Archive for December, 2012

December 30, 2012

JOHN HAYWARD: The Bitter Wastes of Politicized America.

The rest of us should consider the contemptible behavior of people like Hoyer as we watch the expansion of politics into every area of our lives. The government grows; the private sector diminishes; everything becomes a political act. Soon you will see the phrase “none of your business” become an antique aphorism, as quaint as telling someone to “dial” a telephone number. Everything is everyone’s business now. That’s what Big Government means.

That’s what America signed up for by re-electing Barack Obama, who is more dedicated to the contraction of the private sphere than any predecessor in living memory. He appears to sincerely believe that government control is necessary to achieve virtue. But the conduct of our political leadership doesn’t seem terribly virtuous, does it? It’s not even very polite.

No, the bigger the government gets, the nastier our political class becomes.

December 29, 2012

SO GIVE THEM GUNS: “‘It’s wrong to stop girls from going out’ of the house… but there’s little choice because the city is so unsafe for women.”

December 29, 2012

HEH: Infirm, concussion-stricken Secretary of State jets off to Caribbean resort for New Years Eve bash with media celebs.

Related: Guy makes crappy YouTube video, Hillary Clinton ends up drinking away a concussion in the tropics. #ButterflyEffect.

UPDATE: The Facebook mockery continues:

December 29, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Judge rebuffs feds’ secret arguments on no-fly list. “A federal judge in California has rejected the Obama administration’s effort to use secret arguments and evidence to defeat a lawsuit relating to the so-called no-fly list designed to keep suspected terrorists off of airline flights.”

December 29, 2012

#NARRATIVEFAIL: California gun sales jump; gun injuries, deaths fall. “Gun deaths and injuries have dropped sharply in California, even as the number of guns sold in the state has risen, according to new state data. Dealers sold 600,000 guns in California last year, up from 350,000 in 2002, according to records of sale tallied by the California Attorney General’s office. During that same period, the number of California hospitalizations due to gun injuries declined from about 4,000 annually to 2,800, a roughly 25 percent drop, according to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health. Firearm-related deaths fell from about 3,200 annually to about 2,800, an 11 percent drop, state health figures show.”

December 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, up to 70% off in Clothing & Accessories. For men, women, children & babies.

Also: Winter Jewelry Sale: Up To 75% Off. Hey, Valentine’s Day isn’t that far away.

December 29, 2012

SOMEHOW I HAD MISSED THIS: Brian Kelsey on the Tennessee Virtual Academy.

December 29, 2012

GREG MANKIW: Wishful Thinking And Middle-Class Taxes. “Ultimately, unless we scale back entitlement programs far more than anyone in Washington is now seriously considering, we will have no choice but to increase taxes on a vast majority of Americans. This could involve higher tax rates or an elimination of popular deductions. Or it could mean an entirely new tax, such as a value-added tax or a carbon tax.” I’m willing to scale back entitlement programs that much. . . .

December 29, 2012

NEWS YOU CAN USE: You Can Literally Throw Your Negative Thoughts Away. “According to new research in Psychological Science, writing down your negative thoughts and tossing them in the garbage can erase your bad mood.” What about posting them on a blog?

December 29, 2012

IT’S NO DUMBER THAN AN “ASSAULT WEAPON” BAN: Swaziland Outlaws “Rape-Provoking” Clothing. In both cases, you’re blaming inanimate objects instead of treating humans as moral agents.

December 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, up to 75% off on select watches.

Also, 50% off on Dockers For Men.

And, today only: Up to 48% Off Select Networking Products. Routers, powerline adapters, range extenders and more.

December 29, 2012

A RARE JOURNALISM SIGHTING: CNN Confronts Jesse Jackson Over Chicago’s High Gun Violence Despite Draconian Gun Laws.

December 29, 2012

OUCH: Nebraska Jews Recall Senator Chuck Hagel as “Unfriendly” and “Unmovable” on Israel, “Didn’t Give a Damn About the Jewish Community.”

December 29, 2012

THE ATLANTIC: This Is What Teachers Learning to Shoot Guns Look Like.

December 29, 2012

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Vladimir Bukovsky, The Greatest Subversive of Our Times.

December 29, 2012

A WHITE HOUSE PETITION TO Pardon David Gregory and others for violating D.C.’s gun laws as they violate the Second Amendment.

December 29, 2012

HOW TO SELL COMIC BOOKS. Bottom line, your target audience is now Howard Wolowitz, not Danny Dunn.

December 29, 2012

MARK STEYN: Laws Are For Little People. And Not David Gregory.

This is, declared NYU professor Jay Rosen, “the dumbest media story of 2012.” Why? Because, as CNN’s Howard Kurtz breezily put it, everybody knows David Gregory wasn’t “planning to commit any crimes.”

So what? Neither are the overwhelming majority of his fellow high-capacity-magazine-owning Americans. Yet they’re expected to know, as they drive around visiting friends and family over Christmas, the various and contradictory gun laws in different jurisdictions. Ignorantia juris non excusat is one of the oldest concepts in civilized society: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Back when there was a modest and proportionate number of laws, that was just about doable. But in today’s America there are laws against everything, and any one of us at any time is unknowingly in breach of dozens of them. And in this case NBC were informed by the D.C. police that it would be illegal to show the thing on TV, and they went ahead and did it anyway: You’ll never take me alive, copper! You’ll have to pry my high-capacity magazine from my cold dead fingers! When the D.C. SWAT team, the FBI, and the ATF take out NBC News and the whole building goes up in one almighty fireball, David Gregory will be the crazed loon up on the roof like Jimmy Cagney in White Heat: “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” At last, some actual must-see TV on that lousy network.

But, even if we’re denied that pleasure, the “dumbest media story of 2012” is actually rather instructive. David Gregory intended to demonstrate what he regards as the absurdity of America’s lax gun laws. Instead, he’s demonstrating the ever greater absurdity of America’s non-lax laws. His investigation, prosecution, and a sentence of 20–30 years with eligibility for parole after ten (assuming Mothers Against High-Capacity Magazines don’t object) would teach a far more useful lesson than whatever he thought he was doing by waving that clip under LaPierre’s nose.

To Howard Kurtz & Co., it’s “obvious” that Gregory didn’t intend to commit a crime. But, in a land choked with laws, “obviousness” is one of the first casualties — and “obviously” innocent citizens have their “obviously” well-intentioned actions criminalized every minute of the day. Not far away from David Gregory, across the Virginia border, eleven-year-old Skylar Capo made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days. For her pains, a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter accompanied by state troopers descended on her house, charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species, issued her a $535 fine, and made her cry. Why is it so “obvious” that David Gregory deserves to be treated more leniently than a sixth grader? Because he’s got a TV show and she hasn’t?

Pretty much.

December 29, 2012

CHANGE: Mattel and Hasbro ‘terrified’: Do kids want gadgets more than toys?

The 2012 holiday season may have been the worst for retailers since the financial crisis, with sales growth far below expectations, forcing many to offer massive post-Christmas discounts in hopes of shedding excess inventory. While chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Gap Inc are thought to have done well, analysts expect much less from the likes of Barnes & Noble Inc and J. C. Penney Co. . . .

While hot toys such as certain Mattel Inc Barbie dolls performed well, toymakers worry that traditional children’s gifts may lose out long-term to high-tech gadgets.

“The top two guys, Mattel and Hasbro, they are terrified,” Sean McGowan, managing director of equity research at Needham & Company, told the Financial Times. “They should be terrified, but the official party line is they’re not terrified.”

They should be.

December 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, year-end discounts in GPS & Navigation.

December 29, 2012

FASTER, PLEASE: Culprit behind osteoarthritis pain identified.

The researchers assessed development of pain-related behaviors and concomitant changes in dorsal root ganglia (DRG), nerves that carry signals from sensory organs toward the brain. They found that a chemokine known as monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 (CCL2) and its receptor, chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2), are central to the development of pain associated with knee OA. . . .

Mice that lack Ccr2 (knockout mice) also developed mechanical allodynia, but this began to resolve from eight weeks onward. Despite having severe allodynia and structural knee joint damage equal to that in normal mice, Ccr2-knockout mice did not develop movement-provoked pain behaviors at eight weeks.

Interesting, though this appears to be just one piece of the puzzle.

December 29, 2012

AMAZON HAS A YEAR-END SPECIAL GOING on the NoCo Genius battery charger. That’s what I use to keep the Mazda charged up when I don’t drive it for a while, and I’ve been very happy with its performance. At $47.99 it’s a pretty good deal.

December 29, 2012

POINTS AND FIGURES: The Multiplier Effect of Government Spending Is Zero, So Lower Spending After The “Fiscal Cliff” Won’t Hurt The Economy.

December 29, 2012

I LIKE SPICY FOOD, BUT I’M DRAWING THE LINE HERE: Spicy Soup Burns a Hole in Man’s Stomach. “The man ate something called mala soup, which means ‘numbing hot.’ Which also apparently means ‘will burn a hole in your stomach.’ The man chose the spiciest version of the soup, and had to be rushed to the hospital because he began throwing up blood.”

December 29, 2012

THE GREATEST SCIENCE PHOTOS of the year.

December 29, 2012

DOUG BERMAN: Fascinating federal “gun control” criminal charges in wake of NY ambush murder-suicide.

December 29, 2012

THE RISE OF THE BACKPACK. When I transferred from Bearden Jr. High in Knoxville, to Maryville Jr. High in Maryville, I got ahead of the curve — lots of people carried backpacks at Bearden (generally Army surplus knapsacks), but nobody did in Maryville and people thought it was weird. They got used to it after a while.

December 29, 2012

HOW TO REMOVE stripped screws, headless nails, and busted fasteners.

December 29, 2012

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE ON LEGAL EDUCATION: “I think Deans like Rodriguez should put their administrative house in order first. At my school, and I’m sure at many others, the number of administrators, program directors, and other bureaucrats has increased dramatically. See Roland A. Cass & John H. Garvey, Law School Leviathan: Expanding Administrative Growth, 35 U. Tol. L. Rev. 37 (2003), which notes that the growth in the numbers of law school administrators has outpaced growth in those of faculty and students. Of course, the problem is not limited to law schools. . . . But that’s no excuse for law school deans like Rodriguez to ignore the problem of administrator bloat.”

December 29, 2012

JAMES PETHOKOUKIS ON THE DEBT CEILING: America’s Sorry Day Of Reckoning. “The feds have plenty of dough to pay bondholders and run auctions to roll over maturing debt. In 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the net interest expense of the US government will be approximately $218 billion, while revenue will be nearly $3 trillion. . . . See, the real debt ceiling is the one eventually imposed by global financial markets at some point on a profligate Washington. When that happens, Congress won’t be able to raise the ceiling even if it wants to. The only options then to avoid a financial crisis will be draconian austerity — both massive tax hikes and brutal entitlement cuts.”

December 29, 2012

NUMBERS: A Briton is 5 times more likely to die from government health care than an American is to die from a gunshot.

December 29, 2012

IN THE MAIL: From James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play.

As I mentioned earlier, I got this on Kindle and read it. It’s quite good. I also highly recommend his Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed.

December 29, 2012

HOWARD NEMEROV: ‘Gun Control Fails,’ Say Statistics from … Gun-Control Advocates. “In response to Ezra Klein’s report titled “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States,” below are eight fictions about gun control. Do note: all data cited below are from sources supportive of gun control.”

December 29, 2012

NEWS FROM THE AMERICA THAT CARES ABOUT THE CHILDREN: More Than 150 Utah Teachers, School Workers Go To Gun Class.

UPDATE: Not just Utah. Columbus Dispatch: Scores of school workers want gun training. “We’re pleasantly surprised, but it’s not shocking.”

December 29, 2012

HEH: Rockland County Times: What You Don’t Know About the Agenda-Driven Journalists in Your Neighborhood.

The Rockland County Times shares in the community’s frustration with the tactics of the Journal News, particularly the seeming attempt to draw a moral link between law abiding gun owners and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The only remedy for this is for the editorial board of the Journal News as well as executives at Gannett to receive a taste of their own medicine.

We are publishing the home addresses of Journal News editors, publishers and the Gannet CEO to make a point; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. We wish no ill will upon them.

This is why media competition is good. It would be interesting to run a background check on them, too, and look for DUI’s, unpaid support, etc. All in the public interest, of course . . . Especially since the Journal News is doubling down.

December 29, 2012

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Teenagers Flee The Bursting Higher-Education Bubble For Brown Jobs.

The real significance of the story is that brown jobs are making it possible for Americans to make a decent living without a college degree. It’s a heartening sign of a new reality that some teens are finding ways to launch a middle class life directly out of high school. As the energy boom continues, we may be seeing a lot more of this. New developments in oil and gas extraction are already helping to point us towards energy independence. If they can also help build up the middle class, that’s even more reason to celebrate them.

My question. The New York Times seems upset that teenagers might skip college — which could lead to an, er, white-collar job — in favor of going straight into a “brown job” out of high school. So, according to the NYT, white=good, and brown=bad. Uh huh. Got it.

December 29, 2012

CHINESE EXPAND INTERNET CENSORSHIP: “We wait breathlessly for Thomas Friedman to either explain why this abridgment of personal liberties means that the Chinese are awesome.”

December 29, 2012

SACRE BLEU! French Court Says 75% Tax Rate on Rich Is Unconstitutional.

President Francois Hollande’s 75 percent millionaire-tax is unconstitutional because it doesn’t guarantee equality for taxpayers, France’s top court ruled.

Hollande’s plan add extra levies of 18 percent on individuals’ incomes of more than 1 million euros ($1.32 million), while regular income taxes and a 4 percent exceptional contribution for high earners are based on tax households, the court said today in an e-mailed statement. As a result, two households with the same total revenue could end up paying different rates depending on how earnings are divided among members of those households, which runs counter to a rule of equal tax treatment, the Paris-based court said. . . . The decision could be positive for France’s bond market because it shows there is a limit to the government’s ability to raise taxes on the wealthy and may decrease the flight risk of more rich French citizens, Barbet said.

The constitutional court lowered a series of other tax increases, calling them excessive or saying they also violated equality of treatment for taxpayers.

Maybe Gerard Depardieu can come back. . . .

December 29, 2012

REASON TV: “A lot of our gun control measures are aimed at people who would obey the law and get the permits. How does keeping me or you from having a gun really control gun violence in Washington or New York City?”

It’s an interview with Craig Whitney, whose new book is Living with Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment.

December 29, 2012

TOM MAGUIRE ON The Renewal of Warrantless Eavesdropping: “People who want reform of our FISA laws need to work for the election of a Republican President so the NY Times and the rest of the liberal media can become enraged again. The next renewal is in five years; if it happens under President Hillary it will be perfunctory, but if it is President Rubio, well, the media will discover FISA problems by the bushel.”

December 29, 2012

MEGAN MCARDLE: Should People Be Forced to Buy Liability Insurance for their Guns?

No. It’s just an effort to raise the cost of gun ownership, and to accomplish back-door gun registration so that antigun newspapers can run lists of gun-liability-insurance policyholders. But proposals like this do serve to underscore the bad faith of the anti-gun crowd, who are willing to try anything to get their way.

What’s going on is explained here:

The gambit is to get a victory, a win, and push the face of the losers into shit if you can, in order to gain momentum for the next victory, so that you can again humiliate and degrade any winger gun owners and intimidate any good folks who happen to have hunted in the past.

You start the process in motion with a win, and you aren’t sure which win will be the one win to start it, but you keep trying for it.

As I say, bad faith. By bad people.

December 29, 2012

JUST REMEMBER, YOU’LL HAVE TO LIVE UNDER IT WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MINORITY. AND YOU WILL BE. Leading proponent of filibuster “reform” claims he has 51 votes. Remember how unAmerican this was supposed to be back when a Republican-majority Senate was considering this approach? The publicity made them think twice. That won’t happen next time.

December 29, 2012

NOW I UNDERSTAND OBAMA’S POSITION: Will ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Cause More Millionaires to Die by Dec. 31?

December 29, 2012

MARC THIESSEN: Why Not Let Taxes Rise On The Middle Class?

During Obama’s first term, federal spending grew to more than 24 percent of GDP — the highest it has been since 1946. Yet almost no one in the country (except smokers and those who frequent indoor tanning salons) saw their taxes rise. Quite the opposite: 160 million Americans saw their payroll taxes reduced from 6.2 to 4.2 percent.

How can we expect people to care about the growth of government if it doesn’t cost them anything? . . .

So let’s do it. Let’s all of us experience the true cost of big government in the form of a bigger tax bill.

It might well be that the biggest mistake Republicans made during Obama’s first term was forcing the president to extend the Bush tax cuts. At the time, it seemed like a major victory by the newly elected GOP House. But in truth, it was a victory for Obama. Extending the tax cuts shielded the economy from the full brunt of Obama’s economic failures and allowed him to put off job-killing tax increases till his second term. It’s ironic. Obama never passed up an opportunity to blame President Bush for his economic woes, yet he rode the Bush tax cuts to reelection.

Extending the tax cuts also shielded Americans from the costs of Obama’s spending spree. Shopping on a credit card is fun until the bill comes due. But if the bill never arrives, what incentive do people have to stop the spending?

Absolutely. No representation without taxation.

December 29, 2012

MORE MOCKERY: I finally figured out what David Gregory displaying that prop reminds me of.

December 29, 2012

VIOLATING THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE: “The BBC offers this advice for anyone in Britain who is attacked on the street: You are permitted to protect yourself with a briefcase, a handbag, or keys. You should shout ‘Call the Police’ rather than ‘Help.’ Bystanders are not to help. They have been taught to leave such matters to the professionals. If you manage to knock your attacker down, you must not hit him again or you risk being charged with assault.”

This is not “civilized” behavior, though it is peddled as such. Nor is it a sign of a civilization that is in good health.

December 28, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Americans Buying Out Ammo Stocks. Ammunition inventories are down 93% since the election, reportedly.

UPDATE: New York State Pensions Invest In Firearms Manufacturers. Some want to pull out, but given the performance of firearms companies as compared to the market in general, that would seem to be a breach of fiduciary duty. . . .

December 28, 2012

COMMENT OF THE DAY: “For ten years we have been told that the Bush tax cuts applied mostly to the rich. Now it is imperative that we extend them further or the middle class is going to take a big hit.”

December 28, 2012

PRIORITIES: Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers.

December 28, 2012

TODAY ONLY: 35 Clint Eastwood Films For $57.99.

December 28, 2012

TINSLEY ELLIS: The Milky Way. From his forthcoming album. He says it was recorded with an actual, vintage Echoplex rather than modern digital wizardry.

I used to see him at the late, lamented Ella Guru’s. He was a very nice guy, and — as he remains — a tremendous guitarist. Check out The Heartfixers’ Cool On It for some of his excellent early work.

December 28, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: IT’S NOT JUST LEGAL EDUCATION. Job Meltdown and Debt Crisis Among Veterinary School Graduates. “From my position in the industry, in the economy in which we all work, the demand for veterinary services appears smaller than the supply of veterinarians. I routinely look at the financial statements of over 50 veterinary practices; equine, mixed and companion animal. Those financial statements demonstrate that practices do not generate enough profit to pay Veterinarians sufficiently to repay student loans under the repayment terms commonly available.”

Meanwhile, some data on how legal education is doing.

Related: Medical Schools Make Reforms While Law Schools Make Excuses.

UPDATE: Dr. Peter Grout writes:

Thanks for the post. Many of us have been trying to point out basic facts to our colleagues, but most ears are deaf. Sadly, our professional organization, the AVMA is politically correct and useless.

They accredit new schools, and fund new “diversity” chairs. Meanwhile, last week 17,000 veterinarians (about 1/4 of total!) were informed last week that AVMA’s health insurance program (through NY Life) will be dropping ALL of us at the end of 2013. Including dependents, about 36,000 people are losing their coverage. We will be forced onto the OCare exchanges. And the loss of our coverage is certainly not deemed newsworthy.

Senator Landrieu’s health care rep, Peter said we were losing our choice since others did not have the same choice. I guess it wasn’t “fair” that we have all worked hard to have this choice. And AVMA has done diddley to prevent this.

People only care about you if you can be characterized as a victim of something other than the federal government. . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jason Van Steenwyk writes: “Quick point of order on the Veterinarian’s email to you… NY Life is not in the health insurance business. That was some other company dropping them, or more likely, Association themselves. A NYLIC agent may also contract and sell other company’s health policies on the side, but NY Life had nothing to do with this.”

MORE: Dr. Grout responds: “I assure you, it was NY Life who is dropping us. They have underwritten AVMA-GHLIT for 20 years. I am on duty until Monday morning, but will be happy to fax or email a copy of the letter after that. Or, should you be interested, you can probably confirm at AVMA-GHLIT’s website. Also Peter at Sen. Landrieu’s office confirmed this. Perhaps Mr Van Steenwyk is correct in the fact that, due to OCare they are leaving the major medical business for groups.”

Beats me.

December 28, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Senate Approves Warrantless Phone Tapping for Next Five Years. “The bill now goes to Obama for his signature, which it wil almost surely get—he’s a vocal supporter of the legislation. Domestic spying will be a reality for the rest of his administration, and beyond.”

December 28, 2012

LEADERSHIP: Dow Sinks 70 Points During Obama’s Speech – Dow Futures Drop 226 Points Following Obama’s Speech.

UPDATE: IowaHawk: Maybe the election should have been about the Fiscal Cliff. But hey, vaginas.

December 28, 2012

HYSTERIA: LOL: Media Plays Up LA Gun Buyback that Turned up (OMG!) Rocket Launchers. “That’s just crazy! You know what’s crazier? You can buy that stuff online. Here’s a page selling some. Here’s more. And try not to faint, but here’s a military rocket. And a rocket-propelled grenade. It’s crazy, just any old person can buy those things. Scary, right? The word that appears on all of those pages — inert — means quite a bit. Let’s see if anyone in the media looks it up.”

December 28, 2012

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Online Learning and Upheavals in Social Networks. “For all the attention lavished on the Web’s growth on mobile devices this year, one of the most interesting Internet trends is still best experienced on a desktop computer: online education. The rising cost of higher education (the average bachelor’s degree now costs more than $100,000), combined with increasing access to high-speed Internet service and a desire for more efficient and flexible learning methods, brought new prominence to websites offering free or low-priced courses in everything from programming to literature.”

December 28, 2012

SECURITY: Revealed: NSA targeting domestic computer systems in secret test.

December 28, 2012

SAVE UP TO 56%: Year-End Deals In Movies & TV.

December 28, 2012

ANDY FREEBERG: Gallery: Russia’s Lady Museum Guards.

December 28, 2012

LEGAL EDUCATION UPDATE: Deborah Jones Merritt: Should Law School Deans be Disbarred for Misleading Prospective Students? “The people making the representations were professionals with advanced degrees, who had inside knowledge of the legal industry. Most of the people receiving the representations were college students with relatively little knowledge of either law schools or law practice. … It’s time to reclaim our integrity by acknowledging just how wrong all of this was.”

December 28, 2012

NINE INNOVATIONS in disaster relief.

December 28, 2012

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? AFRICA IN CRISIS: U.S. Abandons Embassy, France Won’t Intervene. “The last time the U.S. abandoned an embassy? Syria.”

According to a State Department spokesperson, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unable to comment, because “she fell and twisted her cankle.”

UPDATE: Related: NPR Covering For Hillary on Benghazi. In a story by Michelle Kelemen, with an assist from Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

December 28, 2012

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why You Shouldn’t Stalk Your Ex Online.

December 28, 2012

END OF YEAR DEALS: Up to 50% Off In Kitchen, Home & Garden.

December 28, 2012

THE UPSIDE OF NEUROTICISM: Better health? “According to a new study from the University of Rochester Medical Center, self-described neurotics who also have high levels of conscientiousness (for instance, those who are organized, plan ahead, and are extremely self-controlled) experience lower levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a biomarker for inflammation and chronic disease. In addition to lower levels of IL-6, self-described neurotics also have lower body-mass index scores and fewer diagnosed chronic health conditions.”

December 28, 2012

CHART: College Textbook Inflation.

UPDATE: Reader Dave Ivers emails:

I’ve almost quit using my favorite textbooks due to price increases. Most of our students come from mid to low income families. The texts I assigned 10 years ago are now 4 times as expensive, and there’s hardly any difference in content or physical product. I’m moving to online stuff. A friend is writing his own ‘text’ and putting on the internal web at his school, a chapter at a time.

Yes, I’m working toward something similar in Constitutional Law.

December 28, 2012

IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? Your Smartphone Will Replace Your Car Keys by 2015.

December 28, 2012

HOW’S THAT GUN-CONTROL STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA, RAHM? Chicago Reaches 500 Homicides For This Year.

December 28, 2012

LAWPROF ANN ALTHOUSE schools Howard Kurtz on law — and logic. I hate to pick on Kurtz, who’s a nice enough guy, but his defense of Gregory has been absurd. And, I have to say, since leaving the Washington Post for the Daily Beast, he seems to have become more of a cheerleader for the press than a critic.

Plus, from Althouse in the comments: “I suppose, under Kurtz’s theory, if you shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, you didn’t commit murder, but only watching dying.”

And, from another commenter: “This logic was performed by a professional journalist on a closed mind and should not be tried at home.”

December 28, 2012

WANT TO PROTECT YOUR LIVER THIS NEW YEAR’S EVE? Try asparagus!

December 28, 2012

ROGER KIMBALL: “Those worried about the resurgence of a Soviet-style totalitarian empire can take some solace, perhaps, from the fact that Russia is a country in a demographic death spiral.”

December 28, 2012

IN THE MAIL: From D.S. Cahr, The Secret Root.

December 28, 2012

ELIMINATIONIST RHETORIC: Rep. Steny Hoyer says House GOP are like child hostage-takers threatening to shoot.

December 28, 2012

I WAS GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING MORE ABOUT DAVID GREGORY AND HIS MEDIA DEFENDERS LIKE HOWARD KURTZ, but David French has it covered:

Thank you, David Gregory.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your stunt is worth a thousand op-eds. In less than one minute of screen time, you demonstrated several things:

First, even “banned” magazines are ridiculously easy to acquire. How long did it take your producers to find that magazine? Five minutes? Ten minutes? There are millions upon millions of these cheap and easy-to-manufacture items in circulation, and “banning” them will have exactly the effects you so brilliantly demonstrated on national television.

Second, labyrinthine gun-control restrictions serve mainly to instantly (and often inadvertently) convert otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals. It’s a media-created myth that guns are largely unregulated in the United States. In fact, they’re so heavily and complexly regulated that it’s difficult for citizens to track jurisdictional differences or even sometimes to understand the laws in their own jurisdictions.

Third, strict-liability gun offenses breed disrespect for the law. I tend to agree with your friends in the mainstream media — prosecuting you for holding an empty magazine in your hand would be a travesty of justice. You weren’t going to hurt anyone, you were merely using a prop for an argument, and — after all — the magazine was simply an inert hunk of metal. But the law is the law, and I’m sure you’ll agree that you should be treated exactly the same as any other (previously) law-abiding citizen caught with a similar item.

Was Washington D.C. made more dangerous because you held that magazine? Of course not. Would your prosecution deter a single “real” criminal? Of course not. In fact, it would be a silly farce. But does the law deter responsible citizens and make them less likely to defend themselves adequately? Yes. And that’s the real travesty.

I should add that these laws are complicated and strict-liability precisely to provide an in terrorem disincentive for people to own guns at all. As I suggest in my Second Amendment Penumbras article, such an in terrorem purpose is not constitutionally legitimate now that gun ownership has been recognized as a constitutional right, and even burdens that might, in themselves, pass constitutional muster should fail if they’re part of a scheme — as they are — to chill people’s exercise of their constitutional rights.

But I’m not sure how much rational argument works on these people. So as a backup, here’s some more mockery:

December 28, 2012

BACKBONE: Senate Republicans refuse to confirm Kerry until Hillary testifies about Benghazi. According to a State Department spokesperson, such testimony is doubtful as Secretary of State Clinton is suffering from “really bad canker sores.”

December 28, 2012

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Is The EPA’s Lisa Jackson Trying To Dodge A Federal Probe? “EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced Thursday she’s leaving her post. Is she getting out just ahead of an investigation into the illegal use of private emails for official government business?”

December 28, 2012

THE ATLANTIC: Higher Taxes for All: The Dems’ Terrible Fallback Plan for the Fiscal Cliff.

December 28, 2012

AT AMAZON, Year-End Deal: Up To 60% Off On Pet Supplies.

Also, today only: Up to 60% Off Select Crucial and Lexar Memory. Flash cards, USB drives, and solid state drives.

December 28, 2012

ROLL CALL: Pessimism Abounds as White House Calls Cliff Meeting.

December 28, 2012

MAKING THE RUBBLE BOUNCE: Log Cabin Republicans release ad attacking possible Hagel nomination.

You know, somebody — Dave Weigel or Matt Yglesias, I think — was tweeting the other day that the GOP was doing worse post-election than in 2008. Well maybe; at this point, after all, Bush was still in the White House. But Obama is definitely doing worse than in 2008. First the Susan Rice debacle, then the departure of scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and now the stalled Hagel nomination. Definitely not as well as in 2008.

December 28, 2012

MICHIGAN: Gov. Rick Snyder Takes On Unions Again. “Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder kicked up a storm by signing legislation this month that turned the former Big Labor stronghold into a right-to-work state. So what does he do as an encore? Sign a new municipal emergency manager bill that undos the one modest victory that state unions could claim in the November election – repealing the old municipal emergency manager law.”

December 28, 2012

GUN BANS AND MANDATORY REGISTRATION OF EXISTING WEAPONS: Feinstein’s Assault-Weapons Proposal. In the unlikely event that such a proposal passed, it would meet with massive civil disobedience. As it should.

I recommend contacting your Senators, with particular emphasis toward those on Moe Lane’s list of vulnerable Senate Democrats for 2014. The last Assault Weapons Ban cost the Democrats the Congress. Feinstein doesn’t care, because her seat is safe. Others are likely to feel differently.

December 28, 2012

ARIZONA: Attorney General To Offer Marksmanship Training To One Staffer At Each School.

December 28, 2012

THAT’S GOING TO LEAVE A MARK: Gallup: NRA Much More Popular Than The Media.

Related: Even after shootings and media attacks, most Americans like the NRA. “Politicians, gun control activists, and media personalities have attacked the National Rifle Association in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., but a majority of the American people have a favorable view of the pro-gun organization. . . . The NRA’s image thus seems fairly resilient, as the poll shows they retain their support despite negative media attention.”

Well, to be fair, the NRA has an advantage: It’s not trying to take away anyone’s’ rights.

December 28, 2012

VARIOUS STRATEGIES for “Going Galt.”

It’s not so much a movement as “Irish Democracy.”

December 28, 2012

MICKEY KAUS: The Kama Sutra Of Corporate Smarm. “It’s all praxis now, comrades!”

December 28, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Heather MacDonald: A Blow To The College-Industrial Complex.

The New York Times seems concerned that teens in the fracking belt of eastern Montana are opting to work in the new oil-field economy right after high school rather than going straight on to college. A front-page story warns: Taking a job is “a lucrative but risky decision for any 18-year-old to make, one that could foreclose on his future if the frenzied pace of oil and gas drilling from here to North Dakota to Texas falters and work dries up.”

Let’s see. Where is a teenager more likely to learn the basic and transferable virtue of showing up every day and on time, not to mention how to get along with a boss and fit into an organization — as a communications and binge-drinking double major at Missoula State University, or as a mechanic fixing broken rig equipment? Too many high-school graduates are reflexively going to college as it is, without a clue what they are doing there or how to take advantage of higher education. Mandatory stints in the private economy before college enrollment could do wonders for study skills. If, by deferring or maybe even skipping college entirely, students were foregoing their one hope for immersion in Western civilization, there would indeed be grounds for regret. But colleges’ own curricular decisions have long since destroyed their right to present themselves as a gateway for precious knowledge of the past.

Also: “It is unlikely, of course, that if some subset of teens were regularly interning at Planned Parenthood or Marriage Equality after high school, the Times would point out the risks of not attending college right away.”

December 27, 2012

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW about your neighborhood.

December 27, 2012

WHY IS IT THAT “PUBLIC INTEREST LAW” AT LAW SCHOOLS ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE LEFT-WING? Ruling discredits UM law clinic’s involvement. “What provoked a widespread furor was not just that an environmental plaintiff was pursuing an adventurous long-shot case. It was that the citizens of the state of Maryland — including taxpaying families like the Hudsons — were helping foot the bill for it. The University of Maryland’s environmental law clinic had agreed to represent the well-heeled Kennedy group in suing Alan and Kristin Hudson. And that, in turn, touched off a controversy, still ongoing, about whether or not state-run universities like Maryland’s should properly insert themselves into controversial long-shot litigation aimed at the interests of some of the taxpayers who have to pay for it.”

December 27, 2012

ED DRISCOLL: Our Advocacy-Obsessed Apparatchik MSM.

December 27, 2012

AT AMAZON, up to 70% off on Musical Instruments & Gear.

Also, 50% off Christmas Decorations. Stock up for next year!

December 27, 2012

AT MEDIAITE: Gun Control Debate Exposed The Media’s Bias, David Gregory Exposed Their Hypocrisy.

The media’s argument in favor of treating Gregory differently from any other citizen who does not anchor a popular Sunday news broadcast is, essentially, “come on! Really?” . . .

L’affaire de Gregory
has exposed an unseemly sense of entitlement in the elite media. If the post-Newtown debate over gun control has shown that the media is somewhat out of touch with average Americans, the Gregory episode has revealed that they do not see themselves as average Americans.

No, as oikophobes they most certainly do not.

UPDATE: Because I’m The Journalist And You’re Not.

Plus these thoughts from Jonah Goldberg:

Culturally, one of the things lots of Americans detest about the elite journalistic culture is the idea that reporters are above the law. Usually, this self-regard manifests itself in debates over revealing sources. Many journalists honestly believe they have special rights and privileges not enjoyed by all Americans. As a matter of law and logic, that’s not the case (which is why some journalists want to see the licensing of journalists). We all have the right to commit journalism.

This priestly caste attitude manifests itself in other ways as well. Hidden cameras were something to be celebrated when 60 Minutes pioneered them. When grubby bloggers do the same thing, it’s apparently repugnant.

Well, the First Amendment is for everyone, not people with degrees from the Columbia J-School. Likewise, the Second Amendment is for everyone. And what laws limit my constitutional right to bear arms, limit David Gregory’s too.

And here we have David Gregory breaking exactly the sorts of gun laws he’s advocating….

Yes, they think of themselves as part of the Ruling Class, with all the perquisites.

MORE: W.J.J. Hoge:

Of course, they can’t just come out and say it, but one of the reasons why the main stream media is pooh-pooh-ing l’affaire Gregory is that the idea that simple possession of an unloaded magazine being a crime is so mind-bogglingly stupid on its face that they understand the unfairness of it all at a gut level. Why should merely holding a metal box with a spring in it be punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail?

Well, our betters passed that law, and now one of them has broken it.

And now we will see whether DC is a city ruled by laws or by men above the laws.

A warning: Those who are above the law are unable to hide behind it.

December 27, 2012

ALZHEIMER’S AND TOO MUCH IRON IN THE BRAIN? Possibly a good reason to donate blood.

Also, Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up. And: Dementia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

December 27, 2012

15 SHAMEFUL post-breakup confessions.

December 27, 2012

AP: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dead at age 78. RIP.

UPDATE: Joshua Trevino tweets, “The hourlong Schwarzkopf postwar briefing on the 1991 victory is still a masterpiece of the genre:”

December 27, 2012

AT AMAZON, up to 50% off in Tools & Home Improvement.

December 27, 2012

NEWS YOU CAN USE: You may be the problem in your relationship and not even know it.

December 27, 2012

ETHICS: Poynter Journalism Scholars Criticize Paper for Publishing Gun Owners’ Addresses.

December 27, 2012

IF ALLOWED, YES. Will California media ignore fracking’s long, safe history?

December 27, 2012

FLASHBACK: Michael Moore’s Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge. Still no word on what kind of guns Mayor Bloomberg’s or Rupert Murdoch’s bodyguards carry.