July 26, 2015

HAS HE SAID ANYTHING SIMILAR ABOUT HILLARY? Trump launches offensive against Walker.

“Wisconsin is in turmoil,” Trump told a boisterous crowd at a rally in Iowa. He pointed to the state’s roads, schools and hospitals, which he said were all “a disaster.”

Walker, who is leading polls in Iowa, remains one of Trump’s biggest rivals in the race.

If Trump worries about people thinking that he’s a Hillary shill, maybe he should dispel those rumors by going after Hillary.

SCOTT RASMUSSEN: Opposing Sharing Economy Is Big Mistake for Democrats.

It’s not just consumers who like the Uber experience and the sharing economy; it’s the drivers, as well.

The New York Daily News recently headlined a column, “Uber Job Beats Working for Yellow Cab,” by one such driver. Rabiul Karim said, “With Uber, it’s like 50 percent stress is gone right there, because you don’t have to look for passengers.” Reducing stress among drivers is a good thing for all of us!

But Karim added another reason he prefers driving for Uber. “I have flexibility with time. Suppose my daughter has a doctor appointment. I can take her without having to pay the day rate for yellow cabs.”

On the other coast last week, in California, I heard that exact same theme while chatting with my Uber driver. His first reaction was to talk about how much he loved the flexibility. With three kids under 7, he appreciated the ability to schedule his work around other family needs. And when he needs a little extra money, he can work a little bit more.

Despite all of this, a lot of Democratic politicians really dislike Uber and the entire sharing economy. The latest to try to stand in the way of progress was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The New York Daily News described the mayor’s anti-Uber plan as “a protectionist crusade for an entrenched industry, absurdly claiming to stand for the thousands of New York passengers and drivers who have flocked to Uber.”

The New York Post noted that the beneficiaries of the mayor’s plan would have been “a yellow-cab monopoly, and fleet owners who’d donated more than $550,000 to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.”

Like I say, Uber’s problem is insufficient opportunity for graft.

LOSE WEIGHT BY EATING Avocados And Other Fatty Foods.

July 25, 2015

EUGENE VOLOKH: The remaining count of the Rick Perry prosecution, and how it unconstitutionally intrudes on the Governor’s veto power.


MAYBE THIS IS WHY TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON HIM DIDN’T BACKFIRE: Sen. Heller: John McCain ‘Wouldn’t Accept’ Amendment to Arm Troops on Bases Before Chattanooga Attack.

CRUISE SHIP ASSOCIATION not exactly bursting with excitement over Cayman cruise ship dock proposal.

Related: Cayman Islands Tourism Association Adds Voice to Cruise Port Opposition.

I’ve written about this before.

MICKEY KAUS: How Trump Could (Perversely) Save the GOP.

Related: How Jeb Can Hurt The GOP.

CHANGE: Walmart announces infant car seat designed to prevent hot car deaths. “In most new cars, an alert sounds if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt or if headlights are left on. Using a similar idea, a sensor on the infant seat harness triggers a series of tones if a child is still buckled in when the ignition is switched off. The feature is meant to remind drivers who might forget that a child is in the vehicle.”

This is kid stuff. You need a motion sensor in the car, coupled with a thermometer. When the temp gets above 100 degrees and the sensor shows the car’s occupied, the windows should automatically roll down, or the AC come on. Coming soon to Teslas, probably.

IRAN DEAL IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE: So says Andrew McCarthy in his latest NRO post.

The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.” One can imagine hearing such counsel from a contemporary United States senator on the receiving end of President Obama’s “full disclosure” of the nuclear deal with Iran. But the admonition actually came from James Iredell, a champion of the Constitution’s ratification, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington.

Iredell was addressing the obligations the new Constitution imposed on the president in the arena of international affairs. Notwithstanding the chief executive’s broad powers to “regulate all intercourse with foreign powers,” it would be the president’s “duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives.” Indeed, among the most egregious offenses a president could commit would be fraudulently inducing senators “to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them.” . . .

After a few days of misdirection, administration officials now admit that there are “side deals” that the administration has not revealed to Congress and does not intend to make public. So far, we know of two “side deals” — who knows how many more there may actually be? As the Center for Security Policy’s Fred Fleitz writes in National Review, they involve (a) a full accounting of Iran’s prior nuclear activities (many of which are believed to have been in blatant violation of international law) and (b) access to the Parchin military base, where Iran has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear missiles. . . .

Now consider this: Under cover of this IAEA ruse, Obama ran to the Security Council and rammed through a resolution commencing implementation of his Iran deal before Congress or the American people could consider it. He thus undermined American sovereignty and the Constitution by scheming to impose an international-law fait accompli. And he thus undermined American national security by transferring his inspection commitments to an international agency that he knows is not close to being capable of executing them — an agency that will be further hampered by notice restrictions that, as Charles Krauthammer concludes, render the inspections “farcical” in any event.

The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.


McCarthy’s right, of course. But as his ending query reveals, no one realistically expects the Republican establishment to call for impeachment, despite the fact that the House GOP could issue articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote, sending the case to the Senate for conviction (which would require 2/3 supermajority).

Why not? Because the GOP leadership has given up, and like a jilted lover, is trying so hard to “look the other way” that it no longer sees the obvious, and has lost all self-confidence in its own power, and the power of the truth. It also is betting the farm–i.e., the country–that the U.S. can survive another 18 months of an Obama presidency, and that the next (hopefully) GOP President can magically “cure” all of the Obama-induced cancers. It’s a risky and stupid gamble.

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UNEXPECTEDLY: Fall in gas prices hasn’t led to increased consumer spending. “Visa CFO Prabhu also said the company felt that the money being conserved at the pump was being funneled into savings accounts, a trend that has been backed up in various economic data reports. . . . But just a few months ago, the collapse in gas prices was supposed to be the next big thing for the US economy. Instead, it seems like nothing has happened.”

Maybe consumers realize that we can’t expect any real economic improvement until after January 2017 at the earliest.

JUDGING BY RECENT NEWS REPORTS, NEITHER ONE HAS EXACTLY BEEN OVERPERFORMING: IRS Directors Of Professional Responsibility And Whistleblower Offices Swap Jobs.

POLITICO: Tennessee Is the Capital of American Jihad.

Well, we may have had the wrong U.S. Attorney.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix.

ANALOGIZING UNIONS TO COMMUNISTS: Dana Milbank at the Washington Post draws an amusing (even if unintended) parallel in his latest column, “Why Scott Walker is so dangerous.

This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.­­ Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting the United States), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the U.S. workforce and have been at a low ebb. . . .

But deception is the demagogue’s tool. Walker spoke Thursday about “the death threats not just against me and my family but against our lawmakers” and about the nails put in the driveway of one lawmaker to puncture his tires. Such behavior is beyond the pale — though hardly unique to Walker’s opponents. And some of Walker’s claims — including the alleged threat to “gut” his wife “like a deer” and of protesters “beating” and “rocking” a car he was in — could not be substantiated by independent authorities.

Such deception, however, is in the service only of the larger deceit at the core of his candidacy: By scapegoating toothless trade unions as powerful and malign interests, he enlists working people in his cause of aiding the rich and the strong.

Notice how Milbank himself engages in outlandish deception: He insinuates that Walker is somehow lying about the death threats he has received, saying that they “could not be substantiated by independent authorities.” But the threats made by union thugs against Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans do, indeed, appear to have been substantiated, as evidenced here, here, here and here. For Milbank to suggest that Walker is lying because Milbank failed to even conduct a cursory Google search to confirm the validity of the threats tells you everything you need to know about Milbank’s far-left agenda and lack of veracity. 

On the larger level, Milbank is trying to convince the low information reader that Walker’s campaign to end outlandish, expensive, taxpayer-funded perks for public union workers is somehow analogous to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s campaign against Communism. The only think McCarthy and Walker have in common is that they’re both from Wisconsin. But Milbank’s unintended analogy between Unions and Communists is on point, as they both encourage working the minimum amount, guaranteed jobs for life (regardless of merit), and redistributing wealth. So maybe Milbank is right, after all: Scott Walker’s willingness to take on public sector unions is dangerous indeed– to these liberal/progressive/Marxist values. No wonder Milbank is afraid.

NOW UP: The Carnival Of Nuclear Energy.


I was born into a family of famous gay pagan authors in the late Sixties. My mother was Marion Zimmer Bradley, and my father was Walter Breen. Between them, they wrote over 100 books: my mother wrote science fiction and fantasy (Mists of Avalon), and my father wrote books on numismatics: he was a coin expert.

What they did to me is a matter of unfortunate public record: suffice to say that both parents wanted me to be gay and were horrifed at my being female. My mother molested me from ages 3-12. The first time I remember my father doing anything especially violent to me I was five. Yes he raped me. I don’t like to think about it. If you want to know about his shenanigans with little girls, and you have a very strong stomach, you can google the Breendoggle, which was the scandal which ALMOST drummed him out of science fiction fandom.

It’s a sad story.

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SPACE: New Horizons mission shares more high-res Pluto images. “The images are the last of the initial download splurge, as scientists will now focus on processing the data streaming in slowly but surely from the probe and as it continues to speed away from Earth. NASA will release more imagery and data in September.”

AWKWARD! The Hill: Kenyan President Rebukes Obama’s Gay Rights Message.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Building a Single-molecule Transistor from Scratch.

MSNBC: Poll: Do You Think People Should Be Allowed To Carry Guns In Public? Guess which answer I gave.


But in Iraq we cared what the population thought of us.

BECAUSE THEY’RE HYPOCRITES: Ace at Ace of Spades on the Race-Baiting Hypocrisy of Jon Stewart:

Jon Stewart’s Only Black Writer Told Him He Was Uncomfortable With Stewart’s “Black Guy” Impression; Racist Jon Stewart Told Him to “F*** Off,” Angrily.

I kind of understand Stewart’s reaction — it is, in fact, annoying to be accused of bad motives (racism has in fact been defined as the worst possible motive in existence) over things that are, or at least seem, harmless, and without harmful intent.

On the other hand, this jackass is, like Seth Rogen, a reliable cheerleader for SJW attacks so long as they’re directed at other people; only when such attacks are directed at themselves do they suddenly feel that maybe this censorship-by-contrived-hypersensitivity is stultifying, anti-creativity, anti-thought and ultimately anti-human.

But per the rules Jon Stewart inflicts on others: He’s a g*d-damn racist. . . .

F*** you, Jon Stewart. You’re a hypocrite, a liar, and — by your own rules — an unrepentant racist who not only won’t check his privilege, but who uses his privilege to silence any black voices who dissent against you.

Way to speak truth to power, Ace. These liberal/progressives deserve to be called out–every single time–on their hypocrisy. Don’t hold back calling them the “r” word, because they surely would not, if the tables were turned.

DRIVING TO THE SOUTH POLE in hybrid Hummers.

MAD AS HELL AND NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE: Matthew Continetti over at the Washington Free Beacon on “Revenge of the Radical Middle: Why Donald Trump Isn’t Going Away.”

Two decades ago, in the spring of 1996,Newsweek magazine described a group of voters it called the “radical middle.” Formerly known as the Silent Majority, then the Reagan Democrats, these voters had supported Ross Perot in 1992, and were hoping the Texas billionaire would run again. Voters in the radical middle, Newsweek wrote, “see the traditional political system itself as the country’s chief problem.”

The radical middle is attracted to populists, outsiders, businessmen such as Perot and Lee Iacocca who have never held office, and to anyone, according to Newsweek, who is the “tribune of anti-insider discontent.” Newt Gingrich rallied the radical middle in 1994—year of the Angry White Male—but his Republican Revolution sputtered to a halt after the government shut down over Medicare in 1995. Once more the radical middle had become estranged from the GOP. “If Perot gets in the race,” a Dole aide told Newsweek, “it will guarantee Clinton’s reelection.”

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a presidential campaign in which the Republican Party, having lost its hold on the radical middle, is terrified of the electoral consequences. . . .

What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? The men and women in the uppermost ranks of the party, who have stood by Trump in the past as he gave them his endorsements and cash, are inclined to condescend to a large portion of the Republican base, to treat base voters’ concerns as unserious, nativist, racist, sexist, anachronistic, or nuts, to apologize for the “crazies” who fail to understand why America can build small cities in Iraq and Afghanistan but not a wall along the southern border, who do not have the education or skills or means to cope when factories move south or abroad, who stare incomprehensibly at the television screen when the media fail to see a “motive” for the Chattanooga shooting, who voted for Perot in ’92 and Buchanan in ’96 and Sarah Palin in ’08 and joined the Tea Party to fight death panels in ’09.

These voters don’t give a whit about corporate tax reform or TPP or the capital gains rate or the fate of Uber, they make a distinction between deserved benefits like Social Security and Medicare and undeserved ones like welfare and food stamps, their patriotism is real and nationalistic and skeptical of foreign entanglement, they wept on 9/11, they want America to be strong, dominant, confident, the America of their youth, their young adulthood, the America of 40 or 30 or even 20 years ago. They do not speak in the cadences or dialect of New York or Washington, their thoughts can be garbled, easily dismissed, or impugned, they are not members of a designated victim group and thus lack moral standing in the eyes of the media, but still they deserve as much attention and sympathy as any of our fellow citizens, still they vote.

Amen. Read the whole thing.

My own preference isn’t to describe this middle as “radical” (because I don’t think they are) but “patriotic.” They abhor the cronyism of Washington elites, and reflect a major “values gap” between DC and Main Street, USA.  The irony, of course, is that Trump does not share their values, really–except perhaps on immigration and a few other patriotism-centric issues upon which he’s wisely capitalizing. But at least Trump is finally giving a voice to the Silent Majority’s deeply felt patriotism. The great middle is craving a leader who is unafraid to be unabashedly patriotic.

The question is: Why aren’t more GOP presidential hopefuls getting a clue and matching Trump’s vigor on these issues? Are they simply too weak, and are waiting for Trump to stop stealing “their” spotlight? Or are they too weak on these issues to really care?


PREDICTION: THESE SENTIMENTS WILL SPREAD WITHIN THE EU. Hungary’s Orban Urges Hard Line Over Migrants in ‘Broken’ Europe. “Europe has become an ideology instead of a practical solution.”

BRITISH RESEARCHER PICKS EXACTLY THE WRONG VIDEO GAME TO PUSH HER WHITE PRIVILEGE THEORIES: “People who are supposedly doing scholarship on video games should at least make an effort to play those video games first,” Moe Lane writes in his latest article at PJM. “You avoid all sorts of embarrassing errors that way.”

Nonsense — as we’ve seen before, being an socialist justice warrior means never having to research the battlefield before attacking.

IN THE MAIL: From John C. Wright, Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 806.


CHANGE: Elite Women Choosing Family Over Work.

Millennials are hard to pin down. They’ve been characterized as politically liberal, but turn out to be quite skeptical of government. They’re thought to have Tweet-length attention spans, but turn out to read more books than older adults. They’re sometimes described as careerist and individualistic, but a certain group of them, at least—high-achieving women—actually prioritizes family over work to a greater extent than their mothers did. . . .

Feminists will likely see the shift as evidence that the women’s liberation is still incomplete, while social conservatives are likely to welcome the (modest) move toward more traditional gender norms. But the social picture communicated by the data is probably more complicated than the orthodoxies of either the left or right would allow.

The Times article cites three surveys—one of “college educated professionals,” one of business students at Wharton, and one of business students at Harvard. The trend away from full-time working motherhood, in other words, is limited to a narrow and privileged group of American women. Poor and working class women (a disproportionate share of whom are divorced) are less likely to have the luxury of taking time off to spend with their children. While the Times report pitches the data as a story about changing gender norms, they also tell a story about class stratification.

So while the surveys might seem to vindicate the conservative view that many women would opt for part time work or full-time motherhood if given the choice, they also highlight the fact that this choice is not actually available to the majority of the population.

Well, “economic inequality” is as much a symptom as an explanation of many societal problems.


What was so much fun about the original National Lampoon’s Vacation was its maniacal expression of the love-and-hate relationship between weird hip sensibilities (Hughes) and even weirder normal middle-class values (Clark Griswold).

That kind of fun can’t be had in the 21st century, where there are no normal middle-class values, all the Clark Griswolds are alienated, sarcastic and cynical, and every suburban schlub is a font of nihilism’s dark, ironic genius.

Early National Lampoon writer and onetime Michael O’Donoghue paramour Anne Beatts (who created the legendary mock VW ad with a Beetle floating in water and the text, “If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he’d be President today,”) was quoted as saying, “You can only be avant-garde for so long before you become garde.” The reverse is true as well — when did the intersection occur when, as O’Rourke wrote above “every suburban schlub” began to fancy himself “a font of nihilism’s dark, ironic genius,” and National Lampoon lost its edge? And what caused it?

FROM COMMUNISM ON, EVERY SHITTY VIOLENT MOVEMENT HAS ATTRACTED BORED, OVERPRIVILEGED WESTERNERS: What Westerners migrating to ISIS have in common with Westerners who sympathized with communism. They’re both political philosophies that weaponize losers.

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GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: IRS Used Donor Lists to Target Conservatives for Audits. “These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech. And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPD show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration.”

HMM: Rebellious kids grow up to out-earn rule-followers.

Here’s a silver lining for parents of rule-breaking, defiant, disagreeable children: Such surly offspring could end up being a very good investment.

A recent study published in the journal Developmental Psychology looked at data on a cohort of 745 children in Luxembourg from the time they were about 12 years old in 1968 until 2008, when their average age was about 52. Researchers sought to connect the information collected on the children—including their socioeconomic background and questionnaires answered by both the children and their teachers—with their career outcomes four decades later.

The short version? Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and The Free University of Berlin found—perhaps unsurprisingly—that occupational success was closely associated with IQ, the socioeconomic status of parents, and a metric of “studiousness” based on teacher assessments. (To define occupational success, researchers used an index that ranked occupations on prestige and socioeconomic status.)

But when it came to income levels, researchers found a slightly different pattern. After accounting for the impact of IQ-level and class background, researchers found that “rule-breaking and defiance of parental authority” was the best predictor of which students ended up making higher incomes. The writers called this a “surprising finding” and admitted there were reasons to be cautious about it. But they did float a few theories on why this might be the case. “We might assume that students who scored high on this scale might earn a higher income because they are more willing to be more demanding during critical junctures such as when negotiating salaries or raises,” they wrote.

Another explanation, they said, might be that childhood troublemakers “also have higher levels of willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims, a characteristic that leads to more favorable individual outcomes—in our case, income.”

Is this really so surprising?

12 DONALD TRUMP BUSINESSES THAT NO LONGER EXIST: It really feels like entering an alternate universe when exploring the Wonderful World of Trump, doesn’t it? I have no problem with the concept of brand extension — Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren are putting their name on everything these days from cologne to furniture to eyeglasses. But the products they associate with, even when obviously produced by outside manufacturers, usually seem fairly classy and upscale. Trump’s entire image revolves around his yuuuuge net worth, so why do his products always seem incredibly tacky? How much does the tackiness reflect Trump thinking that’s what the public wants, and how much does it reflect it his own oddly nouveau riche tastes?

AMID ALL THE HACKING AND EMAIL-DESTRUCTION STORIES, this piece on paper ballots is worth reading again.

RON FOURNIER: Clinton’s Conspiracy of Secrecy Worthy of Criminal Probe. “Here’s all you need to know: The Clinton campaign doesn’t—and can’t—deny the nut of this story. Two Obama administration inspectors general want an investigation into whether her personal email system contributed to the release of classified information.”

RACISM IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Wyatt Cenac: Jon Stewart Screamed “Fuck Off” When I Objected to Joke.

“I remember he was like, ‘What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice.’ I was like, ‘There’s no tone. It bothered me.’ And then he got upset. He stood up and he was just like, ‘Fuck off. I’m done with you.’ And he just started screaming that to me, and he screamed it a few times. ‘Fuck off! I’m done with you.’ And he stormed out. I didn’t know if I had been fired.”

Liberal hero abuses minority employees. Actually, a pretty common story. . . .

PRESIDENT TRUMP—GET USED TO IT: Roger Simon explains “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald.”

I had fun Photoshopping Trump between the POTUS podium and a giant Patton-style flag for Roger’s article:



BRUCE CARROLL: What Happens When Science Allows Us to Abort A Baby If It Has the ‘Gay Gene’?

This is quite a dilemma for pro-abortion gay activists like Rachel Maddow, the Human Rights Campaign, and Planned Parenthood itself. Donors to gay rights groups and pro-abortion groups are frequently the same individuals, and millions are exchanged between these two causes. Finally, for reasons I have never understood, gay activists frequently cite “abortion rights” as a keystone to achieving overall LGBT equality.

Read the whole thing.

July 24, 2015

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Pay Attention To Carly Fiorina.

GLENN LOURY AND JOHN MCWHORTER talk about Ta-Nehisi Coates and the religion of “authentic blackness.”

MY ADVICE TO THE CANADIANS: MAKE YOUR MOVE NOW, OBAMA WILL FOLD LIKE HE ALWAYS DOES: The tiny islands where Canada and America are at war.

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SOLVING THE BLOOD SHORTAGE BY draining the dead? “Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will — sadly — pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir. . . . Draining the blood from a body is hardly out of the ordinary; it’s actually a regular part of the embalming process. To prepare a dead body for funeral services and eventual burial or cremation, morticians pump out all of the blood and interstitial fluids and replace them with an embalming solution, typically containing formaldehyde and methanol. Would it not make more sense to remove the blood at the hospital soon after death, rather than let it all go to waste?”

CRAZY LAWS AND OVERREGULATION: I will be on the John Stossel show tonight @ 8pm, Fox Business Channel, talking about an array of crazy laws–most of which will probably surprise you. Tune in if you can!


When the Green Mountain power company, Vermont’s largest utility, announced earlier this year it will be buying nuclear power from New Hampshire’s Seabrook reactor, many environmentalists felt betrayed.

“This is exactly why we closed Vermont Yankee, because we didn’t want any nuclear power,” they complained. But consumer demands left Green Mountain with no other choice. Nuclear is the ultimate reliable source of power – reactors operate more than 90 percent of the time – and Green Mountain needs back-up in case other sources stop working or if demand exceeds supply on a hot summer day. Vermont is struggling with its desire to be clean and green. The state closed down Vermont Yankee, which provided 600 megawatts of power, when public opinion against it became overwhelming. The state only consumers 1100 megawatts on the hottest day.

* * * * * * *

Vermont is finding — like California and Germany before it — that the fastest way to a clean energy future is to close down local sources of power and import it from other regions. California gets more than half its energy from neighboring Arizona, Nevada and Washington State, the largest import energy bill in the nation. Both New York and New England are looking to Quebec hydro for future clean power.”

Not to mention, the giant smug cloud in permanent geosynchronous orbit above Vermont, which also makes receiving solar power much more difficult.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Choose The Right Glue. I remember the Insta-Daughter proudly telling her uncle that her broken bookcase was better because “Daddy fixed it with glue.” And a couple of c-clamps. I’m a big fan of Gorilla Glue, myself, though traditional Elmer’s is underrated for wood fixes that don’t have to be waterproof.

UPDATE: In the comments, lots of love for Titebond.

RELAX CHAMP, YOU’VE HAD MUCH BIGGER FAILURES THAN THAT: Obama tells BBC he is ‘most frustrated’ with failure to get tougher gun laws.


Giving Democrats a pass on the financial crisis is like giving Bill Clinton a pass on the rise of Al Qaeda in the years before 9/11. If you wanted to choose one single soundbite from the past two months to support the case that Trump’s a Democrat in Republican clothing, this would be it. On the other hand, the way populist hero-worship works is that whatever the hero says is true and correct whether it contradicts ideological orthodoxy or not. If Trump says Republicans alone were to blame for the crash, well … that’s just his way of reminding the Beltway RINOs that they’re complicit in the subprime crisis too. He’s trying to tear down the GOP establishment. Why would we begrudge him this hugely damaging lie in service to that noble cause? The most important thing now is to stop Bush; reminding the world that Jeb’s brother presided over the crash helps do that, even if Democrats are destined to pull this soundbite and beat the hell out of the eventual GOP nominee with it in attack ads. The reason it’s called a “cult of personality” is because, ultimately, it’s about personality, not about correctly apportioning blame for the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression in the middle of a presidential race.

Gee, I was really looking forward to Trump’s nuanced insights into Bill Clinton’s role in radically expanding the Community Reinvestment Act:

But as Allahpundit writes above, “The most important thing now is to stop Bush.” And play the role of stalking horse for Clinton. It’s deja ’92 all over again.

RELATED: The Donald is Still Hillary’s Best Friend.


As BuzzFeed’s C.J. Ciaramella tweeted, “Passive voice: the politician’s best friend.” Much more from Dylan Byers of the Politico:

The Times also changed the headline of the story, from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton’s possible role. The article’s URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.

As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.

One of the reporters of the story, Michael Schmidt, explained early Friday that the Clinton campaign had complained about the story to the Times.

“It was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them,” Schmidt said.

Just as the Politico’s Glenn Thrush described Hillary’s home-brew email server as “badass” in March, earlier this week, New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal admired her efforts at stonewalling his newspaper and other news sources:

“How do you think this crazy pack of Republican candidates and the level of their conversation has made the race for Hillary?” Susan Lehman, the podcast’s host, asked editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal about six minutes into their discussion.

“I think she’s basically ignoring it, which is extremely intelligent,” he responded. “And this is going to sound rather strange coming from a journalist,” Rosenthal added, apparently referring to himself, “but she’s also ignoring the press which I don’t think is such a terrible idea.”

“I don’t think [Hillary Clinton’s] not talking to the press is an issue,” Rosenthal continued. “Sincerely, who cares?”

Obviously no one at the Times — gee, why could that be?

SHOCKER: Hey Look, Amazon Actually Turned a Profit.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went off on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor this morning, claiming that McConnell told him there would be no vote allowed on renewal of the Export-Import Bank.

“It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office, I told my staff the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie, and I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us,” Cruz said.

As Ace writes, “Skip to 12:55 for the best part, as he gets into the part about McConnell’s ‘corrupt,’ ‘cronyist’ lies, but the whole thing is good.”

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DISPATCHES FROM THE ERA OF NEW CIVILITY: Boston Globe/Slate Freelancer: ‘It Would Be Funny If All Gun Rights People Got Shot Dead.’

RYAN CALO: Can Americans Resist Surveillance?

WELL, MORE-CROWDED DESTINATIONS, TO BEGIN WITH: What would low cost international flight tickets and no jet lag mean for your future vacation planning?

SPACE: How Outer Space is Becoming the Next Internet.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Nanostructured Glass Can Switch Between Blocking Heat and Blocking Light.

DELIBERATELY CREATING A HOSTILE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR MEN: Ashe Schow: A double-standard on campus sexual assault hearings.

Across the country, young college men are being accused of sexually assaulting young college women based either solely on an accusation or occasionally on flimsy witness statements.

No one is arguing that sexual assaults never happen. But the degree to which the definition has been broadened in order to “fix” the “epidemic” has ensnared many young students who are not the monsters the media would have you believe.

And the narrative being pushed by activists has been one of black and white, good and evil. According to them, accusers, mostly women, always tell the absolute truth, and the accused, almost universally men, are awful even if proven innocent. That double-standard has led to policies that treat accused students as guilty-until-proven-innocent. These policies also have to carve out special provisions that ensure accusers are innocent of sexual assault even when both parties would have a reasonable claim.

This double-standard has produced policies that state that an accuser who has been drinking alcohol (any amount) is absolved of anything they willingly consented to that night on the grounds that they wouldn’t have done so sober. Conversely, accused students who were also drunk are not absolved of their decisions.

Notice the double-standard? If being drunk means you can’t consent, presumably a drunk accused student would also be unable to consent, meaning that the two students essentially sexually assaulted each other. But of course findings such as this won’t help schools prove to the Department of Education that they take accusations seriously, thus the one-sided policies.

We saw this play out recently at Amherst College, when a student who was in an alcohol-induced, black-out state received oral sex, only to be accused of sexual assault nearly two years later.

Bring on the lawsuits.

THE BANALITY OF EVIL: Why Everyone Hates Dolores Umbridge So Much.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Revenge Of The Radical Middle: Why Donald Trump Isn’t Going Away. “What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? . . . What the radical middle has seen in recent years has not given them reason to be confident in our government, our political system, our legion of politicians clambering up the professional ladder office to office. Two inconclusive wars, a financial crisis, recession, and weak recovery, government failure from Katrina to the TSA to the launch of Obamacare to the federal background check system, an unelected and unaccountable managerial bureaucracy that targets grassroots organizations and makes law through diktat, race riots and Ebola and judicial overreach. And through it all, as constant as the northern star, a myopic drive on the part of leaders in both parties to enact a ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ that would incentivize illegal immigration and increase legal immigration despite public opposition.”

If you don’t want their votes, it’s because you don’t want to win. “Our political commentary is confused because it conceives of the Republican Party as a top-down entity. It’s not. There are two Republican parties, an elite party of the corporate upper crust and meritocratic winners that sits atop a mass party of whites without college degrees whose worldviews and experiences and ambitions could not be more different from their social and economic betters. The former party enjoys the votes of the latter one, but those votes are not guaranteed. What so worries the GOP about Donald Trump is that he, like Ross Perot, has the resources and ego to rend the two parties apart. If history repeats itself, it will be because the Republican elite was so preoccupied with its own economic and ideological commitments that it failed to pay attention the needs and desires of millions of its voters. So the demagogue rises. The party splits. And the Clintons win.”

IN THE MAIL: Stop the Clock: The Optimal Anti-Aging Strategy.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 806.

MUTUAL ASSURED INTERNET DESTRUCTION? Senator Suggests Waging ‘Comparable’ Cyber Attack in Response to OPM Hack:

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) suggested the U.S. wage a “comparable” cyber attack in response to the Office of Personnel Management hack, reportedly carried out by China.

“We are very good at what we do but there are other countries who are constantly working to get better. The Russians are very good at what they do. The Chinese are as well. Iran and North Korea continue to get better, that’s why it’s so important that we develop a policy because I think we’re getting close to a point where it will be close and we will need a policy in place in order to address actions that take place,” Fischer, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said at the Hudson Institute.

Fischer serves as the chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which deals with cybersecurity issues.

“What can we do? The United States could react in a number of ways whether it’s going into their systems to let them know we can. Whether it’s to do a retaliatory attack that would be comparable — but anytime we would do something like that whoever we’re going after learns something about what we have as well,” she said, referring to the OPM hack, which resulted in the theft of millions of federal employees’ personal information.

“So it’s a balance there on what we can do. Is it deterrence where you would say if you do a major cyber attack on us, we turn around and would do a major one on you, which would have the same consequences if not greater? Again, that goes to policy,” she added.

Hmmm. If that’s a bluff, sooner or later, someone will call it. Otherwise, Jim Geraghty described the OPM hack as America’s “Cyber Pearl Harbor” last month. Is Sen. Fischer suggesting the cyber Hiroshima in response?

THERE’S NO GREATER CRIME THAN MAKING THE POWERS-THAT-BE LOOK BAD: Army To Recruiters: Call Cops If Armed Citizens Show Up To Guard Your Offices.


Any negotiation can be looked at in two different ways. First, there is the immediate deal and how it is reached. The focus is on who won and who lost, and whether the deal is one-sided or reasonably balanced. The questions are how shrewd were the negotiators, could they have gotten more, or were they hoodwinked into giving up too much? Call this focus “the art of the deal.”

The other approach looks at the long-term consequences of a negotiation. Here the questions are how the agreement fits into each side’s strategy, and how unanticipated political and strategic developments could affect behavior. Most important, a longer-term framework focuses on the residual capability that exists after an agreement. Are organizational structures dismantled, systems taken down, and key staff dispersed?

The biggest mistake in any negotiation is to confuse these two approaches. Rather, the two approaches should be integrated into a balanced overall strategy. In the Iran agreement the focus has been on the art of the deal, that there was no better deal to be had, and that the United States got more in the agreement than many people expected. All of these things may be true—and to a reasonable extent I think that they are. But this isn’t a “good deal” from the long-term point of view. Highlighting the laudable energy put into the agreement by the United States team makes good political sense. After all, the deal has to be sold. As a practical matter putting the focus on the art of the deal is one way to do this. But it doesn’t put the spotlight where it belongs, on the consequences down the road.

There are two such consequences that are worrying. First, the Iran agreement is likely to increase the spread of nuclear weapons, both in Iran and in the Middle East; it doesn’t alter the strategic environment in any way, nor are there other initiatives underway to do this. The other feature of the agreement that is worrying is that it barely touches Iran’s residual capability to get a bomb. All of the knowhow, institutes, and systems to do so remain in place, even if some of them are monitored. A largely unrestrained residual nuclear capability remains in a strategic environment that Iran considers extremely dangerous. This gives Tehran considerable scope for strategic and political moves to get atomic weapons.

So, about what you can expect from the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight. Meanwhile, I still love this picture:

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 4.48.59 PM

I wonder if you can get this t-shirt translated into Farsi?


Finding true love and settling down is so much a part of the Hollywood script that it may seem a leap to call it a conservative movie just because of that.  But the reason I walked out wondering if Schumer or Apatow were among the Hollywood crypto-conservative cadres has more to do with what came before the ending.  Ms. Schumer is famous for sexually explicit humor, a kind of caustic feminism, and a certain generational outrageousness.  And yet, in her maiden film, she consciously depicted every single sexual encounter of her liberated heroine as dreary and unenviable.  They vary from tedious to visibly empty and frustrating. The viewer is forced to wonder why she lies there, when it’s doing nothing for her; why she goes home with someone just because he asks; and what it means when she says that she likes sex, when she clearly does not like the actual sex she manages to have. No young woman watching this movie, including the 19-year-old I was with, could walk out of the theater thinking anything about the protagonist’s lifestyle was appealing. The movie could be used as part of aversion therapy. All of that changes, of course, when she meets the good doctor, and has to figure out how to have a real relationship.

A conservative moviemaker could do worse than to depict the millennial hook-up culture as so empty that marrying a doctor and joining the suburban bourgeois looks like salvation.

To be fair, even Klute ended with Jane Fonda’s character chucking her lucrative call girl career and leaving swinging New York to go live in the country with Donald Sutherland’s small town detective character, a remarkably conservative ending despite both actors being at the peak of their far left anti-American activist phase.

I’m sure it added several million at the box office, which must have pleased Fonda, even as she was insisting, “If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would some day become communist. . . . I, a socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist society, all the way to communism.”

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: America Is Even Less Socially Mobile Than Previously Thought. Want more social mobility? Make success less dependent on expensive educational credentials and burdensome occupational licenses. On the other hand, the suggestions in this piece are just more of the same.

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Yet another reminder that Jonah Goldberg’s early 2008 book Liberal Fascism was written with the assumption that Hillary would be the Democratic frontrunner that year; quotes from her on her worldview make up several of its later chapters.

For a cinematic look at what Hillary’s “Fun Camps,” the village it takes to raise a child, and the Caring Corp which would oversee both might look like, last year’s chilling dystopian sci-fi film The Giver starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep is also well worth checking out.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: GOP to IRS: Just admit Tea Party was targeted.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS HANDED GOP CANDIDATES A GIFT — THEY’RE RUNNING WITH IT: “The strategy is simple: No Republican politician should answer a question about abortion without first demanding that Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton answer for their positions.”

DEM SPIN: TRUMP IS BEHIND THIS! Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email. “Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday. The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained ‘hundreds of potentially classified emails.’ The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management.” (Bumped).

LIZ SHELD: Lone-Wolf Crazy White Guy Shoots Up Louisiana Theater. “I know he was a white man because I was watching CNN at 4 a.m. this morning and they repeated that about 100 times: ‘HE WAS A WHITE GUY’.”



Not to mention a possible violation of the much vaunted BuzzFeed Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide, introduced in January:

On public activism:

But when it comes to activism, BuzzFeed editorial must follow the lead of our editors and reporters who come out of a tradition of rigorous, neutral journalism that puts facts and news first. If we don’t, it makes it harder for those reporters to do their jobs.

On political speech:

While we understand that many BuzzFeed editorial staffers are passionate and thoughtful and hold personal views on policy issues or candidates, we must maintain one blanket rule for all of editorial: Political partisanship may not be expressed in public forums, including Twitter and Facebook.

The lack of repercussions for Zarrell and the dissembling in defense of it by BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith will be fascinating to observe.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Slut-Shaming The Military:

In the wake of the massacre in Chattanooga, Tenn., Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved a series of “immediate force-protection steps” designed to protect service members. One of those steps was to ask recruiters not to wear their uniforms in public.

Regular readers (all two of you; I’m being generous) will recognize this attempt to “protect” people by telling them what not to wear as “slut-shaming” or “victim-blaming.” At least, that’s what it’s called when the protection is meant for young women on college campuses.

In this case, soldiers are being told not to wear their uniforms because it may make them targets of another shooting. College women used to be told not to wear skimpy clothes to avoid being raped.

The obvious difference here is that a military uniform clearly identifies someone as a member of the military, whereas a short skirt doesn’t identify someone as wanting to have sex. In both instances, however, an authority figure is at least in part blaming the victim for the crime perpetrated against them.

Where are the protests?

HOW OBAMA IS USING CHUCK SCHUMER TO NUKE THE US-ISRAEL ALLIANCE: “Would Schumer the shomer throw America’s allies under the bus and allow Obama to drive a wedge between Washington and Jerusalem? If Schumer won’t answer that question directly, his handling of the Iran deal will.”

HILLARY CLINTON NEEDS TO ADDRESS THE RACIST UNDERTONES OF HER 2008 CAMPAIGN: From left-leaning journalist Ryan Cooper at The Week.

Should Hillary address the racist overtones of her 2016 campaign as well? Hey, if her campaign is still around in 2016, absolutely.

RELATED: “The stakes are high in 2016 – more so for Democrats than they were in 2012, when Barack Obama’s allies went so far as to accuse Mitt Romney of complicity in negligent homicide. We may come to look back on that campaign as an epoch of civility. If the GOP nominates a competent candidate, and they have a variety from which to choose, Hillary Clinton and her allies will have to scorch the earth in order to win. The torches are already lit.”


And it’s sad to see Petula Dvorak end with such a sexist remark: “I’m talking short suits. They’re adorable! Plus, we’d all love to see your knees, guys.” Really? Really?

And nobody tell Ann Althouse.


Their editors can try to hide it as much they like, but isn’t it obvious by now how deeply in the tank the Gray Lady is for Ben Nelson’s presidential bid?

MILLENNIAL WOMEN HAVE FIGURED OUT THAT you can’t actually “have it all.”

AFTER BLASTING TRUMP FOR MEXICO COMMENTS, CNN SMEARS ENTIRE AFRICAN COUNTRY AS ‘HOTBED OF TERROR:’  “What CNN’s racially-driven smear might do to damage Kenya’s future tourism and business economy is yet to be seen.”

ORIN KERR: Sandra Bland and the “lawful order” problem.

Sandra Bland was pulled over for failing to signal while changing lanes. A lot of readers have watched the traffic stop which led to Bland’s arrest for assaulting an officer. If you haven’t, you should.

The Bland video brings up an overlooked problem with the law of police-citizen encounters. The police can back up their orders with force because it’s often a crime to disobey a lawful order from a police officer. But from a citizen’s perspective, it’s often impossible to know what is a lawful order. As a result, it’s often impossible for citizens to know what they can and can’t do during a police encounter.

The first problem is knowing what counts as an “order.” If an officer approaches you and asks you to do something, that’s normally just a request and not an order. But if there’s a law on the books saying that you have to comply with the officer’s request, then the request is treated as an order. You can’t know what is an “order” unless you study the law first, which you’re unlikely to have done before the officer approached you.

The even bigger problem is knowing when an order is “lawful.” An order is lawful if forcing compliance would not violate any law. But a citizen is in no position to assess that. Even if the police pulled over the world’s greatest legal expert, the citizen still couldn’t know what orders are lawful because the laws often hinge on facts the citizen can’t know.

Abolish governmental immunity and let the police officer bear the risk, not the citizen.


MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Minority Wars: Why The Next Ten Years Will Set Everyone Against Everyone.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Martin O’Malley came face to face with the tragic state of American progressivism last week, when an 11,000-strong rally of progressive activists was disrupted by #BlackLivesMatter protesters.

Activists marched into the room chanting protest songs before taking the stage in front of a bemused O’Malley to demand concrete commitments on police violence.

Never mind that O’Malley and Sanders are, among presidential candidates, by far the most sympathetic to the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement: because they’re white, they cannot be trusted, and deserve to have whatever they’re talking about shoved off the agenda by thugs with placards.

It may sound racist and bizarre to be suspicious of candidates like Sanders and O’Malley on the basis of their ethnicity alone, but when you consider the primacy of identity politics in the progressive movement today, it really isn’t that surprising.

Since the 1970s, social psychologists have been aware that emphasising differences between groups leads to mistrust and hostility. In a series of landmark experiments, the psychologist Henri Tajfel found that even wearing different-coloured shirts was enough for groups to begin displaying signs of mistrust.

So guess what happens when you tell everyone that their worth, their ability, their right to speak on certain subjects and – shudder – their “privilege” is based on what they were born with, rather than any choices they’ve made or who they are?

So long as there is power in dividing people, demagogues will divide people.

J. EDGAR HOOVER’S WAR ON GAYS: “For J. Edgar Hoover, homosexuals — or, in his lexicon, ‘sex deviates’ — who worked in the federal government were as much a threat to the republic as any embedded Soviet spies:”

According to Penn State historian Doug Charles in his book Hoover’s War on Gays: Exposing the FBI “Sex Deviates” Program, this initiative was the launch of a massive campaign against homosexuals by the Bureau. By the 1970s, the FBI had collected 360,000 files on gays and lesbians in the federal government. Dates and places of their “acts” were included in the files. From police reports and “individual complaints,” agents collected names of these “unsuitable,” “unstable” “security risks.”

Read the whole thing.

July 23, 2015

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LESSONS LEARNED IN GOING FROM BOTSWANA TO UT LAW: “Having lived in Appalachia, I discovered a new form of diversity that was not restricted to skin color.”

RELAX, NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT: America Has A Lot Of Potentially Active Volcanoes.

STEREOTYPE CONFIRMED: Clinton: Sight Of Black Man With Hoodie Creates ‘Fear’ Among Open-Minded White People.

STEREOTYPE BUSTED: Report: Chicago’s Neighborhood With Most Gun Carry Permits is 55% Black, 34% Hispanic.