December 14, 2014

GENE LYONS: No Defense For The Mistakes In the Rolling Stone Rape Story.

Preppy WASPs, of course, are America’s last acceptable criminal class. A journalist can “profile” them all she wants with no fear of chastisement. On a recent Slate podcast, Erdeley explained she’d decided to write about UVA’s heavy-drinking “elitist fraternity culture” even before she’d met “Jackie,” the alleged victim.

“Southern” was a big part of it, too. . . .

If Rolling Stone’s story reads like a Stephen King novel, that may be because it’s largely imaginary.

UVA pledge events take place during spring semester, not September; there was no fraternity party. The side door Jackie escaped from doesn’t exist. Her three friends say they encountered her about a mile from Phi Kappa Psi that night, telling a lurid, but very different story involving forced oral sex. Jackie had no visible wounds. It was she who insisted on keeping quiet.

They also say Erdeley never interviewed them.

Jackie’s alleged seducer “Drew” never belonged to the fraternity and denies ever dating Jackie — an easy alibi to break, unless true.

The scales having fallen from my eyes, I keep returning to the scene where guys outside an off-campus bar supposedly called Jackie a “feminazi bitch.”

“One flung a bottle at Jackie that broke on the side of her face,” we’re told, “leaving a blood-red bruise around her eye.”

Maybe an NFL quarterback could throw a beer bottle hard enough to break on somebody’s face, but I doubt it. The victim, however, would be more than bruised. She’d be lucky to survive.

And there would definitely be a police report.

Indeed. Interesting to see this coming from a Dem columnist generally regarded as part of the Hillary orbit.

NEIL TYSON THINKS THAT aliens would be shocked that humans are violent.

I do believe he’s unfamiliar with the scientific literature on the subject.

WAIT, WHAT WAS JOE BIDEN DOING IN NEW YORK? Eric Garner Protesters in NY Attack 2 Officers, ‘Bag of Hammers’ Discovered.

I’D RATHER HAVE A GUN: Man Fights Off 3 Bear Attacks With 5″ Knife. I expect he’d rather have had a gun, too, but you go with what you’ve got.

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THE FUTURE OF LAW: I Am An Artisanal Attorney. “We—and many others like us—insist on authenticity in everything in our lives. We don’t want to eat. We want the fullness that only comes from a meal created by the human experience. We don’t want to drink. We want the buzz that is produced by the draught of a person’s skill. It occurred to me that people who demand realness in their food and homes should also demand it in their legal representation. That was when I became an artisanal attorney. . . . Like other artisans, I pay close attention to my ingredients and process; I am intimately involved in all stages of creation. Other attorneys print their documents on paper they buy in mass-produced boxes, tens of thousands of sheets at a time, using ink that mechanically jets onto the page. I make my own paper by hand, using the traditional methods of 14th-century book publishers, who printed their works on linen and vellum. The flax for the linen grows along the sides of a nearby swimming hole, and the plants’ growth is influenced by the laughter of children in the summer, when I pick it by hand. The vellum comes from the grass-fed cows of an area farm; to give the cows more agency in the vellum-making process, I let them choose the pumice I will treat their hides with after slaughter. I also make my own ink, using the ink of squid I raise myself in a PETA-approved salt-water aquarium in my office. You can meet all my squid during our initial meeting and pick which one you want for the ink on your will or healthcare power of attorney.”

A NEWER, LIGHTER Audi Q7.

VITAMIN D UPDATE: Vitamin D deficiency common, even in Sunshine State.

Related: 5 Important Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Vitamin D. Actually, InstaPundit readers probably did know these things.

I take Vitamin D every day. My supplement routine is still pretty much as described in this post, except that I stopped taking the fish oil because of research suggesting it might increase prostate cancer risk, and I’ve started taking Niagen.

GARY TAUBES, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Can High-Fructose Corn Syrup Make You Hungrier?

Distinct from sugar known as glucose (produced by the natural breakdown of complex carbohydrates), fructose is also a “simple” sugar and a natural component of fruit.

However, “in a series of studies we have found that when compared to glucose, the simple sugar, fructose, is a weaker suppressor of brain areas that help control appetite and the motivation to eat,” said study co-author Dr. Kathleen Page, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In other words, people are more likely to remain feeling hungry after a meal with lots of fructose versus one with lots of glucose.

Hmm.

GREEN ARROGANCE: Peru Is Indignant After Greenpeace Makes Its Mark on Ancient Site. “The Peruvian authorities said activists from the group damaged a patch of desert when they placed a large sign that promoted renewable energy near a set of lines that form the shape of a giant hummingbird. . . . Greenpeace issued a statement apologizing for the stunt at the archaeological site, about 225 miles south of Lima. Its international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, flew to Lima, but the Peruvian authorities were seething over the episode, which they said had scarred one of the country’s most treasured national symbols.” Worrying about environmental impacts is for the little people.

ADVOCACY JOURNALISM: So new DOJ figures come out showing that campus sexual assault is less common than off-campus sexual assault, and that the rate is a tiny fraction of what activists claim, and what’s the spin? Sexual assaults go unreported. Not even a mention of the other, narrative-threatening, findings.

IN THE MAIL: From Mitzi Perdue, Tough Man, Tender Chicken: Business and Life Lessons from Frank Perdue. Mitzi Perdue is a longtime InstaPundit reader, and this biography, which I opened up and read as soon as it arrived, is a great story of making it big through hard work, attention to detail, and focus on customers.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 584.

UPSIDE: PLENTY OF FACILITIES FOR THE AIRBRIDGE TO RESIST A RUSSIAN INVASION. EU funds help Poland build ‘ghost’ airports. “The European Union has given Poland more than 100 million euros ($125 million) to build at least three “ghost” airports in places where there are not enough passengers to keep them in business. The result is gleaming new airport terminals which, even at the peak of the holiday season, echo to the sound of empty concourses and spend millions trying to attract airlines.”

SHOCKER: “Green” Europe Fudging Car Emissions Numbers.

Europeans sip gasoline while Americans guzzle it, or at least that’s how the story goes. But as the Economist reports, once you look under the hood, Europe’s fuel efficiency emissions standards are a little suspect. . . .

Contrast that with the U.S., which, under President Obama, has enacted some very strong fuel efficiency standards that are putting a sizable dent in our nation’s carbon footprint, even without the kinds of test fudging seen across the Atlantic. Europe likes to think itself a paragon of green policies, but with electricity costs spiraling and coal consumption rising, it looks like it’s having to resort to some fuzzy math to defend its eco-friendly status.

Pretty typical, for the EU.

IT BEATS A REAL JOB: Why Would Anyone Sign Up to Be the Next Mary Landrieu? “She was trounced by a Republican and abandoned by Democrats. Now her party has to convince a promising young politician to risk running the same gauntlet.”

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HOWIE CARR ON THE PEOPLE WHO ONCE CALLED THEMSELVES “THE REALITY-BASED COMMUNITY:” Moonbats defend fable not the facts. “Not familiar with Rolling Stone? What Tiger Beat used to be for teenybopper girls, Rolling Stone is for the Pajama Boy generation . . . . The UVA fiasco is what happens when they try to write something other than a mash note to a heroin addict.”

RAND PAUL’S REVENGE: Now That The Senate Is Done Investigating Torture, Will Drone Killings Be Next?

President Obama’s targeted killing program has been one of the more confounding strategical decisions of his presidency. For liberal supporters who voted to elect a constitutional-law professor in 2008 and a candidate who had campaigned against harsh interrogation practices like waterboarding, it would have been hard to imagine that just years later they’d see a president who keeps a “kill list” of suspected terrorists. . . .

“I was not satisfied with the legal analysis that I read in the classified document by the Department of Justice,” says Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is on the Intelligence Committee. “To me, when an American is involved, it raises very different questions then when we are striking a foreign terrorist.” Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who had worked with al-Qaida, was killed in a 2011 drone strike under legal authority the administration derived from the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Details about how drones are used to kill terrorists remain unknown, a fact leaders on Capitol Hill harbor concerns about. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who is in line to be the next Senate Foreign Relations chairman, said it’s an area ripe for oversight.

President Obama says he’s really good at killing people.

ED DRISCOLL: At Harvard, A Primal Scream.

NEW DEMANDS ON MEN IN THE WORKPLACE: “Women have no idea what men in the workplace are dealing with when they work with women. And men, despite what the author thinks, are not there to babysit women by telling them to ask for raises, brushing away tears and ‘twisting’ women’s arms to ask for her own promotion.”

Is it any wonder so many men are on strike?

VIDEO: Prof. Jacobson: “Any man on campus is at risk.”

December 13, 2014

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TEACH BOYS NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE BY TEACHERS: Principal sobs as she reveals how pupil’s false affair claims ended her career and turned ‘everyone against her’ before judge laughed them out of court.

Yeah, this is like a grand convergence of InstaPundit themes here. . . . But false accusations do a lot of harm. Perhaps as women face more of them, society as a whole will take more note.

EUROPE WOULD HAVE BEEN VASTLY BETTER OFF IF THIS HAD SPREAD, AS AUTHORITIES FEARED: Remembering The 1914 Christmas Truce.

LOOKING AT AN EARLIER QUESTIONABLE CAMPUS RAPE PIECE IN ROLLING STONE BY NINA BURLEIGH, Tom Maguire notices a pattern.

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BUT FOLLOW THE LINK FOR JOE BIDEN’S HISTORY OF VIOLENT ASSAULT AND DEATH THREATS: Semi-retired president: “I spend most of my time watching ESPN in the morning.”

SOON, THE FLOODGATES WILL OPEN: SMU Cited For Inadequate Response To Male Victim’s Complaint Of Sexual Assault.

I WONDER WHERE IT CAME FROM: California Battling Worst Whooping Cough Epidemic In 70 Years.

SEAN COLLINS: Rolling Stone And The Myth Of A Rape Epidemic.

HAPPY 12/13/14!

JAMES W. CEASER: The Flight from Reason on Campus, And the madness of crowds.

“AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT” GETS TRAGIC: “An Iowa state lawmaker says he loved visiting his wife at a nursing home before her death at age 79. But prosecutors have filed felony charges against him, saying that her Alzheimer’s made her unable to consent to his sexual desires.” Note the phrasing. Now imagine the genders reversed.

Much more detailed thoughts from Eugene Volokh.

BUT WHAT KIND OF SHIRTS WERE THEY WEARING WHEN THEY PERFORMED THIS RESEARCH? Scientists: Rosetta Data Indicate Earth’s Water Didn’t Come From Comets.

HE SOUNDS LIKE A PUTZ, BUT UNLESS MIT KNOWS SOMETHING I DON’T (AND THEY MIGHT) THIS SEEMS KINDA STALINIST: Prof: MIT Hospitalized Me For Ferguson Tweets. “A tenured professor of literature at MIT is claiming that the school institutionalized him for ranting about academia’s response to Ferguson on Twitter.”

YEAH, THAT’S PRETTY MUCH MY TAKE: Forget Hydrogen Cars, and Buy a Hybrid. If we had, say, orbital solar plants providing the power to electrolyze water then a hydrogen fuel economy might make sense. But if you’re making your hydrogen using fossil fuels. . . .

I drove a hydrogen fuel car for Popular Mechanics a while back. Here’s my review.

I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING THESE EVERYWHERE FOR A WHILE: You Can Now Make GIFs Directly from YouTube.

WELL, YES: The Government’s Mandatory Calorie Counts May Be Hazardous to Your Health.

In a Reynolds Administration, the position of Food Czar will be held not by Michelle Obama, but by Gary Taubes.

UPDATE: Really? Really? People are giving me crap in the comments over an imaginary Reynolds Administration having imaginary czars? Well yes, yes they are.

IN THE MAIL: From Ryk E. Spoor, Paradigms Lost.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 583.

OOPS: Feinstein Torture Report Polling Badly.

It turns out, however, that about half of Americans, who’ve been witnessing bomb attacks and barbaric beheadings, are just fine with the nasty CIA questioning and see real value in preventing future losses of American lives in unprovoked and unanticipated attacks. Rasmussen Reports this week surveyed 1,000 likely voters and found that 49% agreed with both Republican and Democrat former intelligence chiefs that such questioning produced valuable information that protected the country.

A similar percentage (47%) believe such aggressive interrogation methods should be used against these captives. Thirty-three percent were opposed while 20% claimed to be unsure.

Forty-nine percent of Democrats oppose enhanced interrogation. But those types evenly divide on whether the information gathered is valuable regardless.

Among Republicans and independents, the lines are clear. A majority of GOP members (64%) and a plurality of independents (48%) are good with water-boarding etc.

While 69% of Republicans and 46% of unaffiliateds believe valuable intel comes from them. The more that respondents have followed the Feinstein report and its torture allegations, the more value they see in such severe interrogations.

Interestingly, you get similar results from this YouGov poll. Interestingly, if you click through to the crosstabs there you find that more women than men think the Feinstein report has hurt American national security.

So was releasing the report (1) A partisan tactic that fizzled because the Dems didn’t know how it would poll; (2) A base-rallying technique; or (3) A bold act of principle done in the face of known unfavorable polling?

Meanwhile, most damning in the YouGov poll is that hardly anyone, of any gender or party, thinks the CIA is under the control of the President and Congress.

GLEICHSCHALTUNG! Next Time You Visit a National Park, You Might Get a Lecture on Climate Change.

Ettling has spent his summers working as a park ranger at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon for nearly a decade. He is on a mission to teach visitors that man-made global warming is real. But climate change can be a touchy subject. So Ettling devised a strategy. When a park visitor casts doubt on global warming, he makes an appeal to their pocketbook.

“I try to shift the conversation away from polar bears and ice caps,” Ettling says. “I tell people there are a lot of things they can do to save money on their electric bill that will also help the environment. Usually, I can get through to them that way.”

Do they pitch ObamaCare, too?

I THINK I’M GETTING AN INKLING OF WHY BAR-FAILURE RATES ARE UP: UCLA law professor learns Ferguson-related exam question taboo. “Law school exams often present legal conundrums ripped from headlines of the day, but one UCLA law professor is apologizing for basing a test question on what is apparently a taboo subject — the fallout from the police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Mo.” Grow up. It’s already hard enough to get a job in law without gaining a reputation for being hothouse flowers with pre-chipped shoulders.

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IT’LL BE HARD FOR THE RIGHT TO RESPOND IN KIND BECAUSE THERE ARE SO FEW LEFT-LEANING LEGISLATURES LEFT: Liberal group plots to catch GOP state pols being racist and sexist.

The leader of a group hoping to improve liberals’ fortunes at the state level revealed on Friday plans to start tracking conservative state legislators based on the assumption that “someone’s going to say something about black people” or women.

The comments came at the first ever conference of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), the Left’s attempt to counter conservative policy successes that have followed Republican victories at the state level.

“We’re working with David Brock and Media Matters and American Bridge who have trackers that we can send out to monitor the debate on some bills that you all might be running,” Nick Rathod, executive director of SiX, said. “I think in many legislatures my understanding is that a lot of legislatures stream their floor debates but don’t necessarily transcribe it or capture it in any kind of way. And so we want to start capturing them on that. I think we know, someone’s going to say something about black people. Someone’s going to say something about women. Someone is going to say something.”

Hey, I’ve got an absurdly sexist — and probably racist — legislator from a red state for you right here:

I don’t keep up with football, except college football. Unless it’s Eli Manning or Peyton Manning. Eli and Peyton don’t do sexual assaults against people, other than their wives.

Run with it! What? Oh, right. . . .

DAVID HARSANYI: The GOP Establishment Needs To Get Over Its Fear Of Primary Fights. They’re not afraid of primary fights. They just prefer coronations.

NICK GILLESPIE: Journalistic Hypocrisy Over Hacked Emails vs. Celebrity Pics.

It was just a few months ago that everybody and his grandmother was truly livid—or at least feigned anger before firing up our search engines—when hackers released naked pictures of celebrities ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Kate Upton to Dave Franco. Curiously, such outrage is almost completely missing in the media’s response to the massive hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which may be linked to the North Korean government and has dumped private emails, contracts, files of unreleased movies, and more all across the Internet.

This time around, there is unapologetic prurience at the chance to get a real behind-the-scenes look at an industry long notorious for its wicked, backbiting, and hypocritical ways. Big-shot producer Scott Rudin tells Sony co-chair Amy Pascal he thinks Angelina Jolie is “a minimally talented spoiled brat”? A-List director David Fincher is as difficult as Hitler was anti-Semitic? Tell us more!

Whatever the differences in public responses, the episodes underscore two basic points that are worth learning fast: First, nobody cares about other people’s privacy, especially if the divulged material is juicy enough. Second, privacy is itself a highly fluid concept that will have probably changed yet again by the time you finish reading this article. Once upon a time, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that federal agents didn’t need warrants to tap phones. Privacy is invented more than it is discovered.

And if journalists didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

I DON’T THINK HE SHOULD RUN. BUT IF HE DOES, HIS SLOGAN SHOULD BE “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.” As Romney Warned, Russian Nuclear Aggression Rises In Face of American Weakness.

PETER SUDERMAN: Jonathan Gruber is a Liar. Was He a Liar Under Oath?

He seems to have spoken “glibly” on multiple occasions.

As The Hill notes, in a late 2010 lecture to students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Gruber is a faculty member, he talked about the health law and described his role in its creation, saying, “Full disclaimer: I’m going to describe it objectively, but I helped write it.”

In another 2010 video, captured by C-SPAN and posted at Townhall, Gruber also noted his bias in favor of the law while claiming to have helped write it. “Once again, unabashed, I helped write the federal [health care] bill as well,” he said. That remark was made the same month that Obamacare was signed into law.

Two years later, Gruber hadn’t changed his story. In a now-infamous 2012 lecture on the law’s health exchanges at Noblis, Gruber not only said that states that don’t set up exchanges don’t have access to tax subsidies, he also referred to the “the one bit of the bill I actually wrote.”

The issue isn’t whether those statements were glib. It’s whether they were true. (Notably, when asked by Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R-Tenn.) whether other embarassing videotaped statements were lies or not, Gruber would only say that his remarks were “glib and thoughtless and really inexcusable.”)

There is no way to reconcile his multiple past statements with the statements he made this week while under oath. Either Gruber spent two years lying about his role in writing the law, or he was lying this week in his sworn congressional testimony.

Will the statute of limitations run before Attorney General Kurt Schlichter takes over DOJ under President Cruz?

December 12, 2014

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Study proves high heels do have power over men. I suppose this means they should be banned, in the name of equality.

BUT REMEMBER, IF YOU HAD ANY DOUBTS YOU’RE A “RAPE DENIALIST” OR SOMETHING: ABC: Witnesses ignored by Rolling Stone undermine another key part of “Jackie” narrative.

Related: As UVA Rape Story Falls Apart; Feminists Try to Save ‘Rape Culture’ Narrative. “Rape culture” is real. Just in places like ISIS’ Iraq or Boko Haram’s Nigeria, not on American college campuses. Strangely, feminists are completely uninterested in doing anything about those places.

GOVERNMENT BY CROMNIBUS: Blind, Deaf and Dumb. The important thing is that members of Congress get to reward donors without taking clear responsibility.

Related: House Quietly Passes Monstrous, Privacy-Invading Intel Bill.

CREEPING SHARIA: I’m Offended By The UK’s Porn Restrictions—And You Should Be Too.

WELL, THIS IS DISAPPOINTING: Ebola Vaccine Trial Halted Over Side Effects. “Researchers reported four cases of mild joint pain in the hands and feet in people who got the shot 10 to 15 days earlier; before the joint pain kicked in, a handful of subjects experienced mild fever. . . . The trial is scheduled to resume Jan. 5 in Geneva after the hospital is able to determine if the joint pain symptoms were ‘benign and temporary.’”

12 DAYS OF DEALS: Christmas Deals in Home Goods.

Also, $25 off the Kindle Fire HD7.

RICH VAIL COULD USE SOME HELP. I hit his PayPal.

SO I’VE RESISTED POSTING MUCH ABOUT THE DETAILS OF MY OWN WORKOUTS, because I don’t think there’s anything exceptional about them beyond what you can get from Rippetoe, and there’s nothing more boring than a middle-aged man going on and on about his workouts. But people keep asking so here’s a bit of background.

I thought I was overtraining this fall — felt sluggish, tended to just run out of gas at the end on the heavy lifts, etc. — and so trimmed back to fewer exercises, jettisoning the deadlift. This turned out, after a couple of months when I finally developed noticeable symptoms, to be a sinus infection, not overtraining, so now I’m gradually returning to the full routine. But at this point my lifts (all for 3 sets of 5) are: Squats: 280lbs. Overhead Press: 140lbs. Rows, 200lbs. Bench: 160lbs. I also do shoulder lateral raises, currently with a pair of 50lb dumbbells. These are respectable, but not anything to brag about, but I’ve come up quite a bit in the year or so that I’ve been doing the Rippetoe method with serious intensity. I only recently switched from dips to bench presses (I tend to avoid those because of a rotator cuff tear many years ago, but so far so good) and the rows have just been kind of stuck. I’m in the process of switching from the rows to the power cleans. I found those intimidating at the beginning but now they seem less so.

I don’t drink a gallon of milk a day. (Sorry, Rip, I just can’t do it.) I do drink a glass of the Cruze Dairy unhomogenized pastured whole milk before a workout though. It tastes as good as ice cream, and probably has as much butterfat. . . .

Helen measured me a while back, and since starting last year I had gained 3″ around my shoulders, 4″ around my chest, 2″ around my biceps, and 1/2″ around my waist. We didn’t measure legs, but my thighs are noticeably bigger around, and my butt is both bigger and differently shaped, which is going to necessitate a new cut of jeans — the Bill’s Khakis jeans I’ve worn for years now feel kinda tight in the thighs when I cross my legs. I’ve also found that some jackets, etc., don’t fit right any more, but I can live with that. My weight is up about 15 lbs., but most of that seems to be muscle. Sorry, no Geraldo-style shirtless selfies, though.

As I mentioned earlier, my blood pressure has stayed low, my resting heart rate is 62, and at my last checkup in September, my doctor pronounced my bloodwork “terrific” and my EKG “pristine.” This despite the fact that I’m currently doing no cardio at all except, occasionally, running stairs for 90-second intervals. No guarantee that you’ll see the same results if you try the Rippetoe approach, but it’s certainly worked for me. In particular, the computer-related aches and pains in my back, neck, hips shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc. are all gone. It would be worth it just for that, given how much I’m on the computer. . . .

UPDATE: Link was bad before; fixed now. Sorry!

JEFFREY KLUGER: Apollo 17 And The Case For Returning To The Moon.

By the way, his Apollo 13 book, Lost Moon, written with Jim Lovell, is terrific.

THE NEW LANGUAGE OF SEXUAL CONSENT: Newspeak.

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THE GOLDEN QUARTER: Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled? The Greens and the Luddites got power, just as Nixon initiated the Regulatory Explosion that brought us OSHA, EPA, and various new regulatory regimes, even as money was being diverted to transfer payments to people who didn’t produce anything except votes — from funding the X-15 to funding Section 8. Not a formula for progress.

FREDDIE DE BOER: What progressives don’t want to talk about in the Rolling Stone scandal: A presumption of truth in every rape accusation is an impossible standard. And it’s doing real damage to the cause of fighting sexual assaults. It’s almost as if “fighting sexual assaults” isn’t progressives’ top priority.

WHO NEEDS CANARIES? Smartphones As Gas Detectors.

NONEMPLOYED: The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind. “Men today may feel less pressure to find jobs because they are less likely than previous generations to be providing for others. Only 28 percent of men without jobs — compared with 58 percent of women — said a child under 18 lived with them.”

Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

JUST WATCH OUT FOR THE GURNING: Special K, a Hallucinogen, Raises Hopes and Concerns as a Treatment for Depression.

SEEMS LIKE WE USED TO BE BETTER AT THIS SORT OF THING: Why Seattle’s Huge Tunnel-Boring Machine Is Still Stuck.

ASHE SCHOW: Advocacy groups must believe rape accusers without evidence, others should not. “We now live in a society where the search for the truth — things like facts and evidence and true investigation — is labeled as victim-blaming and an impediment to justice. A society where an accuser’s word — and sometimes, a university’s made-up version of the accuser’s word — becomes gospel, and evidence provided by the accused is ignored. A society where false statistics are repeated and those who disagree are disparaged as ‘rape apologists.’” It’s not about helping rape victims. It’s about protecting a racket from dangerous scrutiny.

Related: Triple Jeopardy and No Lawyers at SMU.

IN THE MAIL: From Anna Franco, Hummingbirds in Winter.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 582.

IT’S BEEN A BAD COUPLE OF WEEKS FOR HARVARD, and Howie Carr puts the boot in.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Lessons From The Rolling Stone Debacle.

When questions first emerged, a number of people treated quashing those questions as the moral equivalent of war, attacking the questioners as if being skeptical of a story was itself wrong — rather than exactly the spirit of inquiry that makes science, and public debate, work. Others pointed out that trauma victims often have fragmentary or contradictory memories, which is generally true of all eyewitnesses, not just trauma victims, and not really sufficient to explain the gaping holes in this particular story. When we get wedded to our narratives, we become blind. That is true of everyone — the people who were appropriately skeptical of this story as well as the people who weren’t — and we all need to be on guard against it all the time. . . .

Before the problems emerged with the Rolling Stone story, I saw a lot of people talking as if this story somehow represented a broad and pervasive problem on college campuses rather than a single incident. Even if the story had held up, this would have been a vast overstatement. All sorts of horrific crimes happen in America, and the legal system does not always get the justice we would like. They are not necessarily representative of American culture, or even flaws in our institutions; they are reflections of the fact that we live in a big country, and like any big country, we have some bad apples.

But people who are worried about the problem of false rape accusations are now in danger of making the same mistake. If Jackie’s story is a hoax, it is no more representative than it would be if it were true. It is one story. Were reporters and editors excessively credulous because of the nature of the accusation? That seems likely. But that doesn’t mean that most accusations of rape are false, or that feminists are happy to tell fake stories in order to advance the cause.

Well, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of evidence for that last proposition. Or if not “fake stories,” certainly “too good to check stories,” told with reckless disregard for whether they’re true or not.

JOURNALISM: Leaked Emails Reveal Maureen Dowd Promised To Show Sony Exec’s Husband Column Before Publication. “The end result was a column that painted Pascal in such a good light that she engaged in a round of mutual adulation with Dowd over email after its publication. It also scored Pascal points back at the studio, with Sony’s then-communications-chief calling the column ‘impressive.’” And note that it’s two elite women working together to complain about being kept down by a conspiracy of “white males.”

It’s pathetic hacks all the way down. This would be a firing offense at some papers, though.

KANGAROO SEX COURT FLASHBACK: What Yale and the Times Did to Patrick Witt.

Related: The Sexual Harassment Policy That Nearly Ruined My Life. #MensLivesMatter.

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CIRCLE DANCING: The President Of Smith College Slips Up, Says Something Inclusive. “University presidents such as McCartney are usually already so leftist themselves that their ‘surrender’ isn’t really a surrender at all, merely an acknowledgment of a momentary slip-up in an otherwise seamless web of leftist PC thought, from administration to professor to student and back again, everyone dancing in a ring.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Dumpster Diving Into the ABA’s 509 Information Reports (Statistics + Graphs).

Holy precipitous decline Batman! Just look at all that red. I had to make this chart gigantic to fit the huge declines the schools have been facing. Again, it’s much, much worse at the bottom ranked schools, but a few things stand out.

Virginia and Michigan, the #9 and #10 ranked schools respectively, both have had double-digit percentage decline in matriculants. Is that just tightening the belt a bit or a sign of things to come?
The bottom ranked schools, with the exception of Chapman, are having a bloodletting. New York Law School has had nearly a 50% decline in matriculants since 2011. That can’t be sustainable.
This isn’t even taking into account all the “unranked” schools listed by US News & World Reports.

All in all, it looks like the general malaise affecting law schools is going to continue.

Ouch. It’s getting less and less fun to say I told you so.

POLL: 70% Want Congress To Keep Probing IRS. “Call it a ‘kumbaya’ question, as majorities of Democrats (60 percent), independents (75 percent) and Republicans (78 percent) support lawmakers continuing to dig. The new poll also asked why the White House is refusing to release thousands of pages of documents related to the IRS targeting. By nearly three-to-one people think it’s because the administration wants to keep its role in the scandal secret (63 percent) rather than to keep taxpayer information confidential (22 percent). Even Democrats are more likely to say the Obama White House is withholding documents to hide its involvement (45 percent) rather than to protect taxpayers (35 percent).”

WELCOME TO THE CROWD, SISTER: Pelosi ‘enormously disappointed’ in Obama.

BYRON YORK: Obama opens fraud-ridden benefits programs to illegal immigrants.

President Obama’s unilateral executive action on immigration will make hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, illegal immigrants eligible for federal transfer payments. That will be done primarily through two widely used programs — the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC.

As it turns out, those two programs are already among the most corrupt and fraud-ridden in the entire federal government. A newly-released report from the inspector general of the Internal Revenue Service confirms that the EITC is plagued by fraud (which was already well known) and also reveals for the first time that the ACTC is even worse.

The two programs, intended for low-income workers, are what is known as refundable tax credits. That means they give workers a tax refund that is larger than their tax liability. So a family with a tax bill of $1,000 might receive an EITC “refund” of $5,000, meaning the family doesn’t write a check to the government but rather receives a check from the government. The ACTC works similarly for low-income workers with children.

Supported by both political parties over the years, the programs were intended to encourage work and strengthen families. Their growth has been extraordinary in recent years — payments increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2012 alone. And now both are beset by staggering levels of fraud.

To some that’s not a bug, but a feature.

HMM: Democrats’ CIA gambit backfires. “I strongly suspect Senate Democrats did not anticipate the events that played out after the release of their much-criticized report on CIA interrogation tactics. Sure, the gory details dominated headlines and delighted the antiwar left, but then conservatives and some Democrats — and most telling, current and former CIA officials — struck back. . . . Even worse, the president won’t say (!) whether he agrees with his own handpicked CIA director, John Brennan, that the information gained through enhanced interrogation techniques was useful, and he won’t criticize or endorse the Senate Democrats. Now, there’s a resounding vote of no support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).”

AMY TAYLOR: Lena Dunham, I Don’t Believe You. “I don’t believe that you were raped or sexually assaulted. I don’t believe that you are a victim or a survivor. I believe that you are a psychopath that needs to be the center of attention.”

ROLL CALL: GOP to Bring Up Bill Blocking Obama Immigration Action — Next Year.

THE HILL: Women Flood Ranks Of GOP.

The GOP will send Capitol Hill its youngest-ever woman, 30-year-old Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik (N.Y.); its first black female Republican, Rep.-elect Mia Love (Utah); and the first female Republican senators from two states, Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa), who is also the first female combat veteran to be elected to the chamber.

“These were strong female candidates that had to get through tough primaries, even before the general election,” a representative for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) told The Hill. “They had great backgrounds and could go tell voters what they planned to do. They were all very impressive.”

Yeah, but the Dems have Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Sheila Jackson Lee. . . .

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: How current events might play into America’s shift in favor of gun rights.

LIBEL BAIT? Boston.com: Editor designed T-shirts mocking Harvard professor. “An editor for the Boston Globe’s Boston.com who wrote an unverified story accusing a Harvard professor of firing off a ‘racist’ email is facing scrutiny for peddling T-shirts mocking him for a flap over a $4 Chinese food charge. Boston.com deputy editor Hilary Sargent designed the T-shirt, which was posted for sale for $20.95 on Internet shopping site Zazzle.com, Boston.com confirmed yesterday.”

Won’t look good if there’s a lawsuit.

ROGER SIMON: What Dianne Did.

December 11, 2014

TRIFECTA: The Lost Pleasure Of Junk Food.

J.D. TUCCILLE: Will a Mockable Week in Higher Education Help Deflate the College Bubble?

EUGENE KONTOROVICH: “Isolation” And The Israeli Elections.

HOUSE PASSES CROMNIBUS. Senate to pass short-term funding bill until it can do the same.

WILL “CROMNIBUS” CROAK? White House Preps Feds For Shutdown. Wonder if they’ll engage in Obama’s patented pain-maximizing park-and-monument closures this time, when Elizabeth Warren is leading the charge?

Related: Ed Driscoll: Shutdowns Then and Now: Tanks for the Memories, TNR! “As always, for the left, the motto is, ‘It’s Different When We Do It.’”

Well, on the one hand it’s a transparently partisan flipflop. On the other hand, I’m kind of amazed to discover that there’s anyone left at TNR.

THE WASHINGTON POST’S ERIK WEMPLE: The full demise of Rolling Stone’s rape story. “[T]he shoddiest piece of journalism in recent memory. . . . Erdely’s mission appears to have been to present as sensational and damaging an account of fraternity excesses as she could gather.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Is the Bar Exam Broken? Or Are Law Students Dumber? Not mutually exclusive, of course.

SHUTDOWN FLASHBACK: Elizabeth Warren slams House GOP’s “anarchy gang” — The Massachusetts senator delivers a rousing defense of government against “anarchists.”

UPDATE: You know, it’s cynical but I wonder if part of Warren’s trouble with Cromnibus is the campaign-finance provision that would give the party apparat a lot more power. That would be of great advantage to Hillary . . . .