Archive for December, 2010

December 31, 2010

DAN MITCHELL: Fight over For-Profit Colleges Shows the Corrupting Influence of Federal Subsidies.

December 31, 2010

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” Ivory Coast president refuses phone call from Barack Obama.

December 31, 2010

RINGING OUT THE OLD YEAR by savagely mocking Katie Couric. She’s pretty mockable.

December 31, 2010

OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS: A Car Lust Road Trip. “When Frau Bertha Ringer Benz of Mannheim, Germany loaded her two teenage boys on the family automobile that day in August of 1888 and set off for her mother’s house in Pforzheim, it was in fact the first time anyone, anywhere on the planet, had used an automobile for personal travel. That would make the trip one for the history books all by itself, but there’s even more to the story. Frau Benz would accomplish quite a few more automotive ‘firsts’ in the course of her 65 mile adventure.”

December 31, 2010

KYLE OLSON: Charge NYC Union Leaders with Negligent Homicide.

December 31, 2010

WRONG-HOUSE DRUG RAID NEWS: City to pay couple $215,000 in botched police raid. “An Ecorse couple won a $215,000 judgment Tuesday against the city, retired Police Chief Jerry Copeland and two police officials stemming from a drug raid executed against the wrong house in 2008. U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds ordered the defendants to pay Michael and Tammy Phelps $215,000, money that will be financed largely by bonds that will be repaid by taxpayers over several years.”

December 31, 2010

WALTER SHAPIRO: Why I Hate Year-End List Stories.

December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Oil Surges to Highest Year-End Price Since 2007 on Dollar. “Oil surged to its highest year-end price since 2007 as the dollar weakened and gasoline and heating oil futures climbed.”

I paid 3.22/gallon for gas today. I expect I’ll be paying more soon. Expect a flurry of JournoListism telling us that high gasoline prices are good because they help the environment.

December 31, 2010

DOUBLING DOWN ON STUPID? Lee Co. School Board Stands Behind Superintendent’s Decision. “Board Chairman Shawn Williams says the district has a zero-tolerance policy, although the superintendent says they consider a student’s record.” Note the pathetic picture of the paring knife in question at the link.

December 31, 2010

SNOW: NYC Investigating Reports of Work Slowdown During Snow Removal. “New York City’s government watchdog agency is investigating reports that some Sanitation Department supervisors told workers not to clear snow during a post- Christmas blizzard that left some roads unplowed for three days.”

December 31, 2010

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: As frustration grows, airports consider ditching TSA. “For airports, the change isn’t about money. At issue, airport managers and security experts say, is the unwieldy size and bureaucracy of the federal aviation security system.”

Plus this:

“Unlike a government job, these contract employees can be removed immediately with poor performance, attitude or unsuitability,” said Kansas City airport director Mark VanLoh. “It shows in our passenger surveys for customer satisfaction each year.”

No surprise there.

December 31, 2010

IF ONLY WE COULD BE AS PROGRESSIVE AS CANADA: Canada Drops Corporate Tax Rate to 16.5%, Less Than Half the U.S. Rate.

December 31, 2010

MORE NUCLEAR MATERIALS SECURED.

December 31, 2010

JOBS? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ JOBS! “Why has California become the epicenter of unemployment? While Michigan and Florida have a mix of problems, including (in Michigan’s case) a history of bad management decisions on labor contracts, California’s Central Valley woes are entirely a government creation.”

December 31, 2010

ELIE MYSTAL: “Am I in favor of a 68-year-old man punching a 15-year-old boy for not turning off his cell phone in preparation for landing? Hey man, it takes a village.” So we’ve been told.

December 31, 2010

NEW-YEAR’S RECIPES FOR Champagne Cocktails.

December 31, 2010

EUGENE VOLOKH: “There are no coincidences. All is connected. Incest law, banking, libel, anonymous comments on reason.com — truly, a seamless web.”

December 31, 2010

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Liberal Reckoning of 2010: The year voters saw the left’s unvarnished agenda and said no. “Never has a Congress done so much and been so despised for it.” Hey, 13% of Americans still approve.

December 31, 2010

COMMENT OF THE DAY, from Jody Green: “To the private sector a half a billion dollars is enough to start a whole new industry. To the federal government it is a rounding error. How many new industries will be lost due to wasteful spending of a totally dysfunctional federal government?”

December 31, 2010

TOM BLUMER: 2010 a Banner Year for MSM’s Ministries of Mistruth: On the big stories of the year, it’s all the facts they wish to print.

December 31, 2010

AT AMAZON, markdowns on Blu-Ray and DVD.

December 31, 2010

AT TRIFECTA, Bill Whittle, Stephen Green and Scott Ott name the Trifecta Person Of The Year.

December 31, 2010

TORNADO IN ST. LOUIS: Gateway Pundit Has A Roundup.

December 31, 2010

THEODORE DALRYMPLE: Can Congress Make You Buy Broccoli? Only if the broccoli lobby makes a sufficient contribution . . . .

December 31, 2010

YEAR-END CHARITABLE GIVING:

Rob Neppell emails to suggest Spirit of America.

There’s also The Lifeboat Foundation.

F.I.R.E. is a worthy cause, too.

The Foresight Institute does good work.

And I just donated to Law School Transparency. I’ve actually donated to all of the above organizations at some point.

UPDATE: Also: How To Donate Frequent Flier Miles To The Troops.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Richard Combs emails: “Please put in a good word for the ‘merry band of libertarian litigators’ at the Institute for Justice. Their effectiveness, both in the courts and in the court of public opinion, is remarkable. They’ve done more to advance economic liberty and property rights than any organization I can think of.”

Good point!

December 31, 2010

STRANGE THINGS HAPPENING with the Exclusionary Rule.

December 31, 2010

RAND SIMBERG: 2010: A Momentous Year For Commercial Spaceflight.

December 31, 2010

A BLOG REPORT: Ashley Smithwick And The Paring Knife. “The whole thing struck me as silly. There was no reason to call an emergency meeting to have a discussion in private, to issue a press release. I can’t think of how they could have been more irritating in how they did it short of actually getting rude. The Chairman and the Superintendent were politicians. Who knew that a pair of leaders of a little school board in a small county in rural North Carolina would come across like seasoned politicians? They refused to characterize the situation at all. . . . When the discussion arose about the Smithwicks providing a written release, the Superintendent said that he would not, in their place, give a release to the press, because he would not want the press to be rooting around in his child’s records. That struck me as an implied threat.”

December 31, 2010

CATCHING ON to the entitlement disaster.

December 31, 2010

HMM: Report: Tesla Model S will be profitable thanks to cheaper batteries.

December 31, 2010

BYRON YORK: ObamaCare Mess Is Legacy Of Dems’ Moment of Power.

December 31, 2010

NOT SMART: GOP Goes All Wobbly On Fannie and Freddie.

December 31, 2010

IN THE MAIL: From Judge Irene Sullivan, Raised by the Courts: One Judge’s Insight into Juvenile Justice.

December 31, 2010

YA THINK? The Hill: Dem regrets language in memo on ‘death panels’ that reignited debate.

December 31, 2010

MORE ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE:

The indubitable virtue of increased public spending on higher education has become another theory, like global warming, that has a divided life. As the general public grows more and more skeptical about it, the people society pays to be skeptical—professors and journalists—by and large continue to see nothing amiss. . . . Generally, if the topic is acknowledged at all, it is done so in scorn for the philistines who would reduce the “value” of a college degree to the job prospects and earnings of graduates. Never mind that higher education has been busy selling itself to the public in precisely those terms for the last fifty years and that the official position of the Obama administration is that our “national competitiveness” depends on a huge expansion in the number of young people who earn college degrees.

But I’m ready to concede the point. Higher education should be about more than gaining a credential that gives one a leg up in the marketplace. But if we are going to re-focus the debate on the non-utilitarian substance of higher learning—on the transmission of disciplined intellectual inquiry, on developing civilized discernment, on aspiration for genuinely higher knowledge—we had better be prepared to rethink our national preoccupation with mass higher education. Judged by those standards, contemporary American undergraduate education as a whole is a colossal failure.

Which is it? Do we want to run a mass credentialing service that the public increasingly views as an expensive con? Or do we want to engage in rigorous higher education as something that has intrinsic value, but which our current system is ill-suited to provide?

Read the whole thing.

December 31, 2010

RAND SIMBERG: The Shelby Swindle. NASA is forced to spend a half-billion dollars on a canceled rocket, and Rand observes: “It’s always useful to note that half a billion dollars is about what SpaceX has spent to date on: creating a company, purchasing/leasing/modifying test, manufacturing and launch facilities, developing from scratch and demonstrating engines, two orbital launch systems, and a pressurized return capsule.”

Related: “Perhaps the most dysfunctional Congress in history.” Well, at least it’s over.

December 31, 2010

STILL OFFERING A BUNCH OF YEAR-END DEALS AT AMAZON. But not for much longer!

December 31, 2010

THAT LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD EMERGENCY MEETING: InstaPundit reader (and blogger himself) Sean Sorrentino is there and emails: “I’m in the meeting. There’s a TV camera here, and about half a dozen spectators currently. I’ll take notes and let you know what happens.”

UPDATE: Transparency! Sorrentino follows up: “The first and only thing that was said was for the Vice Chair, John T Bonardi to move to go to closed session. They are currently in closed session upstairs to discuss ‘information not subject to public records,’ and to ‘preserve the attorney client privelige.’ There’s still time for more Sanford locals to show up.” They sound nervous. As, it seems, they should be.

December 31, 2010

IS THIS THE NEW GOLDEN AGE OF TV?

December 31, 2010

NEW YORK POST: Sanitation Workers Targeted Specific Neighborhoods In Snow Slowdown. “The selfish Sanitation bosses who sabotaged the blizzard cleanup to fire a salvo at City Hall targeted politically connected and well-heeled neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn to get their twisted message across loud and clear, The Post has learned. Their motives emerged yesterday as the city’s Department of Investigation admitted it began a probe earlier this week after hearing rumblings of a coordinated job action. Sources told The Post several neighborhoods were on the workers’ hit list — including Borough Park and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Middle Village in Queens — because residents there have more money and their politicians carry big sticks.”

I think that Whacking Day is coming around, and they may regret that choice . . . .

December 31, 2010

AND KIDS HAVE GOTTEN STEADILY FATTER THE WHOLE TIME:

For all the talk in Washington of finally regulating schools into better food choices – the core purpose of the child nutrition bill that the President signed into law earlier this month – a bit of sore news during this sweet holiday season: the federal government has been in the business of micro-managing our children’s lunches for 30 years.

The people busy subsidizing corn production and talking up the consumption of cheese (paying for a $12 million ad campaign for Domino’s new line of cheese-heavy pizzas), will now be charged with better regulating the school-lunch programs they’ve been negligently regulating for 3 decades.

Add in the fact that millions of kids’ meals are federally sponsored with the school lunch program, meaning that the unhealthy food served often receives a double subsidy (to agribusiness and then to schools). Taxpayers are paying and paying again.

With rising rates of childhood obesity, Washington has been regulating and subsidizing a new generation of diabetics.

If this weren’t the government, it would be prosecuted as a criminal enterprise.

December 31, 2010

PROGRESS: University of Virginia Reforms Speech Code.

December 31, 2010

SAYING GOODBYE TO KODACHROME.

December 31, 2010

JULIAN ASSANGE DEFENSE: It’s not rape-rape. “… just because he’s a rapist doesn’t mean I’m saying he’s some some sort of violent… It’s such a loaded term….”

December 31, 2010

IS LIBERTARIANISM a “weird perversion?” Or is that just a sales slogan? . . . .

December 31, 2010

EIGHT BOTCHED ENVIRONMENTAL FORECASTS. Snow? A thing of the past!

Plus, a rare image of Time Magazine’s How To Survive The Coming Ice Age cover.

UPDATE: So rare it’s a Photoshop. Well, dang.

December 31, 2010

THE NEW YORK SNOW DEBACLE: Time To Rethink Public Employee Unions. If by “rethink” you mean “outlaw.”

December 31, 2010

DOGMA AND THE NEW PROGRESSIVES.

December 31, 2010

UNSURPRISING: “I have an easier time being openly gay with conservatives than I do being a conservative with other gay people.”

December 31, 2010

MAKING THE RUBBLE BOUNCE: Victor Davis Hanson on Colman McCarthy.

What does “the intellectual purity of a school” mean in 2010? That was tragically lost a long time ago in the 1960s when “relevant” courses (particularly -studies courses) became deductive, with preconceived ends that justified biased means of teaching. Examine questions of free speech, intellectual diversity, and tolerance for minority opinion on an average campus, and the notion of “intellectual purity” is rendered Orwellian

They told me if I voted Republican, narrowminded zealots would be subjecting universities to “intellectual purity” tests. And they were right!

December 30, 2010

RON RADOSH: The Second Time is Farce: Frances Fox Piven Calls for a new Cloward-Piven Strategy for Today. Actually, it was pretty much a farce the first time, as the original Cloward-Piven strategy wasn’t exactly a brilliant success. As for calls for “mass protests” and “unruly mobs” in favor of more socialism, modeled on the Greek riots, I can’t think of anything better for the Republicans. It’s like this is some sort of clever scheme using a doddering, easily manipulated provocateur, but who could . . . Karl Rove, you magnificent bastard!

December 30, 2010

ETHICAL QUANDARY: Kidney transplant as a condition of life-sentence suspension in MS. That’s nothing. Under ObamaCare, your kidney transplant will depend on how connected you are. Oh, I’m just joking . . . .

December 30, 2010

MORE Ezra Klein Constitution Mockery. Plus, from the comments: “I notice that the article has been edited and now says that the Constitution was written more than 200 years ago, which makes Klein look like less of a putz. If you didn’t know what the original version said, then the first comment about the Constitution not being written in 1910 would make no sense at all.”

December 30, 2010

DAN RIEHL NOT IMPRESSED WITH JOE SCARBOROUGH’S POLITICAL AMBITIONS: “Dude, you’re currently third banana behind frickin’ Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.”

December 30, 2010

HEATING UP: Video: NYC councilman repeats charges of sanitation “snow slowdown.”

Related: Gov. Paterson calls for snow slowdown probe.

December 30, 2010

WE WUZ ROBBED.

December 30, 2010

SO IS THIS HOPE, OR CHANGE? Most In Poll See Lingering Unemployment.

December 30, 2010

AT AMAZON, year-end deals in Tools and Home Improvement.

December 30, 2010

STEPHEN GREEN UNCORKS an old-fashioned Fisking on Colman McCarthy’s lame anti-military column.

It’s funny that the likes of Colman McCarthy feel morally or intellectually superior to, well, anyone.

UPDATE: “The US military can’t possibly be a hundredth as uncomfortable with gays as the Left is uncomfortable with the American soldier.”

December 30, 2010

RICHARD POLLOCK: Ten Political Flash Points For 2011.

December 30, 2010

SLATE: A defense of “May-December” marriages like Hugh Hefner’s. “The research is thin, but there’s little evidence that marriages with wide age gaps between partners turn out any worse than marriages between people born around the same time. Presumably, at least some of the time, these arrangements fit each person’s needs better than marrying someone the same age would. . . . But the best reason not to hate May-December marriages is the same reason not to hate any marriage that’s not your own: What’s the point?” The important thing is that people who like to cluck their tongues in disapproval have sufficient opportunities to do so.

December 30, 2010

THE LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD WILL BE HOLDING AN EMERGENCY MEETING TOMORROW MORNING presumably about the Ashley Smithwick paring-knife case. “This is notice that the Lee County Board of Education will hold an emergency meeting regarding a student disciplinary issue on Friday, December 31, 2010, at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Heins Education Building, 106 Gordon Street, Sanford.”

Here’s the latest on that — note the update — from Bryan Preston. If any InstaPundit readers attend, please drop me a note about what happens. I suppose the meeting could be about something else, but . . . .

UPDATE: This story says it’s about Smithwick, and also calls into question Superintendent Jeffrey Moss’s earlier statement.

December 30, 2010

IOWAHAWK: The Ezra Klein Constitution Essay. Fish, barrel, smoking gun.

UPDATE: Charles Austin emails: “Just imagine how confused Ezra Klein might be if he had to read something over a thousand years old like Aristotle, Sun Tzu, the Torah or (gasp) the Koran!” No dissing the Koran. That would be racist, or something.

December 30, 2010

JIM LEACH: Buying membership in the Academy with taxpayer money?

December 30, 2010

TAINTED LOVE: Lockyer, Chiang Got Campaign Money From Fraud-Tainted Developer. “Two high-level state officials have frozen nearly $150,000 in campaign contributions raised for them by a low-income housing developer now accused of bilking government agencies. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and state Controller John Chiang said they have put the money into separate accounts while they await the outcome of a federal probe into Advanced Development and Investment Inc. The company has built dozens of subsidized apartment complexes up and down the state with taxpayer money. . . . Spokesmen for Lockyer and Chiang said that if the company is found to have committed wrongdoing, the two men will give the money back.”

Note that they’re not returning the money. Just, you know, freezing it. Somehow, though, this makes me think of Rep. William Jefferson, which I’m sure was not their hope . . . .

UPDATE: Dodd Harris emails:

What? No mention of escorting Bill Lockyer to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, “Hi, my name is Spike, honey.”?!?

I’m shocked — shocked!

Unlike Lockyer, I don’t regard prison rape as a political tool. Though if I were to make an exception, he’d be at the top of the list.

December 30, 2010

MICHAEL WALSH: Fighting Back Against ObamaCare.

One thing Hollywood knows how to do is to give audi ences a “cheer moment” when the underdog finally turns on his adversaries — Rocky’s first, bone-crushing left hook against Apollo Creed, for example. As the 112th Congress convenes next week, that’s what many Americans will be expecting from the 63 new Republican House members and five new Republican senators. The first thing they’re going to have to rock back on its heels is ObamaCare.

Tea Partiers, start your engines. The great battle for the soul and future of America is about to begin.

Indeed.

December 30, 2010

MAN-MADE FAMINE in America.

December 30, 2010

LOW-LIGHT KING: Testing The Nikon D3s.

December 30, 2010

SO CAN’T THEY FIND SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T SUPPORT OBAMACARE to head the RNC? I mean, just a thought . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Bill Reece thinks this is unfair:

I don’t think your comments or the blog post to which you linked are necessarily fair to Mr. Priebus. As a member of a Firm with 50 or so fellow members, I can tell you that we have pretty divergent political and philosophical views within my firm, and I am in a pretty conservative locale. We have some members who are pretty big Obama supporters, and I can guarantee their views do not represent those of myself or many of the other members of the Firm, and vice versa.

In addition, pretty much every Firm in the country with any work in the medical field has been making similar sales pitches to clients regarding the coming regulatory avalanche associated with ObamaCare. It is good business and it serves clients’ interests.

Let’s give Priebus the benefit of a doubt and an opportunity to take a public position. After all, isn’t it a bit disconcerting that this was brought to public attention by “ThinkProgress”?

Good point. But I think a lot of folks feel that they’ve given the RNC crowd the benefit of the doubt repeatedly, only to be disappointed again and again.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Greg Andrews writes:

Priebus has been in charge of the Wisconsin GOP – and he has been remarkably successful here.

Ron Johnson (libertarian Republican) Senator

2 new Republican Congressmen

Both Houses of the legislature – Republican

Scott Walker, (Libertarian Republican) Governor – has already killed slow-speed rail, before even taking office.

That’s a good record, all right. So what’s his position on ObamaCare? I’d be interested to hear from him.

And honestly, the way things are going, the picture of him with Michael Steele is probably more damaging . . . .

MORE: Dan Riehl raises other issues, and says the RNC needs to pay attention to the optics. “A bad choice will only inflame tensions between the RNC and the base while they’re already at an all time high.”

December 30, 2010

FUN WITH COOKING APPS.

December 30, 2010

COLMAN MCCARTHY: Now that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Has Been Repealed, Here’s Another Excuse For Keeping ROTC Off Campus. “ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school.” Pathetic. What does McCarthy know about either intellectualism or purity? Not much, to judge from this column. His post-Post “academic” career is just further evidence of both a higher education bubble, and of the politicized lack of standards therein.

UPDATE: Reader Jason Johnson sends: “The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch writes: “If you consider the quote from your reader and look at Washington DC it’s pretty much where we are. Anti-violence activists aren’t anti violence. They’re just against the rest of us being able to resist them.”

Looking at Colman McCarthy’s language drawing equivalence between U.S. soldiers and the Taliban, I don’t think he’s just a dreamy peacenik. And I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the good intentions of “dreamy peacenik” types anyway, since, somehow, they always seem to promote things that help the other side. At best, they’re oikophobes.

MORE: Reader Dave Everson emails:

I don’t understand why people are so eager to reinstate ROTC at the Ivies. We have the finest military ever created and we did it without any substantial contribution from the Ivy League schools for the past 40 years. Why mess with success? The best officers I served under were state university graduates. I would not have followed the one Harvard officer I did serve under to a free lunch much less a war.

Ouch. And in response to Jason Johnson’s Thucydides quote above, reader David Swager writes: “Actually, the scholars are already cowards AND fools (notable exceptions, of course) while the warriors are heroic and highly ingenious. I know, I work with our soldiers and most of the officers have advanced college degrees.”

MORE STILL: In response to Dave Everson, Paul Baker writes:

You’re missing the point. We don’t want the military to be influenced by Ivy leagues, we want the military (and its values) to influence the Ivy leagues. I remember a few years after I graduated from a midwest Catholic college (University of Dayton), there was a sit-in protest about allowing the CIA to recruit on campus. It was diffused by having an open forum where the protesters argued that the CIA did not reflect the values of a Catholic institution and should therefore be banned. However, they were silenced when the counter-argument was made that if the goal is to infuse the CI with morals and values, what better place to recruit than at a Catholic institution?

Liberal values only succeed when they bully the other values out. When conservative values are infused, the liberal values wither on the vine due to lack of intellectual arguments. Get ROTC in the Ivy leagues, and the liberal monopoly is broken.

And, also, it’s just fun to watch them try to come up with a new excuse, in the process demonstrating that all the fierce moral urgency deployed behind the last excuse was just so much dishonest twaddle.

Meanwhile, reader Peter Davis offers a cautionary note:

Glenn, an infantry squad today is filled with young men who are brighter than an equal number of college students their age, as well as in better physical shape.

My war was some forty-five years ago. I never once spent time in a firebase where there was not a collection of paperbacks, and not just Louis L’Amour and Micky Spillane but philosophy and history, math and other heavy stuff.

A career enlisted man will have finished his AA degree by the time he’s made E-4 or E-5 and will likely have a BA or BS degree by E-7. Few officers will make Major without a graduate degree.

Your commenter is sort of wrong, the fighting is not done by fools. It is, however, more and more likely that the fighting will be by men with a deep and abiding contempt for “the elite”. This probably will not be good.

Indeed. The best solution would be for the elite not to be contemptible, of course. . . .

STILL MORE: Reader David Wharton — a classics professor — emails:

For the sake of scholarship, I thought you would want to know that the Thucydides quote about scholars and warriors you referred to here almost certainly isn’t from Thucydides, but is probably adapted from General Sir William Butler. As you know getting it right matters, in history and in law — as you know. Thucydides said many insightful things, but this isn’t one of them.

Noted. And Jason Johnson sends this followup:

Thank you for posting my Thucydides quote earlier. Since a few people disagreed with the “fighting done by fools” part I wanted to respond and say that, based on the down-to-earth people I’ve know in the military who were avid readers and closely followed world events, compared to outright insane postmodern drivel that gets counted as intellectualism, that I agree the country is definitely much more in danger from acquiring more foolish and cowardly thinkers than it is foolish fighters.

I’d also like to add, after reading McCarthy’s article again, one of his justifications for keeping ROTC off college campuses, is “America’s penchant for war-making.” Wouldn’t it be nice if all of the people who’ve caused trouble for America in the past held the same strong convictions about how much Americans loved war as your typical university teacher or left-wing commentator.

Maybe the world would be a less war-filled place if America’s enemies were given free scholarships to Ivy League schools, where the versions of history and views on current events taught there might fill their imaginations with ideas of how horrible we are and make some of them have second thoughts about attacking/threatening us or our interests.

From back to WWII when all but a few in the Japanese military thought Americans would be too disheartened after the sneak attacks at Pearl Harbor to fight and later by Kamikaze attacks and staging costly defenses when it turned out we weren’t, all the way to Saddam Hussein thinking Iran was a bigger threat to him than the US, it seems to me that while many of our university teachers and others who deeply drink from the “Americans are the ultimate warmongers” fountain of propaganda, many of our enemies don’t seem to actually swallow it themselves.

Indeed.

December 30, 2010

MORE BIG SECOND AMENDMENT NEWS: Fourth Circuit orders Second Amendment hearing to assess constitutionality of § 922(g)(9). “We cannot conclude on this record that the government has carried its burden of establishing a reasonable fit between the important object of reducing domestic gun violence and § 922(g)(9)’s permanent disarmament of all domestic violence misdemeanants.”

More thoughts from Eugene Volokh.

December 30, 2010

A PRESS RELEASE FROM ACTIVIST GWU LAW PROFESSOR JOHN BANZHAF: Usually his spam is about anti-smoking or anti-fat crusades, but today I got this:

Union Bosses Could Be Sued or Jailed Over NYC Snow Snafu
Workers Reportedly Admit to Conspiracy to Paralyze City

Sanitation workers have reportedly admitted that they deliberately flubbed snow plowing in New York City as part of a union protest, a move which, if true, could make their sanitation supervisors and the union civilly liable in law suits for huge monetary damages, and might even result in criminal charges for homicide for the deaths they apparently caused, argues public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

People who conspire together to cause harm to others, even if the individual acts themselves are not unlawful, can all be held liable under a tort known as civil conspiracy, says Prof. Banzhaf, who teaches torts and is widely know for various public interest activities. These law suits, under a variety of legal theories, might even be brought as class actions, he says. . . . It is also possible, argues Banzhaf, that some individuals – as well as the union – could be held criminally liable for homicide for the deaths which were proximately caused by the deliberate lack of plowing of city streets.

Well, we’ll see. But Banzhaf has an instinct for vulnerability, and it seems to be sounding here. He’s not the only one. “Sure, Mayor Bloomberg planned poorly and should have announced a snow emergency. But this story makes it clear that even if he did, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The question is whether Bloomberg will do anything about it.”

Well, here’s an idea. Do that, and Bloomberg’s third-party campaign might have a chance . . . . On the other hand, let’s not get ahead of the story just yet. Maybe these reports will turn out to be false. They’re certainly convenient for Bloomberg.

December 30, 2010

A LOOK AT who pays for online content.

December 30, 2010

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: American Top Gear Sucks.

December 30, 2010

AMERICA’S LAW SCHOOLS: ‘If You Don’t Use Creative Accounting in Reporting Data to U.S. News, You’re a Chump.’ My Dean is against creative accounting, which I guess makes us chumps.

December 30, 2010

HOW IT WORKS: CHINA’S NEW CARRIER-KILLER MISSILE. Unfortunately for them, it’s nothing compared to Ben Bernanke’s creditor-killing monetary policy . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Richard Wagner emails:

Regarding your recent post on Chinese Carrier-Killer missiles:

No doubt China’s present capabilities were enhanced by the Clinton Administration weakening controls on missile technology flowing to the Chinese, and that this has enabled the subject of your post. Now Obama is doing the same thing in demoting the present missile-tech-to-China decision process from the White House to the Commerce Department. With whatever they get as a result of this Obama decision, the Chinese will undoubtedly be able to close the technology gap further due to yet another unwise lessening of controls.

Curious thing about American exceptionalism: In the defense area it not only allows us to stay ahead of our competitors, it also allows us to make up for the stupid decisions of our leaders who would give away the fruits of our exceptionalism.

Meh. When Bernanke’s done with ‘em, they won’t even be able to afford a single Congressman.

December 30, 2010

AN INTERVIEW with longtime blogger Heather Havrilesky about her new book, Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir.

December 30, 2010

QUESTIONS ABOUT burning German nuclear waste.

December 30, 2010

BRYAN PRESTON FACT-CHECKS School Superintendent Jeff Moss’s response on that paring-knife story. It doesn’t do very well. “So on the two direct responses Mr. Moss presents in his statement, he loses. And we still haven’t heard directly from the principal who made this decision at all. Why?”

December 30, 2010

CREDENTIALED, NOT EDUCATED: Ezra Klein: the Constitution is Impossible to Understand Because It’s Over 100 Years Old.

Just another dismissal of those long-dormant ideas from dusty bookshelves . . . Because educated credentialed people don’t care about those!

UPDATE: Reader Dave Ivers writes: “And the Left says Palin is stupid?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Daniel Barenholtz emails: “. . and after all that talk about Bush wanting to ‘shred the constitution’. Now a meme seems to be developing among some liberals that the Constitution is outmoded.”

I guess Bush should have just said “Whaddya mean, it’s over a hundred years old!”

MORE: Reader Mark Meyer notes that although the headline at Eyeblast is “impossible,” Klein actually says the Constitution is “confusing.” I don’t see this as being as big a difference as Meyer does, but I suppose it’s worth noting.

December 30, 2010

SO YOU’VE GOT THAT, ANYWAY: New York City streets unplowed, but at least sanitation workers retire well.

December 30, 2010

IN THE MAIL: Cultivating Confidence: Verification, Monitoring and Enforcement for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons.

December 30, 2010

JENNIFER RUBIN: So much for bipartisanship — a slew of recess appointments. “The most egregious appointment is undoubtedly James Cole, installed as the deputy attorney general. There were good reasons why he could not secure Senate confirmation.”

December 30, 2010

REPUBLICANS VOW WAR on government red tape.

December 30, 2010

MARK TAPSCOTT: Political Elites Still Don’t Get The Tea Party. Well, they may not get the Tea Party, but the Tea Party is likely to get them.

December 30, 2010

SCIENCE: Relationships are better if you wait over a month to have sex. Huh. I’m not sure I ever did that. I’m not even sure I know anyone who did that . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Colin Frazier writes: “You don’t know any married people? Oh, you mean wait over a month before the *first* time… Nevermind.” And I guess we’re back to our discussion of “maintenance sex. . .” Or maybe this one.

Meanwhile, though, there’s a question of when the clock starts. If you start with the first official date, the above is true, but most of the women I dated were women I already knew — I’d known Helen for over a decade before our first official “date.” So how does that figure in?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Gebert writes:

Seems to me that the author of this piece, and the scientists involved, misread their own study (not that that ever happens with journalistic reports on, say, the economy).

A bad relationship with sex may plug along for a while just because of the sex, but a bad relationship that doesn’t also have sex going for it is quickly over. Therefore, the body of bad relationships will have fewer sexless relationships in it than the body of good relationships. So all this means is that there is a higher proportion of good relationships which don’t include sex– not that sex leads to better relationships.

Sex, casual yes, causal no!

Hmm.

December 30, 2010

A PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

December 30, 2010

MICKEY KAUS: Did Congress screw up telecommuting? “What employer will want to push telecommuting if that means he’ll have to think twice before not promoting, let alone firing, an underperforming telecommuter (because it might mean a lawsuit)?”

December 30, 2010

UP TO 70% OFF on camera, photo and video. Ubiquitous cameras are good.

December 30, 2010

JIM TREACHER: If you really want Mayor Bloomberg to do something about the snow, just tell him that people are enjoying it. Heh.

December 30, 2010

NEW YORK POST: Sanitation Department’s slow snow cleanup was a budget protest. “These garbage men really stink. Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned. Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.” Sounds like the time might be ripe for more demotions. Or even . . . gasp . . . actual firings.

UPDATE: Reader Steve Schubert writes:

t might be worth pointing out that these guys make around $70k a year, base salary, plus a lot of overtime and incredible pensions.

If I were a NYC voter…well, “torqued off” wouldn’t cover it.

Indeed. Can ‘em all and outsource it?

December 30, 2010

SURVEY: Yale Students Want ROTC To Return.

December 30, 2010

ADVICE TO TEA PARTIERS: Trust, But Verify.

December 30, 2010

EUGENE VOLOKH ON yesterday’s Ohio gun-rights opinion.

December 30, 2010

THAT’S HELPFUL: Merle Haggard, who likes Obama, compliments him by saying, ‘I think he knows he’s in over his head.’

December 30, 2010

IOWAHAWK: I’ll Never Wear Pants Again: “Something about being clad in a jumpsuit gives a man renewed confidence, a glint in his eye, a virile take-charge swagger.”

December 30, 2010

IS THE THREE-DAY HOLIDAY A RIGHT?

December 30, 2010

LOOKING AT THE NEXT Solar Max. “Recurrence of a 1921 event today would fry 350 major transformers, leaving more than 130 million people without power, it heard. A bigger storm could cost between a trillion and two trillion dollars in the first year, and full recovery could take between four and 10 years.”

UPDATE: A reader emails: “Hey, why don’t we pour our vitality into un-Constitutional boondoggles like ObamaCare, instead of improving infrastructure?”

December 29, 2010

IRAN’S SPECIAL GROUPS in Iraq.

Well, hell, they’re in Afghanistan.