February 26, 2015

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LIZ PEEK: Chris Christie Should Drop Out Now in Favor of Scott Walker.

I’M NOT SAYING THAT IT’S ALIENS. BUT IT’S ALIENS. Mystery Spot on Dwarf Planet Ceres Has Mysterious Partner.

I mean, come on. Wake up, sheeple!


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IT’S NOTHING YOU WANT, THAT’S FOR SURE: Baddest Bug: C. Diff Hits Half a Million Americans. “The number’s probably been undercounted for so long because many people get sick after they leave the hospital. And the study showed people are not just getting infected in hospitals. They are getting infected in doctors’ offices, the dentist’s chair, and in other healthcare settings.”

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FIRST THE FCC, NOW THIS: Obama to ban bullets by executive action, threatens top-selling AR-15 rifle. No, this isn’t somebody’s paranoid fantasy. At least, it isn’t somebody’s fantasy.


21ST CENTURY CRIME-CONTROL: DNA Phenotyping To Make Drawings Of Criminal Suspects.

WELL, IF MY 21ST CENTURY CAR IS GOING TO HAVE AN INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINE, THE ENGINE SHOULD AT LEAST HAVE A FRICKIN LASER IN IT: Lasers Could Boost Engine Efficiency by 27%. “In a conventional internal combustion engine, a mixture of fuel and air explodes to push down a piston, converting chemical energy into mechanical energy. The explosion is triggered by spark plugs that live at the top of the combustion chamber, using sparks to ignite the fuel air mixture. This works fine, but it’s not particularly efficient, since the ignition point is at one edge of the chamber. Engines move fast enough, and the combustion cycle is short enough, that the entire mixture doesn’t have a chance burn completely, leading to unburned fuel, which is bad for both engine efficiency and the environment. Lasers can fix this problem by igniting the fuel in the middle of the combustion chamber instead of at the outer edge. This results in a much more complete burn, so you get more bang for your buck, literally. Also, lasers can be fired with nanosecond timing (multiple times per combustion cycle if necessary), and even targeted at different areas of the combustion chamber. The increased energy output allows for leaner fuel-air mixtures, increasing overall fuel efficiency by 27 percent while lowering emissions. Really, it’s a much better way to do things. Which should not be surprising. Because lasers.”

THE MARKET, SHOCKINGLY: What Happened To The Rare Earths Crisis?

DAVID BERNSTEIN & ILYA SOMIN: The Mainstreaming of Libertarian Constitutionalism.

WHY DON’T WE ONE-UP THEM BY BLOWING UP A REAL IRANIAN NUCLEAR-RESEARCH FACILITY? Iran Just Blew Up a Fake American Aircraft Carrier: It’s meant as a show of strength during talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

AUSTIN BAY: Remembering Iwo Jima.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Watchdog Accuses Harry Reid of Ethics Violations.

ANDREW CLINE: The New Hampshire primary to come, if current journalism is a clue.

A seasoned Washington reporter — distinct in his fashionable black jacket, pressed jeans and once shiny dress shoes now caked with New Hampshire mud — approaches a woman who clutches a Sharpie and a copy of Rubio’s last book.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I ask what you thought of the senator’s speech?”

Woman: “I thought it was great. I liked how he related to average people, you know? I don’t hear a lot of candidates talking about how to make it easier for low-income families to succeed in America.”

Reporter: “It didn’t bother you that his second cousin once removed said Tom Brady wears ladies underwear?

Woman: “Who said that?”

Reporter: “Rubio’s second cousin once removed. He said it at a Miami fund-raiser three weeks ago. Thus far, Rubio has failed to disown his cousin, denounce the comment, or apologize to Tom Brady for it.”

Yeah, pretty much. And reporters wonder why nobody respects them.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 658.

MSNBC’S MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY applauds racial violence.

REMINDER: PolitiFact is dishonest and partisan.

IT’S SEX CRIMINALS ALL THE WAY DOWN: Embattled Green Leader Resigns as IPCC Chief.

The head of the world’s preeminent climate change organization resigned this week after being accused of sexual harassment in his home country of India. Rajendra Pachauri stepped down as the chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change, an ignominious end to what has been a tenure tinged with scandal. . . .

Pachauri is no stranger to the salacious, having penned a fictionalized autobiography full of boasts of sexual exploits, nor is this the first fracas in which he’s been involved. Five years ago he was accused of raising huge sums of money for his foundation on the basis of bogus IPCC claims that Himalayan glaciers were not long for this world.

I wonder if “social justice” type movements pose a disproportional attraction to people with sociopathic tendencies.

STEVE CHAPMAN: The Black Family in 1965 and Today: Poor black neighborhoods are not the unassisted creation of poor black people, but largely the malignant result of factors beyond their control. Well, except to the extent that politicians they vote for are not beyond their control, and have made things worse.


His site is TheRebel.media.

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IN USA TODAY, Scott Walker writes on not taking the media’s bait.


THE SKULLS OF HIS ENEMIES: Scott Walker Is Set to Deliver New Blow to Labor in Wisconsin. That’s the New York Times headline, and while it’s accurate enough — the unions hate this, and with reason — it’s also a major advance for workers’ rights.

UPDATE: “One thing those of us who are pro-union need to ask ourselves is why so few Americans belong to unions presently. It is facile, lazy, and simply wrong to blame the anti-union efforts of Reagan, Walker, the Kochs, Whole Foods, Walmart and the like. If you say it is the anti-union policies of the past thirty five years, then you are simply ignoring the fact that when American unions formed in the 19th century and struggled to build in the first third of the 20th century, the anti-union sentiment of the corporations and most politicians was much stronger than today, and the lot of the average worker was harder. Lazy people blame others. If those who originally fought to create our unions had such an attitude, unions would never have been established in the first place. Part of the problem is that the Left failed to criticize unions as their leadership often evolved to having more in common with the bosses than with their own members. As the Left moved away from worker issues in the Sixties to Civil Rights, the anti-war movement, feminism, and cultural issues, blue collar workers became alienated from those who were now largely content to support labor by merely singing Woody Guthrie and Weavers songs. The Left largely came to look down their noses at workers because of attitudes regarding culture and the war, only honoring workers when their issues were tied to something else, such as the largely Mexican-American United Farmworkers Union or access to jobs for women.”

CIVIL LIBERTIES UPDATE: U.Va. professor to receive academic freedom award at CPAC for defending due process.

James W. Ceaser, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, will be honored at the Conservative Political Action Conference for his defense of due process in the wake of a Rolling Stone article telling the now-discredited story of a brutal gang rape at the school.

Ceaser, in an article for the Weekly Standard, defended due process by calling out his own employer for the way it handled the Rolling Stone debacle.

“Even on the level of future policy changes, this problem can only be properly addressed if it is presented in an unbiased way, not in terms of a preconceived framework,” Ceaser wrote. “The moral dimension of disregarding the truth also cannot be forgotten.”

Ceaser argued that the truth never mattered in the Rolling Stone article, because even when the story was abandoned by the magazine, it was used by activists to further their agenda.

But Ceaser’s refusal to condemn his university for an imaginary crime or give in to mob justice has earned him the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom, presented by the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

“These times require a thoughtful and courageous voice on college campuses, and Professor Ceaser has been such a voice,” Michael W. Grebe, president of the Bradley Foundation, said in a press release. “A man of intellectual rigor, principle, and moral clarity, James Ceaser is a beacon for all academia.”

Most academics, alas, are go-along-to-get-along types.

MEH. I SAY BURN IT TO THE GROUND. Fears of Chaos Mount Over Obamacare Case.

But all this “chaos” talk is just an attempt to frighten the Court into not doing anything. And hey, why not? They successfully bullied Chief Justice Roberts on ObamaCare last time.

THE HILL: Republicans suspect the White House is hiding ObamaCare fallback plan. “Some Republicans say they simply do not believe that the Obama administration isn’t developing a fallback plan in case the Supreme Court dismantles a piece of the healthcare law this summer. Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), has repeatedly said there is no plan B if the high court rules that subsidies for insurance cannot be distributed through the federal exchange HealthCare.gov.”

Well, everything else they’ve said about ObamaCare has been a lie, so it’s a safe bet.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Foreign governments gave millions to Clinton foundation while Clinton was at State Dept. “The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday. . . . Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.”

So when she brags about all the air miles she logged, bear in mind that most of them were probably racked up while going to ask people for money.

SEX POLICE: Sexual violence law specialist threatens SUNY over affirmative consent. “Any school that determined whether an incident occurred by applying the affirmative consent standard is asking for trouble, because, number one, it’s inconsistent with Title IX, and two, because it’s a worse standard. It’s an unconstitutional standard. . . . My feeling is that it’s a lawsuit that is going to be easy to win.”

Note, however, that her problem is that she thinks “affirmative consent” isn’t hard enough on men.

FROM ANN ALTHOUSE, an old-fashioned Fisking of the hapless Dana Milbank. “And you’d be a better man, Dana Milbank, if you didn’t pose as if you were saying something nice about Scott Walker and inviting him to a higher level of civil discourse.” The list of things that would make Dana Milbank a better man is nigh-infinite.

February 25, 2015

IF ONLY THE GOP WERE THIS TRICKY: Democrats Fear an Ambush on the Senate Floor.

THE OMEGA MAN. And I don’t mean Charlton Heston.

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BUT SHE DOES IT SO WELL: Sarah Hoyt: It’s Not Easy To Be Me.


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CAPITULATION: Breaking stalemate, Senate votes 98-2 to debate ‘clean’ DHS bill. Well, unless they’re planning something tricky in the conference committee.

MARK RIPPETOE: A Very Simple Mathematical Truth For Successful Strength Training. “Few things could be simpler: use a few exercises that work as much of the body at one time as possible, find out how strong you are now on these exercises, and next time you train, lift a little heavier weight. Just a little. It’s the same process you used to learn to read, to play the guitar, to get a suntan, and to finish your master’s thesis. It’s the same process used to build an airplane or to evolve a more complex organism. It’s the accumulation of adaptation – the enemy of entropy – and it can be done by quite literally everybody.”

UPDATE: Link was wrong before. Fixed now. Sorry!

I’D CALL IT ADOLESCENT SOCIALISM: What Is the Philosophical Perspective of Star Trek?

FROM LARRY CORREIA, another Book Bomb.

A SMALL MEASURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY: Mass. Gov. Baker forces Obamacare architect Gruber off board.

YOU WERE EDUCATED BY THE STATE, COMRADE. YOU CAN’T JUST TAKE THAT EDUCATION AND GO WHERE YOU WILL: Proposal would have grads who leave Illinois repay state aid.

NOBODY TOLD YOU LIFE WAS GONNA BE THIS WAY: Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Jobs data cannot prove that college is a “good investment.”

Simply being employed in some job doesn’t mean that a college graduate is receiving any added compensation—any “return” on his degree. Many graduates are working in jobs where their education is mostly if not entirely irrelevant. For example, roughly half of the people driving for Uber are college graduates, but they aren’t paid any more on account of their educational credentials.

All that the favorable job statistics for college graduates tell us is that having a degree positions you better in the job market compared with people who do not have those credentials. Many employers who need workers for jobs that require only basic abilities and a decent attitude now screen out people who don’t have college degrees. Companies looking to hire for positions such as sales supervisor and rental car agent, for instance, often state that they’ll only consider applicants who’ve graduated from college. What they studied or how well they did is largely beside the point.

The college degree has become so ubiquitous that many companies know they can fill their needs without interviewing applicants who are presumably less capable and somewhat harder to train just because they haven’t been through the college mill. Consequently, people without degrees are increasingly confined to the shrinking, low-pay sectors of the labor market—unless they can succeed in one of the remaining fields where ability counts for everything, such as entrepreneurship, sports, and entertainment.

Pointing to the better employment prospects for people who have a college degree is irrelevant to the cost-versus-benefit debate. . . .

The individual who studies, say, chemical engineering and thereby acquires the essential background for a career in that field probably gets a splendid return on the time and money spent on college. But on the other hand, the individual who leaves high school with weak skills and scant interest in academic work, enrolls in school with low standards (perhaps a “party school”), chooses an easy major and breezes along to a degree four or five years later is likely to end up working in a low-skill job that an intelligent high schooler could do. That person, even though employed, is getting a negligible return—possibly even negative—on his college investment.

Higher-ed folks pushing college nowadays sound more and more like real estate people saying that there’s never been a better time to buy a house.

THIS IS COOL: Drone Vs. Volcano: How Robotic Flyers are Changing Exploration.

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ACTUALLY, THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING, MY MONEY IS ON THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Why the Internet could be the next “failed state.”

IT’S COME TO THIS: Woman Worries That She Doesn’t Have Much Workplace Sexism To Complain About.

HYPERMASCULINE CLEANING TIPS (CONT’D): So a while back, a reader recommended the Dawn Power Dissolver. I ordered some and I have to say, it’s really good for cleaning up greasy messes, even stuff that’s baked-on to the grill.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Happy Couple’s Guide To Marriage (And Sex) After A Baby.


Actually, a woman of a certain age. She’ll get a lot of support from other media women of her generation — see below — but I wonder if younger women will identify with her. She’s gotten where she is via marriage, after all, which is kind of old-fashioned. And, as the much-younger Ashe Schow notes: “Democrats have a huge problem with white male voters. If that group feels threatened by Clinton’s women focus and returns unusually large Republican margins, that will help the GOP nominee. If white male Democrats don’t think they’d be adequately represented by Clinton, they could stay home, while white male Republicans could be galvanized into voting against her.”

Meanwhile, the kind of scrutiny that Hillary is counting on:

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NO: Did Learning to Cook Make Me a Bad Feminist? It’s nice to see a woman overcome culinary frigidity.

UPDATE: Sorry, I saw this on Twitter, but I must have seen this earlier, and absorbed the “culinary frigidity” line without realizing it!

WHY RUDY GIULIANI’S REMARKS STRUCK A NERVE: Less than Half in New Poll Think Obama Loves America. “Nationally, only 47 percent of people think the nation’s leader loves America while 35 percent do not. . . . As for Americans themselves, love of country still runs deep: 90 percent of conservatives say that they love America, compared to 85 percent of moderates and 82 percent of liberals.”

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 657.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Now It’s Black Parents Turning To Homeschooling.

There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are reasons to distrust the public school system. According to The Hechinger Report, African-American families have started to embrace homeschooling and now make up 10 percent of the homeschooling population. Many teach their children at home to protect them from racism, and also, as one scholar says, schools’ lower standards for black students. . . .

We’ve noted before that homeschooling is on the rise as Americans lose trust in the experts that run the American school system. For religious people, that distrust stems from their belief that schools don’t respect their values. Silicon Valley entrepreneurial types think they can disrupt education and create better approaches on their own. According to this piece, African Americans increasingly distrust schools as well. It’s not just because of low expectations either—some families quoted in the piece think their kids don’t get as complete an education in African American history in public schools as they should. Distrust in experts, cultural pluralism, dissatisfaction with current institutions, DIY-ism: some of the biggest trends reshaping America are at play in the rise of homeschooling.

Public schools are a 19th century model. This is the 21st century.

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DID HE FLY TO EPSTEIN’S ISLAND WITH BILL CLINTON ON THE “LOLITA EXPRESS?” State Department ‘Director of Counterterrorism’ Charged with Soliciting Sex from a Minor. Hillary’s State Department seems to have had a problem.

I’D BE TROUBLED BY THIS KIND OF TENSION, EXCEPT THAT I KNOW WE’VE GOT SMART DIPLOMACYTM ON THE JOB! U.S. military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border.

U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.

The armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in eastern Europe.

The soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment were taking part in a military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day. Narva is a vulnerable border city separated by a river from Russia. It has often been cited as a potential target for the Kremlin if it wanted to escalate its conflict with the West onto NATO territory.

Frankly, I approve — but only if this represents actual, as opposed to symbolic, determination.

POLICING IN OBAMA’S AMERICA, AND OBAMA’S HOMETOWN: The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site.’ This kind of thing is what happens under unaccountable one-party regimes.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: $3M asbestos scam at heart of NY’s Sheldon Silver scandal shows trial lawyer abuses continue.

ASHE SCHOW: University of Colorado settles with student accused of sexual assault.

Lau also told the Examiner that the settlement is structured in such a way so that, combined with his clean transcript, there is no reason for other universities to question his disciplinary record.

The “false allegation” Lau referred to was the basis of her client’s lawsuit, obtained by the Examiner, which alleges the university found John responsible for sexual misconduct despite the accuser admitting she initially lied about the encounter.

John met Jane Doe (as she is referred to in the lawsuit) at a house party. The two were drinking but, according to John, not “drunk or intoxicated.”

The two flirted and eventually began kissing. The two eventually went back to John’s apartment and engaged in sexual intercourse, which John said was consensual. Days later, Jane would tell the Boulder Police Department otherwise.

Jane would later admit to university investigators that she “may have stretched the truth” because she was “pissed off,” according to John’s lawsuit. She also told the police that she didn’t accurately describe her evening with John and that she thought he was nice guy but then “realized he’s just another douchy frat dude.”

Jane also told police that she wanted to get revenge against John for rebuffing her and wanted “the s*** to be scared out of him.”

Jane also made factually inaccurate statements to the police, including claiming she didn’t have John’s contact information despite texting him the day after the sexual encounter. Other lies, revealed during the investigation process, included Jane claiming she was forced to stay in John’s room that night, that John didn’t walk her home the morning after the encounter and that she resisted John removing her clothing.

When John brought up these lies to campus investigators, the school justified Jane’s actions on her behalf, according to the lawsuit.

They don’t care about facts, they just hate men. Take that into account, potential applicants and donors.

JOHN HINDERAKER: ClimateGate And The Smearing Of Willie Soon.

JEB BUSH: Does his appeal stretch beyond professional Republicans? I’m skeptical. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s the establishment’s guy, and I don’t see the GOP electorate as being very pro-establishment these days. After all, what has the establishment done for them?

ED MORRISSEY: The audacity of the media’s Obama worship.

By “audacity,” I of course mean “utter shamelessness.” Over the past week, media reporters have tried to hold Republicans accountable for any personal attacks by anyone on Barack Obama, going out of their way to demand that GOP candidates defend Obama’s honor — especially Scott Walker, who has emerged as a top-tier candidate in the early campaign. This trend reached its nadir when two reporters from the Washington Post, Dan Balz and Robert Costa, demanded that Walker answer whether he thought Obama was a Christian — despite the fact that Walker has never brought up that topic. When Walker scolded them for their irrelevancies, the media instead took it as Walker “othering” Obama.

The big losers in this are Balz and — especially — Costa. Voters won’t remember this incident in two weeks, but activists on the right will never forget. It’s especially bad for Costa because his selling point was supposed to be that he had credibility on the right.


Conservative hardliners laid into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Tuesday night for what they view as capitulating to Democrats on immigration.

McConnell announced earlier in the day that the Senate would vote on a “clean” bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security past Friday, as well as a separate measure freezing President Obama’s November executive actions to shield certain illegal immigrants from deportation.

Members of the GOP right said McConnell’s move essentially amounted to giving in to Democrats’ refusal to consider legislation undoing the president’s immigration actions.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said he “absolutely” won’t vote for a DHS funding bill that allows the November actions to go forward. He suggested freshman GOP senators failed to deliver on campaign promises.

“If I was a donor to some of these senators that just won election and was told things would be different in a new Senate, I’d be pretty pissed. We put Harry Reid back in charge of the Senate again?” Huelskamp said.

Huelskamp said that separating the bill freezing the executive actions from a must-pass DHS funding bill eliminates Republicans’ leverage over Democrats.

Maybe I’m missing something, but that’s how it looks to me, too.

February 24, 2015

BECAUSE COMMIES GET A PASS. Why Is the International Environmental Movement Silent about the Nicaragua Canal?

RICH LOWRY: The Science Is Settled: Yes, Liberals Are Less Patriotic. “To be less patriotic than the average American doesn’t require any elaborate backstory or exotic beliefs — it is, as a matter of fact, a standard characteristic of the typical American liberal. The survey data are clear: There is a patriotism differential between the Right and the Left. Which doesn’t mean that liberals don’t love the country in their own fashion, but their love is not reflected in old-fashioned pride in country. A Pew Research survey last year found that 46 percent of ‘steadfast conservatives’ believed that the U.S. stands above all other countries; only 11 percent of ‘solid liberals’ believed the same. Seventy-two percent of steadfast conservatives said they often feel proud to be an American; only 40 percent of solid liberals said they do.”

THINGS HILLARY ISN’T ASKED ABOUT: Charge: ‘Clintons turned the State Department into a racket to line their own pockets.’

IS THIS PART OF “OPERATION CHOKE POINT” OR SOMETHING? FedEx Refuses to Ship a Digital Mill That Can Make Untraceable Guns, Even Though It’s Completely Legal. Or is FedEx just a bunch of pukes?

TRIFECTA: 72-cents on the Dollar: Hillary Pays Female Staffers Less.

ANOTHER FRUITFUL AREA FOR CONGRESSIONAL ACTION: RIAA Accounting: Why Even Major Label Musicians Rarely Make Money From Album Sales. Play this right and you’ll not only hurt the music industry — big source of Democratic money — but you’ll also split the labels and the musicians. The musicians have been getting screwed for many decades, and here’s a chance to right a wrong, and punish political enemies all at once. Hearings where record executives are grilled about screwing the artists a plus.

Here’s an earlier post on this subject, which I’ve been flogging for a while. More here.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: Christian militia takes the war to Islamic State in Syria.

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BUT, OF COURSE, ADAM BALDWIN ISN’T MUCH FOR BEING A VICTIM: Adam Baldwin Could Have Been the Latest Victim of the Censorious Left.

Mainstream “geek culture” media have been frothing at the mouth this month because Supanova, an Australian convention for sci-fi, comic, anime and gaming fans, has refused to rescind actor Adam Baldwin’s invitation to appear, after a petition claimed that, as a supporter of GamerGate, his attendance will make women “feel unsafe”.

Internet petitions demanding speakers’ invitations be withdrawn have become more and more common, and realising that by simply being upfront about their motives for wanting to disallow their target a platform will unmask them for the intolerant, authoritarian drones they are, campaigners have learned to up the stakes, claiming that the presence of speakers they don’t like “threatens the safety of attendees”, when the true reason is that they are banning any speakers with right-wing or even libertarian sympathies.

Punch back twice as hard.

UPDATE: From the comments: “I can see Baldwin being invited to lots of events if that would keep the busybodies away.” SJW repellent! There’s a market for that all right.

WOMEN’S EQUALITY: ‘She has no right to be supported for life’: Judge tells ex-wife of millionaire racehorse vet to get a job in landmark divorce case. “I do not think the children will suffer if Mrs Wright has to work, and indeed a working mother at this stage of their lives may well provide them with a good role model. It is possible to find work that fits in with childcare responsibilities. I reject her other reasons relating to responsibilities for animals, or trees, or housekeeping.”

#WARONBOYS: Jennifer Link: How our schools are miserably failing our boys.

SPYING: How the NSA’s Firmware Hacking Works and Why It’s So Unsettling.

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JOHN TIERNEY: People Are More Pollyannaish Than You Think.

“UNINTENDED” CONSEQUENCE: Google warns FCC plan could help ISPs charge senders of Web traffic.

WAIT, I THOUGHT IF YOU WERE INNOCENT, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE: I strongly oppose ‘Audit the Fed,’ Yellen says. I guess audits are for the little people.

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMN THING ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: This Gulfstream Flew Around the World With Just One Fuel Stop. Also, I’d like one.

THE INSTAWIFE AND DAVE BARRY, on why home ownership sucks. Plus a few ways to ease the pain.

THINKING ABOUT ROBOTS AND ZMP (ZERO MARGINAL PRODUCTIVITY) WORKERS. “Some robots do not cause a productivity explosion because they replace low productivity workers and the quality of the task done does not improve much after the initial introduction of robots. The automated equipment that turns a worker into a zero marginal productivity (ZMP) ex-worker does not need to offer a large and growing impact on the firm’s total productivity. It just has to lower total costs. . . . Suppose you manage low skilled and low productivity workers. Suppose they aren’t very conscientious. What is your day going to be like? Kinda like someone running around plugging new holes that spout in dikes. Will you like your job? For most people the answer is going to be “No!”. So automate the jobs and stop dealing with people who are a hassle to deal with. Think about it from the perspective of managers. They’d rather manage more fun and interesting problems and more talented people. Computer systems and robots are enabling them to do that. So I expect firms to develop technology that lets them shift their hiring preferences toward the sorts of workers their managers would rather manage. This might be why the labor market participation of high school drop-outs has dropped so low. Nobody wants to deal with them and the technology now exists to avoid it.”

If this is true, then an education focused on making people pleasant to work with might be as valuable as one focused on modest improvement in basic skills.

NOW IF WE COULD JUST GET 600 HP FOR 300 MILES: Porsche’s Tesla-fighter could have 600 hp and 300-mile range.

WELL, I WAS AGAINST IT FROM THE BEGINNING: 7 reasons it’s time to shut down the Department of Homeland Security.

And my predictions were pretty much on-target.

EXPIRATION DATE, REACHED: Senator Obama: ‘Irresponsible’ For FCC To Vote On Rules Unreleased To The Public. That Senator Obama seemed like a sensible fellow. Too bad he’s not President now.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 656.

WHEN THEY CAME FOR THE FRATERNITIES I DIDN’T SPEAK OUT, BECAUSE I WASN’T IN A FRATERNITY: Yale Professors Object To Vague, Overreaching Faculty Conduct Standards. “Is a professor sending out a late recommendation letter for a student as bad as one who commits academic misconduct or, say, sexually harasses a colleague? And shouldn’t staff and administrators be held to the same ethical standards as faculty members? Professors at Yale University are asking those questions, among others, and generally scratching their heads at what they say is a ‘curious’ and ‘confusing’ proposed faculty conduct code threatening undefined sanctions for a mishmash of transgressions.”

As with the sex rules, the goal here is maximum power, and minimum accountability, for administrators. Because that’s always the goal. My advice: Slash the number of administrators. Congressional Republicans should adjust federal funding formulas in ways that encourage universities, public and private, to run leaner operations.

ELIANA JOHNSON: Walker Settles On Immigration Message.


Las Vegas has Disneyfied libertinism. But to do so, it employs armies of security guards and acres of surveillance cameras that are always and everywhere recording your every move.

This is a question I’ve asked myself before, funnily enough, when arguing with anarcho-capitalists. For those who do not follow the ins and outs of libertarian sectarianism, anarcho-capitalists want to replace the state with private institutions, with insurance companies and private security forces substituting for most current government functions. But when I’ve probed into the actual mechanics of this, I’ve often found that anarcho-capitalists end up describing something unpleasantly like a police state, only not called “the government” — like giving insurance companies and private police forces the ability to perform warrantless at-will searches in order to prosecute crimes. One way or another, society is going to protect itself against theft and violence, rape and murder, and putting those tools in the hands of private parties causes much the same trouble as they do in the hands of the police.

Well, possibly.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Looks like Gruber thought stupid Americans wouldn’t notice if he overbilled them. “Jonathan Gruber is still the gift that keeps on giving if you cover the political beat. Or perhaps in this case, the gift that keeps on taking. A review of the books seems to indicate that Mr. Gruber submitted some interesting invoices to the state of Vermont for his work on the development of the now abandoned Green Mountain Care single payer plan. Unfortunately, they may have been overstated.”

SO ARE WE JUST TRYING TO SCREW THIS THING UP, OR WHAT? Jordan furious over Pentagon leak on secret anti-terror traning camp.


However, if I were a Republican in Congress, I’d immediately introduce the Hollywood Equal Pay Act of 2015, requiring that male and female cast members receive identical pay in every film based on level of billing. And hold hearings in which Hollywood executives were sharply questioned about sexism in their industry, while actresses of a certain age were invited to testify.

I’d also go after Hollywood Accounting. And, or course, repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!