Wednesday, October 1, 2014

(10:30 AM)

TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Under the ACA, the Doctor Won’t See You Now.

Getting access to a preferred, in-network doctor is getting harder all the time. Three big stories about access blocks under the Affordable Care Act came out this week. First, the NYT profiles the troubling rise of contract ER doctors. The emergency medicine departments in many hospitals now employ doctors who are out-of-network for a given insurer, even when the ER itself is listed as “in-network” for that same insurer. The result is that even patients who have the ability to choose an ER in an in-network hospital often wind up with out-of-network doctors treating them—and large, unanticipated, out-of-pocket bills as a result. . . .

The ACA does nothing to address this trend, which is just one example of the barriers to access popping up all across the U.S. health care system. The LA Times reports that, despite several lawsuits challenging it, California intends to stick with its narrow doctor networks for ACA plans next year. Even worse, some insurance companies are planning to cut the number of in-network providers even further. There is still no registry that would allow people to make a comprehensive assessment of which doctors will be covered under their ACA plans, a gap which caused a lot of confusion for patients in the last year.

Nor are those insured through the exchanges the only ones facing access problems. A Department of Health and Human services report on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion finds that many Americans newly insured through the program often have to “wait for months or travel long distances” to get care, according to the NYT. Though the federal government requires states to ensure “adequate access to all services covered,” the definition of “adequate access” is left to the states. This access problem for Medicaid recipients is not new, as Avik Roy repeatedly points out in How Medicaid Fails the Poor, and has been exacerbated as large numbers of people have joined the program.

In all three of these reports, we see under the ACA a declining level of access to a covered care provider. This is not what progress in health reform looks like.

Hopey changey.

(10:24 AM)

JOURNALISM: White House to Media: Sit Down and Don’t Interview.

(10:06 AM)


Related: US Ebola case is first diagnosed outside Africa. Might we want stricter controls on travel from affected areas?

(10:00 AM)

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Uber Improves Life, Economists Agree.

(09:00 AM)

GET READY FOR “BAD LUCK” AT THE Amazon Emergency Prep Store. Plus, Emergency & Long-Term Storage Food Deals.

Also, Warehouse Deals on Small Appliances.

(08:59 AM)

THIS SEEMS TO BE A HABIT WITH THEM: IRS Erased Key Records in Lawsuit, NetJets Says. “NetJets is claiming in a lawsuit that as part of its tax dispute with the agency the IRS ‘wiped clean a number of computer hard drives containing emails and other electronic documents that the Government was required to produce.’”

The hard drives may be clean, but the IRS is dirty.

(08:44 AM)

TWO WEEKS AGO: CDC issues Ebola checklist: ‘Now is the time to prepare.’

I think they’ve been more worried about this than they’ve been letting on.

(08:38 AM)

CAN ANYBODY PLAY THIS GAME? Secret Service didn’t file paperwork on Atlanta incident. “Agents became alarmed during Obama’s trip to Atlanta after discovering that a private security contractor working for the CDC with a criminal record had a gun within arms-length of the president, but superiors told them not to file ‘any paperwork’ or initiate an investigation, according to two sources familiar with the case. . . . The elevator case is another embarrassing blow to Secret Service leaders and exposes a breakdown in security protocols. One source called it a prime example of a pervasive ‘culture of cover-up’ at the agency.”

(08:33 AM)

TURNING MECCA INTO “an amalgam of Disneyland and Las Vegas.” One does not expect refinement from the Saudis.

(08:30 AM)

AN ANTI-LANDRIEU AD FROM ELBERT GUILLORY: “You are not Mary’s cause. . . you are just a vote. . . . You are a means to an end.”

Yeah, I know I posted this last night, but I’m posting it again this morning because it’s just that good.

(08:29 AM)

EXUDING CONFIDENCE: From shaming to semi-stalking, Democrats flood inboxes for last-minute campaign cash. But as a consultant once told me, if you think this kind of stuff is ineffective, it just means you’re not the target demographic.

(08:19 AM)

REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT: Hong Kong protest sees biggest crowds yet on holiday celebrating communist party. “On a holiday meant to celebrate the birth of China’s Communist Republic, Hong Kong residents instead swarmed the streets Wednesday to protest Beijing’s iron grip over their government and demand democratic reforms. The massive crowds appeared to be the biggest yet amid a week of demonstrations that have brought large parts of the city to a standstill. Throughout Hong Kong, it was a day of jarring images and symbolism as authorities tried to carry on with National Day celebrations only to have protesters respond with acts of emotional though peaceful defiance.”

(08:17 AM)

THEY GROW UP SO FAST: P.J. Media Enters Its Second Decade.

(08:13 AM)

LEADERSHIP: The Hill: White House huddles as ISIS advances toward Turkey.

(08:00 AM)

MARGARET WENTE: The New Campus Sex Puritans.

Sixty years ago, sexual behaviour among the young caused deep alarm among the puritanical religious right. Today, it causes deep alarm among the puritanical progressive left. Like their forebears, they are doing their best to restrict and regulate it.

This weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that makes universities redefine consensual sex. From now on, students must effectively obtain the “affirmative consent” of their partners, which must be “ongoing” every step of the way. Those accused of violating the consent rule will be judged on the preponderance of the evidence. Perpetrators face suspension or expulsion, and universities face heavy penalties for failure to enforce.

The new measure is designed to stem a tidal wave of rape on campus that, in fact, does not exist. (Violent crime, including sexual assault, has been in decline for 20 years.) Even so, universities across North America have set up vast new administrative apparatuses to deal with the crisis. Many of them have also expanded the meaning of “sexual violence” to include anything that makes you feel bad.

You don’t have a right not to feel bad, after sex or at any other time.

(07:49 AM)

I THINK HE JUST STANDS ALOOF, PERIOD: Michael Barone: Obama stands aloof from America’s four foreign policy traditions.

(07:30 AM)

WOMAN SPENDS MONTH IN JAIL for possession of SpaghettiOs that cops mistook for meth. She should be given a choice of $10,000 a day for the time spent in prison, or the chance to horsewhip the cops and DA naked through the streets.

(07:18 AM)

WISCONSIN: Here’s why you don’t steal your jobs plan from other candidates’ websites. “The Republican Governors Association on Tuesday released an ad questioning the integrity of Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. The new commercial states that her campaign’s plagiarism scandal raises serious questions about her character.”

(07:00 AM)

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Vanessa Williams Sheds Light on Female-on-Female Rape. “Vanessa Williams is many things: actress, singer, model, mother. She is also one of an estimated 17.7 million American women who’s been a victim of attempted or completed rape. On Oprah’s Master Class, Williams revealed that she was molested by an 18-year-old when she was just 10. But what’s really caught the attention of news outlets and the general public is this salacious detail: Her perpetrator was (yes) a woman.”

(06:00 AM)

THAT MAY NOT STOP HIM: GAO says Obama administration can’t bail out insurers without Congress.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(11:57 PM)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Lewis & Clark Law School closes downtown legal clinic, cites enrollment, revenue decline.

(11:19 PM)

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Gelded Age: The inequality bed-wetters are misleading you. “The inequality police are worried that we are living in a new Gilded Age. We should be so lucky: Between 1880 and 1890, the number of employed Americans increased by more than 13 percent, and wages increased by almost 50 percent. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the number of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.”

(11:06 PM)

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Congo’s Forgotten Curse: Epidemic of Female-on-Female Rape. “Rape in conflict zones has long been the subject of news reports and academic study and large amounts of donor funding is channeled to organizations that respond to it. But rape specifically perpetrated by women has received less attention. Recent studies suggest the problem is more widespread than many experts previously believed. In 2010, Harvard academic Lynn Lawry and a team of researchers conducted a survey of human-rights abuses in over 1,000 households in conflict-ridden eastern Congo. It was the same year that Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, dubbed Congo ‘the rape capital of the world.’ Lawry’s study asked victims of sexual violence to specify their assailant’s gender. It found that 40% of the women — and 10% of the men — who said they were subjected to sexual violence were assaulted by a woman.”

(10:56 PM)

ROGER SIMON: In Praise Of Benjamin Netanyahu.

This man, whatever his failings, is better able to articulate the global situation than any political leader currently in a position of power in any country by yards. In fact, virtually no one else is even attempting to do it. (Tony Blair did for a while before he turned, but he’s not in Bibi’s league.) Netanyahu may not be Churchill when it comes to courage, but he is Churchill, or close, when it comes to a precise mastery of the English language, ironic since he is the prime minister of a Hebrew-speaking nation. He is able to tell the truth about the important issues, when all others, including, notably, our president and secretary of State, are prevaricating or spinning, trying desperately not to offend the reprehensible, and he did it again the other day at the United Nations. (Full text here.) He told the truth about radical Islam to a half empty house whose Moslem delegates had left and whose remaining attendees sat there terrified of agreeing publicly with the Israeli prime minister lest some imam or dopey liberal NGO accuse of them of Islamophobia. He made that speech at an institution that has institutionalized anti-Semitism, not world peace or even basic common sense, as its modus operandi, as its very raison d’être.

What would the UN do if it were unable to bash Israel? How would it spend its time?

Who cares? Would the world be worse if the UN ceased to exist? I’m not sure it would even be much better. The UN is a fundamentally trivial body, staffed, and admired, by fundamentally trivial people.

(10:02 PM)

WAIT, I THOUGHT WE HAD EVOLVED PAST TRADITIONAL SEX ROLES: For millennial women, ‘the one’ must have a steady job. “For most of Western history, marriage was a political and economic transaction (for both the spouses, and the communities they belonged to). In the late 18th century, it began transforming into an institution based on love and soul-mating. Now, it’s about politics and economics once again.” Fundamentally transformed back.

(09:05 PM)

HOME NURSING: Woman Saves Three Relatives From Ebola. “Fatu stayed healthy, which is noteworthy considering that more than 300 health care workers have become infected with Ebola, and she didn’t even have personal protection equipment — those white space suits and goggles used in Ebola treatment units. Instead Fatu, who’s in her final year of nursing school, invented her own equipment. International aid workers heard about Fatu’s ‘trash bag method’ and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can’t get into hospitals and don’t have protective gear of their own.”

Perhaps we should teach it to Americans, too.

(08:01 PM)

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Vets Face Rising Worry Over Resistant Fleas. “Last summer, Mark Conrad a freelance photographer in Fairfield, Conn., noticed his golden retriever Tia scratching more than usual. Mr. Conrad said he suspected an allergy rather than fleas because the dog had been treated diligently every month for three years with a leading flea treatment that contains the chemical fipronil, which has been shown to be highly effective against fleas. Soon, however, he discovered that his dog and home were infested with fleas.”

(07:00 PM)

AT AMAZON, Fall Deals on Mowers & Outdoor Power Tools.

Plus, deals on Fine Jewelry.

(06:57 PM)

AN ANTI-LANDRIEU AD FROM ELBERT GUILLORY: “You are not Mary’s cause. . . you are just a vote. . . . You are a means to an end.”

(06:48 PM)

WELL, THIS IS COMFORTING: Centers for Disease Control Confirms First U.S. Case of Ebola. It’s in Dallas.

Plus: Report: Just Four Hospitals in the US are Ready to Handle Ebola. Better lay in more N95 masks and bleach, I guess.

And the country’s in the very best of hands: Armed Former Convict Was On Elevator With Obama In Atlanta. “A security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident. President Obama was not told of the lapse in his security during his trip. Director Julia Pierson , according to two people familiar with the incident, took steps to have the matter reviewed internally and did not refer it to an investigative unit that reviews violations of protocol and standard.”

(06:33 PM)

BUSTED: Paying the price for ignoring the government shutdown. “Rangers don’t take kindly to publicly mocking the government shutdown by riding a motorcycle through a closed national park. That’s especially true when you write a piece about it.” Yeah, well, since it was a political stunt designed to punish taxpayers for political gain, I’m happy with the mockery. But read the whole thing for much amusement. “The adorable court reporter looked up from her typing and flashed me a sly smile. Her blue eyes were bright with the look fathers pray they’ll never see their daughter give a boy dumb enough to ride a motorcycle and wind up in court over it.”

Plus, the joys of cleaning public restrooms. I had a job where I had to do that in high school. It was indeed education, especially the women’s room, which was always worse.

(06:07 PM)

HABITAT LOSS: Pubic Lice Not Actually Going Extinct. Bah. Probably just feelgood propaganda from Big Wax.

(05:04 PM)

IT’S AN ALIEN BASE BEING CONSTRUCTED BY NANOBOTS. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea. “The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest seas on Titan. It has now been observed twice by Cassini’s radar experiment, but its appearance changed between the two apparitions.”

(04:34 PM)

I KNOW THAT ESPN HAS BECOME A HOTBED OF IGNORANT PANTYWAISTS, BUT NOW THEY’RE CHANNELING JOHN KERRY? ESPN’s Colin Cowherd: People Who Enlist in the U.S. Military ‘Have No Choices,’ Join ‘To Pay Bills.’

Watch out, ESPN. In 2006, John Kerry said “You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, and if you don’t you get stuck in Iraq.” Now Kerry’s . . . stuck in Iraq. So, you know, you might want to be careful. . . .

(04:02 PM)

JERRY BROWN VETOES PRIVACY BILL: California cops don’t need warrants to surveil with drones. “California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have required the police to obtain search warrants to surveil the public with unmanned drones. Brown, a Democrat facing re-election in November, sided with law enforcement and said the legislation simply granted Californians privacy rights that went too far beyond existing guarantees.”

(03:00 PM)

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Plus, deals on Pest Control Products. Get them before they get you.

(02:53 PM)

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists discover an on/off switch for aging cells; The switch controls the growth of telomeres, the timekeepers of cells.

(02:46 PM)

CATHY YOUNG: What Women Still Want In A Husband. “For all the talk of feminist revolution and male resistance, it seems that women are in some ways more traditional than men when it comes to marital norms.”

(02:30 PM)

PROGRESS: New Nuclear Fuel Could Boost Reactors, But Also Safety Worries. If you don’t support clean, carbon-free nuclear power, you don’t really care about global warming.

(02:07 PM)

TOM MAGUIRE: We’ve lost control of the Texas border? Compared to what – the White House border? “No wonder Obama has no confidence in fences or guards. And since you ask, I deplore the criminal characterization of White House intruder Omar Gonzalez; surely he should be described as an ‘undocumented resident’.”

(02:04 PM)

K.C. JOHNSON: The Times Gets “Affirmative Consent” Wrong.

(02:02 PM)

CLAIM: Adrian Peterson Indictment Inconsistent With Texas Law. “When I asked for clarification between the clear text of the state statute and his words regarding ‘exceeding some community standard’ he said the ‘case law’ had in essence changed the law to match his statement. When I asked for a case citation we could use for the story, he became flustered and hung up. As a journalist, having an interviewee hang up or walk out is a good sign you’re on the right track. The DA’s behavior is ironically similar to that of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who secured an indictment of the Texas governor for performing a duty clearly described in the Texas Constitution, vetoing a spending bill.”

Any Texas lawyers want to weigh in on this?

(02:00 PM)

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Fix A Broken iPhone Screen.

(02:00 PM)

JOURNALISM: It’s Come To This: Politifact absolves Democrat who repeated…Politifact’s lie of the year.

(01:30 PM)

THE HEAD-SCRATCHING CASE of the vanishing bees.

(01:28 PM)

IT GETS WORSE: Secret Service Agent Who Stopped Intruder Was Off-Duty, Just Happened To Be Passing By.

(01:23 PM)

IT’S COME TO THIS: New York Times Reporting Demolishes Obama’s Claims On ISIS and Iraq. “The Islamic State was born out of the ashes of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was crippled by the time Mr. Obama withdrew American forces from Iraq at the end of 2011. The civil war that erupted in neighboring Syria pitting President Bashar al-Assad against a variety of rebel organizations provided a haven for the Qaeda affiliate to reconstitute itself with an influx of foreign fighters.”

(01:12 PM)

BOB ZUBRIN: Obama Betrays The Kurds.

(01:07 PM)

WISCONSIN’S DEEP STATE: More suspicious goings-on. “The state’s Government Accountability Board has been less-than accountable about its expenditures concerning a certain special-investigator-turned special prosecutor in the secret John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative groups.”

Some background here.

(01:00 PM)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Enrollment falls again at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities. “Enrollment at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities declined for a fourth consecutive year, slipping 1.5 percent to an estimated 110,600 students, after peaking at nearly 119,500 in 2010, preliminary reports show.”

Peak Oil turned out to be a mirage. Peak College seems to be real. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

(12:51 PM)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Deep Rift Exposed as SUNY-Buffalo Dean Resigns; Faculty Foes Allege Perjury, Mismanagement of Law School. “At the center of the storm is Makau Mutua, a Harvard Law graduate, an internationally known human rights activist, and the dean of the University at Buffalo Law School. Mutua suddenly gave up that position Monday in the wake of criticism over his leadership, and he will step down in December to return as a faculty member.”

(12:47 PM)


(12:28 PM)

GOOD NEWS: Ebola Outbreak In Nigeria Appears To Be Over. “With quick and coordinated action by some of its top doctors, Africa’s most populous country seems to have beaten its first Ebola outbreak, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.”

(12:00 PM)

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: For Next Attorney General, Obama Should Reach Across The Aisle.

(11:00 AM)

IN THE MAIL: From David Drake, Dinosaurs and Dirigibles.

Plus, today only at Amazon: DEWALT 165-Feet Laser Distance Measurer, $79.00 (66% off).

And, also today only: Creative Airwave Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, $29.99 (70% off).

(10:51 AM)

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 509.

(10:45 AM)

SO I GUESS NOBODY’S LAUGHING AT CLINT EASTWOOD’S “EMPTY CHAIR” BIT ANYMORE: Report: Obama Has Missed over Half His Second-Term Daily Intel Briefings.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Further Report: Obama has not Missed any of his Second-Term Fundraising Trips, vacations, MSNBC engagements/weddings, or golf outings.”

(10:41 AM)

TOM MAGUIRE ON THE OBAMA HOME INVASION: Who Didn’t Let The Dogs Out? “Guard dogs penned up, doors unlocked – where were the rodeo clowns?” Actually, I think he’d left the White House just a few minutes earlier.

(10:30 AM)

HAIL SHALE: America About to Dethrone Saudi Arabia as Liquid Petroleum King.

The U.S. shale boom is about to hit another big milestone, as it looks like fracking will propel American liquid petroleum production (that includes oil and natural gas liquids) past Saudi Arabia for the first time in nearly a quarter century. . . .

The natural gas liquids portion is largely a byproduct of drilling for shale gas, and are used as a feedstock for petrochemical companies (like BASF, which recently decided to move more of its operations into the United States). Take those NGLs out of the equation, and Saudi Arabia and Russia both edge out the United States on crude production. But American oil output is expected to break 9 million barrels per day sometime this year, edging closer to Russia’s 10.1 million b/d and Saudi’s 9.7 million b/d.

With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would’ve been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.

Yeah, it was just a few years ago that all the Smart PeopleTM knew we had passed peak oil. Now you don’t seem to hear much about “peak oil,” do you?

(10:15 AM)

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teen Jailed for Zero Tolerance Offense, Starved for 36 Hours.

Why would you place your kids in the hands of people like this? Good question.

(10:00 AM)

YEAH, IT’S NOT LIKE OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TAKE AN OATH TO DEFEND IT OR ANYTHING: Leading Dem insider: Save America; scrap the Constitution. I don’t see why we need a new Constitution; we’re barely using the one we’ve got.

(09:00 AM)

AT AMAZON, deals on Women’s Halloween Costumes. Okay, they’re not all slutty. Oh, who am I kidding? They pretty much are, as you can see. Also Men’s Halloween Costumes. Plus, Halloween Costumes for Babies. The latter categories haven’t succumbed to the “slutty” trend. Yet.

Plus, the new Hoover Power Path Deluxe Carpet Washer.

(08:57 AM)

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

Key bit:

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

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

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

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

(08:50 AM)

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

(08:45 AM)


(08:36 AM)

JIM WEBB looking more serious about challenging Hillary Clinton.

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

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

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

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

(08:30 AM)

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

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

But it could be very, very ugly.

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

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

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

(08:28 AM)

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

(08:22 AM)

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

(08:12 AM)

CAMILLE PAGLIA: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08:00 AM)

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

(07:49 AM)

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

(07:42 AM)

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

(07:30 AM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(07:22 AM)

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

(07:11 AM)


(07:00 AM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

(11:55 PM)

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

Key bit:

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

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

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

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

(11:35 PM)

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

(11:19 PM)

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

(11:00 PM)

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

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

(10:59 PM)

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

(10:35 PM)


Date-Rape-Accused Hacking, Outing, Videotaping

Ethically Dubious Remedies Alongside Court Wins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(10:01 PM)

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

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

(09:56 PM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08:05 PM)

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

(06:59 PM)


(06:30 PM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(06:07 PM)

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

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

(06:03 PM)

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

(05:05 PM)


(05:00 PM)

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

I think people should own their devices.

(04:00 PM)

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

(03:00 PM)

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

Also, it’s the Kindle Daily Deal.

(02:47 PM)

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

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

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

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

(02:30 PM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02:00 PM)


(01:30 PM)

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

(01:00 PM)

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

(12:40 PM)

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