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Updated: 2017-09-22T17:21:29.772-04:00

 



Cruising the Web

2017-09-22T07:03:01.466-04:00

This sounds like a significant diplomatic victory for the Trump administration.North Korea learned this week Chinese banks will no longer do business with the Hermit Kingdom, in the strongest sign yet pressure from the Trump administration to choke off funding to the rogue nation is working.Chinese banks received a document Monday stating they should halt financial services and loans to new and existing North Korean customers as a result of strict U.N. sanctions passed earlier this month, a source told Reuters on Thursday.“Our bank is fulfilling our international obligations and implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea. As such, we refuse to handle any individual loans connected to North Korea,” the document reportedly said.But then there is this news.hina's surprising instructions to banks this week, however, were at least partially undermined when South Korea on Thursday approved $8 million in supposed humanitarian aid to North Korea.Some South Korean officials fear the new aid will send a mixed signal to international leaders. Son Kim-ju, a lawmaker and spokesman of the opposition People’s Party, told The Associated Press the announcement is “badly timed.”There is always the dilemma between our humanitarian concerns for the people of North Korea and the desire to starve the regime of money. South Korea is trying to keep the aid out of the hands of the regime and in a form that will get to the people. Moon previously said humanitarian aid and political issues should be handled separately. Seoul stopped the aid in January 2016 after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test. But after meeting with ministries and civilian experts, Moon decided to resume aid to help North Korean children and pregnant woman, the Unification Ministry said. The money is intended to support programs run by U.N. Children’s Fund and U.N. Food Program.The ministry added the assistance doesn't include cash and there's "realistically no possibility" the North could use it to support its military. About 18 million of the 25 million people who live in North Korea experience food shortages with a high child and mortality rates, according to the U.N.Perhaps China is responding to this new executive order that Trump announced today.President Donald Trump announced an expansion of sanctions on North Korea Thursday and praised China for taking action to limit financial transactions with the isolated communist nation.The effort to project forward momentum in his bid to isolate Pyongyang came at the end of Trump's four-day visit to the United Nations General Assembly, where the crisis has taken prominence in rapid-pace meetings with more than a dozen world leaders.His emphasis on economic efforts to end the standoff was a sign the President has not exhausted diplomacy in his dealings with North Korea, despite his warnings earlier in the week of dire military consequences should the nuclear provocations continue.The new set of US sanctions on financial institutions that do business with North Korea is not targeted specifically at China, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Thursday.North Korea complains that sanctions will hurt the people of of that miserable country. Ed Morrissey responds to that complaint.There is an easy solution to that problem, which would be to, y’know, stop testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons. That solution comes straight from the UN, at which forum North Korea is making this plea. The obvious answer is Abide by our resolutions and you won’t have this problem. The committee will issue a report on North Korea on October 4th; want to bet that it will have this no-brainer response? Take the under.25% Off in Office and School SuppliesDeals in Office ProductsDeals in Home and KitchenUnfortunately, shooting down a NK missile is not as easy as we might hope.The U.S. and its allies have several different missile defense systems in place to counter the North Korean ballistic missile threat. These defense systems include the Patriot, Aegis, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and ground-based midcourse defe[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-21T07:07:33.499-04:00

You might have seen the Survey that John Villasenor at the Brookings Institute did of 1500 college students' views of the First Amendment with its depressing results. Catherine Rampell in the Washington characterizes the results as "chilling."A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.”That’s one finding from a disturbing new survey of students conducted by John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and University of California at Los Angeles professor....Many of Villasenor’s questions were designed to gauge students’ understanding of the First Amendment. Colleges, after all, pay a lot of lip service to “freedom of speech,” despite high-profile examples of civil-liberty-squelching on campus. The survey suggests that this might not be due to hypocrisy so much as a misunderstanding of what the First Amendment actually entails.For example, when students were asked whether the First Amendment protects “hate speech,” 4 in 10 said no. This is, of course, incorrect. Speech promoting hatred — or at least, speech perceived as promoting hatred — may be abhorrent, but it is nonetheless constitutionally protected....Students were asked whether the First Amendment requires that an offensive speaker at a public university be matched with one with an opposing view. Here, 6 in 10 (mistakenly) said that, yes, the First Amendment requires balance.The most chilling findings, however, involved how students think repugnant speech should be dealt with. Villasenor offered a hypothetical that may sound familiar to those who recall recent fracases at California State University at Los Angeles, Middlebury College , Claremont McKenna College and other institutions:Let’s say a public university hosts a “very controversial speaker,” one “known for making offensive and hurtful statements.” Would it be acceptable for a student group to disrupt the speech “by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker”?Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech — rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it — would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed.It gets even worse.Respondents were also asked if it would be acceptable for a student group to use violence to prevent that same controversial speaker from talking. Here, 19 percent said yes.Surprising for those of us who have been disturbed the efforts to shut down conservative speakers, students on the right seem fine with shutting down speech. And we can't blame the bubble that these students exist in on campus since freshmen are showing up in college already intolerant of free speech. It doesn't really surprise me that students are ignorant of what the Supreme Court has said on hate speech. That's a nuance that isn't going to be covered in many ordinary high school civics courses. Even though I cover this, I still find students are confused because they remember the first freedom of speech case, Schenck v. U.S. and it's "clear and present danger" test and, despite my stressing that this changed by 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio to an imminent threat test, some kids remain confused. I guess I have to stress this more and make sure that they understand that hate speech still enjoys constitutional protections.Of course, no one really presents a definition of "hate speech," other than speech that I don't like. Once I ask students who is going to define what hate speech is and can they present a definition of it, support usually drops. But their inclination is basically to ban any speech that hurts anyone's feelings. They'll say that it's not that their feelings are hurt, but someone out there might have feelings hurt so that's enough for them to want to protect that imaginary person out there who [...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-20T06:54:05.777-04:00

Speeches at the U.N. might garner headlines, but it's not clear that they actually accomplish anything besides giving us an insight into how the speaker views the world. That is what we can garner from Trump's speech yesterday at the U.N. While the bien pensants are tut-tutting of the immaturity of calling Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man," there was quite a bit to like in the speech. It's still not clear what anything he said would actually mean in real life, but that's true of almost everyone's speeches at the U.N. Yes, he threatened to destroy North Korea, but thenBarack Obama also warned that the U.S. could destroy North Korea but wouldn't because of the humanitarian costs and the dangers to South Korea. Trump seems to think that making more direct threats to North Korea might get Kim Jong Un to back down. There is no evidence that Kim responds to such threats. But the message is directed more at China than North Korea. The combination of North Korea's escalation and the U.S.'s leadership has led to more international sanctions on North Korea than we've seen before. Given the improbability of real military action against the hermit kingdom, I don't think we'll see any change. We can just hope that China will see the benefits of regime change in Pyongyang. However, as the WSJ writes, Trump's speech was indeed bracing.The threat to destroy the North offended the foreign affairs cognoscenti, who view Mr. Trump as a barbarian. And at first hearing the “Rocket Man” reference to dictator Kim Jong Un does sound like an insult better left to teenagers in the school yard.Then again, Mr. Trump inherited the North Korean nuclear crisis, and he is trying to get a cynical world’s attention that he intends to do something about it. Traditional diplomacy isn’t getting through to Mr. Kim and his entourage, or to their patrons in Beijing. After years of Barack Obama’s diplomatic niceties that ducked the problem, maybe the world needs to be told some unpleasant truths about an evil regime with a weapon of mass murder and the means to deliver it.Mr. Trump added a challenge that most of the media ignored: “The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”This is another hard truth. The U.N. was founded on the promise to provide what Mr. Obama often called “collective security.” But the U.N. has nearly always failed in that duty amid Russian vetoes at the Security Council, as during the Cold War and this decade in Syria, or out of indifference as in the Rwanda genocide of the 1990s.I've always seen the U.N. as an example of people's hopes triumphing over reality. It all sounds very nice that we would have the nations of the world coming together to solve the world's problems, but it doesn't do that. Nations care about what they want and don't really care about fulfilling the high-flown rhetoric of the institution's founding.I liked his blasting the U.N for its bureaucracy. Others have criticized it before, but he deservedly called out the Human Rights Council.We also thank -- (applause) -- we also thank the Secretary General for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process.In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.He pointed out that the U.S. is one of 193 countries but pays 22% of the budget. He didn't explicitly threaten to withdraw that funding, but said that it would be well worth it if the U.N accomplished some of its goals. Yeah, like that is go[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-19T06:39:11.720-04:00

Now that the Democrats are fully on board the single-payer train, let's examine what that actually means. As James Pethokoukis writes, the idea of providing Medicare for all is simply "magical thinking." Pethokoukis writes, Democrats and the media bash Republicans when they come up with vague tax cut proposals, we should apply equal pressure on Democrats for their unrealistic proposals on health care. Home and Kitchen MarkdownsWhat tax cuts are to Republicans, single-payer health care seems to now be for Democrats: a popular, populist policy idea that's far more attractive in broad strokes than devilish details. Just take a look at Bernie Sanders' long-awaited Medicare-for-all legislation, introduced yesterday in the Senate. It's more like the Don't Worry, Everything's Pretty Much Covered Act of 2017. Just flash your Universal Medicare card, and you're entitled to generous — even compared to single-payer plans in other advanced economies — comprehensive health-care services: hospital care, doctor visits, mental health care, eyecare, and more.Would taxes go up? Well, yeah, of course. But why should Sanders kill the buzz by getting into all that unpleasantness? Recall that economists sharply criticized his presidential campaign's health-care plan for severely underestimating the costs of the comprehensive benefits it offered and thus underestimating the much higher taxes — maybe twice as high as Sanders estimated — needed to pay for it.But that's hardly where the problems end for BernieCare. His plan would also phase out employer-provided health care. That, even though some 70 percent of workers in those plans say they're satisfied with their coverage. Sanders' plan would require millions of Americans to trade something that seems to be more or less working for them for something new and uncertain, both in coverage and cost.Sanders' plan has not a tinge of realism.IBD wonders if all those Democrats rushing to sign on to Sanders' plan have any idea about what they're signing on to. They point out that no other country in the world covers 100% of health care as Sanders' plan does.Even Sanders' beloved Canadian single-payer system doesn't cover prescription drugs, home care or long-term care, vision or dental.And as IBD noted recently, every one of the countries that Sanders' points to as models for the U.S. relies on out-of-pocket spending to cover a significant portion of their health costs. In the Netherlands it's 12.2%, in Denmark, it's 13.7%, in Switzerland, 27.7%, in the U.K. and Canada, it's 15%.Many "single-payer" countries also rely on the private sector to one degree or another. In Canada, 15% of health costs are paid by private insurers. In Germany, upper income Germans can opt out of the government "sickness funds" and buy private coverage.In fact, there are no OECD countries where the government picks up the entire health care tab. In Canada, government spending accounts for 70% of health costs, in Germany, 85%, in Sweden it's 83.9%, and in the U.K. it's under 80%, according to OECD data.Why don't these countries go as far as Sanders' plan does? They know better. Will all the people satisfied with their health care now be happy to lose that and get government care. To sell ObamaCare, President Obama at least pretended that "if you like your plan you can keep your plan." Sanders guarantees that if you like your plan, you will lose it, and be shoved into government insurance.That means 17.6 million seniors — almost a third of all Medicare enrollees — who are getting coverage from private insurers through Medicare Advantage would lose their plans. As would the 178 million who get coverage through work, and the 52 million who buy coverage on their own.And the cost? Estimates are about $1.4 trillion a year, about 36% of our current federal budget. And we know that such estimates always seem to come up short. And expect increases in taxes. Even a younger Bernie Sanders knew better than this.“If we expanded Medicaid[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-18T06:33:01.708-04:00

Those of us who opposed Donald Trump's from the get-go are gaining some amusement from seeing some of his supporters responding with dismay and outrage as Trump makes deals with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. If only they'd realized earlier that the guy has no principles, they wouldn't be surprised when a lifelong Democrat starts making deals with his new best buds. And all those people who were furious that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell made deals with Barack Obama and declared war against the establishment GOP are now finding excuses for Trump's new friendliness with the Democrats. How long before he starts talking to the Democrats about a single-payer health reform? After all, he praised nationalized health care during the campaign.Kevin D. Williamson has found an apt metaphor for Donald Trump: he is Wimpy promising to" gladly pay Tuesday for a hamburger today."Trump made a lot of preposterous promises, one of which was getting tough on illegal immigration by, among other things, building a wall to be paid for by Mexico and ending the Obama-administration policy of offering amnesty to certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States at a relatively young age. Trump, a longtime patron of Chuck Schumer and a donor to a rogues’ gallery of Democratic politicians, promised that he could make a deal with congressional Democrats and finally get control of our borders. The details were absurd, of course — deporting every illegal immigrant and then re-importing most of them after a legal process — but the underlying impetus to do something about our porous borders was sensible enough. Trump could work out the details later: But, first, we had to make him president — on a Tuesday, as it turns out.“I will gladly pay you . . . someday . . . for the presidency today.”Trump has run into trouble, mostly as a result of the fact that he does not know what he is doing and is too lazy to learn how to do the job. He has made an ethic of willful ignorance, and as a result he failed to get some relatively easy things done....Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, lifelong Republicans both, are familiar enough with humiliation. Trump can barely endure it; he care barely endure a critical word from Joe Scarborough without flying into a conniption. And so he was driven by his vanity and his thin skin into the arms of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, desperate for something to put into his “W” column and create the impression that he actually is getting something done.Immigration was his hallmark issue, and “getting tough” was his only agenda. That commitment didn’t even survive the summer. Now, instead of repealing Obama’s executive amnesty, Trump aims to lean on Congress to make it the duly enacted law of the land, entrenching rather than removing it. Suddenly, the man who launched his campaign by thundering darkly about swarthy Mexican rapists is smiling sunnily upon illegal immigrants. They’re just a bunch of good kids who want to get an education, work, and contribute to society. And rather than securing funds for his beloved wall, Trump now insists that the wall already is under way, in the form of renovations to dilapidated sections of existing fencing.Underwhelmed Trumpkins are burning their “Make America Great Again” hats.What did they expect? Trump is a serial bankrupt who has betrayed at least two-thirds of the wives he’s had and who lies compulsively — who invented an imaginary friend to lie to the press on his behalf. He has screwed over practically everyone who has ever trusted him or done business with him, and his voters were just another in a long series of marks. They gave him that 280ZX with no down payment — and no prospect of repossessing it until 2020 at the earliest. Poor Ann Coulter is somewhere weeping into her gin: “I bet on a loser,” she explains.It was a dumb bet.With no market-oriented health-care reform and no hawkish immigration reform and the prospects of fa[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-15T06:46:55.526-04:00

Hillary Clinton's book is still providing fodder for ridicule. Theodore Kupfer notes this passage in the book betraying her utter ignorance of George Orwell.Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism. This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, when a torturer holds up four fingers and delive"rs electric shocks until his prisoner sees five fingers as ordered. The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves.How anyone could read Orwell's book and think that the message is that we need to rely more on "our leaders, the press, experts" is such a reverse of the book's message that the mind reels. She adds in "ourselves" at the end as if that changes her point that we need to rely more on the approved list of leaders and experts. As Kupfer comments, her interpretation is "almost Orwellian."Hmmm. Cubans are noticing that their Communist government has been less than helpful in the wake of Hurricane Irma. I wonder why that might be.In a country where the state controls almost all resources (and people), many are beginning to ask themselves, where is the government?In Florida, where Irma made landfall over the weekend, Gov. Rick Scott was quick to issue a state of emergency, even before the storm reached Florida shores. But in Cuba, the Cuban Civil Defense, a military operation in cases of disasters, waited until the storm was already making its presence felt on the island to declare an “alarm phase,” prompting a last-minute scramble to secure homes and move those in harm’s way. Irma was a category 5 when it rumbled across Cuba’s northern coast, devastating several towns.And when authorities realized that the storm surge also would affect the Cuban capital, it was too late. Waves as high as 30 feet crashed over Havana’s Malecón seawall and slammed into houses in various neighborhoods for several blocks inland. A total of 4,288 homes in Havana were damaged, the official Granma newspaper reported, including 157 that were completely destroyed.The images from towns such as Isabela de Sagua, Caibarién, Camajuaní, Punta Alegre and Santa Lucia, suggest thousands more homes in that region were beaten up by Irma.Also raising eyebrows is the fact that Cuban leader Raúl Castro did not immediately appear in public following the storm and only sent a message in which he assured the population that “the Revolution will not leave anyone homeless.”Even though about 1 million people were evacuated, authorities have attributed 10 deaths to the hurricane but also assigned blame to the victims with these words in the official cause of death citations: “did not observe the rules of conduct ordered by the Civil Defense, refusing to be evacuated.”Cubans also complained that as Hurricane Irma approached, the Cuban state telecommunication monopoly ETECSA charged for receiving storm update notifications. In the aftermath, food rations that are supposed to be free now cost five pesos to the very victims of the storm.“They should give it for free, they want to make money out of everything,” said a man sitting at the entrance of his house in Central Havana that was flooded up to the roof. “To me, this is wrong. No one has come here,” he told CiberCuba on Tuesday. Another neighbor said she was “very upset” because the government had not provided help.Coupons for money off in every category $20 off top Kindle models and more savings on Kindle Bundles Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free TrialThis is a welcome rejection of a JEff Sessions policy.IN A STUNNING move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-14T06:41:36.365-04:00

Jason Riley writes that, while Betsy DeVos is busy getting rid of pernicious Obama administration rules, he has another suggestion for her. He is talking about the requirements that the Obama Education Department put on public schools to keep records of the race of students who are suspended and expelled.Two years later, the department issued a “Dear Colleague” letter warning school districts to address this racial imbalance, or else. The letter said that even if a disciplinary policy “is neutral on its face—meaning that the policy itself does not mention race—and is administered in an evenhanded manner” the district still could face a federal civil-rights investigation if the policy “has a disparate impact, i.e., a disproportionate and unjustified effect on students of a particular race.”The threat worked. Fending off charges of discrimination can be expensive and embarrassing, so spooked school districts chose instead to discipline fewer students in deference to Washington. The Obama guidance didn’t start the trend—suspensions were down nearly 20% between 2011 and 2014—but the letter almost certainly hastened it. The effects are being felt in schools across the country, leaving black and Hispanic students, the policy’s theoretical beneficiaries, worse off.After the Los Angeles school district, where more than 82% of students are Latino or black, ended suspensions for nonviolent offenses, the district reported that the number of students who said they felt safe in school dropped to 60% from 72%. When Chicago curbed suspensions, students and teachers felt the increased disorder. And following New York City’s reforms making it more difficult to keep disruptive kids out of the classroom, the schools that showed increased fighting, gang activity and drug use tended to be those with the highest percentages of minority students.Somehow racial balance in the rates of suspension and expulsion has become more important than school safety. Any teacher could have predicted those results. As soon as students sense that there will not be a disciplinary consequence for bad behavior, they lose any compunction to control their behavior. They know that the teachers and administrators will let them get away with disrupting the school. And most probably, the students who will suffer the most will be their classmates who will be less safe and have to endure constant disruptions in class. And chances are that many of those classmates will be minorities themselves.Yet civil-rights activists, liberal academics, policy makers and others calling for fewer suspensions—come what may—insist that what explains imbalances in school discipline is racism, not varying rates of misbehavior. Never mind that these disparities persist in schools with black and Hispanic principals, teachers and administrators, who would have no reason to single out minorities for punishment unless the behavior warranted it. Riley also cites evidence refuting the theory that suspensions increase the likelihood that students will drop out of school.There’s plenty of evidence that someone who gets suspended is more likely to drop out of school, but there’s little evidence that the suspension caused the dropping out. In fact, a March paper posted by the University of Arkansas found that students who had been suspended were doing better in math and reading after one year. Suspensions were correlated with improved academic outcomes—the opposite of the chain of negative effects that opponents predicted.That means the 2014 guidance, which is wreaking havoc on schools, was justified with what Mr. Eden described to me as “old and limited evidence,” now called into question by “new and more robust evidence.” Mrs. DeVos can’t fix this mess soon enough.William McGurn reminds us how Barack Obama was, by his own standards, "cruel" towards children brought here illegally.ruth is[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-13T06:41:02.389-04:00

Jon Gabriel gives an economics lesson to all those journalists out there claiming Harvey and Irma may actually present an increase in economic growth because of all that people will have to spend on buying new cars or repairing their homes and businesses. As Gabriel reminds us, Paul Krugman has often made this claim after events such as 9/11 or the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Surprisingly, this Nobel-Prize wining economist doesn't know the"broken window fallacy" that French economist Frédéric Bastiat illustrated in the 19th century.A long time ago, a French guy named Frédéric Bastiat shattered this kind of nonsense, calling it “the broken window fallacy.” In his essay “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen,” Bastiat showed that destruction never boosts the economy.He imagined a boy broke a window. (Something I excelled at as a kid — sorry, north Phoenix.) Now his dad needs to pay to replace it. Amateur economists in the neighborhood tell the dad that’s a tough break, but note how great it is for the local glassmaker. Why, he would go out of business if annoying kids (such as yours truly) never put a baseball through a window.In fact, the economic growth would be even better if they sent me around to smash the windows of every house on my street.True, the glaziers would make a few extra bucks whenever I moved into a neighborhood. That’s the economic impact that is seen.But the impact that isn’t seen is the fact my long-suffering dad can’t spend that money on a new guitar, a dinner out, or counseling for his petty vandal of a son.Moreover, replacing something that has already been purchased is a maintenance cost, not a purchase of truly new goods, and maintenance doesn’t stimulate production.This idea can be broadened to all sorts of government activity. It doesn’t grow the economy to start a war, level a neighborhood for a giant arena, or tear up a rundown street to build a light rail.After the fact, there might be an “improvement” for that immediate area, but it doesn’t account for all the economic activity lost in the process.It would be nice if analysts understood that, as Bastiat explained, we have to pay attention to what is unseen - the spending that won't occur - and not just what is observable. Next we'll hear from these people about the money the country is going to make off of Irma because the estimates of damage are about $150 billion less than originally anticipated.By one estimate, the total cost dropped to about $50 billion Monday from $200 billion over the weekend. The state escaped the worst because Irma’s eye shifted away from the biggest population center of Miami-Dade County.Coupons for money off in every category $20 off top Kindle models and more savings on Kindle Bundles Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free TrialHillary Clinton is the gift that keeps on giving...to Republicans. Peter Hasson notes that she is defending her comment on Trump's supporters being "deplorables" on the Access Hollywood tape that came out. She told Jane Pauley that she was thinking about how Trump was deplorable as we saw on that tape and so the word was on her mind. The only problem for her is that the tape came out a month after she made her "basket of deplorables" comment. John Podhoretz reviews her book and doesn't find it truly terrible. But he does note this logical mistake in her argument as to why she lost.To say on the one hand that she won the popular vote and only lost by 77,000 votes in three states and on the other that she lost because of misogyny and racism and nativism is the stuff that would make any reader who isn’t automatically of her camp scratch his or her head in bafflement. Barack Obama won two commanding victories with absolute majorities in 2008 and 2012; how then was her defeat, the defeat of one of the whitest people in America, the result of hatred of bl[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-12T17:07:08.967-04:00

Emily Yoffe has a third story in her three-part series in The Atlantic looking at how sexual-assault allegations are dealt with on college campuses. Her subject is the question of race in these cases. She points out that the image of the alleged campus rapist is the white frat guy. What struck me is that the government doesn't collect statistics on the race of either the accuser or the accused. How race plays into the issue of campus sexual assault is almost completely unacknowledged by the government. While the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which regulates how colleges respond to sexual assault, collects a lot of data on race, it does not require colleges and universities to document the race of the accused and accuser in sexual-assault complaints. An OCR investigator told me last year that people at the agency were aware of race as an issue in Title IX cases, but was concerned that it’s “not more of a concern. No one’s tracking it.”I find that astounding. The government collects race statistics on almost everything related to crime or education. Public schools have to report the race of students who get disciplined and were warned by the Obama administration that they would face legal action if their discipline procedures have a disparate impact on students by race. Yet, when it comes to the systems that the federal government encouraged schools to set up to adjudicate allegations of sexual assault on college campuses, the federal government doesn't collect racial statistics? Given that there is no national data on the race of the alleged perpetrators and victims in these cases, Yoffe has to put together bits of evidence from various schools that blacks are disproportionately being accused. She talks to professors, such as one Harvard professor who alleged in a Harvard Law Review article that black men are being named by white victims. Another Ivy League law professor who has been involved in sexual-assault policy said to me of the issue of race, “Nobody wants to talk about it.” He said students are pushing their boundaries and that many hook up with a partner of a different ethnicity for the first time. But then, “if there is any kind of perceived injury—emotional or physical—when you cross racial lines, there’s likely to be more animus. It needs to be talked about and hasn’t been.” The professor requested anonymity, citing the difficulties of publicly discussing the subject.Since there are no national statistics on how many young men of any given race are the subject of campus-sexual-assault complaints, we are left with anecdotes about men of color being accused and punished. There are many such anecdotes. In 2015, in The New Yorker, Jeannie Suk Gersen, a Harvard Law School professor, wrote that in general, the administrators and faculty members she’s spoken with who “routinely work on sexual-misconduct cases” say that “most of the complaints they see are against minorities.” For two years I have received a daily Google Alert on college sexual assault. It captures only those cases that make it into the news, and is not a comprehensive or statistically valid measure. But it is illuminating. Usually the reports don’t disclose race, but sometimes it is mentioned, and if the accused is named, it’s often possible to determine his race through photo searches or other online information. Black men make up only about 6 percent of college undergraduates. They are vastly overrepresented in the cases I’ve tracked.Anecdotes aren't data. Some of the cases in which the men are suing the universities, they are alleging racial bias in their cases. Yoffe does have data from one university because these cases have come to trial and the data show that blacks, a very small percent on the college in question, Colgate University, were being charged with a disproportionate[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-11T06:45:00.414-04:00

Alan Dershowitz writes today about the dangers posed by both the hard right and the hard left and why the latter is more dangerous to the U.S. today.History has set limits on how far to the extremes of the hard right reasonable right-wingers are prepared to go. Following the horrors of the Holocaust and Southern lynchings, no one claiming the mantle of conservative is willing to be associated with Nazi anti-Semitism or the KKK. Neo-Nazi and Klan speakers are not invited to university campuses.The hard left lacks comparable limits. Despite what Stalin, Mao, the Castros, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez and North Korea’s Kims have done in the name of communism, there are still those on the left—including some university professors and students—who do not shrink from declaring themselves communists, or even Stalinists or Maoists. Their numbers are not high, but the mere fact that it is acceptable on campuses, even if not praiseworthy, to be identified with hard-left mass murderers, but not hard-right mass murderers, is telling.The ultimate goals of the hard right are different, and far less commendable, than those of the hard left. The hard-right utopia might be a fascist society modeled on the Italy or Germany of the 1930s, or the segregationist post-Reconstruction American South.The hard-left utopia would be a socialist or communist state-regulated economy aiming for economic and racial equality. The means for achieving these important goals might be similar to those of the hard right. Hitler, Stalin and Mao all killed millions of innocent people in an effort to achieve their goals.For the vast majority of reasonable people, including centrist conservatives, the hard-right utopia would be a dystopia to be avoided at all costs. The hard-left utopia would be somewhat more acceptable to many on the center left, so long as it was achieved nonviolently.I see that in class discussions today with my high school students. So many times I've heard students say things along the lines of "Sure, Stalin was bad, but at least his goals were admirable." They don't seem to understand that the means are inextricable from the goals. A government can't create an equality for all without taking away some people's property which leads to protests and subsequent denials of essential liberties. When government has that goal, the loss of civil liberties will follow.The danger posed by the extreme left is directly related to its more benign goals, which seduce some people, including university students and faculty. Believing that noble ends justify ignoble means, they are willing to accept the antidemocratic, intolerant and sometimes violent censorship policies and actions of Antifa and its radical cohorts.For that reason, the most extreme left zealots are welcomed today on many campuses to express their radical views. That is not true of the most extreme neo-Nazi or KKK zealots, such as David Duke and Richard Spencer. Former White House aide Steve Bannon recently told “60 Minutes” that “the neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates and the Klan, who by the way are absolutely awful—there’s no room in American politics for that.” In contrast, prominent American leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and even Bernie Sanders, supported the candidacy of British hard-left extremist Jeremy Corbyn, despite his flirtation with anti-Semitism.The hard right is dangerous largely for what it has done in the past. For those who believe that past is prologue, the danger persists. It also persists for those who look to Europe for hints of what may be in store for us: Neofascism is on the rise in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Lithuania and even France. Some of this rise may be attributable to regional issues, such as the mass migration of Muslims from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. But some may also be a function[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-08T06:58:49.676-04:00

Hillary Clinton has found another group of people to blame for her loss - women.Hiillary Clinton has added another name her long list of grievances about those who cost her the election, this time singling out energized anti-Trump women marchers for failing to deliver before her historic loss.Clinton referenced the throngs of protesters who took the streets of Washington and other cities in a Women's march shortly after his election. But her thoughts moved from the calls to resistance to the Trump agenda to why they hadn't summoned that same passion for her own campaign. 'I couldn’t help but ask where those feelings of solidarity, outrage and passion had been during the election,' Clinton writes in her new memoir, 'What Happened.'And she's angry at Matt Lauer for daring to ask about her private server and the ensuing scandal.Clinton also goes after NBC's 'Today Show' host Matt Lauer for his handling of a presidential forum, conducted on the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York last September.She writes that she was 'ticked off' and 'almost physically sick' by Lauer's persistent focus on her email scandal.'Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush,' she vented.[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-07T06:27:26.620-04:00

Here's a couple neat stories about some of the ways Texans have dealt with the aftermath of Harvey. The biggest Texan grocer chain HEB has provided a model of how to keep running during a natural disaster.In Texas, a grocery chain is now inspiring memes.One goes like this: "State and federal resources are struggling to get into impacted areas. H.E.B. — outta the way, we're coming."Another adds: "I’ll see your FEMA and Red Cross and raise you my Texas grocery store chain."The images refer to the largest grocer in the state, H-E-B, with about 350 stores scattered throughout Texas and Mexico. At a time when retail watchers question the future of brick-and-mortar stores due to Amazon's continued ascendance, the 112-year-old retailer is drawing widespread praise after managing to open 60 of its 83 stores in Houston last Sunday, hours after Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas as a Category 4 storm. (Now, 79 of the 83 stores are open.)When employees couldn't get to work, some stores still operated with as few as five people: one stationed at the door as crowd control and four working the registers, trying to get people out as quickly as possible.On Saturday morning, I spoke with Scott McClelland, a 27-year H-E-B veteran who is president of the chain's Houston division. For much of the week, he had worked from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with days blurring together.The behind-the-scenes operation, as he told me, is a complicated dance involving multiple command centers, a helicopter, private planes, military style vehicles and frequent calls to suppliers, urging them to send toilet paper — and to skip the Funyuns.I've already admired HEB for their cute ads featuring the San Antonio Spurs. They're always fun. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hvVDRb9vl7Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>They always make me smile.It's been cool to read about the use of drones in recovering from Harvey.In the first six days after the storm hit, the Federal Aviation Administration issued more than 40 separate authorizations for emergency drone activities above flood-ravaged Houston and surrounding areas. They ranged from inspecting roadways to checking railroad tracks to assessing the condition of water plants, oil refineries and power lines.That total climbed above 70 last Friday and topped 100 by Sunday, including some flights prohibited under routine circumstances, according to people familiar with the details. Industry officials said all of the operations—except for a handful flown by media outlets—were conducted in conjunction with, or on behalf of, local, state or federal agencies.One person familiar with the details said certain applications were processed within hours, an unusually fast turnaround for federal safety regulators accustomed to days or weeks of analysis for such decisions....Now that recovery efforts are under way, Mr. Wynne said relying on drones can help a wide range of industries pinpoint and repair damage, adding that “it’s in everybody’s interest that they get up and running” as quickly as possible.We're really stretching the limits of how people could assess damages after a major disaster.“This is the one of the first big disasters where we can show how valuable drones can be,” says Brandon Stark, who directs the Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety at the University of California, Merced. In the coming weeks and months, they'll help locals assess damage to homes, roads, bridges, power lines, oil and gas facilities, and office buildings—and determine whether it's safe to go back.Kudos to the FAA for relaxing rules for authorizing drone operation in the wake of Harvey. Local government agencies, oil and gas companies, railroad companies, insurance companies, and th[...]



Cruising the Web

2017-09-06T06:27:46.023-04:00

It's rather amusing to hear Democrats bemoaning Trump's action in taking DACA and throwing it into the laps of Congress. It was Obama who behaved extra-constitutionally by implementing a program simply because he was fed up with Congress's delay in passing some sort of action to allow the so-called Dreamers to remain in the United States. Hello? That is the job of Congress. They are supposed to pass laws that the Executive Branch implements. If they think this is so very important, pass a new law. As Jonah Goldberg writes,
If you can get past the theatrics, it seems pretty obvious to me that asking Congress to fix DACA is the right thing to do. As Rich notes below, Democrats love to say that Trump is violating constitutional norms. Well, Obama violated them when he unilaterally implemented DAPA and DACA. The Supreme Court threw out DAPA and — if Gorsuch had been on the court — it probably would have quashed DACA too. By winding down DACA — slowly — and asking Congress to find a legislative fix, Trump is returning us to a constitutional norm. That liberal congressmen are scandalized by being asked to fulfill their constitutional duties tells you more about the expediency of contemporary liberalism than it does about Trump (as Jay Cost explains well in this Twitter thread).
Cost ridicules Congressman Adam Schiff's outrage over Trump's action.

Here is a handy list of monuments that liberals want to tear down. I'm sure it will grow by the hour.

We can add in Joan of Arc in New Orleans. Somehow, she's an offense to some. And now the horse mascot for USC, Traveler is being criticized because Robert E. Lee's horse was named Traveller.

It does amuse me to hear the Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, calling for Paul Ryan to pull down the statues commemorating Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol. Hmmm, wasn't Nancy Pelosi once the Speaker of the House? Why didn't she do anything about it then? Was she held up on that just as she was held up on the dress code that she is also calling on Ryan to change?