CROWDFUNDING an Iron Dome anti-missile for Israel.
August 1, 2014
MICKEY KAUS: How About Plan C? “The latest reporting suggests House Speaker John Boehner thinks a bit of tweaking will save his border bill — after it was (embarrassingly) pulled from the floor Thursday due to lack of majority support. . . . There is an alternative for Republicans worried about “doing nothing” about the border before they head home. That’s to drop all the risky policy provisions in the bill, making it a ‘clean,’ temporary money bill giving the Obama administration the temporary stopgap funding it says it needs.”
REMEMBER THAT POST-TUCSON CIVILITY BULLSHIT? New York Times Reporter: ‘Some People Are Deserving of Incivility.’ Well, Barro sounds a lot like Frank Constanza here: You think you’re better than me? Lots of people are better than you, Josh. Get used to it. I have.
July 31, 2014
BY “TECHNICALLY ILLEGAL,” THE WAPO MEANS “ILLEGAL.” Study: Hundreds of rules passed by Obama administration are technically illegal.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Annals of Affirmative Action: NH professor hired for her race loses suit claiming racial discrimination.
HERE YOU SEE THE POWER OF THIS FULLY OPERATIONAL KAUSFILES: House GOP leaders spike border bill rather than see it defeated.
NINA BURLEIGH IS NOT SO HOT on #WomenAgainstFeminism. “Women Against Feminism had, last time I checked, 16,013 followers on Facebook. Its tumblr is constructed of selfies of young women, dressed and posed like ads for DIY escort services, holding up bits of notebook paper on which they’ve scrawled screeds against feminism.”
“DIY escort services?” Burleigh is, of course, the journalist who said about Bill Clinton, “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”
She’s also the authoress of a sophomoric psychosexual analysis of the Tsarnaev brothers. To a certain class of women in the media, it’s always about them, and their various mucous membranes.
Which, speaking of psychosexual theories, may explain Burleigh’s reaction to Women Against Feminism. Just check out the pictures; I’m sure these young women need to check their “prettiness privilege” or something. And I think that’s what’s going on with Nina Burleigh. When she, and her generation of feminists, could exercise sexual power directly (see above) it was all “you go, girl!” Now that they’re getting past that age, they’re falling back on the standard refuge of older women: Slut-shaming younger women who try to do the same. Older women have, of course, always tried to limit the sexual power of younger women, for fairly obvious reasons. This is just more of the same.
Good luck with that, Nina. Meanwhile, the vast majority of women, according to a Huffington Post poll, don’t consider themselves feminists — and only six percent consider themselves “strong feminists.” So outside the fem-journalist bubble, these women aren’t the outliers. You are.
UPDATE: From the comments: “For Burleigh and her crowd I propose a new hashtag: #shrewculture. You know what to do, Internet.”
PRODUCT REVIEW: So for the last week, the Insta-Daughter and I have been using the Fitbit Flex, a motion-sensing wristband that syncs with a smartphone app to track diet, activity, etc. My sister-in-law, who’s lost 24 pounds in a couple of months using one, was showing hers off at a family get together a while back and it seemed kind of interesting.
Tiny accelerometers in the wristband track all your movements, and it syncs via bluetooth with your smartphone (or a computer or tablet). One of the big things it does is press you to move around: It wants you to get at least 10,000 steps a day, and offers a variety of encouragement. It also tracks your diet and exercise — you can log a weight workout, for example — and allows you extra calories. You can program in a weight-loss goal and it will adjust your food intake, etc. to reflect it.
It’s easy to use, and kind of fun to play with. It also tracks your sleep at night based on how much you move, which is kind of cool. (Unsurprisingly, I found out that I sleep like a baby, but I have a friend who discovered a sleep disorder only when he roomed with a physician on a college-reunion trip, so I suppose it could be useful to many, and it encourages you to get enough sleep.)
My bottom line: If you’re already doing a serious training or exercise regime, a la Rippetoe or Crossfit, it doesn’t have much to offer beyond what (much) cheaper smartphone apps like Livestrong or MyFitnessPal already offer: If you’re doing 5 sets of squats at 250 pounds, you know it already. But if you are a couch potato seeking encouragement to be less couch-potatoey — and, let’s face it, that’s most Americans — then this just might do the trick. Otherwise, it’s just a toy. Though I like toys. . . .
The Insta-Daughter, whose exercise regimen runs more to Ballet Beautiful, Blogilates, and long walks than to Rippetoe, likes it a lot more than I do. (She calls it the equivalent of a “What Would Jesus Do” wristband for diet and fitness). She’s been working to increase her steps/day, going over 15,000. That’s a lot of steps, and if you do that, you’ll be in a lot better shape than if you just sit on the couch. Consider it a tool to help you pluck the how-hanging fitness fruit. And that’s not such a bad thing.
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CAN’T SEEM TO GET ANYTHING RIGHT: State Department Visa Database Crashed, Down For Weeks. “American visas have become literally unobtainable in all consulates worldwide for nearly two weeks as IT specialists have struggled to fix the country’s malfunctioning consular database.”
Remember when the big selling point for Obama was supposed to be competence?
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY . . . OH, HELL, YOU KNOW THE REST. Safety Cops Patrol the Office For High Heels.
WELL, THAT SEEMS LIKE POOR DESIGN: Hackers Can Control Your Phone Using a Tool That’s Already Built Into It. “The tool is used in some form in more than 2 billion phones worldwide, they say, including Android and BlackBerry devices and a small number of Apple iPhones used by Sprint customers. They haven’t looked at Windows Mobile devices yet.”
RUBIO’S OFFICE RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT BILL AND DUE PROCESS FOR THE ACCUSED: “This bill does not address this issue.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “Rubio just lost my support in the primaries.”
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: I Drank a Cup of Hot Coffee That Was Overnighted Across the Country. Also, Americans traditionally excel at logistics.
ASHE SCHOW: 6 questions for the sponsors of the new campus sexual assault bill. “This bill institutionalizes bias against the accused in a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ mentality, but doesn’t provide the accused any recourse to defend themselves.”
A COKE AND A SMILE — AND SOME DUCT TAPE, AND A MERCEDES: DIY Autonomous Car. Kids, don’t try this at home.
KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANT! If it’s not OK to spy on senators, is it still OK to spy on citizens?
Well, both are illegal. But, to be fair, spying on Senators adds an additional separation of powers angle that, I should note, I was pointing out months ago.
And it’s also the case that so long as a culture of impunity reigns in the Executive Branch — as it very clearly does now — neither citizens nor Senators are safe from anything.
SPYING: Active attack on Tor network tried to decloak users for five months. I doubt it was from the NSA, which I expect can decloak Tor users whenever it wants.
NOW OUT: Barbara Oakley’s new book A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). Barb also emailed about a new website on learning how to learn that readers may find informative.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 50% Off Select Transcend Memory. You can never have too much memory.
BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols on the ideas pushed by their fringe?
The most relentlessly cited statistic was that women make up only 16% of the tech workforce. At first glance, this looks pretty lame. But once you catch your breath, you realize that most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Women only earn 18% of such degrees awarded to United States residents. Not such a bad effort, then, by Google and company. Still, that didn’t stop the public shaming. Earnest apologies were issued, and calls were made for reform.
Who deserves the brunt of our collective outrage over these lopsided ratios? More importantly, who should be charged with fixing them?
One highly controversial theory — the one that got Larry Summers in deep trouble — argues that there are male advantages in math-related cognitive ability, especially at the so-called “right tail” end of the bell curve. But it’s not necessary to hit that third rail, because even the most capable women shy away from engineering and computer science.
To my knowledge — I’m biased — no school enrolls more fiercely intelligent women than Yale. Yet even there, women are only 18% of computer science majors. The figures are similar at other high-flying schools that admit the best and the brightest women. Not unexpectedly, the prevailing narrative at Yale is that these numbers reflect some kind of glaring injustice. But what exactly is Yale doing wrong? . . . In fact, despite the mainstream media’s insistence that sexism is rife, there exists very little evidence of pervasive bias. Studies occasionally pop up that point to overt or subtle bias in academic hiring or funding, but they are debunked as often as they are trumpeted. And the discrimination that social scientists claim to demonstrate is rarely strong enough to explain observed disparities.
One explanation I’ve seen is that most women don’t want to date science-and-engineering guys. Thus, they avoid those majors. . . . But read the whole thing.
Plus: “Apparently, even the highest ranks of North Korean government aren’t allowed unfettered access to western media. Otherwise, they’d know that the White House is the last place you’ll find Barack Obama these days. If they really want to get him, they should aim for his latest golf course and/or fundraiser.”
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, RICH PEOPLE WOULD CONTROL THE GOVERNMENT. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Report: Liberal Billionaires Are “Hijacking” EPA.
IN TODAY’S WALL STREET JOURNAL, David Rivkin, Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley: The Case for Suing the President: Rewriting ObamaCare laws on the fly is a violation of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.
‘So sue me” is President Obama’s message to Congress. And on Wednesday the House of Representatives took up his taunt, authorizing a lawsuit to challenge the president’s failure to faithfully execute provisions of the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress. The House lawsuit is no “stunt,” as Mr. Obama has characterized it. The lawsuit is necessary to protect the Constitution’s separation of powers, a core means of protecting individual liberty. Without a judicial check on unbounded executive power to suspend the law, this president and all who follow him will have a powerful new weapon to destroy political accountability and democracy itself.
Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. Article II imposes a duty on the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” When a law is unambiguous, the president cannot rewrite it to suit his own preferences. “The power of executing the laws,” as the Supreme Court emphasized in June in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, “does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.” If a law has defects, fixing them is Congress’s business.
These barriers between the branches are not formalities—they were designed to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in one branch. As the Supreme Court explained in New York v. United States (1992), the “Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.”
The barriers also reflect the Framers’ belief that some powers are better suited for a particular branch of government because of its institutional characteristics.
Yep. And, relatedly, the Wall Street Journal editorializes: So Sue Him: Forget impeachment. The House lawsuit is the real threat to Obama.
The House challenge involves crucial questions about the architecture of American government and the separation of powers—questions that haven’t been joined in this kind of challenge at the courts. Mr. Boehner contends that Mr. Obama’s habit of amending or suspending (not enforcing) statutes that conflict with his political goals have usurped “all legislative powers herein granted” by Article I to Congress. . . .
The Supreme Court has already responded when this President’s law-breaking has been challenged by private parties. This past term the Supreme Court rebuked the White House for its unilateral overreach in appointment powers (Noel Canning), unlawfully rewriting the Clean Air Act (Utility Air Regulatory Group) and infringing on religious freedom (Hobby Lobby). . . .
Yet Mr. Obama’s claim that he can pick and choose which laws to enforce is far more offensive to the American tradition than anything the government has done in the name of antiterrorism. The House challenge is an opportunity to vindicate the genius of the Framers to prevent the exercise of arbitrary and centralized power.
FROM MATTHEW YGLESIAS, A PLAN FOR MIDEAST PEACE THAT JUST MIGHT WORK:
AFTER THE LATEST DEPRESSING news from the Middle East I think we have to start asking just how inhumane it would be for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the occupied terroritories. The result would probably be out-and-out war with the neighboring Arab states, but Israel could win that.
All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation. It’s not like there’s not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in, it’s just that the other Arab leaders don’t want to cooperate.
Congratulations for thinking outside the box, Matt!
HE MADE THE MISTAKE OF CROSSING MICKEY KAUS: Roll Call: The Almost Invisible Final Days of Eric Cantor. “You may be a rooster today, but you’ll be a feather duster soon enough.”
MORE ON THE
INTERNAL DEMOCRATIC REVENUE SERVICE SCANDAL: Not crazy for you: Lois Lerner, former IRS official, slammed conservative Republicans with colorful language, emails show.
You know, a FOIA request for emails from senior IRS officials mentioning “Republican” or “Tea Party” would probably turn up a lot of this kind of thing.
Some of the speeches were delivered in global hotspots and were paid for by entities with business or policy interests in the U.S.
The documents also show that in June 2011, the State Department approved a consulting agreement between Bill Clinton and a controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band.
The consultancy with Band’s Teneo Strategy ended eight months later following an uproar over Teneo’s ties to the failed investment firm MF Global.
State Department legal advisers, serving as “designated agency ethics officials,” approved Bill Clinton’s speeches in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, Turkey, Taiwan, India, the Cayman Islands and other countries.
The memos approving Mr. Clinton’s speeches were routinely copied to Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s senior counsel and chief of staff.
Eugene Volokh comments: “I thought I’d pass this along, as expressing the views of a political figure who holds a significant position in the federal civil rights establishment.” I’m beginning to think that establishment doesn’t care much about, you know, actual civil rights.
JUST LOOK AT THE PHOTO OF CLAIRE MCCASKILL: IS THIS THE FACE OF SOMEONE WHO SHOULD BE REGULATING COLLEGE STUDENTS’ SEX LIVES? Sex Assault Bill Unveiled.
I almost think that if Republicans were really Macchiavellian, they would get 110% behind this bill so as to accelerate the process of higher education’s eating itself.
WAPO: Tea party opposition puts fate of House Republican border bill up in the air. Tea Party? I thought the Tea Party was dead. I blame Mickey Kaus.
SHE’S NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE CONGRESSIONAL DRAWER: We Never Tried To Impeach Bush, Says Democratic Lawmaker Who Co-Sponsored Bush Impeachment Bill.
NICE TO SEE SOMEONE POINTING THIS OUT: “When Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, he did so in an unusual way for a Democrat: As the candidate of the rich. He raised more in large-dollar donations than any of his rivals and raked in more cash from Wall Street than John McCain. In November, he won the upper class’s votes: By 52 percent to 46 percent, according to exit polls, Americans making more than $200,000 cast their ballots for Obama.”
AND THE FUNCTIONALITY IS SO AWESOME: Obamacare Website Has Cost $840 Million; A slew of management failures led to the site’s disastrous launch, according to a new GAO report.
July 30, 2014
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, STATES WOULD BE MICRO-REGULATING TEEN DATING. AND THEY WERE RIGHT!
THIS SEEMS LIKE A CONVENIENT “ACCIDENT” TO ME: “[S]ays the document, which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.”
IN THE WORDS OF OWL, I doubt if the necessary dorsal muscles. . . The Angry, Enormous Eagle That Could Carry Off Elephants.
SOCIAL MEDIA PUSHBACK: Women In Turkey Post Laughing Selfies. “Women should not laugh in public. So said Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in a speech on Monday about ‘moral corruption’ in Turkey. ‘Chastity is so important,’ he said. ‘She will not laugh in public.’ His comments have prompted a big backlash from women on social media in Turkey, with thousands posting photos of themselves laughing and smiling on Twitter and Instagram.”
#WOMENAGAINSTFEMINISM reaches the Today Show, so I guess it’s officially a gender-relations phenomenon.
IT’S CLOWN CARS ALL THE WAY DOWN: IRS Agents As Bad With Guns As With Hard Drives. “According to a government audit, IRS Agents ‘Accidentally’ Discharged Guns 11 Times between 2009 and 2011. Some of those weapons discharges resulted in property damage or personal injury, claimed the report. In fact, agents accidentally fired their guns more times than they did intentionally, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.”
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Federal review stalled after finding forensic errors by FBI lab unit spanned two decades. Hell, I was writing about this kind of stuff in the first week or two of InstaPundit.
BEFORE I CLICKED ON THE LINK, I ALREADY HAD A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHO IT WAS: Law Prof Sez: State Judges Have Contempt For Smart Guys Like Me.
“INTERNET OF THINGS” LOOKING MORE LIKE AN INTERNET OF TARGETS: Connected devices have huge security holes: study.
MICKEY KAUS: Tell Boehner: “No New Laws.” “Senate Democrats are now explicitly saying they will try to use Boehner’s border bill as a vehicle for broad, ‘Gang of 8′ style amnesty, and immigration activists are urging them on. All the more reason to call ((202) 224-3121). A House vote on Boehner’s bill is expected Thursday.” Wow. The last time Mickey got this involved, Eric Cantor lost his job.
FROM THE COMMENTS TO MY EARLIER GOPRO POST, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader GoPro Hula Hoop Video. “This is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement, right here. Think how much technology went into my being able to watch that from my couch. Wow. And for such a good cause, too.”
A NEW PUSH FOR missile-proof planes. You know what makes a plane missile-proof? Nasty and near-certain consequences for anyone who shoots it down.
WAS QUARANTINE THE RIGHT MOVE? China’s dramatic response to a single case of plague is very telling.
POLITICO: Pat Roberts’ foe Milton Wolf begins to close the gap in Kansas. So I guess it’s time for the NRSC to unload a bogus attack that will render him less electable if he wins the nomination. Because, apparently, that’s how they roll there.
THIS WILL END WELL: In New Sexual-Assault Bill, Harsher Penalties for Colleges. “Under the terms of the proposed legislation, whose exact language has not been made public, colleges that don’t comply with its rules could face fines of up to 1 percent of their operating budgets. For larger institutions, such a penalty could amount to several million dollars. The bill would also increase the maximum penalty for a violation of the Clery Act to $150,000 from $35,000.”
I don’t know why Marco Rubio is in on this. Two possibilities: (1) Once again, a senior Democrat has roped him into a “bipartisan” deal that he thinks will look good; or (2) He’s trying to accelerate the demise of the existing higher education apparatus. This is certainly setting a precedent for federal strong-arming of colleges and universities, which Republicans may find useful in the future. All is proceeding as Kurt Schlichter has foreseen.
STRONG PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY MORE USEFUL, AND HARDER TO KILL: Strong men keep a-comin’ on.
Plus: “He was raised to believe that you were supposed to work hard, treat everyone right, respect everybody but take no mess off nobody, regardless of color.” Sounds about right.
NEWS FROM THE
INTERNAL DEMOCRATS’ REVENUE SERVICE: ‘Nonpartisan’! Lois Lerner email bemoans right-wing ‘crazies,’ ‘assholes.’
As bad as the emails that have been released are, the ones they’re hiding must be just dreadful.
Plus, Deal Of The Day at Amazon: Up to 55% off on Pacific Rim, Collector’s Edition, and the Predator Bundle.
And, in the Bonus Deal of the Day, 50% Off Quiksilver Men’s Shorts & Swimwear.
THE GODS OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS SPEAK: Self-Control Makes for Savvy Saving.
A few weeks back, when I wrote about the joys of the 15-year mortgage, I got the same reaction from a lot of people: “Why would you repay a loan when at these low rates, it’s practically free money?”
I hear this about a lot of things. “Why would you buy a car for cash/save up to remodel the kitchen/have an emergency fund instead of a home-equity line of credit? Mathematically, that’s insane!”
I don’t think it’s quite as arithmetically unreasonable as my interlocutors suggest. Once you add risk into the equation, the calculations don’t come out quite so neatly. By refinancing to a 15-year mortgage with a lower rate, we locked in 125 basis points a year, completely risk-free. And when the mortgage is completely paid off, we’ll get another 3.25 percent, 100 percent guaranteed and risk-free. There are no risk-free investments that deliver that kind of return. You can make more money by adding risk — but you can lose more that way, too.
Moreover, math is not the only consideration. As I’ve noted before, personal finance is not primarily about math; the arithmetic part is so easy that even journalists can do it. The hard part is discipline.
TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Medicare Actuary Throws Cold Water on ACA Cheerleaders. “The cuts to Medicare’s reimbursement rates imposed by the ACA may have bought the program a little more time. But without a revolution in service delivery, those cuts won’t be sustainable.”
“LIKE ENDLESS JURY DUTY:” Virginia Postrel: Why Being A Part-Time Worker Is Miserable. “Scheduling software now lets employers constantly optimize who’s working, better balancing labor costs and likely demand. The process demands enormous flexibility from part-time workers, sometimes requiring them to be on call all the time without knowing when they’ll work or how much they’ll earn. That puts the kibosh on the age-old strategy of working two or more part-time jobs to make ends meet.”
GREAT NEWS! US economy grows by 4% beating expectations.
Er, except for this: “From January to March, the US economy shrank a revised 2.1% on an annualised basis as a result of harsh winter weather. However even with the rebound, the winter is likely to mean overall growth this year will be only 1.6% – less than in 2013.” How did the economy do in 1993, the year of the Great Blizzard?
A BAR EXAM TECHNOLOGY DISASTER. “The biggest bar exam debacle in history.” Plus: “Failing the bar in this economy is a 6-month sentence of unemployment. Somewhere, a plaintiff’s lawyer is putting together a class-action suit for those who used ExamSoft and failed.”
WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY SAY ABOUT THE GREENTECH SCAM THAT WOULD BE WORSE THAN THE TRUTH? Judge dismisses GreenTech suit in win for First Amendment.
UM: Air Passengers Quarantined With Signs Of Ebola Didn’t Have It. The authorities seem extra-worried, don’t they? I think that’s good.
“SMART DIPLOMACY” AGAIN, I GUESS: Hillary Clinton: Hamas Operates in Civilian Areas Because Gaza is a Small Place or Something. They had to put their HQ in a hospital! There was nowhere else!