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TRACKING TIMESPEAK THROUGH TIME:

Media Analytics is a fun site that allows you to chart how frequently the New York Times has used a particular word through the years. The data begin in 1970 and go through 2017. All you have to do is plug in a word, and the site generates a frequency chart. Thus, for example, we can see how “gender” went from a boring word that was a prissy way of saying “sex” to a leftist battleground, in a very short period of time. Click all charts to enlarge:

More here: American Pravda.

WAR ON SCIENCE:

UPDATE: More here.

THINK OF THEM AS DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES AND YOU WON’T GO FAR WRONG:

More here.

DEADLY VIRTUE SIGNALING: Why is Gillette trying to glamorize obesity?

UPDATE: More here from Kruiser.

REST IN PEACE: NASA officially says goodbye to its Mars rover, Opportunity: Communication attempts have been unsuccessful for nearly a year now. “Opportunity went far beyond what anyone thought it would be able to withstand. NASA wanted this rover and its identical twin named Spirit to last 90 days. After 15 years and over 28 miles of martial terrain traveled, Opportunity is the most traveled and longest lasting rover ever launched to another planet.”

UPDATE: Much, much more here.

THE MAN IN THE MIRROR. Northam Refuses to Resign: I Am Not in Photo, But I ‘Darkened My Face’ for Michael Jackson Costume at Dance Contest.

More here: “The surreal press conference was packed with twists: Northam provided a wild non-explanation for how the photo ended up on his page. He confessed to ‘darkening’ his face for the Texas dance contest. He gave a half-assed explanation of why his yearbook nickname was ‘Coonman.’ Later, when asked about the dance contest, he said he won because he learned how to moonwalk. He then made a joke about how hard it is to remove shoe polish from his face — but denied that qualified as blackface.”

Regarding that “half-assed explanation” of “Coonman,” Northam claimed, “My main nickname was Goose, because when my voice would change, it would change an octave. There were two individuals, as best I recollect. They were a year ahead of me, they called me — I don’t know their motives or intent. I know who they are. That was the extent of it. This ended up in the yearbook and I regret that.”

And we’ve entered the bargaining stage of Kubler-Ross: “‘I could spare myself from the difficult path that lies ahead. I could avoid an honest conversation about harmful actions from my past,’ he said. ‘I cannot in good conscience chose the path that would be easier for me in an effort to duck my responsibility to reconcile.’”

UPDATE: “‘My main nickname in high school and in college was ‘Goose.’ There were two individuals at VMI. They called me ‘Coonman.’ I regret that’ Ralph Northam says. How can you regret a nickname that you didn’t choose?”, Tyler O’Neil asks at the PJM Mothership, which is liveblogging the Northam fiasco.

ANOTHER UPDATE (FROM GLENN): This sounds plausible:

SPACE: China’s Military-Run Space Station in Argentina is a ‘Black Box.’ More here.

#JOURNALISM:

More here.

COURT: ObamaCare mandate unconstitutional.

UPDATE: More here.

WEEKLY STANDARD EMPLOYEES BRACE FOR THE WORST AS RUMORS SWIRL SURROUNDING MAG’S IMMINENT DEMISE.

Related: “‘They’re either closing or they’re folding into a page of the Washington Examiner,’ said the former Examiner employee. Yet a current editor at The Weekly Standard disputed that possibility. ‘I don’t think ‘folded’ is the right word. It sounds more like get rid of us entirely,’ the editor said.”

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): More here. The basic problem is that NeverTrumpism is a niche market even within the political class.

GEORGETOWN PREP: THE MEDIA CIRCUS IS GONE, BUT THE DAMAGE IS DONE.

Journalists phoned us by the dozens, mostly demanding to know how long we had presided over a circus of drug and alcohol abuse, misogyny, and criminality. At least these reporters gave us the courtesy of a call. Many other national media outlets simply ran archly critical stories without bothering to contact us at all.

This was all necessary for American democracy, some of them explained, since one of our graduates had become a Supreme Court nominee. In a sense, that’s understandable. But as I learned firsthand, the lens trained on Georgetown Prep was warped, obscuring details that ran counter to preferred narratives, and the resulting portrait of our community was grossly distorted.

We were garishly described as an institution that “celebrated heavy drinking,” “a troubled, morally questionable symbol of a snobby elite [where] alcohol was an integral part of the school’s identity,” and a place where “disregard or mistreatment of women [was] widely accepted.” A “debauched . . . scene of cloistered young men.” And those are just a few such insults from the more than 60 articles that appeared about Prep in the Washington Post alone.

Democracy dies in demonization.

More here: Post Truth.

 

WHY WAS DISCO EVER POPULAR? BLAME FAKE NEWS: As Mike Konrad writes at the American Thinker, the media cooked the books long before it amplified Hillary’s “fake news” meme to explain away her defeat:

Three months before disco’s demise, a Newsweek April 2, 1979 cover confidently proclaimed that disco had won the culture wars.*  Rock ‘n’ roll was dead.  But a few months later, by the fall of 1979, disco was gone.  What happened?

What happened was that the disco culture was a house of cards.  The signature statement of that culture, Saturday Night Fever, was a total fraud.

The movie, and the disco fad, were based on an article, “Inside the Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” that appeared in New York Magazine in June 1976.

Over the past few months, much of my time has been spent in watching this new generation.  Moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, from disco to disco, an explorer out of my depth, I have tried to learn the patterns, the old/new tribal rites.

The problem was that the story was mostly made up.

Twenty years later came a bombshell.  In December 1997 New York magazine published an article in which Cohn confessed that there never was a Vincent.  There was no “Lisa”, “Billy”, “John James”, “Lorraine” or “Donna” either.  While 2001 Odyssey existed, it wasn’t the way the writer described it in 1976.  The whole scene of disco-loving Italians, as mythologised in Saturday Night Fever, was exaggerated.  The most bizarre detail was that his disco protagonists were in fact based on mods Cohn had known in London.

More here:

One image stayed with the writer, though, that of a figure in flared crimson pants and a black body shirt standing in the doorway of the club and calmly watching the action. There was a style about him, Cohn said, a sense of his own specialness that reminded the writer of a teen gang in his hometown of Derry and a mod named Chris he’d met in London in 1965.

When Cohn went back to Odyssey he didn’t see the young man in the doorway again. “Plus, I made a lousy interviewer,” he wrote. “I knew nothing about this world, and it showed. Quite literally, I didn’t speak the language. So I faked it. I conjured up the story of the figure in the doorway, and named him Vincent. Taking all I knew about the snake-charmer in Derry and, more especially, about Chris the mod in London, I translated them as best I could to Brooklyn. Then I went back to Bay Ridge in daylight and noted the major landmarks. I walked some streets, went into a couple of stores. Studied the clothes, the gestures, the walks. Imagined how it would feel to burn up, all caged energies, with no outlet but the dancefloor and the rituals of Saturday night. Finally, I wrote it all up. And presented it as fact.”

Michael Crichton, call your office.

* It’s Business Week’s 1979 “Death of Equities” cover in reverse — not to mention Newsweek’s own 2009 cover, “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Joel Engel wrote to me with some additional details and corrections to the American Thinker piece:

That the NY Mag story had been made up was more than certainly known to the studio and producers, who’d have been warned by legal that they had to buy the life rights of the principals involved. Second, Saturday Night Fever didn’t start the disco craze; it capitalized on it. Disco, in my recollection, started with the Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1973, when I was living in Paris and discos began opening everywhere. By the time I got back to the States, Neil Bogart was already a multimillionaire from his label Casablanca that had dozens of disco acts, from Donna Summer to the Village People. (Casablanca was where I met my wife in 1979. She was head of the editorial dept, and I was a freelancer churning out bios and sales sheets at exorbitant rates, while at night I was a DJ at the Malibu Inn, which had transformed itself into a thriving disco–music I hated.) Thank God It’s Friday, by Casablanca’s film division (which also produced Peter Guber’s The Deep and put Jacqueline Bissett in a wet t-shirt), had been a huge hit in theaters. But what killed disco with a stake through the heart in 1980, I’m happy to say, was another Casablanca movie: Can’t Stop the Music, a work of such unremitting awfulness (directed by Rhoda Morganstern’s onscreen mother, who’d had no directing experience) that it’s worse than anything Ed Wood imagined. (Forgive me for invoking Gell-Mann here.)

Heh, indeed.™

PROMINENT DEMOCRAT STORMY DANIELS ARRESTED FOR LEWD CONTACT.

More here: “Franklin County Municipal Court documents show Daniels was arrested by Columbus police and is scheduled for arraignment Friday morning. She’s charged with charged with three counts of ‘Illegally Operating Sexually Oriented Business – Employee Knowingly Touch Any Patron.’ Avenatti tweeted that Daniels will plead not guilty. . . . The report says that when the officers approached the stage, Daniels held the face of the female officer between her breasts. It also says she did the same to a male officer. The report adds that Daniels fondled the buttocks and breasts of another officer.”

Well, she’s a prominent Democrat, so . . .

BRITAIN IN 2018: Was Tommy Robinson Arrested For Being Tommy Robinson?

More here.

“EXTREME” IMMIGRATION VIEWS ENJOY HUGE PUBLIC SUPPORT: What if most Americans want to reduce immigration by 75 percent? Washington elites better brace themselves because a new survey of 1,000 likely voters found 49 percent would slash green cards by three-fourths. Only 17 percent would keep things as they are.

Most of the respondents think businesses should be required to use the E-Verify system for new hires. Lots more heretical opinion found in the survey conducted by The Polling Co. (sound familiar? It should, it’s Kellyanne Conway’s old firm) for NumbersUSA, which is an advocacy group that supports tougher immigration enforcement policies. LifeZette’s Brendan Kirby has more.

And speaking of Brendan Kirby and more, that’s what he has this morning on the huge kink in the immigration court system that slows everything down to a snail’s pace. A snail in molasses, that is. Just to cite one illustration – the system still uses paper files for each case. Maybe somebody should let the immigration judges know about this amazing thing that’s been invented called “computers.”

TOUR DE FORCE: FNC’s Baier Grills Comey Over Dossier, E-Mail, Leaks in Epic Interview.

The questioning began with the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and if it was “true that you and your FBI colleagues made the decision to exonerate Secretary Clinton well before she was interviewed.”

Comey denied that despite having written a memo exonerating her and emphasized that it’s crucial for investigators to have an idea of where a probe that ended up lasting almost a year.

It was soon after that Baier showed his mettle, telling Comey that “you already knew that she had been telling, whatever you want to say, lies, mistruths about this investigation of what — and how she handled those emails” and played a clip of Comey stating just that in congressional testimony in July 2016.

Here’s more of that exchange, including a question about why Cheryl Mills was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s FBI interview.

Read the whole thing.

More here: Comey Makes Surprising New Claims In Disastrous Fox News Interview.

OH TO BE IN ENGLAND: London pensioner, 78, is arrested on suspicion of murder after ‘stabbing armed burglar, 38, to death in a struggle in his kitchen’ when two intruders woke him as he slept next to his wife.

Shades of the vignettes Mark Steyn described in his June 2000 American Spectator column, “In the Absence of Guns:”

No wonder, even as they’re being pounded senseless, many British crime victims are worrying about potential liability. A few months ago, Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion boutique whose clients include the daughter of the Princess Royal, was ironing some garments when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and stole her watch, leaving her badly burnt. “I was frightened to defend myself,” said Miss Best. “I thought if I did anything I would be arrested.”

And who can blame her? Shortly before the attack, she’d been reading about Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer whose home had been broken into and who had responded by shooting and killing the teenage burglar. He was charged with murder. In April, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment–for defending himself against a career criminal in an area where the police are far away and reluctant to have their sleep disturbed. In the British Commonwealth, the approach to policing is summed up by the motto of Her Majesty’s most glamorous constabulary: The Mounties always get their man–i.e., leave it to us. But these days in the British police, when they can’t get their man, they’ll get you instead: Frankly, that’s a lot easier, as poor Mr. Martin discovered.

More here:

Between the introduction of pistol permits in 1903 and the banning of handguns after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, Britain has had a century of incremental gun control–“sensible measures that all reasonable people can agree on.” And what’s the result? Even when you factor in America’s nutcake jurisdictions with the crackhead mayors, the overall crime rate in England and Wales is higher than in all 50 states, even though over there they have more policemen per capita than in the U.S., on vastly higher rates of pay installing more video surveillance cameras than anywhere else in the Western world.

Steyn’s column is a pretty good sneak preview where America could be headed if the Parkland kids have their way.

(Found via Dana Loesch.)

WOULD YOU LIKE BACON WITH THAT? Happy Passover from the Manitoba New Democratic Party Caucus!

More here: Manitoba NDP runs into trouble over Passover pic that shows family baking bread.

MOVE OVER CNN. Another outlet just got into the shameful ‘doxing’ business with Pamela Geller’s daughters.

More here: Instagram Stars Harassed, Lose Talk Show After Daily Beast Doxes Them as Pamela Geller’s Daughters.

Note that in the first link, BuzzFeed is gleefully amplifying the story, which isn’t surprise since they practically invented the concept of doxxing innocent people in 2013 with #WhatTimeDoesJustineLand.

COLLUSION: Democratic rebuttal to GOP House Intelligence memo released.

UPDATE: More here including this White House response: “As the majority’s memorandum stated, the FISA judge was never informed that Hillary Clinton and the DNC funded the dossier that was a basis for the Department of Justice’s FISA application. In addition, the Minority’s memo fails to even address the fact that the Deputy FBI Director told the Committee that had it not been for the dossier, no surveillance order would have been sought.”

SO PHIL BREDESEN IS RUNNING FOR THE CORKER SEAT IN TENNESSEE. He was a good governor, and I worked with him on a state commission and like him. But he’ll be running against a woman (Marsha Blackburn) in an election cycle where his own party is going to be going all Women Good, Men Bad.. So this doesn’t help: Top Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen’s gubernatorial administration was investigated for concealing details of sexual harassment allegations against high ranking political appointees.

Bredesen, who announced his Senate campaign Thursday, came under scrutiny in 2005 after state investigators shredded documents related to sexual harassment allegations brought against high-level administration officials. Bredesen justified the shredding on the basis that it was done to protect the identity of the victims.

The Tennessean, a Nashville-based daily, began investigating the office in 2005 after Bredesen’s senior adviser for legislation and policy, Mack Cooper, was suspended due to a workplace harassment claim. Reporters were unable to unearth any details about the claim because state investigators shredded all of their notes. . . .

Bredesen confirmed that White had in fact been accused one year before his suspension but insisted investigators were unable to corroborate the allegation. He was unable to prove the probe yielded no corroborating evidence because the top investigator shredded her notes and produced no written report detailing the investigation.

Both the AP and The Tennessean conducted investigations and determined that Bredesen’s administration treated sexual harassment claims against political appointees differently than those against low level state employees.

“In a review last year of 602 workplace harassment case files across all levels of state government, the AP reported that documents were shredded only in high-profile cases,” the AP found.

More here: Top Dem in Tennessee Senate Race Has Record of Covering Up Sexual Assault Allegations.

The incidents sparked investigations into whether shredding of documents relating to sexual assault was common throughout state government or whether it was unique to political appointees.

“The governor’s office has become involved in a select number of workplace harassment complaints against top state officials and has put them under a veil of secrecy that does not apply to ordinary state workers, a Tennessean review of case files shows,” the paper wrote in July 2005 after finding that shredding of documents was common for investigations into officials at the level of Cooper and White.

The AP, which conducted its own thorough review of workplace harassment in Bredesen’s office, came to a similar conclusion.

“In a review last year of 602 workplace harassment case files across all levels of state government, the AP reported that documents were shredded only in high-profile cases,” the AP similarly found around the same time.

The Tennessean‘s then editor, Everett J. Mitchell II, slammed Bredesen’s secrecy on high-profile cases, writing in his paper, “How is the public to be assured that the problem has been appropriately and adequately addressed if the public business is done in secrecy?”

Mitchell argued “the shredding of documents raises the specter there was more to it and that there was something to hide.”

More here.

PATTERICO: Lawsplainer: The California Homicide Statutes Relevant to the Steinle Murder Case.

More here from Sarah Rumpf. The murder charge was iffy, but the real crime was that this guy was present in the United States at all.

PENCE DITCHES COLTS GAME AFTER 49ERS PLAYERS KNEEL DURING ANTHEM:

Vice President Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday when ​some ​players from the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem​,” Pence posted on Twitter. ​

Sure, it was a stunt – Pence had to know that the Niners would kneel, just as they’ve done since Kap first blew-up the NFL last year, and at each game so far this season. But Pence’s message is the correct one – protest your causes all you want during your own free time, not during the national anthem.

In addition to rallying Trump’s base, this will of course ensure that the protests continue, which will further hurt the NFL’s image, alienate fans who just want to watch a game and spend a few hours away from the culture wars, and likely drive ratings further downward.

Or as Ace wrote a few weeks ago: The National Nervous Breakdown, and How to Exploit it Ruthlessly.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): AP: BREAKING: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tells CBS he’ll stand during national anthem if given chance to play football in NFL again.

MORE (From Ed): AP and CBS walk back this report, with CBS sports journalist Jason La Canfora oddly now claiming that he was going by past statements by Kaepernick, and never discussed the issue with him, despite apparently spending several hours interviewing him. Also, Kaepernick’s girlfriend denies the claim. Much more here.

MISSILE DEFENSE TEST A SUCCESS: This is welcome news. My column on the test and U.S. missile defense capabilities will appear tomorrow.

More here on the Ground-based Missile Defense system’s exo-atmospheric kill vehicle.

BACKGROUND:This discussion of AEGIS Ashore includes information on the Ground Based Interceptor.

REPORT: FBI to charge State Department employee. “Candace Claiborne, who worked in the Caucasus Affairs office of the State Department, is being charged, the report said. She is reportedly accused of lying to the FBI. The FBI’s investigation of Claiborne included surveillance done under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Reuters added in a tweet, citing a federal prosecutor.”

UPDATE: Much more here. “Candace Marie Claiborne is a U.S. State Department employee who possesses a Top Secret security clearance and allegedly failed to report her contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits. . . . Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.”

She was hired during the Clinton Administration.

IF HE’S GUILTY HE NEEDS TO BE SEVERELY PUNISHED: UC Berkeley probes staffer after post-protest Web campaign. Translation: “Ultra-conservative, fringe websites” looked at Twitter postings and decided this was the guy who was bragging about beating up pro-Trump people. Then they made such a stink that even “respectable” outlets had to pay attention. If it turns out to be him, he needs to be fired and prosecuted. It’s time to end the leftist culture of impunity on campus.

UPDATE: More here: UC Berkeley Rioter Identified As University Staff Member. “Sleuths on Twitter quickly pointed out that the person behind this @teen_archer account was likely a UC Berkeley staff member named Ian Dabney Miller. Further Daily Caller investigation has confirmed that Ian Miller, a UC Berkeley staffer, is indeed the person behind the @teen_archer account that was bragging about getting into fights with Milo attendees and participating in the riots.”

OWN GOAL: Audi accidentally debunked their dumb Super Bowl ad on pay equality.

More here: Audi Just Stepped On A Rake With ‘Equal Pay’ Messaging In New Super Bowl Ad.

UPDATE: Those rakes are coming from the left side of the aisle as well, to totally mangle metaphors:

 

MAN THROWS HOMEMADE EXPLOSIVE INTO PASADENA CHEESECAKE FACTORY:

An unknown man threw a homemade explosive device into a Cheesecake Factory in Southern California Thursday as patrons dined on the American fare.

“This evening an incendiary device exploded within our Pasadena restaurant,” The Cheescake Factory said in a statement, according to ABC News. “Thankfully, none of our guests or staff was injured. Law enforcement is actively investigating the incident and we hope to reopen in Pasadena on Friday, as usual.”

After the apparatus was tossed and detonated, the restaurant filled with heavy smoke.

More here:

The device contained gunpowder, the Star-News said. Police said it was not a pipe bomb, not a Molotov cocktail, had no projectiles, no shrapnel and nothing was ejected.

“It could be a dissatisfied customer, a disgruntled employee,” Pasadena Police Lt. Mark Goodman said, according to the Star-News.

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said the device was more like a firecracker than a bomb. Still, he said police are taking the incident seriously, according to the Star-News.

Local authorities notified federal agencies out of an abundance of caution, but don’t know if the incident was intended to be an act of terrorism, the Star-News said.

The man was seen fleeing the area on foot.

Police described the man as being Latino or Middle Eastern, about 6 feet tall, of thin build and with a heavy beard. He wore all black clothing and a black beanie, the Star-News said.

Some things simply aren’t done – nobody steps on a church in Peter Venkman’s town, and nobody should mess with the Cheesecake Factory that gave Penny her first job after leaving Nebraska.

BIDI BIDI SETTLEMENT CAMP IN UGANDA: Relief organizations say it’s either the largest or second-largest refugee camp in the world. The camp opened the first week of August 2016.

Just 6 months old, this camp is known as the biggest settlement camp in the world, housing 270,000 or one-fifth of the over 1.3 million displaced people in South Sudan. This means that for the people fleeing war and pestilence, all roads lead to Bidi Bidi camp Uganda, just 40km away from the South Sudan-Uganda border.

The camp exists because of the violence and anarchy in South Sudan. In late December 2016 I contributed to an update on the war. Many South Sudanese fear a “Rwanda-like” genocide. Per my comment of December 27, they have a case.

Here’s a report on Bidi Bidi from September 2016. You can see why some reports call it a “pop up” city.

More here on current conditions at Bidi Bidi.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: 7th Circuit strikes ban on target practice by minors, and near-ban on firing ranges.

More here from Eugene Volokh.

SENATOR TIM SCOTT (R-SC) DELIVER’S TWITTER’S SICKEST BURN:

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-8-55-43-pm

More here.

UPDATE: A friend on Facebook writes that this is the best thing she’s seen all day, “and I’ve watched the press conference 3 times.”

SNATCH AND GRAB: Man steals $1.6 million in gold from armored truck. More here.

CONGRESSMAN ISSA RE-ELECTED: He won it on a long count, by 2,348 votes. More here.

WEINER COOPERATING WITH FBI: A Bret Baier tweet broke the story. Is Weiner using the emails to cop a plea? Seems logical. More here. Baier has two sources. According to the article, Weiner’s cooperation explains why the FBI didn’t need a warrant to access the computer.

WILL ISIS SELL OUT THE APOCALYPSE? Background on the looming battle for the Syrian town of Dabiq. More here.

CRONYISM ALL THE WAY DOWN: Breaking: Email from 2009 shows top Clinton Foundation exec ask Abedin to get him & colleagues diplomatic passports.

UPDATE: More here. “Diplomatic passports are a prized asset, as significant benefits accrue to their holders. They are almost exclusively issued to government employees representing the United States in an official capacity. The Department of State requires applicants to present their official orders when procuring such documents. Individuals with diplomatic passports enjoy easy passage at international borders, access to special lines at airports, no tax liability on certain sources of income, and relaxed visa restrictions.”

THE SLOW CRAWL TO MOSUL CONTINUES: Today Kurdish forces launched a limited offensive southeast of the city. More here.

KNIFE RIGHTS: New York Times weighs in against NY’s stupid “Gravity Knife” law.

More here.

TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT:

200px-PorkbustersnewsmPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: More on pork and corruption in the House:

Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, another conservative stalwart, tried unsuccessfully to strip millions of dollars worth of farm subsidies out of the bill. “I offered eight amendments and every single one got voted down,” he says.

After the defeat, Flake told the New York Times, “”We have one of our former members in jail right now for basically selling earmarks”—referring to disgraced former member Randy “Duke” Cunningham. “He was able to get his earmarks through the legislative process without being challenged. Jack Abramoff reportedly referred to the Appropriations Committee as an ‘earmark favor factory.’”

In response to these comments, the earmarks’ defenders told the Times that Flake’s comments were out of line.

1994. Again. Right? I mean, these guys were never rocket scientists, but when I see this many people acting this stupidly — and in the face of lousy approval ratings that should be getting their attention — I have to wonder what I’m missing.

UPDATE: More here from Jacob Sullum:

Like most of their colleagues, Bonilla and Obey think buying votes with other people’s money is perfectly honorable—indeed, something (unlike respecting the Constitution) they are obligated to do as the people’s representatives. Hence it is light years away from the blatant corruption represented by such malefactors as Cunningham and Abramoff. Flake’s point, which Bonilla and Obey pretended to miss, was that the earmark system, by allowing legislators to quietly slip in funding for pet projects, invites such corruption.

But pork is also a form of corruption in itself, involving the use of taxpayer money not to perform the legitimate functions of the federal government but to serve the legislator’s own interest–in this case, staying in power, which brings with it all sorts of perks. Cunningham did pretty much the same thing, bringing federal money to his district at the behest of his constituents, except that he got some additional goodies in the process. If the actions are the same, does the antique armoire make all the difference?

To some people.

NEW OBAMA/HOLDER DECEPTIONS EXPOSED: Turns out the Department of Justice under former Attorney General Eric Holder used the power of government to force settlements on Bank of America, Citicorps and other financial industry titans that required them to make millions of dollars in contributions to “community groups,” including many that are political favorites of President Obama and advocates for more government regulation.

Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group reports on a briefing Friday by the Cause of Action Institute and Rep. Sean Duffy, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations. It’s bad enough that these big banks routinely collude with the government on regulation; here they are found submitting themselves and their abundant resources to serve the liberal political agenda.

“Among the political activist groups favored favored by the settlements is La Raza, the nation’s largest Hispanic activist organization that routinely supports Democratic candidates and causes. Cecilia Munoz, a La Raza senior vice president, was appointed by Obama in 2012 to head the White House Domestic Policy Council.

“La Raza is flush with money, reporting in 2013 to the IRS assets of $55 million. Janet Murguia, the group’s president and CEO was paid $417,000 that year, according to the group’s IRS tax return. Even so, La Raza is slated to receive at least $1 million from the Bank of America settlement and $500,000 from the Citigroup settlement,” according to Pollock.

There is more here to this story, much, much more, and all of it is worth reading. Just be careful to keep some nitro pills handy in case you have a weak heart because this stuff will make your blood boil. This is a story of liberal politicians using the power of government to divert millions of dollars slated for folks suffering in 2008’s housing meltdown to political groups, all to advance their personal and political agendas.

THAT WAS FAST: Senate Commerce Committee Launches Inquiry Into Facebook’s News Curation.

Related: Could Facebook Swing An Election?

UPDATE: More here.

“If Facebook presents its trending topics section as the result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook’s assertion that it maintains a ‘platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum’ misleads the public,” Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune, R-S.D., wrote in a Tuesday letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. . . .

“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” Thune said in a statement accompanying the letter. “Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”

Yes. It may also be fraud, or an abuse of market power.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Angela Merkel is doing more damage to the future of the West than Donald Trump.

Like most other commentators, I agree that Mr Trump’s remarks were nasty and dangerous – nasty because they libel millions of decent people, dangerous because they could drive such people to think: “If you hate and fear us, we must hate and fear you.”

But there is another reason why he has caused such a stir. Like all skilled populists, Mr Trump is touching (or rather trampling) on a real problem. If, after all, he had replaced the word “Muslims” with the words “Hindus” or “Christians” or “Jews”, everyone would immediately have concluded that he was, as well as nasty, mad. Politically, that would have been the end of him.

Alas, there are two true things lying behind his idiotic policy suggestion. The first is that the problem is about Muslims. The second is that our “elected representatives” do not know what to do about it.

The above-mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini also said “Islam is politics”. He meant that Islam tells you how to rule, and therefore any unIslamic way of ruling is illegitimate. . . .

Such ideas have become powerful in the West, partly because of arithmetic: we now have a great many Muslims in our midst – far more here, proportionately, than in Mr Trump’s country, and more in France than here. The risk of violence rises with the total. Even if it is true that 99 per cent of Muslims would not hurt a fly, when you increase the numbers you inevitably get more of those who would. People are, therefore, right to worry more about mass immigration from, say, Syria, than from, say, Poland.

But, even with high numbers, the problem would be much less severe if our leaders and institutions had greater cultural confidence. If they upheld a robust belief in the Western way of life, reflected in what our schools taught, what the BBC broadcast, what rules of citizenship were insisted on, and what was considered injurious to our values, then the doctrines of Islamism would be better resisted.

When you have a ruling class that doesn’t believe in — or even much like — the fundamental values of the nations it rules, things tend to work out poorly.

SO THIS SEEMS LIKE NEWS: “On or about Nov. 18th… there was a deposit of $28,500 into Syed Farook’s bank account.”

UPDATE: More here.

AND NOW FOR A SPOT OF GOOD NEWS: Jeff Bezos just launched and landed the world’s first reusable suborbital rocket.

Here’s more from Bezos himself. “We are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space, to help us move beyond this blue planet that is the origin of all we know.”

UPDATE: More here.

THIS DUMB IDEA IS ROLLED OUT AFTER EVERY TERROR ATTACK, EVEN THOUGH THERE’S NEVER ANY EVIDENCE THAT IT WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE: Senators want to give government access to encrypted communications to combat terrorism.

I don’t trust them, and figure that encryption backdoors are more likely to be used in routine criminal cases, and for spying on political opponents. I wish I trusted our authorities more here, but I don’t.

MAX BOOT: Rightfully Reversing Decades of Secessionist Rehabilitation:

But there is a big distinction to be made between remembering the past — something that, as a historian, I’m all in favor of — and honoring those who did bad things in the past. Remembrance does not require public displays of the Confederate flag, nor streets with names such as Jefferson Davis Highway — a road that always rankles me to drive down in Northern Virginia. Such gestures are designed to honor leaders of the Confederacy, who were responsible for the costliest war in American history — men who were traitors to this country, inveterate racists, and champions of slavery.

In this regard, honoring Jefferson Davis is particularly egregious, or, for that matter, Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan. But I believe even honoring the nobler Robert E. Lee is inappropriate. True, he was a brave and skilled soldier, but he fought in a bad cause. Modern Germany does not have statues to Erwin Rommel even though he — unlike Lee — turned at the end of the day against the monstrous regime in whose cause he fought so skillfully. Thus, I don’t believe it is appropriate to have statues of Lee, or schools named after him, although I admit in his case it’s a closer call than with Jefferson Davis.

This is not “rewriting” history; it’s getting history right. The rewriting was done by Lost Cause mythologists who created pro-Confederate propaganda (such as Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind) to convince their countrymen that the South was actually in the right even as it imposed slavery and then segregation. This required impugning those Northerners who went south after the Civil War to try to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. They were labeled “carpetbaggers,” and their memory was tarnished while the actions of the white supremacists they opposed were glorified.

Boot is exactly right. I wasn’t kidding when I said before that I am glad to see Nikki Haley get the Stars and Bars removed from government buildings. Eric Foner and other historians like James Oakes and Richard Sewell are to be credited with correcting the historical record from the pro-Confederate revisionism that is still accepted by all-too-many on the right. Where the “Lost Cause” fable might once have been justified as a useful fiction to unify the country, lying about the Civil War and Reconstruction now only serves those who wish to sully the reputation of those who opposed slavery and promoted the civil rights of blacks when doing so took real courage (as it did for the civil rights activists of the ’50s and ’60s). In this way, like the Southerners of old, they can claim that there is a moral equivalence between North and South, between the USA and the CSA.

MORE HERE: I highly recommend the books I link to above about the men who opposed the pro-slavery reading of the Constitution before the Civil War, and who established the Republican Party to see their vision of the Constitution affirmed in its text. You can also read my articles on antislavery constitutionalism here and here. The more I learn about the history that has been concealed by pro-Confederate revisionism, the more I find to admire in our past.

Cross posted on The Volokh Conspiracy.  h/t Eugene Volokh

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS UP: What if Pearl Harbor happened and nobody noticed? In cyberwar, the U.S. doesn’t have an edge.

UPDATE: More here.

CULTURE WAR: Hugo Awards Nominations Swept by Anti-SJW, Anti-Authoritarian Authors.

UPDATE: More here.

UH OH: Did Attorney General Eric Holder Use Personal Email Address? Much more here.

ARE WE MOVING FROM “PROTEST” TO FOURTH-GENERATION WARFARE? LAPD: 2nd suspect who fired at patrol car remains at large. Similar event in North Carolina.

UPDATE: More here.

MORE ERRORS FROM Neil de Grasse Tyson. More here.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THAT STORY ABOUT Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake.

UPDATE: More here.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Government case implodes as its former lawyers allege fraud against Holder DOJ.

More here in the New York Observer.

Related: Justice Department Targets Louisiana. Shaking people down or doing pre-election battlespace preparation, it’s all in a day’s work at the Department of . . . Justice.

NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE: A 30-Year History Of The Future. More here.

BOB OWENS: An Open Letter To A Hack Journalist. More here.

ED DRISCOLL: I Approve of this Krony Capitalism. More here.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Chicago Ban on Gun Sales Within City Struck Down by Judge.

UPDATE: More here.

UKRAINE: Big Pro-EU March in Kiev. More here.

A PACK, NOT A HERD: Small Georgia Town Forms Posse, Corners Armed Robbery Suspect. More here.

HMM. PIERS MORGAN ALREADY BLAMING AN AR-15, NO DOUBT. At Least 3 Injured in LAX Security Checkpoint Shooting.

UPDATE: More here.

WHEN MOOCHERS BECOME LOOTERS: Walmart shelves in Springhill, Mansfield, cleared in EBT glitch.

UPDATE: More here.

JOHN ONDRASIK SHOVED OUT OF JEFFERSON MEMORIAL: I asked him “why do you have to put your hands on me and push me out when I’m leaving anyways”…he replied “it’s quicker this way”…

Duane Patterson comments:

Look, we know the meme has been written within mainstream media since before the shutdown began. It’s the Republicans’ intransigence that has caused all this. There certainly will be plenty of time to debate the wisdom and efficacy of the strategy. But can we not just recognize what’s going on here? The President is a tyrant. That’s what you call people who act in a tyrannical manner.

MSM might continue to cover up the horrible optics of the childish and despotic lengths President Obama’s administration will go to make sure the effects of the shutdown are felt as painfully as possible to make a political point. But all of you who read this have a voice. You can help by multiplying John’s message by showing what’s really going on. Retweet it, if you’re on Twitter, post it, if you’re on Facebook, or if nothing else, tell others what this government is doing. The fight in Washington is more than just Obamacare. It always has been. It’s about what happens when a government gets too big and decides it doesn’t serve the people anymore.

More here.

LIST: Post-Apocalyptic Survival Gear. More here.

Also, today only: Up to 68% Off Entourage: The Complete Series (2012). On Blu-Ray and DVD.

LAST NIGHT I MENTIONED ANN ALTHOUSE’S ANGER AT THE ATTEMPTED “CHARACTER ASSASSINATION” OF JUDGE EDITH JONES, and now Above The Law has this: A Tale of Sound & Fury (But No Transcript): In Defense of Judge Edith Jones. Frankly, whenever I see a complaint alleging racism these days, I assume it’s a political hatchet job by political hacks. That assumption is generally borne out.

UPDATE: Much more here.

JOURN-O-LISM: A Curious Coincidence In Cuccinelli Coverage. More here.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, RELIGIOUS SCRUPLES WOULD SHACKLE SCIENCE: Feds force Defense Distributed to remove 3-D gun blueprints. Trying to regulate CAD files as munitions. They did this with cryptography, too.

UPDATE: More here.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN explores the Narrative. More here.

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Meteor sightings reported from Florida to Massachusetts.

UPDATE: More here, including videos.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ASTEROID: Another Meteor Flashes Across Bay Area Skies.

More here.

I KNOW I HAVEN’T: Don’t get too excited about Professor Loomis. “Professor Loomis’ vivid tweets are not actionable threats. That is to say, they aren’t ‘true threats’ outside the protection of the First Amendment.”

That’s right. They’re just hate-filled “eliminationist rhetoric” of the sort that lefties are always accusing people on the right of, but seem to engage in rather a lot themselves. Not a firing offense, but certainly worthy of widespread mockery.

Related thoughts from Joshua Trevino: “One could hardly defend Loomis and his record on the merits. Nevertheless, one can note that this might not be, well, justice. My only interactions with the man revealed him to be offensive and somewhat dim: he loathes Texas, is a rather pedestrian academic-left radical, and seems to have problems moderating his tone online. These are bad things. (And, reversing the ideological direction, it is not wholly unlike myself.) But they are not the whole man: and they don’t rise to the level, in my book, of wanting to render him bereft and ruined. . . .He earned his opprobrium, but not his destruction.”

UPDATE: Badger Pundit writes: “Nice post on Loomis. Especially classy after the Crooked Timber profs accused you of being the ‘witch hunt’ ringleader. The Crooked Timber profs aren’t exactly open to explaining what the heck is the ACADEMIC FREEDOM interest they’re defending (as Loomis’s tweets were part of his private life, i.e., not related to his academic field.)”

Ringleader? I never even mentioned his name, and I came to the story after lots of other people. But I’m used to bogus charges from the Crooked Timber gang. Which is why I hadn’t seen that, since I no longer read them.

But hey, if you want to argue that “head on a stick” isn’t any sort of eliminationist rhetoric, well, duly noted. (But if it was just a metaphor, what about the subsequent reference to settling for imprisonment for life? Is that some colorful metaphor that I’ve somehow missed?) Anyway, I’m sure that if someone makes a similar statement about Barack Obama, the Crooked Timber folks will rush to defend the colorful metaphor involved. Though certainly Sarah Palin was pilloried for metaphors that were far less colorful.

UPDATE: Free speech academics rally around academic who wanted to shut down NRA free speech. “I don’t think Loomis should be fired, but that doesn’t mean he should be free from criticism. And he certainly is not a hero of anything. He’s just a guy who wanted to deprive others of the rights he claims for himself.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: “Again, we see no attempt to silence; in fact, the ‘right-wing witch hunt’ arose from little more than (metaphorically) holding up a megaphone to Loomis’ existing speech.”

Plus, how Crooked Timber sanitized Loomis. “It turns out, by the way, that Crooked Timber also misled by omission. Everyone knows that the expression ‘head on a stick’ is a metaphor, and that is how Crooked Timber defended Loomis. But see here for some of his truly vile comments. Crooked Timber quoted none of these.””

IN VIRGINIA, gun sales are up, and crime is down.

Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

UPDATE: Via reader John Lucas, much more here from the Times-Dispatch. Lucas adds:

The [Washington Post] op ed predictably (for the Wa Po) tries to denigrate the data in the Times Dispatch article. The ultimate sentence betrays the author’s viewpoint, while reinforcing the Wa Po’s recent editorial slant that opposition to this administration is racist: “As for Obama, any link between a desire for personal, deadly firepower and the election of the country’s first African American president raises some rather ugly questions.”

The Times Dispatch article really is well done.

Yes, the Post has really descended into racial agitprop lately. One can only imagine what they’d be like if Obama had lost. And it does seem that we see better and more honest journalism these days from regional papers than from the WaPo and the NYT.

ACTUALLY, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN OVER THE YEARS: Did The Sun-Times Get Played By Patrick Fitzgerald?

More here: Patrick Fitzgerald Joins Law Firm Of Obama’s Former White House Counsel.

UNDER 20 AND NOT SURE ABOUT COLLEGE? Apply To Be a Thiel Fellow.

UPDATE: More here. (Bumped).

WHY PEOPLE DON’T TRUST BIG-MEDIA “FACT-CHECKERS:” Meet MSNBC’s fact-checker: Ezra Klein?!? Update: Klein’s blog falsely claims that Janesville auto plant closed in 2008.

UPDATE: More here.

Also: Janesville: Ryan vs. Obama.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Robert Simmons writes: “As much as it pains me, the closing of the plant did happen under Bush. The decision to close the plant was made in 2008. While I think Obamanomics has been nothing short of disastrous, it’s a stretch to pin that particular point of failure on Barry.” It’s not whether the failure is his fault — it’s that he basically promised to keep it open for 100 years.

MORE: Reader Rick Licari writes:

I wrote about this on a message board a bit earlier, but I think this is a case of the chattering class so busily getting caught up in the details of a speech (when did the plant close?!?) that they’re missing the message…and the fact that Ryan never says the plant closed under Obama.

This is what Ryan said:

“Especially in Janesville where we were about to lose a major factory. A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that G.M. plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said, “I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years.”

That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”

Obama spoke at Janesville in February of 2008, the plant was closed down in December of 2008 (though not shuttered until June 2009).

Three things stand out about this, first, why a private company (the largest in its field, too) needs government support. Second, Ryan is right it did shut down within a year of Obama speaking. Third, GM started requesting aid from the government in 2006 for various reasons, finally getting some cash to hold off their inevitable bankruptcy in December 2008. So, what Ryan is saying isn’t “Obama failed GM at Janesville.” But “it is ludicrous to plan your success around the whims of government, you will get screwed.”

I think they’re just trying to throw out enough chaff to obscure that point.

FLIPPING THE BIRD TO RAHM: Chicago Chick-Fil-A Mobbed.

More here. And John Lucas sends this picture of the Chick-Fil-A in Maryville, TN. I saw a similar traffic jam outside another Chick-Fil-A near my house.

And, in Massachusetts, Hundreds Wait For Lunch At Burlington Chick-Fil-A.

And Lucas adds: “As I watched this phenomenon, I was struck by two related thoughts. The first is that there is that the force that propelled Ted Cruz to a 13 point victory in Texas ultimately is the same one that is causing thousands of people to turn out to support Chick Fil-A in small towns and large cities across the country. The second is that the people who buck the traffic jams (you should have seen them) just to stand in line for 30 minutes to get a chicken sandwich are people who are going to vote in November. The Democrats will attack or ignore them; the Republicans ignore them at their peril.”

I agree — and as someone who supported gay marriage long before President Obama did (which is to say, long before a couple of months ago), I’m nonetheless gratified to see people standing up to the bullying that the left-political class has aimed at this honest business simply because its owners failed to change their views in synch with President Obama.

UPDATE: A report from Bryan Preston.

ANOTHER UPDATE: From deep in the heart of Blue America: Business Brisk at Hollywood Chick-Fil-A. Report and photos from Gay Patriot at the link.

Meanwhile Luke Pingel sends a photo and report from the Chick-Fil-A in Fairfax, Virginia at 7 p.m.:

Quote of the evening from standing in a 20 minute line: “We’re here to send a message to the President.”

It’s packed and everyone is enthusiastically sharing their stories about dealing with liberal fascists.

And punching back twice as hard, as a famous man once said. Here’s the pic:

And Prof. Jacobson has photos from all over the country, and an interactive map, which is very cool.

And a reader emails from Florida: “My wife manages a Chick-fil-A in the Tampa, FL, area. They were mobbed as soon as the store opened at 6 am and have had one-hour waits for meals all day. At the moment the line is out the door, around the building, and into a nearby Wal-Mart parking lot. She was supposed to be off 2 hours ago but will probably wind up working until they close at 10 pm, which means a 16-hour day for her.”

And from California: Photos: Huge Crowds, Long Lines at Irvine Chick-fil-A.

A TRULY AWFUL mass shooting in Denver. At the Batman premiere.

UPDATE: More here.

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Wall rallies for better Canada-U.S. relations, decries policies of Obama administration. “Wall’s comments come weeks after an article in Foreign Affairs by Derek Burney, Canada’s former ambassador to the U.S., and Fen Hampson, a foreign policy expert at Carleton University, declared the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Canada has sunk to its worst level in decades.”

Much more here.

REMEMBERING WHEN MATT TAIBBI CALLED A BLACK MAN A “CORPULENT OREO.” More here.

SMOKY MOUNTAINS: Park Service has ‘all hands on deck’ situation to rescue stranded visitors after storm. “Multiple trees are down in the park, cars have been crushed and authorities believe people are trapped, but they do not know how many or the extent of injuries, said Don Stallions, chief of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department.”

UPDATE: More here.

Plus, a lesson of my own. I was driving back from a day-trip to Atlanta this evening, and I had ignored my usual practice of refilling my gas tank when it got half-empty. I hit Chattanooga and the power was out when I stopped for gas. It was out at the next several exits and I wondered whether I’d find a working gas station before I ran out. I did, but I was down to 40 miles of range when I did. And it’s a good thing I stopped there because the next several exits were blacked out. A largely painless lesson in the value of sticking to good habits.

I FIND YOUR LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM DISTURBING: Confused By Wi-Fi, SWAT Team Raids Wrong House.

Imagine you’re sitting at home, comfortable on the couch, watching the Food Network, when all of a sudden a heavily armed SWAT team breaks down your door and storms into your living room.

That’s what happened to 18-year-old Stephanie Milan, who was watching TV in her family’s Evansville, Ind., home last Thursday (June 22), when a team of police officers broke down her storm door — the front door was already open — and tossed a flash-bang stun grenade into the room.

“The front door was open,” Ira Milan, Stephanie’s grandfather and the property owner, told the Evansvile Courier & Press. “To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive.”

Turns out, however, that the SWAT team had the address wrong.

We should abolish official immunity for no-knock raids. Police are clearly unable to handle this function responsibly.

UPDATE: More here.

TIM CAVANAUGH ROUNDS UP Obamacarians’ Pregame Rationalizations: Doesn’t Matter; Good for O; All Scalia’s Fault, and More!

Related: Ilya Somin: Final Thoughts on the Eve of the Individual Mandate Decision.

UPDATE: More here. “Personally, I suspect that progressives will stop attacking the court pretty soon. I have been much amused watching people try to simultaneously defend the fruits of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s outrageous court-bullying, while also indignantly claiming that it would be abusive, infamous, fundamentally illegitimate and also, downright mean, for conservative justices to even think about overturning long-standing precedent. Suddenly, the internet is full of Latter Day Originalists who think that the constitution was handed down by God on stone tablets—in January 1936.”

Also, thoughts from Randy Barnett.

HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FINDS HOLDER IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. “House GOP Leaders says they’ll hold contempt citation vote on Atty Gen Holder next week unless he supplies documents at issue,” Mark Knoller of CBS adds on Twitter.

More here, and from Allahpundit of Hot Air, who writes, “Next stop: The House floor for a vote by the full chamber. The Hill seems unsure about how many GOP votes it’ll get, but c’mon. Even recalcitrant Republicans who think a court battle with The One is a needless distraction have no choice but to go to the mat for Issa now that O’s pulled his power play with executive privilege.”

THE SECRET LIFE of “Booth Babes.”

More here. “This is a job for us, we just wear less.”

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Senator Saxby Chambliss has sent a letter to AG Eric Holder demanding action on behalf of conservative commentators currently experiencing threats and harassment by an as yet unidentified source. And Jake Tapper of ABC News has noticed.

Sen. Chambliss’s press release is here.

UPDATE: More here.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Brett Kimberlin Hearing Devolves Into Farce. If I read this correctly, Aaron Walker is in trouble because Kimberlin claims that his blogging has somehow led to other people making death threats. That doesn’t seem to pass the First Amendment smell test. Only if Walker were inciting those threats in a way that passed Brandenburg scrutiny would that work, and I don’t believe that’s the case at all. At any rate, under this approach George Zimmerman ought to be able to jail any number of journalists. . . .

UPDATE: More here. Also here. The judge seems unclear on how the Internet works.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Another college in trouble. More here.

SHOCKING Elizabeth Warren video surfaces. More here.

UNEXPECTEDLY: GDP Growth Comes In At Only 2.2%. More here. “Politically speaking, this makes the White House’s ‘we’re on the right track’ argument a little more difficult to make. A 2.2% GDP rate won’t be a disaster on the stump, but the trend is going once again towards another Stagnant Spring. If it gets revised downward in the next two months, Obama will have a tough time talking about the economy. Expect a lot of discussion of dog carriers and condoms in the weeks ahead.”

PHIL HAMBURGER responds to Einer Elhauge’s latest defense of ObamaCare. Plus, more here.

TEA PARTY FORCES ORRIN HATCH INTO PRIMARY. That’s huge. More here.

#OCCUPYFAIL: OccupySF’s failed theft of Catholic Archdiocese building: An insider’s view. “Pay special attention to the dancing girls, and the embarrassing infantile economic theories of the commune leader.”

UPDATE: Much more here.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: What’s wrong in California? “The huge investment by students, parents and taxpayers made in colleges to provide a foundation of knowledge and critical thought has already or is in process of sinking into the hole of politicized instruction that is one-sided indoctrination. The California Association of Scholars details this in a just published 87-page report, A Crisis Of Competence:The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California.”

More here: University Echo Chamber Drowns Out Diverse Voices.

Political activism has drawn the University of California into an academic death spiral. Too many professors believe their job is to “advance social justice” rather than teach the subject they were hired to teach. Groupthink has replaced lively debate. Institutions that were designed to stir intellectual curiosity aren’t challenging young minds. They’re churning out “ignorance.” So argues a new report, “A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California,” from the conservative California Association of Scholars.

The report cites a number of studies that document academia’s political imbalance. In 2004, for example, researchers examined the voter registration of UC Berkeley faculty. They found a ratio of 8 Democrats for each Republican. While the ratio was 4:1 in the professional schools, in more political disciplines, the ratio rose to 17:1 in the humanities and 21:1 in social sciences.

Over the last few decades, the imbalance has grown.

All this might be forgivable if graduates were still emerging with first-rate educations, but not so much.

The analysis begins from a nonpolitical fact: Numerous studies of both the UC system and of higher education nationwide demonstrate that students who graduate from college are increasingly ignorant of history and literature. They are unfamiliar with the principles of American constitutional government. And they are bereft of the skills necessary to comprehend serious books and effectively marshal evidence and argument in written work.

Higher price, lower quality.

SHOCKER: John Edwards is First Name Uncovered in ‘Millionaire Madam’ Investigation.

More here. I wonder if this is another thing about John Edwards that the press knew about or suspected but didn’t report?

BLOGGER NEPTUNUS LEX has died. More here. He will be missed.

UPDATE: A nice tribute here.

EUROPE: More downgrades.

UPDATE: More here.

UPDATE: Britain could be stripped of AAA credit rating within a year.

HEALTH CARE: Supply of a Cancer Drug May Run Out Within Weeks. “A crucial medicine to treat childhood leukemia is in such short supply that hospitals across the country may exhaust their stores within the next two weeks, leaving hundreds and perhaps thousands of children at risk of dying from a largely curable disease, federal officials and cancer doctors say.”

This seems kinda third-worldish to me. And these shortages keep happening.

UPDATE: Reader Don Jansen writes: “So price controls are imposed on injectable drugs and lo and behold a shortage arises. Who would have thunk it?” Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Physician-reader Eric Novack writes: “Glenn- these shortages are very real… one center I work at has trouble getting propofol for anesthesia and another cannot get zofran (ondansetron), one of the most effective anti-nausea drugs on the market…” Very upsetting.

MORE: More here: “Again, the reader is left with the impression that drug manufacturers are hugely incompetent, failing to produce the needed amount of drugs even in the face of rising prices. Thank goodness President Obama is on the case, issuing executive orders! But the existence of any kind of shortage in a market-driven economy should make one’s nose twinkle. One drug shortage might be some kind of freakish anomaly, but 180 crucial drug shortages? The usual suspect in these kind of situations is the dead hand of government, and according to bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, writing in last August’s New York Times, that’s exactly the case. . . . In other words, government has distorted the market and removed incentives for the production of life-saving drugs. And the New York Times’ readership, unless they somehow recall Emanuel’s opinion piece, are left none the wiser.”

NEW IRAN STRATEGY: Appeasement?

UPDATE: More here.

BOYCOTTING CHIQUITA BANANAS over Conflict Oil. I say, Ethical Oil all the way!

More here.

AWESOME NEWS IF IT PANS OUT: Spending bill blocks light bulb standards. “The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs. GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes a rider defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient. DOE’s light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.”

So if this works, what will I do with my closet full of incandescent bulbs? Er, use ’em, just like I would have anyway. But it’s great if we can scuttle the idiotic bulb-ban.

Plus, an interesting take from a Democratic Congressman: “It’s the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign.”

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Cindy McNew writes: “While I agree it’s idiotic–it’s more, it’s a first potentially really big in-your-house salvo in the Green religion wars. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but a lot of those folks would like to take away your clothes dryer and your trash can, too, and replace them with a clothesline and a compost bin. Low-flow toilets and shower heads are minor annoyances compared to being required to have a houseful of ugly and dangerous florescent bulbs. The repeal can’t come soon enough. Signing that law and “No Child Left Behind” are really the only things I know for sure that I need to be irritated with President Bush for.”