August 24, 2014

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: In effort to shield Obama from criticism on ISIS, White House makes everything worse.

CHANGE: Obama orders review of U.S. arming of police.

President Obama has directed a review of the federal programs that send surplus military and other supplies and equipment to local law enforcement agencies, a White House spokesman confirmed Saturday.

The review, which will be led by the Office of Management and Budget and other White House offices, sprang from widespread concern about the military-style body armor and vehicles police in Ferguson, Mo., used in their early confrontations with protesters rioting over the the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. . . .

It will weigh whether the programs should continue and whether police and local law enforcement have the right training and guidance to use the equipment.

The White House will coordinate its review with Congressional oversight hearings and possible legislation. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., announced hearings on the programs when Congress returns in September, and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., has written a bill that would place restrictions on the program and try to ensure that police have the right training to use the equipment.

Republicans should get behind this — and add language that would limit misconduct where civilian arms are concerned, too.

And while it’s nice to see the Obama Administration catching up to where I was in 2006, I note that the equipment is only part of the problem: A doctrine of SWAT overuse that sends guys dressed like Imperial Stormtroopers to serve ordinary drug warrants is a bad idea no matter where the equipment comes from, as is an “if you don’t want to get shot, do what I tell you” sense of superiority.

IDLE, BROWSE, OR CHAT? Academics And The Social Network.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Sherman In Gaza. “Sherman was an attritionist, not an annihilationist — a strategist who believed in attacking the sources that fuel and field an army rather than butting heads against the army itself. To review his career is to shed light on why the Israeli Defense Forces were both effective in Gaza and hated even more for being so effective.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: She Accused Her Husband of Downloading Child Porn. Now She’s the One with a Felony Conviction. “Investigators found that the images Woods claimed her husband sought out were date-stamped between Aug. 11 and 14, 2013, which meant they were downloaded after Woods’ husband had been forced out of the house by a protection-from-abuse order.” Want to bet that the protective order was bogus, too?


Mr. Gore likes to say ‘our democracy has been hacked by big money,’ but he has done some hacking himself in his many rent-seeking activities. His Current TV payday, partly at the expense of the Qataris, partly at the expense of U.S. cable subscribers and shareholders, must be especially piquant to Americans exhausted by Mr. Gore’s incessant moralizing. What would be nice to know, and what a full airing of the legal record might show, and is at what point Current stopped being a sincere experiment in liberal news and entertainment. At what point did it morph into a scheme to shake down TV distributors and flip the carriage rights for what BusinessWeek estimates was $450 million in profit to Mr. Gore and partners.

The more people talk about equality, the more they’re involved in a system that promotes special deals for insiders. The more people talk about money in politics, the more they’re involved in crooked insider deals.

IT’S HARD TO WIN WITHOUT FAITH IN YOURSELF: Slip of the Tongue in South Dakota Senate Debate.

THE HILL: Obama Tees Off As Criticism Mounts.

Meanwhile, here’s a pic I saw yesterday on Facebook:


August 23, 2014

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Gun-rights group persuading dozens of towns to repeal firearms regs in legal blitz.


YA GOTTA BLOW A FEW UP TO GET ANYWHERE: SpaceX Reusable Rocket Prototype Explodes Over Texas.

AT PRAWFSBLAWG, A CRY FOR HELP: Expertise on property stolen from luggage by airport/airline while in transit?

NARRATIVE: “Daniel Greenfield is a reliable journalist, and he writes an article to spell out that Foley held the United States in contempt and had gone to Syria to associate with the Sunni rebels and help them overthrow Bashar Assad. The obituaries that I have seen make no mention of this.”

DON’T ELECT DEMOCRATS? How 21st-Century Cities Can Avoid the Fate of 20th-Century Detroit.

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CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Martha Coakley owns up to lobbyist-held fundraiser. “A politically wired Beacon Hill lobbying firm let off with a light penalty by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley for a possible violation of state law hosted a fundraiser for Coakley’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2009, the Herald has learned. The fundraiser calls into question the attorney general’s repeated attempts to distance herself from the lobbying powerhouse, which negotiated a controversial settlement with Coakley’s office for allegedly charging illegal contingency fees to the Franciscan Hospital for Children.”

IT’S COME TO THIS: ISIS the Rock Band Mistaken for the Terrorist Group.

“It blows my mind that people can’t see the difference,” a representative of the band told ABC News. “I know they receive threats constantly via Facebook.”

ISIS, a band originating from Boston, Massachusetts, began playing in 1997, releasing nine albums with titles like “Panopticon” and “In the Absence of Truth.” The group moved to California before officially splitting up in 2010.

Though the band is no longer together, the ex-members are being flooded with threats from individuals who believe them to be associated with the Islamic terrorist group, which recently claimed responsibility for beheading American journalist James Foley. The group has also slaughtered Christians, Yazidis and other Muslims who aren’t members of the Sunni Islamic sect.

“It certainly caught us off guard,” Aaron Harris, the band’s drummer, told ABC News.

Related: Are People Becoming Dumber?

HYBRID ALTERNATIVE: 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Diesel Manual-Shift.

A “SCREAMING DEAL?” The 650-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will cost you $78,995. It will also murder everything within three tax brackets. Gotta say, I much prefer the look of the previous generation, though.


TECH TIME WARP: Watch Apple’s Awkwardly Wrong Prediction of the Future From 1987.

CHANGE: Surprisingly real value from virtual reality.

NEWS I CAN’T USE: When It Makes Sense to Take a Private Jet.

HOW CHINA Censors The Internet.

A RESPONSE TO FALSE SEX-ASSAULT CLAIMS: New Startup Connects Students With A Lawyer The Minute They Get In Trouble.

As colleges and universities revise their sexual-assault policies and California considers applying the “affirmative consent” standard statewide, many more students could find themselves accused of sexual misconduct in campus disciplinary proceedings without traditional due-process protections.

A Boston-area startup aims to make sure that students accused of anything don’t have to play legal roulette or rely on a shoddy lawyer.

Seems like a booming market.

IN THE MAIL: Wolf in Shadow.

Also, today only at Amazon: 45% Off ASICS GEL-Storm 2 running shoes for men and women.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 471.

JUST THE SORT OF POLITICIAL JIU-JITSU I’VE ENCOURAGED: Republicans Strike Mark Begich Where He’s Strongest.

Earlier Thursday, American Crossroads launched an ad attacking Mr. Begich on women’s issues – the core of the argument he’s made for months against Republican nominee Dan Sullivan, who won Tuesday’s Senate primary. The Crossroads ad attacks Mr. Begich for gender pay disparity on his Senate staff: Women in his Senate office, the ad says, earn 71 cents for every dollar men do.

“Tell Senator Begich to end unequal pay for women,” states the Crossroads ad. Crossroads spent $1.25 million to air the ad through Sept. 3.

Heh. They should be doing this everywhere it applies, which is most places. It’ll suppress Dem turnout, and it’s just well-deserved payback for that imbecilic “War On Women” meme.

LOYALTY QUESTIONS: ‘Twice as Many’ British Muslims Fighting for ISIS Than in UK Armed Forces.

There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP).

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years. . . .

The role of British jihadists fighting in the Middle East has been brought into sharp focus after Islamic State released a video showing the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley by a masked jihadist who spoke with a British accent.

That whole Labour immigration-surge thing isn’t looking so smart.

RELIABLE FRIENDS OF ANY ENEMY: Our Bien Pensant American Historians: The New Friends of Hamas.

IRINA MANTA AND ROBERT WAGNER: Intellectual Property Infringement As Vandalism.

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Plus another lefty plagiarism scandal.

ASHE SCHOW: Fallout from campus sexual assault hysteria: College men now suspicious of women.

Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.

At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.

This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.

Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a “hook-up culture” but is now labeled by feminists as “rape culture.” The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.

Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”

Gone are the days of buying a woman a drink – even if it’s just to be nice.

Gill also told Lauerman and Surane that after he passed on the contact information of a woman who said she was interested in his fraternity brother, his friend was hesitant to call her.

“Even though she was interested, he didn’t want to pressure her,” Gill said. “He was worried about making her feel uncomfortable.”

William Pollack, a Harvard Medical School psychologist, told the Bloomberg reporters about a patient who was kissing a girl during a party and began thinking about what would happen if things went further.

“‘I want to go to law school or medical school after this,’” the student said, according to Pollack. “‘I said to her, it’s been nice seeing you.’” . . . We’re facing a cultural shift where soon men might be afraid to talk to women at all for fear of being labeled rapists. Without presumed innocence on college campuses, the only way this will be fixed is after universities have to start paying out millions of dollars to students after being sued for denying them due process.

And with the current landscape – that might not be too far in the future.

At least in the original version, people got to have a lot of sex.

Next question: How many women will want to attend in such an environment?

WELL, THIS IS COMFORTING: This chart shows the stunning disappearance of middle-class jobs — everywhere.

REVOLVING DOOR UPDATE: The Hill: The Rise Of ‘Obama, Inc.’

The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

Members of the president’s brain trust have steadily moved outside the administration in recent years, capitalizing on their association with the Obama brand to launch careers as advisors, consultants and hired guns.

“You see people not only serving as representatives of a lobbying firm but taking these very high-profile corporate jobs. I think that is becoming more common,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “Businesses understand that this is a great opportunity for them.”

I’m sure it is. It’s also another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: 1,461 Days of Summer: Obama’s endless second-term vacation. He is like Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld. ‘His whole life is a fantasy camp,’ George Costanza says of his friend. ‘People should plunk down $2,000 to live like him for a week.’ Imagine what they would pay to live like Obama. . . . In the 1990s, we heard about the all-night delivery-pizza brainstorm sessions in the Clinton White House. In the teens, we hear about the soporific, self-congratulatory gourmet dinner parties where Obama is the star. . . . In the 1990s, America had a holiday from history. Today, it has a president on holiday. The boundary separating vacation from vocation has disappeared. The party won’t end for years. And the hangover will be severe.”

RESEARCH: The Capacity for Self-Governance and Post-Disaster Resiliency.

REMEMBER THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM. “On this 75th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, we recognize the morally reprehensible nature of the totalitarian ideas of Nazism and Stalinism, of fascism and communism. We also recall the historical fact that regimes dedicated to these deadly ideologies worked together to start World War II, and aided each other in murdering millions of innocent men, women, and children. We remember those victims on this Black Ribbon Day.”

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Median household net worth decreased by $5,046, or 6.8 percent, between 2000 and 2011. … Between 2000 and 2011, experiences of households varied widely depending on their net worth quintile (See Figure 1). Median household net worth decreased by $5,124 for households in the first (bottom) net worth quintile, $7,056 (or 49.3 percent) for the second quintile, and $5,072 (or 6.9 percent) for the third quintile. Median household net worth increased by $18,433 (or 9.8 percent) for households in the fourth quintile, and by $61,379 (or 10.8 percent) for households in the highest (top) quintile.”

August 22, 2014

JOHN MANCHIP WHITE, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Giant fissure splits the earth open in rural northwest Mexico.

White also wrote What To Do When The Russians Come, with Robert Conquest.

NARRATIVE CONTROL: Sanitizing terror: Has the press distorted Islamic radical’s crusade against gay men?

JESSE WALKER: Consolidating Governments Would Leave Black Ferguson With Even Less Power.

MICHELLE FIELDS with your Daily News Nuggets.

A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN depression and inflammation.


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DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Colorado Hiker Sings Opera to Calm Stalking Mountain Lion.

Can music soothe a savage beast? If you were to ask 40-year-old Kyra Kopenstonsky, she will tell you that it might have saved her from a cougar attack. Kopenstonsky was hiking a trail near Down Valley Park in Placerville, Colorado on Monday when she encountered a mountain lion. According to a report by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, the lion stalked the hiker for about 20 minutes, during which it would often jump forward and crouch whenever Kopenstonsky attempted to move backwards. She told deputies that when she first saw the animal, she picked up a large branch and attempted to look big. That did not seem to faze the cat, so Kopenstonsky said she did the next thing that came to her mind.

“I don’t know why, I just started singing opera really loud,” Koestonsky later told KUSA. “It kind of put its ears down and just kept looking at me, and it sort of backed away. Then, it came around the bushes an came towards me again and crouched about 10 feet away.”

Something in .454 Casull might have worked, too. Or if you don’t like handguns, this .458 SoCom AR-15 from Wilson Combat, which I’ve kinda had my eye on, should be more than sufficient to address pretty much any predator.

SCIENCE: Scientists Find Life Half a Mile Below Antarctic Ice.

WHAT GOOD IS A DAY OF RAGE WITHOUT ANY RAGE? We Must Have A #DayOfRage To Protest The Failure Of Yesterday’s #DayOfRage.

IRONIC: Calif. Lawmaker Votes for More Regs for Ride-Sharing, Then Gets Busted for DUI. “California Assemblyman Ben Hueso, a Democrat representing the San Diego area, was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for allegedly driving under the influence. This came just hours after voting for legislation that would force more regulation on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.”

BIG COMPANIES, IN MY EXPERIENCE, OFTEN HAVE TWO-FACED IDEAS ABOUT COPYRIGHT: Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your Content.

BRUCE SCHNEIER: The NSA Broke Our Trust In The Web. Now We Have To Break Up The NSA. “Today, the NSA’s intelligence mission has expanded from just government-on-government espionage to government-on-population surveillance. At the same time, the communications world has shifted from dedicated circuits that can be passively tapped to a single global Internet infrastructure that requires active attack to eavesdrop on. Everyone uses the same networks, and creating the capability to eavesdrop on foreign communications by engineering backdoors into US technology leaves domestic transmissions vulnerable to eavesdropping. The NSA’s aggressive data-gathering, with seemingly little regard for how that might compromise the security of everyday digital communications—and with only loose oversight (at best) by government watchdogs—has far exceeded what any modern and free society should reasonably expect. Breaking up the agency would do a lot to bring it under control.”

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IF HE WERE A REPUBLICAN, THIS WOULD LEAD THE NEWS: Reid apologizes for Asian jokes. You do have to wonder, though, what with the quotas under affirmative action, and the ethnic jokes, whether the Democrats really like Asians much.

RAMEN NOODLES — HEART ATTACK IN A BOWL? “Think of this the next time you slurp a cheap cup of hot ramen noodles: It could be linked to heart disease, especially if you’re a woman, the AP reports. A new American study of South Korea’s ramen consumption examined the diets of 10,700 people aged 19 to 64. They found both healthy (fish and rice) and unhealthy (meat and fast food) diet trends, but neither was linked to metabolic syndrome and ultimately heart disease, the New York Times explains. When instant noodles were thrown in the mix, researchers saw trouble. Women who ate a cup of them more than twice a week saw a 68% jump in cardiometabolic syndrome. It didn’t matter what else they ate.”

I’m going to stick to steak and red wine, just to be safe.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: ‘Sex Box,’ A Reality TV Show Where Couples Have Sex In A Box and Discuss It, Is Coming to America.

REGULATION: California DMV says Google’s self-driving car must have a steering wheel.

SARAH HOYT’S NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION, Crawling Between Heaven And Earth, is 99 cents on Kindle for a limited time. How can you say no?

IN PRAISE OF EFFICIENT PRICE GOUGING: Uber’s most important innovation is the way it prices its services. But that innovation has not been unreservedly welcomed by customers. They’re wrong.

Yes, but most people’s economic intuitions are — quite literally — paleolithic. Whole political ideologies have flourished by taking advantage of that.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Happens When A Volcano Erupts Under A Glacier.

REPORTER: I WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO FERGUSON. “The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle.”

ALEX LONG: The Forgotten Role of Consent in Defamation and Employment Reference Cases. The importance of those agreements.

IN THE MAIL: The Death of Sleep (Planet Pirates Book 2).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 470.

ROGER SIMON: Build The Border Fence, Already!

ANDREW KLAVAN: Democrats At War.

THE UGLY FACE OF UNIONISM: Padma Lakshmi and ‘Top Chef’ crew find Teamsters’ Local flavor bitter.

According to, the Teamsters threw up a picket line while the hit TV cooking competition was filming at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton. The union types were miffed because Bravo was using production assistants to drive their cars and not the union. When “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi arrived on the set, picketers called her a “(expletive) whore,” our source confirmed, and threatened to “bash that pretty face in.”

The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made.

More here:

The Teamsters picketers were already mad. By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you fucking whore!” . . .

“She got of her car in front of the location and quickly ran through the picket line,” a source said. “They were yelling, ‘You bitch! You slut! We’re gonna get you!’ It went on like that all day.”

And they wonder why people would rather use non-union help.

EVEN THE NEW YORK TIMES IS NOTICING: A Terrorist Horror, Then Golf: Incongruity Fuels Obama Critics.

SAD THAT ENVIRONMENTALISTS OPPOSE THIS NEW GREEN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY: Fuzzy Math Can’t Hide Shale Boom’s Green Credentials. “One day, with the right technologies, we’ll be able to power society without relying on fossil fuels, but we’re not there yet. Until then, natural gas is one of our best options, and greens would do well to recognize the fracking boom for what it is: good news.” It’s only good news if clean cheap energy is your goal.

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PROF. PHILIP HAMBURGER: The SEC And The Cascade Of Evasions. “The SEC clearly hopes to use administrative proceedings to evade the constitutional right to jury. When discussing the recent trial losses suffered by the SEC, Ceresney defended its evasion by talking about the SEC as if it were a victim of unfortunate circumstances in court — circumstances that ordinarily are called juries. . . . But the juries have a point. The SEC, in reality, is acting as a prosecutor. Notwithstanding the pretense of “civil penalties” — a strange oxymoron — the SEC candidly proclaims on its website that ‘the SEC is a law enforcement agency.’ Indeed, its proceedings are government enforcement actions that seek to punish or correct, and they thus are criminal in nature. No surprise, then, that juries expect more than a civil burden of proof. Rather than a problem, this is a reminder of why juries are valuable.”

They’re only valuable if you want to protect individual freedom and government accountability. That’s not the SEC’s priority. And as Hamburger notes, it’s not just the SEC: “The ever widening evasion of constitutional rights is worrisome. Administrative agencies, such as the SEC, enforce important laws, but this is no justification for their evasion of rights — let alone the cascading evasions that threaten to make judges and juries nearly irrelevant. At one point or another, the judges will have to face up to the expanding evasions, and the longer they wait, the more difficult their task will be.”

ROLL CALL: GAO: Pentagon Broke Law in Bergdahl Case.

The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.

Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.

What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange.

Anti-Deficiency Act violations are a serious thing. But will a False Claims Act action lie?

I BLAME RACISM: Republicans support President Obama on Iraq more than Democrats.

Most Americans support the White House’s limited airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, with a majority of Republicans enthusiastically backing the effort, according to new Washington Post-ABC News survey.

The Aug. 13-17 survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, found that 61 percent of self-identified Republican respondents support the airstrikes, while only 54 percent of Democrats say the same.

I mean, it’s already been established that there’s no other possible reason for disapproving of anything Obama does, right? So it’s got to be racism.

SHOCKER: Revolving door at regulator CFPB enables former bureaucrats to cash in at taxpayers’ expense.

Peter Carroll helped shape the mortgage regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until this spring. Now, Carroll is senior vice president of capital markets at Wells Fargo Home Mortgages, the largest private mortgage lender in the country.

Carroll’s colleague, Lisa Applegate, was the “Mortgage Implementation Lead,” at CFPB, and now she’s “strategic quality manager within Wells’ home lending capital markets group,” according to American Banker magazine.

Carroll’s replacement at CFPB, Patricia McClung, was recently at the National Association of Realtors (one of the largest lobbying groups in the country), and for years was an executive at failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

What’s remarkable about the revolving-door action at the CFPB this year is that it’s completely unremarkable for the agency.

The Democratic Congress and the Obama White House created the CFPB with its 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. The top aides to Messrs. Dodd and Frank, of course, have cashed out to K Street and Wall Street.

Yet another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

MISSOURI DEMOCRAT: “Rand Paul Was Right.”

“Rand Paul was right. He talked about how we cannot militarize our cities. That what it looked like.

“I’ve never seen anything like it and I grew up in the South during the civil rights days,” he said.

He and Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said the military-grade weapons and equipment donated by the Pentagon to local agencies were never intended to be used against citizens engaged in civil disobedience.

Well, I’m not so sure about that.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: American University’s Washington College of Law Plunges In Rankings, But Builds $130 Million New Campus.

MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINISTRATION EVER: White House Going With ‘Security By Obscurity’ As Excuse For Refusing To Release Security Details.

JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO OBAMA WAS CALLING THEM JUNIOR VARSITY: Defense secretary: ISIS threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen.’ I predict that the press won’t make a lot of this 180-degree shift in position.

August 21, 2014

“ANYONE BUT OBAMA” SENTIMENT DOESN’T EXTEND TO HILLARY: YouGov poll: Most Americans, and most Democrats, do not wish Hillary had won in 2008.

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ED DRISCOLL: Dispatches From The CNN Style Guide. “And CNN wonders why it long ago lost the trust of a nation.”

CENSORSHIP: University Blocks Student Access To “Harmful” Webpages.

Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites. For their own good, of course. The internet is a dangerous place, and we wouldn’t want students inadvertently coming across something controversial, now would we?

Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy “Web Page Access Warning.” The “warning” is that the students are about to go somewhere that probably violates NIU internet policy. One student reported the policy to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page. That’s right, its Wikipedia page.

NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for the policy. Yes, a public institution of higher learning believes that it is just common sense—and ethical—to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators.

Is it any wonder that higher education is losing respect?

BOB ZUBRIN: Free Kurdistan!

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: It’s Alive(ish)! Brain Cells Grow and Respond in Artificial Tissue.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is Breakfast Overrated? “For years, we’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But scientific support for that idea has been surprisingly meager, and a spate of new research at several different universities — published in multiple articles in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — could change the way we think about early-hours eating.” Yet another place where the settled science wasn’t.

NICK GILLESPIE: The Libertarian Moment In Ferguson.

What has helped the story to go fully national, however, is that the events surrounding it exemplify the concerns that libertarians have been raising for decades about the militarization of police, which has its roots both in the drug war and the post-9/11 terror-industrial complex. As my former colleague Radley Balko, now at The Washington Post, has documented for years (first at The Cato Institute, then at Reason, and most fully in last year’s Rise of the Warrior Cop), “The buzz phrase in policing today is officer safety. You’ll also hear lots of references to preserving order, and fighting wars, be it on crime, drugs, or terrorism. Those are all concepts that emphasize confrontation. It’s a view that pits the officers as the enforcer, and the public as the entity upon which laws and policies and procedures are to be enforced.”

I remember when the catchphrase on Hill Street Blues changed from “Let’s be careful out there,” to “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.” In retrospect, that seems like an inflection point.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: In a fun competition to design a 3-D-printed Martian habitat, three designs are finalists.

WHEN MODELS DISAGREE WITH TEMPERATURE RECORDS, well, the state of knowledge must be imperfect. I like the way the model-makers say that this means the temperature records must be wrong. . . .

THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S ALL SECURITY THEATER: Researchers Easily Slipped Weapons Past TSA’s X-Ray Body Scanners. “The glaring vulnerabilities the researchers found in the security system demonstrate how poorly the machines were tested before they were deployed at a cost of more than $1 billion to more than 160 American airports.” Security theater, and, likely, graft.

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MAY/DECEMBER? ISN’T THIS MORE LIKE AUGUST/DECEMBER? Richard Gere And Padma Lakshmi’s May-December Romance Still Going Strong! “The 64-year-old Richard and 43-year-old Padma were spotted on a romantical dinner date in New Jersey and according to a source, the pair looked quite cozy.” Or maybe September/December? I mean if she were 23 it would be a May/December.

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Best Way to Brush Your Teeth? Experts Disagree.