September 30, 2014

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: For Next Attorney General, Obama Should Reach Across The Aisle. Gay-marriage advocate and former Solicitor General Ted Olson, say.

Key bit:

Perhaps President Obama — and, for that matter, future presidents — should take a lesson from the way we handle the Department of Defense, and apply it to the Department of Justice: Consider naming someone outside his own party as attorney general.

This frequently happens with secretaries of Defense, and it has been of benefit to the administrations that have done it. FDR picked a Republican, Henry Stimson, to be secretary of War in 1940, and that meant that the war — and the war’s casualties — became a bipartisan matter instead of fodder for partisan attacks. President Obama retained George W. Bush’s Defense secretary, Robert Gates, for most of his first term. He replaced Gates with another Republican, Chuck Hagel, in that position.

Having a Defense secretary from the other party makes war bipartisan, and reassures members of the opposition that the powers of the sword aren’t being abused. Likewise, naming an attorney general from the opposite party would tend to make the administration of justice bipartisan, and would provide considerable reassurance, as Holder’s tenure in office emphatically did not, that the powers of law enforcement were not being abused in service of partisan ends. In an age of all-encompassing criminal laws, and pervasive government spying, that’s a big deal.

Odds that Obama will take my advice? About the same as the odds that he has nothing to cover up.

ALAN GURA IN THE HARVARD LAW REVIEW: The Second Amendment As A Normal Right.


JIM WEBB looking more serious about challenging Hillary Clinton.

In his speech last week at the National Press Club, Webb spoke to what he believes is a sense of economic dread and war weariness in the electorate.

“It’s rare when the economy crashes at the same time we are at war,” he said. “The centrifugal forces of social cohesion are spinning so out of control that the people at the very top exist in a distant outer orbit, completely separated in their homes, schools and associations from those of us who are even in the middle.”

Hmm. Sounds like he’s been reading Joel Kotkin’s new book. Which every aspiring candidate should.

What I like about Jim Webb is that he’s not a typical lefty weenie. On the other hand, he behaved poorly in that gun incident. More on that here.

BYRON YORK: Ugly Senate fight could await Obama’s attorney general nominee.

President Obama has a pretty obvious deadline for nominating a successor to departing Attorney General Eric Holder. If Democrats lose control of the Senate in November, they’ll still run things until newly-elected members arrive in January. So just to be safe, if the president wants guaranteed confirmation of a new attorney general, he’ll need to pick one soon. That way, even if Republicans win the Senate, and even if Obama’s choice is unpopular with the GOP, lame-duck Democrats will still be able to steamroll the opposition and confirm a new Attorney General.

But it could be very, very ugly.

The White House claims there is ample precedent for a lame-duck nomination. In fact, it’s more complicated than that.

There hasn’t been an attorney general nominated and confirmed in a lame-duck session since before the Civil War. So there’s not much in the way of direct precedent, at least in the last 150 years.

Particularly since Holder has been unprecedentedly partisan in his “scandal-goalie” role.

RE-ELECTING KAY HAGAN WILL NOT SERVE THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY, I’M AFRAID: Poll Predicts Libertarian Spoiler in North Carolina Senate Race. Though it’s not clear who he’ll pull more from.

ROGER SIMON: Liberals As Low Information Voters. “In recent months I have been startled by many examples of this. In a casual conversation, an Ivy League graduate and author of several best-selling books asked me what I meant by ‘quantitative easing,’ although it has been one of the keys to the economic policies of the last half-dozen years. Since the man is highly intelligent, my conclusion was he didn’t want to know about such details because they would lead to him having to examine long-held assumptions, assumptions it would be uncomfortable to question for a whole set of reasons. Remember, these are people who voted for Obama, twice, and now are just becoming aware that many of us consider him the worst president ever and have pretty good reasons. And the public is beginning to agree with us. This is hard to process.”

CAMILLE PAGLIA: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil.

Young women today do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature

The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. A 32-year-old, 270-pound former football player who fled to Texas has been returned to Virginia and charged with “abduction with intent to defile.” At this date, Hannah’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women’s modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense.

Current educational codes, tracking liberal-Left, are perpetuating illusions about sex and gender.

To their proponents, that’s not a bug, but a feature.

ROLL CALL: Cornyn Warns Against Confirming Holder Successor in Lame Duck.

JOEL KOTKIN: A New Kind Of Authoritarianism: Choosing fortune over freedom. “Increasingly, authoritarian regimes are rising around the world, led by a pesky, resource-rich Russia and a new full-blown superpower, China. Today, few regimes are becoming more democratic, and many, such as Turkey, are evolving toward one-party, voter-blessed, autocracies. These regimes, like their fascist and communist antecedents, often show a kind of contempt for the messy work of pluralistic decision-making and constitutional restraint.” To be fair, so does our young President.

MARK UDALL STEPS IN IT: Is vulnerable Democratic senator a 9/11 ‘truther’? Video at the link.

UH HUH: White House: Obama wasn’t passing buck with ISIS comment.

President Obama wasn’t passing the buck by saying intelligence officials underestimated the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the White House said Monday.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said officials were aware of the threat posed by ISIS, but misjudged the will of the Iraqi military to fight back and how successful the terror group would be at capturing territory. He said “everybody” — from the intelligence community to the White House — made the same mistake, but that Obama was ultimately responsible.

“The president’s commander in chief and he’s the one who takes responsibility for ensuring that we have the kinds of policies in place that are required to protect our interests around the globe,” Earnest said.

Reporters grilled Earnest about Obama’s remarks Sunday on “60 Minutes,” where he at one point said Jim Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged misreading “what had been taking place in Syria” with regards to ISIS.

The remark has created a firestorm, with Republicans and some former intelligence officials arguing the president was trying to shirk responsibility.

Well, that’s because, you know, he was. In the words of Ron Fournier: “I, me, my. It’s their fault. I, me, my. It’s their fault. I, me, my. It’s their fault. I, me, my. It’s their fault. I, me, my …”

Related: Rogers: Intel officials warned Obama about ISIS ‘for over a year.’

But hey, the Hillary/Kerry shop’s still defending him: State: White House didn’t drop the ball on ISIS threat. Well, okay then.

ANNALS OF SMART DIPLOMACY: Obama Invites Indian Leader to Dinner While He Is Observing Religious Fast; Administration under fire for perceived insensitivity to Hindu traditions. Don’t they have people in the State Department who are supposed to know about stuff like that? . . .


TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Mother of 2 Arrested for Raping a Man at Gunpoint, Bail Set at $75,000.

Ciera Ross, a 25-year-old mother of two, was arrested and charged with raping a man in Chicago, according to reports.

Ross and a friend, who were driving on the North Side of Chicago, saw a man walking down the 400 block of North Kingsbury, according to Huffington Post.

Ross offered him a ride, which he accepted, before pulling out a revolver and ordering him to move to the back seat of the car. She then forced him to have sex with her companion in the back seat.

The man pleaded for the women to stop after they made him fondle the woman’s breasts and buttocks. The women, however, paid no heed and asked him to take off his clothes and the man complied before Ross’ friend began sexually assaulting him.

The women also took $200, credit cards and phone from the man, before he managed to escape in a taxi cab that passed by slowly, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Amanda Pillsbury revealed.

The victim apparently ran out of the car wearing only his shirt and the cab driver allowed him to use his cell phone to take a picture of Ross’ license plate and email it to himself.

The victim later identified Ross in a lineup, Pillsbury said.

$75,000 bond? For rape using a firearm? In Chicago?

September 29, 2014

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FOR TOMORROW: For Next Attorney General, Obama Should Reach Across The Aisle. Gay-marriage advocate and former Solicitor General Ted Olson, say.

Key bit:

Perhaps President Obama — and, for that matter, future presidents — should take a lesson from the way we handle the Department of Defense, and apply it to the Department of Justice: Consider naming someone outside his own party as attorney general.

This frequently happens with secretaries of Defense, and it has been of benefit to the administrations that have done it. FDR picked a Republican, Henry Stimson, to be secretary of War in 1940, and that meant that the war — and the war’s casualties — became a bipartisan matter instead of fodder for partisan attacks. President Obama retained George W. Bush’s Defense secretary, Robert Gates, for most of his first term. He replaced Gates with another Republican, Chuck Hagel, in that position.

Having a Defense secretary from the other party makes war bipartisan, and reassures members of the opposition that the powers of the sword aren’t being abused. Likewise, naming an attorney general from the opposite party would tend to make the administration of justice bipartisan, and would provide considerable reassurance, as Holder’s tenure in office emphatically did not, that the powers of law enforcement were not being abused in service of partisan ends. In an age of all-encompassing criminal laws, and pervasive government spying, that’s a big deal.

Odds that Obama will take my advice? About the same as the odds that he has nothing to cover up.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Bill Maher And Me. “Guys like Bill Maher are essentially bullies. They interact with conservatives for one purpose only: to make them look bad, and serve as foils for their leftism. The last thing they want is a real debate on a level playing field. The mere threat of being kept honest by not being the only possessor and editor of the video is enough to send them scurrying in a ‘different direction.’” Yep.

HMM: Hong Kong Government Says It Has Withdrawn Riot Police. “The protesters are seeking fully democratic elections for the city’s leader in 2017. But under China’s plan, only candidates vetted by a Beijing-friendly committee would be allowed to run. Earlier Monday, the government said that it had pulled back the riot police from the areas where roads were being blocked. The government urged the demonstrators to end their sit-ins so that life in this busy commercial city could return to normal.”

AT AMAZON, Fall Deals on Men’s Shoes. Also, Women’s Shoes.

Plus, Generators and Portable Power for Storm Season. Winter is coming.

DANA LOESCH: Anti-Gun Hysteria Results In Two Deaths.


Date-Rape-Accused Hacking, Outing, Videotaping

Ethically Dubious Remedies Alongside Court Wins

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 29, 2014): College men accused of date rape are fighting back with ethically dubious techniques including hacking, outing their attackers, and videotaping their sexual encounters, in addition to bringing an increasing number of successful law suits to vindicate themselves, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Last week, at the University of Chicago, individuals allegedly trying to keep “the Hyde Park community safe from people who publicly accuse other people of committing varying levels of gender-based violence without any proof whatsoever…” hacked into a website of the school’s student organization and posted the name and photo of an alleged rape survivor as well as this threat: “Hopefully the class of 2018 is paying attention because otherwise the UChicago Electronic Army is going to have to rape harder.”

The incident was apparently in retaliation for a post on Tumblr called the “Hyde Park List.”

That list claimed to identify male students “known to commit varying levels of gender-based violence.” It listed male students as either “code red’ or “code orange” – apparently a reference to the seriousness of their alleged sexual crimes.

“Creating so-called ‘rape lists’ of students who may or may not be guilty of sex-based offenses – ostensibly to warn female students, but also to shame the males – is both ethically dubious and may well open the perpetrators to legal action,” says Professor Banzhaf, who has written widely on the topic of campus date rape. On the other hand, hacking into computer systems and outing women is at least as wrongful, and two wrongs never make a right, especially concerning such a serious matter, suggests Banzhaf.

As colleges are pressured to be more aggressive in finding students guilty of date rape, it appears that a few male students are beginning to follow the advise on various web sites to surreptitiously videotape their sexual encounters to be able to prove afterwards, if necessary, that the act was consensual.

For example, four students at Hofstra University were accused of gang raping a fellow student, but were freed when a cell phone video indicated that the sexual encounter was consensual.

Likewise, a San Francisco lawyer, charged with raping three women, had the charges regarding two women dismissed because he had videotaped those encounters, and another man was found not guilty of an alleged gang rape after a Cook County, Illinois, jury was shown a videotape arguably showing some signs of consent as pointed out by an expert witness.

Although such videotaping – without sound – may not be illegal in many states, it’s likewise ethically dubious, and hardly a good solution to the problem of date rapes, and of students who may be wrongful accused of such actions and/or denied basic procedural protections in the campus proceedings determining guilt or innocence.

An alternative, albeit a very expensive one, is for males found guilty to bring law suits against their universities – about a dozen of which have already been successful, and at least twice that number are still in the courts, says Banzhaf.

When the system fails to provide justice, people will seek it on their own. What’s that old saying? Oh, right: No Justice, No Peace!

IN LIGHT OF MY EARLIER POST ON KNIVES, SayUncle emails that he likes this Spyderco Endura. Sure, it’s not a Claymore, but as he notes, it’s as fast-opening as a switchblade (those are legal in Tennessee) but it’s legal in more other states.

He also sends this video, which demonstrates — see at about 1:00 — that it can indeed be opened very quickly.

DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: Politico illustrates story about race and the modern GOP with a picture of Democrat George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door. Even more amusingly, it’s labeled “History Dept.”

Honestly, Politico’s performance has been poor enough lately that I wonder if they’re hiring from the same pool as the Secret Service.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll: Dispatches From the Reality-Based Community.

Tom Wolfe once wrote that “the greatest hoax of modern history” occurred when “Russia’s ruling ‘socialist workers party,’ the Communists established themselves as the polar opposites of their two socialist clones, the National Socialist German Workers Party (quicknamed ‘The Nazis’) and Italy’s Marxist-inspired Fascisiti, by branding both as “the fascists,” which quickly led to those two socialist clones as being described, per Stalin’s orders, as “right wing” for the rest of the 20th century with very little pushback from limited-government conservatives and libertarians until recent years. The Democrats’ ongoing efforts to offload their shameful racist past onto the GOP has to run a close second. Don’t let them get away with it.

Nope. The Democrats were the party of Jim Crow. Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee. He set dogs and firehoses on civil rights protesters.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Speaking of Democrats: “On October 10, 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy committed what is widely viewed as one of the most ignominious acts in modern American history: he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.”

DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Small dog chases bear from Gatlinburg bedroom where children slept.


MICHAEL BARONE: Feminists shocked: Men ride bikes outdoors, women indoors.

Robb doesn’t make the obvious follow-up point. Women, psychologists agree, tend to be more risk-averse than men. Evolutionary explanations are obvious. Riding a bicycle in New York, as Grose appreciates, is a lot riskier than riding a bicycle in an indoor cycling facility. “It’s possible,” Robb writes, in a bow (curtsy?) to feminist theory, “that in a totally gender-equal society, every activity — from gardening and crocheting to taxi-driving and construction work — would have an equal number of male and female practitioners.”

No, it’s not. There are salient differences between men and women, on average, as the natural result of the evolutionary process, and those differences are reflected in different behavior and different career choices, again on average. We want a society where people can make the choices they want, but we fool ourselves if we think that in such a society men’s and women’s choices would be statistically indistinguishable.

Feminists who insist that such choices are only the result of societal pressure often conclude otherwise after their attempts to get their little boys to play with dolls or their little girls to play with trucks prove futile. Yes, there are some males and females who do not follow typical gender patterns, and there are a very small number who choose to change gender.

Alice Robb stops short of making this general argument—would the New Republic print it?—but she goes some creditable distance in that direction. Good for her.

Always sad when getting people to come close to admitting long-established truths — boys and girls are different! — counts as a victory, but that’s where we are.

My question is, why are feminists science-deniers? Monkey test shows gender choices.

An experiment seems to back the theory that male monkeys choose traditional boy toys above dolls, which female monkeys choose to play with.

The experiment, which was conducted at the Woburn Safari Park, in Bedfordshire with Barbary macaques, formed part of a Horizon investigation into the differences between male and female brains.

The science is settled. You don’t want to be a science-denier, do you?

I’M SO OLD, I REMEMBER HER AS MARTIN. Futurist, pharma tycoon, satellite entrepreneur, philosopher. Martine Rothblatt, the highest-paid female executive in America, was born male. But that is far from the thing that defines her. Just ask her wife. Then ask the robot version of her wife.

Well, this is the 21st Century, you know. Of course, the Amanda Marcotte take would be that of course the highest-paid female executive in America used to be male. Because the patriarchy takes care of its own! And, no, I really do remember her as Martin Rothblatt, writing about space law back in the early days.

JUST A REMINDER, I WAS CALLING FOR ACTION ON SECRET SERVICE MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS BACK IN 2002: White House Intruder Got Farther Than First Reported, Official Says. “A man who jumped the White House fence this month made it far deeper into the president’s home than previously disclosed, overpowering a female Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance and running through the East Room before he was tackled, according to a congressional official familiar with the details of the incident. The man, Omar J. Gonzalez, was finally stopped as he tried to enter the Green Room, the official said. Earlier, Secret Service officials had said Mr. Gonzalez, 42, had only made it steps inside the North Portico after running through the front door.”


I REMAIN LEERY OF THE “INTERNET OF THINGS:” When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone: When a thing connects to the Internet, three things happen: it becomes smart, it becomes hackable, and it’s no longer something you own.

I think people should own their devices.

POINTS AND FIGURES: Can You Teach Courage? First you have to want to.

AT AMAZON, fresh deals on Bestselling Products, updated every hour. There’s always something new!

Also, it’s the Kindle Daily Deal.

ANN ALTHOUSE: Jerry Brown signs a law requiring colleges and universities that get state money to impose a “yes means yes” standard on student sex.

The statute proceeds to speak of “the accused” and “the complainant.” The accused is not permitted to use intoxication as an excuse for misperceiving the existence of affirmative consent and there can be no affirmative consent when the complainant was “incapacitated” by drinking or drugs.

What if both are drunk? The smartass answer to that question is: It depends on who’s the accused and who’s the complainant. It seems as though, beyond the gender-neutrality of the statute, there is an assumption that only women will complain. The statutory scheme would collapse if men complained too. But social conditioning and convention keep men quiet… at least so far. Perhaps in the future, they will complain defensively after a night of ambiguity.

There are plenty of college women acting badly, and usually, because of uneven social conditioning and convention, with far less self-awareness about it than men.

THE UNDIGNIFIED NUDGE. If anyone needs to be nudged toward the path of proper behavior, it’s the bureaucrats and Clerisy who want to nudge us.

Let’s think about the dramatis personae of Sunstein’s account. There are, first of all, people, ordinary individuals with their heuristics, their intuitions, and their rules of thumb, with their laziness, their impulses, and their myopia. They have choices to make for themselves and their loved ones, and they make some of them well and many of them badly.

Then there are those whom Sunstein refers to as “we.” We know this, we know that, and we know better about the way ordinary people make their choices. We are the law professors and the behavioral economists who (a) understand human choosing and its foibles much better than members of the first group and (b) are in a position to design and manipulate the architecture of the choices that face ordinary folk. In other words, the members of this second group are endowed with a happy combination of power and expertise.

Of course regulators are people too. And like the rest of us, they are fallible. In the original Nudge, Sunstein engagingly confessed to many of the decisional foibles that Thaler exposed. Worse, though, is the fact that regulators are apt to make mistakes in their regulatory behavior: “For every bias identified for individuals, there is an accompanying bias in the public sphere.” Sometimes governments blunder because they feel compelled to defer to the irrationalities of ordinary people. But we all know they are perfectly capable of screwing things up on their own, whether it’s the invasion of Iraq or the rollout of Obamacare.

The difference is that when individuals make bad decisions in their own lives, they bear the cost. When members of the “nudging class” make bad decisions, they generally step through the revolving door to an even cushier job.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Sunstein et al. are concerned that the common man is not investing enough in his 401K. They attribute this to inertia, since they are unable to think of another reason why people would not make good investments against future needs. I suggest an alternate explanation: The common man is not investing in his 401K because he lacks confidence that Sunstein et al. can keep the world from blowing up before he retires, or that they can keep their hands off his retirement finds if the world does not blow up.”


NEWS YOU CAN USE: When To Resurface Your Concrete Sidewalk.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: I Went Undercover To See If A Girl Could Get Happy Ending Massage. “Any ‘rules’ restricting female sexuality are dying as fast as Sex and the City repeats can slay them, and it was only a matter of time before women embraced the notion that ‘quick releases’ aren’t just for men. . . . The bottom line: We like massages and we like orgasms, so why shouldn’t the two sometimes, er, come hand in hand?”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Married female teacher, 32, is jailed for less than two years for having sex with two students and flashing a third teenager; The married English teacher would entice students by saying: ‘All the candy you need is right here.’ There appears to be disparate treatment in these cases, with female teachers receiving much lighter sentences than similarly situated males.


IN THE MAIL: From Steve Statham, Gods and The City.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Lucien Piccard Watches $55.99–$94.99.

And, also today only: Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set, $99.99 (61% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 508.

THAT SEEMS TO BE MOST OF THE TIME, ACTUALLY: When Green Dreams Beget Brown Nightmares.

Germany’s energy revolution—its energiewende—was supposed to blaze a trail, and show off a new way countries could meet their energy needs without wrecking their environment or the climate. It was an audacious experiment, but it’s hard to read much success out of it these days.

Yes, renewable energy is booming in Germany, after guaranteed long-term above-market rates called feed-in tariffs were offered to wind and solar power producers, but the costs of those subsidies have been passed along to consumers in the form of green surcharges. For businesses, that affects bottom lines, and many German firms are looking to site production abroad, where energy is cheaper (in the shale gas-rich United States, for instance). For households, that’s been a kind of pernicious regressive tax, as the poor are more likely to notice their ever-rising electricity bills.

But accompanying the growth of renewables in Germany’s energy mix has been a renaissance for a decidedly brown energy source: coal. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Germany began phasing out its nuclear reactors. Berlin took from that crisis that it ought to eliminate nuclear, an effectively zero-carbon energy source, from its energy mix, despite the fact that Germany is situated far away from the fault lines that threaten Japan’s reactors. Solar panels and wind turbines can’t replace nuclear energy; they supply two distinct kinds of energy. Nuclear can be relied on to supply grids consistently, 24/7, 365, while solar and wind can only contribute when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. To meet its baseload energy needs, Germany turned to its domestic deposits of lignite, an especially dirty form of coal. As the Wall Street Journal reports, that’s how the supposedly green-minded energiewende has rejuvenated German coal use.

One thing you can count on: The Greens will never accept the blame. But if you’re seriously concerned about the environment and carbon emissions, you’ve got to support nuclear power. If you don’t, you aren’t serious about the environment, you’re just lying to advance another agenda.

ED MORRISSEY: Politico: Iowa’s got a woman problem, and only Hillary can cure it. Politico conveniently ignores the fact that a woman — Joni Ernst — looks likely to win a statewide race this year. But then, we know two things: (1) Politico, and here reporter Dave Price is no exception, is totally in the tank for Hillary; and (2) Republican women don’t count as, well, you know, women. Because equality!

THE ECONOMIC CASE for Paternity Leave. Problem is, men who take paternity leave take a big hit to their careers.

Well, except in France, where, as Mark Steyn noted: “What gives you a better grasp of the realities of Europe today? The front-page reports on the G8 and the U.S.-EU summit? The in-depth profile of Jacques Chirac or Dominique de Villepin? Or the small space-filler about a French police lieutenant promoted to captain despite spending 12 of the last 18 years on ‘paternity leave,’ in the course of which he wrote three books about the Beatles. As a summation of contemporary Europe that could hardly be improved.” So, is there a lesson here?


RICH BAEHR: Republicans are scrambling to save a seat that they thought was in the bag. As with Mississippi, they should have encouraged their doddering incumbent to retire, and encouraged someone strong to run. Instead, they defended a lousy incumbent and alienated a lot of their base.

JAMES O’KEEFE BUSTS THEM AGAIN: Dem Group Caught On Video Admitting To Violating Election Laws.

WHEN EXCUSES DON’T WASH: On “60 Minutes,” the president faulted his spies for failing to predict the rise of ISIS. There’s one problem with that statement: The intelligence analysts did warn about the group. Says one former Intel officer: “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting.” Or both.

ROLL CALL: Congressional ‘Perks’ Under Siege in Midterm Ads (Video).

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Oklahoma City beheading: Will jihad-style attack boost ‘bring gun to work’ laws? “Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told the Associated Press that Vaughan’s decision to carry a weapon to work made a big difference in the outcome of the attack. The situation ‘could have gotten a lot worse’ if Vaughan didn’t have this gun, said Sgt. Lewis. ‘This was not going to stop if [Vaughan] didn’t stop it.’”

Plus, some no-nonsense thoughts from Tam: “While a gun in the parking lot might be a few minutes closer than the gun in the holster of a responding cop, the fastest response is the gun you have on your person right then.”

BRIAN LEITER CONTINUES TO AMUSE: “That’s the way Brian Leiter rolls. People who disagree with him are ‘hacks.’” Thus has it ever been, thus shall it ever be.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING: Lines blur for US troops in fight against ISIS. “President Obama insists he will not have ‘boots on the ground’ in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but the line between a combat and advisory role is blurry.”

JOEL KOTKIN: The Sick Man Of Europe Is Europe. “The recent near breakup of the United Kingdom — something inconceivable just a decade ago — reflects a deep, pervasive problem of identity throughout the EU. The once vaunted European sense of common destiny is decomposing. Other separatist movements are on the march, most notably in Catalonia, Flanders and northern Italy. Throughout the continent, public support for a united Europe fell sharply last year. Opposition to greater integration has emerged, with anti-EU parties gaining support in countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany and France. . . . These attitudes suggest that the EU could be devolving from a nascent super-state to something that increasingly resembles the Holy Roman Empire, a fragmented landscape of small, unimportant states wrapped in a unitary, but ephemeral crepe. This challenges the view of some Americans, particularly but not only on the left, who see Europe as a role model for the U.S.”

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: A rare Second Amendment exemption from federal ban on felons possessing guns.

I DIDN’T KNOW WE HAD ENOUGH SERVER SPACE FOR THIS PIECE: Victor Davis Hanson: The Moral Failures Of Eric Holder.


In: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Being Told By Old White Men That It’s Time For Her To Go.

SHOCKER: Democratic CT State Rep. Christina Ayala Arrested On 19 Voting Fraud Charges. And yet, I keep hearing it’s a myth.

TERROR: Oklahoma beheading suspect’s Facebook posts hint at terror roots. “Co-workers described Nolen, who survived the shooting, as a recent convert to Islam. Writing under the name Jah’Keem Yisrael, Nolan also warned the Statue of Liberty is ‘going into flames,’ according to the Daily News.”

Related: Justice Department expected to ban profiling by federal law enforcement. “Counter-terror investigators would be barred from undercover operations in mosques or other religious institutions unless there is reason to believe criminal activity is going on there, under a new policy expected within weeks. The new rules would ban profiling based on religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation and includes no exemption for national security investigations.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Math teacher, 24, arrested at high school after she ‘had sex with a 15-year-old male student.’ “A female teacher is facing aggravated sodomy and child molestation charges over the alleged indecent assault of a 15-year-old boy. Victoria Tatum, 24, was arrested at Newton County High School in Georgia on Thursday on felony charges and booked into jail without bond. Tatum, from Decatur, has been charged with two counts of aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and enticing a child.”

Remember, one reason there are so few male teachers is that people are afraid they’ll be sexual predators.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama Adviser: We Agree With Bush Belief Of Getting The Terrorists Before They Get Us.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: The “Khorosan Group” Does Not Exist — It’s Just A Cover Story For Obama’s Failure To Destroy Al Qaeda As Claimed.

The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.

Obama is not the manner of man who can say, “I was wrong: It turns out that al-Qaeda is actually on the rise, its Islamic State faction is overwhelming the region, and American interests — perhaps even American territory — are profoundly threatened.” So instead . . . you got “the Khorosan Group.”


DAVID BERNSTEIN: Bizarre op-ed on Israel by Patricia Marks Greenfield in Friday’s Washington Post. Dumb racial stereotyping is the mainstay of liberals, on any topic.

September 28, 2014

PATTERICO: How Important Is Your Vote? The Tale of the Slave.

BUY A GUN: And Again: Fired Oklahoma City Nursing Home Worker Threatened Beheading. “His co-worker] said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and said he ‘represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,’ the detective told a judge in the affidavit. . . . The woman said she asked him why they kill Christians and he replied, ‘This is just what we do,’ the detective reported.”

FRUITS OF THE WAR AGAINST THE TEA PARTY: Bill Quick not too sympathetic about the GOP’s money problems.

WELL, OKAY THEN: On the economy, POTUS says “the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.” But the people “don’t feel it.” Poor Obama. We keep disappointing him, in so many different ways.

PROTESTER: “This Is Not Hong Kong Anymore!” (Video). A relatively free Hong Kong was useful to Beijing for 20 years or so. Now it’s more of a threat, by way of example.

OUT: President Obama is “among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.”

IN: Obama: Intel officials underestimated ISIS. When things go well, it’s always “I, me, mine” with this guy. When things go badly, it’s always “they” who screwed up.

Related: Former DHS chief: Obama made mistakes on ISIS.

IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: Report: Green Party Candidate In Tennessee Hiring People To Infiltrate Social Media, Pose As Average Users, Push Agenda.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Today is the last day that Saturday morning cartoons aired on US broadcast TV.

YES, IT DOES: India’s Mars triumph signals a rising space power.

CHIKUNGUNYA: New mosquito-borne virus spreads in Latin America.

Chikungunya is a word that comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania in eastern Africa and translates roughly as “that which bends up,” in reference to the severe arthritis-like ache in joints that causes sufferers to contort with pain. It’s usually accompanied by a spiking fever and headache. There have been only 113 deaths linked to the region’s outbreak, according to the most recent data, but chikungunya can be crippling.

Herman Slater, a 60-year-old gardener in Jamaica’s capital of Kingston, said he was laid out for almost two weeks this month with unimaginable joint pain, hammer-pounding headaches and fevers that came in waves.

“I tell you, I was surprised by how painful it was. It was taking me five minutes to get out of bed, and then I could hardly even walk,” Slater said. “My hands were so bad I couldn’t open a bottle, couldn’t comb my hair. Every night I was wet from sweat.”

In acute cases, pain can last for months. Joanna Rivas, who works as a maid in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, said she has had joint pain since May, and her 12-year-old daughter’s case is so severe the girl can’t hold her pen at school. Both have been taking the pain reliever acetaminophen, the main treatment for chikungunya, which has no cure or vaccine.

Bring back DDT.

FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES: The United States v. The Islamic State (and Global Warming).

BIG STUFF HAPPENING: Hong Kong Activists Defy Police Tear Gas As Protests Spread.

“YOUTH” IS “THE NEW BLACK.” Know who the press wants to be angry and motivated to vote, and who they don’t, and it will all make sense.

THE WHOLE POINT OF A TRAGEDY IS THAT IT OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CRACK DOWN ON TROUBLESOME MINORITIES: Sandy Hook Commission Calls For Government Crackdown On Homeschools. “The onerous new rules for homeschooling families somehow make sense in the minds of commission members because Adam Lanza massacred 20 young children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December 2012 — when he was 20 years old.”

This does not come as a surprise.

AT AMAZON, coupons galore in Household Supplies.

Plus, Warehouse Deals on Shoes.

A HERO FOR OUR TIMES: Shawshank Husband: Plumber Dug Tunnel From Bedroom To Pub, Wife Never Suspected.

UPDATE: If you think the fact that he probably doesn’t actually exist makes him less of a hero for our times, then you haven’t been paying attention.


SCIENCE: 9 Ugly Lessons About Sex From Big Data. It’s as if evolution and biology don’t care what you want, or what you want other people to want.

I REMEMBER WHEN LEFTIES SAID THEY WERE FOR NUANCE, AND AGAINST SIMPLISTIC MORALIZING: Liberal students attack speaker for saying sex assault allegations are complicated. That said, it’s kind of funny to see anarchists attacked by angry lefties.

ROGER KIMBALL: The Fate Of Free Speech.

What are the major threats to free speech today? Perhaps the overarching condition that threatens free speech is the spread of political correctness. This has sharply curtailed candor about all manner of contentious subjects. It is no longer possible, in polite society, to speak frankly about race, about differences between the sexes, or a hundred other topics — so-called “climate change,” for example, or the relationship between Islam and free speech.

It is extraordinary, is it not, that various Islamic groups, often with the collusion of Western politicians, including Hillary Clinton, are proposing to resurrect blasphemy laws , making it illegal — illegal — to “insult” Mohammed or criticize Islam? The end of their efforts is a “global censorship regime.” We’re not there yet, not quite, but we’re well on the road. One sign of the success of this campaign is the systematic reluctance of Western leaders to described Islamic terrorism as, well, Islamic terrorism.

It’s almost as if our leaders have been frightened, or bought off, or something.

IN THE MAIL: Patrick: Son of Ireland.

Also, today only at Amazon: Motorola MBP33 Wireless Video Baby Monitor, $139.99 (30% off).

TAXPROF: The IRS Scandal, Day 507.

UM: Tom Friedman: Reagan Had It Easier Than Obama. Basically, his point is that Arabs are barbaric savages, unlike communists. Well, the communists were pretty savage, too.

Where I think Reagan did have it easier is that in his day, America still retained a largely functional political class. Now we have a largely dysfunctional one.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Flow Of Money From South Texas Oil Startles Economists.

The economists had predicted just last year that they expected the total economic impact to South Texas to be $89 billion in 2022. Instead, they now estimate that the impact has already reached almost that amount: $87 billion.

What’s making the difference?

Primarily all the jobs from drilling and running pipelines.

“But also because of lots of new manufacturing activity. And a lot of that is being driven by the low cost of natural gas,” said Tunstall.

I mean, who could have seen this coming? Well, maybe Rick Perry.

GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE: No New VA Patient Schedule System Until 2020.

AT AMAZON, today’s the last day for the Fall Outlet Event.

Also, new Pre-Orders in Movies & TV.

EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Holder, Obama Friend: Next Attorney General Will Be A Woman.

InstaPundit’s crack reporting team has obtained this exclusive photo of the current frontrunner:


HONG KONG POLICE use tear gas on pro-democracy protesters. “Hong Kong police used tear gas Sunday and warned of further measures as they tried to clear thousands of pro-democracy protesters who had gathered outside government headquarters in a challenge to Beijing over its decision to restrict democratic reforms for the semiautonomous city. . . . The demonstrations — which Beijing called ‘illegal’ — were a rare scene of disorder in the Asian financial hub, and highlighted authorities’ inability to rein in the public discontent over Beijing’s tightening grip on the city. The protesters reject Beijing’s decision last month to rule out open nominations for candidates under proposed guidelines for the first-ever elections for Hong Kong’s leader, promised for 2017.”

MICKEY KAUS: Obama’s A.G. Excuse.

Holder that amnesty: Don’t the coming Attorney General confirmation hearings offer Obama another convenient excuse to put off his unpopular (and arguably unlawful) executive amnesty plans? True, Latino interest groups are expecting something big from the White House, amnesty-wise, before the end of the year. But what if Obama and Biden– “The president’s going to do it, and he’s going to do an awful lot”– are just stringing them along until the mid-term vote? With Senator Sessions trying to make opposition to executive amnesty a litmus test for any A.G. appointee, couldn’t Obama say he doesn’t want his promised amnesty to create an unnecessary obstacle to filling this vital post, etc.? If the A.G. nominee is liberal enough the more established Democratic interest groups and team-playing Dem Congressmen might fall in line. ….

Why would Obama want to put off executive amnesty? So as not to kill the chance of legislative amnesty. Perversely, this logic may seem especially powerful if GOPs win everything in November — now that Jeb Bush and the not-wildly-credible Mario Diaz-Balart are running around boasting that a Republican-controlled Senate could produce an immigration deal. Republican office-holders who may be afraid of knuckling under to the current Dem-produced immigration plan might think they have cover for a GOP-branded plan, even if it amounts to more or less the same thing.

We showed Obama! Instead of his amnesty plan, we passed our own amnesty plan!