October 08, 2015

Overnight Open Thread (10-8-2015)


A bit of housekeeping: I'm off to Europe for two weeks - Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, plus wherever else my whim, wallet and corporate overlords take me. (I would have included a jaunt to Moscow and St. Petersburg too except that it turns out that Russia really, really does not want visitors and makes getting a visa expensive and difficult just like in the good old Intourist days.) So anyway not to worry - you'll be in the good hands of the usual bunch of last minute AoS non-credentialed subs.

Quote of the Day I

"Your salary is a way to quantify what you're worth. If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels shitty."

She also brought up the difference in wages between her and "Iron Man" co-star Robert Downey Jr.

"Look, nobody is worth the money that Robert Downey Jr. is worth," she says. "But if I told you the disparity, you would probably be surprised."

-- Noted economist Gwyneth Paltrow

Quote of the Day II

Boy, there really are a lot of constitutionally illiterate pieces on the Second Amendment from academics lately. Here's a hint: There's a huge literature on this stuff. The Second Amendment wasn't badly drafted or unclear, it was drafted by smart men who knew exactly what they were trying to say; you just don't want to hear that. Your cocktail-party "insights" on the Second Amendment are neither interesting nor correct. This is Dunning-Krueger scholarship at its worst.

-- Glenn Reynolds

Quote of the Day III

Putin understands this all too well, and much of his UN speech was pitched directly at the consciences of these men and women. It was impossible not to chuckle at the strongman's chutzpah when, nearing his conclusion, Putin explained his hope to partner with other nations on an "issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind"-climate change. In his recent 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose, Putin parried a question about the rule of law in Russia by invoking American race relations-a tried and true rhetorical gambit of the Soviet era

...Putin understands American liberals better than most of them understand themselves, and light-years better than they understand him. This is among the reasons their assessment of his motivations is so misleading and incomplete. By presenting his actions as essentially reasonable and defensive in nature, by continuing, humiliation after humiliation, to hope that Putin will one day be their partner, they fail to focus their analysis on the dark core of his beliefs, which are ironically the very traits they believe compromise American conservatism: toxic nationalism and neo-imperialism.

He's not trying that hard to hide it.

-- Aaron MacLean

Quote of the Day IV

Whenever I've written about these issues, I get a lot of e-mails from guys scoffing, "Oh, right, Steyn. Like you'd be taking a bullet. You'd be pissing your little girlie panties," etc. Well, maybe I would. But as the Toronto blogger Kathy Shaidle put it:

'When we say 'we don't know what we'd do under the same circumstances', we make cowardice the default position.'

I prefer the word passivity - a terrible, corrosive passivity. Even if I'm wetting my panties, it's better to have the social norm of the Titanic and fail to live up to it than to have the social norm of the Polytechnique and sink with it.

-- Mark Steyn

Quote of the Day IV - A New Evil Edition

What do the acolytes of the State want to ban this week? Which bootlace eyelet will they lubricate with eager spittle? Oh, the usual stuff. Fun. Your fun. Vox writer Dylan Matthews twittered his demands, and they're quite ordinary - except for one new requirement. See if you can spot it.


-- James Lileks

Have We Finally Reached Peak #Problematic?



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Posted by Maetenloch at 11:19 PM Comments

Open Thread


Here's something I didn't really want to blog, but whatever. So, Shep Smith grilled Walter Jones about his letter advising anyone with "skeletons in their closet" ("like Bob Livingston") to not seek any leadership position without disclosing such skeletons to the caucus.

Earlier today, someone posting from the Department of Homeland Security edited Kevin McCarthy's Wikipedia entry to push out a rumor.

I'd like to see that IP tracked down and the employee disciplined.

Anyway, lot of gossip in our little Rome on the Potomac.

Posted by Ace at 06:44 PM Comments

Is This Something?


Possibly, this is something.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 05:45 PM Comments

Good Lord: Boehner Reportedly Urging Paul Ryan to Run for Speakership, Or Else Boehner Might Declare He's The Only Man Capable of Leading the House


Oh, God. We thought we got rid of Boehner, but now if Boehner doesn't get in someone acceptable to the Corporate Establishment, he's threatening to hang on to power?

Which is bullshit anyway -- because the votes are there to kick him out.

But he says he'll stay until someone is chosen to replace him.

Speaker John Boehner has agreed to stay on as Speaker–not just until the Caucus nominates someone --but, until that person can confirm 218 votes on the House floor (needed to take the Speaker’s gavel). Short of that -- Boehner will stay on for the rest of this Congress and steer legislation that is pending.

What does this mean? Moderates and leadership types are cheering and saying Boehner is the only one they will support. Conservatives will go ballistic since they know this signals that Boehner will make ALL kinds of deals to get big ticket legislation through the House even if it means using Democrats votes to do it.

He's "agreed" to stay. LOL. Who was asking him?

I guess the rest of the Establishment.

Another name being offered as someone acceptable to both wings is Gowdy.

Who knows, maybe the most ridiculous rumor of the day -- that they'd ask Mitt Romney to be Speaker (nothing requires the Speaker to be a Representative) -- will end up coming to fruition.

Nah. But there's a Padding Link to round this post out.

Posted by Ace at 04:45 PM Comments

The Real Pay Gap Progressives Won't Talk About: Federal Workers Make 78 Extra Cents on the Dollar Compared to Their Private Sector Analogues


Apparently "Good enough for government work" is now considered the gold standard as far as determining employee recompense.

Employees for the federal government earn far more than their counterparts in the private sector, according to a new study by the Cato Institute.

Federal workers' pay and benefits were 78 percent higher than private employees, who earned an average of $52,688 less than public sector workers last year.

The study found that federal government workers earned an average of $84,153 in 2014, compared to the private sector’s average of $56,350. Cato based its findings on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

But when adding in benefits pay for federal workers, the difference becomes more dramatic. Federal employees made $119,934 in total compensation last year, while private sector workers earned $67,246, a difference of over $52,000, or 78 percent.

This is largely because while private sector pay rises are delayed or diminished due to economic downturns, civil servants always get their too-generous pay increases, come hell or high water.

Cato makes a good-government pitch for reducing government worker pay, too: They say reducing pay would encourage turnover, which would bring in new (and younger) people with new ideas. It would reduce government sclerosis.

Oh, I'm putting lots of stuff in the sidebar too, so feel free to use this as a Mid-Day Open Thread.

Posted by Ace at 03:53 PM Comments

"Homeland" Opener Offers Some Eye-Opening Analysis of the War on Terror


For the White Urban Liberal Women who watch Premium Cable Dramas and otherwise don't really know what's going on in the world (except that Obama is Awesome and we're losing the #WarOnWomen), this character's assessment of the current strategy in the War on Terror -- that there isn't one -- will be pretty surprising.

Worth a watch. "Hit Reset," indeed.

Then again, maybe dumb people will assume that this is made up. Dumb people have a habit of assuming that true things are fiction, and fictitious things -- like Obama -- are true.

For example, some people were surprised to find out The Martian was not based on real events. They thought we'd already been to Mars.

Moon, Mars. Both start with M's, both have four letters. Close enough.

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Posted by Ace at 02:32 PM Comments

Spencer Stone Stabbed While Defending Friend in Barfight


Calm down, dude! You're already a hero!

The attack reportedly happened early Thursday morning in Sacramento while Stone was protecting a friend. Stone was stabbed 4 times in the chest while standing on a street corner.

He's come out of surgery and is in stable condition.

Posted by Ace at 01:48 PM Comments

Bombshell: McCarthy Drops Out Of Race For Speaker Of The House


Update [Ace]: Don't assume this is just about McCarthy's dumb statement. Yesterday, the Freedom Caucus announced they would be voting as a block for Daniel Webster. As the Freedom Caucus is 40 strong, this would have denied the 218 votes necessary for McCarthy (assuming Democrats didn't vote for him).

Oh, so Boehner is delaying the election. Note that there are two candidates remaining, Webster and Chaffetz, so the election could go forward -- but that would result in a non-Establishment winner, and they can't have that. Obviously.

Hot Air notes that Representative Walter Jones urged that no one tainted by scandal -- i.e., had any marital infidelities -- while serving as Congressman should run for the Speaker's chair. This isn't necessarily directed at McCarthy, or any of the other named candidates, but it does seem worth a mention.

Especially because he made the letter completely public. It's posted on the House website!

Posted by BenK at 12:37 PM Comments

Open Thread


Willard Leroy Metcalf, "Summer Night No. 3" (1917)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:03 AM Comments

Top Headlines Comments


'Great Day Squirrel'

Posted by rdbrewer at 07:18 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-7-2015) – Lonely Women and Beardless Men Edition


Quote of the Day I

The world has always been a dangerous place, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons has only made it more so. But not since the Cold War have there been so many potential triggers for major power conflicts. Will we get into a shooting war? Perhaps not, and almost not certainly with the current Commander in Chief. But each time there is a near miss without consequence, as most are, bad actors are encouraged to believe there will never be any consequence. Still, notwithstanding Barack Obama, the United States does have red lines, treaty obligations (to the Philippines, to Japan, to NATO allies) that could force us into conflict where none was planned.

-- Danielle Pletka in How We Get to World War III

Quote of the Day II - The Hero's Journey from Warrior to Helper Edition

The model hero in ancient times was of the conquering, killing sort, a warrior earning renown by slaying piles of enemies on the battlefield. Think of Homer's Achilles, whom Lindberg examines at length: a self-centered, petulant demigod, perhaps, but a warrior of superhuman caliber. Or Julius Caesar, a man so determined to be the greatest man in Rome that he would destroy the Republic in a civil war rather than rein in his ambition.

But over the centuries, the slaying hero gradually fell out of fashion, thanks in large measure to the horrors of World War I and Vietnam, not to mention the rise of the literary antihero such as The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield. Our ideal of the hero morphed instead into a courageous soul who is no less afraid of death but more focused on saving lives than taking them. Achilles' modern counterpart acts not to kill and conquer, but to serve and save others. "From slaying to saving," writes Lindberg, "from the highest, riskiest expression of self-regard to the highest, riskiest expression of generosity and the caring will."

Lindberg uses the history of the Congressional Medal of Honor-the U.S. military's highest decoration-to demonstrate this evolution of heroism. He reviewed the award from its creation during the Civil War to the present, and concluded that "the percentage of citations that include a saving narrative [as opposed to a killing narrative] has increased markedly" over time.

-- Mark Tapson

Quote of the Day III

If government is - to borrow Barney Frank's memorable definition - the "name we give to the things we choose to do together," then in zombie fiction like TWD, the things everyone chooses to do together include panicking, lying, and displaying breathtaking incompetence. To be fair, zombie fiction would be boring indeed if the first undead outbreak were promptly squashed by a squad of bureaucrats from the Centers for Disease Control. Yet even relatively government-friendly fiction, such as the bestselling book World War Z, features a series of catastrophic mistakes before the ship of state finally rights itself. In brief, in zombie world, the man who relies on the government for his safety will be zombie chow in short order.

So who lives? Well, it's not Pajama Boy. In zombieland, there are three kinds of people: those who know how to use guns, those who learn how to use guns, and zombies....The groups that survive are the ones whose members understand that trust is hard-earned and there is no such thing as a "safe space." In other words, man is fallen, and you either remember that fact or you die.

-- David French

Quote of the Day IV

Now men are afraid to be men. [...] They won't be a gentleman because that makes them appear soft. That's what we're dealing with now, a hundred percent, and girls are settling for that, but I won't. I will wait forever if I have to. That's why I haven't been having sex or even really seeing anybody.

...I mean I get horny, I'm human, I'm a woman, I want to have sex. But what am I going to do-just find the first random cute dude that I think is going to be a great ride for the night and then tomorrow I wake up feeling empty and hollow? [.] I can't do it to myself. I cannot. It has a little bit to do with fame and a lot to do with the woman that I am. And that saves me."

...It is lonely, but I have so much work to do that I get distracted. I don't have time to be lonely. And I get fearful of relationships because I feel guilty about wanting someone to be completely faithful and loyal, when I can't even give them 10 percent of the attention that they need. It's just the reality of my time, my life, my schedule.

-- Rihanna describing her non-existent love life

Quote of the Day V

There is the love and marriage and family kind of happiness, which is exceedingly boring to describe but nonetheless is important to have and dreadful not to have.

-- PJ O'Rourke

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Posted by Maetenloch at 10:49 PM Comments

Hillary's Liberal Media Defenders Got the Word From Hillary HQ, I Guess




Well, I guess Jeff Zelazny and Chuck Todd just got a phone call, huh?

MSNBC recently did a focus group about Hillary, and this very special lady's lovely flexibility was not the first attribute of hers that sprung to mind.

During a New Hampshire focus group of Democrats televised on MSNBC this morning, "Shannon" didn’t want to say what she really thinks of Hillary Clinton.

The exchange with moderator Mark Halperin began with Shannon saying Hillary’s "scorned" tone can be "off-putting."

"Tell me what it's like, what are you seeing," Halperin pressed.

After sighing, Shannon replied, "You know, when she's -- I don't want to use the word," laughing. Then she whispered "bitchy" to Halperin.


A male voter said, "I like Hillary, I think she's a strong candidate. But she has that --,” pointing to Shannon, "that condescending and I can see that causing gridlock."

Shannon jumped back in mimicking Clinton, "I'm a woman, I deserve it."

When Halperin asked the focus group to raise their hand if they thought "that" (her, um, let's say "consistency") could hurt her, everyone raised her hand.

Video of that focus group at the link.

Update: Jeff Zeleny was the guy who asked Obama, upon his inauguration in 2009, what he found "enchanted him the most" about the experience.

Posted by Ace at 05:41 PM Comments

Hillary Comes Out Against TPP, Pleasing Her Left Flank


If you can believe this, every time Hillary faces an issue, she turns left, even when that means repudiating long-held positions.

Like her long-held position against gay marriage. Or, like reversing her one-time claim that she was "adamantly against illegal immigration, now promising to go even further than Obama did in using executive actions to deliver amnesty to illegals.

In the case of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade bill, Hillary Clinton personally pushed it forty five times (!!!). Jake Tapper noted each of those 45 times back in June, when Hillary was still dodging the question.

She called it the "gold standard" of trade bills in 2012. And, as Secretary of State, this was negotiated, one supposes, with some of her input. (Or was she just there for show...?)

But as the election draws closer, Hillary has begun taking positions on issues she previously dodged -- and in each case, goes to the left, as she just did on Keystone, opposing it.

Now she says she opposes the TPP, too, reversing herself for no obvious reason, except that the Democrat Party is a hard-left party ruled by left-wing interests.

Yes, yes, I know many conservatives also oppose this, but, so too does the social justice and unionist left.

Unlike most people on the right, Hillary has pushed this specific trade bill forty five time.

Now, Obama has of course pushed this, and David Axelrod says that her reversal would cause further "questions on trust" as far as this very untrustworthy pretender to the throne.

Yesterday came news that Hillary was still searching for a campaign theme, an underlying rationale, for her candidacy.

At Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, staffers are invited to complete a phrase that is written on a wall: "Hillary for..."

Beside it, staffers have plastered dozens of sticky notes with various words and phrases.

While the wall could be seen as a freewheeling experiment in the manner of a tech startup, it could also be regarded as symptomatic of a nagging problem for Clinton in the 2016 race: namely, the difficulty she has had in explaining why she's running for president.


David Axelrod, one of the masterminds of President Obama's 2008 victory, has persistently warned that Clinton needs to provide a clear rationale for why she’s seeking the White House.

"'Hillary: Live with it' is no rallying cry!" Axelrod tweeted last month while bemoaning that the Clinton camp was running a "grinding, tactical race."

Last December, Axelrod had warned that Clinton needed to show she was "running for a purpose and not just for a promotion." He has also said, "You have to stand for something, you have to fight for something, and people need to know what that is."

Hillary's desperately cynical reversals and repositionings are all the evidence anyone needs for the real "theme" of the Hillary candidacy: Hillary is running because she has an almost erotic compulsion for personal political power.

Ideas and policies are to be discarded at will. The only underlying principle that Hillary Clinton believes in is an unshakable belief that Hillary Clinton should finally be in charge of people.

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Posted by Ace at 04:14 PM Comments

Amazing: Cheryl Mills Emailed Classified Information to Officials at The Clinton Foundation


The Clinton Foundation is, legally, a private organization with absolutely no status allowing it to legally receive classified US information. It is not, as a legal matter, what as Hillary Clinton imagines it to be, which is Hillary's Shadow Government In Waiting.

But she treats it like it was just that.

Hillary treated the United States' national intelligence apparatus as if it were simply the research staff of her fundraising operation.

Hillary Clinton’s No. 2 at the State Department twice forwarded information to the Clinton Foundation that was later deemed classified, the latest instance of former Clinton staff transmitting now-classified information.

According to a new email chain shared with POLITICO by Citizens United, Cheryl Mills -- Clinton's former chief of state at State -- forwarded State Department background information about Rwanda and the Congo to the Clintons' philanthropic organization. Citizens United, a conservative activist group, obtained the messages via a Freedom of Information act lawsuit.

Former President Bill Clinton was visiting Africa, including Rwanda, around the time that Mills sent the email, which was mostly redacted. Former president Clinton was also considering giving Rwandan President Paul Kagame a plenary role at the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the emails.


The information in the 2012 emails was classified by the State Department in July of this year because of national security and foreign policy reasons, according to the documents. The classification specifically related to foreign government information and intelligence activities, sources or methods, according to the redaction labels.

Note that sources and methods is usually considered the very most sensitive form of intelligence, because it directly exposes where we're getting this information.

So it should have been obvious this information was "born classified." But even if this somehow weren't obvious, that doesn't matter. Ed Morrissey writes:

Mills' defenders -- both formal and informal -- will argue that Mills didn't intend on transmitting classified information, and that is was either not classified at the time or at least not marked so in the originating materials. None of this is a defense against 18 USC 793, which nowhere requires classification to prosecute. Besides, the kind of information suggested by the redaction would obviously be sensitive enough to protect, and certainly not to be shared with uncleared and unauthorized personnel at a politically connected non-profit. This is precisely what security briefings tell people with clearances not to do. No one at any level would fail to grasp the risks and legal implications of these actions, and certainly not at the high level of clearance employed at the top of the State Department.

Turns out, Hillary had two personal intelligence services working for her: The Osprey Group of ex-CIA types headed by Tyler Drumheller, and the entire United States intelligence community.

Meanwhile, the FBI has seized -- or "reached out for," as Gabe likes to joke -- four State Department servers in its ongoing "reaching out" to Hillary Clinton.

The FBI has seized four State Department computer servers as part of its probe into how classified information was compromised on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email system, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The four servers, which were located at the State Department's headquarters building, were seized by the FBI several weeks ago. They are being checked by technical forensic analysts charged with determining how Top Secret material was sent to Clinton's private email by State Department aides during her tenure as secretary from 2009 to 2013, said two people familiar with the probe...

What they are surely interested in is how the ultra-classified information "jumped the air gap" from the Sensitive Compartmental Information Facility, closed off from the internet, to Hillary's email. How was it smuggled from an ultra-secure isolated room to the internet, where it could be sent around the world at the touch of a button?

The State Department uses two separate networks, one for classified information and one for unclassified information. The two networks are kept separate for security reasons. Most classified networks are equipped with audit systems that allow security managers to check who has accessed intelligence or foreign policy secrets.

The FBI is trying to determine the origin of the highly classified information that was found in Clinton emails....

The FBI is primarily concerned with trying to determine how Top Secret information made its way on to the private server.

I know I keep saying this, but seriously: Hillary is one very special lady.

Some Americans are starting to notice, and Americans aren't a particularly observant people. But they seem to have figured out just how special this lady is.


Posted by Ace at 02:11 PM Comments

Biden-Supporting PAC Set to Run Tear-Jerking Ad Urging Biden to Run


And we know that Biden can't possibly have anything to do with this, because coordinating with a PAC would be illegal.

Though I have to say I'm suspicious, given yesterday's story that Joe Biden himself leaked the tear-jerking tale of his son Beau urging him to run for president while dying of brain cancer.

This new ad seems of a piece with what could be called Biden's Tragedy Offensive.

Not sure how the fact that he's seen some family deaths in his time qualifies him to be president, but of course this "humanizes" him, if anyone doubted this blustering half-a-wit was human.

I suppose that gives him an edge up on Hillary Clinton. But anyone would come out favorably in a humanity contest with Hillary Clinton, including Hillary's freshly revealed cloud server.

No doubt, the ad is probably effective, at least with the people who ultimately decide the presidency, who are almost uniformly stupid.

Meanwhile, Ed Driscoll writes at Instapundit that Hillary's Oppo Dumpsters seem to have been given the Go-Code by the Haggard Queen, as the leftwing blogs are alive with the sound of Joe Biden's tenacity in the #WarOnWomen.

If gender issues are Hillary Clinton’' primary progressive strength, they’re one of Biden’s major weaknesses. It's not just the role he played in Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings, when, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his treatment of Anita Hill enraged feminists. Biden let her be grilled mercilessly while assuring Thomas that he had the "benefit of the doubt," and even refused to let three witnesses who might have corroborated her story testify. That was almost 25 years ago, of course, and since then Biden has done several things to redeem himself, including championing the Violence Against Women Act. His decidedly lukewarm record on reproductive rights, however, is harder to dismiss as ancient history, particularly given the onslaught of anti-abortion legislation we're seeing all over the country.

"There have been some clutch moments where he hasn’t been with us," says Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

And speaking of clutch moments, it will only be shortly they'll be getting to Biden's penchant for inappropriately touching women like a guy sampling melons at the Hot Melon Go-Go Club.

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Posted by Ace at 11:15 AM Comments

Ted Cruz Bitchslaps Sierra Club President on the 18-Year Pause in Global Warming


Via Instapundit, alerted by commenters.

The amazing thing here is not that the guy disagrees -- what's amazing is that he doesn't seem to know what Ted Cruz is even talking about. He does not know what "the pause" refers to (it's the 18 year long pause in predicted global warming), and has to rely on advisors throughout the questioning.

At no point does he seem to even show a glimmer of recognition of this fact. This is all new news to him.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 10:21 AM Comments

Open Thread


Marcel Rieder, "Soirée Romantique" (n.d.)

Posted by rdbrewer at 09:47 AM Comments

Morning Headlines Thread


Whatever's goin' on.

Here's something horrible. Neil DeGrasse Tyson went on a Reddit Ask Me Anything to answer questions about one of his many fields of expertise: art.

Sure, why not.

The toadying on display was vile, but this is the worst of it (I hope!!!):

In the 13-minute video, Tyson answers some serious questions and some quirky ones (our favorite: "If you were going to be painted nude, but the background of the painting was on the surface of a planet of your choice, what planet would you choose and why?"), throwing a fair bit of scientific facts in for good measure.
Posted by Ace at 08:43 AM Comments

Email from Employee at Hillary's Cloud Server Company: "This Whole Thing Is Really Covering Up Some Shady Shit"


Pretty much could be the name of the Hillary Clinton biography.

An employee of the computer company that maintained Hillary Rodham Clinton's ­email server questioned if he was part of a coverup, according to documents ­released Tuesday.

"This whole thing really is covering up some shady s–t,"the employee said in an Aug. 19 company email obtained by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The concerns by the Colorado-based Platte River Networks employee were aired after the Clinton camp ordered a reduction in the data stored during each server backup.

The limits were ordered after the State Department contacted the former secretary of state in summer 2014 to inquire about her private e-mail records.

The employee seems to have become alarmed by this sequence of events, and asked in an email (internally, I assume, because I doubt the employee directly accused Clinton of "shady shit") for confirmation of "their directive" to reduce the number of emails saved.

This Hillary Clinton is a very special lady.

Posted by Ace at 07:11 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-6-2015)


Quote of the Day I

Abstract: In this paper, I take the position that a large portion of contemporary academic work is an appalling waste of human intelligence that cannot be justified under any mainstream normative ethics. Part I builds a four-step argument for why this is the case, while Part II responds to arguments for the contrary position offered in Cass Sunstein's "In Defense of Law Reviews." First, in Part I(A), I make the case that there is a large crisis of suffering in the world today. (Part I does not take me very long.). In Part I(B), I assess various theories of "the role of the intellectual," concluding that the only role for the intellectual is for the intellectual to cease to exist. In Part I(C), I assess the contemporary state of the academy, showing that, contrary to the theory advanced in Part I(B), many intellectuals insist on continuing to exist. In Part I(D), I propose a new path forward, whereby present-day intellectuals take on a useful social function by spreading truths that help to alleviate the crisis of suffering outlined in Part I(A).

-- Nathan J Robinson in the best academic abstract ever, 'Can Philosophy Be Justified in a Time of Crisis?'


Quote of the Day II

Let's take Malcolm Turnbull at his word that it's only "a very very small percentage of violent extremist individuals". What is the actual percentage? In the aforementioned Malmö, where up to a thousand mostly young male "refugees" arrive each day, suppose the "very very small percentage" is two per cent. That's 20 brand new "violent extremists" per day. During the Northern Irish "Troubles", MI5 estimated that there were no more than a hundred active members of the IRA at any one time - that's to say, people actively involved in shooting and killing. So Malmö is taking in the equivalent of the entire IRA every week.

-- Mark Steyn

Quote of the Day III

So it is with this president. It's not enough for him to stake and defend his positions. He wants you to know that he thinks deeper, sees further, knows better, operates from a purer motive. His preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration. If Republicans want a tougher line in Syria, they're warmongers. If Hillary Clinton thinks a no-fly zone is a good idea, she's playing politics: "There is obviously a difference," the president tut-tutted about his former secretary of state's position, "between running for president and being president."

You can interpret that jab as a sign Mr. Obama is urging Joe Biden to run. It's also a reminder that Mr. Obama believes his Syria policy - the one that did nothing as 250,000 people were murdered; the one that did nothing as his own red lines were crossed; the one that allowed ISIS to flourish; the one that has created the greatest refugee crisis of the 21st century; the one currently being exploited by Russia and Iran for geopolitical advantage - is a success.

That's because the president's fundamental conviction about American foreign policy is that we need less of it-less commitment, less expense, less responsibility. Winston Churchill once said that the U.S. could not be "the leading community in the civilized world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes." Mr. Obama sees it differently. He is the president who would prefer not to. He is the Bartleby of 21st century geopolitics.

-- Brett Stephens

Quote of the Day IV

Finally, with Obama's retreat from the region, there is no global rival backing the Sunni opposition. The Afghan mujahideen were going nowhere until the United States started arming them with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other advanced weaponry; Saudi Arabia can play the role that Pakistan played in the 1980s and 1990s, but if America won't play any part at all, the Soviets aren't likely to pay a price. The Russians' Afghan quagmire was, to a substantial degree, made in America - by Ronald Reagan.

Russia is a crippled power; its people are older and die younger every year, its wealth comes largely from exporting fossil fuels, and its military - despite the investments Putin has made - is a pale shadow of the mighty Red Army. But even irreversible long-term trends don't make defeat inevitable now, or any time soon. Even if this is history repeating itself, it's worth remembering that it took a decade for Russia to call it quits in Afghanistan, a country that's never been the same since.

This quagmire consistency truly is a hobgoblin of Barack Obama's mind; he sees every war this way. He is content that there is an "arc" to history, one that inevitably "bends toward justice." Vladimir Putin, by contrast, believes in the "great man" theory of things, and he thinks himself to be one of those great men. Along with the Iranians, he's doing his best to bend things in his direction; he who dares wins.

-- Thomas Donnelly in He Who Dares Wins

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Posted by Maetenloch at 10:54 PM Comments

Gun Thread - Self Defense Edition [Weirddave]

—Open Blogger

I spoke to Ace this afternoon about his retiring early, here's a thread to take us through the evening while visions of hobos dance in the head Ewok's head

Gun of the Week


The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Man With a Gun is a Good Man With a Gun

12 Times Mass Shootings Were Stopped by Good Guys With Guns

The media loves to talk endlessly about mass murderers who succeed. They aren't so eager to document those cases where they are stopped.

August 30, 2010 When a 62-year-old man armed with two handguns forced his way into Sullivan Central High School in Tennessee, he was immediately engaged by School Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger. Gudger put her body between the gunman and a student and started what would turn out to be a more than 10 minute gun-to-gun encounter. Gudger used the time to slowly move the man to a less crowded part of the school. When other officers arrived on the scene, a brief gun battle erupted ending with the gunman mortally wounded.

Do civilians with guns ever stop mass shootings?

Naturally, such examples will be rare. Even in states which allow concealed carry, there often aren’t people near a shooting who have a gun on them at the time. Many mass shootings happen in supposedly “gun-free” zones (such as schools, universities or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn’t allowed. And there is no central database of such examples, many of which don’t hit the national media, especially if a gunman is stopped before he shoots many victims....

Still, for whatever they are worth, here is a list of some such incidents (which deliberately excludes killings stopped by people who were off-duty police officers, or police officers from other jurisdictions, at the time of a shooting, as well as some other cases which struck me as borderline):

Continue reading

Posted by Open Blogger at 07:10 PM Comments

Hillary's Personal Emails Might Have Been Uploaded to a Cloud For Storage; May All Be Recoverable


From @comradearthur, this might be interesting.

Hillary Clinton hired a Connecticut company to back up her emails, and due to a technical glitch some may still reside on one of the firm' "cloud" storage sites, a Republican Senate committee chairman revealed.

The disclosures, in a letter Monday from Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, heighten the possibility that some of Clinton’s more than 31,000 personal emails may still be recovered. She said last March that she deleted them all upon turning over her official emails to the State Department in December 2014.

Congressional committees have voiced skepticism as to whether the 30,940 emails that the Democratic presidential candidate handed over represented all of her official emails. The FBI is separately investigating whether Clinton’s arrangement put classified information at risk.

Meanwhile, look at this nasty story that Hillary might have but definitely did leak to Poltiico: a claim that Joe Biden himself put out the story that Beau Biden, on his deathbed, urged him to run for president.

Oh, and this seems important: a federal judge is deciding whether or not Hillary's private server should be counted as a de facto official government record. If he rules it should be so treated, he will order the State Department (not Hillary's lawyers) to find documents responsive to FOIA requests.

That could wind up with some emails coming out that Hillary "overlooked" when she "searched" for them.

Combine that with the cloud server news... maybe she's a lot dumber than we thought.

Or drunk. I'm told she has a drinking problem with all the problem drinking she does.

Posted by Ace at 05:49 PM Comments

US Analysts Conclude: Yes, Obviously, Russia Is Attacking US-Aligned Fighters, Not ISIS


Putin's totes acting from a position of weakness.

Read Allah's analysis. Here's some key language from the WSJ's report.

U.S. officials said Russia’s targeting of its allies on the ground was a direct challenge to Mr. Obama's Syria policy. Underlining the distrust, the Pentagon decided against sharing any information with Moscow about the areas where U.S. allies were located because it suspected Russia would use that information to target them more directly or provide the information to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake," a senior U.S. official said of Russia’s strike on one of the allied rebel group’s headquarters. "But on day three and day four, there's no question it's intentional. They know what they’re hitting."


The first strike on [CIA-backed Tajamu al-Ezzeh] came at 9 a.m. on Sept. 30, catching its fighters off guard. Seventeen more strikes were launched against the group over the first three days of the Russian campaign, injuring 25 of Ezzeh's fighters. Some of the injured had received CIA training, according to their commander, Maj. Jameel al-Salih. Four strikes on the first day targeted Ezzeh's headquarters…

Members of the [rebel] brigades said in interviews they believed they were being targeted by the Russians to weaken the moderates, without whom the West would have to accept Mr. Assad's continued rule. The other rebel groups on the battlefield are too radical for the West to work with, they said.

Of course, Syria may not be the endgame here. Weaklings are provocative to bullies, and Obama's as sissy a weakling as they come.

So Putin may have bigger ambitions in mind: Like OPEC itself.

Mark Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes:

Three facts motivate Putin. First, two regions utterly dominate world oil markets. The Middle East and Russia together ship 60 percent of all oil traded (45 and 15 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, American firms are by law prohibited from engaging in this vital global marketplace; more on this shortly.

Second, oil matters. It provides 97 percent of the global fuel needs for all the engines that transport everything on land, sea and air. No viable substitutes exist at any price for liquid hydrocarbons at the scale society needs. And the world will consume more oil, not less, as far into the future as it matters for sensible policymaking.

Finally, price matters. Here the U.S. has upset the apple cart. Entrepreneurs using new technologies have unlocked a shocking increase in oil supply. U.S. shale fields have recorded the fastest increase in oil production in history. As a result, crude prices have collapsed from north of $100 to south of $50 a barrel. The emerging consensus? Cheaper oil is the new normal.

How does Syria matter? While it's no oil-producing powerhouse by OPEC standards, even Syria's paltry production accounted for 25 percent of that nation's economy (although ISIS now controls most of Syria's oil fields). But Syria is ideal transit territory for pipelines to European markets for oil or gas originating in Iraq and Iran.

More important, given the build-up of Russian military men and materiel in Syria, is geography. Damascus is closer to Baghdad than Washington is to Boston, and not much further away from Riyadh than New York is from Chicago. Russia's military is now no longer deployed mainly on its Baltic borders but is in the world's premier petroleum neighborhood.

Russia is not an OPEC member and has often claimed no desire to join. But they may have just joined by default.

America's best diplomatic force is the Seventh Fleet, and I'm sure Russia's best diplomats are currently building airbases in Syria.

Obama likes to claim that Putin's acting out of "weakness" because the low price of oil, plus sanctions, have hurt Russia's economy.

Okay, let's say he acted to correct that weakness: What keeps him now from driving the price of oil up to whatever high price is required to pour money back into the Kremlin's coffers?

Stigma as an Argument: Great piece by Bret Stephens on our petty, weakling president.

David Petraeus testified last month to the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Regarding Syria, the former general and CIA director urged a credible threat to destroy Bashar Assad’s air force if it continues to bomb its own people. He also recommended "the establishment of enclaves in Syria protected by coalition air power, where a moderate Sunni force could be supported and where additional forces could be trained, internally displaced persons could find refuge, and the Syrian opposition could organize."

But Barack Obama does not agree. At his Friday press conference, the president described such views as "mumbo-jumbo," “half-baked ideas," "as-if" solutions, a willful effort to "downplay the challenges involved in the situation." He says the critics have no answers to the questions of "what exactly would you do and how would you fund it and how would you sustain it."

America’' greatest living general might as well have been testifying to his shower drain for all the difference his views are going to make in this administration.

So it is with this president. It’s not enough for him to stake and defend his positions. He wants you to know that he thinks deeper, sees further, knows better, operates from a purer motive. His preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration. If Republicans want a tougher line in Syria, they’re warmongers. If Hillary Clinton thinks a no-fly zone is a good idea, she’s playing politics: "There is obviously a difference," the president tut-tutted about his former secretary of state's position, "between running for president and being president."

The president is quite clear that his only ambition is to be a Commander, United National Territory, and a little one at that.

Posted by Ace at 04:41 PM Comments

This Kid Really Wants His Jalapeno Bacon Mac and Cheese


He shows up drunk and carrying beer in a Coke bottle (what a grift!) and so is refused service at this market.

But he insists he wants his jalapeno bacon mac and cheese, and, let me tell you one thing Old Chap, he shan't be leaving until he gets his jalapeno bacon mac and cheese.

Things get progressively worse. Caution: lots of cursing.

I was going back and forth on this about the "shaming" thing. I have a few thoughts. First, the rule can't be that no one ever shames someone else; obviously, that's silly. You'd shame Hitler. Well, all but John Ekdahl would.

The rule is that people shouldn't rush to shame, and shouldn't be eager to indulge in what is, at its heart, cruel behavior.

But there does come a point at which someone's bad behavior is hard to excuse away. This kid winds up committing a few low-level assaults, in addition to the disorderly and drunken behavior.

In addition, this non-shaming ship on this drunken sh*t has already sailed, because this video has already gone viral.

So anti-shaming people: This one seems like a lost cause.

Anyway, here's this kid's nine minutes of infamy.

He was arrested.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 03:53 PM Comments

Obama Deports The Fewest Number of People in Almost Ten Years;
Hillary Clinton: Obama's Deportation Policies Too Harsh


The pace of deportations has slowed.

he Obama administration deported the fewest number of immigrants in the past 12 months since 2006, according to new government figures obtained by The Associated Press.

The figures also show that deportations of criminal immigrants have dropped to the lowest numbers since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally.

Now comes Hillary-- who likes to style herself as a sort of moderate -- to say that Obama's ten year low in criminal immigrant deportations is just too many.

Hillary Clinton distanced herself from President Barack Obama's immigration policies in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo, accusing the White House of breaking up families through an aggressive deportation policy.

Her comments echoed long-running complaints of the immigration advocacy community that Mr. Obama's immigration policy has been overly harsh. But they stand in contrast to comments Mrs. Clinton made in June 2014 defending the Obama policy, where she said the president was doing all he could within the law to keep families together. They also appeared to ignore changes in deportation policy that Mr. Obama ordered in late 2014.

Speaking to Telemundo, the Democratic presidential candidate criticized Mr. Obama's policy but said his approach was part of a strategy aimed at winning over Republicans to support immigration legislation legalizing people in the U.S. illegally.

"The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced, you know, very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform," she said. "That strategy is no longer workable. So therefore I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer."

And she says she'll do this via, wait for it, executive action.

And, by the way, the number of non-English speaking persons in America just hit an all-time high of 63.2 million.

Posted by Ace at 02:24 PM Comments

John Kasich: Please Don't Vote For Me, Ever, For Anything At All, Including For Any Business Plan I Might Present on "Shark Tank"


I'm not telling you how to go f*** yourself, I'm just saying you must go f*** yourself, John Kasich, vigorously and thoroughly, in whatever manner and style you think best expresses the real You, as a Person of the self-f*ckt variety.

What happened: Kasich, talking about his critics on his Medicaid expansion, said, condescendingly, he'd like to buy books for them, they come in two parts, an Old part and a New part-- see what the Bibles say about the treatment of the poor, he sums up.

He's what is referred to in Ephesians 7-10 as "a Real Asshole."

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 01:22 PM Comments

In UK, Student Diversity Officer Facing Criminal Charges for Tweeting "Kill All White Men"


Good. And I'll explain why in a bit.

A student diversity officer who was caught up in a racism row after allegedly posting 'kill all white men' on social media has been summonsed to court to face malicious communications charges.

Bahar Mustafa, 28, of Edmonton, North London, a welfare and diversity officer at Goldsmiths University, will appear at Bromley Magistrates' Court on 5 November, police said.

Ms Mustafa will face two charges, one of sending a threatening message between 10 November 2014 and 31 May this year, and one of sending a menacing or offensive message via a public network, between the same dates.

Here's her defense:

Ms Mustafa explained that she could not be guilty of sexism or racism against white men "because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender and therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system."

You see, she is the white men have so much hypothesized, "structural" privilege that she, as a non-white non-man, must be given real, actual privileges to disobey laws otherwise generally applicable.

Now, here's why I said "Good:"

I am of course against this sort of henny-penny Speechcrime prosecution. However, if such laws are on the books, and if disfavored persons (chiefly those unfashionable white men) are routinely being prosecuted under them (as they are), then it is absolutely imperative to prosecute Ms. Mustafa to visit upon her the unfairness and lunacy of a speechcrimes that she would visit on other people.

Suppose the United States really was the racist country it is claimed to be. Suppose we had truly punishing, draconian drug laws, as they do in Indonesia, but we did not enforce them against white people, but only against black people, on whatever theory -- "Oh, we have to protect black people against the scourges of drugs, for their own benefit, you understand." (I realize that pro-legalization people claim that this is the state our country actually sort of resembles; but whether or not it's true doesn't matter for this hypothetical.)

Under the situation of my hypothetical, white people would never be confronted with the question of whether throwing someone in prison for 20 years for a drug crime is a cruel punishment, because they never have to face the prospect of it themselves. For them, the threat of running afoul of such laws is entirely a hypothetical matter.

That would mean whites would have all the "benefits" of a draconian drug enforcement regime (such as they may be imagined to be) without any of the drawbacks of one -- and it would mean that whites could continue to inflict this law on blacks without having to ever see the consequences of it up-close and personal.

And the most important ethical principle in all the world is the shoe on the other foot test -- if you were forced to wear this shoe, would you submit or would you rebel?

These leftwing totalitarians cannot be permitted to have all the "advantages" of weaponizing the law to persecute their political enemies while never facing the disadvantages of such a vicious, anti-liberal regime.

If they want these laws, they must take the advantages and disadvantages both at the same time -- and that means that their kin will be prosecuted under these insane laws the same as their enemies will.

Unjust laws are never repealed if they are only inflicted upon a disfavored minority. It is only when the majority -- including those favored in fact by the state (non-whites, non-males; I speak of those favored in fact, not favored in fantasy, per the SJW claims) are forced to live under unjust laws that the laws' unjustness is suddenly... noticed.

So Ms Mustafa should not get the pass she argues for, based on the fact that she is non-white/not-male. There is no such exception in the law, and there cannot be such an exception in the law under any sort of tolerable regime.

She obviously supports using these laws to hang others -- then she must be trundled up the gallows, just the same as she'd see her enemies trundled.

There is no other way to make them understand what monsters they are, you know.

No, Ms Mustafa should not be prosecuted for mere speech. But neither should anyone else. Giving Mustafa a pass while continuing to punish disfavored groups will result in even more people being prosecuted for speechcrimes, because these laws will persist.

Only when Ms Mustafa and her vile allies are made to understand the downside of totalitarianism will they be open to moving away from a totalitarian regime.

The second-worst possible regime is to have speechcrime laws at all.

But the absolute worst regime is to have speechcrime laws, but under which only a disfavored minority are prosecuted, while the favored majority are quietly allowed to escape the law's cruelty. Speechcrime laws inflicted against one and all contain the bitter seeds of their own destruction; speechcrime laws used by a favored majority to attack a disfavored minority will persist as long as men have evil in their hearts.

Which is to say: Forever.

Posted by Ace at 12:09 PM Comments

Afternoon Dumb


Apparently 4Chan wanted to see how follow-the-herd-of-stupidity feminists were. So they conspired to make up a hashtag, #PissForEquality, encouraging people to pee their own pants, then take a picture of it and upload it for the world to see, to protest... um, whatever. Victimization or something.

Content Warning: It worked.

Making fun of pumpkin spice lattes is now sexist.

Actually, what it really more is is racist, because this gets put down a lot as a specifically white girl thing; but the rules are that you can't call out black racism. It's always safe, on the other hand, to say something about men's sexism.

According to a Swarthmore College student's op-ed, the real reason that people make fun of pumpkin-spice lattes is that our society thinks everything girls like is stupid because "girls don't get to have valid emotions."

"It all comes back to sexism," Min Cheng writes in a piece for The Phoenix, Swarthmore's official student newspaper. "People love to hate on what girls like."

"The PSL hate seems to me like a symptom of a larger problem: girls don't get to have valid emotions," she continues. (Exactly what a latte flavor could possibly have to do with your emotions is unclear -- but maybe I just haven’t been drinking meaningful-enough coffee.)

Lest you think she’s not making any sense, Cheng gives plenty of other examples to prove her point. Her piece — which, by the way, is titled "Evaluating Masculinity, Hidden Sexism, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes" -- explains that people also make fun of leggings, Uggs, North Faces, Taylor Swift, Instagram, flower crowns, crop tops and Grey’s Anatomy (arguably the worst show in the world, except for maybe Gilmore Girls) and Pinterest.

Can I hate people who make up fake dramas about trivialities to invest their meaningless lives with some jumped-up sense of purpose?

Or would that be denying people's "emotions"?

K-Timpf points out that it's a standard media trope to bust men's chops for the stuff they like.

In fact, it's a standard trope of feminism.

How do you square this bitching about men's enjoyment of being awesome with that silly crap about pumpkin spice latte non-liking behavior being sexist?

The size of G.I. Joe's biceps and Arnold Schwarzenegger's guns in the Terminator movies is proof that the dominant form of masculinity is out of control.

That message and similar ones were conveyed recently to students during Vanderbilt University's "Healthy Masculinities Week," organized by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center. Attendance for students was optional.

The Vanderbilt week kicked off with a lecture by the first man to minor in women's studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Jackson Katz. (His alma mater now offers a bachelor's in women, gender and sexuality studies.)

The self-described "anti-sexist activist" and filmmaker said that sexual violence and domestic abuse are men’s issues and that men would "benefit tremendously from having this conversation."

Katz founded a consulting firm that "provides gender violence prevention and leadership training to institutions in the public and private sectors" and has pioneered the use of bystander training in the U.S. military, according to his website....

Political correctness has value, Katz said....

He showed clips from his film Tough Guise, in which Katz claims "there has been a ratcheting up of what it takes to be considered menacing in the 1980s and 90s."

As evidence, Katz noted that G.I. Joe's biceps have gotten larger over the years and that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone use bigger guns for their iconic roles as the Terminator and Rambo than did Humphrey Bogart in his 1930s and 1940s film roles.

Another speaker said that the three most destructive words in the English language are "be a man," or "don't be a pussy," because they... I don't know, teach men to be brave and tough and respond assiduously to challenges, when the proper response is to cry about it and give up or something.

Short Day: So. I let my body-clock get seriously out of whack (you may have noticed) and decided, sometime around 5:50 am this morning, that rather than go to bed, I would just stay up all night so I could go to bed early this night.

I think the only way I can adjust my clock is to force myself to stay up for 30 or so hours and go to bed at like 6 pm tonight.

Blogging today will be super-crappy, far crappier than usual. Probably bullet-point stuff. Quote and link without any effort, because i'm kinda dozing off as it is.

I'll probably stop really early too.

But, hopefully, I will be posting earlier than 1:30 pm from now on.

Posted by Ace at 11:13 AM Comments

Open Thread


Ivan Shishkin, "Rye Fields" (1878)

Posted by rdbrewer at 10:20 AM Comments

Morning Thread (10-6-2015)


Late start this morning. You're all due a refund.

Posted by Andy at 08:14 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (10-5-2015)


Quote of the Day I

The essential feature of this disorder is a pervasive and unwarranted tendency . . . to interpret the actions of people as deliberately demeaning or threatening. Almost invariably, there is a general expectation of being exploited or harmed by others in some way. . . . The person may read hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events. . . . Often these people are easily slighted and quick to react with anger or counterattack; they may bear grudges for a long time, and never forgive slights, insults or injuries. . . . They tend to avoid blame even when it is warranted. . . . They intensely and narrowly search for confirmation of their expectations, with no appreciation of the total context. Their final conclusion is usually precisely what they expected in the first place.

-- A summary of the DSM entry on 'Paranoid Personality Disorder' from Matt Labash's The Cocked Fist Culture

Quote of the Day II

If our universities are teaching students that their emotions can be used effectively as weapons-or at least as evidence in administrative proceedings-then they are teaching students to nurture a kind of hypersensitivity that will lead them into countless drawn-out conflicts in college and beyond. Schools may be training students in thinking styles that will damage their careers and friendships, along with their mental health.

-- Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in The Coddling of the American Mind

Quote of the Day III

Of course, the real and fair solution is much less politically correct but effective. It's to stop trying to protect people's feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine-and vice versa.

Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens-victims and privileged, religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal-as adults. Human beings are not automatons-ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control. On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended. We have the ability to discern intent. We have the ability to separate someone else's actions or provocation or ignorance from our own. This is the great evolution of consciousness-it's what separates us from the animals.

...There is a wonderful quote from Epictetus that I think of every time I see someone get terribly upset about one of these things (I try to think about it when I get upset about anything): "If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation."

He said that some 1,900 years ago. Even then we felt that it was easier to police the outside than examine our inside.

-- Ryan Holiday

Quote of the Day IV - Econ 101 Edition

Housing prices in San Francisco, and in many other communities for miles around, were once no higher than in the rest of the United States. But, beginning in the 1970s, housing prices in these communities skyrocketed to three or four times the national average.

Why? Because local government laws and policies severely restricted, or banned outright, the building of anything on vast areas of land. This is called preserving "open space," and "open space" has become almost a cult obsession among self-righteous environmental activists, many of whom are sufficiently affluent that they don't have to worry about housing prices.

...When more than half the land in San Mateo County is legally off-limits to building, how surprised should we be that housing prices in the city of San Mateo are now so high that politically appointed task forces have to be formed to solve the "complex" question of how things got to be the way they are and what to do about it?

-- Thomas Sowell

Quote of the Day V

Are we flexible enough to allow audiences to see things in our work, which we ourselves may not see? To fixate on aspects of our stories that we either consider trivial, or which interest us not at all?

Case in point: Gene Roddenberry was far more interested in the "free love" aspect of his 23rd century star navy - a navy Gene denied was a navy at all - than most of the fans, many of whom were interested in the star navy; as an extrapolated future military. In fact, Star Trek and its Starfleet became the personification of military SF storytelling for millions of fans. I am pretty sure Gene never intended it to be that way. But that's how it worked out. Gene's been gone for almost 25 years now, so we can't ask him how he feels about this legacy. Frankly, I think I'd be damned proud to have a fictional footprint the size of Starfleet on my storytelling resume. Starfleet is the idealized service many actual, current servicemembers wish they could join - myself included.

Starfleet will live forever.

That's canon. That's the fans finding meaning in the work.

-- Brad Torgersen in A Matter of Canon

No Bad Deed Goes Unrewarded: Angela Merkel A Favorite For the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize

Never mind that her asylum-for-anyone-who-asks policy and browbeating of other reluctant EU countries is likely to make Europe a nastier, less peaceful place.

Related: Those Damn Poles - Always Starting Wars

Continue reading

Posted by Maetenloch at 10:47 PM Comments

The Mask Falls: Left Calling for "Gun-Free Society"


They had previously lied about their goals, claiming to be in favor of "sensible gun safety measures" or other rot.

But now they're becoming more honest: a Washington Post editor just explicitly called for a "gun free society.

A Gun Free Society.

By Fred Hiatt
Washington Post Editor

Maybe it's time to start using the words that the NRA has turned into unmentionables.


Mass buyback.

A gun-free society.

Let’s say that one again: A gun-free society.

Doesn’t it sound logical? Doesn’t it sound safe? Wouldn’t it make sense to learn from other developed nations, which believe that only the military and law enforcers, when necessary, should be armed -- and which as a result lose far, far fewer innocent people than die every year in the United States?

Yes, even saying these words makes the NRA happy. It fuels the slippery-slope argument the gun lobby uses to oppose even the most modest, common-sense reforms. You see? Background checks today, confiscation tomorrow.

And yes, I understand how difficult it would be. This is a matter of changing the culture and norms of an entire society. It would take time.

Note that he claims that using these words is dangerous, because the NRA would interpret them as a slippery slope argument to claim that the left wants a gun free society.

But that is precisely what Hiatt wants.

He's accusing the NRA of being right, but in an unhelpful way.

Ezra's Folly, I mean Vox, jumps on the idea and pushes it.

Harry Reid claimed to be pro-Second Amendment for his whole career -- but now that he's retiring, there's no more reason to maintain that fiction:

Hillary Clinton is announcing she'll start using extra-constitutional means to declare by executive fiat that the non-existent gun show loophole should no longer exist, and maybe that's what Obama has in mind when he promises more executive action on gun control:

The White House confirmed that President Obama was preparing a series of executive actions on gun control to match his recent passion on the issue after the latest mass shooting in Oregon.

"It's a high priority and will continue to be until we start to see more progress on this issue in this town," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today at the press briefing.

Earnest said he would "quibble" with anyone who criticized the president for not voicing any specific gun control proposals during his press conference, asserting that the White House was working behind the scenes for more executive actions on guns.

"I can tell you that they're not stumped, they’re continuing to review the law that’s on the books and continuing to consult with legal authorities but also others who may have ideas about what steps that can be taken to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," Earnest said.

Glenn Reynolds predicts the Democrats will pay a price for this, and further speculates that Obama is pushing gun control because his foreign and economic policies are in tatters.

Obama would just as soon we didn't talk about any of these debacles. The gun issue may not be a winner for him, but it's an ideologically divided issue where most Democrats will take his side, and it’s a hot-button issue that lets him inflame debate just by bringing it up.

These other stories, meanwhile, raise questions about Obama’s presidency that even Democrats are finding hard to ignore. Is it any wonder that Obama would rather talk about guns?

Maybe just more Stray Voltage. But maybe not.

Posted by Ace at 08:10 PM Comments

Shock: Top Hillary Clinton Aide Lied About Using Personal Email for Business With Reporters


As Luke Skywalker said to Darth Vader: "No... that can't be true. That's impossible!"

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines repeatedly lied about using a personal email address to communicate with reporters, records show. Emails uncovered after Gawker successfully sued the State Department show that Reines regularly corresponded with reporters using a personal Gmail address, despite previously dismissing the suggestion as a "cockamamie theory," saying his personal email account "is about the last place I want to be emailing reporters or conducting work."

Gawker's initial request under the Freedom of Information Act was initially denied after the State Department claimed to have no record of Reines's correspondence with reporters. The emails, about 18,000 in total, are coming to light now thanks to a successful legal appeal.

Well it sure seems that Hillary and all of her aides are pretty determined that they will not produce any documents for anyone, whether legally compelled to do so or not.

Must be because they're so honest.

Oh, and if you didn't see that terrible SNL sketch with Hillary, it's below. I just saw it now.

It's terrible, and while it's true they didn't mention the email scandal, what are they going to do, realistically? Hillary gets to veto any jokes that cut too deep; I'm surprised she let them attack her (very gently) from the left, in being slow to realize she was against Keystone because environment and pro gay marriage because love.

I'm very surprised Hillary let SNL reference her drinking problem, given that she has such a problem with drinking.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 07:04 PM Comments

Supercut: Boy, NBC Sure Asked Hillary Clinton the Hard Questions


A little corporate advertising synergy: Hillary gets promoted on NBC's Saturday Night Live, then gets advertised on NBC's Today Show this morning.

But that doesn't seem to be helping her very much in NBC polls.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 05:53 PM Comments

Oregon Sheriff Investigating Umpqua Shooting Under Fire For Conspiracy Video Posted on FaceBook Page


I don't know. All seems kinda silly.

A prominent gun-control advocate is calling for the resignation of the Oregon sheriff leading the investigation into the recent shooting, who he labeled a pro-gun "conspiracy theorist."

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin ruffled feathers after it came to light that he sent Vice President Joe Biden a letter in January 2013, threatening to not enforce stronger gun laws.

According to reports, Hanlin also posted a conspiracy video on his Facebook page suggesting the government was behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as well as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a coordinated effort to "disarm the public." He later distanced himself from the video and denied claims he is a conspiracy theorist.
This has enraged gun-control activists.

He's denying he believes that.

Before Douglas County, Oregon, Sheriff John Hanlin found himself answering questions about a school shooting in his backyard, he posted a link to a video raising questions about another -- the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead.

"This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore ..." Hanlin wrote on his Facebook page on January 13, 2013, above the conspiracy video link. "Watch, listen and keep an open mind."

That post has since been taken down, albeit not before many saw it.

When asked about the video Friday, Hanlin told CNN that "I know what you're referring to, but that's not a conspiracy theory that I have."

I'm not a fan of silly conspiracy theories. I'm also not a fan of this age's method of political argumentation, which consists merely of blackening the reputation of a person offering a political claim, as if smearing that person also discredited the political claim itself.

But that's all we do anymore. It's a normal and routine technique in actual political elections to talk about character issues and personal scandals because we're actually not just electing a series of (vague) policy proposals, we're electing an actual person, and we should know about that actual person.

This has always been grist for the easiest, laziest sort of political writing -- and as someone who practices this and loves a scandal story because of how damn easy it is to write up, I say this with complete expert authority.

But this sort of character attack is completely irrelevant in all areas except the situation where we're choosing one person or another for an office.

It has absolutely nothing to do with questions of actual policy. The fact that Hanlin may have posted this tells us precisely nothing at all about the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment and the proper level of freedom (or restriction) of gun ownership.

But this is all we do anymore -- this lazy, #HotTake Gawker-style method of dealing with policy issues. It's nothing more than Hashtag Scandal anymore.

We're increasingly running full political campaigns -- dredging up negative information, discrediting people on character grounds, etc. -- who are not in fact running for any office at all.

Sometimes, we're running political campaigns against complete nobodies who are jus trying to make a joke about an upcoming trip on Twitter.

We are reducing all difficult arguments requiring thoughtfulness, evidence, and logic into mere smear campaigns run against whoever happens to speak out on an issue.

And this isn't just evil. It is evil. It is surely evil. But it's also deeply stupid. It's Idiocracy.

Stupid, thoughtless people always try to reduce things down to their own stupid, thoughtless level, so they can participate.

And the media, of course, is a prime enabler of this New Age of Stupidity, because they're among the laziest and dumbest public speakers in the world. Getting things down to a very dumb, lazy level plays to their strengths.

So once again another awful, vicious campaign of personal destruction because all too many Americans in the media are completely ill-equipped to have anything resembling a policy argument.

Contempt as an "Argument." I noted in the sidebar the fact that the Washington Post's The Fix wrote up a Seth Meyers attack on the GOP, and stalwart defense of Planned Parenthood, as a real news piece, headlining it (Vox-style) The Planned Parenthood Controversy, Explained By Seth Meyers [Video]."

It was of course not an explanation at all: It was simply a staged show of emotional contempt.

It occurs to me that the left, particularly, only makes this sort emotional-solidarity sort of "argument" anymore, the public expression of theatricalized contempt.

They bond through their hatred; they politically agitate through their expressions of hate.

And I'm not sure if they have any other game, really.

The fact that the Washington Post, a supposedly "real newspaper," could mistake this showing of theatrical contempt for an "explanation" of a political issue tells you a lot about our media, our country, and the deeply stupid age we live in.

It keeps reminding me of this observation of David French's:

So, a "senior Obama administration official" called the prime minister of Israel -- our closest ally in the Middle East and one of the few nations in the region that is not (a) imploding or (b) actively funding or supporting terrorists --"“a chickenshit." While that word has rocketed around the globe, other descriptions of Benjamin Netanyahu include,"“recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and 'Aspergery.'" And let’s not forget the worst word of all, "coward."

Behold, the beautiful and delicate rhetorical stylings of our cultural and political elite. They’re the improvisational jazz musicians of American diplomacy, always ready with just the right word to solidify alliances, avoid unnecessary confrontation, and reassure Americans they know exactly what they’re doing in the face of bloody violence. This is what happens when the academic Left runs American foreign policy.

[This is an example of] the sophomoric, malicious style of campus rhetoric, where stigma is the preferred method of argument. It’s hard to overstate the propensity towards name-calling even of "elite" academics, and the culture of the academy is one where groupthink is enforced and reinforced through vicious rhetoric. Their opponents can’t be merely wrong. Instead they are racist, bigoted, homophobic, or -- despite professed love of the disabled -- "Aspergery."The arrogance is overwhelming, and the fake tough-guy posture of name-calling elitists is laughable to everyone but themselves.

French has also pondered the how this sort of increasing fantatacism evolves in a closed group which refuses all possible outside information.

If the recent history of our universities is any guide, the products of a leftist bureacratic monoculture will be characterized by the following:

Ignorance: Groups of like-minded people are notoriously incurious about the ideas and perspectives of dissenters.

Condescension: They don't let ignorance stand in the way of a bulletproof sense of moral and intellectual superiority. Hatred: Since all the good people they know agree with them, they ascribe the worst of motives to the other side, believing them to be motivated by little more than greed and bigotry. And, finally . . .

Fanaticism: Cass Sunstein described the "law of group polarization" like this: "In a striking empirical regularity, deliberation tends to move groups, and the individuals who compose them, toward a more extreme point in the direction indicated by their own predeliberation judgments." In other words, when like-minded individuals deliberate, their common views grow more extreme over time.

He's quite right. The only "argument" made by the left is the political technique of the assignment of stigma to a view -- and the entire left now does this, not just the branches of it (such as Media Matters, etc.) which you could forgive for doing it, as it's their actual job.

But all members of the left, the media, the bien-pensant intellectual class, every single of one them now knows only the primitive, stupid, animal-level technique of ginning up campaigns of social ostracism against individual people, in hopes of (or do they even care about this part any longer...?) stupid people confusing an argument about a person with an argument about a policy.

Posted by Ace at 04:43 PM Comments

Hillary Clinton is a Very Special Lady


Hillary claims something something partisan attack on Benghazi.

She was asked a good question, actually, about her emails: If Dick Cheney had been shown to have conducted all his government business on private emails, would she be as understanding about it as she urges others to be about her email use?

Instead, she "blocked and bridged" (a media handling technique where you ignore the question and talk about whatever you want to talk about) to yell about the Benghazi committee, generally, and Kevin McCartny's ill-chosen words.

"This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan, political issue out of the deaths of four Americans," she said. "I would have never done that! And if I were president --and there were Republicans or Democrats who were thinking about that -- I would have done everything to shut it down."

Longer video of her performance here.

By the way, she opened up about her alcohol problem.

Continue reading

Posted by Ace at 02:18 PM Comments

Hillary Clinton: Hey, This Executive Action Thing Seems Like Fun! I'll Implement Gun Restrictions By Fiat.


Hillary has proposed to close the so-called, "gun show loophole" by executive fiat. Well, she generously has agreed to allow Congress a chance to do it first but if they don't, well, as Queen she will rid herself of this troublesome body and do it herself.

Clinton’s campaign says that this could theoretically be accomplished via a new rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that would more clearly define what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Gun control advocates point out that under federal law, those “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must perform background checks, but federal regulations defining that phrase are too vague, allowing too many gun sales to proceed without such a check. Such federal regs, they say, could be changed through executive action that, for example, would set a clearer threshold defining “engaged in the business” of selling firearms in terms of the number of guns sold.

So in a Clinton II administration they will simply decide that the Gun Control Act of 1968 is suddenly too vague to enforce and they will decree what Congress has refused to define because....go to hell, that's why.

Something to consider...these "common sense reforms" are supposed to address the "epidemic" of mass shootings and rampant gun violence in general. But all of the mass shootings of late have been committed by people who acquired their guns legally from federally licensed dealers. So adding this restriction on private sales (and that's what this about) wouldn't do anything except expand the role of the federal government into ever more private activities.

As for gun violence in general...do you think people selling weapons to gang members are going to be deterred by yet another federal rule? Of course this new proposal ignores the fact that it's already illegal to sell a gun to someone who isn't eligible to purchase or own one and there are substantial criminal penalties to doing so.


The real challenge here is the mainlining of the idea that if a Republican Congress doesn't bend to the will of a Democrat President, then Congress can be by-passed (because you damn well know the press wouldn't allow a Republican to do this).

The real question in the House leadership races should be about which candidates have a plan to restore the legislative branch's rightful place in our Constitutional system. But that would mean Congress would have to write laws that are more than first drafts for regulators and then fight the President (of either party) who encroaches on their authorities. But that would mean work and doing stuff which is way beyond the competency and interest of most of these people.

Posted by DrewM. at 10:53 AM Comments

Open Thread


Paul Gauguin, "Road in Tahiti" (1891)

Posted by rdbrewer at 09:01 AM Comments

Morning Thread (10-5-2015)


And just like that, Bobby Jindal gets an AoSHQ Podcast bounce.

Posted by Andy at 05:40 AM Comments

The AoSHQ Amazon Store

Top Headlines
Video of the Fight In Which Spencer Stone was Stabbed
Apparently he was coming out of a gay bar... but before you read too much into that, he was with three women and a male friend. Who knows.
Salon: Islam Has Totally Granted Women Rights Since 610 AD That Women Still Don't Have In the West
Actually this link is to Caleb Howe making fun of Salon, so feel free to click
U Texas Professor Emeritus of Economics Withdraws to Teach Elsewhere, Because He's Afraid University's Concealed Carry Policy (They Allow It) Will Allow Students to Just Shoot Him In Class
Dude, are you stupid? Do you not follow the news? Did you not see that the Umpqua Shooter was forbidden by the school from bringing a gun to school (not to mention forbidden from mass murder) and did so anyway...? Eh, this guy's too dumb to teach at college. (Though he is now teaching at Sydney University -- and frankly, if I had an opportunity to work in Australia, I'd jump at it. Which makes me think he was already thinking about doing this and is using this chance to politically grandstand.)
Charles Cooke to Gun-Grabbers Mika Brezinski and Mark Halperin: Yes yes yes, but what, specifically, is your plan?
They never seem to have one... They operate in two modes: 1, Legislative Prayers, which are laws that cannot possibly help but, like religious prayers, are someone hoped to call upon some supernatural reservoir of power to do something or other, and 2, Full Gun Bans & Confiscation, which is what they're really after, but cannot admit they're after. Which is why they spend so much time offering up Legislative Prayers to the Gods of Progressivism

Study: Government Workers Make 78 Percent More Than Private Sector
"Average pay and benefits $52,688 higher than non-gov’t employees." Shouldn't average be pegged to average non-government employee pay? Via @AceofSpadesHQ [rdbrewer]

Tim Graham: CBS News Slams Rathergate Film: 'It's Astounding How Little Truth There Is In TRUTH'
"'There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom.'" Via @AceofSpadesHQ. [rdbrewer]

Aurelius Pundit, The Social Memo: US Navy Now Teaching Members about "Male Privilege;" Says Buying Truck is Example of Privilege
They didn't mention Lambos! [rdbrewer]

Mirror: Blue skies on Pluto: NASA New Horizons probe spots 'gorgeous' vistas on icy dwarf planet
Also some weird geology dubbed "snakeskin." [rdbrewer]

Mirror: World's sexiest computer hacker claims she could attack massive corporations using her BOOBS
Ace of Spades HQ is a massive corporation. Just sayin'. [rdbrewer]

ONN: Parents Dedicate New College Safe Space In Honor Of Daughter Who Felt Weird In Class Once
From a couple of months ago. [rdbrewer]

Daily Mail: End this passive tolerance of hate: Our fear of causing offence means Islamic extremism is allowed to flourish, says Cameron
"David Cameron yesterday launched a blistering attack on the 'passive tolerance' of Islamist extremism and a failure to integrate that has put Britain 'in danger'." Surprising honesty. Scroll down for video. [rdbrewer]

Lawrence Summers: The global economy is in serious danger
"The problem of secular stagnation — the inability of the industrial world to grow at satisfactory rates even with very loose monetary policies — is growing worse in the wake of problems in most big emerging markets, starting with China." [rdbrewer]

Newt Gingrich: Congress Must Reclaim Consumer Finance Bureau
Attn. GOP candidates---> "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the mammoth new financial regulator created by the Dodd-Frank law at President Obama’s urging, has dramatically extended its powers over the past five years through rule writing and an expansive interpretation of its mandate." [rdbrewer]

Ben Domenech, The Daily Beast: Hillary’s Trade Flip-Flop Shows How Dumb She Thinks We Are
"Battling a socialist for the base, Clinton just announced she’s no longer for a trade deal she touted as one of her big achievements. It would be laughable if it weren’t so predictable." [rdbrewer]

Josh Kraushaar, National Journal: Hillary Clinton’s Demographics Problem
"Clinton is performing as poorly with men as Republicans do with Hispanics. She won’t win a general election unless she can close the gender gap." [rdbrewer]

USA Today: Colo. city weighs allowing women to go topless in public
Alt. title: "Colo. city weighs increasing tourism, property values." [rdbrewer]

WFSB: 800-pound man kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza
Via Drudge. "[S]ays he has nowhere to go after being kicked out of a hospital weight loss program for ordering pizza." Reality TV? [rdbrewer]

Roll Call: Harry Reid Suing Exercise Equipment Firm Over Eye Injury
Via Drudge. [rdbrewer]

Telegraph: Simple blood test predicts if heart attack is imminent
Via Drudge. "Now scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered that the level of a protein in the blood can indicate whether a patient will suffer a life threatening heart attack." [rdbrewer]
Volokh: Zero Correlation Between Gun Restrictions and State Homicide Rate
Actually, there's a slightly positive correlation between more restrictive gun laws and higher homicide rates (but such a small correlation as to be fairly called zero)
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