Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Used to Be for Kids

Heh, at Pajamas, "How Did Halloween Go From Being a Holiday for Kids to a Celebration of Adulthood?"

I tweeted, "Leftist narcissism and endless leftist adolescence?"

And Diana West tweeted me a link to her book, exclaiming, "of course!"

Heh, "#TheDeathoftheGrownUp, of course!"

Cal State Fullerton Math Professor Fights Mandatory Adoption of Department's Standard Alegbra Textbook

I saw something on this a week or two ago, but then forgot about it.

But the story's on the front page at the Sunday O.C. Register, "CSUF math professor in textbook battle draws support and opposition":

When Alain Bourget went public with his textbook spat with Cal State Fullerton last week, he knew the risky move would set off a wave of backlash from his department.

What the associate math professor didn’t see coming was dozens of emails and phone calls from CSUF students and professors around the country – and a nationwide discussion about academic freedom and mounting textbook prices.

“This has been the toughest week of my life,” said Bourget, who was reprimanded by university officials after he assigned alternative textbooks instead of one co-authored by the university’s math department chair.

The case and the debate that ensued were brought to light by the Register this month.

The textbook Bourget refused to use was “Differential Equations and Linear Algebra,” written by Stephen W. Goode and Scott A. Annin, the chair and vice chair of the math department. In some form, the book has been the singular text for Introduction to Linear Algebra and Differential Equations, also called Math 250B, for more than two decades. A new copy of the book costs $180 at the campus bookstore.

Bourget’s preferred teaching materials are “Introduction to Linear Algebra” by Gilbert Strang, which costs $76 new, and a free online publication, “Elementary Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems” by William F. Trench.

Bourget said he chose those books because they’re a better fit for his students and cheaper than the Goode-Annin book. He tried to get permission to use the alternative texts over the course of two years. After several meetings with his superiors and no resolution, Bourget assigned his preferred texts last spring.

Shortly after, CSUF officials issued a letter of reprimand against Bourget, saying he violated math department policy and orders from university officials. School leaders cited a 31-year-old policy that states Math 250B – which has multiple sections – will use a common text approved by the math department. It doesn’t spell out the book-adoption process, book title or author.

Bourget challenged the reprimand letter last week at a public hearing, making his case before a panel of his peers. The three-member panel will decide by Friday whether the reprimand stands.

During the hearing, Goode acknowledged that his text was never formally adopted by the math department as Math 250B’s common text until 2014. Bourget raised issues with Goode’s book in 2013.

The matter has created a divisive environment within the university.

Most of CSUF’s math instructors – save for two, one of whom is Bourget’s wife – stand behind Goode and Annin. They have posted signs stating “The Math Faculty Supports the CSUF Department of Mathematics” outside their offices.

Math faculty members argue that the Goode-Annin text was written with the CSUF student in mind and has been used for years without issue.

“The present text has been successfully used for over two decades with no complaints, so no review was needed outside of the professors teaching the course,” said Margaret L. Kidd, an associate math professor who joined the math department in 2003.

Bourget opponents say the Goode-Annin book can be rented at a cheaper price. A rented copy at the campus bookstore costs between $56 used and $76 new, according to the listed prices, and as low as $16 for a rented paperback and $74 for a rented e-textbook on Amazon. A rental of the hardcover Strang textbook costs about $20 through Amazon.

Bourget said that although renting is an option, most of his students don’t do it because they want to keep the textbook as a reference. He said the renting argument is an attempt to “divert the conversation.”
Still more.

U.S. to Send Special Forces to Syria (VIDEO)

A major development --- and an indication that the Obama White House is deeply worried about its foreign policy legacy. They lost Iraq. And the spillover's spreading across the Middle East.

NBC's Richard Engel reports at the video below.

And at the Wall Street Journal, "Deployment of up to 50 commandos would be first sustained U.S. ground presence in Syria":

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is sending special-operations forces to northeastern Syria, a shift in strategy that establishes the first sustained American military presence in the campaign against Islamic State in the war-ravaged country.

Up to 50 U.S. special-operations troops will assist Syrian rebel units spearheading what the Pentagon says would be a new military offensive against the militant group, marking a sharp escalation in the level of direct U.S. involvement on the ground inside Syria. The American forces are to link up with local forces in Kurdish-controlled territory whose mission will be to choke off supply lines to Islamic State militants in their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

The move marks a change for President Barrack Obama who had long promised not to send ground forces to Syria.

“They are not being deployed with a combat mission,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “The mission of our men and women on the ground has not changed.”

If the initial deployment bears fruit, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday that he would be open to deploying more forces.

“We are going to continue to innovate, to build on what works,” Mr. Carter told reporters on a military jet as it landed in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the first leg of a trip through Asia. “Our role fundamentally and the strategy is to enable local forces. But does that put U.S. forces in harm’s way? It does, no question about it.”

The first phase of the new campaign is expected to kick off with an operation in northern Syria as early as next week, officials said. U.S. drones and fighter planes will provide the Syrian fighters with air support.

The decision to send troops coincides with an administration shift on the fate of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad in international talks under way in Vienna.

While U.S. officials once demanded Mr. Assad leave as part of any truce, they have signaled a willingness to let the dictator remain in power for several months or more during a political transition.

Under Mr. Obama’s new orders, the American commandos will operate in Syria under what the Pentagon calls an advise-and-assist mission, and will not accompany local forces on any of their operations “for the foreseeable future,” a senior U.S. defense official said.

But other defense officials said they couldn’t rule out the possibility that the forces would be pulled into occasional firefights with Islamic State military given their proximity to the confrontation line. The officials cited as an example last week’s raid in Iraq in which a U.S. commando was killed.

The decision to send ground forces to Syria drew criticism from some Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers charged that Mr. Obama was erring by putting U.S. military personnel in harm’s way, and others warned that the commitment was too small to make a difference.

“I firmly believe that the deployment of American ground forces in Syria is not the solution,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.) said in a statement.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) called the decision “another tactical move in the absence of a comprehensive strategy for Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East that does nothing more than create the appearance of serious action.”

Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Mr. Obama has sought to keep U.S. ground forces out of the country, although the Pentagon has conducted a limited number of raids there using special-operations forces since mid-2014.

Holiday Gifts in Hobby Trains

A great idea for Christmas, and it's not too early to start shopping.

At Amazon, Holiday Gifts in Hobby Trains.


The Ghost Host Sophia Temperilli

She's on Twitter.

And at CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

Asheville, N.C.: The New, Hip Destination in the South?

I had no idea about Asheville when I visited a couple of years back, but I liked it.

And now here's this at WSJ, "Asheville: The South’s Insider Destination":
HENRY JAMES WASN’T much taken with Asheville, the small mountain town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. The novelist spent a week there in 1905 as a guest at Biltmore, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room French Renaissance home. “It is a strange gorgeous colossus,” he wrote to Edith Wharton, “in a vast void of desolation.”

But Mr. James is one of the few who’ve had an unkind word to say about Asheville, one of America’s oldest holiday towns. It was a favorite of the Gilded Age glitterati, including Ms. Wharton, who arrived at Biltmore not long after Mr. James and dispatched a more enthusiastic letter (referencing a popular painting of the day) about the “divine landscape, ‘under a roof of blue Ionian weather.’ ”

Staring out the window of my friend Hap Endler’s snug Cessna on an impromptu aerial tour of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, I found myself siding with Ms. Wharton. It was a pale blue September afternoon and we were flying over wave after wave of mountain tops covered in oak, maple and pine trees, a deep-green sea dappled in gold and red.

When we flew over Asheville, set squarely in the middle of the French Broad River Valley, I could see just a few tall buildings, most dating to the 1920s, sprout from the compact downtown. I could even make out the small, leafy squares where young buskers play their guitars and washboards on one corner, while a group of young homeless men panhandle for coffee on another. We were up too high to see the sign outside the Indian restaurant, Chai Pani, that reads “Namaste, Y’all,” but I knew that it was there: I’d seen it that morning on my way to the Early Girl Eatery, where a tattooed waiter in a cowboy shirt served me fried-green tomatoes over grits.

Hap and his wife, Julia Weatherford, live just outside of Asheville, in the town of Black Mountain. They’ve entertained me for years with stories about their colorful corner of Appalachia (where Julia, eager to dye her own yarn, bought a flock of sheep), but I had yet to see it for myself. Then, in September, Hap called to give me the latest. “Asheville is hopping. New breweries and restaurants are popping up like crazy and a bunch of hotels are under construction,” he said. Come on down. I’ll take you to President Obama’s favorite barbecue place.” How could I refuse?

Though the city and surrounding mountains have long been a top vacation destination for Southerners and have drawn luminaries from Albert Einstein to Willem de Kooning over the years, it’s only now starting to catch on with travelers outside of the South. A growing number of East and West Coasters are flying in to hike, fly fish and kayak and to lap up the beer (Asheville has 18 breweries and counting). They’re also coming for the restaurants, galleries and the music, all found in surprising abundance for a town smaller than Nantucket...
Hmm, maybe I'll plan a vacation out there with my wife. I stayed at the Grove Park Inn, which is quite famous, apparently.

Keep reading, in any case.

Political Science Symposium

Playboy's Alyssa Arce, Miss July 2013, Carves Pumpkin (VIDEO)

Man, maybe she should be starring in a slasher flick.

That's a huge "carving" knife.

Watch, "Happy Halloween From Playboy! Let Miss July 2013 Alyssa Arce teach you a thing or two about how to really carve a pumpkin…with a very large knife. Don’t worry though — Alyssa would never hurt a fly. Or at least so we think."

Black Suspect Arrested in Spate of Arson Fires at Black Churches in St. Louis

Deray was tweeting #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches on October 22nd. He's not tweeting jack about the arsons now.

At Twitchy, "Narrative BUSTED! 35-year-old black male arrested for arson attacks at black churches in the St. Louis area."

Also at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Suspect charged with setting two in the string of seven St. Louis area church fires."

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Downed Russian Passenger Jet in Egypt (VIDEO)

Well, I warned about conspiracy theories, although I was thinking of the Russian variety, suggesting for example that the U.S. and its "Zionist allies" brought down the plane.

Of course, we could see ISIS conspiracies, except that I don't doubt the Islamic State could bring down a jet liner. If pro-Russian rebels could bring down MH-17, there's no reason to belief ISIS couldn't do the same with Flight 7K9268.

Zero Hedge has the video, "ISIS Releases Video of Alleged Russian Airplane Mid-Air Exposion After It Claims Responsibility For Disaster."

And at the Times of Israel, "Islamic State in Egypt claims it brought down Russian plane; 224 dead: Terror group hails success, although Sinai officials say technical failure led to crash; Russia rejects claim."

A YouTube of the ISIS video is here.

Plus, lots of doubts about the theory, at the Guardian, "Russian plane crash: investigation into cause begins – as it happened."

And at Tornoto's National Post, "Russian Metrojet plane carrying 224 people crashed in Sinai province, Egypt says. There were no survivors."

Air France, Lufthansa Suspend Flights Over Sinai Pending Crash Probe

You think?

At the Times of Israel, "2 European carriers take safety precautions after IS claims responsibility for downing Russian plane with loss of 224 lives."

PREVIOUSLY: "Russian Jet Crashes in Egypt, Killing 224 People (VIDEO)."

High Bridge Arms, San Francisco's Last Remaining Gun Store, Forced to Go Out of Business (VIDEO)

A couple of thoughts.

First, leftists won't complain about a gun store going out of business, regulations or no regulations. Second, paradoxically, the main sponsor, County Supervisor Mark Farrell, is the author of the city's Laura’s Law, which would allow families, health professionals, and law enforcement to seek mandatory mental health treatment, through the courts, for individuals with dangerous psychiatric conditions. I fully support such legislation. So, it's too bad the city's going to demonize law-abiding gun owners, opening them up to harassment by leftist anti-gun nuts.

At Reason, "San Francisco Wanted Info on Gun Owners. This Gun Shop Refused." (VIDEO)

Hat Tip: Instapundit, "THE APPALLING REASON WHY SAN FRANCISCO’S LAST GUN SHOP CLOSED: High Bridge Arms, founded in the mid-1950s by Olympic shooter Bob Chow, shuts down rather than give local police its customer list."

Islamic State Beheading of Four Kurdish Peshmerga Soldiers (VIDEO)

At My Pet Jawa, "ISIS Murders Four Kurdish Soldiers in Revenge Video: 'Its a as gruesome a beheading as I've witnessed'"

And watch, with caution, at the Heavy, "WATCH: ISIS Beheads 4 Peshmerga Fighters."

Stopping the European Migrant Invasion

This is good, "How to Solve the European Migrant Crisis in 5 Steps":

Via Bare Naked Islam, "HUNGARIAN Prime Minister accuses George Soros of stoking the Muslim invasion to weaken Europe."

Russian Jet Crashes in Egypt, Killing 224 People (VIDEO)

Boy, you can bet there's going to be monstrous conspiracy theories.

At WSJ, "Russian Passenger Jet Crashes in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Killing 224 People":

A Russian passenger jet crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, after losing contact with aviation authorities on Saturday.

Egyptian officials said the Airbus A321 jetliner, which was operated by Russian carrier Kogalymavia, was flying to St. Petersburg from Sharm El Sheikh, a resort town popular with Russian tourists, when it disappeared from radar screens.

Egypt’s flagship state-run newspaper, Al Ahram, quoted an Egyptian aviation official as saying the plane’s pilot had requested to land at the nearest airport after an unspecified mechanical problem shortly after taking off at 5:50 a.m. local time. The newspaper later cited another Egyptian aviation official as saying the pilot hadn’t made any distress calls or requests to land.

Egypt’s chief prosecutor said the cause of the crash was being investigated. He didn’t say whether terrorism was suspected.

Sinai Province, the Egyptian branch of Islamic State, claimed responsibility for downing the plane, but officials have cast doubt over whether the group has the capabilities to carry out such an attack. Islamic State and its affiliated groups have frequently made exaggerated claims.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to form a state commission to investigate the crash, the Kremlin said Saturday.

The Russian Embassy in Cairo said on its official Twitter account that all those on board were killed.

Mr. Putin “expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of those who died in the crash.”

The wreckage was located south of the city of Al Arish in the sparsely populated, mountainous north Sinai, according to the aviation authority. As many as 50 ambulances were dispatched, it said.

A spokesman for Egypt’s prime minister said 15 bodies had been recovered and sent to a morgue in Cairo, while investigators continued to search the crash site for evidence and victims. One of the black boxes, which record flight data and audio, was located and taken into the custody of the prosecutor general’s office, he said.

According to the spokesman, the passengers comprised 214 Russians and three Ukrainians, of which 138 were women, 62 men and 17 children. The count didn’t include the seven crew members.

According to the Kremlin, Vladimir Puchkov, Russia’s minister of civil defense, emergencies and disaster relief, was ordered to send aircraft to Egypt to aid in the recovery of the wreckage of the aircraft. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said five aircraft were flying to Egypt with first responders and forensic investigators on board. The ministry also set up a hot line to aid families of the victims.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in March warned U.S. airlines to avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula below 26,000 feet. Airline routes traversing the region “are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons,” the FAA said, including shorter-range, shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles. “Some of these weapons have the capability to target aircraft at high altitudes,” or when approaching or departing airports, the U.S. aviation regulator said, noting that an Egyptian military helicopter flying at lower altitudes had been downed by extremists using a missile...

Also at Russia Today, "Bodies of 224 7K9268 crash victims delivered to Cairo morgue," and "Russian A321 fell 'almost vertically', technical fault behind crash."


I haven't been reading Melanie Phillips' commentaries much lately. She's certainly one of the best conservative commentators on Israel, terrorism, and related items, but she got attacked by leftists, had legal issues, and moderated her views as a result. The whole thing was kinda of sad. I think she even attacked Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, or some such thing. I'd have to Google it. Maybe later.

Still worth a read, whatever the case.

At Amazon, Londonistan.

Melanie Phillips photo 12193312_10208280582995225_5825211176443137157_n_zpss7csw80v.jpg

Kristen Keogh's Got Your Halloween Forecast

From ABC News 10 San Diego:

Halloween Hotness

Following-up from this morning's entry, "Happy Halloween."

Here's spooky Rosie Jones, via Twitter.

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire


Men's and Women's UGG Boots

At Amazon, UGG Men's Classic Short Boot, and UGG Australia Women's Classic Short Rustic Weave Sheepskin Boot.

Irvine Girl Gets Thumbs-Up from Katy Perry for 'Katy Perry' Costume (VIDEO)

Totally cool.

My wife watched this video and she's going, "Oh. My. God!"

Via CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

Mike Rowe: Slaves Are Not 'Hard Workers'

I have this on the sidebar links, but it's too good not to post to the front page.

Here's the "Dirty Jobs" guy, Mike Rowe, responding to the demented Melissa Harris-Perry and her comments about "hard work".

On Facebook, "'Hello Mr. Rowe! What's your take on MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry being offended by the phrase "hard worker"? How can such a label possibly be offensive to anyone?”":
First of all, slavery is not “hard work;” it’s forced labor. There’s a big difference. Likewise, slaves are not workers; they are by definition, property. They have no freedom, no hope, and no rights. Yes, they work hard, obviously. But there can be no “work ethic” among slaves, because the slave has no choice in the matter.

Workers on the other hand, have free will. They are free to work as hard as they wish. Or not. The choice is theirs. And their decision to work hard, or not, is not a function of compliance or coercion; it’s a reflection of character and ambition.

This business of conflating hard work with forced labor not only minimizes the importance of a decent work ethic, it diminishes the unspeakable horror of slavery. Unfortunately, people do this all the time. We routinely describe bosses as “slave-drivers,” and paychecks as “slave’s wages.” Melissa though, has come at it from the other side. She’s suggesting that because certain “hard workers” are not as prosperous as other “hard workers,” - like the people on her office wall - we should all be “super-careful” about overly-praising hard work.

I suspect this is because Melissa believes - as do many others - that success today is mostly a function of what she calls, “relative privilege.” This is fancy talk for the simple fact that life is unfair, and some people are born with more advantages than others. It's also a fine way to prepare the unsuspecting viewer for the extraordinary suggestion that slavery is proof-positive that hard work doesn’t pay off.

Priceless Halloween Ads Featuring Disabled Children

At Yahoo, "'Priceless' Target Ad Goes Viral for All the Right Reasons."

Hat Tip: Daily Signal, "Halloween Advertisements Featuring Disabled Children Go Viral."

Once Again, Arthur Brooks, The Conservative Heart

Following-up on my previous entry, "University Intellectuals Are Biased Against Conservative Viewpoints."

And ICMYMI, from July, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America.

Also from the author, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.

Arthur Brooks photo 11695849_10207518622146680_6361985904792456803_n_zpsgzqxthmh.jpg

University Intellectuals Are Biased Against Conservative Viewpoints

From Arthur Brooks, at the New York Times, "Academia’s Rejection of Diversity":
ONE of the great intellectual and moral epiphanies of our time is the realization that human diversity is a blessing. It has become conventional wisdom that being around those unlike ourselves makes us better people — and more productive to boot.

Scholarly studies have piled up showing that race and gender diversity in the workplace can increase creative thinking and improve performance. Meanwhile, excessive homogeneity can lead to stagnation and poor problem-solving.

Unfortunately, new research also shows that academia has itself stopped short in both the understanding and practice of true diversity — the diversity of ideas — and that the problem is taking a toll on the quality and accuracy of scholarly work. This year, a team of scholars from six universities studying ideological diversity in the behavioral sciences published a paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences that details a shocking level of political groupthink in academia. The authors show that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists.

Why the imbalance? The researchers found evidence of discrimination and hostility within academia toward conservative researchers and their viewpoints. In one survey cited, 82 percent of social psychologists admitted they would be less likely to support hiring a conservative colleague than a liberal scholar with equivalent qualifications.

This has consequences well beyond fairness. It damages accuracy and quality. As the authors write, “Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking.”

One of the study’s authors, Philip E. Tetlock of the University of Pennsylvania, put it to me more bluntly. Expecting trustworthy results on politically charged topics from an “ideologically incestuous community,” he explained, is “downright delusional.”
Well, the left is delusional, so there's that.

Hateful and closed-minded too. Good luck on turning things around.

But keep reading.

Happy Halloween

Have a great day!

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Friday, October 30, 2015

GOP Candidates Plot to Dethrone RNC as Manager of Presidential Debates

It's a major development, especially if the candidates are able to cut through the RNC middleman and work straight with the networks to air the debates.

At Politico, "Exclusive: GOP campaigns plot revolt against RNC":
Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee.

Not invited to the meeting: Anyone from the RNC, which many candidates have openly criticized in the hours since Wednesday’s CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado — a chaotic, disorganized affair that was widely panned by political observers.

On Thursday, many of the campaigns told POLITICO that the RNC, which has taken a greater role in the 2016 debate process than in previous election cycles, had failed to take their concerns into account. It was time, top aides to at least half a dozen of the candidates agreed, to begin discussing among themselves how the next debates should be structured and not leave it up to the RNC and television networks.

The gathering is being organized by advisers to the campaigns of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham, according to multiple sources involved in the planning. Others who are expected to attend, organizers say, are representatives for Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. The planners are also reaching out to other Republican candidates.

Spokespersons for the RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment...

Jackie Johnson's Eve of Halloween Weather Forecast

Hey, El Niño can wait.

This weather is fantastic. Via CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

Jeb Bush Seeks to Recover Momentum After Debate (VIDEO)

Good luck with that.

Jeb may be on the way out, or so they say.

At WSJ, "Former Florida governor stumps in New Hampshire, taps friends to join him on campaign trail":

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Republican Jeb Bush, a day after a widely panned presidential-debate appearance, stumped in the state on which he is increasingly pinning his White House bid next to a sign that said: “Jeb can fix it.”

The message was intended to suggest the former two-term governor of Florida can solve the nation’s problems. But the sign took on a double meaning Thursday as supporters fret about Mr. Bush’s ability to fix his own campaign, let alone America’s woes.

“Honestly, it’s frustrating,” said 39-year-old Zoe Daboul, who was among dozens of people at Mr. Bush’s speech in a small parking lot outside a sandwich shop. “He’s so intelligent and so capable, but on the big stages, it’s hard for that to show.”

The third nationally televised showdown, held in Boulder, Colo., left the crowded GOP primary race even more volatile than when the candidates lined up on the debate stage. It heightened pressure on Mr. Bush, a one-time front-runner, while boosting the candidacies of freshman Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

With no lone winner, it sustained underdog candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. And the primary’s two leaders in the polls, real-estate tycoon Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, emerged largely unscathed.

Veterans of presidential campaigns said postdebate shifts, even if they are incremental, can make a difference if candidates can build on them.

“A debate is like one act of a nine-act play, so even if you do something remarkable, it doesn’t last and you have to do something to sustain that,” said Republican lobbyist Charlie Black, who has advised GOP nominees from John McCain to Mr. Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, but hasn’t taken sides in the 2016 race.

Mr. Bush’s latest troubles began when his attack during the debate against his one-time ally, Mr. Rubio, backfired as the senator calmly and forcefully deflected criticism of his attendance record in the U.S. Senate by suggesting his rival was simply acting petty.

Mr. Rubio on Thursday reveled in favorable reviews of his debate performance, including his accusation that the media had become a Democratic super PAC, during appearances on a half-dozen television networks. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush spoke for only about eight minutes against the backdrop of the Piscataqua River and a collection of hay bales and lobster traps. He also was slated to attend a town-hall meeting in New London on Thursday night.

“It’s not about the big personalities on the stage,” Mr. Bush said. “It’s not about performance. It’s about leadership.”

Mr. Bush has been struggling for months to regain his front-runner status in the polls. Last week, his campaign announced across-the-board salary cuts and layoffs as staffers hunker down in the early-voting states.

The debate’s morning-after brought one gift that may be helpful in the Granite State: the endorsement of Judd Gregg, who served as U.S. senator and governor in New Hampshire. Mr. Gregg said Mr. Bush was the right choice because he can win, he is substantive and he can govern.

“Governing is not done from anger,” Mr. Gregg said in an implicit critique of some of Mr. Bush’s rivals. “You don’t stand in the corners and shout. You don’t accomplish anything doing that. Governing is done by working together in a system of checks and balances and leading.”

Still, Mr. Bush was forced to defend his candidacy from detractors who say his campaign is in trouble, or, as one reporter put it to him, “on life support.”
Still more.

CNBC's Republican Debate Was Total Trainwreck (VIDEO)

Howard Kurtz has the analysis, at Fox News:

Republican Candidates Brace for Volative November Campaign

At the Washington Post, "GOP contenders brace for volatile November after freewheeling debate":
The fight for the 2016 GOP nomination appears to be moving into a new, more fluid phase.

No longer is the question merely whether or how Donald Trump can be stopped.

The recent rise in the polls of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — Trump’s low-key stylistic opposite — has shown that the celebrity billionaire may not be the only one who can tap the appetite of many in the party’s angry base for an outsider.

And after Wednesday’s chaotic and freewheeling debate, there also is a new dynamic on the establishment side of the race.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s once-formidable campaign appears to be nearing a state of collapse, made worse by his flailing on the stage in Colorado.

That has provided an opening to his one-time ally, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is getting a new look from the party establishment — an ironic situation, given Rubio’s roots as an insurgent tea party favorite in 2010.

“Marco Rubio now has probably the best shot to emerge as the mainstream alternative to Trump and Carson,” said Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush.

More broadly, Fleischer, who is not committed to any of the 2016 candidates, predicted that the GOP is about to enter “a condensed version of where it was four years ago, where the party is volatile and shopping around.”

That could help Ted Cruz, who also made a strong showing in the debate. The firebrand Texas senator, widely despised by the Washington Republican hierarchy, is looking to nudge out Trump and Carson among voters who are looking for a candidate to supplant the old order.

“I don’t think the party is going to nominate anybody who has not been elected before,” said Stuart Stevens, who was a top strategist for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Also likely to force some clarity in the coming weeks is the calendar. The first contest in Iowa is barely more than three months away...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. Economy Downshifts to 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in Third Quarter


I mean, what, has the economy even managed 2.0 percent average economic growth since Obama took office? This is no doubt the worst economic recovery in American history.

At the Los Angeles Times, "U.S. economic growth slows sharply to 1.5% in the third quarter":
The U.S. economy slowed sharply over the summer, expanding at less than half the rate of the second quarter as the pace of economic activity eased almost across the board.

Total economic output, also known as gross domestic product, increased at a 1.5% annual rate from July through September, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The economy grew at a 3.9% annual rate from April through June.

Economists had expected growth to slow amid global economic trouble during the third quarter, but the closely watched figure — the first of three government estimates of third-quarter growth — was less than the 1.7% that analysts had forecast.

Solid consumer spending helped keep the economy from slipping further. Still, the 3.2% increase in personal consumption expenditures was down from 3.6% in the second quarter.

Businesses cut back heavily on their inventories, which was a major drag on economic growth. Such a reduction, though, usually is followed by inventory build-up and is a reason why the economy is expected to rebound in the fourth quarter.

Aside from the inventory drop, the report showed that consumer spending and some other indicators were solid, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. He forecast the economy would bounce back to about 3% growth in the final quarter of the year.

Overall private investment decreased at a 5.6% rate in the third quarter after increasing 5% the previous quarter. The decline was driven by a drop in spending on nonresidential structures, such as oil-drilling rigs.

A measure of business investment increased 2.1%, down from 4.1% in the second quarter. But spending on equipment increased by 5.3% in the third quarter, up significantly from a 0.3% gain the previous quarter.

Hurt by the strong U.S. dollar, exports grew 1.9% in the third quarter. That was down from a 5.1% increase the previous quarter.

The pace of government spending also declined, hurt by a cutback in defense expenditures. Government spending increased 1.7% in the third quarter after a 2.6% increase in the previous quarter.

Continued concern about the health of the U.S. economy led Federal Reserve policymakers on Wednesday to vote to keep their benchmark short-term interest rate near zero, though they hinted a hike could come in December...
Still more.

What Are the Fundamental Qualities of James Bond Movies?

This is really cool, via Britain's Sky News:

Demi Lovato Spotted Leaving Good Morning America in New York City on Thursday

She's a cool chick.

At London's Daily Mail, "Oh so chic Demi Lovato shows off her toned legs as she gears up to perform at AMAs with her Future Now tour partner Nick Jonas."

'Got to Go' — Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy Weeds Out Unwanted Students

The "Success Academies" have these "got to go" lists. If you're screwing up, disruptive, and racking up demerits, you've "got to go." Of course, it's going to be almost exclusively disadvantaged kids who've "got to go," especially racial minorities.

Because leftists are so progressive.

At the New York Times, "At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have ‘Got to Go’":
From the time Folake Ogundiran’s daughter started kindergarten at a Success Academy charter school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the girl struggled to adjust to its strict rules.

She racked up demerits for not following directions or not keeping her hands folded in her lap. Sometimes, after being chastised, she threw tantrums. She was repeatedly suspended for screaming, throwing pencils, running away from school staff members or refusing to go to another classroom for a timeout.

One day last December, the school’s principal, Candido Brown, called Ms. Ogundiran and said her daughter, then 6, was having a bad day. Mr. Brown warned that if she continued to do things that were defiant and unsafe — including, he said, pushing or kicking, moving chairs or tables, or refusing to go to another classroom — he would have to call 911, Ms. Ogundiran recalled. Already feeling that her daughter was treated unfairly, she went to the school and withdrew her on the spot.

Success Academy, the high-performing charter school network in New York City, has long been dogged by accusations that its remarkable accomplishments are due, in part, to a practice of weeding out weak or difficult students. The network has always denied it. But documents obtained by The New York Times and interviews with 10 current and former Success employees at five schools suggest that some administrators in the network have singled out children they would like to see leave.

At Success Academy Fort Greene, the same day that Ms. Ogundiran heard from the principal, her daughter’s name was one of 16 placed on a list drawn up at his direction and shared by school leaders.

The heading on the list was “Got to Go.”

Nine of the students on the list later withdrew from the school. Some of their parents said in interviews that while their children attended Success, their lives were upended by repeated suspensions and frequent demands that they pick up their children early or meet with school or network staff members. Four of the parents said that school or network employees told them explicitly that the school, whose oldest students are now in the third grade, was not right for their children and that they should go elsewhere.

The current and former employees said they had observed similar practices at other Success schools. According to those employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs or their relationships with people still at the network, school leaders and network staff members explicitly talked about suspending students or calling parents into frequent meetings as ways to force parents to fall in line or prompt them to withdraw their children.

Last year, for instance, the principal of Success Academy Harlem 2 Upper, Lavinia Mackall, told teachers not to automatically send annual re-enrollment forms home to certain students, because the school did not want those students to come back, two former members of the school’s staff said. Ms. Mackall said that her comments had been misinterpreted and that she was trying to encourage parents to take the school’s requirements seriously, but that she also did not believe the school was right for all students.

In another example, a current employee said, a network lawyer in a conversation with colleagues described a particularly unruly student’s withdrawal as “a big win” for the school.

In a written response to questions, Success Academy’s spokeswoman, Ann Powell, said that the “Got to Go” list was a mistake and that the network quickly got wind of it and reprimanded Mr. Brown, the principal.

Ms. Powell said that Success schools did not push children out, and that what might look like an effort to nudge students out the door was actually an attempt to help parents find the right environment for their children. Some on the list required special education settings that Success could not offer them, she said.

Mr. Brown said in an email that he thought the disruptive behavior of the students on the list was dragging the whole school down, and “I felt I couldn’t turn the school around if these students remained.”
Well, Mr. Brown's amazingly candid about it. The funny thing is, of course these students were going to drag the whole school down. It's happening all around the country. In the case of the Success Academy, however, those students were dragging down the network's superlative performance rankings, and the "got to go" list was certainly a key method of maintaining high test scores and so forth.

But again, these are New York progressives who're weeding out black students. Can you say "racist"?

Stalin: Paradoxes of Power

My reading right now is alternating between Sean Naylor's, Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command, and Simon Sebag Montefiore's, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar.

I'll definitely finish both volumes. They're great.

And after I finish Montefiore I'm going to pick up a copy of Stephen Kotkin's, Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, which is the first volume of a trilogy.

BONUS: Don't forget to pick up some Halloween candy before the trick-or-treaters show up at your door.

Candidates Struggle to Stand Out at #GOPDebate

At WSJ, "GOP Debate: Candidates Fight to Stand Out":
BOULDER, Colo.—The Republican presidential debate Wednesday night exposed deep differences—in both substance and style—between veteran politicians and their less-seasoned rivals who continue to captivate GOP primary voters.

Republicans picked up right where they left off from the last debate when Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tried to jump-start their campaigns by questioning the financial underpinnings of tax proposals offered by the two leaders, celebrity real-estate developer Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

With Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses three months away, Mr. Kasich complained that the other candidates were making outlandish promises that would explode the deficit, and Mr. Bush interrupted Mr. Trump to point out that his tax plan would create “an $8 trillion debt.” Mr. Kasich also questioned the viability of Mr. Trump’s calls to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

“This is fantasy,” Mr. Kasich said, interjecting as Mr. Carson explained his tax plan to the audience. “You just don’t make promises like this. Why don’t we just give a chicken in every pot, while we’re, you know, coming up with these fantasy tax schemes?”

The third GOP debate, sponsored by CNBC, however, seemed unlikely to significantly shift the standings of the candidates.

Mr. Carson, who used his opening statement to say he refused to say “awful things” about his opponents, seemed to blunt any direct attacks on him. He and Mr. Trump largely ignored each other throughout the debate.

Beyond some early fireworks, there were few break-out moments. One of the more personal exchanges came between Mr. Bush and his one-time ally Marco Rubio over the Florida senator’s attendance record in Congress.

The candidates struggling on the bottom rung, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, failed to deliver break-out performances. So did former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who stood out much more in the second debate.

Mr. Trump brushed off the early broadsides by attributing Mr. Kasich’s criticism to his recent slide in the polls. The real-estate developer also blamed Mr. Kasich for playing a role in the 2008 financial crisis by noting that he was working at Lehman Brothers, the investment bank whose collapse triggered panic in financial markets.

“This is the man who was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes,” Mr. Trump said, taunting the Ohio governor for his position at the far edge of the stage...
Yeah, well, the biggest loser was the Democrat-Media-Complex.

But keep reading.

'Sentencing Reform' Kills Cops

From Daniel Greenfield, at FrontPage Magazine, "Pro-crime politicians must be held liable for their crimes":
NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed last week. But the bullet that murdered him had been fired years ago. And it was the Democrats of the New York State government that took the shot.

The trigger had been pulled in 2009 when New York lawmakers passed drug crime “reforms” that targeted mandatory minimum sentences, a particular obsession of the pro-crime lobby, and allowed drug offenders to bypass jail.

Governor Paterson, who had used cocaine and whose close associate was a former drug dealer whose scandal would play a role in the governor’s downfall, claimed that sentencing reform would “Give judges the discretion to divert non-violent drug addicted individuals to treatment alternatives that are far more successful than prison.”

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, New York’s first black Temporary President of the Senate, who would later be busted by the FBI on corruption charges, promised that the reforms would “Reverse years of ineffective criminal laws.”

Senator John Sampson, the first black Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who would be indicted for embezzlement, claimed that drug laws had “decimated communities and destroyed lives” by locking up criminals. Assembly Speaker Silver, currently facing trial for mail fraud, said that the reforms would take advantage of “more effective and less costly alternatives than prison.” Senator Shirley Huntley, who would later be sentenced to prison for stealing money from a charity for public school children, praised the law for giving “families and communities a fighting chance.”

Senator Hiram Monserrate, who had already been arrested for slashing his girlfriend in the face with a broken glass, explained his vote in favor of sentencing reform by saying, “If I had to err, ladies and gentlemen, I would err on the side of compassion.”

Senator Kevin Parker, who had gotten away with punching a traffic agent, attacking a female aide and assaulting a photographer, blasted Republicans for using “Fear and diversion to oppose reasonable changes to the law for 40 years.”

They were all lying.

In that same year, Officer Holder’s killer had been arrested in a shooting that wounded an 11-year-old boy and a 77-year-old man. But he wasn’t done yet...
Keep reading.

Sheldon Wolin Has Died

He was an esteemed political theorist and celebrated political scientist at Berkeley, and later Princeton.

See the New York Times, "Sheldon S. Wolin, Theorist Who Shifted Political Science Back to Politics, Dies at 93."

The obituary ends with this, "His last book reflected this dark interpretation of politics in the United States. It bore a sobering title: “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism”."

And that is dark. So I looked it up, at Amazon, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism:
Democracy is struggling in America--by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms "inverted totalitarianism"?

Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive--and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a "managed democracy" where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today's America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today's politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy's best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level.

Democracy Incorporated is one of the most worrying diagnoses of America's political ills to emerge in decades. It is sure to be a lightning rod for political debate for years to come.

'Something Deeply Disturbing Is Happening All Across America...'

From FBI Director James Comey, speaking at the University of Chicago Law School,  October 23rd, "A chill wind has changed police behavior, and now violent crime is rising. Its victims are almost entirely young black men":
Part of being clear-eyed about reality requires all of us to stare—and stare hard—at what is happening in this country this year. And to ask ourselves what’s going on.

Because something deeply disturbing is happening all across America. I have spoken of 2014 in this speech because something has changed in 2015. Far more people are being killed in America’s cities this year than in many years. And let’s be clear: far more people of color are being killed in America’s cities this year. And it’s not the cops doing the killing.

We are right to focus on violent encounters between law enforcement and civilians. Those incidents can teach all of us to be better. But something much bigger is happening. Most of America’s 50 largest cities have seen an increase in homicides and shootings this year, and many of them have seen a huge increase. These are cities with little in common except being American cities—places like Chicago, Tampa, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Orlando, Cleveland, and Dallas.

In Washington, D.C., we’ve seen an increase in homicides of more than 20% in neighborhoods across the city. Baltimore, a city of 600,000 souls, is averaging more than one homicide a day—a rate higher than that of New York City, which has 13 times the people. Milwaukee’s murder rate has nearly doubled over the past year.

And who’s dying? Police chiefs say the increase is almost entirely among young men of color, at crime scenes in bad neighborhoods where multiple guns are being recovered.

That’s yet another problem that white America can drive around, but if we really believe that all lives matter, as we must, all of us have to understand what is happening. Communities of color need to demand answers. Police and civilian leaders need to demand answers. Academic researchers need to hit this hard...
I'm not holding my breath, but keep reading.

Elizabeth Turner Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Casting Call (VIDEO)


So, 'Supergirl' Is Pretty Good After All

I tuned-in too late to be a really good judge, but see Hot Air, "Ignore the media maelstrom: “Supergirl” is pretty super."

And ICYMI, "Melissa Benoist."

New York's Affirmative Consent Law Affirmatively Confuses Students (VIDEO)

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

And ICYMI, "Phony 'Rape Crisis' is Assault on Common Sense."

The Harlem Honeys and Bears Synchronized Swim Team (VIDEO)

Via National Geographic:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Reince Priebus Blasts Far-Left CNBC Moderators After #GOPDebate (VIDEO)

What's so shocking about his outburst is that as chair of the RNC he has complete control over the choice of network venues. Michelle Malkin hammered him on that, indeed.

Via CNN:

Far-Left CNBC Moderators Lose Control of Third GOP Debate (VIDEO)


And now from Hadas Gold, at Politico, "Moderators lose control at third GOP debate":

The CNBC-moderated debate became a debate about CNBC, as various candidates and the audience turned the tables on the network’s three moderators.

The repeated bursts of anger and anarchy were prompted, in part, by questions from the moderators that veered, at times, beyond sharp into contentiousness. By the end of the first hour, the audience seemed to be siding with the candidates, booing when CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla seemed to play gotcha with Ben Carson about his past work for a questionable company.

Taking on the media is a time-honored tradition in Republican debates, from Ronald Reagan in 1980 to Newt Gingrich in 2011. But those were generally one-time outbursts. On Wednesday night, the tension was palpable throughout the encounter, a theme that may have dashed CNBC’s plans to use the night to showcase a broad array of its own anchors and introduce itself to millions of new viewers.

The pattern was established very early by Donald Trump, spurred by a question about his tax plan from CNBC’s John Harwood that suggested the businessman was running a “comic-book” campaign. Trump angrily proclaimed that the network’s own star host, Larry Kudlow, had praised his tax plan.

Soon after, Texas senator Ted Cruz picked up the cudgel declaring, in response to a question from Quintanilla about raising the debt ceiling, “Let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. The questions shouldn’t be getting people to tear into each other.”

Cruz, his voice rising in indignation, cited Harwood’s “comic-book” question to Trump and one from CNBC’s Becky Quick to Carson that declared that his flat-tax plan wouldn’t bring in nearly as much revenue as he claimed. After Cruz waxed on about a double standard between Democratic and Republican debates, Quintanilla seemed visibly irritated, and he and Harwood each refused to give Cruz any extra time to answer the original question.

A few minutes later, they seemed to think better of it and did give Cruz the time. But the spuriousness of the decision left them open to further expressions of outrage by other candidates whenever the moderators tried to cut them off.

The unruly atmosphere was a far cry from what CNBC seemed to want and expect, from a gauzy opening photo montage to a series of promotions emphasizing what Quintanilla, at the outset, called, “CNBC’s top experts in the markets and personal finance” and “the best team in business” journalism.

Earlier, the network's efforts to showcase a large number of personalities during a disjointed pre-debate discussion drew jeers on Twitter from reporters, political operatives and others who couldn’t stand the banter between the anchors, correspondents and pundits filling time between the two events.

"The CNBC anchors are just desperately filling airtime with absolute nonsense to kill time,” conservative writer John Tabin tweeted.

"Please run vertical color bars until the debate starts,” wrote U.S. News and World Report’s managing editor for opinions Robert Schlesinger...
Keep reading.

Most Republican Voters Want Someone from Outside the Political Establishment to Win Their Party's Presidential Nomination

Donald Trump is up 14 points over Ben Carson in YouGov's latest poll of the GOP presidential field.

See, "Trump leads GOP nationally ahead of third debate."

And flashback to still the best thing I've read this year on the Trump phenomenon, "The Political Establishment's Terrified by Donald Trump's 'Tangible American Nationalism'."

Donald Trump Says He 'Carries on Occasion' (VIDEO)

He carries a gun on occasion.

From tonight's debate:

And at Instapundit, "JUDGING FROM WHAT I’M SEEING ON TWITTER, CNBC AND JOHN HARWOOD ARE THE BIG LOSERS OF TONIGHT’S DEBATE." (That's Ted Cruz hammering John Harwood at the link.)

Alcides Escobar Hits Inside-the-Park Home Run in World Series 2015 (VIDEO)

I have baseball on right now. My wife's not thrilled about watching the GOP debate on CNBC, and frankly, neither am I after flipping the channel over there a couple of times during the commercials.

In any case, here's the shocking first-pitch inside-the-park home run from last night. I couldn't believe my eyes:

South Carolina School Arrest Controversy Proves America's Classrooms Are Out of Control

Following-up from the other day, "White Police Officer is Seen Flipping Black Female High School Student on Her Back (VIDEO)."

As always, context matters. And in this case, the officer used force against the student, who was disrupting instruction, after she resisted repeated requests to leave the classroom. Note this key passage from the Los Angeles Times' reports, "Violent South Carolina classroom arrest adds to 'school-to-prison pipeline' debate":
At least three students who were in the classroom at Spring Valley High said the teacher tried to discipline the unidentified student for looking at her phone.

When the student refused to leave class, the teacher called in a vice principal. When the student refused the vice principal's request to leave, officials called in the deputy, Fields, who also helps coach the school's football team.

In one video, the deputy can be seen telling the student sitting at her desk, "You either come with me, or I'm going to make you."

In a second video posted on Instagram, the student can be seen lifting her arm defensively as the deputy physically tries to remove her from her desk.

The deputy then wraps his arm around her neck from behind in a headlock and tries to lift the student by one of her legs. As the deputy struggles with the student, the desk flips backward onto the ground with the student still sitting in it, the video shows.

The desk then crashes into another desk and nearly hits another student, who appears to be shocked at what she is witnessing. The deputy drags the first student, who is still entangled in the desk, and throws her across the classroom, the two videos show.

Lott said there was a third video that showed the student hitting the deputy...
The officer's been fired now, and he may have indeed used excessive force, but without the context, the video itself tells us very little about the situation. What's amazing, although completely unsurprising, is that there's no national outrage over the student's classroom disruptions and her defiance of school authorities. No one cares about the civil rights of all the other students to receive a good education. When one student is held accountable for acting out, then all that student has to do is claim her "civil rights" were violated ... and that's it. Those in charge of enforcing discipline will themselves be disciplined. It's a no win situation for teachers, which is why the teaching profession is totally unattractive as a career for many.

And don't miss this entry from David French, at National Review, "The Spring Valley Arrest Video Isn’t Disturbing: Here’s Why."

Melissa Benoist

She's Supergirl.

I watched it. Or, I watched the last half hour, I guess. I don't know. Not sure if the series is gonna fly, so to speak.

The World Will Blame President Obama If Iraq Falls

At National Journal.

Via Instapundit, "NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. ‘Direct Action’ Against the Islamic State."
Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.
A great post.

Read the whole thing, and click around at the links.

Sexy Gandalf


At BuzzFeed, "Everyone’s Freaking Out Over This Girl’s Amazing “Sexy Gandalf” Costume":
“The absolute best thing though has just been the general thirst for Gandalf I’ve created,” she said. “Honestly, nothing is better than seeing people exclaim ‘I want to fuck Gandalf’ because of me!”

The Central Dynamics of the Republican Race Remain the Same; Only the Lead Has Changed (VIDEO)

Following-up from Sunday, "CBS News 2016 Battleground Tracker Poll: Donald Trump and Ben Carson Tied in Iowa (VIDEO)."

A great segment with Major Garrett, at CBS Evening News:

BONUS: At Hot Air, "Reuters national online tracking poll of likely GOP voters: Carson 33, Trump 26, Rubio 10, Cruz 8."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban Rejects Angela Merkel's 'Welcoming' Ideology of Unchecked Immigration Suicide

Well a right-wing party, and apparently anti-immigrant, just won the majority in Poland's parliamentary elections this week, so perhaps we're witnessing a major shift in European politics. Or at least, in East European politics.

From James Traub, at Foreign Policy, "The Fearmonger of Budapest":
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The European response to the refugee crisis that escalated this August has two poles: Germany’s Angela Merkel and Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Merkel has consistently maintained that the immense flow of refugees from Middle Eastern war zones constitutes a collective moral obligation for Europe; Orban has called this view a species of madness. Orban is as powerful a spokesman for nativism and xenophobia as Merkel is for universalism.

And Orban got there first. In mid-January, after attending a mass rally in Paris honoring the victims of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket, Orban said in an interview, “We should not look at economic immigration as if it had any use, because it only brings trouble and threats to European people. Therefore, immigration must be stopped.” Orban was quite explicit about the kind of immigration he especially opposed. “We do not want to see a significant minority among ourselves that has different cultural characteristics and background,” he said. “We would like to keep Hungary as Hungary.” That was the lesson he took from Charlie Hebdo.

Orban is fully prepared to wade into the darkest pools of the Hungarian psyche. In April, still well before the refugee flood, Orban’s government distributed a questionnaire to all adult Hungarians which stated, among other things, “Some people believe that the mishandling of immigration issues in Brussels and the spread of terrorism are connected.” It then went on to ask, “Do you agree with this opinion?” Citizens were also told, “Some people say that immigrants threaten the jobs and livelihood of Hungarians,” then asked, “Do you agree?” The U.N.’s human rights commission condemned the questionnaire as “extremely biased” and “absolutely shocking.” Nevertheless, most of those who bothered to answer did, of course, agree. Having thus manufactured a show of public support, Orban’s Fidesz party posted billboards around the country with messages like, “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take the jobs of Hungarians.”

Orban had prepared the Hungarian people in advance for the Biblical tide of refugees who began pouring through Hungary on their way to Germany or Sweden. The fences he ordered built at the border with Serbia and then with Croatia; his use of the army to turn back refugees; his scathing rhetoric; his passage of emergency laws that criminalized the very act of seeking asylum — all have been denounced across Europe, but they’ve done wonders for his standing at home. In recent years, support had been steadily draining from Fidesz to the ultranationalist Jobbik party, but by September of this year the trend had begun to reverse.

Why is Hungary different? To be fair, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have all resisted the idea of accepting Muslim refugees, but unlike Hungary they don’t have to deal with 300,000 refugees crossing their territory and overwhelming their infrastructure. Yet both Croatia and Slovenia, which have had to deal with refugees diverted from Hungary, have behaved and sounded more like Germany than Hungary. In Slovenia, the army fed the refugees and walked them to the Austrian border. Croatia’s interior minister explained his country’s policy by saying, “Nobody can stop this flow without shooting.”

That is not the view I heard in Budapest, including from people otherwise suspicious of Orban. Istvan Gyarmati, a retired diplomat who now runs a democracy promotion institute in Budapest, told me that “now everyone agrees that Orban was right about the refugees.” It would not be long, he predicted, before Merkel realized that she had a policy and political catastrophe on her hands. I asked Gyarmati how he thought the problem should be resolved. That was easy: “The alternative is to keep them out of Europe.” Once they had fled the war zone for the safety of Turkey or Jordan, they no longer needed asylum or could legally claim such status. They were just migrants. I heard the same argument — which does, in fact, correspond to the letter, if not the spirit, of the Geneva Conventions — from several government officials. When I pointed out that this meant building a wall around Europe, they shrugged...
Traub talked to all these people and he still doesn't get it, marinated in his "welcoming" collectivist ideology that both Poland and Hungary are rejecting.

Put a wall around Europe? Yeah, you think?

Still more.

Kelly Brook Slim Figure in Black Satin Play-Suit After Dropping 8 lbs

I love this lady.

At London's Daily Mail, "Kelly Brook showcases slimline figure in black satin playsuit after shedding 8lb by cutting carbs and drinking tea without sugar.

Plus, flashback, "Phenomenal New Kelly Brook Sunbathing Pics From Cancun."

Ted Koppel's New Book Out Today

It looks interesting!

At Amazon, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

Plus, at Time Magazine, "9 Questions With Ted Koppel":
At the heart of the book is the question of whether we have become so fractured in how we digest information that Congress and other institutions aren’t working.

Well, it’s become more difficult because at one end of the spectrum you have MSNBC and at the other end you’ve got Fox, and on all your radio stations you’ve got a variety of highly politicized talk-show hosts who make any kind of movement in the direction of moderation seem like a betrayal.

Could a show like the old Nightline exist today?

Apparently not...

Phony 'Rape Crisis' is Assault on Common Sense

From Heather Mac Donald, at the Weekly Standard:
In August 2012, two rapes by unknown assailants were reported at Harvard University, sending the school into crisis. Police cruisers idled around the campus; uniformed and plainclothes officers came out in force. Students were advised not to walk alone. A member of the undergraduate council called for the closing of Harvard Yard. “I thought Cambridge wasn’t a dangerous area,” a freshman told the student newspaper. “It was Harvard—it was supposed to be safe, academic.” (In fact, Harvard still was safe. The campus authorities ultimately deemed at least one of the rape allegations baseless, judging by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Since Harvard never disclosed the outcome of either of its investigations, its findings regarding the other supposed incident remain secret.)

In September 2015, Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust announced that Harvard students experience sexual assault with “alarming frequency.” Faust was responding to the results of a sexual assault survey conducted at Harvard and 26 other colleges earlier in the year. According to the survey, spearheaded by the Association of American Universities (AAU), 16 percent of Harvard female seniors had experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration during their time at the college and nearly 40 percent had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. The “severity of the problem” required “an even more intent focus on the problem of sexual assault,” Faust said. Harvard professor and former provost Steve Hyman decried the “terribly damaging” problem that “profoundly violates the values and undermines the educational goals of this University.”

And yet, apart from Drew Gilpin Faust’s recital of Harvard’s burgeoning rape bureaucracy—50 Title IX coordinators, a new Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution filled to the brim with “trained investigators,” a doubling of staff at the Office for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response—nothing else happened. No beefed up escort services, no added police presence. Life went on as usual, including the usual drunken parties and hook-ups.

The rhetoric from the other participating schools was similarly alarmist. According to Yale president Peter Salovey, the “profoundly troubling” behavior documented in the AAU survey “threatens individual students, our learning environment, and our sense of community.” But Yale, too, confined itself to denunciations of the “threatening” behavior.

Why the disparity between administrative talk and action? Harvard, after all, is not the only college capable of forcefully responding to alleged rape. In the fall of 2014, the University of Virginia doubled down on security after a student was abducted and presumed raped (the girl was later found to have been killed). If Drew Gilpin Faust and her fellow presidents really believe that they are presiding over a crime scene of what would be unprecedented proportions, they should at the least radically revamp their admissions procedures to prevent sex fiends from joining the student body, if not provide round-the-clock protection to female students.

Nothing of the sort ever happens, however. And that is because there is no such crime wave on college campuses—according to the alleged victims themselves. The vast majority of survey respondents whom the AAU researchers classified as sexual assault victims never reported their alleged assaults to their colleges’ various confidential rape hotlines, sexual assault resource centers, or Title IX offices, much less to campus or city police. And the overwhelming reason why the alleged victims did not report is that they did not think that what happened to them was that serious. At Harvard, over 69 percent of female respondents who checked the box for penetration by use of force did not report the incident to any authority. Most of those non-reporters—65 percent—did not think their experience was serious enough to report. This outcome is inconceivable in the case of real rape. No woman who has actually been raped would think that the rape was not serious enough to report. The White House Council on Women and Girls, echoing campus rape dogma, maintains that colleges are churning out legions of traumatized rape “survivors,” who go on to experience a lifetime of physical and emotional disability. Apparently these victims are so shellshocked that they don’t even realize how disabled they are.

The rate of nonreporting climbs as the sexual assault categories ginned up by the AAU grow ever more distant from the common understanding of rape. Over 78 percent of Harvard female respondents who checked the box for penetration due to “incapacitation” did not report. Three-quarters of them said that what happened to them was not serious enough to report. Over 92 percent of Harvard female respondents who said they were the victim of sexual touching by force did not report; over 81 percent said that what happened to them was not serious enough to report. Over 93 percent of respondents who had been sexually touched due to incapacitation did not report. Over 80 percent of them did not think it serious enough to report.

The picture is identical at every other college in the survey. At Yale, nearly 73 percent of female victims of alleged penetration by force and over 94 percent of female victims of alleged nonconsensual touching by incapacitation did not report to an agency or organization, because they did not think that what happened to them was serious enough.

These are females who since matriculation have been the targets of an escalating “rape culture” propaganda campaign. Yet that campaign has not changed the fundamental disagreement between rape survey respondents and their pollsters. The mother of all campus rape surveys, conducted by feminist researcher Mary Koss and written up in Ms. magazine in 1985, found that 73 percent of respondents whom the study characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped when asked the question directly. (Not surprisingly, campus rape researchers stopped asking that question. Campus rape researchers also quickly shelved an equally deflating question from the Koss survey: whether the victim had sex with her alleged rapist again. Forty-two percent of Koss’s alleged rape victims said that they had, another inconceivable outcome in the case of actual rape.) Seventy-two percent of female respondents in a 2014 MIT survey who said that they had experienced unwanted sexual behavior said that their experience was not serious enough to report...
Keep reading.

WATCH: Graphic New Video of Horrific Car Crash That Murdered Four People at Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade

At CBS News, "New video of deadly OSU homecoming tragedy."

The suspect, 25-year-old Adacia Chambers, is likely to plead not guilty by reason of insanity --- which is pissing people right off. At WSJ, "Lawyer Questions Mental Health of Suspect in Deadly Oklahoma Crash."

Why Are Young Feminists So Clueless About Sex?

A fabulous essay, from Margaret Wente, at Toronto's Globe and Mail.

Feds Ready Forced Disclosure of Donors to Conservative Groups

Because politics is total war.

From J. Christian Adams, at Pajamas:
The Federal Election Commission is considering rules which could force non-profit organizations, such as a pro-life organization, to disclose the names of donors.

The speech-regulating Left has long been in favor of forced donor disclosure because it facilitates their most fanatical followers to unleash abuse on them.

That’s what happened to the owner of the Texans when he supported an effort to block a transgender referendum in Houston. Harassment of financial donors to conservative causes has become one of the standard tactics of the militant left...
Keep reading.

Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24-Year-Old Las Vegas Salon Worker, Found Dead in Cryotheropy Chamber (VIDEO)

God this is bizarre.

The woman apparently "froze to death within seconds."

At the Washington Post, "Salon worker praised cryotherapy — then ‘froze to death’ during treatment."

Russian Jets Fail to Fly in Syria

At USA Today, "Harsh conditions are foiling Russian jets in Syria":

WASHINGTON – Russian warplanes sent to Syria to back the regime of Bashar Assad are breaking down at a rapid rate that appears to be affecting their ability to strike targets, according to a senior Defense official.

Nearly one-third of Russian attack planes and half of its transport aircraft are grounded at any time as the harsh, desert conditions take a toll on equipment and crews, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about sensitive intelligence matters.

The Russians appear to be having difficulty adapting to the dusty conditions, and the number of airstrikes they have conducted seems to have dipped slightly.

"For deployed forces, that's a hideous rate," said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed warplanes, including Russia's advanced Fullback ground-attack jet, helicopters and troops to a base near Latakia, Syria, in September. In addition, at least a dozen transport planes have been stationed there.

"They could have bad operating procedures, inadequate supplies of spare parts and support crews," Aboulafia said.

Russia's inexperience deploying forces at some distance, unlike their military actions in bordering countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, could also account for problems keeping planes in the air, he said.

"An awful lot of expeditionary warfare revolves around logistics," Aboulafia said. "A lot of it comes down to experience. They don't have that much of it."

For U.S. warplanes, readiness rates of less than 80% would attract attention from top brass, said a senior Air Force commander with multiple combat deployments in the Middle East. The officer was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. However, the officer noted that planes break, especially in austere, deployed conditions. He characterized mission-readiness rates of less than 80% as a matter of concern, not alarm.

David Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who led planning for the air war in Operation Desert Storm, said the rates for American fighters in combat zones has been above 90%. The readiness rate of 70% for Russian fighters isn't surprising, he said, because they lack experience being deployed and have been flying their jets hard. He called their rates for cargo planes, "pretty low."

"If those rates are accurate, it indicates that their deployed logistics function requires some attention," Deptula said.

U.S. pilots and aircraft have flown combat missions in the Middle East almost continuously since the first Gulf War. They struck Saddam Hussein's forces to push them from Kuwait, patrolled no-fly zones in Iraq for more than a decade, and fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year, they returned to strike Islamic State militants on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, the Pentagon and Russian military reached an agreement to avoid conflict among pilots flying missions in Syria. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday said the Russian attacks have targeted opponents of Assad in Syria, where the civil war has killed more than 200,000 people...

Feminism Flourishes in the West Because the Patriarchy is Dead

But don't count on it staying that way.

From Glenn Reynolds, at Instapundit, "Before you complain about 'patriarchy'."

Drone Images Show Flow of Migrants Crossing Into Slovenia (VIDEO)

Via France 24:

BONUS: At Atlas Shrugs, "MIGRANT VIDEO: 'They are sitting in our backyards'."