July 4, 2015

MARK JUDGE: In retrospect, Woody Allen’s Manhattan looks like a conservative countercultural film. “I’m from Philadelphia, we believe in God.”

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ANGELO CODEVILLA: Standing Up To The Ruling Class.

HENRY MILLER: When Bureaucrats Get Away With Murder.

AUSTIN BAY: Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy: Liberty Demands Responsibility.

SHOCKER: Mass Killings Inspire Copycats, Study Finds.

We’ve known about the copycat effect for a while. But the press blames everyone but itself when these happen.

BERNIE SANDERS IN THE 1960S: “I love the photo. I’m sure I would have had a crush on him back then. It was very typical for younger people of that time to regard ordinary middle-class people going to work as shuffling, horrifying zombies.”

IN THE MAIL: From MF Thomas & Nicholas Thurkettle, Seeing by Moonlight.

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And, also today only: “The West Wing: The Complete Series” Collection on DVD, $58.99 (80% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 786.

JOHN FUND: Practice Free Speech for July 4th: Fight PC Censors.

While the current topic of debate is the Confederate flag, a much broader battle is being waged against American history itself. Increasingly, courses involving any patriotic content or history are being dumped in favor of leftist “diversity studies” or “environmental studies.” Most American agree that the struggle against racism is vital, but so too is the context that the study of American history provides.

In his farewell address before he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan presciently warned: “We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important — why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. . . . I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.” In the more than quarter century since Reagan issued his warning, the situation in schools has only gotten worse. Luckily, popular books, films, and the Internet offer an alternative way of reaching young people and passing on a fuller appreciation of America. We’re no longer fighting just to get history into classrooms; we’re now fighting for the right to teach history in all its complexity, not merely the PC versions of it that please sanctimonious leftists. Free speech remains a reality only if its practice is allowed, and increasingly, more and more people are letting the censors and bullies have the only say.

Punch back twice as hard.

ANDREW MORRISS LOOKS AT TAXATION through the lens of James Scott’s excellent Seeing Like A State.

Scott offers four big ideas that shape his analytical framework. First, he argues that a fundamental need of a state is to make its population “legible.” In essence, a legible population is one in which the relevant characteristics for state purposes are defined and known. Second, he contends that by doing so, the state changes the nature of the activities the population carries on, the culture, and the society as a whole. In other words, you get more of what you measure. Third, he attributes social engineering projects in part to what he terms “high modernist ideology,” in which scientific and technical models are uncritically applied to societies, encouraging government actors to believe they can significantly change societies through administrative fiat. Fourth, when this ideology is married to a state with significant coercive power and civil society lacks the capacity to resist, the state does considerable harm by forcing an agenda on society without considering all the costs. Let’s consider each.

To the ruling class, the “considerable harm” is offset by even-more-considerable opportunities for graft.

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IT’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

quincy4

Quincy, Illinois, September 12, 2009. Taken with the Panasonic Lumix LX-3.

TALK TO YOUR FAMILY THIS HOLIDAY: Happy Fourth – ObamaCare Premiums Set To Soar.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE to make Twitchy.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Fewer ‘extremely proud’ to be American. “The older you are, the more likely you are to be extremely proud to be American, according to the data. People in the South also tend to be the most proud to be American.”

“SHIT ACADEMICS SAY,” A Social-Media Experiment.

I am not an intellectual, leading expert, or public scholar. I am a rank-and-file academic with the job of balancing respectable research with acceptable teaching evaluations and sitting on enough committees to not be asked to sit on more committees. And in my spare time, I run what is arguably one of the most influential academic accounts on social media: Shit Academics Say.

Since starting the account in September of 2013, it has grown to over 122,000 followers, gaining 250 to 300 new followers daily and ranking in the top 0.1 percent across social media influence metrics such as Klout, Kred, and Followerwonk. To unpack this a bit, tweets sent from my phone while recalibrating dopamine levels on the treadmill, or waiting outside my 3-year-old’s ballet class, are showing up in about 10 million Twitter streams and generating 200,000 to 300,000 profile visits a month, effectively making @AcademicsSay a bigger “social authority” on Twitter than nearly all colleges and academic publications. Not weird at all.

Although this might sound impressive, the popularity of the account is perhaps not surprising. First, academics use Twitter mainly for distraction, with tweets providing humorous details of academic content typically gaining the most exposure. Second, it is immediately apparent to new Twitter users that parody accounts like @kimkierkegaardashian, @NoToFeminism, or @SwiftOnSecurity tend to be more popular than traditional outlets — an observation that sparked an idea for how to personally connect with other academics in a not-boring way and on a scale large enough to have my procrastination count as research.

Hey, I’ve been making my procrastination count as research for years!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Is It Time To Start Shutting Down Law Schools?

This month, the American Bar Association provisionally accredited a new law school at Concordia University. More than 200 law schools are accredited in the U.S. An analysis of data from the ABA itself raises the question whether that list should be getting any longer.

Law schools exist for a lot of reasons, but a pretty important one is to prepare people to be lawyers. By that standard, a large handful of institutions seem to be failing. Last year, 10 law schools were unable to place more than 30 percent of their graduating class in permanent jobs that required passing the bar, according to ABA data. Those job numbers don’t include positions that schools fund for their graduates or people who say they are starting their own practice.

At the University of Massachusetts School of Law, the American school with the worst job outcomes by this measure, just 22 percent of people who graduated in 2014 got those types of law jobs.

Ben Barton has some thoughts on this.

SOME 4th OF JULY READING: Independence Day links.

THIS IS A MUST FOR MY FAMILY AND ME EVERY FOURTH: This Patriotic Film Honors Life, Liberty the Pursuit of Song and Dance.

OH, WHAT TANGLED WEBS THEY WEAVE: Weenies burn flag to protest cops, get attacked by bikers, need cops to save their asses.

ROGER SIMON: The Last Fourth.

FOR GOD’S SAKE, BARACK, SIT DOWN: How To Talk To Your Family About Obamacare On July 4.

July 3, 2015

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student “Sugar Babies” Increase 1200%.

WELCOME TO Generation Hugbox.

I’D LIKE TO BELIEVE THIS: America Isn’t Getting More Liberal — It’s Getting More Libertarian.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! State of Oregon fines Christian bakers $135,000 over a wedding cake. “Not only did [Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian] levy a $135,000 judgment against the Kleins for ‘emotional damages’ to the couple denied a wedding cake, he slapped a gag order on them that forbids the Kleins from explaining to potential customers of Sweet Cakes why they won’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.”

You will be made to care.

HOW TO TALK TO A NON-LEFTIST THE OTHER 364 DAYS A YEAR: Taking Mr. Obama’s advice and planning to pitch your relatives on the many wonderful benefits of Obamacare tomorrow? What happens the other 364 days? Robert Tracinski of the Federalist offers some advice for his friends on the other side of the aisle to try breaking the ice, including — and I know this will be very difficult for many leftists — “Talk to people beneath your station:”

At a university or in an urban hipsterville neighborhood, you may think that everyone around you is on the same page ideologically. But you are almost certainly wrong. Part of the problem is that a lot of the people who differ from you on politics are the people you don’t notice. They’re not the professors or administrators or graduate students, or the performance artists, and baristas, and artisanal vegan sriracha curators. They are receptionists and groundskeepers and especially small business owners who run some of the stores and shops and restaurants you go to.

Some university employees might be on the right, but I’m afraid they probably won’t talk to you about it. Why? Because they are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid that if word gets around about their retrograde views, people will show up with mattresses demanding that they be fired. At the very least, their bosses will quietly disapprove and their potential for advancement and new opportunities will shrink. Maybe they would open up if you talked to them nicely, but chances are that they just don’t trust you.

The same goes for people who work at your graphic design firm in Park Slope. People respond to incentives—you’ll discover this is one of the things those of us on the right believe—and your right-leaning coworkers have little incentive to advertise their heresies.

And look at it this way — if they seem a little crazy at first, remember that your side of the aisle made them that way.

LEAKED DETAILS OF OBAMATRADE: Politico has a story, “Leaked: What’s in Obama’s Trade Deal” that suggests it contains goodies for U.S. pharmaceutical companies:

A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law.

POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to change significantly as the talks enter their final stages. Those terms are still secret, but the public will get to see them once the twelve TPP nations reach a final agreement and President Obama seeks congressional approval. . . .

Some of the most contentious provisions involve “patent linkage,” which would prevent regulators in TPP nations from approving generic drugs whenever there are any unresolved patent issues. The TPP draft would make this linkage mandatory, which could help drug companies fend off generics just by claiming an infringement. . . .

The opponents are also worried about the treaty’s effect on the U.S. market, because its draft language would extend mandatory patent linkage to biologics, the next big thing in the pharmaceutical world. Biologics can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for patients with illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis B and cancer, and the first knockoffs have not yet reached pharmacies. The critics say that extending linkage to biologics—which can have hundreds of patents—would help insulate them from competition forever.

“It would be a dramatic departure from U.S. law, and it would put a real crimp in the ability of less expensive drugs to get to market,” said K.J. Hertz, a lobbyist for AARP. “People are going to look at this very closely in Congress.”

Well, it’s good to know President Obama is making good on his goal of prioritizing the concerns of the middle class. No wonder establishment GOP types supported Obamatrade.

TAMARA KEEL REVIEWS the Walther CCP 9 mm. “The people who griped about the trigger were friends who were at the range shooting their $2,000+ custom 1911s, and they’re not necessarily the target demographic for this gun. Of the regular shooters I handed the CCP to, most handed it back asking how much it cost and when and where could they buy one?”

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STEPHEN CARTER: When Law Students Distrust The Police. “And here a peculiarly ironic dissonance arises. My students, for the most part, are a liberal bunch. That makes them, among other things, enthusiasts of the regulatory state. But if they increasingly mistrust the police, it’s hard to know who’s supposed to enforce all the shiny new laws they hope to enact.”

HE HIT SOME GOOD SPOTS, BUT MISSED SOME, TOO: A $50 Day in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Here’s The Original Freezo, mentioned in the piece.

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SEEN ON FACEBOOK:

thomastakei

MATT WELCH: ‘His name was Jefferson Davis Hogg!’ If The Dukes of Hazzard was racist, it sure had a funny way of showing it. It’s all about knee-jerk banning, not about any rational consideration. The point is to wield power. If it’s wielded arbitrarily and capriciously, so much the better, as that makes people feel less secure.

FINE, BUT WHEN DOES THE RX-9 COME OUT? The 2016 Mazda Miata has Finally Landed in America.

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ELLEN PAO FACES Reddit Revolt. “Reddit is in meltdown. The hugely popular link-sharing site is in a state of virtual lockdown after the volunteers who run some of the site’s biggest communities (known as “subreddits”) went on the digital equivalent of a general strike. This followed the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a popular site admin, after a Reddit Q&A with the Rev. Jesse Jackson went badly for the activist preacher.”

ANDREW KLAVAN: Cowboy Up, Conservatives – And Happy Fourth. “Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of conservatives saying things like, ‘It’s over. The left has won. This is no longer America. I’m not even going to celebrate the Fourth of July this year.’ I confess this disturbs me. I expect feminists to squeal like hysterical little girls. . . . I expect conservatives to act like men and women — men and women who understand they are part of a fight for liberty that began when Moses killed the Egyptian slavedriver and will not end until Jesus comes again. Open your eyes. The hills are filled with chariots of fire. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Endorsed. Show some backbone.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Toward advanced nanotechnology: Working solid state molecular shuttle.

LET’S GET A STAKE AND A MALLET, JUST TO BE SURE: Is the Carbon Tax Dead?

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: A 21st Century Submarines arms race could see numbers exceeding the 1000 German U-boats of WW2.

WHY IT’S STILL IMPORTANT FOR YOUR FAMILY TO WATCH FIREWORKS: “Show your kids the importance of celebrating their nation’s birthday. Make it personal for them, and don’t be afraid to let them know about some super-cool, ancient guys and gals who persevered for their cause — even though society deemed them wrong — and in the process founded a new world where we are free to create life, enjoy liberty, and pursue happiness. Take time to tell them why we have huge displays in the skies and hot dogs to eat, and why you may get teary at the sound of our National Anthem. Maybe it will spark a conversation; they may even find a new hero. At the very least, they will beg to go see the fireworks in person.”

THE CULTURE-WAR PUSHBACK BEGINS: Video: Flag burners “dispersed” by veterans, bikers. Whose streets? Our streets!

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Here Are The Fireworks Laws In Every State.

Fireworks bans, as reported so many years ago by Henry Reed, were the entering wedge of nannyism.

IN THE MAIL: From Rob Steiner, Muses of the Republic.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 785.

ANDREW MICHTA: Grexit May Be Europe’s Teaching Moment: The unfolding Greek tragedy is about more than economics. It’s also about the EU’s democracy deficit.

The European idea of a common market expanding into a larger community of nations remains as valid today as it was in the 1950s. Trade, cross-investment, and the sharing of resources for infrastructure projects, insofar as they benefit economic growth, are all part of the manifest successes of the original vision of a European community. Still, the EU as it is presently conceived has produced more than its share of hubris and bad ideas, beyond the notion of bringing Greece into the Eurozone. The partial de-nationalization of the state and the partial limits on state sovereignty in the name of peace still lie at the foundation of the original European project, but they have since given way, especially since the end of the Cold War, to a European bureaucratic fantasy of what should constitute the “Union.” The idea of a common market has been knocked out from its central place by the vision of a pan-European quasi-state entity, whose workings few in Europe understand, and which, most importantly, has consistently failed to generate a new Europe-wide identity in place of national allegiances. This is not just a Greek problem; bureaucratic empire building has its limits, and we call those limits “citizens.” The stirrings across Europe, from the United Kingdom through Spain to Poland, show that the issues at hand are not purely economic, and that traditional national identity, citizen participation and sovereignty remain just as relevant to democracy today as they were in years past.

The Common Market was about free trade. The EU was about creating an economic – and, especially, political — counterweight to America. It was a venture that put politics ahead of economics, which explains its current problems.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR SPIES: Hudson Institute senior fellow Gabriel Schoenfeld on “The Central Inclusiveness Agency.”

The Central Intelligence Agency is once again mired in crisis. CIA Director John Brennan finds himself “deeply concerned.” The spy agency he runs suffers from an affliction that he says has “persisted despite repeated efforts by Agency leaders to address it.”

What is ailing this vital guardian of national security? The CIA’s upper echelon, Mr. Brennan said on Tuesday, does “not reflect the diversity of the Agency workforce or of the nation.”

Mr. Brennan was commenting on the “Director’s Diversity in Leadership Study,” an unclassified report released that day. The study comes to the “unequivocal conclusion,” he said in a statement, that there has been a major failure at the agency in the “crucial” area of diversity and inclusiveness. . . .

The report is unsparing. Senior positions at the “highest levels of the CIA” are “consistently occupied by white male career officers.” While minority officers make up 23.9% of the CIA workforce, the higher echelons of the CIA don’t come close to that number. For example, the Senior Intelligence Service, the crème de la crème of the spy agency’s personnel, manages only a 10.8% minority composition. Spies with disabilities and LGBT spies, according to the report, are no better represented in the CIA’s upper leadership, though women are generally faring well.

Yeah, I was just thinking to myself the other day, “Why, oh why, aren’t there more disabled and LGBT spies?” And of course there’s only one logical answer (at least to the Obama Administration): discrimination.

The solution? For one thing, “all leaders, managers, and supervisors” in the CIA should be subject to “mandatory stand-alone diversity and inclusion training.” This must include such “well-established tools” as “unconscious bias training” so that all CIA officers can “learn how societal forces and their own experiences mold their daily decisions and perceptions.” 

I’m glad my tax dollars are now going to go toward remedying this atrocity. Because, you know, how on earth can we gather reliable intelligence if we don’t have enough transgendered or gay spies? They will be particularly useful in our efforts to infiltrate ISIS, I’m sure.

UPDATE: Fixed broken link.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Best Way to Day-Drink Is With Low-Alcohol Brews. Small beer was once a staple, but I prefer coffee.

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DID OBAMA REOPEN MIDDLE EASTERN SLAVE MARKETS BY EXECUTIVE ORDER? “Wednesday, President Obama publicly announced that he is issuing an executive order that the U.S. government will no longer criminally prosecute families of American hostages for paying ransom. In so doing, he created a public market for the selling of American citizens—and raised the price on their heads considerably.”

Read the whole thing.

GOVERNMENT AS CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY: Double trouble? IRS lawyer now heads Clinton email production.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Greece, Capital Controls, and Cloud Computing. “Just as individual Greeks are losing access to Apple’s iCloud, as the Athens staff of Bloomberg News recently discovered, so companies are finding themselves cut off from services critical to their ongoing operations. The problem demonstrates a hidden risk in today’s otherwise efficient vertical disintegration. Taking for granted the easy flow of money across borders, system designers never foresaw a situation in which companies with adequate funds would find that they couldn’t pay foreign vendors.” Plus, the surprising generosity of Silicon Valley.

ASHE SCHOW: New campus sexual assault laws go into effect in Virginia.

Three new laws aimed to curb campus sexual assault in Virginia went into effect on July 1.

Two of the laws deal with reporting requirements for colleges and police departments. The other law, regarding transcript notations, has created some confusion.

Local station WHSV reported that, under the new law, “Any student under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence will have a special notation on their transcript.”

This is not what the law says, however. The law actually states that schools must “include a prominent notation on the academic transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence under the institution’s code, rules or set of standards governing student conduct…”

So no, students under investigation will not have their transcripts noted unless they subsequently withdraw from the university while the investigation is ongoing.

Also, universities under the law would be required to “adopt a procedure for removing such notation from the academic transcript of any student who is subsequently found not to have committed an offense involving sexual violence under the institution’s code, rules or set of standards governing student conduct.”

Of course, the likelihood of a student being able to overturn a finding of responsible after the notation has been made is probably rather slim.

While it is good news that this law doesn’t automatically condemn students just for being accused (the whole process does that already), there are still problems with the other laws that went into effect on Wednesday.

Both laws dealing with reporting requirements use the term “victim” throughout, indicating a clear bias against the accused. This has been a common issue with campus sexual assault bills.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: Ousted Bill de Blasio aide Rachel Noerdlinger provided insider info and ‘talking points’ to Al Sharpton.

A former top aide to Mayor de Blasio’s wife served as a backchannel messenger to both the mayor and the Rev. Al Sharpton, emails released to the Daily News Thursday reveal.

Rachel Noerdlinger provided Sharpton, her former boss, with insider info and delivered “talking points” to Sharpton to have him attack unfavorable stories on de Blasio, the emails, provided to the News as part of a Freedom of Information request, show.

She also got Sharpton to lend a hand when de Blasio was under fire for interceding on behalf of a supporter, the Rev. Orlando Findlayter, who’d been arrested for outstanding warrants related to traffic violations and a civil disobedience arrest.

Al doesn’t speak truth to power. He speaks for power against truth.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE TED CRUZ’S SUPREME COURT PLAN, but the Supreme Court is already a “third political branch.”

How about this alternative: When Cruz is elected President, Congress ends the filibuster, then expands the Court to 15 justices.

CHANGE: House conservatives emboldened.

A critical bloc of House conservatives has been invigorated by its victory over GOP leaders, who caved in a high-profile fight over a punished subcommittee chairman.

The reinstatement of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) is a small win for the months-old Freedom Caucus. But it could have broader implications when House Republicans pick a new leadership team after the 2016 elections.

While Freedom Caucus founders insist they aren’t focused on next year’s contests, the cluster of about 50 conservative rebels is gaining clout in the conference and will surely have a role to play if there’s a choice presented to members.

House Republicans are heavily favored to keep their majority, given their 246-188 advantage over Democrats, and many believe the next election could serve as a chance to elect more conservative leaders — including a new Speaker.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has held the top job since 2011 and says he’s running for a fourth term, but he’s seen a rising number of conservatives defy him in public leadership votes.

And if Boehner calls it quits, his top lieutenants — Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) — could face challenges from the right as they seek to move up the ladder.

Boehner’s speakership has not been exceptionally successful.

DON’T TURN AROUND. DER KOMMISSAR’S IN TOWN. Feds: Celebrate the Fourth By Reciting Obamacare Talking Points to Your Family.

RACISM IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Hillary Clinton Donor Calls Prominent African-American Legal Scholar a ‘Clown in Blackface’ — Will she condemn? I think that all Democratic candidates should be asked about this. And President Obama, too!

July 2, 2015

ONCE AGAIN, REPUBLICANS PREEMPTIVELY SURRENDERED TO A MEDIA BULLDOZING OPERATION: Confederate Flag Flop: Public Opinion Remains Unchanged From Where It Was 15 Years Ago.

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ADDING TO THE DIVERSITY OF THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD: Jim Webb Announces White House Candidacy.

His message touts his military experience as a company commander in Vietnam and as an assistant secretary of defense and secretary of the Navy.

He also directly takes on Clinton’s record by arguing he would not have voted for the Iraq War if he had been a senator at the time and would not have used military force in Libya during the Arab Spring.

Clinton voted to authorize that war, a decision she’s since said was a mistake, and she played in integral role in the Obama administration’s support of Libyan rebels to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Yeah, that hasn’t gone very well.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Ex-Bishop Foley teacher sentenced for sex with student. “A former high school Spanish teacher was sentenced to at least six years in prison Thursday morning in Macomb County District Court for her sexual relationship with a student. Kathryn Kronk’s sentence will run concurrent with an identical 6- to 15-year sentence she received in March from an Oakland County judge for having sex with the 15-year-old student. Kronk, 30, a former Bishop Foley High School teacher, appeared in both Oakland and Macomb county courts because her sexual relationship with the student was in his home in Macomb Township and in Sterling Heights. She also engaged in sexual acts with the teenager in classrooms at Bishop Foley High School in Madison Heights.”

CAVEAT: THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO SAY YOU SHOULD PUT PEAS IN YOUR GUACAMOLE. For a Better Steak, Cook Directly on Charcoal. On the other hand, if it was good enough for Ike, . . .

OBAMA VISITS WISCONSIN, SMEARS WALKER: President Obama is visiting the Badger State today, greeted at the airport by Gov. Scott Walker. Despite Walker’s hospitality, it didn’t take long for the Campaigner-in-Chief to take the lame duck presidential gloves off and attack Walker and the GOP policies he’s implemented:

He said neighboring Minnesota had raised the minimum wage, implemented all-day kindergarten and made it easier to go to college while raising taxes on the top two percent. Obama said the results are that Minnesota has a lower unemployment rate and $9,000 higher median income than its neighbor.

Obama said all of the Republicans running — he joked that he’s lost track of how many and suggested they could start their own Hunger Games (video) — all have the same governing agenda of giving breaks to the rich while everyone else is on their own. That’s the same policies, Obama said, that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

He even joked that the Republicans were like having a crazy Uncle Harry — somebody you love but “you don’t want to put in charge.”

And he said that the fight is also about values.

“Being an American is not about taking as much as you can from your neighbor before they take as much as they can from you,” he said. “We are not a bunch of individuals out here on our own. We are a community, we are family. We are all in this together.”

Ah yes, it’s always heartwarming to hear the Dear Leader President speak of communist communitarian values that are so deeply antithetical to the individualist values upon which this country is based. And of course it’s much better, for a republic such as ours, to have only one candidate for President rather than a choice. Who wants a choice anyway–that’s so Hunger Games and individualistic, to have a bunch of competitors vying for the nomination.  As for a “crazy Uncle Harry,” let’s just say that “crazy Uncle Joe,” even crazier “Uncle Bernie,” and the pathological liar-cat lady “Aunt Hillary” aren’t individuals I would want to have the metaphorical keys to the nuclear arsenal, either.

RELATED: Scott Walker’s retort: Welcome to Wisconsin, Mr. President.

HE DESERVED A LONG LIFE: Nicholas Winton, rescuer of children during the Holocaust, dies at 106. “He was credited with saving, through his personal initiative, the lives of at least 669 boys and girls. For decades after the war, he kept his work secret.”

Plus, a reminder of FDR’s anti-semitism: “If America had only agreed to take them, too, I could have saved at least 2,000 more.”

PROBLEMS ON the EU’s southern flank.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Breitbart’s Mike Flynn Tries to Jump From Pundit to Politician in Illinois.

You can donate here if you’re so inclined. He’s a good guy.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT’S SUDDENLY ILLEGAL TO MOVE MONEY OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY? Basic Internet services disappear.

Just as individual Greeks are losing access to Apple’s iCloud, as the Athens staff of Bloomberg News recently discovered, so companies are finding themselves cut off from services critical to their ongoing operations.

The problem demonstrates a hidden risk in today’s otherwise efficient vertical disintegration. Taking for granted the easy flow of money across borders, system designers never foresaw a situation in which companies with adequate funds would find that they couldn’t pay foreign vendors.

“Greek companies are not able at this moment to pay for hosting (Amazon), storage (Dropbox), email services (MailChimp) and many other services,” says Jon Vlachogiannis, a Bay Area entrepreneur, in an email. Without these services, otherwise viable businesses are in trouble.

Vlachogiannis and other expats are stepping up to pay the bills from California, rescuing companies with astonishingly small amounts.

IT TAKES HARD MEN TO BRING SOFT ICE CREAM TO THE CALIPHATE: Just In Time For Summer, Step Inside The Isis Ice Cream Shop:

Like a stranger luring a kid into a car with a candy bar, ISIS has previously touted its sweet treats in its recruitment efforts. “If you were worried about leaving behind your local Costa Coffee then you will be happy to know that the Caliphate serves some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around,” British ISIS member Abu Rumaysah al-Britani wrote in May’s A Brief Guide to the Islamic State. For the jihadi sweet tooth, he noted, ISIS ice cream is “fluffy, velvety and sweet” and “Snickers, Kit Kat, Bounty, Twix, Kinder Surprise, Cadburys — yes, yes we have it all.” Yesterday, ISIS released photos of ice cream and smoothies being served in Iraq’s Kirkuk province.

Huh. I thought ISIS didn’t like decadent Western consumer entertainment products. So to review, synthesizers and drum kits no, Snickers, Kit Kat, Bounty, Twix, Kinder Surprise, Cadburys, yes! Ooooohkaaaaay.

RELATED: Don’t miss the photo of the woman working inside a Rossi’s Ice Cream truck in England atop Mark Steyn’s new post on “Going with the Flow.” “That’s a British ‘ice-cream lady’ of the 21st century,” Mark notes. “At a certain level, it’s ridiculous serving 99s and raspberry ripples in a burqa. But at another, far more important level, it’s not in the least bit ridiculous: it’s telling you that these guys mean it — and they’ve figured out that you don’t.”

FREE SPEECH IS SO 20TH CENTURY: Hurt someone’s feelings on the Internet in New Zealand, go to jail for two years.

ATHENS ON THE POTOMAC: “Like many Americans, I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Greece. Unfortunately, Greece will be visiting us unless we change things and fast.”

DEBATE: Are Academic Law Libraries Doomed? I hate to go with “yes,” because I love libraries. And Tennessee Law has a really beautiful library. But notwithstanding that, I do nearly all my research online now, and I think students mostly use our library as a study hall, more than as a research tool.

BRIT HUME: WITH HER HISTORY OF LYING, HILLARY’S LUCKY SHE’S NOT A REPUBLICAN. Shot:

She even once claimed that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary after he became the first man to climb Mount Everest. But that didn’t happen until five years after she was born.

More recently she claimed she’d turned over all her job-related e-mails from her days as Secretary of State. But more work-related e-mails have since turned up that the State Department didn’t have. And she claimed the notorious Sidney Blumenthal was just an old friend with whom she kept in touch and who sent her unsolicited e-mails. Turns out as we’ve heard she was reaching out to him in the dark of night during the first year of the Obama administration and her e-mails make clear she welcomed and encouraged his advice. With such a record of mendacity, and there are numerous other examples, one thing is clear, it’s a good thing for Hillary Clinton that she’s not a Republican.

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A FIELD GUIDE TO ACELA REPUBLICANS, from Rick Wilson at the Federalist, who among other things correctly notes that “The Media Loves Acela Republicans Until It Hates Them:”

Acela Republicans are creatures of the media, from beginning to end. Acela Republicans are always the smartest, tallest, most articulate, most handsome fellows in the room. Just ask the people at The New York Times or MSNBC or The Washington Post, who have adopted them like exotic pets. “Oh, look,” they coo, “This one doesn’t bite or have any of those ugly, primitive conservative policies. We shall feed it, caress it and keep it for our own.”

Acela Republicans are shocked by the media’s betrayal. After years of media love and attention, John McCain found himself beset at every turn in 2008, unable to comprehend why his good friends in the press were suddenly busy destroying him at Barack Obama’s behest. “But I’m always on the Sunday shows, and this Obama fellow doesn’t even know Tammy Haddad.” Jon Huntsman, famously feted as the smart, green, modern Republican, was suddenly an also-ran practically the minute he touched down from China. Reasonable Mitt Romney? He killed a woman, remember?

Acela Republicans never get invited to the prom in the general election. No matter how perfectly reasonable Acela Republicans think they’ve been, the Democratic candidate could eat a live baby on national television, proclaim fealty to Cthulhu, and threaten to incinerate Topeka with cleansing nuclear flame and the media will still be in his camp at the end. No matter how corrupt (Clinton), crazy (Sanders), commie (Warren) the Democrat is, they’re getting all the media love in the end

Do I even need to add, read the whole thing? Read the whole thing.™

ILLINOIS: EXCLUSIVE: A Shocking Admission Comes From Within Darin LaHood’s Disillusioned Campaign — About IL GOP Governor Bruce Rauner Directing the Race. “If it seemed to you, immediately following Aaron Schock’s resignation, that the state GOP and Governor Bruce Rauner were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood, that’s because they were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood.”

WHY FIRE IS BRINGING LAWSUITS AGAINST COLLEGES: FIRE’s Will Creeley explains why lawsuits are needed to combat speech codes on college campuses in The Huffington Post. From students being prevented from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution to college administrators stopping a student from displaying a sign supporting gun rights on campus, FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project has taken on a lot of outrageous censorship cases in its first year. Check out our latest video that overviews Stand Up For Speech thus far.

I SURE HOPE SO:  Philip Klein: Social Conservatives and Libertarians Will Get Married.

The Republican Party, broadly speaking, is comprised of many factions that are often at odds with one another. Prominent examples are the battles between the grassroots and the national party establishment and between defense hawks and non-interventionists.

Perhaps fiercer than any of these fights is the long-standing conflict between social conservatives and libertarians. But when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last month, they created an opening for a wedding between these two groups, which could benefit the Republican Party ahead of the 2016 election. . . .

But as the dust settles on the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, it’s becoming clearer that the debate over the issue is going to shift to one of religious freedom. And on that issue, there’s much more of an opening for libertarians and social conservatives to get along. . . .

But with gay marriage legal, the cultural debate has been moving to issues such as: Should a religiously observant baker or photographer be forced to participate in gay weddings? Or, should a Catholic Church be forced to perform gay marriages?

Whatever their differences on the underlying issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, it will be hard for many libertarians to justify any sort of government coercion forcing individuals to violate their deeply held beliefs. As a result, they’ll find themselves increasingly — and begrudgingly — on the same side as social conservatives on many of the looming debates.

What this means for the Republican Party in 2016 depends in large part on how candidates campaign on the issue once the debate moves beyond the stage of the initial reactions. The most unifying message for Republican candidates would be: Whatever your views on same-sex marriage, government shouldn’t prevent individuals from living their lives in accordance with their values.

I agree with this advice for GOP presidential candidates. Don’t waste your energy trying to put the gay marriage genie back in the bottle. Focus on stopping the hemorrhage and defend the First Amendment like it’s constitutional life or death–because it is. 

OPERATION CHOKEPOINT, JR.: Chicago Area Sheriff Who Wasted Taxpayer Money Suing Craigslist, Now Strong-Arms Payment Companies To Avoid Backpage. This thing where government officials who don’t like you go after you through your bank and credit card companies needs to be squashed.

AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Men’s Denim Store.

Plus, deals on Hunting & Tactical Knives.

And please remember: InstaPundit is an Amazon affiliate. When you do your shopping through the Amazon links on this page, including the “Shop Amazon” tab at the top or the searchbox in the right sidebar, you support this blog at no cost to yourself. Just click on the Amazon link, then shop as usual. I very much appreciate it when you do.

JIM TREACHER: Mr. Sulu, Set Phasers To Racist.

By referring to Clarence Thomas as “a clown in blackface,” George Takei has taken away nobody’s dignity but his own.

Why is it okay for a Japanese man to use such racist language against a black man? Because of their relative positions in the hierarchy of grievances. Sure, Thomas is black, and therefore he’s a designated victim. But he’s also a conservative, and he’s explicitly rejecting the narrative of victimhood that underpins the entire “social justice” movement. Therefore, the black dude is trumped by the gay Asian dude. Takei can spew as much racist garbage as he wants, and he’s protected because he not only embraces his own victimhood, but he treasures victimhood itself like the purest gold. Without it, he’s just another washed-up actor from a schlocky old show about spaceships.

Not that I doubt Takei means what he says. He really is a huge racist.

True.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: DNA nanomachines more stable than expected in human serum and blood.

VIBRANT DIVERSITY FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR ME: U.S. Twitter employees overwhelmingly white, Asian; just 1.7 percent black.

And yes, Jesse Jackson is on it. “Why the work force should racially reflect the makeup of the client base is, of course, left unexplained,” Michael Walsh writes in response. “But that’s not going to stop the grievance-mongers and shakedown artists.”

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about the 2017 Audi A4.

YOUR OBAMACARE!!! FAIL OF THE DAY: Is it possible to spend $137,000,000 to air a Richard Simmons video to promote Obamacare?

Yes. We. Can.

“Sacramento spent $137,000,000 — that’s right: nine figures — to produce and market this… thing,” Steve Green writes. “By way of comparison, last year’s Johnny Depp flop, Transcendence, had a production and marketing budget of ‘only’ $100,000,000.”

UPDATE: OK, Cal Watchdog.dog is reporting that Sacramento only fleeced the taxpayers for a $1.37 million Richard Simmons video. But still, that’s $1.37 million more than the state should have spent hiring him as a socialized medicine shill.

PHILIP HAMBURGER: Chevron‘s Last Days?

SO I FINISHED READING JOHN BIRMINGHAM’S LATEST DAVE HOOPER BOOK, Dave vs. The Monsters: Ascendance. Quite good, and I recommend the series for those who like Larry Correia’s stuff.

WHY ARE DEMOCRATS ALWAYS SO RACIST? George Takei: Justice Thomas ‘a clown in blackface.’ As somebody said on Twitter, Takei is taking the sore-winner thing to a whole new level.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Labor Participation Rate At 38-Year Low. Plus, the inevitable downward revision to previous months: “There were 60,000 fewer jobs created in April and May than initially reported.”

Related: Men Not At Work. “Thirty-eight years takes us back to 1977, the unhappy dawn of the Age of Carter.”

AN EXCELLENT PIECE IN THE GEORGETOWN LAW JOURNAL BY JUDGE ALEX KOZINSKI: Criminal Law 2.0.

I should note that he cites my Ham Sandwich Nation piece, along with Michael Cottone’s really excellent Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in the Regulatory Age.

FIND YOUR PERFECT BEACH IN TEXAS, with the Texas Coasts Web App. Bryan Preston emails: “It’s a web app guide to all 600+ beaches, boat ramps, camp grounds etc on the Texas gulf coast. We built it at GLO because we’re the agency that’s charged with keeping the state’s beaches open for everyone, and because we thought it might help spur economic activity. The Texas coast generates about $7 billion per year. Maybe this app can add a little bit to that.” (Bumped).

BLACK CHAMBER: MINORITY, LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS HURT BY EPA REGULATIONS:

Harry Alford, the president and chief executive officer of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, believes the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, designed to stop coal-fired power plants from spewing carbon into the atmosphere, will do nothing but hurt blacks and Hispanics.

And for the life of him, Alford can’t figure out why the Obama administration doesn’t realize this. Or maybe, Alford said, they have.

“EPA’s apparent indifference to the plight of low-income and minority households is inexcusable,” said Alford. “We should pursue policies that expand opportunity for the less fortunate, not ones that further disadvantage them. The only solution is for EPA to withdraw its rule.”

Why would either the EPA or low-income and minority households who keep monolithically voting against their own best interests start to change now?

As for as the latter group, where else would they go?

WHY COLLEGE KIDS ARE AVOIDING THE STUDY OF LITERATURE: Why is it, Prof. Gary Saul Morson of Northwestern University asks In the new issue of Commentary, “that students are choosing to study economics or chemistry rather than literature?…Could it be that the problem lies not with the students but with the professors themselves?”

A few years ago, when I was talking to a group of students, one of them asked why I teach the books I do, and I replied simply that they are among the greatest ever written. Later one of my colleagues told me she experienced the thrill one hears when a taboo is broken, because it has been orthodoxy among literature professors for some three decades that there is no such thing as “great literature.” There are only things called great literature because hegemonic forces of oppression have mystified us into believing in objective greatness, whereas intrinsically Shakespeare is no different from a laundry list or any other document. If this sounds exaggerated, let me cite the most commonly taught anthology among literature professors, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Its editors paraphrase a key tenet of the dominant movement called “cultural studies,” which has set the critical agenda:

Literary texts, like other artworks, are neither more nor less important than any other cultural artifact or practice. Keeping the emphasis on how cultural meanings are produced, circulated, and consumed, the investigator will focus on art or literature insofar as such works connect with broader social factors, not because they possess some intrinsic interest or special aesthetic values.

In other words, what used to be called masterpieces are worthy of study only insofar as they fit into a liberationist program, and no further. If elements of popular entertainment illustrate social forces better than Pope or Proust do, then they should (and sometimes do) constitute the curriculum. The language of “production, circulation, and consumption” is designed to remind us that art is an industrial product like any other and supports the rule of capital no less, and perhaps more insidiously, than the futures market.

In universities, this approach often leads to teaching documents instead of literature. Or perhaps cultural theory itself, taught pretty much without reference to the cultural documents in which it is supposedly grounded. Or perhaps second-rate literary works, which are a lot better than great ones either as documents or as providers of simple political lessons. At Northwestern, our engineering students have room in their schedule for perhaps two humanities courses, so—just think of it—a professor chooses to expose them not to great writers such as George Eliot or Jane Austen but to second-rate stuff or, still worse, some dense pages written by philosophers such as Jacques Derrida or Michel Foucault.

In each of these interest-killing approaches—the technical, the judgmental, and the documentary—true things are said. Of course literature uses symbols, provides lessons in currently fashionable problems, and can serve as a document of its times. The problem is what these approaches do not achieve.

They fail to give a reason for reading literature.

Read the whole thing; it’s a beautifully written essay. Having destroyed the study of history by transforming it into an endless litany of soul-crushing racial, sexual and class-oriented grievances, a form of study that historian has dubbed “Black Armband History,” I’m not at all surprised to see a similar approach now ruining literature as well in academia.

IN THE MAIL: From Tom Young, The Hunters.

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And, also today only: “One Tree Hill: The Complete Series,” $129.99 (76% off).

Plus: Save 35% or more on NeverKink Hoses.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 784.

SNAPSHOT: THE FIRST ACADEMY AWARDS TELECAST, as spotted by Terry Teachout, who writes on “The opening of the twenty-fifth Academy Awards ceremony, the first to be televised. The ceremony, which took place on March 19, 1953, was introduced by Charles Brackett, co-author of the screenplays for The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard, and began with a monologue by Bob Hope, the master of ceremonies. Ronald Reagan was the off-camera narrator.”

Click over for a seven minute time capsule of a Hollywood that the boomers completely bulldozed into the ground by the end of the following decade. Some of Hope’s comments about the product aired on television are rather timeless though, alas.