March 25, 2017

DEMOCRATS: Kamala Harris Won’t Vote For Gorsuch Because He Rules With The Law Not Feelings.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think.

Traditionally, the “critical” part of the term “critical thinking” has referred not to the act of criticizing, or finding fault, but rather to the ability to be objective. “Critical,” in this context, means “open-minded,” seeking out, evaluating and weighing all the available evidence. It means being “analytical,” breaking an issue down into its component parts and examining each in relation to the whole.

Above all, it means “dispassionate,” recognizing when and how emotions influence judgment and having the mental discipline to distinguish between subjective feelings and objective reason—then prioritizing the latter over the former.

I wrote about all this in a recent post on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae website, mostly as background for a larger point I was trying to make. I assumed that virtually all the readers would agree with this definition of critical thinking—the definition I was taught as a student in the 1980s and which I continue to use with my own students.

To my surprise, that turned out not to be the case. Several readers took me to task for being “cold” and “emotionless,” suggesting that my understanding of critical thinking, which I had always taken to be almost universal, was mistaken.

I found that puzzling, until one helpful reader clued me in: “I share your view of what critical thinking should mean,” he wrote. “But a quite different operative definition has a strong hold in academia. In this view, the key characteristic of critical thinking is opposition to the existing ‘system,’ encompassing political, economic, and social orders, deemed to privilege some and penalize others. In essence, critical thinking is equated with political, economic, and social critique.”

Suddenly, it occurred to me that the disconnect between the way most people (including employers) define critical thinking and the way many of today’s academics define it can be traced back to the post-structuralist critical theories that invaded our English departments about the time I was leaving grad school, in the late 1980s. I’m referring to deconstruction and its poorer cousin, reader response criticism.

Just more Gramscian Damage.

POOR RICH PEOPLE: Financial Stupidity.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED, COVERING YOUR BOOBS IS MICROAGGRESSION: Staring at boobs may give a boost to male lifespans.


FISH GETS BICYCLE; NEEDS TRAINING WHEELS: Anne Hathaway Achieves Enlightenment—Sort of.

FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE ACHANGING: Song parody dubbed ‘the anthem of the right’ catches fire thanks, in part, to New Media.

IT AIN’T THE BODY: The surprising male body type women lust after most.


PORN MOVIES MOST AFFECTED:Soon, your pizza delivery guy could be a robot.

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE OF SELF-DECLARED IDENTITY: The story of Rachel Dolezal gets even more bizarre.

March 24, 2017

MICHAEL WALSH: Paul Ryan Takes The Barzini Meeting. “In a proper parliamentary democracy, of course, Ryan would have already stepped down. The speaker has one primary job, which is to shepherd legislation through the House. And while there’s renewed talk about a revolt against his ‘leadership,’ there’s no one on the horizon as a plausible replacement at the moment. Still, Ryan’s now roadkill, and it’s just a matter of time before even he realizes it.”

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ANDREW MALCOLM: What’s really hidden deep within all this intel squabbling.

Here’s what really matters: During the waning days of the Obama administration U.S. intelligence was indeed monitoring the conversations of foreign persons of interest after the Nov. 8 election and before the Jan. 20 inauguration. That’s normal and actually encouraging given how many key things those agencies have missed in recent years.

In those eaves-droppings they overheard Trump aides being mentioned or talking to agencies’ foreign targets. That’s called “incidental contact” in the intel world. That means they weren’t supposed to be targeting the American, but he or she came up. That’s unavoidable in intelligence-gathering if you’re doing a thorough job.

T​o avoid “unmasking” those innocent bystanders, t​ranscripts of those overheard conversations refer to the foreign target by name and identify the other person simply as American ​No. ​1 or American ​No. 2. ​A very small number of very senior intelligence officials ​will ​know the actual identity of the American​, people like, oh, then-CIA director John Brennan or Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser.​

​Remember Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn? He was picked up talking with the Russian ambassador as part of his transition work. Subsequently, he was fired​, not for the conversation but for misrepresenting that conversation to Trump teammates, including Vice President Pence. Trump accurately saw that as fatally corroding the trust he needs in such a close aide.

But here’s the deal: We should never have known it was Flynn.

Yes, as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Flynn was very unpopular among Obama administration members and indeed was frozen out of contact with the commander-in-chief because he favored a much stronger response to ISIS, among other things. Talk about a president dodging opposing views.

Like Flynn or not, it is illegal — as in against the law — for anyone to reveal the name of an incidentally-overheard American. Someone in a small circle of Obama intelligence officials who knew the identity of that American No. 1 committed a felony by leaking Flynn’s name to media.

Safe to say the leak, like numerous others since Hillary Clinton was not inaugurated as president, was not intended to facilitate the smooth presidential transition that Obama so often publicly promised.

Prosecute the leaker.

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MAYBE GOV. BILL HASLAM NEEDS TO INTERVENE: Tennessee bills teen to replace guardrail that killed her.

The state of Tennessee has billed a dead teen nearly $3,000 to replace the guardrail that killed her in a car crash in November.

Her flabbergasted father said that he not only would not pay but also contends that the model of guardrail that struck his daughter was poorly designed and dangerous.

Around 5:44 a.m. ET Nov. 1, Hannah Eimers, 17, was driving her father’s 2000 Volvo S80 on Interstate 75 northbound near Niota, Tenn., when the car left the road, traveled into the median and hit the end of a guardrail with the driver’s side door, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol crash report.

Instead of deflecting the car or buckling to absorb the impact, the guardrail end impaled the vehicle, striking the teen in the head and chest and pushing her into the back seat, according to the report. She died instantly.

Four months later, Steven Eimers of Lenoir City received a $2,970 bill from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, dated Feb. 24 and addressed to Hannah for the cost of labor and materials to install 25 feet of guardrail at the scene of the crash.

“I’m shocked, the audacity,” he said. “What bothers me is that they’re playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. They know these devices do not perform at high speeds and in situations like my daughter’s accident, but they leave them in place.”

The guardrail end Hannah hit was a Lindsay X-LITE, a model that the state transportation department had removed from its approved products list just one week earlier.

Sadly, Steve Eimers is a longtime InstaPundit reader. He emails:

I am pushing to get the Lindsay X-Lite off Tennessee roads. Will you please share this story?

But if you do please include this post about Hannah. I am tired of only talking about the way she died! How she lived is far more impressive. Graduated Home School at 15. Self taught ASL, German, and Russian. Self taught piano, guitar, Ukulele, psaltry, and numerous primitive instruments. Wrote six novels, accomplished photographer, and videographer. Worked on the set of Dog Years with Adam Rifkin and Burt Reynolds. Most importantly was how she was an advocate for the orphan. I want this to be what Hannah is known for.

Here’s his Facebook post.

METHAMPHETAMINES AND COAL MINES: Forgive the bitter visual pun, but both sources of revenue contribute to the endless combat in Myanmar (aka Burma).

Drug war in Burma– yes. They’re also fighting over control of coal mines.

It’s an old story but new blood continues to spill:

In Shan state, for example, the army and tribes are fighting over lucrative coal mining operations. In Kachin state the army violence is connected with the illegal gold mining and the tribal fear that the army cannot be trusted to observe the terms of any peace deal. Along the west coast (Arakan and Chin states) it’s about the army effort to control (tax) illegal logging by tribesmen. The tribes have been mistreated by the military for so long it is difficult to generate a lot of trust for a new peace agreement.

HOW TO BE: The Krystal Counter Code: A 1954 Fast Food Server Guide.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T WORKING OUT THE WAY I HAD BEEN PROMISED: Transgender ‘Girl’ Saddened and Shocked That Straight Boys Aren’t Interested in Her. “In a lot of ways, I don’t like telling a guy. Once I tell him all respect goes out of the window. Straight guys just can’t get over you having the male parts.”

Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find the other half of that folie à deux eventually.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): If you still have a penis, you’re not a woman. You’re just another man who hasn’t made a commitment.

A DOUBLE WAKE-UP: Are bikini clad baristas the next Hooters waitresses? I like the folks in my local coffee shop, but there aren’t many of them I’d like to see with fewer clothes.

Video here. Because it’s Blog Sweeps Week!

TITANIC-SIZED UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT: The Conservatives Made a Mistake, Andrew Klavan writes.

That Hindenburg in flames photo atop the Drudge Report right now isn’t because Matt really digs Led Zeppelin I.


Art of the Deal Meets Art of War in North Korea fills in the dangerous historical details (a bump for my latest Observer column).

BUT OF COURSE: College ‘Diversity Council’ Admits to Posting Fake Racist Flyers On Campus.

A “REVENGE BODY?” I’ve never really seen the point of that, but whatever. It’s Blog Sweeps Week!

Welcome to the family!! @cashiethefrenchbulldog 🐶 Click link in my bio!! 👙🍩

A post shared by Christina El Moussa (@christinaelmoussa) on

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY: Florida retirement home employee accused of filming residents having sex, sharing it online. “Alexis Williams was an employee at Bristol Court Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg when she recorded a 81-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man making love last August, according to police.”

PAUL RYAN: “This is a disappointing day for us.”

A CAR THAT CAN do a burnout at 160 mph.

FRACTURED CAUCUS: House Cancels Vote on GOP Health-Care Bill.

Mr. Trump asked Paul Ryan to pull the health care bill from the floor, an aide to the House GOP leadership said.

Mr. Ryan is scheduled to hold a news conference shortly.


The House has postponed the health-care vote, a, Republican leadership aide said.

The House unexpectedly went into recess ahead of the planned vote, and is now holding an emergency GOP caucus meeting. Speaker Paul Ryan plans a press conference shortly.


WELL, GOOD: The Harvard Crimson Condemns Campus Riots.


KATIE HOPKINS: Welcome to London: We can say we’re not afraid, light candles and make hearts of our hands but the truth is that we can’t go on like this. The electorate is figuring this out faster than the politicians, I suspect.

A MOUTHFUL OF TROUBLE: Dental Problems In The Elderly.


WSJ has a liveblog going, and the no votes are still trending up.


I’m so old, I can remember when Rush Limbaugh was excoriated by the left for hoping a president would fail.

CLAIM: Peak oil? Sooner than you think.

To be clear, this is about peak oil demand rather than peak oil supply.

You don’t seem to read much these days about peak oil supply.

HMM: Double Filters Allow Tetrachromatic Vision in Humans. “Humans have three types of cone cells in the back of the eye to differentiate color. Some react to blue, some to green and some to red. The cones do their work by responding to the difference in wavelength of the incoming light. Such vision is known as trichromatic. In this new effort, the researchers have found a way of fooling the brain into seeing as if there were a fourth type of cone, by wearing glasses with two types of filters. The result is tetrachromatic vision. . . . The filters remove some parts of the blue light spectrum. But the filters each remove a different part. When the filters are fitted into a frame and worn like regular glasses, the wearer is able to see colors that are normally hidden—metamers. In a sense, it is rather the opposite of what occurs with people who are color blind. They might see blue and red as the same, even though there is more light information there. Adding spectrum identification to color blind eyes allows for seeing more of what is already there. With the new combined filter system, a person is able to look at what appears to be an object that is all the same color, such as purple, and see more colors in it—those normally hidden metamers.”

FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE: Bus Denying Transgender Identity Vandalized in New York City.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader Miriam Davis, Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Synthetic Neurons Are Advancing Computing Power.

21st CENTURY HEADLINES: Lice-Hunting Underwater Drone Protects Salmon With Lasers.

DAVID BOAZ: 25 Years Later, Is It Still the Hayek Century?

DR. WES FISHER shows why it’s good to have a blog.

Also, what the hell is going on with the American Board of Internal Medicine?

THAT’S REAL MONEY: $15,000 a month offered to ‘A Teams’ to fight Trump agenda.

Fight for the Future, started in 2011 as a digital activist group, on Monday issued the offer with this eye-catching opening: “Terrified about Trump? Quit your job, start an A-Team. We’ll fund it.”

“We’re currently taking applications for an initial launch of the project, and will be providing a few select teams with funding, guidance, and support,” said Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future.

Who funds the funders?

According to WikiPedia, Fight for the Future got its initial funding from the Media Democracy Fund, which the Capital Research Center says is backed by George Soros.

COUNTERING POLITICAL ISLAMISM: A “must read” assessment by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (via the Hoover Institution).

Insisting that radical Islamists have “nothing to do with Islam” has led US policy makers to commit numerous strategic errors since 9/11. One is to distinguish between a “tiny” group of extremists and an “overwhelming” majority of “moderate” Muslims. I prefer to differentiate among Medina Muslims, who embrace the militant political ideology adopted by Muhammad in Medina; Mecca Muslims, who prefer the religion originally promoted by Muhammad in Mecca; and reformers, who are open to some kind of Muslim Reformation.

These distinctions have their origins in history. The formative period of Islam can be divided roughly into two phases: the spiritual phase, associated with Mecca, and the political phase that followed Muhammad’s move to Medina.


By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam (or “Islamism”) as an ideology and against those who spread that ideology, we have made a grave error.

If Islamism is the ideology, then dawa encompasses all the methods by which it is spread. The term “dawa” refers to activities carried out by Islamists to win adherents and enlist them in a campaign to impose sharia law on all societies. Dawa is not the Islamic equivalent of religious proselytizing, although it is often disguised as such by blending humanitarian activities with subversive political activities.

Dawa as practiced by Islamists employs a wide range of mechanisms to advance the goal of imposing Islamic law (sharia) on society. This includes proselytization, but extends beyond that. In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to bring about more extreme views among existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia. Islamists rely on both violent and nonviolent means to achieve their objectives.

Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within, the use of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung  (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.

Read the whole thing.

SO SHE’S LIKE A GIRL-VERSION OF BEN CARSON: New Role Model Alert: This Is Johns Hopkins’ First Black Female Neurosurgery Resident. Have you noticed the press holding Ben Carson up as a role model much?

PATRICK POOLE: Accused Killer Nasser Hamad Invokes ‘Islamophobia’ Defense in Double Homicide.

Pre-emptive murder?

THE EUROPEAN UNION TURNS 60: Analysis from USA Today.

Just six of the EU’s current 28 members were signatories to the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the agreement that established the European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor. This weekend’s ceremony takes place five days before British Prime Minister Theresa May invokes legislation that starts Britain’s two-year legal path to a formal exit from the bloc.

THIS IS THE PART OF OBAMACARE THE GOP “CAN’T” REPEAL: Obamacare Regulations Drove Up Premium Costs By Up to 68%.

VIDEO: “DON’T SHUT DOWN THE JEW!” Ezra Levant turns the table on campus fascists.

CHALK ONE UP FOR THE PRESS: The Mayor Will Now Take Your Questions. Wait, Where’d He Go?

Mayor Bill de Blasio walked out on his own news conference on Thursday without answering any questions, irked that reporters were not asking what he wanted them to ask.

In an extraordinary test of wills with the City Hall press corps, Mr. de Blasio refused to respond to questions that might ordinarily be considered well within the bounds of what the mayor of New York City would be expected to address. He was asked about the murder of a black man who police said was stabbed to death in Manhattan by a white man who had come to the city to harm black people, and the arrest in Israel of a man accused of making a string of telephone threats against Jewish community centers and other sites in the United States.

The mayor had called reporters to a chilly block of East 56th Street to make a pitch about his proposal for a so-called mansion tax on the sale of apartments or houses of more than $2 million, to pay for rent relief for older New Yorkers. The plan would need approval by the state legislature and is seen as having little hope of success in a State Senate that has generally responded with hostility to both new taxes and the mayor’s initiatives.

Against the backdrop of a luxury high-rise (with a handwritten sign in one window reading, “De Blasio doesn’t care about the working middle class”), the mayor spoke about the tax over the din of construction, passing trucks and a heckler who shouted, “Everyone hates you, de Blasio!”

Then he said he would take questions on the tax proposal.

Reporters didn’t oblige — and good for them.

WHAT FEMINISM HAS COME TO: Why Guys Get Turned on When You Orgasm — and Why That’s a Bad Thing.

UPDATE (from Steve): It’s official now — there’s nothing that a determined Third Wave feminist can’t ruin. Also note the damage author Hannah Smothers (Dickens couldn’t have named her better) does to women with this piece. She’s attempting to disparage men in a way which, if successful, would make women feel self-conscious about their own orgasms.

You almost wish Cosmo would stick to its traditional beat of constitutional analysis.

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: TransCanada Receives Presidential Permit for Keystone XL.

MY LATEST NEW YORK OBSERVER COLUMN: Art of War meets art of the deal. Tillerson pulls a Trump card on North Korea. (bumped)

MILLENNIAL WOMEN RESPOND: ‘Tomi Lahren Doesn’t Speak for Us’

TAXPROF: The IRS Scandal, Day 1416: ‘Media Attention’ And IRS Abuse.

DON’T TREAD ON ME: At Least One Freedom Caucus Member Revolts After Trump Ultimatum.

This is what Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted moments ago: “If Exec branch tells Legislative branch “when 2 vote” “how 2 vote” & “what it will b allowed 2 work on if vote fails,” is that a republic?”

If Exec branch tells Legislative branch “when 2 vote” “how 2 vote” & “what it will b allowed 2 work on if vote fails,” is that a republic?
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 24, 2017

Should other members of the Caucus share Massie’s sentiment and feel compelled to join him, Trump’s last ditch gamble for a successful vote after the close on Friday, may yet backfire bigly.

Trump ran on keeping the popular parts of ObamaCare while getting rid of the unpopular parts which made it kinda-sorta-temporarily hold together. Ryan’s bill is an attempt to give Trump what he promised, even though the math doesn’t add up and it isn’t what his Republican caucus has been promising to do since 2010 — all in a way that might squeak through the Senate via reconciliation.

If the execution to date has been a hot mess, that’s because the plan was a hot mess from the concept stage.

GOOD: Saudis Are the Oil Market’s Biggest Losers.

The last few years have been difficult for anyone in the business of selling oil, as prices tumbled from over $110 per barrel to a nadir of just $27, before rebounding to the middle ground they reside in today, at roughly $50 per barrel. Bargain crude has forced state producers like Russia or OPEC’s members to cut budgets in an attempt to stop the bleeding, and it’s forced many private firms—especially those operating in relatively high areas like shale—out of business.

But no supplier has been harder hit by the collapse of oil prices than Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has had to dip into its sovereign wealth fund to help cover the budget deficit bargain crude has brought about, and it’s also had to do the heavy lifting for the production cut plan OPEC and 11 other petrostates agreed to adhere to during the first six months of this year. That combination—lower production and lower prices—has been nothing less than vicious to the Saudis. . . .

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Riyadh would be the one most unduly affected by cheap crude. After all, the Saudis are and will remain for the foreseeable future the world’s biggest oil power. But the kingdom’s decision to agree to production cuts—and to shoulder the heaviest burden of those cuts, as well—is having something of a self defeating effect. As prices rise, so too do the prospects of struggling shale producers, which means that the Saudis are effectively giving valuable market share to their American competitors.

I’m so old I remember when Barack Obama mocked Sarah Palin by saying that we couldn’t drill our way out of our energy problems.

Related: Canada’s Oil Sands Looking Like A Smart Bet.

CUE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Just like her mother, Chelsea Clinton never gets a break.

The studious interest in Chelsea’s next move is understandable coming from the right, which has always hated the Clintons and no doubt welcomes the distraction Chelsea offers from the president’s dismal approval ratings and damning intelligence hearings. Bill, Hillary and Chelsea have long been enthusiasm-boosters for the Republicans, and they’re reluctant to give them up.

But the laser-focused Chelsea vitriol is perplexing when it comes from the left. Shouldn’t such first-daughter hatred be reserved for Ivanka? Wouldn’t their attention be better spent on potential 2018 and 2020 candidates who have already declared their interest? Aren’t there bigger battles to fight — and aren’t they glad that such a prominent Democratic figure is registering her dissent with the current administration?

Tweeting pablum hardly rises to the level of “dissent.” And if the unaccomplished daughter of a President who left office almost two decades ago and of a two-time presidential loser, counts as “such a prominent Democratic figure,” then the Democrats have bigger worries than than who deserves the most “first-daughter hatred.”

OF COURSE IT WAS: Ukraine’s leader calls killing of Putin critic a Russian terror act.

A former Russian lawmaker and Kremlin critic who fled to Ukraine last year was shot dead Thursday in Kiev — a killing that Ukraine’s President called a “Russian state terrorist act.”

Denis Voronenkov, who’d been a Communist member of Russia’s lower legislative house before he left, was fatally shot outside a hotel in broad daylight, officials said.

Voronenkov becomes the latest in a string of Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who were killed or injured in mysterious circumstances.

Vladimir Lenin — the founder of the Soviet Union which taught Putin to be the “sword and shield” of the State — said, “The purpose of terrorism is to terrify.”

HOW CAN YOU TELL? Canada’s Diplomats Told to Stop Using Cardboard Cutouts of Justin Trudeau at Events.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Everything You Think You Know About Campus Sexual Assault Is Wrong.

It’s a review of K.C. Johnson & Stuart Taylor, Jr.’s The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities, which is a must-read.

ART OF WAR MEETS ART OF THE DEAL: Tillerson pulls a Trump card on North Korea.

A BLOW FOR FREE SPEECH: Charles Murray speaks at Columbia, with support of nearly 150 faculty members.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Want To Buy A Law School (or Three) On The Cheap? InfiLaw May Have A Deal For You.

WINNING: Team Trump is already kicking butt at the United Nations.

According to the group UN Watch, in the decade since its inception, the council condemned Israel 68 times, compared to 67 condemnations of all other countries combined.

No wonder Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote recently to UN supporters that unless the council in Geneva ends its bias — and stops admitting serious human rights violators as members — the United States will walk.

And guess what: In other UN corners, such pressure is already showing results.

A UN agency called the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia recently issued a hefty report denouncing Israel’s “apartheid.”

It was written by Richard Falk, a 9/11 truther who in the past also accused America and Israel of responsibility for the Boston Marathon bombing.

Last week, Haley, who’s been outspoken about anti-Israel bias since arriving in New York, demanded that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remove the agency’s report from the UN website.

He did. Then the director of that agency, Jordanian national Rima Khalaf, resigned.

And with that, a bit of Israel-bashing was gone.

But fighting the UN’s obsession with the Jewish state is just the start.

The UN is usually where mediocrities go to have their careers put on life support, but Haley has proven to be an inspired — and energetic — choice.

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The question Republican Congressmen need to ask themselves this morning is, “Who is the constituency for this bill?”

Odds are, Mr. or Mrs. Congressperson, it isn’t the voters who elected you, nor is it Democrats who would prefer something even closer to single-payer.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO GROPE: Female CEO Resigns, Accused Of Grabbing Boobs.

WIKILEAKS: CIA tools could infiltrate MacBooks, iPhones.

Armed with a fresh set of leaked documents, WikiLeaks said Thursday that the US Central Intelligence Agency has developed tools to infect Apple products like iPhones and MacBooks.

The tools, which date from between 2009 and 2013, are unlikely to affect current Apple hardware. They show a spy agency attempting to crack into some of the most locked-down consumer electronics devices available, using hacking methods that require the agency to directly access the products.

CNET is unable to verify whether the documents are real or have been altered.

The safe assumption has always been that if someone has your device, they can gain access.

SO THIS IS PRETTY MUCH A DEBACLE, ISN’T IT? Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan. The GOP leadership in Congress hasn’t covered itself in glory here, and Trump’s deal-making skills so far haven’t shown much success.

MICHAEL WALSH: In Wake of Latest Muslim Attack, Reuters Smears… Marine Le Pen.

But of course.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ: FEC Dems again eye regulating Drudge, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook.

WHAT A WEASEL: Rockville Superintendent: Complaining about illegals raping students is racist.

HMM: Senate votes to kill FCC’s broadband privacy rules.

The Senate’s 50-48 vote Thursday on a resolution of disapproval would roll back Federal Communications Commission rules requiring broadband providers to receive opt-in customer permission to share sensitive personal information, including web-browsing history, geolocation, and financial details with third parties. The FCC approved the regulations just five months ago.

Thursday’s vote was largely along party lines, with Republicans voting to kill the FCC’s privacy rules and Democrats voting to keep them.

[ Further reading: How the new age of antivirus software will protect your PC ]
The Senate’s resolution, which now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, would allow broadband providers to collect and sell a “gold mine of data” about customers, said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat.

“Your mobile broadband provider knows how you move about your day through information about your geolocation and internet activity through your mobile device,” he said. The Senate resolution “will take consumers out of this driver’s seat and place the collection and use of their information behind a veil of secrecy.”

But critics of the rules say they are expensive to ISPs and subject them to tough privacy regulations not imposed on web-based companies like Google and Facebook.

You can choose not to use Facebook or Google, but there’s no escaping having to use an ISP.

SO NOW THAT WE FIND IT’S A 19-YEAR-OLD AMERICAN/ISRAELI JEW WHO MADE THE JCC BOMB THREATS, a friend on Facebook comments: “The irony is that Trump never said that he thought Jews were behind the hoax calls to the JCCs, hostile media outlets twisted what he said to make it seem like he said that, and now the false quote has been ‘vindicated.'”

How does he pull this stuff off? I blame Russian hackers.

FASTER, PLEASE: U.K. Police Make ‘Significant’ Arrests in London Terror-Attack Investigation.

Mark Rowley, the U.K.’s top counterterror policeman, said in a morning press conference that there was no evidence of further threats but that investigators were trying to determine whether the attacker acted on his own or had accomplices.

“Our determination is to understand if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if other people have encouraged, supported or directed him,” he said.

With the two overnight arrests, nine people were now in custody, and one woman was released on bail overnight, he said. Police have seized 2,700 items from searches, including what Mr. Rowley described as “massive amounts” of computer data.

The question is whether an attack at the heart of British government will be enough to shake Britain loose from her cultural complacency.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Grassley: If you’d filibuster Gorsuch, you’d filibuster anybody.

Related: Chuck Grassley: Chuck Schumer ‘poisoned’ the well for Supreme Court nominees. Go the Reid Option and then some — get rid of the filibuster entirely.

THE ART OF THE DEAL? Trump’s ultimatum: If vote fails, Obamacare stays.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has just laid down a gauntlet to House Republicans on behalf of President Trump: pass this bill, or Obamacare remains in place.

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus want more concessions but, according to Mulvaney, Trump will not negotiate further.

The president demanded a vote tomorrow, and now it appears he will get it. He is all but daring Republicans to vote no.

Nancy Pelosi didn’t allow a final vote on ObamaCare until she knew, privately, that she had enough to win. Is the GOP leadership or caucus that disciplined?

KAROL MARKOWICZ: Dear Rabbis of Liberal Congregations: Stop Dividing Us In The Name Of Fighting Hate. “Too many rabbis and other Jewish leaders are linking the threats against JCCs and other Jewish spaces — like the Brooklyn Jewish Children’s Museum — to President Trump. Sure, you stand against anti-Semitism, and that’s good. But you do it under the umbrella of groups like Get Organized Brooklyn, groups with openly political leftist aims. Your fight against anti-Semitism is part and parcel of your fight against the president. It shouldn’t be. . . . Think about it: The two people arrested so far for making bomb threats against Jewish centers have turned out to be nothing like we may have imagined they’d be. They’re not white supremacists from states you’d probably never visit. No, on Wednesday, an American-Israeli Jewish teenage citizen was arrested for making some of those threats. A few weeks ago, Juan Thompson, a Hispanic leftist writer, was charged with making some. At a time when we need to stand together, you have to know you are fostering an atmosphere that is working against that goal.”

But they don’t care. Because to them, it’s not that leftist politics is superior to Judaism. It’s that leftist politics is Judaism.

NOAH FELDMAN: Democrats’ Misguided Argument Against Gorsuch.

I’m not sure who decided that the Democratic critique of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would be that he doesn’t side with the little guy. It’s a truly terrible idea. Like other liberals, I’m still shocked and upset that Judge Merrick Garland never got the vote he deserved after his nomination by President Barack Obama, and I’d rather have a progressive justice join the court. But the thing is, siding with workers against employers isn’t a jurisprudential position. It’s a political stance. And justices — including progressive justices — shouldn’t decide cases based on who the parties are. They should decide cases based on their beliefs about how the law should be interpreted.

Let’s start at the beginning. Way back in the beginning, in fact. The Hebrew Bible, which sides with the little guy a great deal, has something to say about parties to a case. Specifically, Deuteronomy 16:19 says judges shouldn’t “respect persons,” which is the King James Version’s translation of the Hebrew phrase that literally means “recognize faces.” Justice — which is mentioned in the famous next verse (“Justice, justice shalt thou pursue”) — requires judges to decide cases under the law, not based on preferences for individuals.

If the Bible doesn’t convince you, consider the whole point of a rule-of-law system: It establishes rules so that people can be confident in advance of how decisions are made. That creates regularity and predictability. And in the long run, it protects the little guy a lot better than a system rigged to favor one side, because such systems will naturally tend to favor the rich and powerful, not the poor and downtrodden.

Assuring that the rule of law is followed is in fact the specific role of appellate judges, like Gorsuch.

I think they’re mostly trying to keep their base revved up at the moment.

“I RECOMMEND READING THIS CLOSELY, LOOKING FOR THE WEASEL WORDS:” The NYT struggles to fight off Trump’s use of that NYT headline “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.”

Liu writes that Trump was “misleading” to say that the Times said that “wiretap data” was “used in inquiry of Trump aides.” “Misleading” is NOT the same as false, so Liu really is admitting that it was true. The reason it’s misleading, according to Liu, is that the article doesn’t say that “Mr. Obama ordered surveillance on him.” Did Trump say Obama ordered surveillance on him? There’s no Trump quote to that effect, and it makes me suspicious that Trump is being paraphrased to confine him to what can be refuted, which — talk about misleading! — feels very misleading.

It’s been hard for the press to pivot directly from Leaked Wiretaps Show Trump’s a Putin Stooge all the way to Wiretaps? What wiretaps?


That sounds like a concession that Flynn was wiretapped! He may not have been the original target or the official target, but he got swept in, and we shouldn’t even know about that. But there was a leak, and wasn’t the leak targeted on him — a gross violation of law designed to take him down? I can’t believe we’re nitpicking Trump’s use of the term “wiretapped” rather than outraged about a shocking abuse of power for political purposes.

Well, that’s how they try to distract people. And:

Many words are dead metaphors, and “wiretapped” may be one, whether it’s in quotes or not. Who cares if there were “wires” that were “tapped”? It’s like looking for eaves when someone is said to be eavesdropping. I think the stress on the word “wiretapped” is part of an effort to say that some other party was targeted — some foreign official was listened in on — and that caused the overhearing of some Trump-associated persons. There was a wiretap, but the wires tapped (metaphorically) were not a Trump associate’s.

But to use that opportunity — that wiretap — to listen in is a terrible infringement on the non-target, and the law required the protection of these non-targets from an invasion of their privacy. Instead, the leakers did the opposite and took advantage of what they heard and deliberately exposed what they were legally required to mask. That’s what I gather from Liu’s article anyway.

Why doesn’t the NYT care about this problem!

Because it would hurt the narrative. (Bumped).


Classical reference in headline; found via Kate of Small Dead Animals, who writes, “If You Believe The Things You Read In The Paper, Try getting interviewed sometime.”

Though as the Insta-Professor is wont to remind us, always record a copy of your interviews – whether you’re being interviewed by Bloomberg or Katie Couric. (Especially if you’re being interviewed by Katie Couric.)

March 23, 2017

WHY ARE LEFTIST INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL ABUSE? A Former Student Says UC Berkeley’s Star Philosophy Professor Groped Her And Watched Porn At Work. “Searle, 84, is famous for his work in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind and has taught at UC Berkeley since 1959. In 2016, the university unveiled the John Searle Center for Social Ontology, which says it is the first center of its kind in the country. . . . The lawsuit comes at a time when both the international philosophy community and the University of California system are grappling with widespread sexual misconduct scandals.”

See, when this stuff was limited to TV preachers and Catholic priests it was fodder for late-night TV humor. Now, not so much.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: ‘Hoax’: Texas teen made up widely publicized story of being kidnapped, raped by 3 black men, police say.

Related: Students Furious That Official Described Alleged Rape as ‘Alleged Rape.’ Because when you don’t jump to conclusions, you’re engaging in “victim-blaming and invalidation of rape.” These students should be sent back to high school — or middle school, or day care — as they’re clearly not ready for college. What has happened to Missouri, which was once regarded as a hard-headed place?

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LET ME TRANSLATE THIS FOR YOU: “WE DON’T EXPECT TO CONTROL THE SUPREME COURT FOR AT LEAST A DECADE, SO WE’RE STARTING TO DELEGITIMIZE IT NOW.” Russ Feingold: If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Alabama Girl, 19, Charged With Raping 14 Year Old Boy. “Mekenzie said she and the adolescent boy met through a mutual friend at a McDonalds in December last year and had sex multiple times in her car. She also told police that with permission of the boy’s parents, she stayed for at least a fortnight at his home, where the couple filmed a pornographic video. The video, which Mekenzie sent to the boy’s phone, is said to depict the boy in the nude. Mekenzie, who is now about six weeks pregnant, is charged with a host of offenses, including second-degree rape, enticing a child for immoral purposes, and possession and dissemination of child pornography (the homemade porno).”

IMPORTANT HEALTH NEWS FOR WOMEN: 8 Mind-Blowing Facts About Sperm That May Persuade You to Take a Swallow.

CAN’T SAY I BLAME HIM, EVEN IF IT IS UNCOLLEGIAL: Intel chair won’t reveal source on Trump team surveillance to panel’s top Dem.

BOB WOODWARD: Obama Officials Could Face Criminal Charges For Leaking Trump Surveillance:

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward warned on Wednesday that there are people from the Obama administration who could be facing criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members from surveillance of foreign officials.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said earlier that he had briefed Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that several members of Trump’s transition team and perhaps Trump himself had their identities “unmasked” after their communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials.

The revelation is notable because identities of Americans are generally supposed to remain “masked” if American communications are swept up during surveillance of foreign individuals.

Laws are for the little people. But Obama officials are little people now.

THE PLOT THICKENS: James Rosen: Potential ‘smoking gun’ showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says. “The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources. The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.”