Archive for February, 2013

February 28, 2013

A POSITIVE SIGN: Muslims Supporting Anti-Islam Cartoonist: “Lars Hedegaard, the Danish cartoonist who set off a firestorm in 2006 with his illustration of Muhammad, is now getting a notable show of support—from Muslims in Denmark. A recent attempt on Hedegaard’s life has Copenhagen’s Muslim community taking a stand for freedom of speech . . . . These are extremely encouraging signs, but the issue remains thorny. There are divisions among both native Danes and Denmark’s Muslim immigrant community. Some Danes blame Hedegaard for intentionally provoking violence; others blame the Muslim community for reacting violently. In the country’s Muslim community, some believe Hedegaard crosses lines he shouldn’t; others believe that, no matter how much they detest his actions, he has the right to do so.”

February 28, 2013

YOU KNOW ANDREW SULLIVAN WILL BE CRUSHED BY THE PHOTO: Man charged in gay mayoral candidate’s Mississippi murder.

February 28, 2013

STACY MCCAIN’S deadly sons.

February 28, 2013

BECAUSE THAT’S THE NARRATIVE: Johnathan Pearce: Remind me again why Sarah Palin is considered to be stupid.

February 28, 2013

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Every single bit of gun advice Biden gives will get you arrested.

February 28, 2013

DEREK THOMPSON: How Airline Ticket Prices Fell 50% in 30 Years (And Why Nobody Noticed). I noticed. I remember that when I flew from Knoxville to DC for the National Spelling Bee back in the 1970s, the ticket cost $660. Now I can often fly for $159. Though ticket prices seem to be climbing lately for some reason.

February 28, 2013

AT AMAZON, up to 40% off on select keyboards. Ergonomic, folding, etc.

Also, today only: 80% off on Men’s Outerwear.

February 28, 2013

GOVERNANCE: Democratic-controlled Senate rejects rival bills to prevent $85B sequester spending cuts.

February 28, 2013

DEFINING PROBLEM: Assault Weapon’ Banners Still Can’t Say What an ‘Assault Weapon’ Is.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was not happy with the gun control hearing that the Senate Judiciary Committee held on January 30, where two witnesses spoke in favor of her proposed “assault weapon” ban and three spoke against it. So she arranged another hearing before the same committee, which was held yesterday. It featured five witnesses who support her bill and three who oppose it, so Feinstein is now ahead by one witness. But critics of her legislation made up for their numerical disadvantage with substance. When you read the testimony of the two sides, the clearest difference is that opponents of the Feinstein bill, S. 150, know what they are talking about, while its supporters don’t. . . .

Hardy and Johnson both show that, contrary to John Walsh’s assurances, the distinctions drawn by Feinstein’s bill remain nonsensical. “‘Semiautomatic assault rifle’ is internally contradictory and thus meaningless,” Hardy writes, since a true assault rifle can fire automatically. “Drafters of legislation are thus forced to define what they would restrict in ways that are arbitrary and irrational.” Feinstein’s bill is so arbitrary and irrational, Johnson argues, that it would fail even the most permissive level of judicial scrutiny. He calls the legislation “simply incoherent,” saying “the classifications created by the bill do not pass even a rudimentary rational basis review.” And since the Supreme Court has identified the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental right protected by the Second and 14th Amendments, laws that impinge upon it should receive more scrutiny than that.

Yes, they should. And so should the politicians who sponsor them.

February 28, 2013

ANNALS OF THE ONE PERCENT: Elizabeth Warren Buys $740,000 Condo In Washington DC. “The new senator, who campaigned largely on middle class interests, recently refused to define the ‘middle class’ when pressed by FOX Boston.”

February 28, 2013

I LIKE IT THAT SOMEONE IS SELLING SILVER BULLETS, BUT THESE WON’T DO MUCH AGAINST WEREWOLVES. Now if the LuckyGunner guys got into that business, I think the ballistics would be excellent.

February 28, 2013

THE EGYPT BOMB GOES TICK, TICK, TICK: “Egypt is set to explode, according to former Finance Minister Samir Radwan. Joblessness stands at 74 percent for people under 30, according to government figures. This figure is unlikely to improve . . . . The economy is in a meltdown. And the situation on the ground will only be exacerbated by the hordes of young people (under-30s make up an estimated 60 percent of Egypt’s population) unable to find work to pay for the rising costs of basic goods. Radwan is right, the time bomb in Egypt is ticking. There is nothing worse for an unstable country than a restive, and hungry, youth. The only question now is, when the explosion comes, what will rise from the debris?”

If I imported half my calories, and depended on tourism for most of my foreign exchange, I’d present a friendlier aspect to the world than the Muslim Brotherhood has.

February 28, 2013

ANTI-GUN COLORADO LEGISLATORS facing recall campaign.

February 28, 2013

GROUND TRUTH: Captured On Google Earth: Mysterious Barcode Patterns Strewn Across U.S. Land.

February 28, 2013

AT AMAZON, Digital Deals Galore.

February 28, 2013

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Fighting high textbook costs.

February 28, 2013

MAX BOOT: Are We Repeating the Mistakes of the “Peace Dividend?”

February 28, 2013

PROFILES IN COURAGE: Richard Dawkins: Islam? What’s that? “It’s funny how these confident, cocksure prophets of atheism-who barely have time to take a breath between slamming the tenets of Christianity and Judaism-often get curiously tongue-tied and shy when the subject of Islam comes up.”

Don’t want your religion attacked? Behead a few attackers. It doesn’t take many — most of them are cowards and poseurs, and will shut up at the least hint of risk. Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t set up this incentive system.

February 28, 2013

CHANGE: At Harley-Davidson, No More Music On The Factory Floor. They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, America would be like Footloose, with rock ‘n’ roll silenced in the name of efficiency. And they were right!

February 28, 2013

SPACE: The Crazy Plan to Fly Two Humans to Mars in 2018. “A new nonprofit foundation headed by the first private space traveler, Dennis Tito, seeks to take advantage of a once-in-15-years alignment of planets to beat NASA astronauts to Mars.”

February 28, 2013

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanotechnology delivers potent anti-cancer agent where it needs to go.

February 28, 2013

MIKE RIGGS: The Most Openly and Transparently Thin-Skinned Administration in History. With help from its enablers in the Palace Guard Media.

February 28, 2013

AT AMAZON, Warehouse Deals In Electronics.

February 28, 2013

TECHNOLOGY: Spending an hour a day playing on a Wii boosted surgeons’ skills.

February 28, 2013

MAN CAVE MOVIE REVIEW is a blog featuring movie reviews from a certain perspective.

February 28, 2013

MY ADVICE: DRINK WINE WHILE SITTING IN THE SUN. Mediterranean diet’s benefits confirmed. “The Mediterranean diet has long been touted as healthy. Now a study released Monday of the effects of a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, vegetables, fruits and fish confirms that. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the diet can reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by 30 percent.” You can have some hummus with the wine.

February 28, 2013

21stCENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Boomer divorce: A costly retirement roadblock. “Baby Boomers are divorcing at a surprising rate, and that will have huge implications for their lives in retirement. . . . That pool of money that was going to fund retirement for a couple will now be split in half, and must now fund retirement for two people living separately. That costs a lot more. And that means people must either temper those retirement lifestyle expectations or delay retirement altogether.”

February 28, 2013

AMERICAN SENIORS SLAM DAVID PLOUFFE FOR AGEISM. Hey, if Woodward’s too old to report, then Hillary will be too old to be President in 2016.

February 28, 2013

READER BOOK PLUG: Rebuilt: Awakening The Faithful.

February 28, 2013

IT’S HARD TO FIND HELP, if you’re a man with anorexia.

February 28, 2013

FUEL SAVINGS WITH SHARK SKIN PLANES. “We’re used to thinking of aerodynamics as a matter of sleekness, but a shark’s skin suggests that the right kind of roughness is actually better. Sharks may be all clean lines and curves from afar, but their skin is composed of jagged scales covered with longitudinal ridges. Those tiny ridges are a big part of why sharks can so easily slice through the water.”

February 28, 2013

NEW YORK TIMES: American Women Are Fat Because They Don’t Vacuum Enough. “Women, they found, once had been quite physically active around the house, spending, in 1965, an average of 25.7 hours a week cleaning, cooking and doing laundry. Those activities, whatever their social freight, required the expenditure of considerable energy. . . . Forty-five years later, in 2010, things had changed dramatically. By then, the time-use diaries showed, women were spending an average of 13.3 hours per week on housework. More striking, the diary entries showed, women at home were now spending far more hours sitting in front of a screen. In 1965, women typically had spent about eight hours a week sitting and watching television. (Home computers weren’t invented yet.) By 2010, those hours had more than doubled, to 16.5 hours per week. In essence, women had exchanged time spent in active pursuits, like vacuuming, for time spent being sedentary.”

This’ll be well-received. But hey, it’s science. You can’t argue with science.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Johnson: “What’s happened to the divorce rate over this period of time?” You can probably blame increased TV-watching for that, too.

February 28, 2013

IOWAHAWK: Washington is the only place on earth where Gene Sperling and Rahm Emanuel can successfully bully people.

February 28, 2013

RON FOURNIER: Why Bob Woodward’s Fight With The White House Matters to You. “As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. . . . I changed the rules of our relationship, first, because it was a waste of my time (and the official’s government-funded salary) to engage in abusive conversations. Second, I didn’t want to condone behavior that might intimidate less-experienced reporters, a reaction I personally witnessed in journalists covering the Obama administration.”

I have to say, though, that Fournier’s “this can’t be what Obama wants” take, like Woodward’s similar line, has a sort of if the Tsar only knew flavor to it. Me, I think that political organizations, like most other organizations, get their flavor from the top.

UPDATE: Flashback: Obama Campaign’s “bellicose” treatment of critical reporters in 2008.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tom Elia writes:

Am I the only one who sees the absurd irony in the veiled threats to reporters and writers like Woodward, Fournier, Attkisson, Davis, etc., by these faux White House ‘tough guys’ — using the force of government granted them by the voters, by the way — in this instance (and certainly others) defending the Administration’s story about non-cut ‘cuts’ in government spending and the ‘damage’ they will do.

Fake ‘tough guys’ defending non-cut ‘cuts.’ It’s all a show. And it’s really quite sad.

Welcome to the era of Hope And Change.

February 28, 2013

COMET MAY HIT MARS IN 2014: “It would be an extinction-level impact, were there any life on Mars.”

Science fiction idea: An alt-history story about this where Mars has been colonized for a couple of decades. Kind of a Martian Lucifer’s Hammer.

UPDATE: Charlie Martin emails to suggest that a comet strike on Mars could jumpstart terraforming efforts by delivering a big load of volatiles (water, methane, CO2 and so on), plus a lot of heat energy that could release water and other volatiles from the martian soil. That’s right, though planets are huge by comparison to comets: In his Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments, Martyn Fogg calculates how many comet impacts it would take to give Mars a useful atmosphere and it’s quite a lot. You don’t gain by making the comets really big, either, as beyond a certain size the impact becomes so energetic that you start losing atmosphere to space.

Another reader, in an allusion to The World According To Garp, thinks that a cometary strike on Mars would make it an attractive destination because of presumed safety — how likely is it that something like that would happen again any time soon? Hmm.

February 28, 2013

IN THE MAIL: A Dream of Daring.

February 28, 2013

RADLEY BALKO is encouraging prosecutorial accountability.

February 28, 2013

CHANGE! Renewable Energy: Bringing Blackouts Back to California?

The epidemic of power outages and “rolling blackouts” which nearly shut down California in the early 2000s may be returning. Back then, the culprits were unscrupulous energy providers like Enron and a poorly-thought out process of deregulation. This time, renewable energy would be to blame, as the state has pushed to increase the use of solar and wind energy without ensuring that there is enough traditional power generation to keep the grid stable on cloudy, windless days.

Although the blackouts haven’t happened yet, some are warning that they could begin to strike in the next couple of years. . . .

The problem of intermittency of renewable energy is a well known one. Other states, including Texas, are facing similar troubles. California’s energy planners are aware of the problem, too, and they are looking to settle on plans to deal with it later this year. Nonetheless these projections of electricity problems are disturbing for a state with a long history of them, and the fact that there isn’t already a plan to deal with it makes us wonder whether we’re not about to witness another case of green policy failure. We’ll wait and see how this shakes out, but California will need to plan carefully to avoid serious problems down the road.

Don’t count on it.

February 28, 2013

THE COLD STOICISM of advice columns for men. To be fair, it would be nice to see a touch of that in advice columns for women.

February 28, 2013

JIM TREACHER: The Bob Woodward story isn’t important. That’s why liberals and the media (PTR) are losing their minds over it.

Related: Remember: They’re not attacking Bob Woodward because they think he’s lying. They’re attacking him because they think he’s telling the truth.

UPDATE: Pattern and practice: Lanny Davis: Obama White House Threatened Washington Times Over My Column.

Well, thuggishness is their style. Nice to see it getting reported, at least.

MORE: All The President’s Thugs.

Plus: David Freddoso: If you don’t want to be badmouthed, stop saying things unhelpful to our president.

MORE STILL: Politico has the emails.

John Podhoretz comments: “It would take a great semiologist to unpack the false professions of friendship and anger and source protection here.”

Stephen Green: “Already, day and night, the producers and crew at NBC News are deceptively editing old video to make it appear as though it were Woodward who ordered Alderaan to be destroyed, and right after Rachel Maddow had told him everything he wanted to know, too.”

STILL MORE: Deep Threats: “Who thinks this will end well? The White House’s escalating war with Bob Woodward has major ramifications for all involved — not least the president whom Woodward believes wouldn’t approve of his own aides’ tactics. President Obama has chosen to make two major points in the sequester stand-off: That the pain is going to be awful, and that it’s all Republicans’ fault. Woodward calls the latter into question, with the reporting he’s decided to aggressively and publicly defend. As for the former, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg giving a rhetorical eye-roll to the White House, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on record exaggerating about teacher pink slips that haven’t been issued, let’s just say credulity is being strained.”

USA Today: “All we can say is: We know more than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials. Yelling has also been known to happen.”

YET MORE: Ron Fournier: Yeah, I Got the Abusive Treatment From the WH and the Same ‘You Will Regret This’ Threat.

February 28, 2013

MICHAEL WALSH ON THE SEQUESTER: Apocalypse Not.

February 28, 2013

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Cuomo Announces Plans To Modify Gun Control Law To Exempt Film Industry.

February 28, 2013

THE NRA IS Getting It Right On Twitter.

February 28, 2013

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Is Obama Losing His Media Allies Over The Sequester?

February 28, 2013

CONN CARROLL: California’s green jobs bust.

It was supposed to be the next big thing.

California built decades of broad-based prosperity from the Gold Rush, then Hollywood, then aerospace, and later Silicon Valley. At the turn of the century, “green jobs” were supposed to be the wave of the future.

“This is not just a challenge, it’s an opportunity,” then-candidate Barack Obama said during a 2008 presidential debate. “Because if we create a new energy economy, we can create 5 million new jobs, easily, here in the United States.” . . .

Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that California will once again face rolling blackouts starting in 2015, thanks to the loss of conventional plants and unreliability of wind and solar energy due to weather fluctuations.

But all these new green energy programs must at least be creating thousands of new green jobs, right? Wrong. According to the best numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 2,500 green jobs have been created in California since 2010. Compare that with the more than 556,000 jobs that California has added in total since the recession ended in June 2009.

Meanwhile, Texas, which is actively removing obstacles to private-sector development of its fossil fuel resources, has actually lost 928 green jobs since 2010. But the state has also added 612,000 total jobs since the recession ended, including more than 26,000 new jobs in oil and gas extraction alone. That total does not include a slew of other fossil-fuel-related jobs such as oil refining and natural gas distribution, nor does it include jobs that the fossil fuel industries support indirectly.

Read the whole thing.

February 28, 2013

JAMES TARANTO ON THE DEMOCRATS’ ATTACKS ON MITCH MCCONNELL’S “CHINESE WIFE:” Liberal Racists Warn of Chaos: Only the left has a problem with an interracial political marriage. “McConnell and Chao have been married since 1993, and in all that time we don’t remember a conservative or a Republican making an issue of her race or national origin. Since the wedding, McConnell has won re-election three times, suggesting that neither Republicans nor general-election voters in Kentucky–a state where slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865–are bothered that their senator is in an interracial marriage. Other than conspiracy nuts, the only people who seem bothered by it are the liberals at Progress Kentucky.”

February 28, 2013

I WISH OBAMA WOULD DO SOME COST-CUTTING LIKE THIS: CODEL Cutbacks: Boehner Tells Members They Have to Fly Commercial. “House Speaker John A. Boehner announced on Wednesday that members will no longer be allowed to travel by military aircraft on Congressional delegation trips. The Ohio Republican told members that because of the spending cuts mandated by sequestration, he will cut the costs of the taxpayer funded trips by suspending the standard military aircraft and making members fly commercial.”

I’m liking this sequester-thing more and more . . .

February 28, 2013

BACKPEDALING: White House says it didn’t approve release of illegal immigrants. “The White House on Wednesday said it did not approve the release this week of hundreds of illegal immigrants being held in detention centers, as Republicans turned up the heat on the budget-cutting move ahead of the sequester. White House spokesman Jay Carney and a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official said the decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was not signed off on by the administration, but was made by career officials.”

Related: DHS official resigns after immigrants are freed.

UPDATE: Dana Perino: “Strains credulity to think that ice releases thousands of illegals and no one there ran it up the food chain. Not even a ‘heads up?’ Hmmm.”

February 28, 2013

BILL FREZZA: Sequester This! President Obama’s Colossal Media Blunder.

February 28, 2013

MICHAEL GRAHAM: Greg Sargent And Me. “I admit that I’ve got an innate naivete when it comes to journalists. Despite years of evidence to the contrary, I can’t shake my belief that news people are trying to tell the truth.” Nowadays, there are a lot more apparatchiks than “news people” in the “journalism” business.

February 28, 2013

LEADERSHIP: “Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’”

February 28, 2013

ANNALS OF THE .001 PERCENT: Plutocrat Jack Lew Is Confirmed, But Sessions Embarrasses Democrats.

February 27, 2013

SO I SPENT A COUPLE OF HOURS OVER AT “NIGHT TRAIN STUDIOS” — the recording studio that Doug Weinstein and I built together, though nowadays it’s all his because I haven’t done much sound engineering in years. He was rewiring things and I helped, and it mostly underscored how obsolete my sound-engineering skills are. In the new, improved, mostly-digital Night Train Studios, I could only assistant-engineer, realistically. I did solve one sampling-rate-mismatch problem, but that was because — as I noted to him — it was an “obsolete problem,” suited to my obsolete skills. It was fun, though.

February 27, 2013

IT HAPPENED UNOFFICIALLY A WHILE AGO: Tom Blumer: The Press Officially Abdicates Its Role.

February 27, 2013

AT AMAZON, 25% off in Bath & Bedding.

February 27, 2013

DEFEND THE KING! Liberal Claws Come Out To Rip Bob Woodward.

February 27, 2013

THEY FIGURE THERE’S SAFETY IN NUMBERS: Jim Geraghty: “The folks who write the hit pieces on Bob Woodward in the coming days will be outing themselves as the administration’s favorite puppets.”

February 27, 2013

CHANGE: Spidey-sense suit tingles when someone gets too close.

February 27, 2013

BRAINS: Study shows how insulin-like molecules play critical role in learning and memory.

February 27, 2013

BOB WOODWARD: White House Warned Me “You Will Regret Doing This.”

February 27, 2013

BLUE AND RED: While Texas runs an $8.8 billion surplus, Illinois is heading in the opposite direction. A new report by the Civic Federation estimates that Illinois’ “unpaid bills” will triple to $22 billion in the next five years unless something can be done about the state’s pensions.

February 27, 2013

OUT ON A LIMB: Marissa Mayer’s No-Working-From-Home Rule Is Stupid — Or It Could Save Yahoo.

February 27, 2013

MARK STEYN: Pink Is Now The Color Of Conformity. “Nothing says ‘celebrate diversity’ like forcing everyone to dress exactly the same.”

February 27, 2013

THE WORLD’S NERDIEST MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: “A physicist posted this marriage proposal from her boyfriend, also a physicist, on Imgur a couple days ago. The proposal somehow combines features of both advanced academic writing and a note that you might pass in class to your first-grade crush.”

February 27, 2013

AT AMAZON, new releases in Movies & TV.

February 27, 2013

SEARCH: Looking For Patriotic And Conservative Romance Writers. This is the Liberty Island project I’ve mentioned before.

February 27, 2013

CHANGE: 3D Printers to Build NASA’s Spare Parts & Rocket Engines.

February 27, 2013

RACHEL MADDOW: Sure, this video is deceptively edited, but so what? “At this point, it’s a given that any audio or video that’s aired on NBC News or MSNBC could be faked in some way. They’ll do whatever it takes to advance their agenda. It’s so commonplace, even their hosts have stopped making excuses for it. It’s just part of the culture there.”

February 27, 2013

SCIENCE: Study shows human brain able to discriminate syllables three months prior to birth.

February 27, 2013

WAIT, I THOUGHT WOMEN NEVER LIE ABOUT RAPE: Compulsive liar who cried rape 11 times is jailed: Her last victim was an innocent man who she simply ‘didn’t like any more.’ I think she deserves more than 16 months in jail. Is it too cruel to note the picture?

February 27, 2013

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY: Brain Implants Can Reset Misfiring Circuits: Pacemaker-like treatment calms an overactive circuit in the brains of OCD patients.

February 27, 2013

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: My wife and I are friends with a prostitute. Can we invite her to parties?

February 27, 2013

TURNING A NOTORIOUS PRISON into a posh hotel. “All of the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flat screen TV, free WiFi, and a personal coffee and tea machine. The hotel also features a sauna, fitness centre, central patio with olive trees, and an organic herb garden.”

February 27, 2013

DIGITAL QUESTIONS: What Is Truth, In A Virtual Era?

February 27, 2013

TWEET OF THE DAY: Donna Brazile: “Just got off the phone with my health care provider asking them to explain why my premium jumped up. No good answer!” It’s called “Affordable Care,” Donna.

UPDATE: Stephen Green replies: “That’s called free birth control.” Ouch.

February 27, 2013

POLITICO: Bob Woodward blasts President Obama ‘madness.’

February 27, 2013

MICHAEL S. GREVE: Triple the Sequester!

February 27, 2013

DR. BEN CARSON will be speaking at CPAC. “I suspect the MSM will pass on that one.”

February 27, 2013

“SMART DIPLOMACY” NOT WORKING OUT SO WELL IN PAKISTAN: The Taliban’s New, More Terrifying Cousin: How a virulent Pakistani terrorist group is trying to annihilate an ethnic rival–and why we should be worried.

February 27, 2013

THIS ISN’T THAT BIG A SURPRISE: Narcissists tend to have bigger signatures, study says.

February 27, 2013

RANDY BARNETT: The Libertarian Middle Way.

February 27, 2013

IN THE MAIL: From John R. Lott Jr., At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?

February 27, 2013

WARNING: Do not install the new Kindle-for-iOS app. It’s got serious problems. “Amazon yesterday updated its Kindle for iOS app, which works across iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, to version 3.6.1. The update was meant to fix a few bugs as well as the registration process. Instead, that update seems to be wreaking havoc on bookworm-style iThing owners who watched as their Amazon digital libraries and saved settings were erased before their eyes.”

February 27, 2013

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD ON HISPANIC IMMIGRATION’S IMPACT:

Catholic boosters clinging to the hope that Hispanic immigration will save the Church from a demographic train wreck will find some sobering news here. Hispanic immigration has so far kept the Church of Rome from collapsing in the same ignominious way so many mainline Protestant denominations have, but the Church can no longer count on Hispanics to fill its pews. As has already happened to mainline Protestantism, Catholics may find that between conversion to evangelical Protestantism and the rise of “none”-ism, their numbers will be seriously depleted.

But it isn’t just conversion to evangelicalism that weakens the Church’s ties to America’s new immigrants. The American Catholic Church is not what it was. The networks of nuns, brothers, and other religious that met the needs of poor immigrants and helped them adjust to American life have largely disappeared. The Church no longer has these robust networks to help low income Hispanics the way it did past immigrant generations, and these declining numbers reflect that reality.

So much for the religious story painted by the poll. But it also tells us a lot about American society more broadly. For those who worry about immigration’s cultural impact, this survey is one among many pieces of evidence suggesting that Spanish speakers are if anything more open to ‘American’ cultural values and forces than earlier waves of immigrants were. . . .

But the most startling implications of the trends reported by the survey are political. Being religiously observant in any faith correlates strongly with voting Republican; this goes double for evangelical Protestantism. There are exceptions to this trend, of course. Many Black Christians who theologically and culturally fit in the evangelical tradition are reliable Democratic voters. But overall the correlation holds: evangelical Protestants who spend a lot of time in church are among the most reliably Republican voters in the country.

If a lot of Hispanics are picking up their Bibles and heading off to church, this suggests that over time the GOP share of the Hispanic vote will grow. Over the decades, another trend will likely reinforce that one: as immigrant groups become better established in the United States, their economic interests and their issue priorities often change in ways that benefit the GOP.

Read the whole thing.

February 27, 2013

MEGAN MCARDLE: A Declaration Of Financial Independence.

February 27, 2013

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Arcane Rules That Keep Low-Income Kids Out of College. “The communication barriers extend in all directions: The federal and state government bureaucrats little fathom the complexities of low-income students’ home lives. But the students, most of them first-generation college aspirants, often do not understand what a ‘loan’ or ‘interest rate’ means–much less how to make sure they maximize their TOPS and Pell Grant payouts if they qualify for both.”

And many just give up when they see all the forms. Bureaucracy often purports to serve the poor, but the poor deal badly with bureaucracy. Bureaucratic hurdles are much less of a barrier to the well-off and connected.

February 27, 2013

AT AMAZON, MP3 Deals Galore.

Also, today only: Simmons ProSport 12x50mm Roof-Prism Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars, $49.99 (66% off).

February 27, 2013

WHY AREN’T MORE HOMES SELLING? “Tight lending conditions, a shrinking number of distressed homes for sale, and millions of owners with little or no equity in their homes are holding down the supply of homes for sale.”

February 27, 2013

NEWS FROM THE ENLIGHTENED REGIONS: Kennesaw, Georgia’s 1982 Gun Mandate Still On The Books, Every Home Owns A Gun.

Kennesaw’s 1982 gun mandate was a direct response to a gun -ban- enacted a year earlier in Morton Grove, Illinois. That was later deemed unconstitutional, but Kennesaw’s law is still on the books.

Added Lt. Graydon, “It was not meant to be an enforceable law. The police department has never searched homes to make sure you had a gun. It was meant more or less as a political statement to support citizens’ second amendment rights to own firearms.”

After the law went into effect in 1982, city leaders say they witnessed a 29% drop in crime. Over the last 30 years, the crime rate has remained low with just four gun-related homicides.

“Our crime rate is generally less than half the national average,” added Lt. Graydon.

Compare with Chicago.

February 27, 2013

HELEN’S PAGE: The place for shameless self-promotion!

February 27, 2013

NOW WITH SURGING BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM! Bill Moyers endorses my revolving-door-tax idea.

February 27, 2013

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH HAS a law review article on Dick Cheney’s memoirs.

February 27, 2013

CONN CARROLL: California’s expensive education failure.

“Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said in his January State of the State address. “If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify.”

Bad news, governor: California is already failing its children. And it wasn’t always this way.

According to RAND Corp., as late as the 1970s California’s public schools still had an “excellent” reputation. Then, in 1975, Brown (in his first stint as California’s governor) signed the Rodda Act, giving government unions the power to take money directly out of government employees’ paychecks.

The California Teachers Association quickly poured this new revenue stream into an organizing drive, more than doubling the union’s ranks. The Golden State’s politics have never been the same since — nor has the quality of its public schools. Between 2000 and 2010, the CTA spent more than $211 million to influence California voters and elected officials. That is more money than the oil, tobacco and hospital industries combined. . . .

At an average salary of $69,434 per year, a family of two teachers would bring in almost $140,000 in income per year. That is almost triple the state’s $57,000 median family income — and teachers get summers off.

But all of that money for teachers salaries hasn’t helped students in the classroom. By 1992, the first year for which state-by-state comparisons are available, California ranked second to last among states tested (ahead of only Mississippi), in reading proficiency among fourth-graders.

Read the whole thing.

February 27, 2013

JOHN PODHORETZ: The Hagel Fight: It was about principle, not politics. “The opposition arose spontaneously among thinkers and activists long familiar with Hagel’s views and the stands he took throughout his career. They — we — came to share the common view that he wasn’t fit for this extraordinarily important job. The nomination required us to speak out, no matter how elusive the goal of stopping him. In fact, failing to oppose a nominee who has said what Hagel has said, and who stands for what Hagel stands for, would’ve been an open acknowledgment that his words and his stands were acceptable. They were not. They are not.”

February 27, 2013

ROLL CALL: Senate’s Democratic Class of ’08 Faces New Challenges: First-term Democratic senators from competitive states are key to party keeping majority. “Once the building blocks to a supermajority, the first-term class of 2008 Democratic senators now finds itself as the cornerstone of a five-seat majority in danger of crumbling. First elected on the same ticket as President Barack Obama, their next fight carries inherent risks and disadvantages. This cycle, there are more than enough seats in play for Senate Democrats to lose the majority. But party aides remain confident in their eight first-term Democrats up for re-election — all of whom won GOP seats six years ago.”

February 27, 2013

IT’S COME TO THIS: Illinois Can’t Even Afford To Pay Lottery Winners?

February 27, 2013

MICHAEL WALSH LIKES MY WELCOME WAGON IDEA.

February 27, 2013

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Why Are Teen Pregnancy Rates So Low in North Dakota? Fracking.

February 27, 2013

JACK LEW, an object lesson in plutocracy.

February 27, 2013

THE HILL: House expected to pass Senate version of VAWA bill this week. “After a year-long fight over how to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), House Republicans are now prepared to allow a vote this week on the Senate-passed language. . . . House Republicans had proposed their own VAWA reauthorization bill, and seemed prepared to move it this week. But some House aides said they saw the delay in today’s Rules Committee meeting as a sign that Republicans were not able to coalesce around the GOP proposal.”