UC-Riverside “Indian” scholar, Professor Andrea Smith.
Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.
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IT’S THE 1970S AGAIN, WITH A TRANSGENDER BONUS: Muggers are prowling Central Park once more while public nuisances shake down New York’s motorists and crime soars. Welcome to the increasingly bruised Big Apple of Mayor Bill de Blasio, his progressive agenda — and the inevitable results. Go ahead, bite the Big Apple. Don’t mind the maggots. . . .
LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Obama Administration Refuses To Follow Law Banning Government Contracts To Companies Who Engaged In Tax Inversions. And notice how quick President Goldman Sachs is to protect the fatcats’ interests when it matters.
I’M GOING LONG ON AMMO AND CANNED GOODS: Chinese chaos worse than Greece. “While the world worries about Greece, there’s an even bigger problem closer to home: China. A stock market crash there has seen $3.2 trillion wiped from the value of Chinese shares in just three weeks, triggering an emergency response from the government and warnings of ‘monstrous’ public disorder. . . . In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market.”
FREEDOM TO WORK: Texas Supreme Court Strikes Blow Against Licensing.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled against the cosmetology license requirement for eyebrow threaders on the grounds that it “is not just unreasonable or harsh, but it is so oppressive that it violates” the Texas State Constitution.
Volokh explains that courts have generally given legislatures and administrative agencies very broad leeway to enact economic regulations like this one. However, the court found that the Texas Constitution protects a basic right to economic liberty and decided to apply a higher level of scrutiny. . . .
Too often, licensing rules are nothing more than a mechanism for the dominant players in an industry to shield themselves from competition—suppressing jobs (especially for the poor or undercapitalized), raising prices, and stifling creativity along the way.
Well, now that the Supreme Court is endorsing “dignity” as a right, maybe economic freedom should follow.
SO, DO YOU WANNA GO TO THE GAP? That awkward moment when this CNN graphic inadvertently spills truth about Democrat ‘diversity.’
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is “worried” about Bernie Sanders, whom a top Clinton aide described as a “serious force” in the 2016 battle.
“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“It’s to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he’s going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus.”
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, has emerged as Clinton’s main foil in the Democratic primary.
While he’s still more than 40 percentage points behind Clinton in virtually all national polls, he’s greatly improved his stock in the early primary states.
I’d like to see the press ask him about his socialism, and how it differs from what’s been practiced in Greece.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Marc Thiessen: There’s No Race War In America. No thanks to our feckless political class.
OUR COMING NO DEAL DEAL WITH IRAN: “I don’t want to be the sole bearer of bad news for Ben Rhodes and his fellow gurus, but here it is: the Iranians at Vienna won’t sign anything, per their instructions from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” Michael Ledeen writes. “Full credit for this diplomatic accomplishment goes to President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, Guru Rhodes and the rest of the administration strategists. Their constant offer of more–more money, more gold, more limits on annoying inspections, more cooperation in the air and on the ground with Iranian forces, etcetera etcetera — solidified Khamenei’s conviction that there is no reason for him to approve a hated deal with the devil. It’s much better to keep talking until all the sanctions are gone, and Iran’s ‘right’ to pursue its nuclear projects is fully recognized.”
Plus some advice for the next president on how to handle Iran.
DAVID GELERNTER: “Once upon a time we thought of appeasement as a particular approach to Hitler. We have long since come to see that it is a Weltanschauung, an entire philosophical worldview that teaches the blood-guilt of Western man, the moral bankruptcy of the West, and the outrageousness of Western civilization’s attempting to impose its values on anyone else. World War II and its aftermath clouded the issue, but self-hatred has long since reestablished itself as a dominant force in Europe and (less often and not yet decisively) the United States.”
Our ruling class is self-loathing, which makes sense because it is loathsome. Alas, it transfers that feeling to the countries it rules. Few countries thrive when ruled by those who despise them.
PARTY OF SCIENCE: Bernie Sanders Once Blamed Cervical Cancer on a Lack of Orgasms.
On Facebook, Stefan Sharkansky snarks: “He and Todd Akin should go up against each other in a gynecology quiz match.”
The quiet authority of Romney rises today above the others and it is authentic, but it is new. It may be instructive that the first thing to rise from the benighted sea of unconsciousness that is the blogosphere when FIFA was seen to be rife with corruption was that that could be a job for Romney. It is what he does, no? Fix things that are broken. The question could not be far away: Then maybe he could fix us, no?
We have come to appreciate Romney and grant him this moral authority because of how we have come to know him. As we see him, it would not occur to him or his wife and family to advance with treachery, duplicity or deception. Because they are inherently honest. Because they are inscrutably moral and have a distinct, historical, American work ethic.
The Romneys are all the things today so many of us used to be so long ago and it all seems to come so naturally to them; as if they were a holdout from our past — or a vision of our future. And that is why we think of them in an emergency like FIFA; to fix the things that are broken — that we broke — in a world that is always breaking. Almost as a child would call on a parent.
It’s fine to revolt against Daddy until you wreck your car and lose your job. But Romney isn’t the Daddy of an America that chose Obama instead. It chose poorly.
July 6, 2015
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS: REAL UNEMPLOYMENT IN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT OBAMA’S AMERICA IS 10.5 PERCENT:
Naturally, the above soundbite will gain zero traction on the evening news:
Two term democrat president – Economy is growing Democrat presidential candidate – No it's not it's worse. Nothing to see here media.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 7, 2015
More importantly why doesn't a single candidate or GOP have an ad out with Sanders saying 10.5% next to Obama saying 5.3%. Holy shit.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 7, 2015
The soundbite is all cued up right here on YouTube, videomakers — get to work.
THE TERRORISM/WELFARE CONNECTION: Cleric said to be behind Tunisian beach massacre is living on benefits in Britain; Hani-al-Sibai, described as a ‘key influencer’ of Tunisian terror group, lives in a £1 million house on a leafy street in fashionable west London.
Egyptian-born al-Sibai, 54, reportedly lives on £50,000 a year in handouts, disability living allowance, with his wife and five children.
Asked how he could justify taking so much in benefits, al-Sibai, who is under investigation suspected of benefit fraud, told the Daily Mail: “Ask David Cameron, don’t ask me.”
Holding down a job is de-radicalizing. It should be required, especially of immigrants. If it saves just one life, it’s worth it.
UPDATE: I should add that Mickey Kaus has been making this point since 2001, but nobody’s listening.
COMMUNISTS DON’T LIKE HIM? NY TIMES GIVES RUBIO CANDIDACY MORE HELP: “By publishing a piece that focused on the reactions to Rubio’s candidacy in Cuba from the communist government’s functionaries or ordinary people whose only knowledge of the senator is from Castro regime propaganda, the Times has once again given him an unwitting boost.”
Communist dictatorship hates US Presidential candidate. NY Times thinks this makes him look bad pic.twitter.com/Dud0l9lppc
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 5, 2015
NYT: "In Kremlin, Solzhenitsyn Very Unpopular"
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 6, 2015
A QUESTION FOR EVA LONGORIA: If Words “Create Emotional Poison,” Then Why is Male-Bashing Ok? Because it’s male-bashing. Duh.
IN MORE THAN ONE SENSE: Putin Era’s Hallmark: The Return of Soviet-Era Cheese.
Related: Is it 1937 yet? “Are things so bad that it’s time to drop everything and flee the country? Certainly, if that had been an option in 1937, emigration would have been a wise choice for many people. These days many prominent Russians are leaving — most recently, Ilya V. Ponomarev, the lone member of the Russian Parliament to have voted against the annexation of Crimea, has said that threats drove him to move to the United States months ago. Less-famous Russians are asking if they should also be worried.”
HEY, BUB, SHE SELF-IDENTIFIES THAT WAY AND THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ME: Top American Indian Scholar Outed As Fake Indian. And she looks more Indian than Elizabeth Warren.
USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES IN SUPPORT OF FRACKING: Boom has helped make America the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and gas.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: ‘This will not be quick,’ Obama says of campaign against the Islamic State. “Coalition operations against the Islamic State have scored successes in Iraq and Syria, but the battle against the extremist group promises to be a ‘generational’ one, President Obama said after military leaders briefed him on the campaign.”
Well, if you wage it at a glacial pace, yes.
THE DEMS’ PROBLEM IN A NUTSHELL: CNN’s Jake Tapper blasts critics: ‘I can’t help it if the entire Democratic field is white.’
JUST IN TIME, AS THE SHIRTS WERE GETTING QUESTIONABLE: Reaching Pluto, and the End of an Era of Planetary Exploration. “On July 14, we are to clear the last of the big hills. After a journey of nine and a half years and three billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft is to go past Pluto, once the ninth and outermost planet, the last of the known worlds to be explored. This is the beginning of the end of a phase of human exploration. The crawling-out-of-our-cradle-and-looking-around part is over. . . . It’s hard to write these words and know what they might feel like 50 years from now. I never dreamed, when Apollo astronauts left the moon in 1972, that there might come a day when there was nobody still alive who had been to the moon. But now it seems that could come to pass. How heartbreaking is that?”
The heartbreak of reorganizing a society as a welfare state. You know, bad luck.
THE COMING DARK AGES: Obama’s Renewable Energy Fantasy.
On June 30, one day after the Supreme Court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of mercury emissions from power plants, President Obama committed the United States to the goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This would nearly triple the amount of wind- and solar-generated electricity on the national grid.
The EPA ran afoul of the law by failing to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before it acted to reduce mercury emissions from coal-power plants. There is no objective cost-benefit analysis that could justify the president’s target for renewable energy.
Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.
Google engineers came to a similar conclusion last year. After seven years of investigation, they found no way to get the cost of renewables competitive with coal. “Unfortunately,” the engineers reported, “most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable”—that is, electricity that can be ramped up and down quickly. “Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop, but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.”
If Mr. Obama gets his way, the U.S. will go down the rocky road traveled by the European Union. . . .
It’s not just the costs–which are substantial by any measure–of President Obama’s war on coal and other fossil fuels. It’s the negative impact on daily lives. When I lived in Ireland as a Fulbright scholar in the winter/spring of 2011, one of the most shocking things was the inability to buy a real and bright lightbulb. I looked literally everywhere–hardware stores, home improvement stores, grocery stores. But there were no bright bulbs to be bought, at any price. They were all these “energy efficient” bulbs– no brighter than 60 watts, and even those did not strike me as providing as much light as the incandescent 60w bulbs I had known back home. It was so dark in our house–even with all the lights on–that I had to buy a little desk lamp with a halogen bulb, so that I could have sufficient light for reading.
So if President Obama’s agenda is to force the U.S. to go the way of the EU, energy-wise–with or without our legislative branch’s approval–be prepared for (literal) darkness.
SO ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR, coupled with the recent Scottish vote and now Greece and the EU has me thinking: If a state or states wanted to secede from the United States now, would there be another civil war? It was basically unthinkable — at least, as far as I know, nobody thought it — that Britain might use troops to keep the Scots in by force. The EU isn’t talking about sending gunboats to Greece. So if, say, Texas — or maybe a group of states — really wanted to leave the Union today, would the United States really be willing to, once again, slaughter vast numbers to prevent that?
Of course, there’s a better solution.
People also talk about secession for more serious reasons. They feel that the central government doesn’t respect them, forces them to live under laws they find repugnant and takes their money away to pay off its own supporters. You see secession movements based on these principles in places like Scotland, Catalonia, Northern Italy, and elsewhere around the world. Some might succeed; others are less likely to. But in every case they represent unhappiness with the status quo.
America has an unfortunate history with secession, which led to the bloodiest war in our history and divisions that persist to this day. But, in general, the causes of secession are pretty standard around the world: Too much power in the central government, too much resentment in the unhappy provinces. (Think Hunger Games).
So what’s a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don’t like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that’s more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.
Sound good? It should. It’s called federalism, and it’s the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
It’s a nice plan. Beats secession. Maybe we should give it another try.
Maybe we should. But the problem with federalism is, it offers insufficient opportunities for graft.
WHY NOT? IT WAS PUT UP BY DEMOCRATIC GOV. FRITZ HOLLINGS: Republican-Controlled South Carolina Senate Votes To Remove Confederate Flag. The vote was 37-3.
SKYNET IS NOT AMUSED: New AI Safety Projects Get Funding from Elon Musk. “When Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk is not trying to build rocket technology to colonize Mars or revolutionize energy storage on Earth, he worries about how artificial intelligence could someday slip its shackles and become a danger to humanity. Now some of Musk’s ample wealth is helping fund a newly-announced group of research projects aimed at keeping AI in check.”
FULL DISCLOSURE? CNN ANCHOR WHO’LL INTERVIEW HILLARY RECENTLY ATTENDED CLINTON AIDE’S WEDDING: Just as a great musician works with silence as much as actual sound, the many hard-hitting questions CNN’s Brianna Keilar won’t be asking Hillary will be fascinating!
RELATED: “Chuck Todd ‘Sympathetic’ to Clinton Campaign Roping Off Press:” But of course — past and current Democratic operatives are loyal to the cause.
WELCOME TO CULTURE WAR 4.0: THE COMING OVERREACH, as explored by Benjamin Domenech and Robert Tracinski at the Federalist. Though based on this passage, it sounds like the left’s overreach in the culture wars has been in full-swing for quite a while now:
If history repeats itself, it is good news for traditional Americans and bad news for the Left, which has taken on the role of Grand Inquisitor so rapidly that overnight civil liberties have become a Republican issue. Slowly but surely, the American Right is adopting the role of the cultural insurgent standing up for the freedom of the little guy. They crowdfund the pizza shop, baker, and photographer; they rebel against the establishment in the gaming media and at sci-fi conventions; they buy their chicken sandwiches in droves. The latest acronym that came out of the Sad Puppies movement says it all. They describe their opponents as CHORFs: cliquish, holier-than-thou, obnoxious, reactionary, fascists. This is their description of the cultural Left.
There is significant potential for a new, diverse coalition that responds to this overreach. The religious Right, libertarians, and even the moderate Left are already being drawn together by their refusal to be cowed into conformity by social justice warriors. The comedians who rebel against an audience that calls every joke racist or sexist, the professors who refuse to be cowed by the threat of Title IX lawsuits, the religious believers who fight for their right to practice their beliefs outside the pew represent a coalition that will reject the neo-Puritanism of the Counterculture, rebel against its speech codes and safe spaces, and reassert the right to speak one’s mind in the public square. Atheists and believers alike can unite in this belief—as we, the authors of this piece, have.
The culture war will always be with us. There are always people who want to change the culture and an establishment that wants to ward off these insurgents. The Sad Puppies are just the Salon des Refusés with different players—and what were the Renaissance and Enlightenment, if not one giant culture war? But there is some good that comes of it, as well.
The culture wars of the past produced great achievements in art, architecture, literature, and science as the opposing parties strove to demonstrate that they had more to offer and deserved the people’s admiration and loyalty. Those culture wars gave us Michelangelo’s David, Galileo’s science, Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment, and the movement for the abolition of slavery.
As Domenech and Tracinski write, “Yes, this can be a dangerous time to be active in the culture. But it’s very hard to make speech codes, safe spaces, and other anti-thoughtcrime measures work in the long term. Sometimes all it takes for the whole apparatus to come crashing down is a handful of people brave enough to speak their minds without fear.”
That sort of preference cascade is long overdue.
A GERMAN COMPANY IS BUILDING AN ARMY OF ROBOT ANTS: “SkyNet fears aside, what becomes of the human race when our every whim is catered to by robots?”, Steve Green asks. Come for the photos of the freaky-deaky German robot ants, stay for the Arthur C. Clarke versus H.G. Wells-inspired philosophical mediation on the future of mankind. Or the lack thereof:
This Progressive thinking goes back to Plato and his Republic: Centralize the economy, abolish religion, raise children by the state, mold Perfect People. That’s more or less what Europe has attempted in the postwar period, but instead of molding Perfect People they’re running out of people to mold, period.
The irony is this. Progressives believe that religion is a danger to humanity’s continued existence, and in need of tempering (at the very least) by the State. But if religion really is contra-survival, then why do religious societies tend to thrive while officially atheistic ones do not? This isn’t an endorsement of any particular god or religion, but it is a perfectly valid observation about human nature.
As an intelligent species, without the hope provided by spirituality and the excitement provided by struggle, maybe we’re just no damn good.
Read the whole thing.
RICK PERRY TALKS ABOUT RACE: Rick Perry’s speech last Thursday at the National Press Club haven’t received much attention in the mainstream media over the holiday weekend, until today’s Wall Street Journal editorial, which observes:
But his remarks are far more than a mea culpa. He also lays out a rationale and a specific agenda for how the GOP can earn—and deserve—the support of black Americans. In particular he points out how Republican policies have improved life for all races in Texas. And he contrasts those results for blacks in progressive states that purport to do so much more for minorities but have left them behind economically.
“There is a lot of talk in Washington about inequality. Income inequality. But there is a lot less talk about the inequality that arises from the high cost of everyday life,” Mr. Perry says. “In blue state coastal cities, you have these strict zoning laws, environmental regulations that have prevented builders from expanding the housing supply. And that may be great for the venture capitalist who wants to keep a nice view of San Francisco Bay, but it’s not so great for the single mother working two jobs in order to pay rent and still put food on the table for her kids.”
That’s a nice turn of the equality argument against Democrats. Mr. Perry does the same on education, pointing out that “in too many parts of this country black students are trapped in failing schools.” He notes that in 2002 Texas ranked 27th in high-school graduation rates; by 2013 it was second, and its most recent graduation rate for blacks was first.
Mr. Perry also stressed Texas’ impressive record on prison and sentencing reform, especially for nonviolent drug offenses.
I like Perry’s approach, and it’s clear that he’s learned some hard lessons from his 2012 quest for the GOP nomination. His speech wasn’t pandering to minorities, but articulating how conservative policies help their everyday lives in far more palpable ways than the race-baiting, divisive, blaming, entitlement approach of the liberals/progressives. My favorite line from Perry’s speech:
If we create jobs, incentivize work, keep nonviolent drug offenders out of prison, reform our schools, and reduce the cost of living—we will have done more for African-Americans than the last three Democratic administrations combined.
The question is: Will black, Hispanic and Asian voters open their minds to the GOP policies or have they been permanently brainwashed by the political left elites’ incessant accusations of racism?
RELATED: Steven Hayward at PowerLine has some interesting observations in support of Perry’s attempts to reach out to minority communities.
ROGER SIMON: The Rick Perry Revival, And My Back.
Perry’s piece is well detailed (you should read it) but the substance is what many of us have thought for a while. It’s time for Republicans to go into African-American communities with our proposals to revive those communities, since the Democrats, who have been in near total control of them for decades, have failed utterly with their approach. We must engage, be the party of Lincoln once again, start supporting the 14th Amendment (“equal protection”) as well as the states-rights oriented 10th. Perry is openly self-critical, which is so often a good strategy.
This speech comes – and how could it not – at an interesting moment, not just because of the violence in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc., but in the wake of Donald Trump’s, let’s say, “much remarked upon” comments about Mexicans during his presidential campaign announcement a couple of weeks ago. (Donald’s almost as worried about rape as Kirsten Gillibrand.) Like most of the Republican candidates, Perry condemned Trump’s comments, calling them “offensive.” But unlike the other candidates, and Trump obviously, this man has walked the walk on border security. More than any other candidate, I trust Rick actually to get border security accomplished – no racial slurs necessary.
And, yes, we certainly do need it and were reminded of that once again by this Francisco Sanchez character who shot the young woman on the San Francisco pier last Wednesday. To call such maniacs “undocumented workers” or some such is just gaga. And it’s hardly surprising he told a KGO-TV reporter he kept returning to San Francisco because it’s a “Sanctuary City.” Sanctuary for what? Well, never mind.
Back to Rick (and back to backs). As some readers will recall I was a strong Perry supporter early on in the last presidential campaign. I had gotten to know him somewhat on trips to Austin and he’s a tremendous guy one-on-one, just the kind of person you’d love to have a beer with. He looked like a born president, a second Reagan. Then the debacle occurred. He stumbled at that debate, unable to recall the names of the government agencies he wished to disband. As we learned later, Perry had just had back surgery and was on pain-killers. But it didn’t matter. Bye-bye, campaign.
But as it happens, it does. I can attest to that. I’m on pain-killers right now — Vicodin 3-300. My back went out over a week ago and hasn’t gotten better, despite steroids. I’m having an MRI this afternoon. Yes, I can write an article and read The Wall Street Journal, obviously. Maybe even practice my Spanish. But the last thing in the world I would want to do is participate in a debate on national television – or even at the local middle school.
So believe me, Perry deserves more than a second chance. Nobody’s campaign has really caught fire yet and maybe it will be his. Perry-Fiorina — try that on your piano.
Good point. And hope you feel better, Roger!
EUROPEAN ENABLERS: John Fund warns, “Beware of Greeks Casting Blame.”
Now the Greek people, although many of them profess that they still want to be part of the EU, have effectively blown up any chance they can continue using the euro, the linchpin of the EU’s monetary policy.
I fear that this track record will not sway European Union die-hards. Belgium’s Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of liberal forces in the European parliament, has already called for giving Greeks “a second chance” to stay with the euro.
There will be other calls to forgive Greece its debt in order to keep the troubled country within the euro zone. Doing so would set a terrible precedent for other countries and be patently unfair to the Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese who have suffered under austerity measures over the last five years to pay off their debts.
The rhetoric of Greek’s far-left leaders has been so outrageous and over-the-top in recent months as to invent a new chapter in “non-diplomacy.” Tsipris has already warned Brussels in the aftermath of Sunday’s vote that Greece is going through a “humanitarian crisis,” the clear implication being that if euro-zone ministers don’t acquiesce to his demands for debt forgiveness and more loans, any human suffering will be on their conscience.
Yep–this is what happens when you let progressives run a country. They spend like drunken sailors, then demand a bailout from others, accusing them of bigotry and hatred if they don’t acquiesce. Most families have at least one of these types. They have the emotional and financial maturity of a two year-old (sorry, two year-old readers out there). By repeatedly caving into these childish demands, the EU acts like parents who enable their children’s prodigal habits. It never turns out well.
WHY DO SJW-TYPES HATE WOMEN? Rachel Ryan: Here’s Why Insisting That Gender Is A ‘Social Construct’ Is Oppressive To Women.
WITH ELECTION TOMORROW, HOUSE GOP LEADERSHIP-SUPPORTED DARIN LAHOOD REVEALS HE IS TO THE LEFT OF SOME DEMOCRATS … ON CUBA:
“LAHOOD: I think in terms of opening markets for our farmers, particularly in Cuba, I’m supportive of that. You know, this is the 17th largest agriculture district in the country … when you think about the commodities that are grown and produced in central Illinois, we have to open up more markets. That’s jobs and economic opportunity for our farmers in our ag community in Central Illinois. So I’m supportive of opening up new markets, such as Cuba, for our corn and our soybeans and other products. That’s a good thing.
“In the past, obviously Cuba has had some issues with human rights and other things. But I think this is a way to, you know, transition them to democracy and economic freedom and I’m supportive of it.”
Why Restoring Diplomatic Relations with Cuba Is another Bad Deal: It’s mythical thinking to believe opening up to Cuba will improve the prospects for democracy.
As Ron Radosh concludes “to his shame, President Obama himself has let it be known that he too will soon be traveling to Cuba. Does anyone really think this will be a victory for the United States? I’m sure Fidel and Raul Castro are laughing together, raising their glasses and making a toast to their new Yanqui friend in Washington.” Illinois voters have a choice tomorrow as to whether or not they will send another Yanqui friend to Washington for Fidel and Raul to chuckle over. Vote Mike Flynn.
EXPOSING KIDS TO CULTURE: HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG AND HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? How old does a child need to be before you’d let him watch a well-made, historically (more or less) accurate but deliberately brutal film such as Saving Private Ryan?
It was still dark outside when “Jonah” (not his real name) heard the pounding on his front door. As luck would have it, he was awake — or mostly awake. He’d gotten up at 4:00 a.m. on October 3, 2013, to see his parents off to the airport. They were leaving on a quick trip to raise money for the children’s charity his father runs. Jonah was 16 at the time, old enough to stay home alone for a short time, but not old enough to deal with what awaited him on the other side of the door. . . .
Jonah’s father may have been the target of the raid on his home, but according to the family, investigators went well beyond the scope of the warrant to seize business records in his mother’s possession, including confidential donor and financial information for two conservative Wisconsin nonprofits, which were paralyzed for weeks as a result. Yet despite the overly expansive search, to this day, no one in Jonah’s family has been charged with a crime.
The damage to the family’s reputation was immense. Soon after the raid, and despite court orders mandating confidentiality (orders that prevented the family from publicly defending themselves), their names leaked to the press. Jonah’s father — working to help the most disadvantaged kids — found himself struggling to defend a professional reputation under siege. In both his day job as a political consultant and his nonprofit work, even the slightest rumor of illegality can cause clients and donors to shy away. As he puts it, when you’re hired as a consultant, “No matter how good you are, you can’t become the issue.” A consultant whose home was just raided by law enforcement is, most definitely, an “issue” for any politician or political movement.
I strongly suspect there is much more to be revealed about the vast scope of Chisholm’s John Doe investigation. It will make the Salem witch hunts look restrained.
As for Chisholm and his cohorts: Tar, feathers, Sicilian bull–or at least a substantial civil rights lawsuit victory.
IN THE MAIL: From David B. Coe, Spell Blind.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Samsung NX30 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens, $499.99 (50% off).
And, also today only: CyberPower LCD UPS 1500VA, $97.95 (46% off). I have several of these (mine are from APC but are similar). They make a nice source of backup power for computers, phones, wifi, etc.
DAN HANNAN ON LESSONS FROM THE TIM HUNT DEFENESTRATION: Speak Up And Stop The Lynch Mob.
One of the women present, a lecturer called Connie St Louis, complained on Twitter about his “sexism”, triggering the usual lynch mob. By the time the professor had returned to London, his career lay about him in broken shards.
The scary thing here is not the Twitter reaction — we are familiar enough with the ugly psychology of mobs. What is truly depressing is the behavior of those directly involved. For it soon emerged that Mrs. St Louis had given only a partial account of events. You would not have gathered from her version that the professor was being ironic, making a little joke before the “now seriously” that led to his main point about female scientists playing an important role in Korea. Plenty of the women present were journalists but, as is the way when a lynch mob forms, they were reluctant to step into its path.
UCL behaved abominably, first ordering the professor to resign quietly to avoid being sacked, and then allowing its ultimatum to become known. It has since emerged that Sir Tim’s accuser had made some seriously false claims about her own qualifications, but no one has suggested that she lose her post. As another Nobel prize-winner, Sir Andre Geim, remarked: “No Vice Chancellor would take on an ethnic-minority militant feminist. Those are not humble Nobel laureates who can be forced to resign quietly.” . . .
It’s always easier to keep your head down. Write about these subjects, as I’m doing now, and you run the risk of being called a sexist or a racist or whatever. But surely we have to take a stand. The next time you see a mob gibbering and shrieking and demanding someone’s dismissal, don’t hunker down. Speak up. Someone has to, for Heaven’s sake.
As President Obama advises, punch back twice as hard. Make this sort of thing as personally unpleasant as possible for the administrators, the false-accusers, and everyone else in the lynch mob and this sort of thing will fade away.
WELL, LET’S HOPE: Americans Keep Getting More Independent.
More Americans will celebrate the Fourth this year with their own sparklers and bottle rockets, thanks to newly relaxed fireworks regulations in red and blue states alike. . . .
At first glance, this development might seem simple: cash-strapped states are looking to balance their budgets in any way they can and lifting firework restrictions will bring in revenue. That’s certainly a factor, but on another level this story is of a piece with a less well-understood trend: the live-and-let-live cultural libertarianism that increasingly defines our age: You want a same-sex marriage? You can have one. You want pot? You can have it. You want guns? Be my guest. You want to play slots? Go ahead. You want fireworks? Here they are.
This libertarian political culture transcends left and right. The left cheers the decline of traditional moral values, but abhors the impact of individualism on economic regulation. The right, for its part, cheers the declining support for ‘group based’ policies like affirmative action and the growing suspicion of government regulation but is horrified by the impact of libertarianism on social issues related to church, sex, and family. Similarly, the liberalization of fireworks laws—in states from Georgia to New York—does not appear to be a traditional left-right issue.
As a longtime member of the leave-me-alone caucus, I certainly hope this is true. I wrote something similar a while back.
A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO “DIGNITY”: Jonathan Turley has an intriguing oped in the Washington Post, discussing why Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in the same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, may portend a much broader and more nefarious right to “dignity”:
In reality, he has been building to this moment for years, culminating in what might now be called a right to dignity. In his 1992 Casey decision, he upheldRoe v. Wade on the basis of “personal dignity and autonomy [that] are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Kennedy wove this concept of protected dignity through a series of cases, from gay rights to prison lawsuits, including his historic 2003 Lawrence decision striking down the criminalization of homosexuality. These rulings on liberty peaked withObergefell, which he described as an effort of the petitioners to secure “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” He used the word “dignity” almost a dozen times in his decision and laid down a jurisprudential haymaker: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” . . .
Dignity is a rather elusive and malleable concept compared with more concrete qualities such as race and sex. Which relationships are sufficiently dignified to warrant protection? What about couples who do not wish to marry but cohabitate? What about polyamorous families, who are less accepted by public opinion but are perhaps no less exemplary when it comes to, in Kennedy’s words on marriage, “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”? The justice does not specify.
Nor could they specify, even if they wanted to (which they don’t). The progressives have long dreamed of constitutionalizing a right to “dignity,” precisely because it’s so amorphous. In many ways, Turley’s piece echoes a longer recent piece by Jeffrey Rosen in the Atlantic explaining the vast, subjective possibilities it offers for progressive judges and its dangerous incompatibility with the First Amendment:
I won’t rehearse here the objections to reading the text and history of the Constitution at such a high level of generality; with this approach, the connections to the specific concerns that animated the framers is hard to discern. Suffice it to say that Justice Louis Brandeis, the greatest defender of the right to privacy in U.S. history, originally tried to persuade courts to recognize a new right to dignity, after confessing that American law, unlike Roman and European law, had not, traditionally protected offenses against honor and dignity.
But, as Neal Richards demonstrates in Intellectual Privacy, Brandeis changed his mind about the wisdom of constitutionalizing a right to dignity—defined as the right to restrain the press from publishing truthful but embarrassing information about celebrities—after concluding that it clashed with the First Amendment guarantees of free press and free expression. Instead, Brandeis came to embrace a more carefully defined notion of intellectual privacy and freedom of thought and belief, more closely rooted in the text of the First Amendment itself.
In the ultimate irony, the progressives so excited by a right to dignity are the ones have intellectually led the charge against recognition of economic liberties, such as the right to contract, exemplified in cases such as Lochner v. New York (1905), on grounds that they are too subjective. There is far more substance and historical/founding era support for a right to contract than a right to dignity, but of course we all know the progressives don’t care about being consistent or original meaning; it’s only the ends that matter.
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HMM: Mexican government wants to tame disruptive teachers’ union. “They have seized public plazas and filled them with sprawling tent cities. They have burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gasoline supply. They have held marches and torched ballots and closed schools for weeks at a time. Mexico’s rowdy public school teachers’ union — particularly the branch based in the southern state of Oaxaca — has long been a thorn in the government’s side, as it wages its battle against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s restructuring of the education system. But now that last month’s midterm election has passed, and the teachers’ threats of an election boycott largely failed, Peña Nieto’s administration wants to strike harder at the union by sapping its funding and wresting control back into the hands of the state, according to Mexican officials.”
The teachers’ watchword: “We’re here for job security. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
IF YOU LIKED BAGHDAD BOB, YOU’LL LOVE IRAN’S CHIEF NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR, JAVAD ZARIF: “Zarif speaks fluent English — as buttery smooth as Viennese chocolate, but wrapped around an astounding collection of demands and lies,” Claudia Rosett warns. He and John Kerry should hit it off remarkably well, much to the rest of the world’s chagrin.
ROLL CALL: Six Senators Demand Ex-Im Bank Liquidation Plan. “Ex-Im supporters felt modest comfort Tuesday knowing that a lapse in the charter’s authorization didn’t mean total demise, as it could still service existing accounts until Congress voted for reauthorization — if Congress voted for reauthorization. But the letter points out that one of the few allowable actions the bank can take without reauthorization is to ‘exercise certain functions for purposes of orderly liquidation.’”
JEFF CARTER ON THE GREXIT: “What it feels like to me is a pro draft. Portugal, Italy, and Spain are on the clock. To a certain extent, France is on the clock too but it just doesn’t have a lottery pick.”
Plus: “The EU and the euro don’t allow the full economic effects of their policies to work given the different government policies at work. The invisible hand is handcuffed. It’s not a free market system. It’s a bureaucratic centrally planned system that is doomed to fail. Germany has 6% unemployment. The PIGS all have unemployment that would be considered a Depression anywhere else. Yet they have the same price system and currency. The communists in those countries are watching closely. July 20, the Greeks owe the EU 3.5 billion euros. I don’t think there is a chance that they pay it. If the EU caves, look for the communists in other countries to make a move. The long term political fallout could be even worse than the financial fallout.”
Communism/socialism/fascism is an opportunistic infection of the body politic brought about by the failure of liberal democracy to manage things properly. Expect to see a lot of opportunism.
I THINK THEY’RE HOPING TO REPLENISH THEIR SUPPLY OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Puerto Rican debt crisis hits Congress.
NOT SO FREAKISH, GIVEN HER EXPERIENCE AND TRACK RECORD: Reminder: Margaret Thatcher Was Freakishly Correct About Why The Euro Would Be Such A Big Disaster.
CAYMAN REPORT: Okay, I’ve been slow to post this because I got home a day late (thanks, Delta!) and had a lot to do. But here goes. First, the diving: As usual, it was great. Interestingly, I wondered if hitting the Rippetoe-style weight training was going to hurt my air consumption, but it didn’t. My fear was that having added a substantial amount of muscle mass, that muscle would require more air. But, in fact, my air consumption was the best it’s ever been: I was finishing hour-long dives at 50-60 feet and still getting on the boat (after a safety stop) with 1200 pounds. (Starting with 3000-3200 pounds of pressure in the tank). Perhaps more muscle made me swim more efficiently, or maybe — and I think this is likely based on my experience doing aerobically demanding stuff — the weight training has boosted my cardiovascular fitness. Whatever, it was a relief.
The weather was terrific, the reefs looked good, and I dove the Kittiwake again, which I thought would bore me but which didn’t. There’s just so much to explore there, and the marine life changes every time. This time it was full of silversides, which made huge clouds that were super-cool to swim through. One caveat: If you tend toward claustrophobia, which I absolutely do not, you probably don’t want to dive the Kittiwake, and you might find being in the middle of a cloud of fish that cuts off your vision upsetting.
The fight between Cayman officials and the Cayman Compass over a corruption editorial was still the talk of the town, with most people I talked to saying that the Governor (a British official with great but seldom-used power) might wind up intervening. (Islands are basically like municipal governments pretending to be a nation, and the possibility of outside supervision is salutary.)
But that’s not the big story or conflict. The big conflict is over a proposed cruise ship dock that would damage a lot of the reef. The folks at Sunset House, a dive resort that I’ve stayed at in the past, write:
The Environmental Impact Assessment indicates that dredging and its silt plume will destroy much of the unique, thousands of years old reefs that we currently earn over $20 million/year from and upon which numerous watersports operations are primarily dependent.
The Wreck of the Balboa will be dredged up, as well as Soto’s South will certainly perish, but the deadly silt plume will likely affect all of the reefs in the harbor to various extents, including Soto’s Central, Soto’s North (Cheese Burger Reef) and Eden Rock.
The massive silt plume will destroy the reefs to the South of Sunset House to as far North as Treasure Island Resort.
Seems like a terrible idea to me. The cruise ships bring in lots of people, but they don’t stay long, they only spend money in the rather tacky cruise-ship area of town, and, frankly, I think they give people a bad impression of the island. As Doug Weinstein and I have noted, when you drive past, you never see the cruise ship people smiling. They generally look tired and disgusted as they trudge around. And when I talk to people who say they’ve “been to Cayman” on a cruise ship, their impressions are usually not favorable. Divers, on the other hand, tend to stay a lot longer — a week, say — and spend a lot more money, as well as coming away with a lot more good things to say about the place. Cruise ships are kind of the “fast food” of tourism.
The dive community has a petition and a Facebook page. I’ve reported here before about how Cayman has done a good job of balancing environmental and financial concerns; this would seem to be a departure from that.
Lionfish, which I’ve written about before, were vastly less plentiful everywhere I dove, and more restaurants were serving lionfish appetizers (the ceviche is excellent) and entrees. Lionfish is quite tasty, and while they still thrive at depths recreational divers can’t reach — there aren’t enough tech divers to make much of a dent in the population at 300 feet down — they have been significantly beaten back. Also, they’re delicious.
I briefly met the fair Fiona, who married a Caymanian and has thus been able to stick around (and have a kid) despite Cayman’s highly restrictive immigration laws.
In terms of equipment, not much change in my setup. I’ve used this Cressi Travelight BC for the last couple of years, as my old SeaQuest was getting kind of frayed. I use an Atomic Aquatics M1 regulator which I like a lot, and I still use a Suunto Vyper dive computer, which I’ve had for a decade now. I dive with the Spare Air, too, though I’ve never used it. Best investment? A prescription dive mask that I got at Diver’s Supply on Cayman a while back. They fitted me on the spot and although I can see okay underwater without it, it’s a lot nicer to be able to see clearly. I highly recommend one of these.
When on Cayman I generally dive with Nat Robb’s In Depth Watersports. Great service, great boats, a great experience.
WORTH REMEMBERING, as it shows that even the NYT doesn’t buy a standard lefty trope: The Myth of ‘the Southern Strategy.’
IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: TWO PEOPLE Have Filed OVER 1,700 Sex Discrimination Complaints With Dept. Of Education. “Exactly two people are responsible for filing over 1,700 sex discrimination complaints with the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in the last few years. Catherine E. Lhamon, the Education Department’s secretary for civil rights, won’t identify these two highly litigious individuals. . . . Under the Obama administration, the growth in the Department of Education’s sex discrimination complaints has been astounding. In 2010, Lhamon’s office saw just 391 such complaints. In 2014, the number was 2,354.”
Sounds sketchy. This story’s from March, but I just ran across it. I don’t think anything has improved.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UNC prof. awarded back pay after drug smuggling conviction. “The appellate court determined that the university incorrectly put Frampton on unpaid leave, without first seeking disciplinary action. The court decided that the professor is to be awarded his lost pay from the time his case began up until the date of his firing.”
It’s actually kind of a sad, pathetic story. He’s written a book on his experience, Tricked!: The story of an internet scam.
IS THE WORLD BECOMING FED UP? “A great pushback is awakening here and abroad, but its timing, nature, and future remain mysterious,” Victor Davis Hanson writes, adding that Trump’s polling success is a potential harbinger of things to come:
Presidential candidate Trump is supposedly enjoying a bump in the polls. How could that be, given his plutocratic hubris, his flamboyance and his often sloppy rhetoric? Again the answer is predictable. He is blunt — and uncouth; while the Left is sly and uncouth. The public sometimes prefers their exaggerations as bold and not packaged in nasal whines. We are supposed to shudder at the reaction when writer Ann Coulter, promoting a supposedly nativist book about immigration, is rushed by illegal immigration activists at a book signing. Then she confirms our stereotypes by declaring that Latin Americans typically express criticism in such a riotous fashion. The media forgets that she is matched and trumped by the activists themselves. They disrupted a peaceful book signing; they tore up books that they disagreed with (an act which has a good 20th-century fascist pedigree); some brought out Mexican flags to show solidarity with the country that they most certainly do not wish to return to. And there was a shout or two, in racist fashion, that Coulter should return to Europe — as if a guest here illegally from a foreign country has a greater claim on residence than does a U.S. citizen.
As in the case of Paula Deen, Duck Dynasty, and the addled Donald Sterling, the nation unleashed its thought police to destroy Trump in the fashion that has worked so well with other intemperate or biased speakers (at least those who are not of the liberal bent of politically incorrect gaffers like a Sen. Harry Reid, Vice President Joe Biden, Al Sharpton, David Letterman — or Barack Obama who believes “typical” white people (all 220 million?) stereotype blacks while there are apparently “gangbangers” crossing illegally into the U.S. on his watch). But so far, the politically-selective yanked sponsorships and corporate ostracism seem to have little effect on the self-promoting and boisterous multibillionaire Trump. Why so?
Read the whole thing.
JOEL KOTKIN: Green Pope Goes Medieval On Planet. “There are of course historical parallels to this kind of game-changing alliance. In the late Roman Empire and then throughout the first Middle Ages, church ideology melded with aristocratic and kingly power to assure the rise of a feudal system.”