May 27, 2015

BECAUSE THEY’RE SMART:  Naomi Schaeffer Riley on “Why Powerful Men Now Hide Behind Open Doors.

But this idea that it doesn’t look right for a male boss to be alone with a female employee sounds like it comes straight out of Victorian England. And it’s probably just an excuse.

More likely the congressmen, like the professors I’ve spoken to, don’t want to leave themselves open to claims of sexual harassment and the lawsuits that might result.

Feminists have managed to create an employment atmosphere where men walk around on pins and needles wondering when something they say might be taken out of context or when a woman might decide to ruin a man’s career with a false accusation.

Surely there are plenty of male bosses guilty of boorish behavior. But there are also plenty of women who believe that a sexist joke or even a compliment on one’s outfit is enough to create a “hostile work environment.”

And so rather than engaging in a “he-said, she-said” deposition, many bosses would rather make sure they have witnesses to every interaction.

She’s absolutely right.  When I worked on the Hill back in the late 80s/early 90s, I would spend hours alone, doors closed, with the male Congressmen for whom I worked, sometimes on weekends. I learned a tremendous amount during those hours, and I hate to think that young women these days cannot get the same one-on-one interaction with male bosses/professors because of concerns over sexual harassment claims. But I certainly understand the concern and if I were male, I would probably avoid one-on-one, closed door interaction with all female colleagues except for my most senior and trusted aides.  #waronwomen

THE HILL: Washington is ready to spend.

Washington wants to spend more.

Just four years ago, the nation’s rapidly expanding debt was seen as Washington’s No. 1 crisis.

When House Republicans took the majority in 2011, they made it their overarching mission to rein in spending. Together with the White House, they agreed to limit spending for the next decade by the use of budget caps.

Now those spending ceilings are unpopular with members of both parties.

Pressure to break them is coming from all sides, and building.

“We’re living with just really low numbers without any wiggle room, any flexibility,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), one appropriations subcommittee chairwoman, told The Hill.

You know, I’m unpersuaded.

JEFF JACOBY: Let millionaire ex-presidents pay for themselves. “For all their poor-mouthing about being ‘dead broke’ and needing to ‘pay our bills,’ the Clintons’ income puts them well within the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all Americans. So why, pray, should taxpayers be giving Bill Clinton an allowance that amounts to another million dollars a year? Indeed, considering that every living past president is a multimillionaire, why should taxpayers have to fund an allowance for any of them?”

WELL, YES: The reclassification of ‘poverty’ was a con-trick by the Left: Of course some people are in genuine need, but it is nothing compared to previous generations – who would kill to be poor in today’s society.

The word “poverty” is bandied about as never before. Labour politicians, columnists for The Guardian and The Independent, representatives of charities such as Oxfam, use the term repeatedly, suggesting that poverty in Britain is a major and even a growing problem. Very rarely does anyone on radio or television dare challenge this idea. But what do we mean by the word “poverty” today? And how does our idea of poverty compare with that of the past?

Not at all, is the answer.

May 26, 2015

ROGER KIMBALL: Kierkegaard and Trigger Warnings.

I’M SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU:  IRS hit by cyberattack, stealing more than $50 million and stealing more than 100,000 taxpayers’ information.  I’m sure the IRS will learn from this mistake, though, and it won’t happen again.  But of course they’ll need more money, to beef up security and all.

EUGENE VOLOKH: Adultery, adulteration, and the historical ‘married woman’ limitation.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: What was it like to watch Saigon fall?

WHITE HOUSE SUPPORTS MORATORIUM ON GERMLINE CELL EDITING:  The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a statement supporting the voluntary industry moratorium on research involving gene-editing of germline cells (i.e., sperm and egg cells).  The fear is that such research could alter the genetic composition of humans for generations to come, whereas genetic modification of somatic cells (fully differentiated cells, such as heart cells, blood cells, etc.) only treats the individual affected, but does not alter that individual’s germline, and thus his/her propensity to pass along genetic conditions to future generations.

ARKANSAS AND INCEST GO HAND IN HAND THEY SAY: Clinton Foundation Donor Penguin Random House Announces Book Deal with Chelsea Clinton.

BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO DAMNED COLD? Why Aren’t People Moving to America’s ‘Best’ Cities? Let the federal government tell you where to live. “I mention those other lists because there’s a better list out today, the Census Bureau’s most recent city-level population estimates, based on a very straightforward methodology: These are the places where people are actually moving. That doesn’t mean you should move to these places, too. But if they’re good enough for others, you might want to give them a look.”

Why pay attention to what people actually want, when we have experts to tell us what they should want?

I LIKE THIS APPROACH TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES:  Stuart Rothenberg has a modest proposal, “How to Fix an Unfair Presidential Debate System.”  The Fox News and CNN approach to handling the large field of candidates is to limit debate participation to the “top 10″ candidates, as evidenced by various polls.  But this does block out many good candidates out, particularly those without wide name recognition.

Rothenberg’s proposal?  ”The obvious answer is to divide the field in half, randomly assigning individual hopefuls to one of the two debates. Of course, not everyone will like the group he or she is in, and the makeup of each group would determine the particular dynamic of that debate.”

Sounds fair to me.

THE LAW PROFESSSOR HAS BEEN SCHOOLED:  WSJ’s editorial about the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to reverse the preliminary injunction halting the President’s unilateral immigration legislation executive action:

America’s most powerful former law professor is getting a re-education in the Constitution, and on present course President Obama might flunk out. Witness Tuesday’s federal appeals-court rebuke of his 2014 immigration order, including language that suggests the Administration will also lose on the legal and policy merits. . . .

The Administration claims it is merely allowing immigration officers to apply routine “prosecutorial discretion” on a case by case basis not to deport illegals. But the court noted that if this were true “we would expect to find an explicit delegation of authority” to implement the Obama rule—“a program that makes 4.3 million otherwise removable aliens eligible for lawful presence, work authorization, and associated benefits—but no such provision exists.” (Our emphasis.)

In summary, said the court, “the United States has not made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits.” . . .

Mr. Obama could have avoided this mess if he had recalled his law classes on the separation of powers. That’s where he should have learned that the federal government can’t run roughshod over states and that the courts are an independent branch of government that can call out a President for breaking the law.

Yep–he would have failed my constitutional law class if he had tried to justify such sweeping authority to categorically rewrite existing law and confer benefits Congress never provided as “prosecutorial discretion.”  It’s almost as though the Fifth Circuit has been reading my House Judiciary testimony on the topic.

NEWS YOU CAN USE:  Caterpillars contort their bodies to look like bird poop. Apparently, it wards off hungry birds.

THE RISE OF EXECUTIVE FEDERALISM:  Michael Greve has an excellent piece at Real Clear Policy on what he terms the rise of “executive federalism“:

“Cooperative” federalism is supposed to come from Congress and federal statutes. However, practically nothing comes from Congress these days. The legislature is notoriously divided. It lacks the financial resources to rope recalcitrant states in new federalism bargains (witness the ACA), and it cannot even revisit the bargains embedded in old statutes (such as education programs or the Clean Air Act). Thus, to make federal programs “work” under current conditions, agencies rewrite statutes, issue expansive waivers, and negotiate deals with individual states on a one-off basis. That is how the ACA is being “administered.” That is how Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell is trying to expand Medicaid. That is how No Child Left Behind is run. And that is how Environmental Protection Agency is trying to impose its Clean Power Plan: “stakeholder meetings” and assurances of regulatory forbearance for cooperating states; unveiled threats against holdout states. This brand of federalism knows neither statutory compliance nor even administrative regularity. It is executive federalism.

. . . .  Further along that path lies the fate of Argentina, which practices an advanced form of executive federalism: corrupt, ruinous, unstable.

Exactly.  ”Cooperative” federalism is just a ruse–often little more than federal bribery for States to relinquish their reserved powers under the Tenth Amendment.  And while Congress could, in theory, “fix” many of the problems by writing clearer statutes, there are multiple reasons why this may not always be politically possible, and courts are left to reign in the most egregious ultra vires executive overreach.  There is much to be developed here, both politically and via litigation, to stop the erosion of federalism.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, GRADUATE SCHOOL EDITION: Are Black Males the Only Smart Ones When it Comes to PhD Psychology programs? “So the salary of psychologists is sinking, it takes 11 years of training to get the job, and students are saddled with up to $120,000 worth of debt and now they want more black males to take on this risk? The article calls this alarmist and disappointing. I call it a smart move. There are other professions that are less risky, more lucrative and just as rewarding without 11 years of one’s life gone and possibly one’s health after dealing with the field for decades.”

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CORPORATE CRONYISM PERSONIFIED:  Hillary Clinton’s support of the Ex-Im Bank is more evidence of her inextricable involvement with corporate welfare sleaze.

JAMES BOVARD: How Baltimore Became Pottersville. “President Obama has said that the Baltimore riots showed the need for new ‘massive investments in urban communities.’ But HUD’s record proves that the best-intentioned federal intervention is far more likely to sow chaos than to spur the stable neighborhoods that are perhaps the best insurance policy against violence. Trusting federal housing subsidies to create domestic tranquility is the ultimate triumph of hope over experience.”

THOMAS SOWELL:  How to open the mind of a college graduate.  Good practical advice for trying to help young people move out of the liberal/progressive cocoon and into the real world.

TYPICAL SOCIALIST GRAFT:  A story over at the Daily Caller asks, Did Bernie Sanders’ wife commit fraud?

Jane Sanders was the president of tiny Burlington College in Burlington, Vermont for seven years, from 2004 until 2011. During her tenure, Sanders masterminded an ambitious expansion plan that would have more than doubled the size of the school. To do so, she had the college take on $10 million in debt to finance the purchase of a new, far more expansive campus. The move backfired massively, leading to Sanders’ departure from the college and the near-collapse of the institution.

According to Jonna Spilbor, an attorney who reviewed the documents for TheDCNF, “the college APPEARS to have committed a pretty sophisticated crime” by exaggerating donor commitments in order to secure financing for the deal.

Ouch. Between this and Hillary’s behavior, the Democrats are having a hard time finding candidates who practice the corporate/business ethics they so loudly preach.

HEY, THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T KEEP ITS OWN SECRETS. WHY SHOULD IT BE ANY GOOD AT KEEPING YOURS? IRS Says Thieves Stole Tax Info From 100,000.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: What Your Neighborhood List-Serv Tells You About The Demise of America.

PATRIOT ACT “METADATA” PHONE COLLECTION EXPIRES JUNE 1:  The collection of cell phone “metadata”–the time/duration of calls, plus the numbers dialed (but not the content of the conversations) has been justified under section 215 of the Patriot Act, which automatically expires June 1, Unless and until Congress can agree on some legislative alterations.  President Obama is urging the Senate to reconvene from its Memorial Day recess to take up the issue again.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) staged at 10-hour filibuster over section 215 and on Saturday the Senate refused to approve a temporary extension of the program.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he will reconvene the Senate on Sunday, May 31, for a last ditch effort at reauthorization.

REMEMBER: DON’T FIGHT THE CURRENT. Swimmer’s Death in Florida Brings New Attention to Rip Current Dangers.

IMMIGRATION INJUNCTION ALLOWED TO STAND:  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has refused (by a 2-1 vote) to stay a preliminary injunction granted by a federal trial judge that halted the Obama Administration’s implementation of its unilateral legislation executive order granting deportation amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.  In declining to remove the injunction, the Fifth Circuit said:

Because the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay.

Translated from legalese: The Obama Administration’s unilateral legislation executive action is probably illegal, so the trial judge was correct in stopping it from going into effect.  This is very good news for the rule of law.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: To Fix Higher Ed, Fire A Lot Of Administrators.

A BIG BOOK DEAL for John Scalzi.

WELL, THEY CERTAINLY MISSED THE BOAT ON EBOLA. BUT IS MORE MONEY THE ANSWER? Emergency Fund Created for World Health Agency.

ILLEGAL ALIENS AND ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE:  The Supreme Court has granted review to hear a case, Evenwel v. Abbott, brought by a group of Texas voters who challenge the apportionment of legislative districts using total population counts, rather than the total number of eligible voters.  Plaintiffs assert that voters living in districts with small numbers of illegal aliens have their votes diluted compared to voters living in districts with large numbers of illegal alines, thus violating the Equal Protection Clause and its “one person, one vote” principle.

SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING A GIRLY MAN WOULD SAY:  Why Men Shouldn’t Lift Weights.

I wondered why us guys were so conditioned to want huge muscles, even with our high school “glory days” behind us. Now, I understand that it’s more important to have a quality workout resulting in sustained energy and fitness, rather than one that focuses on repetitions and achievement-based results that diminish quickly over time.

Plus, it makes them into strong alpha males and that’s bad.

COURTS DON’T FIX “MISTAKES,” LEGISLATURES DO:  A New York Times piece designed to influence the Supreme Court in the Obamacare subsidy case, King v. Burwell, “Four Words That Imperil Health Care Law Were All a Mistake, Writers Now Say.”  How convenient–a self-serving, ex post confession by some Democrats that they didn’t read the bill, and now really, really, really hope the Supreme Court will “fix” their mistake.

A VELVET FIST DICTATORSHIP:  Do they not see the irony? The New York Times published an oped over the weekend titled, “The New Dictators Rule by Velvet Fist,” penned by a couple of professors.  Their thesis:

[A] new brand of authoritarian government has evolved that is better adapted to an era of global media, economic interdependence and information technology. The “soft” dictators concentrate power, stifling opposition and eliminating checks and balances, while using hardly any violence.

Um, yeah.  Sound familiar?  Eliminating checks and balances? Anyone?  To make matters worse, the authors further elaborate on the characteristics of such “soft” dictatorships:

The new autocrats often get to power through reasonably fair elections. Mr. Chávez, for instance, won in 1998 in what international observers called one of the most transparent votes in Venezuela’s history.

Soaring approval ratings are a more cost-effective path to dominance than terror. Mr. Erdogan exploited his popularity to amend the Constitution by referendum and to pack Turkey’s Constitutional Court.

The new autocrats use propaganda, censorship and other information-based tricks to inflate their ratings and to convince citizens of their superiority over available alternatives. . . .

When their economies do well, such leaders co-opt potential critics with material rewards. In harder times, they use censorship. The new autocrats bribe media owners with advertising contracts, threaten libel suits, and encourage pro-regime investors to purchase critical publications.

They dominate the Internet by blocking access to independent websites, hiring “trolls” to flood comments pages with pro-regime spam, and paying hackers to vandalize opposition online media sites.

I could hardy contain my laughter whilst reading this.  Hmmmm… let’s see:  propaganda? Check. Censorship? Check. Co-opting potential critics with material rewards? Check. Control over media through various civil or criminal means?  Check.  As for hiring trolls to flood comments and vandalizing opposition media sites, that can all be accomplished through private groups, without the need for government fingerprints.

But hey, I’m sure that could never happen here.

THE HACKERS KNOW, BUT WE DON’T:   A screenshot from a Romanian hacker confirms that two emails sent to Hillary Clinton from Sidney Blumenthal regarding intelligence reports on Libya are “missing.”  Hmmmm… I wonder what happened to them? Nothing to see here–move along.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: To Fix Higher Ed, Fire A Lot Of Administrators.

IN THE MAIL: Created by Larry Niven, Man-Kzin XIV (Man-Kzin Wars).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 747.

#GREENFAIL: Electric Cars Running on Empty.

There were supposed to be one million electric vehicles (EVs) cruising America’s roads this year, but we’ve fallen well short of that 2009 goal. Today there are just 300,000 EVs in the U.S., and in March the government quietly revised downwards its EV goals for government fleets.

That nice, round target was set in the aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse. The newly inaugurated President Obama was full of hope and still promising change, and desperate auto company CEOs had been forced to beg Washington to save the auto industry with massive bailouts. Those circumstances allowed the President and his allies to set what, if we’re being kind, might be called a “stretch goal”: one million EVs by 2015. But here we are, and less than one third of the President’s 2009 target have been purchased in the past six years. By contrast, it takes Ford fewer than six months to sell as many F-150s, a single truck in its entire fleet of autos.

Consumers aren’t buying EVs, despite the generous heaping of government support such eco-friendly purchases might net them (each electric vehicle buyer gets a federal tax credit of $7,500 plus state incentives, all of which can add up to several thousand more depending on the circumstances). For its part the federal government has bought more than its fair share of electric vehicles.

It’s Potemkin villages all the way down. And, by the way, if you like electric cars for environmental reasons, you really need to support the construction of new nuclear power plants. Otherwise they’re really just fossil fuel powered cars at one remove.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT’S SLOW DEATH: George Will’s latest column explains his own opposition to the death penalty.  He elaborates:

The conservative case against capital punishment, which 32 states have, is threefold. First, the power to inflict death cloaks government with a majesty and pretense of infallibility discordant with conservatism. Second, when capital punishment is inflicted, it cannot later be corrected because of new evidence, so a capital punishment regime must be administered with extraordinary competence. It is, however, a government program. Since 1973, more than 140 people sentenced to death have been acquitted of their crimes (sometimes by DNA evidence), had the charges against them dismissed by prosecutors, or been pardoned based on evidence of innocence. For an unsparing immersion in the workings of the governmental machinery of death, read “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, executive director and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Third, administration of death sentences is so sporadic and protracted that their power to deter is attenuated. And expensive, because labyrinthine, legal protocols with which the judiciary has enveloped capital punishment are here to stay. Granted, capital punishment could deter: If overdue library books were punishable by death, none would be overdue. But many crimes for which death is reserved, including Tsarnaev’s crime of ideological premeditation, are especially difficult to deter.

While I normally agree with Will on most issues, I must disagree on this one.  The conservative case supporting capital punishment has nothing to do with the “majesty” or “infallibility” or even “competence” of government (God forfend).  Conceding that mistakes both can and will, inevitably, be made, Will wants to know how can one support the death penalty?  This is an important question, but one for which there is a response that is too often overlooked.  The best articulation of the answer comes from Clatstop County, Oregon District Attorney Joshua Marquis [full disclosure:  Josh is my brother-in-law], an elected Democrat D.A. who is one of the most prominent supporters of the death penalty:

[Often cited by death penalty opponents is a] study by Professor Samuel Gross that came out of a Northwestern Law School symposium and subsequent issue of their Journal of Criminal Law. I used Gross’ own numbers to estimate the incidence of real-life exonerations, as opposed to those in TV shows or movies. Gross cited about 390 cases from 1989 to 2003 where he and his team believed serious felony sentences were unfairly handed down against innocent defendants. . . . Gross posits there must be many more exonerations than he identified because he asserts . . . that in many cases DNA or a recantation by a key witness does not exist. So I rounded Gross’s number up to 400 and multiplied it by ten, yielding 4,000 exonerations—far more than I believe exist for the time period. I divided the 4,000 by 15 million, the number of felonies committed during the same period, yielding a “rightful” conviction rate of 99.93%. My article in the New York Times drew howls of protest, many attacking my math, pointing out that my base statistic of 15 million was all felonies.

Okay, so let’s refine the numbers down to just willful homicide and forcible rape. This is narrower than Gross’s sample and amounts to about 1.5 million. Move the decimal one point and you have a “rightful” conviction rate of 99.72%. Small consolation if you are in that .28 of one percent.

The wrongful conviction rate should be lower and prosecutors can do more than anyone in the criminal justice system to make sure that happens by being very discriminating in bringing capital cases. Pharmacists and doctors separately kill 10,000 Americans—by accident—every year, but we don’t ban prescriptions or elective surgery. We try to find out what went wrong and fix it.

Garrett and his fellow opponents of the death penalty—and then true life, and then mandatory sentencing of any sort—claim they really just want to fix the problem. But, as Justice Antonin Scalia acidly pointed out in his concurrence in Kansas v. Marsh, they aren’t interested in fixing the system, but in tearing it down. I have no doubt their beliefs are sincere and deeply held, but if we are to debate such an emotional issue we should do so with context, not ignoring the stories that don’t make the front page or are relegated to the newspaper’s “airplane pages” (B-2, C-5, etc).

States are doing all kinds of things to prevent the errors  . . . better trained and paid public defenders and prosecutors, and a true national DNA bank . . . .

I can understand how libertarians generally don’t trust the government to get things right and accordingly might be even more leery of the government killing someone. Professor Cass Sunstein proposed in “Is Capital Punishment Morally Required: The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs” that if the series of nonideological studies done in the last decade are right, then having a death penalty spares between 10 and 24 innocent victims of murder. How can we abandon indisputably innocent men, women, and children to homicide?

So there is a very small “wrongful” conviction rate, (less than one-half percent) and it seems to be getting smaller and smaller due to advances in DNA and other scientific evidence, as well as a bigger, well-heeled and experienced capital crimes defense bar.  And capital punishment does have a deterrent effect– a point even Will seems to concede, albeit reluctantly.  This deterrence saves innocent lives, and overall, more innocent lives are saved than lost due to the death penalty.  And IMHO, there is an added societal bonus:  Capital punishment serves the important societal objective of good, old fashioned retribution–the recognition that crime, particularly violent crimes capable of triggering the consideration of capital punishment, are inherently harmful to the very fabric of society.  Retribution is a justification for punishment that liberals/progressives have long since forgotten/abandoned, but conservatives and libertarians should not.  (The issue of over-criminalization is a separate issue, but I will assume no one thinks punishment for murder is an example of over-criminalization).

I am content to let the people of each state decide whether the “costs” associated with the death penalty outweigh the “benefits” society derives. Each state should be perfectly free to decide whether it wishes to continue its death penalty as a matter of state law.  But as for the continuing attempts of death penalty opponents to try to “constitutionalize” their opposition, that is another question.

As a constitutional matter, capital punishment was clearly contemplated by the Framers, as the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments state that government may not deprive individuals of “life, liberty or property” without due process of law, the necessary implication of which is that “life” may be deprived by state and federal governments, provided “due process” is provided.  And the Supreme Court itself has stated, most recently in Gregg v. Georgia, that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments does not demand abolition of the death penalty for those who are mentally competent and adults.

If the death penalty is indeed going to die a slow death, it should come from a thoughtful, democratic debate within each State, not through litigation aimed at getting unelected federal judges to impose a “one size fits all” constitutional “solution” on this controversial topic.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST A WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Billions of Dollars ‘Making Mockery’ of Federal Law and Taxpayers at VA. “A federal whistleblower has revealed that the Veterans Health Administration may have improperly spent up to $5 billion in improper and unauthorized procurement expenditures over each of the last five years and lawmakers are demanding an explanation.” Until people routinely go to jail — or hell, even just lose their jobs — for this kind of thing, it will keep going on. There’s your explanation.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: To Fix Higher Ed, Fire A Lot Of Administrators.

MOE LANE: The Fall Of Mozilla, Continued.

ASHE SCHOW: Memorializing Mattress Girl.

Now that her 15 minutes of fame are up, what is to become of “Mattress Girl,” the Columbia University student who became famous after accusing a man of rape?

Many have wondered whether she will be able to find work after her “performance” of carrying her mattress around campus is over. I have no doubt she will, even if she was a visual arts major.

Emma Sulkowicz’s parents were prominent New York psychiatrists, she attended the best schools growing up and gained worldwide attention in school. How could she not find a job?

She’s already been speaking with sexual assault awareness groups, even appearing in the film “The Hunting Ground.” Her degree is probably superfluous at this point.

Perhaps she’ll continue working with victim’s advocacy groups or become a professor at a university. Maybe she’ll make a living through art. Maybe she’ll even be able to live off of selling the mattress project.

It hardly matters — she’ll always be a hero to those who think we should believe every accusation of rape, even when the evidence suggests otherwise.

The feminist lynch mobs, in other words.

DAMN THE TORPEDOES?:  An oped in the WSJ today by former Navy Secretary John Lehman excoriates President Obama’s decision to nominate Admiral John Richardson to the post of chief of naval operations, thus moving him out of his current position as director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP):

Working with the bipartisan leadership of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the secretary of energy, we constructed  . . . a position having executive power to prevent meddling from the layers of bureaucracy that were creating chaos in most defense programs. Importantly, we gave the new incumbent [director of NNPP] complete control of the selection and training of personnel. To ensure that such a powerful executive stayed long enough to execute programs and ensure accountability, a nonrenewable term of eight years was established.

That successful effort was put into an executive order by President Reagan that has worked effectively for 34 years. . . . [The NNPP has] been protected from the 970,000 Pentagon bureaucrats whose paralyzing bloat has made a hash of most Army, Navy and Air Force weapon programs. The reason for Navy nuclear success is because there has always been one strong experienced person in charge and accountable, standing like a stone wall against the bureaucratic onslaught.

But by far the most important benefit from this unique arrangement is the fact that there hasn’t been a single nuclear accident in the seven decades that the U.S. Navy has operated hundreds of nuclear submarines, carriers and surface combatants.

President Obama’s nomination of a current director of the Navy’s nuclear program to be the next chief of Naval Operations puts this unique record at risk. If Adm. Richardson leaves the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which he has headed for less than two years, all that was accomplished by the executive order will be swept aside. The job will become one more rung up the career ladder, a perch for ambitious admirals to use to interact with and please the politicians who have the power to elevate them to more glamorous positions.

Worst of all, if the job is seen as a steppingstone, a fraying of the zero-defects culture may begin and the possibility of a nuclear accident within the U.S. Navy may increase.

Yikes.

AMY ALKON: Women Now Demanding To Be Treated As Eggshells, Not Equals.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Security lapses draw heat on Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police are taking heavy fire from members of Congress over major security breaches that placed the lawmakers and their staffs at risk.

The law enforcement agency charged with securing the U.S. Capitol building is embroiled in controversy after a series of recent apparent security lapses.

Chief among them are a string of embarrassing cases involving Capitol Police officers who forgot their guns in public bathrooms.

Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with firearms.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Sticker Shock for Some Obamacare Customers. “So the proposed 2016 Obamacare rates have been filed in many states, and in many states, the numbers are eye-popping. Market leaders are requesting double-digit increases in a lot of places. Some of the biggest are really double-digit: 51 percent in New Mexico, 36 percent in Tennessee, 30 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon. The reason? They say that with a full year of claims data under their belt for the first time since Obamacare went into effect, they’re finding the insurance pool was considerably older and sicker than expected.”

Gee, that’s bad luck.

WELL, WILSONIAN NATIONALISM ISN’T LOOKING SO HOT LATELY: Robert Kaplan: It’s Time to Bring Imperialism Back to the Middle East. Empire may have fallen out of fashion, but history shows that the only other option is the kind of chaos we see today. Of course, bringing imperialism back to the Middle East is precisely what Putin, and Iran, are trying to do.

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT: George Pataki to announce presidential bid Thursday.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: ‘CSI,’ R.I.P. “It was all a fantasy, of course. No police department has the resources of the ‘CSI’ crime lab, nor is real-world forensic analysis as quick, certain and without prejudice as the show’s glamorous version might have us believe.”

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BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.

Plus:

Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

ROGER SIMON: Jeb Should Withdraw to Save the Country from Hillary.

Jeb Bush should withdraw from the presidential contest of 2016. He should do so soon to become a true hero to our country that sorely needs one. And he should accompany his withdrawal with a detailed explanation of his reasons. It is not just because his mother Barbara Bush was correct in her original assessment that the United States does not any more Bushes or Clintons. It is far more.

The Democratic Party looks determined to nominate a woman for president that a majority of the country thinks a liar. A recent poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal found a paltry 25% of Americans believe Hillary Clinton to be honest. And this is before Mrs. Clinton assumes office. Who knows what would happen thereafter when so many presidents find themselves in crisis situations demanding courage and integrity?

If Mrs. Clinton were to win the presidency, she would do so under a cloud of distrust unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. She would have no honeymoon period and would not deserve one. And this would be happening at a moment in history when the entire world is on a knife edge because of the rise of radical Islam and ISIS throughout the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe, not to mention having to monitor the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, if and when such a thing is signed.

More than ever, we would need a man or woman in the White House we could trust — yet so many of us wouldn’t. America would be split asunder at the beginning of a Hillary presidency as never before since the Civil War. No other Democratic candidate would create such a rift. If that sounds like an exaggeration, I assure you it is not.

Jeb Bush is eminently positioned to prevent this from happening. He can sacrifice his own presidential ambitions for the good of the country. In the process he would be free to detail his reasons, free to be specific about the lies and evasions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the erased emails and missing server, the Benghazi prevarications, the ill-conceived and disastrous war in Libya, the dizzying corruption of the Clinton Foundation and then the inability to face the truth when confronted by her own myriad dishonesties, the quasi-fascistic silence of her political campaign during which she avoids substantive questions whenever possible.

Read the whole thing. Especially if you’re Jeb. Or one of his donors.

May 25, 2015

UH HUH: Valdosta State Student Who Stomped US Flag Wants To Kill All White People.

And this remains evergreen, alas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

THE WITCH HUNT ENDS, THE HYSTERIA MOVES ON, BUT THE HARM REMAINS: Couple convicted of child abuse during satanic childcare hysteria still not exonerated.

A MEMORIAL DAY PLUG FOR Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers. It’s a great book.

FRONTIERS OF FEMINISM: Germaine Greer Thinks Elton John’s Adoption Degrades Motherhood. “Sir Elton John and his ‘wife’ David Furnish have entered on the birth certificate of their two sons that David Furnish is the mother. I’m sorry. That will give you an idea of how the concept of motherhood has emptied out. It’s gone. It’s been deconstructed.”

I DON’T THINK THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY ME $5000-$15000 FOR A”SPONSORED” INSTAGRAM POST. But if I’m wrong, let me know and I’ll set up an Instagram account posthaste. . . .

TIME: 5 Secret Amazon Prime Perks You Don’t Know About. Actually, most InstaPundit readers probably do. But you can try a 30-day free trial of Prime if you like, though I warn you, you probably won’t go back if you do.

DAMNED EITHER WAY:  Investor’s Business Daily:  Marco Rubio Buys a Refrigerator.  So apparently, to be acceptable to the liberal/progressive mainstream media, politicians cannot be too rich (just ask Mitt Romney), or too middle class, as Marco Rubio appears to be.  But there’s always the Clinton Exception, in which wealth is disregarded by mainstream media because it’s, you know, the product of good deeds, such as “helping” Haiti, battling global warming climate change, assisting individuals with AIDS, and so on.

BETWEEN THIS AND THE ESTROGENS IN WATER FROM BIRTH CONTROL PILLS, WOMEN’S PRODUCTS ARE DOING A LOT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HARM: Fighting Pollution From Microbeads Used in Soaps and Creams.

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TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Model’s rape claim falls apart after bogus pregnancy charge. DNA makes a difference.

The two chatted over champagne about a potential photo shoot and then went back to his condo in a nearby luxury high-rise.

About 45 minutes later, Riabenkova told a doorman she had been raped by the photographer and asked him to call 911, said his lawyer, Tom Kenniff.

Police arrested the lensman, and he spent a night behind bars. Prosecutors soon downgraded the charge to sexual misconduct because they found holes in her story and her rape kit tested inconclusive, Kenniff said.

Then, in January 2015, Riabenkova made a shocking claim — telling prosecutors she was impregnated during the alleged rape and wanted an abortion.

The DA’s Office told the clinic to preserve the biological material, and Kenniff immediately asked for a DNA test.

The results proved his client was not the father, and on May 15 the case was thrown out and sealed.

Riabenkova, 22, refused to talk to a Post reporter on Friday at her swanky Flatiron building, saying through a doorman that she was “sick.”

Well, that seems likely. I like it that the victim is thinking of suing her. He should.

PERHAPS, I SHOULD APPLY TO BE A VISITING PROFESSOR: UCCI gets international accreditation.

A LOOK AT THE 2017 Ford GT. “The 2017 GT is a hand-built carbon thundersled expected to cost $400,000. We can’t yet drive it, but Ford recently offered us time with a prototype and a camera.” It’s pretty.

BECAUSE WE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND HER SENSE OF HUMOR:  Remember the Goldsmiths, University of London “diversity” officer, Bahar Mustafa, who held a meeting and requested white men not to attend?  I wrote about the incident here and here.  Now, a writer at Slate, Amanda Hess, attempts to excuse Ms. Mustafa’s reprehensible behavior as “ironic misandry“:

Mustafa is not the first to have her reputation raked across the Web on account of some lousy tweets. But she may be the first to crumble over a case of ironic misandry, a tongue-in-cheek form of discourse favored by the young feminist Internet natives. You may have spied them on Twitter or Tumblr, working on their “KILL ALL MEN” cross-stitch or sipping from a mug labeled “MALE TEARS.” Ironic misandrists say they’re poking fun at long-standing stereotypes about militant feminist man-haters. That seems to fit Mustafa’s tweets. In a statement to Goldsmiths students, she owned up to using the hashtags, calling them “in-jokes” between herself and other members of “the queer feminist community.” If some people failed to get the joke, well, that was kind of the point.

Oh, I get it now–ha ha!  That is soooooooo funny– calling to “kill all men” and reveling in “male tears”!  I assume, then, it’s equally okay for a university official to engage in “ironic misogyny” and joke about killing all women and reveling in their tears?  Ha ha, that would be soooooo funny, too!  I mean, after all, it would be an “inside” joke among male rights proponents, right?  And if some people–such as, for example, women–failed to “get the joke,” then that would be “kind of the point.”

And while we’re at it, how about that ever-funny “ironic racism,” where people talk about killing white “crackkkas” and other side-splitting comments, as a recent Valdosta State student did? After all, it’s just an “inside joke” about white oppression, right?

LMAO!  I’m glad to know these radical lefties have such a robust sense of humor– I was worried about them taking themselves too seriously for awhile.

WHEN HIGH TECH/HIGH TOUCH IS TOO MUCH: Thanks, OpenTable, But I Like Being an Anonymous Diner.

AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Memorial Day Savings Event.

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

PERSONALLY, I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING: 2015 Indianapolis 500: Why Have Cars Suddenly Started Going Airborne?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Expert: U.S. Must End ‘Addiction’ to Bachelor’s Degrees.

ART GARFUNKEL ON PAUL SIMON. You know, Simon was the bigger talent, but — as with John Fogerty post CCR — none of his solo work compared to what he did with Garfunkel.

DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: 3-Year-Old Girl Attacked by Coyote While Walking With Parents in Irvine. “A 3-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote while walking with her parents in Silverado Park in Irvine on Friday evening. The incident occurred around 5:50 p.m. near the intersection of Equinox and Silverado in Irvine, according to Farrah Emami with the Irvine Police Department. Girl suffered superficial wounds, and was treated at a local hospital and released. Officials were still searching the neighborhood for the coyote.”

You know, a Ruger LCP will take care of those coyotes just fine. Ask Rick Perry. It’s a great little gun for pocket carry. I like the Crimson Trace laser sight with that, and I recommend you put a couple hundred rounds through it for break-in.

ROGER KIMBALL: Memorial Day Notes.

IN THE MAIL: From John Ringo, Hell’s Faire (Posleen War Series #3).

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And, also today only: Sleep Innovations 12-Inch Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress, $425.99 (44% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 746.

HUH. I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Boeing Unveils Amazing, Slightly Terrifying New Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon.

The weapon in question: Boeing’s “CHAMP,” short for Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It’s essentially the old nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon that we used to worry so much about — but without the nuclear part. CHAMP carries a small generator that emits microwaves to fry electronics with pinpoint accuracy. It targets not nations or cities but individual buildings, blacking out their electronics rather than blowing up physical targets (or people).

What makes CHAMP even more interesting is that, unlike a nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon, which fires once, blacking out entire nation-states, CHAMP can fire multiple times, pinpointing and blacking out only essential targets. This would permit, for example, taking down radar defenses in a hostile state, while saving the electrical grid that supports the civilian population. In a 2012 test flight in Utah, a single CHAMP was reported to have blacked out seven separate targets in succession, in one single mission.

We keep getting better at selective application of force, while our opponents keep getting less selective.

THEY SAID IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, I’D BE VOTING FOR INCREASED RACIAL TENSION, AND THEY WERE RIGHT!: Valdosta State Student Who Stomped on US Flag Wants to Kill All White People:

Eric Sheppard, the Valdosta State University student who was confronted last month by an Air Force veteran after he stomped on the American flag, has issued a violent 4,700-word anti-white rant in which he threatened to “annihilate those who come after me.”

Sheppard is wanted by police after they found a gun in his backpack days after the flag-stomping demonstration. In his lengthy letter, submitted to The Valdosta Daily Times this week, Sheppard said he will not surrender and will use violence if necessary. . . .

Quoting former Nation of Islam leader and New Black Panther Party chairman, Kallid Abdul Muhammad, Sheppard wrote of whites, “we give them 24 hours to get out of town by sundown.”

“I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the white men, we kill the white women, we kill the white children, we kill the white babies, we kill the blind whites, we kill the crippled whites, we kill the crazy whites, we kill the faggots, we kill the lesbians, I say god dammit we kill ’em all,” Sheppard continued.

“If they are white kill ‘em all.” . . .

According to The Daily Times, Brian Childress, the Valdosta chief of police, believes that Sheppard’s video is a publicity stunt. Nevertheless, he contacted federal authorities about the threats.

Oh, good — I feel better now — the federal authorities have been alerted.  I’m sure they’re on it, you know, since they’ve been so steadfast in prosecuting lawless acts of intimidation by Black Panthers and so even-handed in their application of civil rights laws to all races and religions.

SPYING: County sheriff has used stingray over 300 times with no warrant.

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BECAUSE IF WE AREN’T GOOD AT IT, WE SHOULD BAN IT FOR EVERYONE!: That’s the “solution” to the “problem” of the gender gap in pay, according to this silly Washington Post oped by a business school professor.  The author asserts:

When it comes to playing hardball, women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Training them to be tough negotiators won’t overcome the cultural rules rigged against them in the workplace. And it’s galling to think that women might need to employ a “Mad Men”-era strategy of flirtation to get a fair shake. Given that salary negotiations ignite the gender pay gap at the starting gate,a gap fueled by small gender biases over time, negotiation-free workplaces are women’s best option for getting the salaries they deserve.

Maybe so, but favoring women (or protecting them, which is the implication of this oped) isn’t the answer.  There’s a little thing called “liberty,” you see, and it’s really an empowering thing–even for women.  In fact, it’s central to the entire field of contract law, which presupposes that competent adults are, well, competent, to negotiate in their own best interests.  I hardly think the answer is assuming that women are incompetent at negotiating, ergo we should stop salary negotiations altogether.  How insulting, and how horrific for individual liberty. These liberals/progressives really should take a long, hard look at the prejudicial assumptions underlying their inane “solutions” to “problems.”

Talk about a #waronwomen.

ANNALS OF INEQUALITY: Doing Their Fair Share? The Harvards of the world are awash in public funds for low-income students. Why aren’t they doing more to enroll them?

The 10 wealthiest private colleges hold cash and endowments that, combined, total nearly $180 billion. A median 16 percent of their 2012–13 enrollees received Pell Grants, a form of federal aid only available to low-income students, according to an analysis of federal data.

Yale University and the University of Notre Dame have $25.4 billion and $9.5 billion in cash and investments, respectively, but had the lowest portion of Pell recipients among this group, at 12 percent. Columbia University, with cash and investments of $9.9 billion, enrolled the highest number of Pell recipients, at 30 percent. Harvard, with its $43 billion in wealth, trailed behind at 19 percent.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of undergraduates in the U.S. received Pell Grants that year.

The Century Foundation found in 2013 that for every 14 wealthy students at the most elite and selective colleges, there was one low-income student. In short, the wealth gap not only creates inequities among universities, but also among the students they serve.

If you care about inequality, the solution is obvious: Affirmative action for poor students. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s time that schools’ student income distribution should have to match that of the population at large. Because equality!

ROLL CALL: Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging. “Fundamentally, what we come down to is this: In order to win, you have to get people to vote for you who haven’t voted for you, and the only way to do that is with a message that resonates across a broad swath of voters.” So ixnay on the arxismay for now!

THIS SEEMS LIKE POOR STRATEGY: GOP turns to Tea Party to win trade powers for Obama.

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and GOP leaders have turned to some unlikely allies to rally support for a key trade bill: Tea-Party conservatives, including some prominent names from the raucous House Freedom Caucus.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently tapped Rep. Tom McClintock to give the weekly GOP address, in which the conservative Californian declared: “Trade means prosperity.”

At the monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” event, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) informed his colleagues he’s an unequivocal “yes” on granting President Obama so-called “fast-track” trade powers.

And both McClintock and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) huddled with reporters in a leadership office last week to talk up the virtues of legislation to help pass Obama’s trade agenda.

Salmon, typically a source of heartburn for leadership, denounced some of the conservative “Pat Buchananites” he runs with as “protectionists.” Those who warn Obama can’t be trusted on trade are making a weak argument, he said, because Congress has given Republican presidents the same authority.

Finally, Salmon pointedly challenged critics who’ve complained about the secrecy of the process to head down to a classified briefing room in the Capitol’s basement to read details of a major 12-nation trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Lots of Tea Party types are free-trade in general. Almost none of them trust Obama or the GOP leadership. Getting Tea Party senators to back the deal will just weaken those senators with their Tea Party supporters.

Related: President Obama’s toughest fight on trade still lies ahead.

The White House and Republican leaders have a lot of work to do to push fast-track trade authority through the House.

The Senate approved a fast-track bill just before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, with supporters beating back Democratic efforts to delay the bill or undercut it through amendments.

But while the Senate managed to work out its procedural knots, the House outcome remains in doubt with proponents and opponents each claiming they can win the toughest legislative battle of the year.

The issue has made surprising allies of the president and GOP leaders, who back trade promotion authority (TPA) against progressives who worry about the effect on jobs and conservatives opposed to ceding more power to Obama.

So far, the best outcome is that it made a mockery of Doonesbury’s Republicans-Block-Everything-Obama-Tries cartoon this weekend. But, given that nobody reads Doonesbury anymore, that’s not much.

And I’ll repeate: The reason why Obama and the GOP leadership are having problems is that nobody trusts them. Perhaps if they tried being more trustworthy. . . .

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JOY PULLMANN: The Civil Disobedience Charles Murray Wants Has Already Arrived.

The federal do-gooders who framed No Child Left Behind back in 2001 never envisioned that parents would take exception to their mandate that every child in grades three through eight (and once in high school) face annual math and reading tests. So the law is entirely silent on what happens if, as is happening now for the first time, thousands of parents across the country pull their kids in protest.

It’s hard to convey just how extraordinary this is. So here are a few snippets from just the past week’s news. In Germantown, Wisconsin, 62 percent of public-school students are sitting out tests. The district has been a hotbed of Common Core opposition, with a local school board among one of the handful nationwide to reject Common Core and decide to run with its own, higher-quality, curriculum. In Maine, “Cape Elizabeth saw 32 percent of its eighth-graders, 18 percent of its seventh-graders and 64 percent of its high school juniors opt out. There are many examples of high opt out rates across the state, but a reliable statewide tally isn’t yet available.” A bill to secure parents’ right to excuse their kids from mandatory tests recently passed the Delaware House 36 to 3 after a blaze of opt-outs left local schools scrambling. “A wide-ranging bill that would eliminate [national Common Core] tests in Ohio and limit state achievement tests to three hours per year passed the House 92-1 on Wednesday,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.

This is nowhere near a set of isolated incidents. In Washington state, every single junior at Nathan Hale High School (natch) refused state tests this spring. Somewhere around 200,000 children refused tests this spring in New York and, contrary to race-baiting from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, substantial numbers of these defiant parents were not white rich people. FairTest, a lefty organization not keen on rigorous data, nevertheless keeps compiling an impressive number of similar news stories each week.

What does this mean? Does it matter? While the opt-out numbers are unprecedented in American history, they still represent a very small proportion of U.S. schoolkids. I think they do matter, and that they signal many Americans are ready for Murray’s civil disobedience project. Here’s why.

So should I buy tar, feathers, and pitchfork futures? Sounds hopeful!

Meanwhile, I had barely paid attention to this story, but it seems relevant: Oath Keepers standing down from Sugar Pine Mine, awaiting appeal decision. “Armed members of the Oath Keepers in Josephine county are standing down from the Sugar Pine Mine in Galice tonight. Last night the Interior Board of Land Appeals announced that they will grant the mine owner’s request to place BLM enforcement on hold. The stay will last until a decision is made whether or not the BLM holds surface rights to the mine, or decides whether those rights were grandfathered-in to the mine’s owners. The Oath Keepers tell NBC 5 News they’re happy the BLM is taking the right steps and they’re in the process of moving their security people away from the mine and down to the staging area.”

The Feds, apparently, really don’t want another Bundy Ranch confrontation, which is understandable since they lost that one.

ED DRISCOLL: Escaping The Shaming Spiral. “The first time one encounters the Internet outrage mob, the pressure can feel overwhelming. But when the virtual mob is perpetual, such tactics begin to lose their force.”

May 24, 2015

ELIZABETH SCALIA: 85 Years Ago, Chesterton nailed the Boomers.

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YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: State Dept. Staffer Accused Of Running ‘Massive Sextortion Scam.’

BREAKING: Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Device at U.S. Capitol. It was a pressure cooker. But not a pressure cooker bomb.

SPACE: India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone.

VIDEO: Bob Woodward: Bush Didn’t Lie About Iraq & Obama Blew It.

SPACE: The House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: I could be paying my student loans until I’m 77.

Related: Half of college graduates expect to be supported by their families.