August 29, 2014

IT’S REPARATIONS FOR WIDESPREAD DISCRIMINATION: Scot cashes in with fake ‘ginger discount card.’

WELL, THEY DID HIRE DAVID PLOUFFE RECENTLY: Uber ‘brand ambassadors’ using burner phones, credit cards to sabotage Lyft. If true, though, this could lead to a nasty lawsuit.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Socially-assistive robots help kids with autism learn by providing personalized prompts.

OBAMA CALLED WHAT HE DID “WORKPLACE VIOLENCE,” NOT ISLAMIC TERRORISM: Fort Hood shooter says he wants to become ‘citizen’ of Islamic State caliphate. “It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don’t compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: University of Oregon Slaps Student With Five Conduct Charges Over Four Words. Again, these places want massive amounts of your money, but this is how they act.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Latest Big Lie: ‘We Have No Strategy.’ “They DO have a strategy, but they prefer to appear indecisive. That’s because the strategy would likely provoke even greater criticism than the false confession of endless dithering. The actual strategy is detente first, and then a full alliance with Iran throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. . . . President Obama’s quest for an alliance with Iran has been conducted through at least four channels: Iraq, Switzerland (the official U.S. representative to Tehran), Oman and a variety of American intermediaries, the most notable of whom is probably Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser.”

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Massachusetts Has the Worst Drivers.

CLARK ASAY: Ex Post Incentives and IP in Garcia v. Google and Beyond.

IMAGINE HOW WELL OFF WE’D BE IF WE OPENED UP FEDERAL LANDS TO DRILLING: A New American Oil Bonanza. “Most of the price of gasoline is determined by the world price of crude, now hovering around $100 a barrel. Turmoil in major producer countries like Iraq and Libya does matter. But the new source of American energy means more supply has been added to global markets — almost the exact amount that has been taken off the market at times because of unrest in the Middle East and Africa over the last five years.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 477.

DICK CHENEY, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, THEY READ YOUR BOOK: Captives held by Islamic State were waterboarded. “Critics of waterboarding have said for years that the practice endangered Americans, putting them at risk that they will be subjected to the same brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy.”

Given that I expect something more along the lines of skinning and salt, or the Pear Of Anguish, from ISIS, waterboarding seems comparatively mild. But since the Evil United States did it, and every Right-Thinking Liberal on the planet condemned it, ISIS figures it’s the bee’s knees.

Who was thinking this far ahead? Dick Cheney, that’s who.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take.

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NO. NEXT QUESTION? Sharyl Attkisson: Can The Justice Department Investigate The IRS Impartially?

OIL AND FRICTION in Iraq.

WASHINGTON POST: Why Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy’ gaffe stings. “Polls have increasingly shown that Americans view Obama as a weak commander in chief without much direction or heft t0 his foreign policy. . . . And as a series of overseas foreign policy crises have popped up in recent years, the White House has remained largely hands-off — a decision that rightly or wrongly feeds the narrative of it not having a real strategy. And it certainly didn’t help that the White House set a so-called ‘red line’ of the Syrian government using chemical weapons on its people, but didn’t actually do anything when it crossed the red line. And then Obama goes and says something like he did Thursday.”

But I love how the Post still can’t write about an Obama gaffe without taking a jab — make that two jabs — at Romney along the way.

UPDATE: Points And Figures: “When the world is crashing around you, that’s not an answer. The time to answer the question with, ‘We don’t have a strategy yet.’ was was a year ago.”

A year ago, Obama was calling ISIS “junior varsity.” Plus:

Supposedly, with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, we had an A team working on these problems. She has pretty much screwed the pooch and I would hate to see how badly she could do as President. At the same time, where has Obama been? It’s not just that he is golfing, but goes deeper than that. It’s not political party differences either, because in a time of crisis, elections shouldn’t matter. CEO’s and Presidents make decisions for the good of the country; not minutiae or teacher’s pets.

His investors and his Board of Directors are looking for some definitive action that can bring some calm before the world goes spinning out of control. But, his brain is vacant. America feels listless, and also it feels like dominoes are falling that could bring us to a situation we don’t want to be in. There are parallels to both WW1 and WW2, but every new chapter has its own twists and turns. The future requires its own imaginative thinking.

Great leaders have core values. When things go nuts, they can rely on those core values. They are bedrock that help to speedily build a plan to get the ship right. This is why when an early stage company starts to grow, one of the things great CEO’s do is build a corporate culture. When in doubt, they can rely on the core values of that culture to seize the day, and employees internalize it to put out fires.

What are Obama’s core values, and do they mesh with the American culture we have created over 200+ years?

Yeah, I don’t think anybody considers Obama a “great leader” anymore, and nobody wants to talk about his core values.

UPDATE: Ten Obama Press Conference Lowlights. “It is hard to tell which was worse — the substance of the president’s remarks on Thursday or that he thought it was a good idea to go out there, with no real news on anything. He confirmed what many of us have long suspected — there is no strategy for dealing with the Islamic State, which his own advisers — but not the president — say is a real threat to the homeland. Obama would only say the Islamic State is a threat to Iraq. It leaves one wondering if he really thinks a jihadist state in the Middle East is no big deal for the U.S.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Schrage corrects me — it wasn’t a year ago that Obama was calling ISIS junior varsity, it was just last January.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Canada has quietly and politely become, well, more American than America.

VULNERABLE INCUMBENT MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA) now facing residency questions. “Landrieu doesn’t own a home in Louisiana, but is registered to vote at her parents’ home in New Orleans. She does, however, own a $2.5 million house in Washington, which she and her husband built. That address is listed on the statement of candidacy she filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, but the senator listed her parents’ New Orleans home when she submitted forms to qualify for the ballot last week.”

JACOB SULLUM ON THE SIXTH CIRCUIT’S DISGRACE: Federal Appeals Court Endorses a Heckler’s Veto of Provocative Preaching. “Confronted by citizens lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights and bystanders lawlessly punishing them for it, the police sided with the violent hecklers.”

My advice: Become a violent heckler. That’s what they reward, so that must be what they want.

MEET THE LAWYER WHO’S OUT TO destroy the “college sports cartel.”

BARACK OBAMA’S anti-Israel animus.

NO EASY EXIT from the Euro. “However stupid the creation of the euro was, undoing it will not be easy. . . . That doesn’t mean that it won’t eventually happen; I still think this remains a real risk. But if it does, public officials will probably be denying the possibility right up to the bitter, unpleasant end.”

FARHAD MANJOO: The Future Could Work, If We Let It.

I’M SURE IT’S BECAUSE THE NEWS WOULD BE EMBARRASSING FOR REPUBLICANS: IRS dragging feet in release of inter-state migration data. “The (compiling of) IRS migration data was actually cancelled a few years ago, but it was reinstated thanks to a lot of political pressure from Congress. But since that reinstatement they have taken a quite a long time – and that is a disservice to taxpayers.” I’m pretty sure that it’s not the welfare of taxpayers they’re looking after.

REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Political Enemies.

BECAUSE CAYMAN IS A SMALL PLACE, THEY’RE MERCILESS ON IMMIGRATION.

August 28, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: How Northeastern Gamed The College Rankings.

I DUNNO, I THINK THAT Obama’s tan suit looked pretty good.

I mean, empty, of course. But it looked good. But that’s been an Obama hallmark from the beginning.

UPDATE: But what do I know? When You’re a Leftist President Who’s Lost Esquire

REMINDER: Don’t forget about Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea.

FACES OF EVIL: Rotherham: the council leaders who presided over child abuse scandal.

The author of the Rotherham child abuse report said that by 2005 ‘nobody could say “I didn’t know”‘ about child sexual exploitation in the town. But who was in charge?

And note that while they ignored child rape on a scale of hundreds or thousands, there was one sin they couldn’t ignore: “The woman who presided over the last five years of failure as the boss of children’s services at Rotherham Council is the same executive who removed three children from their foster parents because they were Ukip voters.”

Tar and feathers would be merciful and mild.

Related: Douglas Carswell’s defection to Ukip is a seismic shock to the British political system.

SCIENCE: Women who don’t sleep around before their wedding have happier marriages – but men can play the field without worry, study finds. I’m not entirely sure the causal relationship holds up here. Women who are disinclined to be satisfied for long may sleep around, and thus also not be satisfied in marriage, but the sleeping-around isn’t the cause.

PROFESSOR TO STUDENTS: Don’t Email Me.

ROGER SIMON IS inside Obama’s OODA Loop.

OBAMA HAS “NO STRATEGY” FOR DEALING WITH ISIS, but he’s all over a hush-hush “green energy” baron fundraiser with rich donors in New Rochelle.

IT’S COME TO THIS: A ‘Placeholder’ Engagement Ring Could Have Saved Your Proposal. “After months of dropping hints, visiting jewelers, and quizzing your soon-to-be fiance on your ideal engagement ring, the first time you laid eyes on the diamond he chose, your heart sank. While you still wanted to marry him (of course), your once-in-a-lifetime moment was marred by a rock you immediately wanted to exchange — and he probably felt terrible. What could have prevented that disappointment?” Well, he could have proposed to someone less superficial. . . .

I’M SORRY, BUT IF YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO IMPOSE BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS ON WOMEN, it makes no sense to defend chivalry. Chivalry was a system, in which the male behavior the writer favors was embedded. Demolishing the system and expecting the male behavior to remain is like knocking down the walls and expecting the roof to stay up.

AMAZING, GIVEN THE DIFFERENCE IN MEDIA HYPE: Paul Ryan’s book beats Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ on New York Times Bestseller list.

AUSTIN BAY ON VLADIMIR PUTIN’S UKRAINE INVASION.

TONY WOODLIEF: The Turned Back.

I will tell you something about courage and cowardice. I will speak primarily about men, because I am a man, and because the evil that grieves me was glimpsed by men, and these men turned away their eyes.

News accounts from England reveal that over 1,400 children in the borough of Rotherham were systematically brutalized over the past decade. The authors of this damning report indicate that the actual number is likely much higher. The report also details gang rapes of 11 year-olds. Children doused in gasoline and threatened with matches. A “grooming” process that entails addicting children to drugs. Children murdered, others missing.

Local police have known about this for over ten years. So have all manner of child welfare authorities and local government officials. They convened conferences to discuss it. They combatted it with guidelines and policies. They bravely met for many hours, and boldly authored internal memos.

Perhaps we should expect no more when community preservation is outsourced to bureaucracies, but the unavoidable reality is that on many occasions, Rotherham police came upon children being sexually exploited—in some cases, in the very instance of being raped—and arrested no one. The perpetrators are Pakistani; they might call us racists. The children seemed to consent. These gangs are violent.

All of which amount to an admission by those police officers that they are cowards, and something less than men. I’m reminded of the janitors who discovered Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s rape of children, and who said nothing, for fear of losing their jobs. They were cowards too, and deserve to be remembered as such.

Indeed. A moral response to this behavior might involve those officials, among others, hanging from lampposts. The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines.

IT’S COME TO THIS: French Cheesemakers Crippled by EU Health Measures. Europe is having a bad year. Not that ours is exactly stellar.

PENNIES FOR PLAINTIFFS, MILLIONS FOR LAWYERS. “Concern over this issue has begun to expand beyond grousing libertarians, with courts and legislators moving to restrain some of the worst excesses. So this story is not entirely surprising: The judge presiding over a Hewlett-Packard shareholder suit has balked at the $48 million in fees negotiated by attorneys in a settlement. The amount of money that shareholders were going to get was not negligible, unlike some of the consumer suits where the victims get a coupon good for more product from the company they’ve accused of doing them wrong. But the judge seems to think that it’s disproportionally small compared with what the lawyers were getting.”

SCIENCE: Why Are We So Fat? The Multimillion-Dollar Scientific Quest to Find Out.

I lean toward the Gary Taubes explanation, myself. But Taubes’ book isn’t based on new and rigorous studies, so this research is good.

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IT’S COMPETITION: Recruiting From Competitors Isn’t Sabotage: Overstating The Uber/Lyft Fight.

HOW MUCH IS your privacy worth? “Despite the outcry over government and corporate snooping, some people allow themselves be monitored for money or rewards.”

SMART DIPLOMACY: Russia invades Ukraine, Obama expresses ‘concern.’ “There is no better example of the ruinous Obama foreign policy than Ukraine. The president has issued empty threats, diminished sanctions and refused to allow Ukraine to protect itself. If you are the leader of a Baltic state, you’re probably and justifiably panicked. The president will no doubt issue more empty threats. But that doesn’t do Ukraine any good, and it surely won’t protect other potential victims. Hillary Clinton‘s reset policy, it seems, has been a complete failure. Or is she going to blame others for this one as well?” If I were the Poles, I’d be trying to obtain nuclear weapons.

SCENT OF A WOMAN:

Lo and behold, we are just as sensitive to the scent of the opposite sex as the humble lemming. Humans can discriminate odors in just a single whiff, which at a minimum takes approximately 400 milliseconds. Like male beetles, bees, lizards, lemmings, and a whole suite of other species, men can discern the scent of a woman ready to become pregnant.

They find the smell of sweat from women who are close to ovulation more pleasing and even sexier.

And not just their body odor, men also prefer the voice, the complexion, and basically everything about a woman near ovulation. The thing is, men know women are ovulating because they can smell it, but they don’t know that they know! . . .

Women, the same holds true for us. When we are ovulating we strongly prefer the scent of a male, but not just any male, a more symmetrical male.

Interesting. I had a girlfriend in college that I think I broke up with in part because she smelled wrong. Not bad, just, somehow, wrong.

OF COURSE IT’S THE DEMOCRATS. HE’S A REPUBLICAN. Guess Which Party Says Rand Paul ‘Blames America’ (Seriously, Guess).

NEWS IN NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: 8 Incredible Vessels That Changed How Ships Are Made.

WELL, THAT’S ENCOURAGING: WHO says Ebola outbreak could strike 20,000 people.

A WHILE BACK, I suggested that conservative moneybags should be buying women’s magazines.

Here’s more evidence: Women to GOP: Get with the times.

Women think the Republican Party is “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past,” according to a new report from the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS and American Action Network.

The report, provided exclusively to Politico, shows that women by and large are turned off by GOP policies, especially women in the Northeast and Midwest. Not only that, but policies the GOP thought would be wins for the party among women, such as support for charter schools and offering women flexibility in the workplace, were “the least popular policies among female voters,” according to Politico.

This is no surprise, because woman-targeted media all repeat this message over and over again with almost no contradictory messaging in their media universe. And as long as that is the case, it won’t do the GOP any good to change its policies, because whatever it does will be presented as intolerant, lacking in compassion, and stuck in the past.

Advice to GOP bigwigs: Read Myrna Blyth’s Spin Sisters, then hire her as a consultant or something. And if you don’t have time to read the book — though you should — here’s your cheat-sheet summary from Cathy Seipp.

ASHE SCHOW: 5 problems with California’s ‘affirmative consent’ bill. “In the rush to advance legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses, California lawmakers have cast aside the due process rights of the accused. As a result, more college men could find themselves unfairly branded as rapists. . . . The law is being pitched as a way to ensure the safety of college students. But instead of merely making sure that all accusations of rape are treated seriously, it creates a standard that stacks the deck against the accused.”

Bad news for higher education enrollments.

RUSSELL BERMAN: Academic Freedom And Academic Standards.

IN THE MAIL: The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 476.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY . . . Judge Rules For Polygamists in Sister Wives Case.

WELL, THAT’S CHARMING: Woman Jailed For Falsely Accusing Grandfather of Rape In Bid To Get Her Inheritance Early. “She eventually admitted she had made up the sex attack claims – but only after her innocent grandfather had spent time in a police cell following the allegations.”

UPDATE: From the comments: “And just think, Wendy ‘Abortion Barbie’ Davis, dem candidate for Texas governor, wants to remove the statute of limitations for rape prosecutions.”

FIGHTING FOR LEGROOM AT 40,000 FEET.

As I have mentioned before on various incarnations of my blog, I’m 6-foot-2 and all leg, so I’m very sympathetic to folks who complain about legroom. However, like many tall people, I also have a bad back, so I’m very sympathetic to folks who want to recline their seats. Heck, I’m even sympathetic to the airlines that are cramming people into planes with the wild abandon of college freshmen filling their trunks for summer break.

But it’s hard to sympathize with anyone in this story: United Airlines diverted a flight after a passenger used a “knee defender,” apparently in violation of United’s clear policy, and refused to remove it when the flight attendant told him to … and the traveler who was thus prevented from reclining threw a cup of water at him. . . .

Air travel is marvelously cheap and convenient these days, but part of making it so cheap and convenient is cramming lots of people into a very small aluminum tube with as little fuss as possible. This calls for greater self-restraint and politeness, not the unleashing of all the pent-up rage lurking in the reptilian recesses of our brains. Everyone in this story should be ashamed of themselves, except the hapless fellow passengers who were subjected to this collective tantrum. Unfortunately, if experience is any guide, the offending parties probably feel more self-righteous and justified than ever.

Indeed.

THIS HAS WORKED SO WELL FOR BRITAIN: White House considers proposals to sharply increase legal immigration.

WANT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM? GET A REPUTATION FOR KILLING PEOPLE WHO OFFEND YOURS: Eugene Volokh On A Sixth Circuit Debacle: Thuggery wins, free speech rights lose. May Judges Donald and Mays have joy of the incentive for thuggery they have created in this shamefully awful opinion.

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NEW YORK POST: IRS back-up baloney.

Some 15 months after Americans learned about the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, we still have no clue how such an abuse was allowed to happen. And every day, the story only gets murkier.

This week, for instance, a government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, said administration officials admitted that all the “missing” e-mails belonging to Lois Lerner (the woman at the heart of the scandal) had been backed up after all — as part of a practice to back up all the government’s e-mails.

No government official had said anything like that before.

As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., describes it, these reports are another part of “what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial. ”

An administration official later denied it had said anything new to Judicial Watch and claimed the group was mischaracterizing the facts. The problem for Americans is that the government’s story has always seemed incredible — so why believe anything it says now?

There’s more: According to a sworn declaration, Lerner had two Blackberries, one of which contained all of the e-mails that would have been sent to her crashed computer.

But that Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012” — even after the hard drive “crash” and months after an initial congressional inquiry. How did that happen?

Not by accident.

YASMIN ALIBHAI BROWN: The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards.

BRITAIN: British jihadists should be stripped of citizenship says top police officer.

British jihadists fighting abroad should be stripped of their citizenship and banned from returning home, the country’s most senior police officer has said.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, also vowed tougher action against preachers of hate and other extremists who take to the streets to air their air their rants.

The senior officer became the latest senior figure to call for a change in the law to combat the threat of home grown Islamist fanatics.

He also backed Boris Johnson’s demands for those returning from Syria or Iraq to be presumed as terrorists unless they can prove their innocence.

Hmm. Related: Norway considers revoking citizenship of people who take part in terror activities or wars abroad – echoing the call of Boris Johnson.

Prediction: There’ll be more citizenship-stripping in the future, as European countries come to regret their openness to immigrants who have no interest in assimilating.

FEDS: Russian Hackers Attacking US Banks.

STEVEN HAYWARD: Is The Left Approaching A Kool-Aid Moment? “I guess this is what happens when you run out of other people’s money: thieves fall out among themselves on how to divide up the dwindling spoils. Should be fun to watch. Almost as much fun as watching Argentina thrash around—once the fourth richest nation in the world a century ago before the country caught the socialist bug. Maybe it was just bad luck, like those decades of Soviet grain harvests.”

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: National debt has doubled since financial crisis: budget office. “The federal debt this year will be double what it was before the financial crisis, Congress’ official budget scorekeeper projected Wednesday morning. The debt is on pace to reach 74 percent of the country’s economic output by the end of the year, double what it was in 2007 and the highest percentage since 1950, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

HOW ABOUT WE END FEDERAL FUNDING TO LOCAL POLICE INSTEAD: McCaskill Comment Reinforces Mark Levin’s Warning Regarding Nationalization of Local Police.

GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: Will IRS’s Strategy of Destroying Evidence Pay Off?

#ROTHERHAM FOLLOWUP FROM BREITBART LONDON: Muslim Gang Rapists are Springing Up Everywhere. Why Can’t We Be Honest About It? Because it would blow the narrative. As honesty typically does. . . . “It is difficult to overstate how awful these crimes were, nor how completely victims were failed by the authorities. One girl was doused in petrol and told she would be set on fire if she didn’t comply. Others were forced to watch rapes and told they would be next if they spoke out. The police regarded these girls with as much contempt as the rapists. . . . The political Left shrieks blue murder over the slightest indication of overbearing male behaviour when it’s a white man. The tone-deaf ‘Everyday Sexism’ project is a weapon wielded almost exclusively at white middle-class men by white middle-class women. But it makes excuses for rapists and even child abusers when the criminals are black, or, especially, from a Muslim community.”

August 27, 2014

ED DRISCOLL: Video: ‘Yeah, I’m With the Media. Screw You.’

LOVE CONQUERS ALL: Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor James Costello Weds Nurse He Met During Recovery.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Across the Country, the Federal Government Fights For Muslim Worship Spaces. “If an administration could be shown to consistently favor one religion over others, would that constitute a violation of the First Amendment? Of course. But, as with so many other Obama administration scandals, long before the judicial system could even begin to address the issue on its merits, the malefactors will be long gone.”

UPDATE: Reader Eric Rassbach from the Becket Fund says this is wrong:

I hold no brief for the federal government – the Becket Fund is the firm that beat DOJ at the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case last Term and in the Hosanna-Tabor case two years before that. And we have a number of other religious liberty lawsuits pending against DOJ right now, including the Little Sisters of the Poor and Wheaton College cases.

So I am not writing because I think DOJ does a good job protecting religious freedom—far from it. But RLUIPA land use litigation is one area where DOJ gets it largely right. If you look at this somewhat incomplete list, you will see that DOJ has a pretty good cross-section of religious land use cases, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim houses of worship:

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/caselist.php#rluipa

DOJ has taken the side of rabbinical schools in Rockland County, NY, and Baptist churches in Arizona, among many others. So it is inaccurate to characterize DOJ’s RLUIPA work as focusing only or primarily on Muslims, as your posts do. And since this is one area of religious liberty law where DOJ gets it mostly right, I don’t think you will advance the religious liberty of any group – Christians, Jews, Muslims, or non-believers – by painting an inaccurate picture of how RLUIPA works, or how it has been enforced. In fact you are more likely to increase your readers’ opposition to religious liberty statutes like RLUIPA that are good for our country, not least because they restrict government power.

I stand corrected.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Hello Kitty is not a cat. Everything is a lie. “Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

EUROPE IS HAVING A BAD YEAR: Two European Navigation Satellites Placed In Wrong Orbits.

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THEY FIGURE NOBODY’S PAYING ATTENTION ANYMORE: Russia Hardly Even Trying to Disguise ‘Stealth’ Invasion of Ukraine.

RESEARCH: OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS UNDERSTATE UNEMPLOYMENT.

What the researchers found was that, for whatever reason, unemployed workers, who are surveyed multiple times are most likely to respond to the survey when they are first given it and ignore the survey later on.

The report notes, “It is possible that unemployed respondents who have already been interviewed are more likely to change their responses to the labor force question, for example, if they want to minimize the length of the interview (now that they know the interview questions) or because they don’t want to admit that they are still unemployed.”

This ends up inaccurately weighting the later responses and skewing the unemployment rate downward. It also seems to have increased the number of people who once would have been designated as officially unemployed but today are labeled as out of the labor force, which means they are neither working nor looking for work.

I know, shocking news.

I’M BEGINNING TO WONDER IF WE SHOULDN’T BE A BIT PICKIER ABOUT WHO WE LET INTO THE COUNTRY: Tsarnaev sister arrested for alleged bomb threat.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Drive-thru BROTHEL launched where prostitutes take clients to ‘sex boxes.’ “The publicly funded cubicles are open all night and are located away from the city centre and include bathrooms, laundry facilities and panic buttons.”

NICE TRY: USC Football Star Didn’t Sprain Ankles Saving Drowning Nephew – He Was Burglarizing Home.

UPDATE: Actually, according to this report he’s not a suspect. But the nephew-saving story isn’t true, and he says it’s not about domestic violence.

SHIKHA DALMIA: Why Obama Can’t Lead On Racial Justice. “The cause of racial justice might need not a black Democrat but a white Republican—just as normalization with China required not a liberal peacenik but a security hawk like Richard Nixon.”

JIM TREACHER: My Knee Deal Is Finally Over, I Hope. “Yesterday, I finally received my settlement from the U.S. State Department for crippling me with one of their heavily armored security vehicles as I crossed a DC street legally back in Feb. 2010. It has put me in a reflective mood.”

SARAH HOYT: “Pull down those walls. I’m sure the roof will remain standing.”

BEWARE: You May Suffer From Sleep-Drunkenness. “Ohayon explains that while researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes this confused behavior, animal studies give us a clue: Sudden awakenings seem to trigger the startle reflex, which allows animals (and, likely, us) to respond quickly to potential threats. To our poor, half-asleep brains, an abrupt awakening signals an emergency — a time for action, not reason. This is also, incidentally, a reason to reconsider your hilarious idea to wake up your sleeping buddy while wearing a terrifying mask; judging from the (slightly NSFW) evidence on YouTube, sleep-drunk individuals are likely to respond to the prank by punching you in the face.”

Seems fair.

IT’S A KILL SWITCH FOR YOU: How Cops and Hackers Could Abuse California’s New Phone Kill-Switch Law.

SCIENCE: The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets: He’s the most important human skeleton ever found in North America—and here, for the first time, is his story.

As work progressed, a portrait of Kennewick Man emerged. He does not belong to any living human population. Who, then, are his closest living relatives? Judging from the shape of his skull and bones, his closest living relatives appear to be the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands, a remote archipelago 420 miles southeast of New Zealand, as well as the mysterious Ainu people of Japan. . . . Not that Kennewick Man himself was Polynesian. This is not Kon-Tiki in reverse; humans had not reached the Pacific Islands in his time period. Rather, he was descended from the same group of people who would later spread out over the Pacific and give rise to modern-day Polynesians. These people were maritime hunter-gatherers of the north Pacific coast; among them were the ancient Jōmon, the original inhabitants of the Japanese Islands. The present-day Ainu people of Japan are thought to be descendants of the Jōmon. Nineteenth-century photographs of the Ainu show individuals with light skin, heavy beards and sometimes light-colored eyes. . . . The discovery of Kennewick Man adds a major piece of evidence to an alternative view of the peopling of North America. It, along with other evidence, suggests that the Jōmon or related peoples were the original settlers of the New World. If correct, the conclusion upends the traditional view that the first Americans came through central Asia and walked across the Bering Land Bridge and down through an ice-free corridor into North America.

This is not as crazy a journey as it sounds. As long as the voyagers were hugging the coast, they would have plenty of fresh water and food. Cold-climate coasts furnish a variety of animals, from seals and birds to fish and shellfish, as well as driftwood, to make fires. The thousands of islands and their inlets would have provided security and shelter. To show that such a sea journey was possible, in 1999 and 2000 an American named Jon Turk paddled a kayak from Japan to Alaska following the route of the presumed Jōmon migration. Anthropologists have nicknamed this route the “Kelp Highway.”

“I believe these Asian coastal migrations were the first,” said Owsley. “Then you’ve got a later wave of the people who give rise to Indians as we know them today.”

The Army Corps of Engineers sure didn’t want this researched, and continues to interfere today. Why?

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