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Friday, October 21, 2016

Cruising the Web

Rumors are out there that Trump is considering founding his own TV network after he loses the election. It might seem like a natural progression for the guy who has built so much of his reputation by appearances in the media and on a reality show. Reportedly, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been talking to an investor about setting up a Trump TV network. I guess his family doesn't think that he will win and they're thinking about what he can do to cash in on his election fun.

Ryan Lizza reminds us that there have been other attempts to launch TV networks that have not been successful.
In recent years, several Trump-like personalities have tried to transform their populist shtick into a television venture and have failed. First, there was the Sarah Palin Channel, which lasted less than a year. Glenn Beck, who once led the anti-Obama conspiracy theorists on the right, had a popular show on HLN and then Fox News, but his Blaze TV project has been in a death spiral this year.

Recent newcomers to cable news, like Bloomberg and Fox Business Channel, have also failed to take off. Outside of conservative and news media, networks designed around a single person are no easier to sustain. Even the Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable channel with hundreds of millions of dollar in startup funds, created, in 2011, by one of the most popular personalities in America, has struggled to post impressive ratings.
I wonder how Fox News would regard Trump's efforts to eat into their viewership with a competing network after some of their shows like Hannity and Fox and Friends have basically been operating as arms of the Trump campaign. Lizza is skeptical that Trump TV would be successful.
It also seems highly unlikely that Trump—who is loath even to spend money on polls because he believes there are plenty of public ones he can have for free—would suddenly cough up tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars to enter the fraught business of cable TV. It’s also improbable that someone who brags about how much money he has could find others to finance such a risky venture, especially given Trump’s long trail of failed businesses (Trump Airlines, the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump University, Trump Magazine).

Even Trump’s closest advisers are skeptical that cable news is the right path. I recently talked to a top Trump campaign official who has studied the cable news business closely, and he argued that it was a foolish endeavor.

“Roger Ailes is the most brilliant guy in this business,” the official said. “He put seven hundred fifty million a year into Fox Business. He put the best guys you’ve got, like Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo. In the early afternoon, there are more people on Breitbart’s home page than are watching Fox Business. Look at the guys at Bloomberg. And these are brilliant TV guys. That business breaks people.”

Trump is certainly not going away, but there are good reasons to suspect that you won’t find Trump TV on your cable box anytime soon.
Well, that's a relief. I suspect that he's going to be facing a real downturn in his finances after this election as his main source of wealth, licensing his name, will no longer be in such demand. I suspect also that he will decide that he prefers to make occasional appearances with a sycophantic Sean Hannity where he can spout his incoherent conspiracy theories rather than risk his wealth on a doubtful TV venture.

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Ann Althouse excoriates Hillary Clinton's statement in the debate about how she views the Supreme Court. Clinton's answer demonstrates the left's attitude that the courts should just be an arm of their political party. She said that she would "stand up against Citizens United." Althouse writes,
There's that injudicious term "stand up" again. You know, sticking with precedent is called "stare decisis," and that Latin phrase literally contains the word "stand": Let the decision stand. The idea that courts should stand against precedent feels perverse. Courts will occasionally overturn precedent, but they should do so as a result of legal analysis, not political passion. If a right — like freedom of speech — allows us to do "dark, unaccountable" things, that's not a legal argument for taking away the right. And I suspect very few listeners to the debate could get even a C- on a simple essay question about what the Court decided in Citizens United and why. Do they even know that the case involved a movie about Hillary Clinton, criticizing her, that federal law would have censored?
It's funny how the liberals regard the sanctity of precedents. If it's Roe v. Wade, stare decisis takes on almost a holy character. If it's a case that the left dislikes like D.C. v. Heller or Citizens United v. FEC, then their efforts to "stand up against" the decisions are eternal.

Althouse then goes after Hillary's belief that the "Supreme Court should represent all of us."
Now, Hillary went to law school. She taught law school. She knows the judicial branch isn't supposed to "represent" us. She's choosing to talk about the Court in language that applies to the political branches of government, and she comes right out and says she wants to use the presidential appointment power to fill the Court with Justices who see law like that:
And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans. And I look forward to having that opportunity. I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them. That's the way the constitution fundamentally should operate. The President nominates and the Senate advises and consents or not. But they go forward with the process.
But no nominee would testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing commitment to the "great tradition" she just articulated. I've listened to all of the testimony of everyone who currently sits on the Court, and none of them talked like that, even as the Senators from the opposite party from the President attempted to lure them into conceding that they are really, at heart, political hacks.
Of course, Donald Trump's answer on questions on the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment betrayed a confusion about both. He was basically incoherent, as he so often it is.

David Harsanyi mocks the despicable United Nations which readily passes resolutions condemning Israel while ignoring the violations of human rights in other countries. The most recent outrage was a resolution condemning Israel and referring to Jerusalem's holy sites by their Muslim names only as if Israel has no connection to Judaism's two holiest sites, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. It's all part of the UN's long history of anti-Semitism.
It’s not merely that UN organizations like the “human rights commission” or UNESCO are often led by Islamic supremacists, but that the majority of first-world nations have — with few exceptions, like the United States and the United Kingdom — been enablers of anti-Semitism for over 50 years.

This new motion, which claims freedom of worship has been curtailed by “escalating aggressions and illegal measures,” was submitted by the Palestinians and backed by various other twelfth-century strongholds like Morocco (where it’s illegal to possess a Bible written in Arabic), Algeria (where Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men and insulting Muhammad is punishable by death), Iran (with restrictions too long to list), Pakistan (where the death penalty or life in prison is mandated for apostasy), and Sudan (where converting to Christianity is punishable by death.)
But those states don't rate UN disapproval. only Israel does.
When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited his religion’s holiest site in September 2000, Arabs used it as a pretext to launch the Second Intifada. Anti-Israel activists still talk about this Sharon visit as if the man were leading the Crusaders towards Mecca. Most often, though, Israel does what it can to avoid irritating the prickly sensibilities of Arabs offended by the sight of Jews or Christians. The site itself is administrated by an Islamic trust, not Israel. Politicians are told not to go there. And so on.

But Israel, unlike every UNESCO nation that voted against it, is a liberal democracy.

So a few years ago, a man named Yehuda Glick began advocating for open access to the Temple Mount for people of all faiths. In almost any other context or in any other place, this would be treated as a liberal position. Arabs rioted, and Glick was shot four times by an Arab gunman in an assassination attempt. Our ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, took to the floor to rail against the terrible “provocations” of both sides.

At the time, the Palestinian Authority was fueling false rumors that Israelis were going to block Muslims from entering the site. President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech claiming that “we have to prevent the settlers from entering the Temple Mount by any means. It is our mosque and they have no right to enter and desecrate it.” Settlers, by the way, are all Israelis living in Jerusalem.

To put this in historic context, before 1967 (the year Palestinians and their Western allies like pretend history began) Jews were barred from these sites, which were often abused and neglected. Even today, access to holy sites within Arab-majority areas is unsafe without armed protection.

So when the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem is located in Israel, as it recently did in the official press release of the president’s remarks at Shimon Peres’ memorial, it feeds this conflict.
People like to pretend that the UN is a worthy institution because its goals are so admirable. But such a faith is just a Utopian fantasy. At some point, can't we just agree that it's a contemptible organization and stop caring what it says and does? Apparently not.

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Damon Linker daydreams about what any competent Republican could have done with Hillary's performance in the debate.
On the Supreme Court, Clinton said, in effect, that she thinks the Court should serve as a second legislative body in which liberals hold a majority of the seats and exercise veto power over the other branches of government.

On abortion, her position was so extreme that she managed to make Donald Trump sound, for perhaps the first time in his entire life, like a paragon of level-headed reasonableness and moral decency.

On her statement (contained in leaked transcripts of her speeches to financial institutions) about dreaming of a hemisphere-wide free trade zone with open borders, she sounded shifty and defensive.

On her handling of her private email server as secretary of state, she simply tried to change the subject.

On her record of foreign policy judgment calls, especially with regard to Iraq and the greater Middle East, she dodged and weaved, no doubt because her record is extremely spotty.

In sum, Hillary Clinton was who she is and who senior members of her inner circle admit privately that she is: a weak and highly vulnerable presidential candidate who would have had difficulties competing against almost any opponent.
But Donald Trump has no instincts as a debater. He doesn't even seem to grasp the weaknesses of her responses or, when he does, he just gives incoherent answers that barely parse. He throws out slogans and references that only those who religiously follow political news and read conservative sites will understand. And he can get baited into going down rabbit holes trying to defend his cretinous behavior and statements.
So even when Clinton's flaws were exposed — by a question posed by moderator Chris Wallace, by Clinton's own imprecise statements, or by Trump's relentless barrage of hostile accusations — Trump was always there to blunt the impact and distract attention from it.

This happened over and over again, especially in the second half of the debate, as Trump became increasingly agitated and harshly aggressive.

Clinton gets asked to defend her record and Trump's right there to make the ludicrous charge that the State Department "lost" $6 billion during her time at the helm.

Trump raises questions about various WikiLeaks revelations with regard to the Clinton campaign, which Clinton turns into an attack on Russia's meddling in the election — and Trump decides to respond by … rising in partial defense of Vladimir Putin. (This allowed Clinton to accuse Trump of being Putin's "puppet.")

And on it went, through Trump's taxes, his revolting comments about and alleged behavior toward women, his reckless statements about foreign policy and immigrants. Every time it looked like Clinton might be on the ropes, she managed to pivot to some outrageous or insulting or irresponsible comment that Trump has made over the past 16 months.

Trump's replies? They rarely amounted to more than petulant and peevish gesturing in the direction of a rebuttal. If you're inclined to trust Trump (someone must, right?) and you spend all day immersed in Fox News and Breitbart, then maybe some of Trump's responses to Clinton in the debate's final 45 minutes made semi-coherent sense. But I suspect most viewers were left thinking, "What the hell is this guy ranting about? He sounds like a lunatic."

And there you have it: Hillary Clinton won the third debate, like she will win the election itself, for the simple and compelling reason that she isn't a lunatic.

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YouTube has found videos that are truly objectionable - Dennis Prager's educational videos that aren't ideologically acceptable to the folks at YouTube. The WSJ writes,
Dennis Prager’s “PragerU” puts out free short videos on subjects “important to understanding American values”—ranging from the high cost of higher education to the motivations of Islamic State. The channel has more than 130 million views, and the spots tend to include an expert guest and background animation. As you might guess, the mini-seminars do not include violence or sexual content.

But more than 15 videos are “restricted” on YouTube, a development PragerU announced this month. This means the clips don’t show up for those who have turned on filtering—say, a parent shielding their children from explicit videos. A YouTube spokesperson told us that the setting is optional and “based on algorithms that look at a number of factors, including community flagging on videos.” Yet it’s easy to imagine a flood of users reporting a political video—microagressed college students have a lot of free time—and limiting a viewpoint’s audience.

Here are some of the topics that are apparently too sensitive to learn about and discuss freely: Did Bush Lie About Iraq?; Israel’s Legal Founding; Why Did America Fight the Korean War?; Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women? PragerU started a petition calling for YouTube to remove the restriction, and more than 66,000 people have signed.

YouTube is free to set its own standards, but the company is undercutting its claim to be a platform for “free expression.” If anyone there would like to brush up on the concept, Mr. Prager has a video about it.

Ashe Schow notes the ludicrous symbolism that ABC found in Hillary Clinton wearing a white pants suit to the debate. Apparently, she was honoring the suffragettes who sometimes wore white. But white wasn't such a great choice when Melania Trump wore a white dress to the Republican National Convention. Then it was seen as a racist statement.
So when Clinton wears white, it's about rights; when Trump wears white, it's white supremacy. Got it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cruising the Web

By opening with a question on the Supreme Court, Chris Wallace hit the one issue that might make some conservatives vote for Trump.

Hillary's answer on D.C. v. Heller was quite deceptive. The case was not about protecting toddlers. It concerned whether D.C.'s laws were so restrictive that they violated the individual's right to keep and bear arms. Sean Davis explains how wrong she was in her characterization of the decision.
It’s a lie so absurd that I honestly don’t know where to begin, but I’ll give it a shot: No, the Heller decision was not about toddlers. It had nothing to do with toddlers. Nothing. It’s no coincidence that the word “toddler” doesn’t appear in either the majority or dissenting opinions in the case. Because it had nothing to do with toddlers.

So what was the Heller case really about? It was about whether Dick Anthony Heller, a 66-year-old police officer, should be legally allowed to own and bear a personal firearm to defend himself and his family at home. That’s it....

o mention of toddlers. Because the case wasn’t about toddlers. It was about whether the District of Columbia’s “total ban on handguns” — the Supreme Court’s characterization of the law at issue in the case — was constitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that D.C.’s ban on handguns was unconstitutional and that Heller, a police officer, had a constitutional right to own and bear a firearm in his home. It had nothing whatsoever to do with toddlers.

We saw the difference in having a moderator who isn't an obvious liberal for there to be a question on partial-birth abortion right in the beginning. Hillary can talk about the difficult decisions that women face at the end of a pregnancy but that doesn't mean that the baby has to be killed as it is in a late-term abortion. Babies at that stage of pregnancy, if the situation were as Hillary described of there being a problem with the woman's health, a baby could still be delivered and live. Of course, for all Trump's pretend outrage on partial-birth abortion, he once supported it.

Of course, then Trump had to go and claim that ICE has endorsed him. Government agencies don't make endorsements. The union representing ICE agents is what endorsed him. Then he went and praised Obama for deporting people. Apparently, Trump doesn't know that the numbers of deportations under Obama are opened because the definition of deportation has changed.

Will someone explain to Donald Trump, that Wharton graduate, that "bigly" is not a word?

I'd like to ask Trump if he plans to ignore the evaluation of intelligence agencies in a Trump administration when they tell him that the Russians are responsible for the Wikileaks or does his admiration of Vladimir Putin trump American intelligence agencies? And he's already been informed in his intelligence briefings that Russia is behind the hacking.
A senior U.S. intelligence official assured NBC News that cybersecurity and the Russian government's attempts to interfere in the 2016 election have been briefed to, and discussed extensively with, both parties' candidates, surrogates and leadership, since mid-August. "To profess not to know at this point is willful misrepresentation," said the official. "The intelligence community has walked a very thin line in not taking sides, but both candidates have all the information they need to be crystal clear."
Of course, the woman who giggled her way through the mistranslated "Reset" button is not a woman who can brag about how tough she'd be with Putin.

Hillary was quite dishonest in saying that she hadn't been talking about "open borders" in her leaked speech in Brazil.

Bragging about how her husband was responsible for the 1990s economic boom is ludicrous. And crediting Obama with saving the economy is also a laugh. Given that the Obama administration has doubled the national debt, she shouldn't be bragging about how she's worried about the debt. She seems to think that giving the government a bigger role in the economy is the way to grow the economy.

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Trump's attacks on our allies by saying they're terrible is not the approach a president should be using. We've had enough from Obama in dissing allies like Israel and the UK. We don't need more of that.

She claimed that everything she did as Secretary of State was for our nation's interest. Oh, was it in our nation's interest for her to use an unsecured server?

Trump's best argument is pointing out how long Hillary and her pals have been in the government and haven't done what she's now promising to do. It is reminiscent of Ross Perot's line in 1992 that he doesn't have any experience in running up a huge debt.

Does anyone believe that all these women's claims of sexual harassment by Donald Trump were all lying when we've heard his own voice bragging about doing the same thing? And Hillary was right that Trump defended himself from these claims by deriding their looks.

He was smart to pivot from the no-win questions on his abuse of women to attacking her on lying to the people and FBI. Then she attacked him for switching subjects and proceeds to switch subjects from her lies to attacking Trump for all the appalling things he's said. And then he just denied that he's said things that he said on video. It's the postmodern campaign.

They attacked each other on their foundations. In an ordinary year, those stories about their foundations alone would have disqualified both of them. How lovely that we need to choose which candidate is less corrupt.

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It is truly despicable for Trump to refuse to say that he would accept the outcome of the election. Forget anything else said in the debate, that is the line that the media will be discussing tomorrow. I still think that Nixon's finest moment was his decision not to contest the vote in 1960 even though there were definitely reasons to be suspicious of some of the states' results. The country is so much more divided now and the last thing we need is for a large percentage of the country to think that the election was illegitimate. The Democrats did that in 2000 and it was poisonous. One of the hallmarks of our country is the peaceful transfer of power. Well, except for secession and Civil War. Accepting the vote of the American people is not something that any candidate should brag about "keeping us in suspense."

Trump might have had a better performance in the debate (though the bar is plenty low), but his somewhat more disciplined and sober performance will be lost in discussion of his refusal to accept the results of the election. Of course, such petulance is just typical of his sore loseriness.

Of course, it would have been interesting if someone had asked Al Gore in 2000 if he'd accept the results of the election. He eventually did, but the country was put through a hellish month. Is that what Trump is wishing for?

Kevin Williamson has a great article explaining that Trump is losing because of his own behavior, not because the election is rigged. He's losing because voters don't like him. Voter fraud does happen, but it's not going to swing the entire election, especially when she seems to be winning by a large Electoral College margin. Williamson rightly ridicules the position of Democrats' on voter fraud.
For Democrats, this is a game of moving the goalposts. Their first objection was: Illegal voting doesn’t happen. When it was decisively shown that it does happen, the criterion changed: Well, it doesn’t happen very much. When it was decisively shown that voting infractions are fairly common, the criterion changed again: There’s no dispositive evidence that illegal voting has thrown a major election.

The goalpost-moving game is a funny one. At the same time they deny or attempt to minimize fraudulent voting, Democrats have made a great fuss about “voter suppression,” which usually consists of such sneaky Republican dirty tricks as requiring that voters show up at the polls with a photo-ID card made available to them free of charge at the local DMV. (The libertarian in me suspects that making regular DMV visits a mandatory part of the voting experience would do more to reform American politics than all the think-tank wonkery combined.) Democrats also strongly resist efforts to enforce ordinary laws against fraudulent voting by dead people (Lyndon Johnson’s second-most-important constituency, behind household pets), prisoners, disenfranchised felons, and the like. Even if we buy the argument that there’s no real evidence that illegal voting has thrown an election, there’s no evidence that voter-ID laws or enforcing other voting laws has thrown an election, either. The focal distance of these stories is forever changing: If the question is purported “disenfranchisement,” then anecdote rules and statistical questions are set aside; if the question is illegal voting, then statistical claims are central and anecdotes are dismissed as uninformative.

That’s cheap high-school debaters’ stuff, but it works more often than you’d think.

The fact is that we should be opposed to illegal voting even if it is only desultory and rare, even if it amounts to something less than a decisive factor in electoral outcomes. For one thing, it is wrong, malum in se, and for another, it actually does what the Democrats accuse Trump of doing: It undermines confidence in the legitimacy of U.S. elections. Shootings by police officers in questionable confrontations are not the leading killer of black men in the United States, or among the top-ten causes of death for black men, or the top 100 or the top 1,000. (For teenaged black men, it’s homicide, suicide, and heart disease; for black men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, HIV and strokes emerge as top causes of early death.) But if it were the case that black men are being wrongly killed by police officers, we would want to act on that irrespective of whether it was a statistically significant cause of death, because it is wrong and because it undermines confidence in law enforcement.

The hypocrisy is difficult to bear. For the entirety of the 21st century, Democrats have complained that George W. Bush and an illegitimate, corrupt Supreme Court intervened to rob Al Gore of the presidency. But there is more to it than that. For years, Democrats from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren have complained that the economic system is rigged by shadowy international elites against the interests of ordinary people. We have not seen very much in the way of political rioting, but we have seen significant violence in response to that kind of rhetoric, from riots in Seattle to attempted acts of terrorism in Ohio.

Should Democrats cease speaking about the “rigged” economic system because of that violence? No, they should cease making the claim that our economic system is rigged because that claim is false.

We should continue talking about illegal voting because the claim is true, and because it is necessary that we do something about it.

My conclusion on the debate. Chris Wallace should be the moderator for every debate. He was equally tough and fair with both of them. He was the real winner of the debate.

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Well, isn't this just typical? This is Nancy Pelosi's contempt for the constitutional structure of our government. Apparently, simply talking about "checks and balances" is a sort of "code."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested Wednesday that a GOP-led Congress could move to impeach Hillary Clinton if she is elected president, as they did to Bill Clinton in 1998.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Republicans have hinted as much this election cycle by advocating for "checks and balances" in a divided government, which she said is a "code word for obstruction or something worse."

Pelosi pointed to the GOP making a similar argument in 1996 when GOP presidential nominee Robert Dole appeared headed for defeat.

"When it became apparent he was not going to win, the Republicans started talking about checks and balances," Pelosi said, recalling the Dole-Clinton race. "And you know what that translated into? Impeachment of the president of the United States."
Of course, that's ignoring that the impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn't something that the Republicans had decided on in 1996. It came about because of his perjury under oath and efforts to obstruct justice. But that's typical obfuscation for Democrats. What is rather appalling is that simply talking about the checks and balances that the Founders thought were so necessary. She certainly was in favor of checks and balances when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and George W. Bush was in the White House.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cruising the Web

Joy Pullmann explains why the NAACP has betrayed the very people the organization pretends to be fighting for. Even though black leaders and black families are looking to charter schools as the saving grace for children stuck in awful schools, the NAACP has issued a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools and any other form of choice in education.

The NAACP seems to think that the problem is that we're not spending enough money on schools.
This stance is a head-scratcher on myriad counts. For one, the United States already boasts the highest-funded public education system in the world, at an average cost (not including public debt, typically for facilities costs, which is massive) of $12,000 per student per year. The districts where black students are concentrated tend to spend even more — Washington DC, for example, spends approximately $25,000 per child per year, Baltimore spends $15,000 per student, and Detroit $14,000. U.S. education spending has quadrupled since the 1970s while student achievement has stagnated, and seems to have had little effect on black kids particularly (once raised above segregation-era pittances).
But don't let such facts get in the way of dogma. Especially inconvenient is the fact that charters, which are public schools that just give the school more choice in how to accomplish its educational mission, don't spend anywhere the amount of money that regular public schools spend per student.
Now, the average charter school — which is a fully public school that local citizens can apply to run as independent boards following public transparency laws — spends approximately $7,600 per student per year. Despite the huge cost savings charters offer, quality studies show their students learn at least as much, and often more, than their peers in traditional public schools.

In fact, the children who seem to academically and socially benefit the most from enrolling in a charter school are the very children NAACP claims to represent: poor, minority children. For example: “Black and Hispanic students who attended charter schools in [New York City] for eight years closed the achievement gap with affluent suburbs like Scarsdale by 86% in math and 66% in English,” found a National Bureau for Economic Research study. “Public charter middle schools in Boston cut the black-white achievement gap in math by as much as half in a single year.”

Massachusetts charters close the racial achievement gap on half the funding of traditional public schools — and charters are legally forbidden from refusing any student for any reason. They have to take low performers, English learners, and disabled kids. Closed the achievement gaps between white and minority students! That’s practically the Holy Grail of education reform! And at half the cost! What more could you want?
The gap between black and white kids exists, but the NAACP now is on board opposing the very schools that are actually doing something to close that gap. The families of children lucky enough to attend those charter schools are tremendously grateful for that opportunity. Sadly, the NAACP is rejecting the very solution that they should be throwing all their support behind.
Just a quarter of African-Americans would pick public schools if they had a choice in the matter; and 20 percent would pick a charter school. In that same poll, a whopping 74 percent of black respondents favored charter schools, and two-thirds supported vouchers and tax-credit scholarships. Clearly, the NAACP doesn’t represent most black families on this matter.

Enrollment patterns show a similar reality. According to the latest federal data, 27 percent of charter school students are black, more than double their proportion among the general population of 12 percent. About a million African-American children attend charter schools exclusively because of their parents’ choice to enroll them in those environments.

NAACP is telling these black parents they’ve made bad choices, that their individual success is a threat to their peers. That sounds like a more polished rendition of the “acting white” slur that says black kids who study hard and make something of themselves are somehow betraying peers who don’t make those choices.

In reality, again, the opposite is true. School choice not only gives poor and moderate-income parents education buying power and thus leverage equal to that of wealthy families, it cultivates the social capital and infrastructure money can’t buy, which is a far more fundamental precursor to success and ability to withstand adversity....

Black families are among those worst injured by poor public schools and our nation’s system of ZIP code-assigned schooling. Their choice to better their family and children is not made at the expense of other kids. In exercising these choices, black parents are creating better futures both for their children and for their communities. They should be celebrated, not condemned, for taking individual responsibility for their families and communities in this way.
My suspicion about the NAACP has been that they're voting to support the teachers' unions which are deathly afraid of charter schools. One of the main differences between regular public schools and charters is that charters don't have to give their teachers tenure. They're not governed by union contracts which are bankrupting some areas with their generous pension benefits. They don't have to hire only people who have gotten certified to teach through some college program. They can hire people who are shifting to teaching from some other profession. They're not limited in the number of days per year or hours per day that teachers can work. And so they can have longer school years and longer school days to help inner-city children catch up and close that gap. But it's a very demanding job and many teachers don't want to work that hard and those long hours. But the ones who are that dedicated can see the difference that they're making in children's lives and the rewards are worth it for them. Such teachers and school leaders along with the families that give them their support should be celebrated and school districts should be seeking to find ways to emulate their success.

Instead, the unions fight tooth and nail against charters. And Democratic politicians and the interest groups that form their coalition, like the NAACP, are join in that struggle against the challenge that charters provide. Witness Chicago where the union threatened a strike and Rahm Emanuel caved by giving them an agreement to limit charter school growth.
If teachers ratify the agreement that barely staved off a strike, then Chicago would become the first American city to cap its number of charter schools using a union contract.

Contained in the deal to be considered this week by Chicago Teachers Union delegates is a provision to impose limits on both the number of charter schools in Chicago Public Schools as well as those schools’ total enrollment over the duration of the four-year agreement.
The competition from those charter schools show up the deficiencies of the regular public schools and so the unions must stop them.

Of course, I'm biased. I teach at a college-preparatory charter high school and my older daughter works for the KIPP schools of Washington, D.C. which have continually shown that they can educate inner-city minority children more successfully than the regular public schools in D.C. The District of Columbia is one of the places in the country where there has been support for charter schools and the results have been truly impressive. The performance of students in charters has outstripped those of students in regular public schools at just about every grade level and in every subject. That is why almost half (44% in 2014 and it's been increasing since then) the students in the District of Columbia public schools are enrolled in charters.

Here is a nice article that just came about looking at the school where I teach.
Walking through the hallways and into the classrooms of the 560-student high school offers a glimpse of why several media outlets — U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and others — have named Raleigh Charter in Wake County as one of the top schools in the country.

“It's really all about citizenship,” principal Lisa Huddleston said. “Everything we do, in our choices that we make, is about how do we create a strong academic environment that helps empower these kids to become contributing citizens.”

The school is one of the hottest tickets in academics in the state, and with good reason. U.S. News & World Report said RCHS had a College Readiness Index of 93.3 percent, with 96 percent of students taking an Advanced Placement test and 97 percent of those passing.

But Huddleston said preparing the students for college and beyond isn’t about striving for high scores and national rankings. The community fosters the growth of the students — the accolades and successful results are simply a byproduct.

"In my mind, it's kids like that, that think so critically and are willing to go so deep,” said teacher Barbara Soloman, who came to RCHS 16 years ago from NC State. “But fortunately what ends up happening is we have developed a culture. So the kids who come in and are not used to it learn the expectations from other students.”

Any student in N.C. can apply to a charter school, and Huddleston said RCHS has had parents come from as far away as Vance County — a 90-minute commute — to have their children attend the school....

For those that get in to RCHS — this year only 86 of 1,197 students who applied were accepted, along with 64 siblings of current or former students — there are sacrifices that come with attending a charter school.

Raleigh Charter, for example, doesn’t have a cafeteria, gymnasium or its own athletic facilities. N.C charter schools operate on less than 70 percent of the state money that a traditional public school gets, because charters do not get government construction funds or N.C. Education Lottery money. Often, charters will supplement with grants and private donations. Furthermore, pinpoint-specific electives that are offered at magnet schools like nearby Enloe High School aren’t possible at RCHS.

“I think that it's hard for one school to be all things to all people, and I think part of what's behind the charter school model is our recognition of that,” Huddleston said.

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How dumb is Chris Cuomo? This is a man who went to Yale and has a law degree and he seems to have no understanding of how the law works. He actually went on TV on CNN and told the public that it would be illegal for them to possess the documents from WikiLeaks.
“Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”
The media would certainly love it if people believed that they couldn't simply go on the internet and read things that are posted there and if the media had a monopoly on all information. But it just doesn't work that way. Eugene Volokh, who is an expert on the First Amendment, explains things to Cuomo.
Ah, isn’t it lovely to be so special, so specially immune from the law? Except it’s not at all different for the media. The First Amendment offers the same protection to the media as to the rest of us, including when it comes to possessing or distributing illegally obtained material (so long as you weren’t involved in the original illegal hack or interception or leak). Indeed, in the 2001 Bartnicki v. Vopper decision, the Supreme Court rejected even civil liability for distributing illegally intercepted cellphone calls, and expressly refused to distinguish the media from others:

And here is another know-nothing CNN anchor.
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin criticized Donald Trump’s call for term limits on members of Congress on Tuesday by incorrectly saying that such limits already existed.

As part of a new policy to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., Trump announced Tuesday he would push for a constitutional amendment as president to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

“Correct me, there already are term limits, so what does he mean?” Baldwin skeptically asked reporter Dana Bash.

Indeed, Baldwin had to be corrected. Bash did so politely.
I just don't get how someone can be an anchor on a news channel and not know such basic stuff.

Obamacare keeps annoying people.
Andrea Schankman's three-year relationship with her insurer, Coventry Health Care of Missouri, has been contentious, with disputes over what treatments it would pay for. Nonetheless, like other Missourians, Schankman was unnerved to receive a notice from Coventry last month informing her that her policy was not being offered in 2017.
With her specialists spread across different health systems in St. Louis, Schankman, a 64-year-old art consultant and interior designer, said she fears she may not be able to keep them all, given the shrinking offerings on Missouri's health insurance marketplace.
In addition to Aetna (AET), which owns Coventry, paring back its policies, UnitedHealthcare (UNH) is abandoning the market. The doctor and hospital networks for the remaining insurers will not be revealed until the enrollment period for people buying individual insurance begins Nov. 1.

"We're all sitting waiting to see what they're going to offer," said Schankman, who lives in the village of Westwood. "A lot of [insurance] companies are just gone. It's such a rush-rush-rush no one can possibly know they're getting the right policy for themselves."
Doctor and hospital switching has become a recurring scramble as consumers on the individual market find it difficult or impossible to stay on their same plans amid rising premiums and a revolving door of carriers willing to sell policies. The instability, which preceded the health law, is intensifying in the fourth year of the Obamacare exchanges for people buying insurance directly instead of through an employer.

Gee, what a surprise. Normalization of relations with Cuba hasn't led to any easing up on civil rights there.
It's now been almost two years since President Obama began easing relations with Cuba to make "the lives of ordinary Cubans a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous." How's that working out? No so well, it seems.

Responding to the extraordinary changes then taking place, the left-wing British Guardian in December 2014 predicted, "The easing of U.S. restrictions on Cuba will provide a telling case study in one of the longest running debates in foreign policy: whether sanctions or engagement represent the best way to change authoritarian regimes."

They were right. And so far, this "case study" doesn't show Obama's "engagement" works any better than sanctions. Far from it.

After the "normalization" of relations agreed to by Obama and Cuban associate dictator Raul Castro, the Cuban government made 8,616 politically motivated arrests in 2015 and 7,418 more in just the first half of this year, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights. Meanwhile, Cuban government violations of religious freedoms surged from just 220 in 2014 to 2,300 in 2015, says Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a religious rights group.

"There is no such thing as dictator-down economics," said Ana Quintana, a policy analyst who focuses on Latin America and the Western Hemisphere at the Heritage Foundation. "There is no evidence this will help the Cuban people. It will help the Cuban government and the Communist Party elite."

Ah, the irony of it.
Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system while serving as secretary of State, but the Republican presidential nominee's corporate enterprise appears to be equally vulnerable to cyberattacks.

A digital security architect on Monday evening discovered several weaknesses in the Trump Organization's email servers, which appeared to be outdated and not patched for security flaws.
“There are no security fixes. They don't have basics down,” Kevin Beaumont said on Twitter, noting several problems with the machines that run email for Trump's hotels, golf courses and other businesses.
What are the chances that the Russians have already hacked into Trump's computers?

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Watch Marco Rubio eviscerate his opponent in the Florida Senate race. He totally destroys him in one minute. Now just spend a happy minute daydreaming what he could have done with Hillary Clinton in a debate. Then return to reality.

Adam C. Smith, the political editor of the Tampa Bay Tribune is having the same daydream.
Imagine how different things could have been if they nominated Rubio for president instead of Donald Trump.

Instead of a nominee talking about America as if it were heaving its last, dying gasps, they would hear optimism and idealism....

Instead of downplaying and debating whether their nominee is a sexual assaulter or merely a pig, Republicans would have an election far more focused on Hillary Clinton's record and agenda.

Instead of talking about their nominee as the lesser of two evils, Republicans could hold up the election of this youthful Cuban-American son of a maid and bartender as evidence of America's greatness....

Instead of talking about poll after poll showing their nominee losing, I strongly suspect Republicans would be touting polls showing Rubio beating Clinton.

It's safe to assume change trumps the status quo — unless the change candidate manages on too many days to come off as a shallow and volatile.

Illegally hacked emails from the Clinton campaign dribbling out through Wikileaks clearly illustrate how Florida's junior senator worried them as a potential general election opponent....

Florida reporters most familiar with Rubio were the most skeptical about his candidacy. We know better than most how he can be just as calculating and cautious as Hillary Clinton.

But most of us also recognize Rubio is a once-in-a-generation political talent with a great story and broad appeal. Trump has proved to be a gift to Clinton. Rubio, disciplined and smart, would have been a giant barrier.

Maybe she'll find out in 2020.

Holman Jenkins is another one imagining what this campaign would look like with a different candidate.
If today’s Democratic campaign were being fought against a generic Republican without Mr. Trump’s distinct qualities and history, here’s what would dominate the news:

Mrs. Clinton was verbally convicted by the FBI chief for mishandling classified information yet somehow not formally charged.

Her aides were allowed to cut curious deals with FBI investigators that effectively swept under the rug any possible charges against them for obstruction or evidence tampering.

Those same aides have been revealed, through email leaks, to have freely mixed public and private interests, including their own and Clinton private interests, in the performance of jobs that, in some cases, saw them receiving salaries from the Clinton Foundation or the Clinton family even as they also worked for the taxpayer at the State Department.

The State Department itself, during Mrs. Clinton’s time as secretary, operated as an extension of the Clinton Foundation when it came to handling the requests and advancing the interests of important Clinton Foundation donors, some of which were foreign governments.

The latest email leak, likely at the hands of Russian hackers, shows the State Department negotiating with the FBI over the classification status of Mrs. Clinton’s private emails in search of reducing her legal jeopardy.
And don't expect peace and harmony after the election.
Here’s what we can expect after Election Day: Democrats will claim that a sweeping victory over Mr. Trump is a mandate for policies that were hardly talked about during a campaign focused on the shortcomings of Mr. Trump’s treatment of women. If Democrats don’t win the House, Mrs. Clinton will adopt President Obama’s strategy of aggressively using executive orders to expand Washington’s dominance of the private sector while painting Republicans as obstructionists.

Those who reason that Mrs. Clinton and House Speaker Paul Ryan have histories and temperaments suited to cooperation and see hope for bipartisan progress will be disappointed. Why? Because of the steady drip of email leaks. Because of new information challenging the quality and objectivity of the FBI investigation.

Mrs. Clinton, like Nixon in 1972, may not get a honeymoon no matter how big her win. The debate we aren’t having in the campaign, we will continue not to have: how to foster a modern state that doesn’t metastasize corruption, cronyism, elites helping themselves. There will be no bipartisan action on things that ail the American economy and hold back its growth. All of Washington will be enmeshed in a replay of the Watergate era, inward-looking, destructive, consumed with investigations and score-settling.

Of course, much will depend on how the vote for control of Congress goes, and whether Mrs. Clinton has an unsuspected gift for creative political leadership that somehow can give the GOP a stake in her success—as Mr. Obama so signally failed to do. Pleasant surprises are always possible. Don’t bet on one.
And Republican voters who are so angry at the GOP in Congress for not being able to overturn the structure of our government and govern from Congress will get what they wanted when they selected Trump. And they'll get it good and hard.

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Well, this is an apt metaphor.
This bus promoting Hillary Clinton must’ve been full of crap.

The vehicle was seen dumping human waste into a storm drain during a stop in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Tuesday.

The bus, owned by the Democratic National Committee, spewed enough waste that hazmat crews and police responded to the scene, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cruising the Web

For those Trumpkins who are vowing revenge against Republicans who aren't sufficiently supportive of their guy, should simply read this story and think again.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House.

As Donald Trump’s poll numbers tank, dragging the whole GOP down with him, the possibility that Pelosi could return to the speaker’s chair after a six-year absence has suddenly grown very real. No one has done anything like this since the legendary Sam Rayburn did 60 years ago, and it is still unlikely to happen. Yet the House is definitely in play, according to experts on both sides of the aisle, which means the 76-year-old Pelosi could be wielding the speaker’s gavel again come January.
It's bad enough that their beau ideal has ruined what would have been a very winnable election and virtually guaranteed that the Clintons will be returning to the White House, but do they really want to be responsible for again enthroning Pelosi in the Speaker's chair? The best argument GOP House and Senate candidates should be drumming home in the next few weeks is that a vote for them is a needed check on a Clinton White House.

Why is the administration making this public?
t's not clear what to make of NBC's weekend report that the CIA is plotting a cyberattack against the Russian government (Vladimir Putin in particular) or why sources decided to go public about it.

To summarize: The CIA has apparently been planning a cyber counterstrike to expose information intended to "embarrass" the Kremlin and "unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin." Why this has been made public is anybody's guess, but Vice President Joe Biden confirmed with a wink and a nod to Meet the Press that America is "sending a message" to Russia. When asked whether the public would know about this message, Biden responded, very Bidenly, "Hope not."

While we try to wrap our minds around the idea of the public not finding out about a cyberattack Biden is openly promoting on a Sunday talk show, NBC does get a sense of the internal conflict with the administration about whether it's possible to retaliate against Russia in any meaningful way:
Yes, proposed covert actions should definitely be leaked and discussed on public TV. And I'm sure that Putin is quaking in his boots at the thought that we would release some information that would reveal that he has "unsavory tactics." That would be a real shocker to everyone, I'm sure.

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We keep finding out such revealing details in the WikiLeaks hacking of John Podesta's email. For example, here is a tidbit from Clinton's 2008 campaign about proposed attacks on Obama.
The e-mails, which were allegedly hacked from Podesta’s account and were published by WikiLeaks today, reveal that Clinton’s 2008 campaign had focus-group tested attacks focusing on Obama’s cocaine habit, his decision to not wear an American flag lapel pin, and the time he spent in Indonesia.
They proposed to attack Obama, whom they mysteriously kept referring to as "owe-BAH-uh," for such assorted sins as not covering his heart during the national anthem, his connection to Tony Rezko, his willingness to negotiation with Iran and North Korea without preconditions, his votes against allowing people to use handguns in self-defense, his proposed tax increases for his health care idea, having a Muslim father and growing up in Indonesia, a Muslim country, his votes in illinois against health care for babies who survive an abortion and are born alive, his support for giving driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, and his use of cocaine as a young man.

It sounds just like what the Republicans were saying about Obama during that election. I guess these attacks didn't focus-group all that well since Clinton didn't use them. But it's sure interesting that these were all lines of attack that they might have been willing to use if the focus groups had demonstrated that such attacks would have worked.

USA Today reports
on how foreign governments were able to make sure that they got the result they wanted from the money they donated to the Clinton Foundation.
The nexus among private companies, Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton family foundations is closer and more complex than even Donald Trump has claimed so far.

While it is widely known that some companies and foreign governments gave money to the foundations, perhaps in an effort to gain favor, one of the key parts of the puzzle hasn’t been reported: At least a dozen of those same companies lobbied the State Department, using lobbyists who doubled as major Clinton campaign fundraisers.

Those companies gave as much as $16 million to the Clinton charities. At least four of the lobbyists they hired are “Hillblazers,” the Clinton campaign’s name for supporters who have raised $100,000 or more for her current White House race. Two of the four also raised funds for Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.
Isn't that all very convenient? What a cozy operation.

Sharyl Attkisson summarizes what we've learned from the WikiLeaks hacks and documents released through FOIA requests about how members of the media were tame mouthpieces for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. They received their marching orders and produced the stories according to those orders. It's a long and shameful list. Here are some examples:
The Atlantic

Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic, asked a Hillary Clinton aide for advance text of a speech. The aide dictated “conditions,” including “1) You in your own voice describe [Hillary’s words] as ‘muscular’,” to which Ambinder agreed. Ambinder formerly worked for ABC, CBS and National Journal.


CNBC anchor John Harwood, who moderated a presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, appears to have offered helpful thoughts and analyses to the Clinton campaign.


The Clinton campaign emailed that CNN politics producer Dan Merica and Clinton were “basically courting each other.”

In an email, Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile (then a CNN contributor) said she obtained an advance presidential debate question and passed it on to the Hillary campaign. The question was later asked in a March 13 Democratic presidential town hall including Democrat Bernie Sanders and co-hosted by CNN. Brazile says she didn’t do what she allegedly said she did in the email.

CNN political commentator Maria Cardona emailed Democratic National Committee officials a draft of her opinion piece that attacked Bernie Sanders prior to the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She invited the DNC’s editorial input and made changes accordingly, asking the DNC, “Is this better?”


Staffers at Media Matters say they “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith [formerly of Politico now editor-in-chief at],” according to Daily Caller. “Ben Smith will take stories and write what you want him to write.”

Politico chief investigative reporter Ken Vogel emailed soon-to-be-published story to Democratic National Committee official Mark Paustenbach “per agreement” and invited his “thoughts.” Paustenbach gave the draft to the DNC’s head of communications, Luis Miranda. “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach told Miranda.

In his effort to get an interview with Chelsea Clinton, Mike Allen, Politico’s chief political reporter offered to provide questions in advance, “precisely” agreed upon with a Hillary Clinton aide. “The interview would be ‘no-surprises’: I would work with you on topics, and would start with anything she wants to cover or make news on. Quicker than a network hit, and reaching an audience you care about with no risk,” Allen wrote the aide. After the email became public, Allen apologized and said he would never do what he offered to do in his email.
It's so funny to see this evidence of what conservatives have always suspected was going on.

Kyle Smith looks at some of the lessons that we've learned from this election.
1) No experience required . . . In the matchup of neophyte Sen. Barack Obama against the polymorphously experienced Sen. John McCain in 2008, Obama’s thin résumé was shrugged off by the voters, thanks in part to a complicit media that preferred to cast Obama as refreshing rather than underqualified. In 2016, though, a businessman with no political or military experience whatsoever has a shot at being elected president. Trump would be the first person never to have been either a military leader or a political officeholder ever to attain the presidency — and he turned this startling lack of engagement with the political system into an asset in a year when voters felt alienated from Washington. The idea that a true outsider could capture the White House no longer looks at all far-fetched. Some other business leader or celebrity could be a viable candidate in 2020.

2). . . but character still matters. One huge advantage held by professional politicians is that they’ve already been vetted, faced opposition research. Trump, despite having been a public figure for more than 30 years, never faced the same scrutiny, as we learned in the dizzying final weeks of the campaign. Why? Because it was never in anyone’s direct interest to take him on. If he had run for any significant lower office, the resources of a political party would have been focused on destroying him by digging up dirt from his past. Any public figure with skeletons in his closet should assume they will be not only found but fetishized.

Josh Jordan, known on Twitter as Numbers Muncher, had a great rant on Twitter yesterday to refute the idea that the media rigged the election against Donald Trump. He reminds us how the media basically helped create the Trump success in the primaries.

It is indeed shameful for a major-party candidate to seek to undermine Americans' confidence in the election, the WSJ points out that such accusations have plenty of precedents.
But the liberal freak-out over Mr. Trump’s allegedly “unprecedented” and “dangerous” remarks could use some perspective. Where would Mr. Trump possibly get the idea that the system is rigged?

Well, maybe he listened to Bernie Sanders, who in January described his “message, which says that the economy today is rigged, that it benefits the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of everybody else, that the campaign finance system that exists today is corrupt and undermining American democracy.” Or maybe Mr. Trump caught Elizabeth Warren at the Democratic convention saying “the system is rigged” or “the rigged system” five times in one speech.

President Obama and Eric Holder also regularly push the canard that voter-identification laws are attempts at racially motivated disenfranchisement. As recently as 2014, Democrats attempting to keep the Senate tried to motivate minority turnout with ads that explicitly played on black fears of intimidation.

African-American registration and voting increased, and at a faster rate than white participation, after allegedly racist North Carolina and Georgia recently passed voter ID laws, but that’s not the point. Democrats can’t sauce this goose and then complain when Mr. Trump adopts their tactics for his purposes.

As it happens, David Remnick reported in the New Yorker last year that John Kerry is convinced that the George W. Bush campaign manipulated the voting machines in 2004 to carry Ohio. The Secretary of State even used this “very personal experience” to reassure Afghans that free and fair elections are hard, even in advanced countries. We can’t recall the media assault on the top U.S. diplomat for subverting U.S. democracy with such baseless speculation, and where Mr. Trump does have a point is when he says the press corps is nearly unanimous against him.

This is usually the case with Republicans, though the difference this year is that journalists say openly that Mr. Trump is a unique threat to democracy. The First Amendment stalwarts would have more credibility if they hadn’t portrayed Mitt Romney as a plundering executive with retrograde family values, or tried to take down John McCain in 2008 with innuendo about philandering. GOP voters understand that it doesn’t matter how admirable their nominee is, the press will still trash him.

The question for the media this year is that if Mr. Trump poses a threat to the American way, where were they during the GOP primaries? Back then, progresssive partisans who now say Mr. Trump will end civilization turned out columns like “Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Republican Nomination” or “Why I’m more worried about Marco Rubio than Donald Trump.”

Many in the media cheered on Mr. Trump when it appeared that he might oppose the GOP’s traditional free-market agenda. NBC’s “Access Hollywood” tape with Mr. Trump and Billy Bush is 11 years old, and weren’t Howard Stern’s greatest hits as relevant last autumn as they are said to be now? It’s not a conspiracy theory to think that the stories coming out in late October are no accident.

Disqualifying Mr. Trump with a dump of sleazy passes at women was sure to enrage his supporters who know the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump always overreacts and thus he’s on a path to lose—and if he keeps raving about “the illusion of democracy,” as he did last week in West Palm Beach, he’ll deserve to. But in winning ugly, Mrs. Clinton and the left will pay a steep price in even more polarized and divisive politics. (links in original)

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A philosophy professor at the University of Texas as Austin writes about what it is like to be the only conservative at his university and to come out in favor of Trump.As someone who is probably the only conservative on my school's faculty that I'm aware of this passage resonated with me.
I try my best to keep politics out of the classroom. Once, a student said to me, “You’re a conservative, aren’t you?” I responded that I was disappointed that he could tell, because I try to present views on all sides fairly, keeping my own views in the background. He answered: “I know. That’s how I could tell.”
Our administration has always stressed to us that we should not be talking about our own political opinions in the classroom. It's fine for me to have a blog that students might find and read and realize that I'm conservative, but those opinions should not leach into the classroom. I really try to follow those principles. I'm especially sensitive to keeping my politics out of the class since I teach three classes on government and politics. The students in those classes are learning about how our system works and exploring their own ideologies so it would be particularly inappropriate for me to inflict my opinions on them. It's much easier to be even-handed and let them express their own views. But from what students tell me, quite a few of my colleagues are not similarly reticent. Once, when students were asking me what my political opinions were and whom I was going to vote for, I replied that the principal wanted us to keep our views private, and they just burst out laughing.

Does this report surprise anyone who has ever read anything about Hillary Clinton from her time in Arkansas and the White House? It has frequently been reported that she is an arrogant, disagreeable person who regards the secret service as beneath her and treated them rudely. And she, apparently, has not changed.
Department of State security officers found then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so unpleasant they refused to work on her security detail, a former agent claims in newly-released FBI documents.

The FBI Monday released 100 pages of documents relating to its investigation of Clinton’s private email server. The documents incorporate summaries of several interviews the FBI conducted, including one with a woman who served as an agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) during Clinton’s time as secretary of state.

During her interview, the agent said Clinton treated agents rudely and with contempt, and was so unpleasant that senior agents typically avoided being on her security detail.

“[Redacted] explained that CLINTON’s treatment of DS agents on her protective detail was so contemptuous that many of them sought reassignment or employment elsewhere,” the interview summary says. “Prior to CLINTON’s tenure, being an agent on the Secretary of State’s protective detail was seen as an honor and privilege reserved for senior agents. However, by the end of CLINTON’s tenure, it was staffed largely with new agents because it was difficult to find senior agents willing to work for her.”
Note that this isn't some gossip from unidentified Secret Service agents, the excuse been used to dismiss similar stories in the past, but a report from one government official to the FBI during an investigation. Think about the classlessness of someone who would be rude to people who have sworn to literally protect her with their very lives. Sure, Donald Trump is a boorish vulgarian, but Hillary has her own faults that should be appalling Democrats, but so few Democrats will speak out against her.

Rather than being such a brilliant businessman as he claims, Donald Trump makes most of his money these days from licensing his name to other businessmen. And what I've been wondering from the start of this inglorious adventure is how his antics on the political stage will affect that aspect of his business. Are the people who can afford to shell out the big bucks to stay at a hotel with his name on it or buy his steaks and ties going to still be willing to do so when his name has become anathema to so very many? Apparently not. The actual data is difficult to acquire for privately-owned businesses, but there are some signs that his campaign might be hurting the bottom line.
Across the country, voters alarmed by the tenor of Mr. Trump’s campaign and the emerging accounts of his personal conduct are engaging in spontaneous, unorganized and inconspicuous acts of protest that take direct aim at perhaps his most prized possession: his brand name....

It is difficult to measure the economic impact of such protests on Mr. Trump’s far-flung businesses. His holdings are privately controlled, and he has a well-documented history of exaggerating his financial performance. Amanda Miller, the vice president of marketing for the Trump Organization, said in a statement on Sunday that the Trump brand “remains incredibly strong, and we are seeing tremendous success across business units.”

The nonstop exposure provided by the presidential campaign has its upsides: Sales at Mr. Trump’s winery in Charlottesville are up 55 percent, said Kerry Woolard, its general manager. A few customers have headed there straight from his political rallies, she said.

But there are signs of a strain: An online travel company, Hipmunk, has found that bookings for Trump hotels on its site fell 58 percent during the first half of 2016, compared with the same period a year ago. Eric Danziger, the chief executive of Trump Hotels, said that data from sites like Hipmunk “does not provide an accurate representation of our performance.”

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This is how ignorant of history today's millennials are according to a recent study by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
The survey also revealed a general lack of historical knowledge, especially among young adults. According to the report, one-third (32 percent) of millennials believed that more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.

While I wait anxiously to see if the Cubs hitting can recover tonight, this made me laugh out loud.