March 24, 2015

NO. NEXT QUESTION? Would the Media Allow ‘Cruz Crushing’ if He Were a Hispanic Democrat?

The whole point of the “White Hispanic” designation, and the Canada-talk, is to make clear to the appropriate Dem constituencies that they can say whatever they want about him without fear of being called racist. It’s a species of excommunication.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Barack vs. Bibi.

DONATED BLOOD TODAY, at the U.T. College of Law blood drive. Plenty of students and faculty turned out, which was nice.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 684.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Wrong Time To Coddle.

Our classrooms have become more and more like cocoons just as the real world has become harsher. A piece in the NYT this weekend highlighted how sensitive students have become to anything that challenges their beliefs or makes them uncomfortable—and how far colleges have gone to accommodate them. . . .

These pieces, and others like them, are signs of a pushback against the infantilization of the university. But there’s still a long way to go before the cocoon culture rebalances itself—and the forces of prudish repression and PC lunacy remain strong.

But at the same time, some new studies paint a dark picture of the global trends. After a long period of time during which the world was getting less violent, world events are now going the other way. More people are being displaced and more are dying in wars as the world becomes a nastier place to live in. For instance, an Australian think tank called the Institute for Economics and Peace argues that violence has been rising globally since 2007, and that the world’s worst conflicts saw almost 30 percent more deaths in 2014 than the year before.

Between the infantilizing of campus culture and the growing global harshness, something has to give and—hint, hint—it won’t be the real world. The worst thing about the current climate of PC stupidity and mandatory cocooning on campus isn’t the ugly repression it entails. The destruction of free speech and free debate in the institutions that ought to be the citadels of intellectual liberty is a terrible thing and a horrible betrayal of everything universities are supposed to be about. But there is yet a worse consequence: the catastrophic dumbing down and weakening of a younger generation that is becoming too fragile and precious to exist in the current world—much less to fight the real evils and dangers that are growing.

Yeah, creating that kind of a culture, especially at such a crucial moment, sounds like something a civilizational enemy would do.

WITCH HUNTS: Student accused of sexual assault: Like being at the ‘bottom of this pit.’

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: CULTURAL ILLITERACY FROM THE MASTERS OF DIVERSITY. George Washington University Makes Racist Mistake, But Blames and Bans Student Anyway.

Remember, they charge students well into the six figures to attend. . . .

OBAMACARE — THE PLAN THAT’S SO AWESOME, NO POLITICIAN WANTS IT TO TAKE EFFECT UNTIL AFTER THEY’RE RE-ELECTED! Democratic Senators Beg For Another Obamacare Delay.

WHEN “WAR ON WOMEN” RHETORIC JUMPS THE SHARK: Think Progress claims Ted Cruz is anti-woman because he supports a flat tax.

The liberal website Think Progress is out with a hit piece claiming Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas is the most anti-woman politician in America … because he supports a flat tax.

No, really.

In an article titled “Ted Cruz just laid out the most anti-woman agenda yet,” TP author Kay Steiger sought to begin the “war on women” chant against Cruz by attacking policy positions few would think of as specific to a gender.

Steiger achieved this by looking at certain polls showing women split on issues or less enthusiastic than men about certain issues, as if that makes Cruz’s stance anti-woman.

Steiger lists the repeal of Obamacare as somehow being anti-woman — not only because of the contraception mandate, but also because “Women have decidedly mixed views on Obamacare, but some recent tracking polls have shown approval of the health care law getting a slight edge among women.” (Of course, if women are that closely divided on the issue, couldn’t Obamacare itself be considered “anti-woman?”)

Steiger also claims that Cruz’s agenda is anti-woman because he’s for the flat tax and abolishing the IRS. After admitting that “There’s little polling” on these matters, Steiger found one poll from 2012 that showed the flat tax was 10 points more popular with men than with women.”

Steiger uses similar polls showing women support a path to citizenship and gun control to show that Cruz’s views are somehow harmful to the gender.

Note to Think Progress: Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they are actively trying to hurt you.

Well, to be fair, Think Progress spends its time actively trying to hurt people who don’t agree with it, so it’s an understandable mistake.

HOW DASTARDLY OF ISRAEL: Telling the Congress what the White House was up to.

WHY THE MEDIA CAN’T COVER SEXUAL ASSAULT: A concerned journalist who asks anonymity writes:

You might be interesting in this Tip Sheet from Columbia’s Dart Center:

Note how from the very first paragraph the tip sheet assumes that anyone making a complaint is a “survivor,” not an “alleged victim” or other neutral language.

Nowhere do these guidelines say “Be sure to give the alleged perpetrator or his/her representatives a chance to respond to the allegations.”

But they do say:

“Listening is important. Make sure to allow ample time for the source to tell you their story. Don’t rush them. Don’t press for details if they are not willing. Allow them to tell you what they feel comfortable talking about.”

The closest the document comes to saying “Check the facts!” is this:

“Corroborate information. Be aware that accounts of what happened may not be entirely accurate as trauma can impact a person’s memory. A person may forget details or misremember due to the psychological effects of the trauma. Be sure to corroborate your information with other sources to the extent possible.”

But note how any discrepancies in an account of an assault are pre-judged to be the result of that assault, the reality of which is not to be questioned.

One could argue that Sabrina Rubin Erdely followed these guidelines in her Rolling Stone piece. She only corroborated the facts in the story to the extent that they would not upset her “survivor.”

Columbia Journalism School is the institution investigating that Rolling Stone piece. Fortunately, Steve Coll, dean of the school, is a first-rate journalist. Hopefully, they will produce a solid report—and then circle back to take another look at their own guidelines for reporting these stories.

Well, we’ll see.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: USA Today: U.Va. rape report exposes failed U.S. policy: Federal rules have put universities in a damned if you do-damned if you don’t position.

It wasn’t much good for those innocent, falsely accused frat guys who suffered mob violence and vandalism — with, more or less, official University of Virginia sanction — either.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Yemen Falls Apart.

Suicide-bombers killed at least 137 people and wounded more than 350 in Yemen at two Shia mosques in the capital city of Sanaa on Friday. The very next day, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seized control of the city of al-Houta, and the day after that, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel movement conquered parts of Taiz, the nation’s third-largest city. Rival militias are battling for control of the international airport in the coastal city of Aden, and the US government just announced that American troops are evacuating Al Anad airbase.

ISIS is taking credit for the Sanaa attacks. “Infidel Houthis should know that the soldiers of the Islamic State will not rest,” it said, “until they eradicate them and cut off the arm of the Safavid (Iranian) plan in Yemen.” Al Qaeda has a much larger footprint in Yemen, so the ISIS claim is a little bit dubious, but ISIS is on the rise there and its attitude toward Shia Muslims is more bloodthirsty—more explicitly genocidal as the quote above shows—than Al Qaeda’s.

Regardless of who committed the latest round of atrocities, everything in Yemen is about to become much, much worse. The region-wide storm of sectarian hatred has been gathering strength by the year for more than a decade, and it blew the roof off Yemen earlier this year when the Houthis, who are Shias, seized control of the capital and sent Sunni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi into semi-exile in Aden. . . .

Far more likely than a comprehensive Houthi takeover is a new and more dangerous phase of Yemen’s endless self-cannibalization—more dangerous because this otherwise parochial and irrelevant conflict has been internationalized, with ISIS, the Saudis, and Iran squaring off against each other in yet another regional proxy war.

Funny, and just a few months ago a Nobel Peace Prize winner was calling Yemen a success.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Man puts ‘crazy’ case behind him; rape charges dropped after he spent 7 months in jail. “I think she just has lots of issues and I just happened to be the scapegoat that was there.”

March 23, 2015

MORE ON THIS STORY FROM GREG LUKIANOFF: Must Read: University Ex-Admin Alleges She Was Pressured to File False Harassment Claim Against Faculty Critic.

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MEN WHO DON’T PAY: “Though the men described above had been educated at the nation’s top universities or were professionals who worked at respectable institutions, none had any qualms about behaving without chivalry, courtesy or decency. The reason? Their attitudes are widely shared by their contemporaries across the country.” Chivalry, as I never tire of pointing out, was a system, one that imposed obligations upon women as well as men. When women kicked over the traces, why should men have remained in harness?

ANN ALTHOUSE ON TED CRUZ’S OPENING: “This is a truly powerful speech. Just brilliant.”

Plus, from the comments: “This has to be a hoax like the moon landing!! How can he deliver such a stirring speech without a tele-prompter!?!? It’s just not possible!!”

THAT CAN BE EITHER A BUG OR A FEATURE: Pill Used To Treat Parkinson’s Disease Makes People More Empathetic.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: Former U.S. soldier joins militia to defend Christian faith in Iraq.

STEVEN HAYWARD: Could Liberal Disgust With Campus Brownshirts Be Reaching Critical Mass? “Left unsaid in any of these lamentations, however, is the deliberate role of the Obama Administration in fomenting this campus climate with its extreme application of Title IX.”

HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE: “I’ve been in academe for about a decade now, and the only professors I’ve known who have slept with or dated students were female.”

Plus:

Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.

Well, every leftist enclave eventually eats itself, and academia has become a leftist enclave.

WELL, A LOT OF MURDEROUS DICTATORS WERE FAILED ARTISTS, YOU KNOW: The Dark Side Of Creativity. “And there’s something about the artist’s desire for total control over his or her work of art that seems to find resonance with the dictator’s desire for total control over society. Indeed, some dictators seem to regard themselves as artists, artists who work with people and nations.”

More on that here.

ED DRISCOLL: The Giver: A Chilling Cinematic Peek into Hillary Clinton’s Infamous Village. “When people have the power to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.”

WHY ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS still suck. “Even in preventing medical mistakes — a central rationale for computerization — technology has let us down.”

POPEHAT ON NPR’S TED CRUZ RACISM: “First time I ever heard NPR use the term ‘White Hispanic’ was George Zimmerman. Second time today. Never for Castro, who’s white as snow.”

The “White Hispanic” thing is a case of dog-whistle othering, telling people that the target is outside the protection of the Democrats’ racial coalition and thus can be freely attacked. By engaging in such signalling, NPR is also signalling that it’s a full-blown part of the Democratic Party apparat, though that’s not really news. . . .

ASHE SCHOW: Police: No Evidence To Support Rolling Stone Gang-Rape Story.

EASTWALL: Japan opts for massive, costly sea wall to fend off tsunamis.

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THERE’S A CHARLIE STROSS STORY IN THIS SOMEWHERE: Argentine archaeologists find secret Nazi lair in jungle. “Stone structures in the remote region of Misiones are thought to be the ruins of a hideout build by Nazis, in case their leaders needed to flee Germany.”

WHAT TO DO IF THE U.S. WEST SUFFERS A MEGA-DROUGHT? “Could we build a a large fleet of nuclear power plants to desalinate water and pump it several hundred miles inland? Picture massive amounts of water pumped to the head waters of the Missouri river and rivers that flow into it such as the Milk, Yellowstone, North Platte, and South Platt? Then also pump massive quantities to the head waters of the Columbia, Spokane, Colorado, and Arkansas? Also to the inland valleys of California? What is at stake: The plains bread basket farm fields. The viability of many states as places to live with all the infrastructure, homes, office buildings, and factories that have been built up in them. One has to compare all that sunken cost to the cost of bringing in enough water to supply enough for agriculture, industry, and residential living.”

You can count on environmentalists to oppose it, whatever you do. While calling for equally- or more-sweeping changes that will accomplish nothing except disrupting our lives.

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A POLITICAL REPORTER who is unfamiliar with the Declaration of Independence.

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AND YET, STRANGELY, OUR ENEMIES THINK WE HAVE BECOME WEEK AND EFFETE: Brooklyn pre-K for adults is the latest thing in self-indulgence.

Whimsy is having a moment. In New York, men with full beards ride skateboards to work. Thirty-somethings join kickball leagues. Folks wait hours in line for novelty baked goods.

But a preschool for adults? . . .

Preschool Mastermind, which runs Tuesday nights in her Park Slope duplex, is doing well, she says. Her six students are enjoying activities such as snack time, nap time and show-and-tell. They are channeling their inner super heroes. Last week, they had a slumber party.

“It’s for adults seeking play and adventure and excitement in their life and community,” says Ms. Lapidos.

But wait, there’s more: “The school is not all play, all the time. Projects have also included writing self-affirmations in the form of commercials (in rhyme, of course), and envisioning an inner super hero who can conquer adult problems, such as procrastination.”

Take that, Putin.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 783.

FROM JONATHAN ADLER, thoughts on infants in college:

1) It’s not entirely clear how prevalent this phenomenon is. The demand for insulating students from potentially upsetting ideas does, for the moment, appears to come from a vocal minority and does not appear to have widespread support. Yet isn’t that always how these sorts of things start? And isn’t it well established that a vocal and highly motivated minority interest group can have an outsized influence on institutional policies?

2) Efforts to insulate students from challenging and even potentially offensive ideas cuts them off from the world and compromises much of the value of a traditional “liberal” education. It’s like some want to turn universities into the secular equivalents of Ave Maria Town.

3) One of the benefits of having been right-of-center in college was that my political and philosophical views were constantly challenged. There was no “safe space” — and I was better for it. I often felt that I received a better education than many of my peers precisely because I was not able to hold unchallenged assumptions or adopt unquestioned premises.

If you cater to a vocal minority, you’ll destroy your market position. This is happening in colleges now.

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OBAMA IS ENRAGED … by Netanyahu quoting Kerry at him. Well, it’s bad enough to have Kerry as Secretary of State, without people rubbing your nose in it.

Related: Advice to Israel: Beware Of Obama.

First he comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.

He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our ­allies, appeases tyrants, coddles ­adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.

Now he’s coming for Israel.

Barack Obama’s promise to transform America was too modest. He is transforming the whole world before our eyes. Do you see it yet?

Against the backdrop of the tsunami of trouble he has unleashed, Obama’s pledge to “reassess” America’s relationship with Israel cannot be taken lightly.

Perhaps America should reassess its relationship with President Obama.

BYRON YORK: Silenced workers who lost jobs to H-1B visa abuse (quietly) speak out.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing into abuses of the H-1B skilled guest worker visa program. Lawmakers heard experts describe how the use of foreign workers has come to dominate the IT industry, with many tech giants using the program to fire well-paid current workers and replace them with workers from abroad at significantly lower pay.

“The current system to bring in high-skill guest workers … has become primarily a process for supplying lower-cost labor to the IT industry,” two experts who testified at the hearing, Howard University’s Ron Hira and Rutgers’ Hal Salzman, wrote recently. “Although a small number of workers and students are brought in as the ‘best and brightest,’ most high-skill guest workers are here to fill ordinary tech jobs at lower wages.” . . .

It’s certainly true that other workers in other industries have lost jobs because companies wanted to cut costs. Highly-paid middle-aged workers have been replaced by younger employees working for less. That can be an unhappy fact of life in today’s economy. But in the case of H-1Bs, the federal government is expressly giving a special permit to foreign workers — actually, to large outsourcing firms that use H-1Bs to bring those workers to the U.S. — in order to displace American workers. And now many lawmakers in both parties — their task made simpler by the enforced silence of fired and angry workers — want even more H-1Bs. Is that something the government should do?

If borders don’t mean anything anymore, then I will pay Cayman Islands income taxes.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: Our current mission is consulting and training Iraqi Christians to fight ISIS.

NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: Jeanne Shaheen vs. women: Her loathsome sex trafficking vote.

TECHNOCRACY’S CHICKENS, COMING HOME TO ROOST: Joel Kotkin: Race, class issues starting to split Silicon Valley alliance of tech, progressives. “This class divide is increasingly central to progressive politics, which is bad news, indeed, for the tech oligarchs. Among the perceptive parts of the Left, the dissonance between the progressive-tilted techies and the economic reality they are creating is too obvious to ignore. . . . The immediate response from the oligarchs, and their swelling ranks of highly paid public-relations consultants, will likely be symbolic, mouthing the politically correct stance on climate change, even as they take off in their private jets. Also expect them to put more money into charitable activities, which could turn displaced cab drivers or factory assemblers into future wards of the tech elite. In the end, it seems little different from a glossy form of the Gilded Age – or feudalism.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Teacher Gets Probation After Sex With Student. “Mary F. Gilles, 28, of Austin, Minn., pleaded guilty to two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct for her relationship with a 17-year-old student. Gilles’ probation comes with more than 20 conditions, including registering as a predatory sex offender, no contact with minors or the victim and no Internet access without permission. If she violates the conditions of her sentence, Gilles could face four years in prison.”

Would a male teacher have gotten probation? I kinda doubt it.

JIM LINDGREN LOOKS AT LAW FACULTY DIVERSITY: The most over-represented groups in law teaching compared to working lawyers: minorities and women. The most under-represented group in law teaching compared to working lawyers: white males.

This is no big surprise, but he’s got a lot of data. Excerpt:

Table A is a shortened version of Table 17 in the Measuring Diversity paper. It ranks groups from the most over-represented to the most under-represented in law teaching compared to working lawyers, ranked by the absolute percentage above or below parity. By that measure, all ethnic minorities combined are the most over-represented group in law teaching (19.9% of professors compared to 14.2% of lawyers). That corresponds to about two extra minorities on a typical law faculty of forty. Next are African Americans (5.3% over-represented), followed by females (3.5% over-represented, only about one extra women on each faculty of forty). As the ratio column shows, there are over twice as many African-American law professors as their percentages among working lawyers would suggest.

The most under-represented ethnic or gender group in law teaching compared to working lawyers is non-Hispanic white males, who are about three faculty short of parity. If, however, a faculty were to do targeted hiring of only white males without firing any current faculty, they would need to hire seven white males on every faculty to reach parity. To reach parity for non-Hispanic whites overall, every law faculty of forty would have to hire nineteen whites. The third most under-represented group by absolute percentage differences is males overall (3.5% short of parity).
….
In terms of race and gender, law faculties are now as diverse as the English-fluent, full-time working lawyer population of a similar age. To make further progress on this front, perhaps one should focus more on ethnic and gender equity within the leadership of law faculties and on diversifying the population of working lawyers to widen the pool from which professors are drawn. Moreover, traditional diversity hiring of women and ethnic minorities does not necessarily lead to a diversity of viewpoints — and regarding political views, usually leads in the opposite direction.

If as a society we are to engage in social engineering, we need to pay more attention to realities and to think more critically about what we are actually accomplishing. We should study our success with affirmative action to learn how it can be exported to other fields, but we should also study our failure to promote diversity of viewpoints to learn how to reverse it. Now that the important work of race and gender integration has succeeded on law school faculties — with the traditional affirmative action groups now matching or exceeding their percentages in the broader lawyer population — the next step should be to desegregate law schools politically.

Indeed. This is something that state legislatures should look at.

KURT SCHLICHTER: No Point in More Defense Spending With Liberals in Charge. “The patriotic conservative hawks who are terrified by the deterioration of our military are absolutely right – our military is in crisis. But lifting the sequester caps and pumping more money into the Pentagon isn’t going to solve the problem. First, we need a president who actually cares about defending this country. Second, we need to change the Defense Department from a feeding trough for government workers and contractors into a lean, mean, warfighting machine. . . . There’s no point in even trying to rebuild our forces until we get a president who actually understands the nature of our enemies and sides with America and our allies against them. You need to understand – liberals do not want America to be a superpower. They want us neutered. The decline of our military isn’t an accident; it’s a goal.”

I’M GOBSMACKED: Ted Cruz’s midnight announcement is… ‘I’m running for President.’ I mean, who could have seen that coming?

March 22, 2015

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: 60 Minutes: Lone vet returns to Iraq to fight ISIS. “I’m not here serving my country — I’m here serving Christians.”

UPDATE: More, from Power Line: “The emergence of ISIS in Iraq is attributed to the withdrawal of American forces by President Obama in 2011 by one of Logan’s eloquent Christian interlocutors at one point.” Do tell.

Plus, John Hinderaker’s thoughts: “My own view is that our government should dispatch whatever forces are necessary to Iraq and Syria and destroy ISIS, as promptly as possible. Lest there be any misunderstanding, I mean that we should ‘kill ourselves out of this war’ by annihilating every person who resists on behalf of that devilish movement.” Works for me.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Starbucks — and Why the Race Conversation Is Over.

Talk about race, as I note below, has become almost entirely a tool whereby elite whites bully and shame non-elite whites for transparently self-serving purposes.

THE KURDS KNOW WHAT THEY’RE FIGHTING, EVEN IF THE JEWS IN ENGLAND DO NOT: Kurdish ‘Fighters’ Kick Islamists Off London Street.

Takeaway: “No-one’s scared of the police.”

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: The Knights Templar Maps a Plan to Fight ISIS and Win.

The only successes against ISIS have come at the hands of expressly ethno-sectarian troops—not states you could identify on a Google map: the Shiite militias and Iranian advisors that accompany the Iraqi army into battle, the Alawi Syrians and their Hezbollah allies, or the Kurds fighting, with a wink, for the Iraqi state. Even the first time ISIS was defeated, in 2007-2008, it was by expressly sectarian Sunni militias in Anbar, not by the Iraqi army.

There is no state army winning in the Middle East; nor, really, against radical Islam elsewhere, which has exploded since 2001. . . .

ISIS has arisen to fill that gap, but something else will arise to push back against it, since states cannot. That something won’t be the Templars, exactly, but it will also not be a state. It will instead be new non-state networks to funnel money and fighters against ISIS.

There are already reports of Americans and other Westerners going to join the Kurdish militias; how long before the Christian communities in Iraq and other ethno-sectarian communities under assault begin to attract adherents as well?

The war against ISIS and radical Islam may not always be state versus non-state, but perhaps eventually non-state versus non-state. Popularized violence and popularized sovereignty; more efficient, certainly, to cut out the middleman.

Hmm. Maybe we can start a Kickstarter?

Related: Vatican To Clear Knights Templar After 700 Years. Hmm. Curious timing, that.

Meanwhile, note that this sectarian-violence phenomenon does not represent an improvement in the human condition: Christians Have Destroyed Almost All the Mosques In the Central African Republic. It is, rather, a symptom of the failure of our feckless international system to promote civilized values and ordered liberty.

NOT QUITE A “SOD OFF, SWAMPY” MOMENT, BUT CLOSE: Anti-White Black Brunch Mob Storms Atlanta Restaurants – Customers REVOLT, Sound Off.

I wonder what would happen if the Tea Party took this lefty “no safe spaces” approach to protests and ran with it?

ABOLISH HIGH SCHOOL? Well, as I’ve observed elsewhere, when you take a bunch of teenagers and warehouse them together, they look for recognition not from adults who know more, but from other teenagers, and this produces distorted values.

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SO THE ENEMY IS USING THE INTERNET, AND OUR OWN SOCIETAL OPENNESS AND DIVERSITY, AS A WEAPON: ‘Behead them in their own homes’: ISIS publishes ‘kill list’ online of names, photos and addresses of 100 US military members. I have a solution for this, but Obama won’t pursue it.

JOHN MCCAIN: “Mariupol Is Next.”

UNEXPECTEDLY! Under Health Care Act, Many Tax Filers Are Discovering Costly Complications. “This filing season, for the first time, millions of Americans are facing tax implications — and new forms that even seasoned preparers are finding confusing — related to their health insurance status. The changes are not only complicating things for tax filers, but also costing many of them money.”

COMICS: Why Superheroes Should Look Like Superheroes. Maybe because, I dunno, they’re superheroes? An idea so crazy it just might work!

MARC GOODMAN: Crime Has Gone High-Tech, and the Law Can’t Keep Up.

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HOT CASH AND COLD CONSENT: Never consent to a search. “That the feds are now in the business of penny-ante forfeitures speaks volumes about both the lack of serious crime as well as the perverse incentives to allocate personnel to try to steal pennies from travelers. Sure, it can be rationalized as part of a grand scheme to take the profit out of crime, one dollar at a time, but that’s mere tough on crime marketing nonsense. It was never the justification for the DEA existing, no less becoming embroiled in such low rent operations. . . . That those of us who object to such improper law enforcement abuses decry such tactics is one thing, but to have the Inspector General join in attempting to stop this abuse is huge.”

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READER BOOK PLUG: From Lee Weldon Bailiff, Imagine His Music Wasn’t Silenced.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why We Need Law Schools. “Law school is absolutely essential — not for lawyers with clients, but for our society as a whole. The reason has everything to do with what makes law distinct as a social phenomenon.”

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J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Decoding Obama’s Mandatory Voting Fantasy.

All of this starts to sound, dare I say, rather un-American. See, mandates are the ways of totalitarians. Americans believe in freedom. If you don’t want to vote, don’t. Some elections just aren’t worth your vote. Some elections, you might not find a single candidate to be acceptable. If you choose not to vote, you still have made a choice.

But this is a President that seems all too comfortable with mandates, rules, edicts, and all too uncomfortable with freedom. Years ago, Dorothy Rabinowitz called Obama the “alien in the White House.” She wasn’t talking about where Obama was born. She was talking about how Obama doesn’t fit into the American experience of freedom or love of country.

Obama playing with the deeply offensive idea of mandatory voting only adds to this assessment.

So why do progressives want to force everyone to vote? It’s critical to understand this, because mandatory voting isn’t the only process scheme they’ve cooked up to transform the nation.

Obama’s comments flow from how progressives view voting. They don’t view elections as individual Americans carefully assessing candidates and casting an informed ballot for the candidate for whom they believe is the most qualified.

Instead, to progressives, elections are about flexing collective political muscle.

Always the collective with these people.

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“YOUTHS” ARE RESPONSIBLE: Video: Gang of 20 Men Attack Synagogue in Stamford Hill – Saturday Night 3-22-2015.

UPDATE: If only today’s British Jews were animated by the spirit of Vidal Sassoon. No, really. Of course, in 1947, the British government wasn’t siding with the Fascists, while today it is siding with the Muslims, whom it imported for explicitly political reasons.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 682.

JUST SIX MONTHS AGO, IT WAS AN OBAMA “SUCCESS STORY.” Losing Yemen.

The last US special forces have been withdrawn from Yemen without exciting much notice from the US press. Max Boot tweets: “All US SOF evacuating Yemen. Huge win for AQAP, huge defeat for US. How many foreign policy disasters can we handle?” Reuters reports, “the United States has evacuated its remaining personnel, including about 100 special operations forces, from Yemen because of the deteriorating security situation there, U.S. officials said on Saturday.” This means that the last vestiges of what the Obama administration only recently touted as their model counter-insurgency operation are gone. The collapse has flown largely under the media radar.

Last week Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post reported that $500 million dollars in American supplied weapons are now in the hands of “Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda”. The Islamist blitzkrieg is living off huge quantities of captured US materiel.

And, really, it was just 6 months ago that Obama was touting Yemen as a success.

STARBUCKS: Where Only The Coffee Is Black! It’s not shocking at all that this lame “conversation about race” stuff is coming from an organization that’s as white as a Netroots Nation conference, an Obama campaign HQ, a New Republic alumni get-together or a Vox editorial board meeting.

The primary purpose of race-talk in America today is to allow elite whites to silence and shame non-elite whites. Thus, it’s not surprising that the people pushing it are . . . a bunch of elite whites.

IS CABLE UNBUNDLING OVERRATED?

Here’s the truth: You don’t want your cable to be unbundled. You just want to pay less for it.

Seriously, guys, you like bundling. You know how I know this? You seek it out in your consumer products. You want your hotel to give you free Wi-Fi and you don’t want it to charge you by the towel. Many of you go on all-inclusive vacations and cruises. You buy mobile-phone contracts to get a “free” phone rather than pay by the minute. You are constantly — and I mean constantly — complaining that your health insurance is not more comprehensive, even though this would just mean you’d pay more for the insurance. And I won’t even get started on your agonized wails when airlines started charging you to check a bag and stopped providing a “free” plate of congealed mystery meat. You buy books and subscribe to magazines rather than pay by the article or the chapter. You love bundles. What you hate is the size of your cable bill.

Why do you like bundling? Because you don’t want to have to think about it. Oh, sure, there are people who would like to spend their days obsessively managing their minutes, reading and towels in order to save 5 percent, but the rest of us would rather not spend our time worrying about blowing the Wi-Fi budget. So we go for the all-inclusive package.

And, in fact, unbundling doesn’t necessarily save money. Imagine you’re running a hotel. You could charge guests for every little thing, from washcloths to television rental to electricity usage. After all, I often don’t use all the towels, so why do I have to pay for them? Why don’t you offer them a la carte?

Because your guests would dislike it, of course — they’d be wasting a lot of their vacation time arranging for add-ons, and they’d feel penny-pinched. More important, all those transactions would be costly. You’d have to install electricity meters, and pay a staffer to go around reading them before checkout. You’d have a staffer in charge of towel rentals and a customer service person to mediate disputes with guests over whether they got all the towels they paid for. Someone would have to go hook up a television in any room that requested one. That labor cost would have to be added into the price of the service, so everyone except the cheapskates who packed their own towels would be paying more for the same stuff. Customer satisfaction would fall, especially since you’d be creating lots more opportunities for disputes.

So instead you bundle all the stuff that everyone uses, from electricity to towels, and only charge for stuff where expenditures are highly variable, such as room service. The guests are happier, costs are lower and everyone has a lot less hassle.

But are hotels and cable comparable?

AN ED DRISCOLL TOUR DE FORCE: Springtime For Hillary! “Has Hillary nailed down the name for her camps yet? Why not go with a proven winner, such as ‘Strength Through Joy’?”

21ST CENTURY HORRORS: Wet Wipes Are Forming Sewer-Destroying ‘Superknots.’

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PRIORITIES: Democrats Take Aim at Liquid Detergent Packaging. “Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has introduced legislation that would give the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority and direction to issue rules requiring safer, child-resistant packaging for liquid detergent products within 18 months of enactment. Six Senate Democrats, including Nelson, are co-sponsoring the bill.”

THE HILL: ATF chief handled bullet ban ‘sloppily,’ Dem says. “Rep. Steve Israel isn’t shedding any tears for the outgoing director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after he pulled the kill switch on a controversial bullet ban.”

Neither am I.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Judith Shulevitz: In College And Hiding From Scary Ideas.

A few weeks ago, Zineb El Rhazoui, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, spoke at the University of Chicago, protected by the security guards she has traveled with since supporters of the Islamic State issued death threats against her. During the question-and-answer period, a Muslim student stood up to object to the newspaper’s apparent disrespect for Muslims and to express her dislike of the phrase “I am Charlie.”

Ms. El Rhazoui replied, somewhat irritably, “Being Charlie Hebdo means to die because of a drawing,” and not everyone has the guts to do that (although she didn’t use the word guts). She lives under constant threat, Ms. El Rhazoui said. The student answered that she felt threatened, too.

A few days later, a guest editorialist in the student newspaper took Ms. El Rhazoui to task. She had failed to ensure “that others felt safe enough to express dissenting opinions.” Ms. El Rhazoui’s “relative position of power,” the writer continued, had granted her a “free pass to make condescending attacks on a member of the university.” In a letter to the editor, the president and the vice president of the University of Chicago French Club, which had sponsored the talk, shot back, saying, “El Rhazoui is an immigrant, a woman, Arab, a human-rights activist who has known exile, and a journalist living in very real fear of death. She was invited to speak precisely because her right to do so is, quite literally, under threat.”

You’d be hard-pressed to avoid the conclusion that the student and her defender had burrowed so deep inside their cocoons, were so overcome by their own fragility, that they couldn’t see that it was Ms. El Rhazoui who was in need of a safer space.

Such insights are literally impossible for campus feminists, whose philosophy is dominated by narcissism.

EUGENE VOLOKH: Government funding and the Free Speech Clause.

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TAKING ON the racists at Starbucks.

JEFFREY SINGER: Removing state-based obstacles to affordable healthcare.

States can begin by repealing “Certificate of Need” (CON) laws. These are outdated and counterproductive laws which encourage cronyism, increase costs, and detract from the quality of health care. . . .

When a new provider petitions for a certificate, established providers are usually invited to testify against their would-be competitors. This means that some health care practices can openly challenge the right to exist of any practice that might hurt their bottom line. Indeed, hospital administrators openly admit that protection against competition thanks to CON laws has become an integral part of their business model.

Large hospitals and other medical incumbents have another advantage: They can afford the lengthy and expensive process while smaller, newer health care providers cannot. Getting state approval for a certificate of need can take years or even over a decade, including appeals and re-appeals. In a place like Washington state, the application fee alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. All of this discourages new entrants who lack the legal and financial resources to run the certificate-of-need obstacle course.

“Permissionless innovation” made the Internet boom. Let’s try it elsewhere.

I’M SURE THAT FEMINISTS REGARD NANCY DREW AS the wrong sort of empowerment.

FASTER, PLEASE: Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Startling Promise.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Income, Education and Inequality in the “Recovery”: Prepare to be Surprised. “Note to the higher education industry: issuing diplomas doesn’t magically create new jobs in the real world.”

SCIENTISTS EXPLORE THE “INDOOR BIOME.”

The planet’s biomes emerged over hundreds of millions of years. Coastal wetlands sprang up along the edges of continents about 400 million years ago. About 20 million years ago, grasslands became widespread. But the biome that we’re most familiar with — one that has a huge impact on our everyday life — is the youngest of all: the indoor biome.

When humans began building shelters about 20,000 years ago, we unrolled a welcome mat for other species. Over the past few thousand years, the indoor biome has grown to colossal proportions as cities and suburbs spread across the continents. More recently elevators and other technology have lifted the indoor biome into the sky.

If you add up the area of the indoor biome in Manhattan — including its walk-ups and high-rise apartments — it’s three times bigger than the area of the island of Manhattan itself.

Next stop: Trantor!

SEXISM: Liz Sheld: Anti-Gun Group Worries What Your Drunk College-Age Daughter Might Do with a Gun. Given what we’re hearing about college-age women’s fragility and irresponsibility, maybe they shouldn’t be allowed in college until they’re 30.