May 24, 2015

IN THE MAIL: From Jonathan Gottschall, The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 745.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Hillary’s Real Libya Problem.

In my opinion, Hillary’s biggest problem isn’t Benghazi per se, it is the broader issue of Libya. Why were Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans murdered? Because by September 2012, Libya was a terrorist playground. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Libya has become a failed state, a 21st century source of boat people, as refugees from ubiquitous violence stream across the Mediterranean. Libya is now a haven for ISIS and other terrorist groups; it was on the Libyan coast that ISIS beheaded 30 Christians. Some of the “refugees” now making their way into Europe are, in fact, ISIS agents. In short, Libya is a disaster.

Whose disaster? Hillary Clinton’s. It was Hillary who, more than anyone else, pushed to overthrow Moammar Qaddafi. Why? No compelling reason. Qaddafi had been tame ever since the Iraq war, which he interpreted as a threat to his rule. Almost incredibly, Clinton and her cohorts in NATO overthrew Qaddafi (who was subsequently murdered by a mob) without having a plan for what would come next.

Who says Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Libya fiasco? She does. In fact, at one point she was poised to claim Libya as the notable accomplishment of her term as Secretary of State.

And, in fact, it was. . . .

MARY KATHARINE HAM: Mindy Lahiri And The Dumb Loves of Real, Smart Women.

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THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE: Woman who helped launch the current uproar over sexism in tech is sorry.

In 2013, Elissa Shevinsky wrote an article titled “That’s it, I’m finished defending sexism in tech.” The article was based on her concerns that a major tech expo would open with a presentation with an app called “Titstare,” which, as the name implied, allowed users to take photos of themselves staring at women’s breasts.

Shevinsky had been in the tech industry for a decade at that point, and said she had put up with sexism all the time. She concluded her article by writing that one of the solutions to the problem was to get more women in tech.

Her article received 40,000 views and was shared around the web, helping to spark a debate about the lack of women in the tech industry, a debate with the notable accomplishment of making a grown man — a comet scientist — cry on live TV because the shirt he was wearing offended some.

Because of the movement she helped create, Shevinsky has been described as a “social justice warrior” — a usually derogatory term applied to those who engage in hostile arguments in the name of righting a perceived social injustice.

Shevinsky is now sorry for whatever role she played in creating all of this outrage and silliness. She’s sorry, she writes in her new book, Lean Out, and she adds that her initial position was “flawed.”

“I’m glad to come out in ‘Lean Out’ and say that my original essay — the one that has been the foundation for people assuming that I am [a social justice warrior] — was deeply flawed,” Shevinsky told the Washington Examiner. “I do see sexism and gender issues, a culture war, in Silicon Valley, but the knee-jerk responses (recruit more women! attack the men!) are not the answer.”

Do tell.

Related: Why the Left Waged the #WaronNerds: They’re Losing the Oppression Olympics.

There is no obvious answer. Indeed, the obvious facts seem to fly in the face of explanatory power, in just the same way it does when one sees an unrepentantly patriarchal religion with more than a few troubling inclinations toward medievalism being defended by the Left. Feminists, for instance, have spearheaded much of the sneering and hysterical censoriousness where popular nerd pastimes like comic books and video games are concerned. All this despite the fact that most nerds are hardly the obvious examples of “rapey” masculinity that, say, UVA frat boys might be (though the author takes pains to note, similar accusations are slander in their case as well).

In fact, as the ever excellent liberal author Scott Alexander notes, nerds are the absolute psychological polar opposites of rapists. That a movement designed to protect women from the most ungallant members of society would start with a group about whom the stereotype is that they run around talking and acting like unshaven medieval knights is odd, to say the least. True, there is a degree to which this species of man can be found in the sphere of pickup artistry as well (yet another feminist bette noir), but there, too, it’s not immediately obvious why they’d start here. Say what you like about pickup artistry, but at least it’s about winning enthusiastic sexual consent from its targets, which presupposes the necessity of consent in the first place. Not exactly something you’d expect from unapologetic rapists.

Dig beneath the surface, however, and you find two very compelling explanations for the #WaronNerds. The short version is that it is simply a manifestation of cynical, bullying cowardice combined with emotivist, envious resentment. The long version? Well, read on for the first part.

In the visceral and terrifying musical Parade, written about the Leo Frank lynching, a yellow journalist enthusiastically describes how he will play on the fears of his audience to drum up readership by attacking Frank, or the “little Jew from Brooklyn with a college education.”

“So give him fangs, give him horns
Give him scaly, hairy paws
Have him drooling out the corner of his mouth
He’s a master of disguise
Check those bugged out creepy eyes
Hell, that fella’s here to rape the whole damn South!”

Sam Biddle, know thyself.

The comparison between today’s feminist rape lynch mobs and those of the Jim Crow era has been made before, and is apt.

Also: The Media Is Losing The War On Nerds.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Legislating AP credit: Higher Education bubble sign or . . . The Insta-Daughter, who took just about every AP credit she could feasibly take, thinks AP is a scam. AP calculus is worth about the first 3 weeks of calculus at Georgia Tech. . .

TERRORISM ISN’T A PRODUCT OF POVERTY. IT’S A PRODUCT OF LOW-FUNCTIONING INTELLECTUALS WITH DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: Osama bin Laden, perpetual impoverished grad student. “If you think of Osama bin Laden as a thrifty, frustrated, nth-year graduate student, this all makes sense.”

AT AMAZON for $2.99: Here Be Dragons: A collection of short stories.

PRESCIENT: Camille Paglia on feminism from 1995. “I began to realize this in the Seventies when I thought women could do it on their own. But then something would go wrong with my car and I’d have to go to the men. Men would stop, men would lift up the hood, more men would come with a truck and take the car to a place where there were other men who would call other men who would arrive with parts. I saw how feminism was completely removed from this reality. I also learned something from the men at the garage. At Bennington, I would go to a faculty meeting and be aware that everyone hated me. The men were appalled by a strong, loud woman. But I went to this auto shop and the men there thought I was cute. ‘Oh, there’s that Professor Paglia from the college.’ The real men, men who work on cars, find me cute. They are not frightened by me, no matter how loud I am. But the men at the college were terrified because they are eunuchs, and I threatened every goddamned one of them.”

Plus: “[You can't have] the Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any stupid charge and destroy a man’s reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment–by a man or a woman–if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, “You must do this or I’m going to do that”–for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women must signal the level of their tolerance–women are all different. Some are very bawdy.”

May 23, 2015

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Reverse Swing: Look East, India.

REPORT: Riots In Cleveland. “Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell ruled on Saturday that white Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two black individuals after a police chase in November of 2012.”

THINGS THAT DON’T SUCK: So I upgraded to an iPhone 6 a while back, and it’s a nice phone, but honestly the biggest improvement, I think, is the screen protector. I got one of these Tech-Armor screen protectors (they have ‘em for most phones), which is actually a stick-on sheet of tempered glass. Unlike the plastic ones I had before, this one is perfectly clear, and feels like the natural iPhone screen instead of like plastic. I really like it.

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

WE SHOULD MAKE THEM SEPARATE, BUT STILL, YOU KNOW, EQUAL. Higher Education: Ethnic Minorities Deserve Safe Spaces Without White People.

AT AMAZON, 61% off Colombo, The Complete Series. I’ve just got a few more questions, ma’am.

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LIFE AMONG THE CHURCHIANS: “My problem is that no church I know makes it clear what the wife’s obligation to her husband is.” In contemporary society, men have obligations. Women have entitlements.

DO WE LIVE IN A “RAPE CULTURE?” OR IN A “BREATHLESS HYSTERIA ABOUT RAPE CULTURE?” Sexual Assault Case Against Venice High Schoolers Collapses. “A high-profile LAPD raid on Venice High School that made international headlines after 15 male students were arrested on charges of sexual assault has resulted in prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute anyone in the case. The large number of students arrested in mid-March and the high number of law enforcement personnel that descended on the school’s campus and led students away in handcuffs drew widespread attention on the case. But now, over two months later, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cited ‘insufficient evidence’ as the reason that no charges would be pursued, the Los Angeles Times reported.”

SO IF THIS REPORT IS TRUE, ISIS IS “BLOWBACK” FOR OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT FOR ANTI-ASSAD REBELS: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset. Well, you know, when the Germans put Lenin on that train to Moscow, they saw him as a strategic asset, too.

So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.

Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria. . . . The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies. . . . The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.

That would make Obama’s Iraq failure even bigger than previously assumed, on a par with his (and Hillary’s) Libya failure.

UPDATE: From the comments: “His Egypt failure is more epic than anything in Libya.” You can’t tell all the failures without a scorecard.

BYRON YORK: Clinton emails silent on deadly danger facing Americans in Benghazi.

The newly released Hillary Clinton Benghazi emails do not contain any communications relating to security from the critical last month before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Libya. During that period, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who along with three other Americans would die in the attack, warned Clinton and other State Department officials of a growing danger, indeed a security emergency, in Libya. Stevens specifically noted that the possibility of an attack on Americans was growing, and, if such an attack occurred, the U.S. contingent did not have the strength to repel it. But to judge from the emails made public Friday, Clinton gave not a thought to the matter.

Go back to August 2012. On the 15th of that month, U.S. security officers in Libya held an “emergency” meeting to address the very real possibility that growing violence in the area could soon target Americans. The next day, Aug. 16, Stevens sent a cable to Clinton concluding that the Americans in Libya could not defend U.S. facilities “in the event of a coordinated attack, due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”

It was a clear call for help, one that, judging by the newly-public emails, went entirely unheard at the highest level of the State Department. Apart from some hugger-mugger analyses of Libyan politics by Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal, there is nothing at all in the emails concerning Benghazi from the month before the attack. . . .

The period leading up to the Benghazi attacks is the most critical time in the entire tragic episode. What did Clinton know about the danger to American officials there, and what did she do about it? That is the key question of Benghazi. What happened afterward — the blame-the-video spin — can be interpreted as an attempt to cover up Clinton’s inaction before the attack. Yes, the spin campaign was dishonest. But the more serious offense was allowing the conditions that led to the deaths of Stevens and three other Americans. The crime is worse than the cover-up. And if Republicans thought they would receive any new information in the Clinton-edited version of the emails released Friday, they will surely be disappointed.

Contrast Hillary’s earlier “We came, we saw, he died.”

Related: Pew: Hillary’s ‘favorability’ plummets 17 points, lowest in 7 years.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Lisa Loeb: If You Want Children, Do It Sooner Rather Than Later. “I hate to say it because I want women to be able to do anything whenever they want, but if you want to have your own child, it’s something that you really do need to focus on — the sooner, the better.”

SPACE: New POV video from SpaceX takes you for a ride on Crew Dragon’s first flight. “The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes.”

SO IN THE EXPECTATION OF MORE HILLARY-BOOSTING “WAR ON WOMEN” RHETORIC, I’m just going to rerun this post:

PROF. MARK PERRY: My Top Ten Gender Charts For The Year 2014.

A couple of highlights:

gender1

gender4

Oh, and what the hell, one more:

whitehouse

#WARONWOMEN: Islamic State burned a woman alive for not engaging in an ‘extreme’ sex act, U.N. official says. Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Game Of Thrones Is Relentlessly Sexist… But Not Against Women.

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THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Why It Pays to Be a Jerk: New research confirms what they say about nice guys. One can choose to be an old-fashioned gentleman, but the genuine article was not a Nice Guy in the modern sense, but a person who was never unintentionally rude and who could be, as Robert Heinlein noted, “a cast-iron son of a bitch” when it suited.

GOOD: New Electronics Kit-Makers Aim to Awaken the Next Generation of Engineers.

For years I’ve been profiling great engineers—Nobel Prize holders, IEEE Medal of Honor winners. And so very often they tell me that their first involvement in anything electronic was building a Heathkit project.

Heathkits, they tell me, were magical—they were simple enough to put together and well enough explained that just about anyone could succeed. And the projects were things that kids wanted and would use—mostly radios, amplifiers, and other equipment for listening to music that for millennials have been supplanted by iPods and Pandora.

Heathkit closed down its kit business in the early 90s; kids interested in technology at the time wanted to code, not build things. New electronic building toys did emerge, like Lego Mindstorms and SnapCircuits. But none have dominated like Heathkit.

So there’s still room for the next Heathkit—lots of startups are vying for that title. And there’s still a general sense that these kinds of toys are important—to interest boys and girls in STEM careers early.

My nephew likes both SnapCircuits and Mindstorms. He’s big on Arduino now.

NASA STUDY: These 18 Houseplants Help Purify Your Home’s Air.

STATE-BY-STATE CONSIDERATION IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO WORK:  A psychiatry professor’s WSJ oped, “The Assisted Suicide Movement Goes on Life Support,” explains why voters in liberal/progressive states such as Massachusetts have refused, and California is presently hesitating, to follow in the footsteps of existing right-to-die states such as Oregon and Washington.

Californians are realizing that assisted suicide represents the slipperiest of slopes. This can be especially true for those who rely on emergency rooms for primary care, lack health-care access, or who predominantly come from minority or immigrant communities with documented health-care disparities where many remain uninsured. They would have every reason to mistrust a health-care system under considerable pressure to drive down costs.

Furthermore, what message are we sending to teens and young adults if California legislators promote suicide as an appropriate response to difficult life circumstances? Suicide in the U.S. is a public-health crisis. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a “social contagion” aspect to suicide, which leads to copycat suicides. . . .

The suicide rates in Oregon rose dramatically in the years following the legalization of assisted suicide there in 1997. After declining in the 1990s, rates rose between 2000 and 2010, surpassing the rate of increase nationally. As of 2010, suicide rates were 35% higher in Oregon than the national average.

As a psychiatrist, I have evaluated thousands of individuals who tell me they want to die. If they are helped through these crises—given the medical, psychological and social support they need—they are later grateful for that intervention.

A large body of psychiatric research has demonstrated that 80% to 90% of suicides are associated with depression or other treatable mental disorders. Yet only 5% of the individuals who have died by assisted suicide under Oregon’s permissive law were referred for psychiatric consultation before their death. This lack of basic psychological evaluation and treatment constitutes medical negligence.

I’m not so sure that California will reject the measure as did Massachusetts. Earlier this week, the California Medical Association became the first medical association to withdraw formal opposition of physician-assisted suicide, in exchange for language in the ballot measure that would allow health care professionals to “opt out” of the practice, if enacted.

Allowing States to experiment with new social policies is the appropriate way to handle issues about which there is tremendous disagreement– whether assisted suicide, gay marriage, abortion, polygamy or anything else.  In a federal system such as ours, the national government has only limited and enumerated powers, and the residuum remains with the States.  The Constitution does not mention any of these things, of course, and constitutionalizing them upsets the federalism architecture, imposing a one-size-fits-all decision when it would be much better to simply allow the people to decide, state-by-state, via the democratic process.

TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONES: Heavy radiation suits for Mars will also reduce low-gravity bone loss. Plus: “Someone taking a hike on the surface of Mars could easily carry a backpack that weights hundreds of pounds on Earth. A longer duration hiking trip on Mars would be possible because of the amount of weight hikers could carry. If the hikers had a cart to put their equipment on and pushed the cart a pair of hikers could probably easily push materials that would weigh 700+ pounds on Earth.” Do bear in mind, of course, that weight declines but inertial mass remains the same.

IN THE MAIL: From Craig Lambert, Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 80% Off Summer Reads on Kindle.

And, also today only: ProForm Hybrid Trainer, $275.00 (66% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 744.

IF ISIS IS JV, THEN OUR ADMINISTRATION IS PEEWEE LEAGUE: Walter Russell Mead: A Tactical Success, A Strategic Failure.

This weekend saw U.S. Special Forces pull off a stunning raid, flying deep into Syrian territory in an attempt to capture a senior Islamic State leader called Abu Sayyaf. Sayyaf, a Tunisian citizen, was killed in the raid, but his wife was caught and the raid produced “a significant intelligence gain” according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Around the same time, however, the Islamic State made huge strides in Iraq by taking over the city of Ramadi, the largest city in Sunni al-Anbar province, only 68 miles west of Baghdad. ISIS boasted of seizing tanks and executing dozens of Iraqi soldiers and militants. The United States increased its bombing campaign around Ramadi as Shi’a militia began massing for an assault to retake the city.

The success of the Syria raid and the collapse in Ramadi paradoxically point to the same grim fact: America’s chosen policies in the Middle East are failing—and the Obama administration faces uglier and uglier alternatives as it looks ahead.

The raid in Syria was a tactical triumph and points to the enduring strengths of America’s elite fighting units. But it also underscores a failure of administration policy: staying out of Syria is getting harder, the costs of inaction in Syria are growing, and the options for getting into Syria keep getting uglier.

When your preferred strategy is to put problems off until after the next election, problems that could have been easily addressed when small become problems that require major efforts, and risks, to address. Pretty sure Obama’s plan is to continue to put that off until . . . after the next election, when it’s somebody eles’s problem. In essence, that’s what Clinton did with Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

SO NOW IT’S A CLIMATE “WAR”:  The rhetoric on global warming climate change is heating up  (pun intended).  In addition to President Obama’s recent remarks to the Coast Guard Academy–when he said “the science is indisputable” and “[b]y the middle of this century, Arctic summers could be essentially ice free”–the liberal/progressive forces are gearing up to scare LIVs into believing global warming climate change is a national security risk.  An oped by CNN’s homeland security analyst Juliette Kayyem is now trying to co-opt the overused “war on” shibboleth:

We have a tendency to view certain public policy issues as wars. As in “the war on … ” fill in the blank: drugs, cancer, poverty.

It is often a misleading analogy, but it is meant to get the public to respond to a dire need, just as they would in wartime. The terminology, however, is entirely accurate — and literal — when it comes to our need to address the changing environment as “the war on climate change.”

. . .

Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize — with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities — that climate change isn’t something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.

So now, if one rejects massive economic reorganization based upon ever-changing evidence of cyclical, fluctuating global temperatures, one is not merely a “science denier,” but also putting U.S. national security at risk.  Ironic, given that this accusation is coming from the same people who are so intimidated by ISIS that they dare not insult Mohammed, and think that talking about “radical Islam” is discriminatory because hey, as President Obama said, “Islam is a religion of peace.”  But global warming climate change!– now that’s a real security risk!

These radical climatists don’t want to hear about contrary evidence, of which there is plenty.  And indeed, if someone dares to publicly disagree with the progressive orthodoxy on global warming climate change, he is likely to be branded a heretic.

I hope the Republican candidates for President are readying themselves to punch back twice as hard when the mainstream media and Queen Hillary hit them with this “national security” accusation.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Other Lesson of Kennesaw: Social Media Puts A Face on Faceless Abusive Administrators.

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SO I’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR YEARS, AND NOW IT’S FINALLY SEEING A BIT OF TRACTION: Senate would put colleges on hook for student loan default: Bipartisan push seen as way to make schools accountable.

Only 37 percent of student borrowers are current on their loans and paying down debt, and from 2004 to 2014 there’s been an 89-percent increase in the number of borrowers, and the average balance on their loans has increased 77 percent, according to a study released last month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The ripple effect is felt throughout the economy, as young adults delay purchasing homes or starting businesses.

Hey, that sounds kinda familiar. So does this:

Among other ideas, Mr. Alexander said part-time students shouldn’t be able to borrow as much as full-time students, and perhaps colleges should be allowed to counsel borrowers more frequently or cap the amount students can borrow.

Senate Democrats, including Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are pushing Mr. Reed’s bill, which would force colleges repay a share of defaulted loans if at least a quarter of their students use federal aid.

As it stands, colleges do not face federal penalties unless the percentage of borrowers who default within three years of entering repayment, known as the “cohort default rate,” reaches a high bar of 30 percent. The national rate is much lower, close to 14 percent.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

STRAIGHT TALK: Ashe Schow: 2015 commencement speakers step away from preferred narratives.

Actor Matthew McConaughey (“alright, alright, alright”) had probably the best line of the season. He may not have intentionally decided to take on “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” — code words invented to explain why college students can’t handle reading or hearing things that challenge their worldviews — but he did.

“Life’s not fair,” McConaughey told University of Houston graduates last Friday. “It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not.”

Although some students were unhappy that McConaughey was paid $135,000 for his speech, his message was probably worth the price. He offered a corrective for the seemingly endless stream of stories about the fragility of college students. (The latest example comes from a Columbia University student who thinks Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is offensive.)

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stepped away from the Obama administration’s preferred narrative that all is well in the world, that violent extremism is “on the run” and that only tepid responses to terror are necessary.

“The world’s a mess,” Albright told students at Tufts University. Before that she spoke of “rising sectarianism and extremism in the Middle East,” income inequality and how “technology has given new destructive tools to groups who use religion as a license to murder, as if God’s commandment were ‘thou shalt kill.’”

Some of what she said — income inequality, climate change and the “assumptions” of past generations — are among President Obama’s favorite talking points. But her central message – that the “world’s a mess” – is not so much. Obama seems to prefer making Americans think the true mess is at home. Albright cheered the U.S. as the “brightest beacon of human liberty,” and she managed to do it without the “but” that so often follows when Obama says such things.

Then there was English novelist Ian McEwan, who admonished Dickinson College students to defend free speech. He specifically mentioned Charlie Hebdo and the boycott from PEN America.

“There’s a phenomenon in intellectual life that I call bipolar thinking,” he said. “Let’s not side with Charlie Hebdo because it might seem as if we’re endorsing George Bush’s ‘war on terror’. This is a suffocating form of intellectual tribalism and a poor way of thinking for yourself. As a German novelist friend wrote to me in anguish about the PEN affair — ‘It’s the Seventies again: Let’s not support the Russian dissidents, because it would get applause from the wrong side.’ That terrible phrase.”

McEwan went on to defend Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who now speaks out about what she sees as the dangers inherent in that religion. Last year, Brandeis University withdrew an invitation to Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree after complaints by her opponents.

“Campus intolerance of inconvenient speakers is hardly new,” McEwan said.

No, but it seems to be getting worse.

Related: Robert De Niro to NYU Grads: ‘You’re F*cked.’

HILLARY’S FAILED WAR OF CHOICE IN LIBYA: Email calls Clinton ‘public face of US effort in Libya.’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is referred to as the “public face of the U.S. effort in Libya” in a 2012 memo written by Jake Sullivan, a top Clinton aide at the State Department.

The email was written months before the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

Sullivan’s April 2012 memo detailed Clinton’s role in Libya, framing her as “instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”

It notes Clinton’s role in those efforts, including her work lobbying for United Nations sanctions against the dictator and working with coalition forces around the NATO mission to intervene in the Libyan civil war.

One of those accomplishments is the March appointment of Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi, one of the four Americans killed in the attack.

The memo highlights the shift in perception of America’s role in Libya between the successful removal of dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the Benghazi attacks. Before those attacks, many saw Clinton’s work in Libya as one of her crowning achievements at State. But that’s since been overshadowed by Benghazi, which has sparked intense criticism from her Republican foes, and the ongoing turmoil in Libya.

The State Department released the email as part of the first release of messages from Clinton’s private server.

This is a modified limited hangout. Everything you get is sanitized, and none of the worst stuff is being released. And given that this stuff is actually fairly bad, that may provide a sense of what they’re holding back.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Millennials Are Ditching College and Heading Back to the Workplace.

AT AMAZON: Men’s socks.

I GET MAIL: A Letter to @Instapundit on Higher Ed Lobbying and For Profit Colleges.

ED DRISCOLL: Gaslighting, Then And Now. “We’ve mentioned the left devouring its own several times in recent months. The ‘campus rape epidemic’ seems like a bizarre intellectual climate to serve as the background for Hillary’s campaign — and she has no one else to blame but her fellow Democrats for creating it. Or am I simply gaslighting myself?”

It certainly presents opportunities.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Report Blasts ‘Fantasy World’ of Presidential Benefits.

An Illinois Senate report will be released today blasting the “fantasy world of lavish perks” for presidents of public colleges and universities, The Chicago Tribune reported. The study criticizes funds given to presidents for cars, homes and clubs as well as large severance packages provided to a number of presidents. Some legislators are expected to introduce a bill that would, among other things, limit severance payments to one year’s salary.

Higher education leaders (and not just in Illinois) tend to defend various benefits for presidents as needed to recruit top talent. But the report says that these benefits have hurt important values. “This has led to a culture of arrogance and a sense of entitlement reflected in many of these executive compensation plans, with an apparent disregard for middle-class families whose taxes and tuition dollars are funding these exorbitant salaries and excessive fringe benefits,” the report says.

Well, yes. That said, the real harm isn’t done by fat salaries at the top, but by the swelling ranks of mid-level administrators with high-five and low-six figure salaries, plus expensive staffs, travel allowances, etc. And when you look at dumb, PC stuff happening on campus, it’s almost always the fault of one of these apparatchiks.

ROGER SIMON: A Memorial Weekend Review For Election 2016.

May 22, 2015

AND PUP’S JUST WENT OUT OF BUSINESS OR IT WOULD HAVE MADE THE LIST: Two Knoxville barbecue restaurants chosen as top 100 in nation.

IN THE OBAMA ERA, RACISM IS EVERYWHERE: Obama is nostalgic for “white” Israel.

ACE: Scenes From the Decadent Period of the Dying American Republic.

GAME OF THRONES “RAPE” SCENE:  Feminists are in a tizzy about the supposed rape of Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark.  There’s a defense of the storyline and character development by Leslie Loftis in The Federalist today.  But even Loftis assumes that the scene involved a rape. I’m a fan of the show, and I saw the scene.  But I honestly don’t understand why everyone is assuming this was a “rape.”

During the episode, Sansa was married to character Ramsey Bolton (a creepy, sadistic character, for sure).  Immediately after their wedding, Ramsey asks Sansa to undress.  She complies, and then one hears her crying, presumably as Ramsey is raping her.  But the two are married, and Sansa never once indicates, overtly or even implicitly, that she objects to having sex with him.  So if she does not object in any way, would not her husband reasonably assume she consented?  If one wanted to shoot a “rape” scene, should not the script writer have at least provided some indication that Sansa articulated a “no”?

I understand that Ramsey is an icky character, that he asked his slave to watch them have sex, and that he would not have taken a “no,” even it if had been uttered or indicated by physical resistance (in which case continuation would clearly have been a rape).  But given that the scene offers no manifestation of objection by Sansa, is it even fair to characterize this scene as a “rape”?

OUT: MILFS. In: DILFs.

HOPEY-CHANGEY: ISIS Recruits Muhanad Badawi and Nader Elhuzayel Arrested Near L.A. Charged. “Elhuzayel admitted to agents after his arrest that he had no intention to continue to Israel but planned to ‘travel to the Islamic State, pledge allegiance to ISIL (ISIS), and defend ISIL against attackers,’ according to the complaint.”

AMERICA’S OPPRESSIVE KNIFE LAWS: “We see it all the time, I’ve had all kinds of people being accused of having a dangerous weapon, and you go, ‘What weapon?’ And you look at what was classified as the weapon and you have to laugh.”

THE MIGRATORY INVASION OF EUROPE: David Solway: The Hour Is Later Than We Think. “The migratory invasion of Europe, uncannily but presciently foreseen in Jean Raspail’s much derided 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, is now taking place with near-irresistible force on the shores of that beleaguered continent.”

It’s not irresistible, unless you lack the will to resist it.

YEAH, I’D PUT THE NUMBER HIGHER THAN THAT, MYSELF: Less Than 4% Chance That Lawyer, Professor Jobs Will Be Replaced By Technology.

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MARRIAGE ADVICE FROM THE VICTORIAN ERA: “She may admire and desire a lover before she really learns his deeper qualities, but if she gets one who in the fulness of time manifests marked effeminacy, her love will wane, her admiration will sicken and die, and there will be a shaking in their contract before long.”

AVIATION: A Simple Sheet of Latex Could Make Your Next Flight So Much Quieter.

WELL, IT BEATS RAYMOND: Everybody Loves Sex.

“AFTER MY ELECTION I’LL HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY”: These were President Obama’s infamous words to Dmitry Medvedev back in spring 2012.  David Adesnik at NRO now asks, “Is the Obama Administration Readying More Concessions to Russia?”

GENERAL MOTORS: That Car You Bought? We’re The Ones Who Really Own It.

Intellectual property has gone too far.

TED NUGENT’S COMMENCEMENT: In today’s Daily Caller, rocker Ted Nugent has a few words of advice for graduates.  His first four pearls:

1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.
2. Social justice is a commie scam. Read the drivel of Saul Alinsky and fight it with all you’ve got.
3. Nobody owes you jacksquat. You will either earn your own way, or feel like a helpless leech. There is no middle ground.
4. Economic equality is for sheep. If you really believe we are all equal in our capabilities you will go nowhere.

As Nugent said in his song, “Workin’ Hard, Playin’ Hard”:

Now it’s my turn to show my stuff;
It’s sometimes fun and sometimes rough.
I’m workin’ hard to earn my way;
But, lucky me, my work is play.

Workin’ hard, playin’ hard;
Helps me get thru each day and night.
Workin’ hard, playin’ hard;
Makes everything all right.

Exactly.

SPYING: There’s an app for that: How NSA, allies exploit mobile app stores. “In 2011 and 2012, the NSA and the communications intelligence agencies of its ‘Five Eyes’ allies developed and tested a set of add-ons to their shared Internet surveillance capability that could identify and target communications between mobile devices and popular mobile app stores—including those of Google and Samsung. According to an NSA document published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the targeting capability could have been used to launch ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks on mobile app downloads, allowing the NSA and other agencies to install code on targeted devices and gather intelligence on their users.”

UNEMPLOYMENT IN AMERICA ISN’T SO BAD, so long as you’re not American. “Since 2009, when the national unemployment rate peaked, joblessness among foreign-born workers has fallen by 4.1 percentage points. The drop was 2.9 percentage points for the native born.” Obvious solution: Import more foreign workers and see unemployment drop even more!!

YEAH, THAT’S HOW I SEE IT: Los Angeles $15 Per Hour Min Wage Will Spur Robot Development. And the robot development will create new jobs! Too bad they’ll be in Taiwan. . . .

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Brain Implant Lets Tetraplegic Man Drink Beer with a Robot Arm.

THE “GOTCHA!” IRAQ HINDSIGHT HYPOTHETICAL: Charles Krauthammer: You want hypotheticals? Here’s one.

The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake? . . .

And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.”

Do the math. That’s 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.

Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.

All of these retrospective, if-you-were-omniscient hypotheticals are a waste of breath.  But at least this one focuses on the role that the current Administration has played in the disintegration of the region, rather than continuing their silly “It was Bush’s fault!” distraction game.  What I want to know is:  What, Mr. President, do you plan to do now to stop the region from becoming even more dangerous to U.S. interests?

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: “One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.”

NOW OUT FROM ILYA SOMIN: The Grasping Hand: “Kelo v. City of New London” and the Limits of Eminent Domain.

IN THE MAIL: From David P. Gontar, Unreading Shakespeare.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 743.

WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE: College Students Feel Unprepared For Job Market.

BEN BARTON: The Rise And Fall Of Lawyers.

The American legal profession has faced a tsunami of bad news since 2008. White-shoe, corporate law firms have faced waves of layoffs or even shuttered their doors. While the very top firms are rolling again, the 50 years of explosive growth that started in the 1960s are now a memory.

But at least corporate lawyers have had recent glory days. Solo practitioners, the largest single group of American lawyers and the heart and soul of the profession, have struggled for a quarter of a century.

Since the 1960s the IRS has collected and published income levels for all American lawyers filing as solo practitioners. In 1988, solo practitioners earned an inflation-adjusted $70,747. By 2012, earnings had fallen to $49,130, a 30% decrease in real income. And note, $49,130 is not the starting salary for these lawyers. It is the average earnings of all 354,000 lawyers who filed as solo practitioners that year.

And the bad news has just started for these lawyers, who now face new competition from online providers of legal services such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer.

Law school applications have plummeted. If the current trend continues, fewer students will apply to law school in 2015-16 than enrolled in law school in 2010-11. Law schools are closing campuses, merging and buying out faculty and staff.

Believe it or not, though, he manages to find an upside — mostly for consumers — as indicated by the title of his new book, Glass Half Full: The Decline And Rebirth Of The Legal Profession.

SHOCKINGLY, NOT ABOUT THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: The Seedy, Profitable World of Scam Charities. Though readers may note some similarities.

I’ve noted for years that the nonprofit world is awash in unaccountable money.

MAYBE B.U. NEEDS TO RETHINK ITS HIRING PROCESS: BU hire set up sex profile for rival: Was ‘jealous’ coed when busted in 2008.

Troubling tweets disparaging white male college students may be just the tip of the iceberg for incoming Boston University professor Saida Grundy, who has a history of Internet misdeeds, the Herald has learned.

Grundy used the identity of a Virginia woman in a jealous fit over a man in late 2007 to create online accounts in the woman’s name, including one on an adult website for people looking for trysts, according to a police report obtained by the Herald under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Grundy got one year of probation after pleading guilty to malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor, according to online court records and Dan Dwyer, the court administrator at Washtenaw County Trial Court in Michigan. Two felony charges, identity theft and using a computer to commit a crime, were dismissed.

The cyber harassment took place in December 2007 when Grundy was at the University of Michigan, where she earned a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate of philosophy in sociology and women’s studies in 2014.

The victim told police in Charlottesville, Va., that someone was creating accounts in her name and posting her personal information online, according to the police report.

A detective traced the suspect, identified as Grundy, to Ann Arbor and reached out to police there.

During an interview with detectives at her home in May 2008, Grundy said she had never met the victim but “this was a jealous thing regarding another man,” according to the police report.

A perfect foundation for a career in Women’s Studies.

Plus:

Last week, Grundy, who is black, said she regretted “indelicately” tweeting that white male college students are a “problem population” and that “white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges.”

On Monday, BU’s African American Studies faculty posted an online message welcoming Grundy, saying she had been hired after a nationwide search and chosen from over 100 applicants. The post mentioned Grundy’s tweets and said they’ve been “shocked by the number of voicemails left and the hostile emails sent to our office and our individual accounts.”

Did BU know about all these problems when they hired her? If not, why not? And what characteristics did she possess that made her more appealing than the other 100+ candidates?

I RECOMMEND AN EXCISE TAX ON “EXCESSIVE” ENDOWMENT BALANCES. BECAUSE EQUALITY! Higher Education’s Wealth Gap: Rich Universities Get Richer While Poor Students Are Left Behind.

THE TRIGGER-HAPPY GENERATION:  Peggy Noonan’s new column in the Wall Street Journal documents the sad legacy of progressive censorship in the name of political correctness:

Well, here are some questions and a few thoughts for all those who have been declaring at all the universities, and on social media, that their feelings have been hurt in the world and that the world had just better straighten up.

Why are you so fixated on the idea of personal safety, by which you apparently mean not having uncomfortable or unhappy thoughts and feelings? Is there any chance this preoccupation is unworthy of you? Please say yes.

There is no such thing as safety. That is asking too much of life. You can’t expect those around you to constantly accommodate your need for safety. That is asking too much of people.

Life gives you potentials for freedom, creativity, achievement, love, all sorts of beautiful things, but none of us are “safe.” And you are especially not safe in an atmosphere of true freedom. People will say and do things that are wrong, stupid, unkind, meant to injure. They’ll bring up subjects you find upsetting. It’s uncomfortable. But isn’t that the price we pay for freedom of speech?

You can ask for courtesy, sensitivity and dignity. You can show others those things, too, as a way of encouraging them. But if you constantly feel anxious and frightened by what you encounter in life, are we sure that means the world must reorder itself? Might it mean you need a lot of therapy?

Yeah, I shudder to think what kind of President this generation could potentially produce. There are still many good, intelligent, and strong young people within our universities. The question is:  Will they find a way to lead, and fight back against this progressive, PC censorship nonsense, or will they allow themselves to be silenced?

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IT’S COME TO THIS: Yelp Law School Rankings.

ASHE SCHOW: One year later, California man still haunted by false charges.

It’s been one year since child-sexting charges were dropped against Scott Hounsell for lack of evidence, but his life is far from recovered.

“I live in constant fear that the person I attempt to work with or my new employer is going to enter my name into Google and then rescind any offer for work,” Scott told the Washington Examiner. “I constantly think of my children, and how their friends’ parents are going to view me in the future. I avoid situations like the plague where I could ever, even for a second, be thought of as having done something like what I was accused of.”

Scott’s struggles began in 2013 with an accusation that he had sent explicit Facebook messages to a minor. No such messages were found on her computer or in Facebook’s archive, and the District Attorney declined to file charges. But the Los Angeles City Attorney, a newly-elected Democrat, pounced on the accusation, charging Scott immediately — at the time, Scott was the executive director of the Republican Party of L.A. County.

The Democrat City Attorney who pressed these charges is named Mike Feuer.

ROLL CALL: Obama to Havana? Would ‘Relish’ Cuba Trip.

President Barack Obama’s bucket list for his remaining time in office has at least one sunny destination on it: Havana, Cuba.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told a reporter in town from Cuba that the president “would relish the opportunity” to visit Havana in 2016.

Earlier, Earnest welcomed the reporter to the United States and the White House. In response to other questions, he said one area of discussion regarding the president’s plans to reopen diplomatic ties with Cuba involves ensuring access by American diplomats to the Cuban people.

Obama has lifted some travel restrictions. And the president, a former smoker, has also loosened rules on bringing Cuban cigars back from the island.

Well, he’s taking the whole country to Cuba, in a manner of speaking.

MEH. IT’S A SUBSIDY TO RICH COASTAL BLUE-STATE TYPES, AND A JOBS PROGRAM FOR DEMOCRAT-VOTING UNION TYPES: Dems slam GOP over Amtrak cuts. End the subsidy and sell it off. If anyone will buy it.

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“I’M MOVING DEEPER INTO THE LIBERTARIAN REALM:” Glenn Beck Calls For The Repeal Of Drug Prohibition.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: New Grads Can’t Really Afford To Live Anywhere, Report Finds.

Life after college graduation is thrilling… until you try to find somewhere to live. Entry level salaries coupled with sky-high rents in the country’s most desirable cities often makes finding a place more of a headache than a happy ending.

As experts at Trulia found, new grads can’t really afford to live anywhere among the country’s 25 largest rental markets. While the median annual income for new grads ranges from about $16,000 to about $41,000 in these cities, the income needed to afford median rent is two to three times that — assuming grads don’t want to spend more than 31 percent of their income on rent.

You can see this on the map below: A purple circle is how much money recent grads typically make, and a yellow circle is how much they’d need to make in order to afford median rent. The bar chart tells precisely how much more they’d need to make to afford rent — and the numbers are not pretty.

At worst, this effect means just .1 percent of rentals are affordable to new grads in Portland, Oregon. At best, it makes just 18.6 percent of rentals affordable in St. Louis, Missouri.

Any way you slice it, it’s a pretty rough welcome to the “real world.”

Dude, you’re triggering me.

May 21, 2015

THE LATEST ADDITION TO A LONG, LONG LIST: Another reason why Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be president.

YES. MAKE IT PAINFUL FOR THEM SO THEY STOP. Social-justice warriors readying a new war on free speech?

MEMORY HOLE: Hillary Clinton Omits Failed Presidential Campaign on LinkedIn Resume. “What else is she hiding?”

Whatever she can.

MICKEY KAUS: Cruz and Amnesty: The Telltale Video.

ED DRISCOLL: Before ‘The Great Relearning,’ First We Need ‘The Great Unswaddling.’

INSECURITY: “We’re being prodded to think of the numerosity of the GOP field of candidates as absurd. (How will they debate?) I keep seeing GOP-disparagers calling the group a ‘clown car.’ What’s really going on? I say it’s displacement of anxiety over the extreme opposite happening on the other side: only Hillary.”