May 23, 2015

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

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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 744.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, that sounds kinda familiar. So does this:

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

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

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

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, but it seems to be getting worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT AMAZON: Men’s socks.

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

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

It certainly presents opportunities.

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

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

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

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

ROGER SIMON: A Memorial Weekend Review For Election 2016.

May 22, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WELL, IT BEATS RAYMOND: Everybody Loves Sex.

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

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

Intellectual property has gone too far.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.

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

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

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

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

Plus, today only at Amazon: ViewSonic Pro8200 1080p Home Theater Projector, $499.99 (67% off).

And, also today only: 20% Off the Netatmo Weather Station and Rain Gauge.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 743.

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

BEN BARTON: The Rise And Fall Of Lawyers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT AMAZON: Grills on sale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dude, you’re triggering me.

May 21, 2015

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

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

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

Whatever she can.

MICKEY KAUS: Cruz and Amnesty: The Telltale Video.

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

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

POLITICO: Elizabeth Warren was paid up to $90,000 as witness in 2000 trade case. “The senator who wants to keep an investor dispute process out of the Pacific trade deal was an expert witness in the same kind of case 15 years ago.”

COMPARISON TEST: 2016 Jaguar F-type R Coupe vs. 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S, 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

BECAUSE #WHITEPRIVILEGE!:  Charles Blow at the New York Times continues his bloviating about the racial injustice of media coverage of the Waco biker gang violence versus that of the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson.

In Waco, the words used to describe the participants in a shootout so violent that a local police spokesman called the crime scene the bloodiest he had ever seen included “biker clubs,” “gangs” and “outlaw motorcycle gangs.” . . .President Obama and the mayor of Baltimore were quick to use the loaded label “thugs” for the violent rioters there. That the authorities have not used that word to describe the far worse violence in Waco makes the contrast all the more glaring.

The words “outlaw” and “biker” while pejorative to some, still evoke a certain romanticism in the American ethos. They conjure an image of individualism, adventure and virility. There’s an endless list of motorcycle gang movies. A search for “motorcycle romance” on Amazon yields thousands of options. Viagra, the erectile dysfunction drug, even has a motorcycle commercial.

While “thug life” has also been glamorized in movies, music and books, its scope is limited and racialized. It is applied to — and even adopted by — black men. And the evocation is more “Menace II Society” than “Easy Rider.” The pejorative is unambiguous. . . .

Blow’s conclusion? It’s all just more evidence of pervasive racial hatred (as if he needs more evidence, as he sees it everywhere, all the time):

And while we can’t demand that the world love our flesh as we do, we can — and must! — demand that it stop pretending that its hatred of it is some cultural chimera concocted by a racial grievance industry. We can demand that the data around racial bias, which stretches across society, be accepted as fact rather than opinion.

We can demand the right to call hatred by its name and to its face. We can demand the right to exist, fully and freely, in the wholeness and beauty of our own humanity.

We must see the brilliant light in our beautiful darkness and love the brown bodies that the world would just as well mark and discard — even the “thugs.”

Or maybe, Charles, you could just stop assuming that every single thing in the world is racially motivated, and start acknowledging the “beauty” and “humanity” of whites and “love the [white] bodies,” even the bikers and rednecks and (gasp!) conservatives.  We can demand the right to call your hatred by its name and to its face.

RELATED:  C.W. Cooke disembowels this #whiteprivilege narrative:  

All in all, there is a pretty simple answer to the question, “Why didn’t Americans rack their brains upon hearing the news that a motorcycle gang had shot up another motorcycle gang?” That answer: Because that’s what motorcycle gangs do.

ED DRISCOLL: President Obama is ‘The Vehicle Through Which bin Laden Succeeded.’

VISION: Kids Who Can’t See Can’t Learn. The Insta-Daughter had vision problems when she was young, and they affected her schoolwork until we got them corrected. I’m still not 100% confident that it’s entirely fixed — her depth perception is poor — but I don’t know what else to do.

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Plus, Warehouse Deals on Drones. Well, this is the 21st Century, you know.

ABOVE THE LAW: Harvard Law Jerk Confirms Everything You Thought About Harvard Law.

SO IN YESTERDAY’S POST ABOUT TRAINING WITH MARK RIPPETOE, I should have noted what a rockstar he is. I train in a big-box chain gym, not a “black iron” place, but people kept walking up and asking him “are you Mark Rippetoe?” Apparently, his very popular videos and highly-recognizable voice mean that he’s sure to be recognized.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Woman Realizes That She’s Been Accidentally Abusing Her Husband This Whole Time…

HERE’S MORE ON THAT anti-Stephanopoulos street art posted around ABC News HQ today.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Nice Ivy League Degree. Now if You Want a Job, Go to Code School: Pricey coding classes are attracting college grads who want better jobs. “Feng is among thousands of students, about 70 percent of whom already have college degrees, flocking to coding boot camps. Hers is run by a company called General Assembly that promises to transform ‘thinkers into creators,’ not to mention holders of well-paying jobs. It’s an especially attractive pitch for humanities and social sciences majors who didn’t learn the skills they need to compete for the plentiful jobs in the technology industry.”

Heh: “Thinkers into creators.” That’s some subversive stuff right there. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

TEST DRIVE: The 2016 Honda Pilot.

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THE CRUMBLING TEFLON PRESIDENCY?:  Jeffrey Toobin has a piece in The New Yorker today called “Obama’s Game of Chicken with the Supreme Court.”  His thesis is that if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama Administration in the Obamacare subsidy case, King v. Burwell, the blame for the loss of subsidies of individuals living in States without State-operated health insurance exchanges will not fall on the Republicans’ shoulders, but the President’s:

If the Obama Administration loses in the Supreme Court, the political pain will fall almost exclusively on the President and his Party. To paraphrase Colin Powell and the Pottery Barn rule, President Obama will have broken health care, so he owns it. To the vast mass of Americans who follow politics casually or not at all, Obamacare and the American system of health care have become virtually synonymous. This may not be exactly right or fair, but it’s a reasonable perception on the part of most people. . . .If the Supreme Court rules against him, the President can blame the Justices or the Republicans or anyone he likes, and he may even be correct. But the buck will stop with him.

Toobin says this reluctantly, but at least he says it.

Toobin’s overall sentiment–that a ruling for the plaintiffs in King will be a political loss for President Obama (as it should be, since it was his decision to disregard the plain language of his own signature legislation)–is likely correct.  But what’s even more noteworthy is that it evinces that the Teflon President’s non-stick coating is finally wearing a little  thin with (at least some in) the mainstream media. Unfortunately, the criticism is mostly limited to foreign policy. Evidence of such Teflon thinning includes the Washington Post’s editorial board’s skepticism about the Iran nuclear deal (including his failure to respond to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s arguments before Congress), longtime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell’s recent statement that the Obama Administration is more corrupt than Nixon’s, Chris Matthews’ thrill dissipating to the point where he has called Obama “intellectually lazy,” Kirsten Powers’ criticism of Obama on the ISIS persecution of Christians, and Jon Stewart’s “je suis to be kidding me” quip about Obama’s failure to attend the unity rally in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo terrorism–something veteran liberal foreign affairs expert Leslie Gelb labeled a “horrendous gaffe” that “demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years.”

Of course there are many, many other liberals/progressives in the mainstream media who continue to stick their heads in the sand and dare not criticize the Great Leader on anything.  But it is good to see that, for at least some of them, they are beginning to see that the Emperor has no clothes.

THERE ARE TOO MANY CRIMES ALREADY: EFF Asks Court To Reconsider Ruling That Would Make Violating Work Computer Policies A Criminal Act.

DON’T BELIEVE HIM:  Obama seeks to boost ties with Jewish Americans amid Iran nuclear talks.  Obama claims, “If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this.”  Yeah, kind of like Major Kong in Dr. Strangelove.

THAT’S TOO BAD, AS I’D KIND OF LIKE ONE OF THESE: TrackingPoint in trouble—smart gun company stops orders, lays off staff.

NPR: How The New Deal Created Segregated Inner City Ghettos:

On how the New Deal’s Public Works Administration led to the creation of segregated ghettos

Its policy was that public housing could be used only to house people of the same race as the neighborhood in which it was located, but, in fact, most of the public housing that was built in the early years was built in integrated neighborhoods, which they razed and then built segregated public housing in those neighborhoods. So public housing created racial segregation where none existed before. That was one of the chief policies.

On the Federal Housing Administration’s overtly racist policies in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s

The second policy, which was probably even more effective in segregating metropolitan areas, was the Federal Housing Administration, which financed mass production builders of subdivisions starting in the ’30s and then going on to the ’40s and ’50s in which those mass production builders, places like Levittown [New York] for example, and Nassau County in New York and in every metropolitan area in the country, the Federal Housing Administration gave builders like Levitt concessionary loans through banks because they guaranteed loans at lower interest rates for banks that the developers could use to build these subdivisions on the condition that no homes in those subdivisions be sold to African-Americans.

Much more at the link. But hey, FDR was a great hero except for this. Well, and the concentration camps for Japanese-Americans.

NOTE: DO NOT TRY DYNAMITING IT. How to Bury a 42-Foot Rotting Humpback Whale. “It became a quality-of-life concern as far as the smell.” Do tell.

FASTER, PLEASE: Pill of Super-Protective “Heavy Fat” May Be Key To Longevity.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Kyle Smith: Letterman’s Departure Was 15 Years Too Late. “Letterman was the barking dog who caught the car, was invited in, and curled up delightedly on the seat. He was the outsider who joined the very club on whose doorstep he used to leave a flaming sack of dog poop. He was the cool guy who became Mr. Big-Time Showbiz Personality. Letterman shouldn’t retire. He should just continue doing his shtick. In Vegas.”

HENRY MILLER: When Bureaucrats Battle Science. “This approach, which has been condemned repeatedly by the scientific community over many years, has discouraged innovation and provided incentives for the developers of new plant varieties to use inferior but unregulated techniques. This situation is inimical to the kind of innovation Thiel postulates is essential to the United States’ continued economic growth. Let’s not neglect the FDA, which, abetted by senior officials in the Obama White House, has been among the worst obstructers of technological progress.”

PUT IT OUT OF ITS MISERY: Justice Kennedy’s Affirmative Action Do-Over.

The opportunity comes in a petition the Court will take up Thursday to hear another challenge to the University of Texas’s sneaky use of race in admissions in flagrant disregard of Justice Kennedy’s 7-1 majority opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas. That 2013 ruling held that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in accepting the school’s use of race and sent the case back to subject the preferences to “strict scrutiny.”

That means schools must use precise techniques to accomplish their goals, proving in particular that they could not get a diverse campus without favoritism based on race. That’s a challenge at the University of Texas, which guarantees admission to the top tier of graduates from each of the state’s public high schools. In 2004 this brought an freshman class that was 21.4% African-American and Hispanic without using race.

That didn’t deter UT, which came up with a new rationale for preferences—the need for “diversity within diversity.” That is, the school said it wasn’t admitting enough minority students from majority-white school districts. These tend to be the children of affluent minority parents who live in the suburbs. The Fifth Circuit ruled that this racial tactic is fine even under “strict scrutiny.”

Truth be told, progressives/universities consider “diversity” to be inextricable from their mission. Even if the Supreme Court boldly declared the obvious–that race-based discrimination in admissions is racial discrimination, and hence, per se a violation of equal protection–I have serious doubts that universities would stop the practice.  As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissent in Gratz v. Bollinger (2003):

The stain of generations of racial oppression is still visible in our society, and the determination to hasten its removal remains vital. One can reasonably anticipate, therefore, that colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment–and the networks and opportunities thereby opened to minority graduates–whether or not they can do so in full candor through adoption of affirmative action plans of the kind here at issue. Without recourse to such plans, institutions of higher education may resort to camouflage. For example, schools may encourage applicants to write of their cultural traditions in the essays they submit, or to indicate whether English is their second language. Seeking to improve their chances for admission, applicants may highlight the minority group associations to which they belong, or the Hispanic surnames of their mothers or grandparents. In turn, teachers’ recommendations may emphasize who a student is as much as what he or she has accomplished. If honesty is the best policy, surely Michigan’s accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmative action program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises.

Translated: We have to let universities continue to employ overt race-based admissions criteria because otherwise, the progressives/liberals who run them will just “resort to camouflage” and “winks, nods, and disguises” and do it anyway.  Not even a Supreme Court ruling telling them their behavior is unconstitutional will stop them, so don’t even bother.  They won’t care.  Yep.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 742.

CLINTON/STEPHANOPOULOS STREET ART POPPING UP IN NEW YORK: A reader reports that these pics are all around the ABC studios and Good Morning America Times Square set.


Funny, but it seems that people on the right are really getting into this Guerrilla Art stuff:



Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 11.11.37 AM

MEGAN MCARDLE: U.S. Workers Brought the ‘Great Reset’ on Themselves.

College professors. Manufacturing workers. Recent college graduates. What do they all have in common?

They are all, as a group, seeing the terms of their employment reset downward. The average package available to those people is worse than what similarly situated people got a generation ago, Tyler Cowen writes in the New York Times. Tenure lines are being dropped in favor of adjunct jobs that pay worse and have no protection from firing. New manufacturing workers get lower wages and benefits. Recent college grads find fewer well paying, steady jobs. This is the end of a long process, not a sudden bump, but as Cowen notes, “Such processes are scary because we may be watching the slow unfolding of a hand that, in its fundamentals, has already been dealt.”

As this hand is played, the common response is to demand that we go back to the last hand, which was much better. It has become customary, almost a required ritual, for any academic writing about adjunct faculty in any context to insert a call for their work to be done by well-paid tenure-track faculty. No meditation on “American manufacturing” is complete without explaining why those workers need stronger unions to get them higher pay (or at least an explanation of why that won’t work). And I don’t need to tell you how much ink has been spilled on the plight of college graduates and their student loans.

The average American is at the heart of this story — as the victim and as the perpetrator. We suffer as employees because we exert influence as consumers.

Read the whole thing.

THEY’RE NOT SCIENCE DENIERS, THEY’RE SCIENCE FAKERS: What is it about progressives and their manipulation of scientific data?  It’s not just global warming climate change; now it’s social science on gay marriage.

According to the study, people from communities hostile to gay marriage could have their opinions shift dramatically after spending just a few minutes speaking with a gay person who canvassed their neighborhood promoting gay marriage. . . .

The study, among other things, lent support to the notion that those opposed to gay marriage simply don’t know or interact with open homosexuals. More broadly, it was seen as an important development in the science of how people can be convinced to change their minds on ideologically-charged issues.

The study began to fall apart when students at the University of California at Berkeley sought to conduct additional research building off of it, only to find major irregularities in how its research was apparently conducted. . . . 

Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University and a co-author of the paper, made the decision to retract it after having a confrontation with co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate student at UCLA. While LaCour maintained that he hadn’t fabricated the data, he was also unable to produce the original source files supposedly used to produce it. When he failed to write-up a retraction, Green took the initiative and did so himself.

Guess some folks think they can fake it ’til they make it.  Or maybe it’s just Alinsky’s “the ends justify the means.

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