Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cruising the Web

Rich Lowry examines the sort of logic that motivated the Clinton State Department to refuse to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group.
State Department officials worried about giving Boko Haram more publicity. This is perverse, especially in retrospect. All the celebrity tweeters about the kidnapping, including the first lady, are now seeking to give Boko Haram and its latest crime as much publicity as possible, on the assumption that it will hurt the group and help its victims.

If triggering our counterterrorism laws and isolating and denying resources to terrorist groups is really a boon to these groups, we should reconsider our entire counterterrorism apparatus. Who knew that the most effective way to fight terrorists is to ignore them as they steadily up the ante of their violence, as Boko Haram has through the years?

Former Bush-administration ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell said on Fox News Sunday that he and other Nigeria experts opposed the designation because it would limit contacts with Boko Haram and thus the potential for negotiations. And who would want to preemptively cut an al-Qaeda-linked Islamic supremacist group — devoted to the imposition of sharia law and to the murder of Christians and insufficiently zealous Muslims — out of any peace process?

Jim Geraghty responds to Democratic and media talking points that all the questions on Benghazi have already been answered. Not at all.

Some Democratic strategists are starting to worry about the hypocrisy of accepting money from billionaire Tom Steyer. They might worry, but they'll cash the checks and accept his help.

Thomas Sowell ponders the irrationality of putting colleges in charge of investigating rape allegations that occur on their campuses.
There seems to be a full-court press on to get colleges to “do something” about rape on campus.

But there seems to be remarkably little attention paid to two crucial facts: (1) rape is a crime and (2) colleges are not qualified to be law-enforcement institutions.

Why are rapists not reported to the police and prosecuted in a court of law?

Apparently this is because of some college women who say that they were raped and are dissatisfied with a legal system that does not automatically take their word for it against the word of someone who has been accused and denies the charge.

There seem to be a dangerously large number of people who think that the law exists to give them whatever they want — even when that means denying other people the same rights that they claim for themselves.
This is what Harry Reid's leadership has wrought in the Senate as he blocked amendments to the bipartisan energy bill because some of those amendments would have passed embarrassing the Obama administration.
Yet the White House and Mr. Reid's dominant liberal wing won't take the chance that a bipartisan coalition might pass these amendments, most of which the House has passed or soon would. President Obama would thus face a veto decision that would expose internal Democratic divisions. So Mr. Reid shut down the amendment process. Republicans then responded by refusing to provide the 60 votes necessary to clear a filibuster and vote on the underlying bill.

It's important to understand how much Mr. Reid's tactics have changed the Senate. Not too long ago it was understood that any Senator could get a floor vote if he wanted it. The minority party, often Democrats, used this right of amendment to sponsor votes that would sometimes put the majority on the spot. It's called politics, rightly understood. This meant the Senate debated national priorities and worked its bipartisan will. Harry Reid's Senate has become a deliberate obstacle to democratic accountability.
He has certainly changed what I teach when I teach my AP Government and Politics students about the differences between the Senate and the House. Just a few years ago, there was even an essay question on the AP test for which the students had to know that the House could limit amendments while the Senate allowed unlimited, non-germane amendments. Not any longer. Now the majority will not even allow any amendments. So now I have to tell the kids that there is this obscure maneuver whereby the Senate Majority Leader can "fill the tree" and block amendments. Geesh.

The New York Times catches on to what conservatives have been talking about how Obamacare has decidedly narrowed the choice of doctors and hospitals that people will have in their health care plan. But hey, it's not a bug, it's a feature.
“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”
Democrats might want to explain to the public why they're in favor of choice except when it comes to picking your doctor or your child's school.

Matthew Continetti profiles Anna Wintour and Michelle Obama's gushing tribute to her.
We are not betraying any industry secrets when we say that politicians have a tendency to flatter and woo the donors on whom their livelihood depends. Even by political standards, though, Michelle Obama’s tribute to Anna Wintour was cloying, fulsome, and unctuous. It was also untrue. “I know that Anna hates being the center of attention,” Obama said, which is ridiculous, considering Wintour has been the basis for one movie, starred in another (nonfiction) one, appeared on the Late Night with Seth Myers a few days after the Met gala, and has visited the sets of Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, 60 Minutes, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Entertainment Tonight. She is also in the habit of being photographed constantly. Camera-shy Anna Wintour is not.

“Fashion isn’t an exclusive club for the few who can attend a runway show or shop at certain stores,” Michelle Obama went on, in what must have come as a shock to the exclusive club to which Obama was speaking, the club that meets seasonally in Manhattan, London, Paris, and Milan, that affects a knowing attitude toward the garishly attired models striding goofily down the runway, that shops not at Target and Wal-Mart, not at Macy’s or Bloomingdales, but at Versace and Valentino, at Dolce & Gabbana and Donna Karan.

The first lady would have us believe that fashion is for the masses, for the nameless yokels who have yet to visit the Anna Wintour Costume Center, who have not had their consciousness raised. The dummies. “Maybe they’ll come initially because they love clothes and they love shopping,” Obama said, “but then they’ll learn that fashion isn’t just about what we wear but that fashion is also a business, it is an art; it’s a career that involves science, engineering, accounting, marketing, and so much more.” So much more, like preening and posing, Blue Steel and Magnum, and the piano-key necktie.

The point of view of Michelle Obama’s speech can only be described as elitist. Her argument seems to be the following: By looking at the tattered fabrics, at the castoffs and the queenly gowns that Anna Wintour has bought for the Met, young people whose concerns are only superficial — who are interested only in how they look, in what they wear, in where they shop — will be elevated, will be made sophisticated, will be fashioned, so to speak, into cosmopolitans.

Here are 10 interesting maps that explain the 2014 elections and why I live in the most important county in this year's election.

Democrats have basically admitted that they can't run on their record.

Just what one needs if one attends Harvard's Kennedy School of Government is an orientation course on Checking Your Privilege 101.

Eleanor Clift doubles down on her own stupidity, insisting that Ambassador Stevens was not murdered in Benghazi because he died of smoke inhalation.

A cache of letters that Jacqueline Kennedy wrote to an Irish priest have been published and reveal what she thought of her straying husband.