July 29, 2014

PHOTO: Here’s What “Thigh Gaps” Looked Like In 1945. Back then, after a depression and a world war, people wanted to look well-fed. Now, when everyone is obese, people want to look super-fit. Whatever’s hardest. . .

AT AMAZON, Top Deals on School Supplies.

Plus, fresh deals on Bestselling Products, updated hourly.

ANN ALTHOUSE ON JOSH MARSHALL ON OBAMA AND ISRAEL: “Marshall won’t say it directly, but this feels like desperation about the 2014 elections.”

Plus, from the comments: “The other day we read that with the defeat of Eric Cantor, American Jews don’t have a Republican they can go to. Today we are told the Republicans are working for the Israelis. Anyway, it’s all absurd. After all, the Israelis have no better friend than John Kerry; what do they need Republicans for?”

And: From “Smart Diplomacy” to “Smarm Diplomacy.”

THE TRUTH IS, IT’S NOT THE TRUTH: The Truth Behind that 1-in-5 College Women are Raped Statistic. “The problem is, the statistic is flimsy and unsubstantiated at best – and maliciously manipulated as a means to an end at worst.”

YOU KNOW, I’M BEGINNING TO GET A BIT CONCERNED: Ebola Fears Hit Close To Home. Usually, Ebola outbreaks burn out because it’s so fatal that it kills off its victims before they have time to do much spreading. I wonder if this is a new, longer-incubating strain or something. I couldn’t find any such reports, but this does seem to be an unusually widespread outbreak.

PSYCHEDELIA WITH DUCT TAPE: What it looks like when you tape a GoPro to a wheel.

SINGULARITY UPDATE: Could A Computer Persuade You To Serve It? I’ll be back in a minute . . . got to go plug my phone into the charger before it dies.

The bit about how it’s easier to pass a Turing test if the listener thinks you’re a non-native speaker of English explains the Terminator’s Austrian accent, I guess.

I’M SURE OBAMA AND HAGEL ARE ALL OVER THIS: A New Arms Race In Space. “In the age of communications and information technology, the safety of satellites is crucial. As an arms race in space begins to look a little more likely, it is important to remember that the cost of establishing missile defense for satellites would be yet another burden for the already overstretched U.S. defense budget. Anyone hoping that the U.S. will enjoy a ‘peace dividend’ after the end of the war in Afghanistan may be sorely disappointed.” It seems as if people who hoped for peace dividends over the last century either didn’t get them, or later wish they hadn’t.

ARE THE DEMS PUSHING AN IMPEACHMENT NARRATIVE NOW, so that when Obama does something really awful they can say it’s just politics, the Republicans were talking impeachment all along?

President Obama has long treated Congress with contempt, and has on many occasions taken executive actions that have bent or broken the limits of the executive’s discretion in our system. Perhaps above all, he has enforced Obamacare selectively — ignoring some clear requirements of law and conjuring up others that do not exist. These have been serious violations of his obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and have caused serious problems for our system of government. They will leave the next president with a lot of damage to undo. But what the administration appears to be contemplating here is of a different scale and character. It is not selective enforcement of a new statute but rather just an action outside the law, in an arena in which the president himself has said unilateral action is beyond his authority and in which there is no case for extreme urgency.

White House officials clearly understand that such a move would invite a firestorm of opposition and criticism, and they appear to see that as an advantage. Maybe they’re right that such a step and its aftermath would work to their political benefit, and maybe they’re not. But surely it would all harm the country — dividing the public and debasing our system of government. It seems like just the sort of thing that a national leader would seek to avoid, rather than work to invite. Let’s hope the reports aren’t true.

They manifestly don’t care about the division and debasement, but rather see it as a feature — division and debasement of the political system make it easier to rule, if you don’t care much about the well-being of the country you’re ruling.

SORRY, I’M CHANNELING SEINFELD. CATFIGHT! The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism. “First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to participate in events organized exclusively for women. . . . Anyone born a man retains male privilege in society; even if he chooses to live as a woman—and accept a correspondingly subordinate social position—the fact that he has a choice means that he can never understand what being a woman is really like. By extension, when trans women demand to be accepted as women they are simply exercising another form of male entitlement.”

Is that superficial reaction mean of me? No, actually, under the circumstances, I think it’s fairly kind. . . .

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 446.

USA TODAY: Teacher Tenure Refugees Flee Public Schools. “When public school administrators and teachers in Washington, D.C., recently laced up their sensible shoes and launched an unprecedented canvassing campaign to goose slumped enrollment rates, the panicked affectation was unmistakable. Short of horse-drawn carriage makers, few industries have suffered such a pronounced decline in market share than government-run schools in America’s urban centers.”

Yeah, it’s like there’s some kind of implosion going on or something.

MICKEY KAUS IS TELLING PEOPLE TO melt Boehner’s phones. Hey, the last time he did that kind of thing, Eric Cantor wound up out of a job.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Downscale: Big Government Is Hard On The Little Guy. “Progressives argue that we need deeper government involvement in the economy in order to assuage the ill effects of economic inequality. But, as Joel Kotkin points out, inequality is the most pronounced in places where progressives dominate: New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago. The more egalitarian cities are embedded in considerably more conservative metropolitan areas in conservative states.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Program Sure Can’t Hurt.

We do, in fact, spend a lot of our entitlement money on the chronically poor — much more than you would think from hearing these statistics. That’s why Ryan is right to make that sort of relatively intractable poverty the focus of his plan. . . .

But my point is also that chronically poor people are more likely to require extra government benefits because they don’t have any of the assets that the temporarily poor bring with them from the middle class: reliable cars, houses, savings accounts, credit cards, friends and family who have spare cash to help out. The chronically poor will need more help, for longer, than folks who are struggling through a temporary job loss or divorce. Which means that, at the very least, they take up a disproportionate share of resources. It seems entirely possible — perhaps even likely — that the chronically poor still account for the majority of spending in many programs.

Frankly, “can’t hurt” would all by itself make it better than most of the anti-poverty programs we’ve seen to date.

ALARMISM AT THE ATLANTIC: The U.S. Army plans to select a new standard-issue handgun. If history is a guide, similar pistols will soon start appearing at gun stores and crime scenes near you. Given the U.S. military’s history on pistol procurement, is this so awful? (Start gun-geek wars in comment thread now . . . ) But really, this lame piece reads like a bunch of pasted-together Brady Campaign releases.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Never trust that a neutrally presented source is actually neutral. Look the guy up. He’s not just from John Hopkins, but the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Among other recognizable names, it’s funded by Mike Bloomberg through Bloomberg Philanthropies. Yeah, that guy.”

HANS VAN SPAKOVSKY AND JOHN FUND: The IRS Scandal And The Politicization Of Justice.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Democrats Admit Amnesty Is For Political Purposes.

THE WASHINGTON POST, SOMEWHAT HOPEFULLY: Has President Obama bottomed out yet?

Perhaps he should just import some new voters who will think of him more favorably: Obama Mulls Massive Move on Immigration. After all, while the median American household’s net worth has fallen 36%, these people will be experiencing a drastic increase.

REPORT: Rick Perry to Blast Obama on Border — In New Hampshire Campaign.

ROLL CALL: In D.C., Response to Judge’s Handgun Ruling Is Mixed and Muddled.

For all practical purposes, a federal judge’s weekend ruling that overturned local laws prohibiting District of Columbia residents from carrying guns outside of their homes has opened the door for non-residents to tote handguns into the city and has made it potentially easier for members and staffers to transport firearms across the District to the Capitol.

D.C. police have been ordered not to arrest people for carrying pistols and deadly weapons in public. Washingtonians can still face criminal charges for carrying unregistered firearms and ammunition, but the millions of people who visit the nation’s capital are exempt from those provisions under an order from Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. The chief’s guidance effectively put the District’s firearm regulations, at least for non-residents, on a par with the most permissive gun jurisdictions in the country. D.C. police got additional guidance from Lanier on Monday afternoon. She clarified that the ruling applies only to handguns, not long guns or shotguns that are still illegal, and that committing crimes with handguns remains illegal.

For non-residents, legal possession of a handgun in D.C. is based on the laws of their home jurisdiction, meaning D.C. police will be responsible for knowing and enforcing licensing and permitting restrictions from around the country. Lanier noted that additional information on gun laws in other states will be forthcoming and said that in the meantime, officers can call a 24-hour information line.

I think that Congress should pass a law making any state’s carry permit valid in the District of Columbia. As our nation’s capital, it should be welcoming to all Americans.

USA TODAY: Deficits drop but debt bomb ticks on.

The Tea Party is the reason deficits dropped after 2010. But we’re still adding debt — and even during the “surpluses” of the Clinton era, the debt continued to climb. Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

SEEMS LEGIT: White House: Israel has ‘no stronger defender’ than John Kerry.

POLLING: Dems Down, Rick Perry Up.

SHE’S THE WRONG KIND OF BLACK WOMAN: Ashe Schow: Why Doesn’t The Left Care About Shaneen Allen?

Allen had been robbed twice in 2013, so she bought a handgun legally in Pennsylvania and obtained a concealed-carry permit. She didn’t realize the permit wasn’t valid in every state and was driving in New Jersey when she was pulled over for a minor traffic offense. She informed the officer she had a weapon and provided her permit, thinking she was within the law.

But she wasn’t. New Jersey’s stringent gun laws don’t recognize Pennsylvania’s concealed-carry permits.

National Review Online noted last week that the prosecutor in Allen’s case, Jim McClain, could have been lenient on Allen. . . . But McClain didn’t. He sought maximum punishment for Allen — three years for firearm possession and an additional year for the ammunition.

As I noted in my Second Amendment Penumbras piece, we need much stricter judicial scrutiny — and, probably, federal civil rights legislation — to put an end to these absurd state laws, which are designed to deter people from exercising their rights.

THEY ALSO SEEM TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE: Anti-Feminist Women Baffle Feminists. “The women who send pictures to the Women Against Feminism Tumblr page may not know or care to study all the nuances of feminism through the ages. What they do experience is the culture that contemporary feminists are in actuality trying to create for all the members of their sex. Most women today support aspects of traditional feminism, but that support does not mean blanket support for all of contemporary feminism’s agenda. Feminists seem upset by this selective support, or simply deny altogether that it is possible. If one doesn’t affirm the notion of rape culture or the necessity of feminist biology, then according to feminists, neither does she appreciate laws against marital rape or universal suffrage.”


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – MY RAPIST
Had Dinner Twice With Parents Just After, But Still Found Guilty
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 28, 2014): In a bizarre twist on the famous movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a complaint in federal court charges that a coed invited a male student to have dinner with her and her parents twice – and then, shortly afterwards, and only after learning that he had not been faithful to her, charged that an act of intercourse they admittedly engaged in just before the first dinner was really a rape.

If the facts in this complaint against Philadelphia University and his female accuser are correct, it seems hard to believe that, if she had been raped, she would have had anything to do with him thereafter, especially inviting him to have dinner with her parents not just once but twice immediately following the alleged rape, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

He notes that the two had been in a sexually active romantic relationship for some two years before the more recent act of intercourse which she branded as a “rape.”

But, says Banzhaf, who is studying the legal issues, this is only one of several truly bizarre situations in which colleges have found students guilty where the evidence seemingly doesn’t warrant it.

In an equally bizarre situation at the University of Michigan, a female student agreed to spend the night in the bottom bunk of a male student’s bunk bed. They kissed, and then had intercourse, while the male student’s roommate was trying to sleep in the top bunk.

Although their amorous activities were so noisy that the roommate in the top bunk texted the accused to complain that the two in the bottom bunk were “loud and inconsiderate,” he never heard the female cry out for help or otherwise complain. Yet, according to his law suit, the student was expelled.

At Swarthmore, a female student climbed into bed with a guy she had been having sex with for three months. She successfully rebuffed his first attempt at sex one night but, when he later made a second attempt, “I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything – I had already said no [earlier in the evening]. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish.”

Getting into bed with a sexual partner of some three months, and then letting him both start and “finish” without saying “no” again, because she was just too tired and wanted to go to sleep, probably don’t sound much like rape to many, including fellow male and even female students, suggests Banzhaf.

Interestingly, a female student – whose complaint that Swarthmore violated Title IX by ignoring her report about rape triggered major changes in how the school handles date-rape cases – has now come out in strong support of a male student whose law suit is challenging those very procedures as unfair, says Banzhaf, noting that it is only one of many such law suits.

Banzhaf has been studying a new legal movement in which males found guilty of date rape are then successfully suing their colleges, sometimes under the same Title IX which triggered the problem.

Also, some are being urged to videotape their sexual encounters to help prove that the intercourse wasn’t against the woman’s will, and several accused have used videotapes successfully in the their defense, says Banzhaf, noting that in many states such surreptitious tapings may not be illegal.

Interestingly, even those who are sympathetic to the problem of campus date rape, and are in charge of the campus adjudication process, are now recognizing that it can be unfair if not illegal.

For example, the director of the Association of Title IX Administrators bluntly warned that some male students may have been improperly penalized.

“Some boards and panels still can’t tell the difference between drunk sex and a policy violation,” he wrote. “We are making Title IX plaintiffs out of these men.”

In the Swarthmore case, “John Doe” and “Jane Row” had two sexual encounters in 2011 which did not involve intercourse. Subsequently, the male and female had intercourse, which the woman agrees was consensual.

But, 19 months after the fact, she suddenly claimed that the two earlier episodes had been coerced. The school originally thoroughly investigated and then cleared the man in January 2013 without even filing disciplinary charges.

However, sometime thereafter, the student newspaper published articles charging that women who reported rape felt re-victimized by the college’s failure to take their complaints seriously, and Mia Ferguson’s highly publicized Title IX complaint against Swarthmore went public. Less than two weeks later, Swarthmore told the male, a law student, that they had reopened a complaint filed against him a year earlier.

Then, after an emotional hearing before a panel made up of faculty, staff, and students, he was expelled. His attorney charges that the inference is clear.

“To correct one wrong – its past unresponsiveness to female complaints – [Swarthmore] committed another wrong against John based on his gender . . . He was a male accused of sexual misconduct at the wrong time and in the wrong place.” Mia now apparently agrees.

Swarthmore has subsequently changed its adjudication procedures, and now has such cases heard before and decided by a retired judge; a tacit admission, suggests Banzhaf, that its former procedure – using possibly biased and also untrained faculty members and students – had serious problems.

Male students have already used legal action successfully at Brown (2X), Central College, Denison, Duke (2X) , George Washington, Holy Cross, Occidental, Saint Joseph, University of the South, and Xavier.

Meanwhile, law suits filed by male students convicted by their universities of rape and/or sexual assault are pending against Bucknell, Cincinnati, Columbia, Delaware State, Depauw, Drew, Kenyon, U of Michigan, Philadelphia U, Swarthmore, Vassar, Williams, and perhaps others.

“When even rape victims and Title IX administrators admit that men are being convicted unfairly, and male students are being found guilty in cases where the facts seem so clearly to suggest some consent, it’s long past time to consider changing the procedures,” argues Banzhaf.

Banzhaf, as I’ve mentioned, has a nose for where the legal action is.

DEEP STATE DIRTY TRICKS: Wisconsin Police Chief Admits He Signed Up Tea Party Activist To Porno Sites And Whatnot.

PARTYING like it’s 1939.

MARK TAPSCOTT: Is The Obama Administration Losing Touch With Reality? “There is an air of unreality about the Obama crew these days that became starkly evident last week with a letter to Congress from National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking repeal of the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq and White House press secretary Josh Earnest claiming Republicans are seriously seeking to impeach his boss.”

July 28, 2014


Related: Second lawsuit challenging teacher tenure to be filed by group of New York families.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE HE DIDN’T WANT TO: WaPo: Obama failed to stop the Islamic State when he had the chance. “Obama was not taken by surprise by the Islamic State offensive, as administration officials have repeatedly claimed. He had been warned by Iraqi officials, and even by officials in his administration. U.S. intelligence had identified the camps. Obama had not only been given a green light from the Iraqis to strike, but they also were pleading with him to do so. Obama simply refused to act.”

MARY KATHARINE HAM: Maybe We Need To Talk About Ebola.

AT AMAZON, save up to 60% on Automotive Parts.

Plus, 25% off of select Scott’s Lawn Care Products.


A person I trust posted the following on a local Jewish e-board in NJ. She advised that it is from an IDF solider presently serving in Gaza:

“What’s happening here in the staging area [area where soldiers prepare to enter Gaza] is beyond comprehension, not rationally, not emotionally and begs the imagination.

Almost every hour a car shows up overflowing with food, snacks, cold drinks, socks, underwear, undershirts, hygiene supplies, wipes, cigarettes, backgammon and more. They’re coming from the North and the Center, from manufacturers, from companies and private businesses, from prisons, Chareidim and Settlers, from Tel Aviv and even Saviyon.

Every intersection on they way down here we get stopped, not by the police, but be residents giving out food. What is amazing is that the entire situation wasn’t organized and everyone is coming on their own without coordination between the folks coming.

They’re writing letters and blessings, how they’re thinking of us all the time. There are those who spent hours making sandwiches, so they’re as perfect and comforting as possible.

Of course representatives of Chabad are here to help soldiers put on Tefillin and distributing Cha’Ta’Ts (Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya) for every troop transport and Breslov are showing up to the border and dancing with the soldiers with great joy.

The Chareidim are coming from their yeshivot to ask the names of the soldiers with their mothers’ names so that the whole yeshiva can pray for them. It should be mentioned that all of this is done under the threat of the terrorist tunnels and rockets in the area.
Soroka Hospital (in Be’er Sheva) today looks like a 5 star hotel. A wounded friend who was recently discharged told us how the MasterChef truck is parked outside and is preparing food for the wounded.

It goes without saying the amount of prayer services that are going on. On the religious front as well, there are lectures and Torah classes, all the food is obviously Kosher. Shachrit, Mincha, and Maariv with Sifrei Torah. They’re giving out tzitzit and Tehilim by the hundreds. It’s become the new fashion! The Rabbi of Maglan [Special Forces unit] told me that almost the entire unit has started wearing them, because the Army Rabbinate has been giving out tzitzit that wick away sweat. They’re gaining both a Mitzva and a high quality undershirt. We’ve started calling them “Shachpatzitzti” (a portmanteau of the Hebrew term for body armor and tzitzit). We’re having deep conversations late into the night without arguments, without fights and we find ourselves agreeing on most stuff.

We’re making lots of jokes at Hamas’s expensive and without politics. There’s lots more to add but my battery is running low and the staff has been requesting someone give a class on Likutei MoharaN (Breslov).

How happy is the nation that is like this.”

Well, to be fair, they have a leader who believes in the country he leads.

UPDATE: Question: Come a real confrontation with Obama — which seems possible — could the Israelis flip and ally with Putin? The Soviets backed the Israelis pre-1967, and right now Putin’s siding with Assad against the Islamists. Israel would be a game-changing ally for Russia in the Middle East, especially with all the traditional Arab powers looking shaky — not only in terms of military assets, but more significantly in terms of intelligence assets.

I’m sure the crack Smart DiplomacyTM team at the State Department has considered this.


HOW’S THAT RUSSIAN RESET GOING FOR YA, HILLARY? Russians’ Test Called Breach Of Missile Pact. “The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.”

The Russian fear is that we’d scrap the treaty and push new weapons systems. Putin knows that Obama won’t do that, so why stick to the treaty?

POLL: 77% want illegal immigrants sent home, 81% say it’s a serious issue.

K.C. JOHNSON: Harvard Joins The Ivy League’s Race To The Bottom.

Sending a son there looks like an increasingly risky, and expensive, gamble.


Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.56.25 PM

This is the piece in question.

WHAT YOUR WORKOUT SAYS about your social class.

Friends came for dinner. A public-interest lawyer, noticing I was bigger, asked what I’d been up to.

“I’m really into lifting weights right now,” I said. “Trying to get strong.”

The lawyer’s wife, a marathoner and family therapist, appeared startled, as if concerned about my emotional state. She looked me in the eye and said, “Why?”

Sociologists, it turns out, have studied these covert athletic biases. Carl Stempel, for example, writing in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, argues that upper middle class Americans avoid “excessive displays of strength,” viewing the bodybuilder look as vulgar overcompensation for wounded manhood. The so-called dominant classes, Stempel writes—especially those like my friends and myself, richer in fancy degrees than in actual dollars—tend to express dominance through strenuous aerobic sports that display moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance. By chasing pure strength, in other words, packing on all that muscle, I had violated the unspoken prejudices—and dearly held self-definitions—of my social group.

Well, one wouldn’t want to be unacceptably . . . masculine. Plus: “A faster runner abandons you; a stronger lifter hangs out, kindly critiques your form, and waits his turn.” I don’t know about everywhere, but at my gym the folks — male and female — in the “testosterone corner” (as the trainers call the section with barbells and squat racks) are astoundingly nice.

ED DRISCOLL: Truman Shrugs.

CHARLES COBB: This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed. “One of the important lessons I learned as a participant in the southern freedom movement of the 1960s shocks many of my liberal friends: Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. I am neither a member nor supporter of the NRA, but both sides in today’s convoluted arguments about gun control and the second amendment need to pay attention to this lesson.”

NICE WORK, ZUCKERBERG, YOU PUTZ (CONT’D): Facebook says page calling for death to Jews doesn’t violate ‘community standards.’

UPDATE: They’ve now removed the page. I guess the community felt otherwise.

WELL, OKAY, NOT SO MUCH “STRIVE FOR” AS “FAIL TO ACHIEVE:” Continuing to strive for excellence at Vox.

A PROBLEM FOR 2016? Hillary’s Domestic Violence Record.

THE SURVEILLANCE STATE is looking in the wrong direction.

IS CHOLESTEROL THEORY in “scientific free fall?”

WE HAVE A COUPLE OF THESE HEAVY METAL ROCKERS, which are made and sold by Helen’s psychologist-crony Hodge Golson. They’re awesome-looking, and also very comfortable.

WHY YOUR PHONE FREAKS OUT when you get off a plane. I can’t say I’ve experienced this, but then, I don’t have AT&T.

AT AMAZON, Featured Touchscreen Laptops Under $500.

Also, Save up to 50% On All Cuisinart Griddler Models. Like a tonier version of the George Foreman Grill.

“SMART DIPLOMACY” GETS EVEN SMARTER! The Obama administration threatens Israel over criticism of John Kerry.

DO WE REALLY WANT A KINDER, GENTLER SURGEON? “Surgery is a fundamentally messy and stressful activity. When being a few millimeters off target can be life-changing, a surgeon needs to possess fierce concentration, unrelenting perfectionism, and, above all, staunch self-assurance.”


You can do worse than follow Andrew Breitbart’s media advice, even posthumously.


I still think someone should plaster D.C. with these posters, especially around the various Palace Guard Media offices.

THE WORLD IS SAVED: All systems “go” as control restored to beleaguered sex gecko satellite.


TEN THINGS you didn’t know your iPhone could do.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Scott Walker’s ad about Mary Burke’s family’s company — Trek — gets the numbers right. Also, attacking Dems on hypocrisy that will hurt them with their base is an excellent turnout-reducing strategy. People bothered by these ads won’t vote for Walker, necessarily, but they’ll be less likely to show up at all. Same reason people should go after Democratic officeholders who pay women less than men.

LEAKED: Michelle Nunn’s Campaign Plan.

PROPOSING “SOLUTIONS” THAT WILL COMPOUND THE PROBLEM: Student Debt On The Campaign Trail. From the comments: “Student loan money goes into the general fund, which subsidizes excessive administrative spending and athletics. Put a cap on administration expenses that can be subsidized and pop the athletic bubble, then loans over a four-year period will be reduced by several thousand dollars.” Indeed.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 445.


Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

You know?

THE TYPICAL AMERICAN HOUSEHOLD has seen its net worth decline by a third.

But look how these members of Congress have done.

AT AMAZON, New Markdowns on Men’s Shoes. Casual, dress, and athletic.

Plus, deals on Bestselling Casual Watches. Casual watches are the way to go: I love my cheap Timex Ironman, which I even wear when scuba diving. And the Indiglo means I’m never without a light.

TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire.

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Coach. “A good football coach thinks several plays ahead. Rep. Salmon seems incapable of thinking one play ahead. By passing any immigration change now — even a desirable one — Republicans open themselves up to a protracted negotiation, perhaps into a lame duck session, with the massed forces of Obama, Haley Barbour, the Chamber of Commerce, (and Rupert Murdoch), all angling for one part of ‘comprehensive’ reform or another. That might be good for GOP fundraising — lobbyists can be generous when they really want something — but this isn’t a fundraising game (or a PR game, let alone a football game). What is at stake is the fundamental policy of the nation.”

I say revisit it in 2017. Until then, in Bob Dole’s memorable phrase, remember that sometimes a little gridlock can be a good thing.

And remember this from (immigrant!) Eugene Volokh:

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

CATHY YOUNG: Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right. “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

COLOR ME SKEPTICAL: WaPo: Here’s what the IRS told a federal court about Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

EXCEPT THEY LOOK DOWN ON THOSE BLUE-COLLAR PEOPLE: Joel Kotkin: To Fight Inequality, Blue States Need To Shift Focus To Blue-Collar Jobs.

Conservatives may not have the answers but it’s clear that a progressive regime has not worked either.

The net worth of blacks and Hispanics has declined relative to whites. The black poverty rate stood at 27.2% in 2012, and for Hispanics, 25.6%. At the same time as poor kids are flocking here from Central America, child poverty among Latinos has risen sharply, from 27.5% in 2007 to 33.7% percent in 2012.

One would think these statistics would make someone question at least somewhat boilerplate progressive polices, which certainly have not worked better than standard brand conservatism. But often the common answer to these trends has been a call for more “progressive” social policies that would seek to redistribute wealth and to enforce racial equity in everything from housing to university admission. Given Republican control of the House, these racial and class politics are increasingly most keenly felt in the states and cities.

There are numerous signs of this, including Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage and similar proposals in other cities. The thrust of New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s administration seems to be to provide ever more succor to the city’s large, heavily minority, poor and working-class population through early childhood education and more subsidized housing.

As an old Democrat, I am sympathetic to the concerns. But it’s dubious the deep blue cities have found a solution. Let’s start with the gap between rich and poor. For the most part the regions and states with the widest gap between the classes are overwhelmingly dominated by modern progressivism.

The capital of blue America, New York City, has easily the worst levels of inequality in the country, with an income distribution that approaches that of South Africa under apartheid, notes demographer Wendell Cox.

But New York is hardly the only progressive stronghold with searing inequality. A recent Brookings report found that of the regions with the greatest income disparity only one, Atlanta, is located in a red-leaning state. These include San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Oakland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The lowest degree of inequality was found generally historically more conservative cities like Ft. Worth, Texas; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, N.C.; and Mesa, Ariz. Income inequality has risen most rapidly in the probably the most left-leaning big American city of luxury progressivism, San Francisco, where the wages of the poorest 20% of all households have actually declined amid the dot-com billions.

The more they talk about equality, the more they push policies that make insiders richer and everyone else poorer.

WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP: Why Is the World Becoming Such a Nasty Place? Poor Obama. So much bad luck.

WHY ABSOLUTE JUDICIAL IMMUNITY SHOULD BE ABOLISHED: 6th Circuit Court: Ex-Judge Wade McCree’s conduct ‘reprehensible’ but immune from lawsuit.

Disgraced former Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree, who had an affair with a woman while presiding over her child custody case, got some good news from a federal appeals court this week: He can’t be sued by the child’s father.

That’s what the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in a 24-page decision Monday, stating that while McCree’s actions were “often reprehensible,” he is immune from lawsuits under the long-held doctrine of judicial immunity.

The ruling rubbed one attorney the wrong way: Joel Sklar, who is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court for help in loosening up the doctrine that says judges can’t be sued for decisions they make on the bench.

“There should be no immunity for what happened here,” said Sklar, who said he believes McCree improperly used the judicial immunity doctrine “as a shield for self interest” so that he could have a sexual relationship with a woman who appeared before him in a child custody case.

Sklar represents the child’s father, Robert King, who is fighting for the right to sue McCree, alleging he denied him access to a fair and impartial judge: McCree was having an affair with his child’s mother, sexted her from the bench and gave her thousands of dollars.

At the very least, if judges are to enjoy absolute immunity from lawsuits over misconduct, that immunity should come from the legislature. Right now, it’s a judicially-created doctrine, which is self-serving in the extreme.

This case isn’t the worst misconduct shielded by judicial immunity, but it’s pretty bad.

And speaking of self-dealing, this doesn’t look good: “McCree is the son of the late Wade Hampton McCree Jr., who was the first black person appointed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the second black solicitor general in U.S. history.” Though the doctrine is so absolute that it doesn’t really matter. And did I mention that this rule of absolute immunity for judges, no matter how serious their misconduct, was created by . . . judges?

CHANGE: House, Senate Negotiators Reach Deal On Veterans Bill.

THE GENERAL CRISIS OF THE 21ST CENTURY: Michael Barone: Fighting parasitic bureaucracies and crony capitalism.

BUT THE LEFTY REVISIONISM NEVER STOPS: Ex-’60 Minutes’ Producer Is No Hollywood Hero.

CNN POLL: Americans really wish they had elected Mitt Romney instead of Obama.

Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they’d overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor’s bid. That’s just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That’s an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.

Two years ago, Obama won re-election with about 51 percent of the vote.

Well, I mean, look around.

BYRON YORK: The Democrats’ Impeachment-Themed Fundraising Extravaganza. The GOP won’t impeach Obama. Nobody wants a President Biden. And even if you could Agnew Biden out of the way, you’d just get . . . President Boehner. Nobody wants that, either. . . .

Related: Rep. Scalise Calls Out Obama: ‘First White House In History Trying To Start Narrative Of Own Impeachment.’ ““Look, the White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda. . . . People are paying higher costs for food, for healthcare, for gas at the pump. And the president isn’t solving those problems. So he wants to try to change the subject.”

THAT’S OKAY, WE’VE GOT “SMART DIPLOMACY” ON THE JOB: Scotland’s bid for independence puts White House in awkward diplomatic spot.

IN ILLINOIS, progress at building a Republican ground game?

July 27, 2014

NOT SURE I BUY THIS DIAGNOSIS OF HILLARY’S PROBLEMS IN 2008: “They did not let Hillary be Hillary.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: Conservatism Is The New Punk Rock. Actually, that’s more libertarianism. But:

Look at ancient Hillary Clinton, that improbable Millennial heroine. She’s the Bachman Turner Overdrive of American politics, out there literally taking care of business – especially the businesses who take care of her by paying her hundreds of thousands a pop to come talk to them.

There’s no energy left in liberalism, no excitement, just more rules, more controls, everything the punks hated. You can’t say this, you can’t think that, everybody read the memo – today we’re scheduled to be angry at people don’t want to subsidize our birth control! Oh, and make sure you obtain a videotaped, notarized consent form before you kiss your cisgender hook-up.

Yeah. The Dems are looking like that crazy preacher in Footloose.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Out: “All But Dissertation.” In: “Certificate of Doctoral Completion.” “Dysfunctional graduate departments, toxic faculty, and the Navy Seal-like brutality of the Ph.D. process all contribute to the burnout experienced by the estimated 50-plus percent of Ph.D. students who fail to earn their doctorates.”


DAVID GOLDMAN: Maybe This Time They’ll Kill Us Twice. You know what should come after Hamas? Nothing.

BETTER MAKE SOME DONATIONS TO ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA, STAT! Former Vanguard Tax Lawyer Files Whistleblower Suit Alleging Mutual Fund Giant Became Low-Cost Leader by Evading $1 Billion in Taxes.

LAYERS OF EDITORS AND FACT-CHECKERS: “That parody story about Michele Bachmann proposing to set up labor camps for illegal immigrant children, which took in our dear friends at Think Progress, has taken in the New York Times as well: Brazil bureau chief Simon Romero is tweeting the fake story as though it were real.”

UPDATE: Hey, though, this may actually do more than anything to shrink the flow of immigrants. Idea for anti-illegal-immigration groups: Buy ads in Central America, looking pretty official, denying that the U.S. Government puts illegals into forced-labor camps. Say that what the New York Times and ThinkProgress are reporting is false! Pay no attention to these absurd claims!

2014: GOP Counting on ‘Motivated Base,’ Courting ‘Low-Propensity Voters’ to Win This Fall. They’ll do better if the Republican apparat — I’m looking at you, NRSC — doesn’t piss off the base with racial attacks on Tea Party candidates. You know?

AT AMAZON, deals on new products from iRobot.

Plus, deals on American-made garden hoses from Water Right.

HILLARY CLINTON: Hey, you know who was a great President? George W. Bush. “George W. Bush is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Because of the president emergency program for AIDS relief whether you agree or disagree with a lot of what else he did — and I disagree with a lot of it — I am proud to be an American when I go to Sub-Saharan Africa and people say, ‘I want to thank President Bush and the United States for helping us fight HIV/AIDS.’”