Monday, September 28, 2015

Cruising the Web

I can't see that John Boehner's resignation will make that much of a difference except removing him personally from public acrimony. But whoever follows him will face the same problems. The Republicans don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and don't hold the White House. The GOP in the House will still be divided among those who want to go to the wall on issues dividing the parties and those who don't want to risk being blamed for a government shutdown. Personally, I don't see why anyone would want to step up for the acrimony, aggravation, and obloquy from all sides. As the NYT writes,
Whoever takes over will not find the job any easier. In fact, it could be tougher with emboldened conservatives applying tremendous pressure to confront Democrats and the White House more than Mr. Boehner was willing or able to do. And Mr. Boehner, 65, had the stature, relationships and internal support to resist the rebellion until this point; the incoming speaker will to some degree owe members of the right flank for a job that would not be open were it not for them.
And anyone who campaigns to get the support of the more conservative bloc promising anything differently will soon find out how small the needle was that Boehner was trying to thread.

As the WSJ writes,
This is the moment for the rebellion caucus to put up or stand down. The Members should organize behind a candidate of their own, put their tactics to a vote among their colleagues, and abide by the result. The worst outcome would be if they continue to use a threat to depose the next Speaker as a way to dictate strategy from the caboose.

Perhaps without Mr. Boehner as flak catcher, Republicans will learn the virtue of political patience. The model is Ms. Pelosi in 2007, when she was under intense pressure from the left to defund the Iraq war and stop the surge. Instead of shutting down the government in protest, she bided her time with the priority of electing a Democratic President in 2008. Then she fulfilled 40 years of progressive dreams.

Republicans now have a similar opportunity, assuming they don’t set up Mr. Obama to hand off the Presidency to Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Many voters really are as angry as the backbenchers claim—a Fox News poll this week showed that three of five Republicans felt “betrayed” by the party. But promoting designed-to-fail gimmicks like defunding Planned Parenthood and then blaming “the establishment” for the inevitable failure is cynical. It will also play into the hands of a Democratic nominee who will say the country needs a check on a reckless GOP Congress.

If Mr. Boehner is a casualty of a polarized Washington, how and when politicians relinquish power is sometimes a better measure of their character than how they use it. Mr. Boehner never regarded the Speakership as a personal sinecure, and the critics who demanded his head could learn from his example.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air
links to this story from the Daily Mail about what life is like in a town where a lot of the Middle Eastern refugees have been settled. First of all, it seems that those being settled there are not all Syrians.
They have left good jobs back in Karachi, Pakistan, and now want to be Europeans.

In late July the three slipped into Germany with their wives and children, using illegal documents. They live together in a five-bedroom house, rented for them by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, a 40-minute drive away from Giessen, which is home to the biggest migrants’ camp in the country.‘We paid a trafficking agent for false visas to fly here to Germany,’ says 34-year-old Atif. ‘We claimed asylum and came to Giessen camp with other migrants. Three weeks ago, because we had families, they gave us a proper home.’

Atif is well-dressed and speaks perfect English. He used to be a transport manager at Karachi airport and is from a well-to-do family. Between mouthfuls of curry, he adds: ‘But there is violence between political gangs in Karachi. Lots of people are leaving for Europe. The trafficker decided that Germany was the place for us because it is welcoming refugees.’

Yet the raw truth is that Atif is not fleeing war or persecution. He is one of thousands of economic migrants getting into Germany as the EU’s immigration crisis grows bigger each day.
But the fact that not all those benefiting are not the refugees from war-torn Syria is not the biggest problem. German residents are learning that they've just imported crime and threats with these new immigrants.
Yesterday, the Mail reported how social workers and women’s groups in Giessen wrote a letter to the local state parliament claiming that rape and child abuse were rife in the refugee camp. The allegations were corroborated by Atif over his curry. ‘The camp is dangerous,’ he agreed. ‘Men of different nationalities fight and women are attacked.’

Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes… they won’t go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there.

The letter says the camp, far from being a peaceful haven for those fleeing war, is a dangerous melting-pot, where there have been ‘numerous rapes and sexual assaults, and forced prostitution’.

There are even reports of children being raped and subjected to sexual assault, it adds.

‘Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes... they won’t go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there. Even in daylight, a walk through the camp is fraught with fear.’

Controversially, the letter suggests that in the migrants’ culture, women are viewed differently: ‘It is a fact that women and children are unprotected. This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as “fair game”.’

Many migrant women have fled here to escape forced marriages or female genital mutilation, which are rife in some African and Middle Eastern countries. ‘They believe they have found safety in Germany,’ says the letter, ‘and realise it’s not the case.’
And German citizens are learning that they need to modify their own behavior to be safe in their communities.
In other parts of the country, Germans are being told to adapt their lifestyles when migrants arrive.

Police in the Bavarian town of Mering, where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped this month, have warned parents not to allow their children outside unaccompanied.

Girls and women have been told not to walk home alone from the railway station because it is near a migrant centre where the rapist may live.

At Pocking, another well-kept Bavarian town, the headmaster of the grammar school wrote to parents telling them not to let their daughters wear skimpy clothing. This was to avoid ‘misunderstandings’ with 200 migrants who were put up in the school’s gymnasium over the summer, before being moved on this month.
The letter to parents said the migrants were ‘mainly Muslim, and speak Arabic. They have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be warn... revealing tops or blouses, short skirts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings.’
How are we going to vet the immigrants that President Obama has said the United States will take? It sounds like an impossible task? As Shaw writes,
Who could have predicted all of this? Pretty much anyone who wasn’t caught up in the fairy tale. But we’re still on track to take in tens of thousands ourselves here in the United States of Barack Obama and John Kerry get their way. Keep an eye on Germany in the weeks and months to come. That’s going to be happening over here, and probably sooner rather than later.

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John Podhoretz analyzes the Clinton methodology of surviving a scandal.
If the plan works, she’ll come down to earth slowly and then be buoyed up again later on, as the lack of a truly acceptable alternative becomes clearer. And, more important, as the tangle of potential problems surrounding her e-mail system just keeps getting more and more confusing.

Hillary has spent the year seeing her reputation compromised by the drip-drip-drip of scandal. But that drip-drip-drip is deliberate. It’s a way of releasing damaging information in the least damaging way, and it’s been carefully designed by her and her team in response to various congressional subpoenas and judicial orders.

They, and the administration she served, are dribbling out information in a haphazard manner that is designed to keep the drips from pooling together in a way that would eventually cause a flood.

Or, to try a different kind of elemental metaphor, there’s a lot of smoke but there’s no discernible fire. And that’s entirely on purpose....

Trying to assemble a coherent story from the information we have is like assembling a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that’s missing 700 pieces.

Neither Bill nor Hillary is the type to wish away trouble or pretend it doesn’t exist. More important, if I know my Bill and Hillary, I think they probably expected something like this would happen.

That was the story of Bill Clinton’s career, after all.

They must have known Hillary the Candidate would be brought down to earth after running 40 or 50 points ahead, in part because they must also have known what was going to bring her down to earth.
It’s their Foundation, after all.

Their joint life experience offers proof that a candidate can weather scandals and reputational slings and arrows that would take down most other people. Bill survived the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal to win the Democratic nomination in 1992 and the Whitewater financial scandal to win a second presidential term in 1996.

In both cases, Hillary’s conduct was crucial to his survival and ultimate triumph. And Bill is surely attempting to return the favor by working to guide her through the brambles along her own path to the White House.

So what’s the strategy here?

First, scare serious rivals away. Her 50-60 point lead in the polls throughout 2014 and early 2015 didn’t happen by accident. It was the result of a slow and steady quiet buildup that began from the moment she announced her departure from the State Department in 2013.

Second, manage the scandal you know is coming. A Congressional investigation into her conduct during and after the US consulate in Benghazi was stormed in 2012 had been ongoing for two years before the State Department was forced to concede it did not possess tens of thousands of subpoenaed e-mails. Those e-mails were on a personal server Mrs. Clinton had set up just as she was beginning her tenure as secretary of state in 2009.

She knew those e-mails were under subpoena. She just didn’t let Congress know about the server. The information came out in late March 2015, by which time the window to begin a serious challenge to her had all but closed.

Since then, it’s all been drip drip drip, in classic Nixonian fashion — what Nixon lawyer John Dean called a “modified limited hangout.” First she said the server had been destroyed....

Third, keep lying. These are what is known, in technical parlance, as “lies.” But there isn’t a single big whopping lie (yet) that makes the entire pack comprehensible. It looks bad, and it smells bad, and everybody knows it. But not bad enough to cause a full-scale Democratic panic.

And if she can just keep it all at this dribbling level, the lack of clarity will continue. The bet here is that Congress and the Justice Department will never be able to fill in the jigsaw puzzle sufficiently to figure out the whole.

It’s the Clinton way. Worked before. Worth a try now. She’ll go into election day 2016 with close to 48% of the vote whatever happens — unless she’s indicted or in jail beforehand. And given the past, who’d bet on that?
Geez. Just contemplate the idea that the country could again elect this couple that already has in place a model of managing scandals because they are so very experienced at doing so. It boggles my mind.

Now Hillary has come up with a new defense - it's all on her lawyers. And she just misleads about the rest.
Even giving her the benefit of all doubts, Hillary Clinton can’t tell the American people whether she returned all of her official e-mails to the State Department, because she simply doesn’t know.

Or does she? Missing from Clinton’s 30,000 returned e-mails were at least 15 e-mails with Sidney Blumenthal that Blumenthal provided to congressional investigators. Clinton has never explained this discrepancy. Add to that a recent Associated Press report that another tranche of previously unidentified e-mails — this one a series of exchanges with David Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command, between January and February 2009 — were recently turned over by the Defense Department to the State Department inspector general.

Rather than explain the latest gap, Mrs. Clinton remarkably cites it as evidence of her compliance with the law. Brushing aside her e-mails with Blumenthal, Tony Blair, and other contacts outside the U.S. government, Clinton speciously told Todd: “All of the e-mails that I sent were intended to be in the government systems if they were work-related. That’s why I sent them to people at their work addresses.” The whole reason we know about the e-mail chain with General Petraeus, she claimed, “is because it was on a government server.”

The real reason we know about the e-mail chain with General Petraeus is that someone at the Defense Department blew the whistle on Clinton’s public claims of full transparency. It is not because Clinton complied with federal law; her compliance has been woefully inadequate. By relying on officials outside the State Department to preserve her e-mails, Clinton failed in her basic duty under the Federal Records Act

And it's fitting that, as Secretary of State, weakened and permanently damaged the department's main digital information security office.
The IRM was established in 2002 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell after the 9/11 Commission identified failure among government agencies like the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense and the State Department to exchange anti-terrorist intelligence. Powell and his successor, Condeleeza Rice, built the IRM to ensure secure communications among all U.S. embassies and consulates.

As Clinton entered the State Department, the IRM was the central hub for all of the department’s IT communication systems.

Geisel explained IRM’s primary role in one report, noting its “personnel are responsible for the management and oversight of the department’s information systems, which includes the department’s unclassified and classified networks” and “handles all aspects of information security for the department’s intelligence systems.”

Clinton instead allowed the IRM to degenerate into an office without a mission or strategy, according to multiple IG reports issued during and after her four years as the nation’s chief diplomat.

The seriousness of Clinton’s failure was summarized in a 2012 audit that warned, “the weakened security controls could adversely affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems” used by U.S. officials around the world.

Geisel’s July 2013 inspection report issued after Clinton’s departure was so damning that the IRM became the butt of caustic comments throughout the IT world.

Donald Trump will have to turn his vitriol now to Politico for ridiculing his "size fixation." No, they're not making a Rich Lowry-style accusation, but they're talking about how obsessed Trump is with the reporting of the size of the crowds at his public appearances.
Trump’s very public interest in attendance figures distinguishes a campaign that benefits from perceptions of its own energy and momentum — and that refuses to hire pollsters, instead measuring its success by whatever numbers are at hand.

“He’s completely obsessed by it,” said a person familiar with Trump’s thinking about crowd estimates. “He believes that it is a real-time measure of how he’s doing. The fact that he has consistently drawn huge crowds is a matter of pride to him.”

According to a Trump associate, there are strategic reasons for touting, and inflating, crowd sizes. It telegraphs to voters that there is a movement behind Trump, and the buzz helps ensure that television cameras, the lifeblood of a campaign fueled by free media, continue to show up at his events.
That's why he gets furious at any report that doesn't come up with the same estimate of crowd size that he has or even dares to note that there are empty seats at an appearance. He also relies on online polling to tout how well he's doing and get angry with media outlets that are not similarly enamored of unreliable online polling.
Trump’s size fixation has been a hallmark of his candidacy from the start. He repeatedly claimed that thousands of people showed up for his June campaign launch at Trump Tower in New York, while press reports put the number in the hundreds.

Even that figure appears to be inflated by paid actors. The accusation that Trump packed the launch was first lobbed by Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone, who pointed to a now-deleted Instagram photo from the event posted by actor Domenico Del Giacco.

The campaign denied any effort to pack the event with fake supporters, but the Hollywood Reporter obtained a June 12 email from Extra Mile Casting offering area actors $50 to show up at the launch and “to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement.”

At a Michigan rally in August, Trump claimed that 1,000 supporters were stuck outside the venue trying to get in. But The Washington Post reported, “only around 25 people showed up to see if they could access the sold-out speech.”

At a July 11 rally in Phoenix, Trump attracted about 4,000 supporters, according to staff at the Phoenix Convention Center — roughly twice the room’s official capacity of 2,000 people.

Before the event, a Trump campaign source told POLITICO that a total of about 10,000 tickets had been dispensed online for the event. But Trump’s campaign quickly published a photo of the crowd to social media with the caption, “This is what 15,000 people look like.”

Trump repeated the 15,000 figure in subsequent media availabilities.

“This crowd today blows away anything that Bernie Sanders has gotten,” he said at the time. Sanders’ biggest crowd at that point had been 10,000.

After POLITICO noted the discrepancy from the Phoenix event in an August article, Trump tweeted, “I had 15,000 people in Phoenix but @politico said ‘the rooms capacity is just over 2000.’ But said Bernie Sanders had 11,000 in same room.”

In fact, Sanders had attracted 11,000 people to a larger space at the same convention center complex.
A campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a question posed by POLITICO at the time about where Trump’s 15,000 figure had come from.

Said the person with knowledge of Trump’s thinking, “It came from his head. He’s done this before he was involved in politics. It’s all about show.”
Think of any leader you may admire from history and just picture that leader so obsessing over reports of crowd size at his public appearances. Or try to picture that leader watching news reports and then spending the evening tweeting, or whatever the equivalent would have been in an earlier era, attacks at media critics. This is not the way a true leader operates.

Ironically, for all Trump's criticism of Rubio as being part of the Gang of Eight, Rubio has been tougher on illegal immigration than Trump. If Trumpkins insist that we ignore past positions that their idol has taken, shouldn't the same be true for all the other candidates? Shouldn't we just concentrate on where they are now? And Rubio at least says he's learned from his mistakes. Trump just denies that he believed anything differently.

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Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report has a perceptive post mortem on what we can learn from the departure of Scott Walker.
2. SuperPacs can only do so much: Much has been written about how the ubiquitous SuperPACs and their insatiable appetites are gobbling up traditional campaigns, the parties, and the candidates. However, they can only do so much. As we learned this week, the Walker campaign was reportedly burning through a ton of cash and simply wasn’t able to sustain its large frontrunner-sized staff without frontrunner-sized hard dollars.

3. There’s no such thing as warm-up: There was a time, way back in the olden days before network TV embeds and Twitter and iPhone videos, that presidential candidates got a chance to “warm up” before the campaign started in earnest. They were able to practice their stump speech, introduce their story and, most importantly, fine-tune and fix any flaws in relative anonymity. Those days are obviously gone. Walker may never be ready for the big leagues, but spending some time at spring training wouldn’t have hurt.
So where do we stand now? She quotes a GOP pollster saying, “I’ve been wrong about everything else this year. Even I don’t trust what I have to say.” I can well understand that feeling. I don't know how pollsters model turnout for the primaries. Will there be increased turnout as indicated by the vast audiences watching the debates? Or is that just curiosity and unlikely to turn into an expanded electorate? Who knows? It's all guesswork, but such assumptions will drastically affect poll results. Still Walters has some thoughts that sound about right.
1. But, it is safe to say that the field is dividing itself pretty cleanly into those who want to reform the party and those who want to resist reform. The Bush/Kasich/Christie/Rubio wing argues that the only way the GOP stops its Electoral College losing streak is to expand the base to include younger, more diverse voters. That wing is anywhere from 55-60 percent of the party. The Trump/Carson/Cruz/Huckabee wing of the party resists the premise that the only way to win a national election is to accept and adapt to the current demographic and social/cultural changes taking place in the country on everything from gay marriage to immigration to so-called ‘PC language’. That wing of the party probably makes up 40-45 percent of the GOP electorate. Carly Fiorina, like Walker, straddles both worlds. The questions now are: 1. which candidate (s) ultimately emerge from each wing? 2. Which wing ultimately emerges the winner in Cleveland next summer?
She posits that Cruz will be the one to emerge from the anti-establishment group, but the "establishment" group is still uncertain. And she notes what I've noticed - how rapidly and widespread the commentary criticizing Fiorina's time at HP has been in the past week. For example, Steven Rattner writes in the NYT that yes, "Carly Fiorina Really Was That Bad." Ouch.
3. Carly Fiorina is on fire, but it’s amazing how quickly – and intensely – the blowback on her record at HP has been. It’s a liability to be sure. And, for someone who likes to attack Hillary Clinton for a lack of accomplishments, Fiorina’s depiction of her resume has some serious holes as well. Even so, is her tenure at HP more of a liability than, say, the statements made by Trump, Huckabee, Cruz and Carson on immigration, gay marriage or Islam? That’s for GOP voters to decide. But, for a party still suffering a case of Romney-induced political PTSD, a CEO who laid off thousands and took a multi-million dollar golden parachute she may just be the right candidate with the wrong resume.
I like her when I listen to her, but I can't help but think that it doesn't help someone when her only qualification for leadership is criticized far and wide as a major failure. She'd have such a better argument if she'd run something else in between leaving HP and now.

Matthew Continetti read the excuses coming out of Scott Walker's former campaign manager, Rick Wiley, and is not impressed with a political consultant who immediately runs to the media to badmouth his former employer.
One reason Republicans hate political consultants is that so many of them seem to have absolutely no conception of loyalty or reticence or even self-awareness. Scott Walker is a talented governor who won three elections in a blue state. He deserves the respect of his employees, who were happy to spin best-case scenarios for him as long as the money was good. Now, though, Walker’s campaign manager is suddenly out of a job. So what does he do? Like a true Washingtonian, he absolves himself of responsibility for the collapse while explaining to the press—and to his future clients—that it was entirely the governor’s fault.

“I think people just look at it and say, ‘Wow! Yeah, you know, it’s like he’s a governor and he was in the recall and blah, blah, blah—he’s ready,” Wiley told Politico. “It’s just not like that. It is really, really difficult. … I’m just saying, you know, like it’s a f—ing bitch, man. It really is.” Poor baby—who knew presidential campaigns were tough?

I’m not a consultant and I didn’t support Walker. But even I recognize that it’s incumbent on political professionals, who reap great sums of money for advising and crafting messages for candidates, to inform their employers of the rigors and requirements of the trail. To level with them when the situation is dire. To rehearse answers to questions they surely will be asked. And if the candidate is unreceptive to this advice, if he turns out not to be the man the consultant thought he was, if the whole affair is “really, really difficult,” then these professionals have an option: quit. Return the check. It’s not like there are no other candidates this cycle. Find someone you believe in. Work for him.

And if you stick with your candidate, and he continues to disappoint you, and ultimately he fails—well, shut up. Please, shut up. Fall on your sword. It’s the honorable thing. You don’t have to scurry to the coffee shop to call Dan Balz. You don’t have to unleash the furies of hell on Twitter, and say the candidate lost because he didn’t listen to you. Republicans have Bush. What they need is Bushido.

Using the Washington Post to re-litigate internal fights is unseemly. Using the Washington Post to blame the candidate? That’s disgusting. “We didn’t have a spending problem,” Wiley told the Post. “We had a revenue problem.” Got that? It’s not the highly paid consultant’s fault—it’s the candidate’s for not bringing in the donations. We wouldn’t want people to think otherwise: That would limit Wiley’s earnings potential!

This outpouring of back-stabbing vindictiveness and self-seeking puts me in mind of the 2008 McCain campaign, when strategists Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace leaked disparaging material about their vice presidential candidate even before Election Day. The tell-all mentality became more pronounced as soon as Sarah Palin was back in Alaska. Schmidt and Wallace became popular with the liberal press because they went out of their way to belittle and criticize their boss’ choice of running mate behind his back. What courage. Schmidt’s prize was an appointment as a MSNBC contributor and a ticket to the premiere of Game Change. Wallace got to listen to Whoopi Goldberg for an hour five days a week—more punishment than reward if you ask me. She has since been fired.
I get that Wiley feels he has to firm up his own professional reputation after such a flame-out. I can't imagine any politician wanting to hire him after learning about how he blew Walker's campaign. But is going public trashing Walker really the way to convince potential future employers that he would be a loyal campaign manager? Who wants to hire someone with an established reputation as a snitch who will stick the shiv into the candidate if things don't go well?

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Frederick Hess of AEI reports on how far the censorship of the left has extended.
Colleges keep finding new ways to define “hate crime” down. This week, more than 140 students and faculty at Wesleyan University in Connecticut have signed a petition to defund the school’s newspaper for running a student op-ed that (sort of) criticized the Black Lives Matter movement. The petition will be the subject of a university town-hall meeting next Sunday.

The column had the temerity to suggest that the drumbeat of vitriol that Black Lives Matter has unleashed on police may be sparking violence against police officers. Eager to take offense, the protesters attacked the Wesleyan Argus for failing “to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color.” They’re boycotting the paper (and seeking to have it defunded) until their demands are met. Their demands, as reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, include that “space on the newspaper’s front page should be devoted to submissions from minority voices” and “diversity training should be provided to members of all campus publications.”

The reaction of the student government to all this has been predictably craven....

There are at least three notable takeaways from all this. The first is just how tepid is the column to which the protesters have taken offense. This matters, because it shows how powerfully the Left is circumscribing permissible speech. If this kind of gentle rebuke ignites a firestorm, it’s all too easy for campus journalists to decide they’ll steer away from anything but cheery praise when it comes to Black Lives Matter.

Second is how ludicrous the demands have gotten. The protesters aren’t asking for a chance to respond. They’re not pointing to any factual errors. They’re pointing to the mere fact of a tepidly critical op-ed as evidence of institutional racism — and demanding an appropriately heavy-handed response.

Third is how hopeless is the response of student government. Subject to and buffeted by all the biases of the moment, the student leaders have made clear that they’re eager to help lead the call for reeducating the campus media.
Every example that I read of this move by leftists to shut down all voices with whom they might disagree is so very depressing. Just imagine when these activists get a bit older and turn their eyes to government censorship.

As Froma Harrop wrote last week, these movements to censor all speech that makes them the least bit uncomfortable. are harming students.
But the concern here goes beyond the issue of free speech. What do these bizarre definitions of sexual or racial harassment do to the students' heads? They, too, are free speech, but when they are shielded from counterarguments, they take on the air of "facts." The students leave school with "givens" that are not givens 5 feet outside the campus gates.

Case in point is the story of Ellen Pao. A hotshot Harvard-educated lawyer, Pao sued her Silicon Valley venture capital employer for gender discrimination. As evidence, she cited a partner's referring to a porn star on a private jet.

Where would an otherwise worldly woman come to see a mere mention of porn-watching as evidence of sexual bias? No need to answer.

Brown University just issued another survey "finding" that about 1 in 4 of its undergraduate women have suffered "nonconsensual sexual contact." It's hard to know what the heck that means, but you wonder how the throngs of unescorted high-school girls roaming nearby Thayer Street manage to survive the evening.

Brown offers an exhaustive list of advice for men wanting to counter sexual violence. Item No. 9: "Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner."

Firstly, most pornography is legal, and school administrators have no business telling their scholars what is permissible reading.

Secondly, do the students have any time left to read Shakespeare? Come to think of it, they'd better not. ("Frailty, thy name is woman!")

Over at Wesleyan University, "advocates" are trying to close the student newspaper for publishing an opinion piece critical of the Black Lives Matter movement....

I actually feel sorrier for the students goaded into making tyrannical demands than I do the author of the piece. That's because, to quote Shakespeare again, "the evil that men do lives after them" -- especially in the Internet age.

College kids have forever made angry, unwise remarks. In olden days, that speech would end up forgotten, buried in a landfill on the yellowing pages of the student rag. Now the public cries are forever archived in the great cloud and easily retrieved by prospective employers and mothers-in-law.

And when a law firm, for example, Googles the name of the graduate who said an article mildly critical of her advocacy group made her feel "unsafe," it might very well regard her as a risk not worth taking.

College administrators could spare themselves later heartache if they made clear from day one that no one has the right not to be offended. They might start with the professors.

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Mona Charen provides a little history lesson about Dorothy Day the Catholic activist whom Pope Francis praised for her work for the oppressed.
Let’s assume that Dorothy Day’s motives were as pure as Pope Francis described: Does having the right motives excuse everything?

Day’s interpretation of the gospel led her to oppose the U.S. entry into World War II, which would arguably have led to a world dominated by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. How would that have worked out for the poor and the oppressed?

Though her social views were heterodox for a leftist, Day was a supporter of Fidel Castro, and found very kind things to say about North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh. She visited Leonid Brezhnev in the Kremlin, and lent her moral support to other Communist regimes despite their persecution of Catholics and others.

Of Castro, Day said, “I am most of all interested in the religious life of the people and so must not be on the side of a regime that favors the extirpation of religion. On the other hand, when that regime is bending all its efforts to make a good life for the people, . . . one cannot help but be in favor of the measures taken.”

According to the Black Book of Communism, between 1959 and the late 1990s, more than 100,000 (out of about 10 million) Cubans spent time in the island’s gulag. Between 15,000 and 19,000 were shot. One of the first was a young boy in Che Guevara’s unit who had stolen a little food. As for quality of life — it has declined compared with its neighbors. In 1958, Cuba had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
Now, not so much.

But is it any surprise that a Pope who traveled to Cuba and said and did nothing about the dissidents who have been arrested in Cuba, some right before his visit?

James Lileks ponders the cries of leftists to fix income inequality.
The “rich” are never people like the Clintons, who acquired their wealth by the sweat of their brows, toiling in the harsh icy policy-mines of Davos. They’re not the guys who make a bundle off some clever bit of tech, sell the company, then pledge to spend a fraction of their fortune on outfitting polar bears with inflatable vests to help them survive their imminent inundation in the boiling waters of the Arctic. They’re not people like John Kerry, who married his way into a pile of money derived from a ubiquitous condiment; they’re not people like Apple CEO Tim Cook, because c’mon, he’s gay. They’re not the Kennedys, because the Kennedys could strike oil on their Hyannis Port compound, pay African orphans a dollar a day to work the pumps by hand, build a pipeline that ran through a protected Monarch-butterfly preserve, and the media would still hang halos over their heads because JFK was martyred in Dallas by a free-floating toxic cloud of right-wing hatred that inhabited the brain of a well-meaning Marxist.

These are rich people, but they’re good rich people, because you can imagine any one of them writing a check to Planned Parenthood with the words “keep up the excellent mammograms” in the memo line.

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And now a school district is banning the game of tag in order to preserve the "physical and emotional safety of all students." Gosh, how did children ever survive recess for the past 100 years?

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Ah, the Russians continue their rewriting of history. Do they really think anyone will buy this?
The Russian ambassador to Poland has sparked outrage for putting some of the blame for World War II on Poland, creating a new spat amid deepening tensions between the Slavic nations.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreev on Friday described the Soviet's 1939 invasion of Poland as an act of self-defense, not aggression. The comment prompted Poland's Foreign Ministry to declare Saturday that the ambassador "undermines historical truth" and seems to be trying to justify Stalinist crimes....

In an interview broadcast on the private TVN station, Andreev also said: "Polish policy led to the disaster in September 1939, because during the 1930s Poland repeatedly blocked the formation of a coalition against Hitler's Germany. Poland was therefore partly responsible for the disaster which then took place."

This is a very cool graphic of the history of American elections. You can get a sense of how the parties and the regions they appealed to have changed over time. While our red/blue map seems like it was written in stone, it is actually quite recent.

538 has some interesting stats looking at the average age of people by the name they have.