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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Cruising the Web

President Obama thought he had a very funny line making fun of GOP candidates complaining about the CNBC debate moderators.
Yeah, because Obama has done so well keeping the respect of the Chinese and Russian leaders. And Obama himself refused in 2007 to attend a debate that was co-sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Charles C. W. Cooke ponders the Democratic argument that the Republicans are "The Party of No."
This is a popular line among critics of the GOP. But it strikes me as a poor one. For a start, the word “no” is routinely forthcoming from both sides in American politics; not only from Republicans. We don’t hear about it much because we are so obsessed with the presidency in general and with this president in particular. But if we stopped starting every conversation by asking “what does Obama want?” we’d likely notice that the Democratic party’s position on almost all of the GOP’s platform is every bit as much “hell no!” as the other way around. Don’t believe me? Watch what would happen if pretty much any of Paul Ryan’s ideas got out of Congress . . .

As for Blodget’s contention that Republicans decline to agree with Obama “no matter what” . . . well, that’s an easily testable hypothesis. Presumably, Blodget believes that the GOP is so filled with hatred that it would decline to do what Obama suggested even if it liked his ideas. Okay then, let’s see. Tomorrow morning, the president should propose federal concealed carry reciprocity, the implementation of one of the many repeal-and-replace-Obamacare proposals that are floating around, a flat tax of 15 percent, the voucherization of Medicare, block grants for most federal welfare programs, increased defense spending, the abolition of the Department of Education, and a late-term abortion ban. In such circumstances, how do we think “no matter what” would fare?

As far as I can see, the GOP opposes Obama when they disagree with him and supports him when they agree. All in all, this has worked out much as it did when Bill Clinton was president. Occasionally, there has been room for compromise; usually there has not; most often there has been stalemate. On healthcare, taxes, regulation, and the environment, Republicans have consistently said “no”; on free trade and those spending initiatives they favor, they have said “yes.” That’s what happens when you have two parties that disagree with one another. Ultimately, “party of no” is another way of saying “party of opposite politics.” Let’s not set our hair on fire.

President Obama continues to think he's a dictator rather than part of a government of checks and balances. This is clear as we find that he's contemplating ignoring a court order.
A newly leaked internal DHS memorandum produced for an off-the-record agency conclave reveals that the Obama administration is actively planning to circumvent a federal court injunction that suspended part of last November’s deferral-based amnesty initiative. The document, apparently prepared as follow-up from a DHS “Regulations Retreat” last summer, appears sure to re-ignite concerns in Congress as well as federal judges in the Fifth Circuit. The Administration has already been criticized from the bench for handing out work permits to hundreds of thousands of deferred action beneficiaries, in direct violation of a district court’s order. With the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deciding any day now whether to deny the Administration’s request to reverse that injunction, this public leak has come at a critical juncture for U.S. enforcement policy.
So he changed the regulations for immigration by himself rather than going through Congress. And when a federal judge issued an injunction suspending his order, he's not thinking of simply ignoring the injunction. It's interesting that this memo leaked right as the Court of Appeals is considering the administration's request to reverse the injunction. I wonder if someone inside the administration is simply appalled at the lawlessness contemplated by this administration and wanted to get the word out before the Fifth Circuit makes its final decision.

Joe Scarborough flips the scenario and puts forth questions for Democratic candidates from the right to match the sorts of questions that Republicans get from the left from the media.
Joe gave a couple of good examples, below, of the kinds of questions he'd ask. Does Barnicle think these questions would be good for Dems because it would give them a chance to criticize "the conservative media?"

SCARBOROUGH: Do you know that at six months, a little baby inside a mother's womb has--and then I'd go into details about that. Do you really think you should stop a beating heart Mike Barnicle and murder the baby and then harvest its organs? Do you really think that's a good thing?

And the next question is, I'd do a set-up about how somebody was slaughtered and they didn't have a gun because they had a five-day waiting period.
Scarborough points out that no Republican has hosted a Sunday show on the networks compared to all the former Democrats who have done so. He gets Mark Halperin to admit that "There's a huge liberal media bias" and that there has been such bias for "the past 50 years."

William McGurn has some other examples of how a conservative would question Democrats.
What might such questions sound like? Here’s a sampler.

• Martin O’Malley, you were mayor of a city whose recent riots have highlighted its poverty, broken public schools and lack of opportunity. Fifty years and hundreds of millions of tax dollars after LBJ launched the War on Poverty, cities such as Baltimore have almost nothing to show for it. Given this record, why should anyone think government has an answer?

• Bernie Sanders, you say our system of campaign financing is corrupt and has been co-opted by billionaires, to the point where only the well heeled and well connected can get ahead. Yet over on the GOP side, Ben Carson—a political outsider—gets his funds from mom-and-pop donations and has risen to the top of the polls, while the candidate with the big-time corporate bucks, Jeb Bush, is floundering. So how can you claim our political campaigns need more regulation?

• Mrs. Clinton, back in the 1990s your husband concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed legislation repealing the Glass-Steagall restrictions on affiliations between banks and securities firms, and embraced welfare reform and cuts in capital gains taxes. In 1996, he famously declared “the era of big government is over.”

Today you are running on a pro-tax, pro-regulation, pro-spending platform that is almost the opposite of your husband’s economic record. If his policies worked so well in the 1990s, why are you running against them today?

• Here’s one for all three: Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders and Mr. O’Malley, all of you support an increase in the federal minimum wage. Are any of you aware that the Davis-Bacon Act—the first federal minimum-wage law—was passed in part to prevent southern black workers from taking construction jobs from unionized white workers up north?

Of course, it’s impossible to imagine any universe in which Democrats would answer such questions because it’s impossible to imagine their ever being asked in the first place.

Jeb Bush has supposedly relaunched his campaign with a new slogan, "Jeb Can Fix It." Twitter is having lots of fun ridiculing the slogan.
Another thing he's done is inspired legions of Twitter users to pass around Bob the Builder's opening credits and theme song with short-form snickers.
'I blame Jeb Bush for putting the Bob the Builder theme song in my head this morning,' comic book author Jeremy Whitley tweeted. 'For this there can be no forgiveness.'

Jonah Goldberg notices how rarely the media talk about Ben Carson's race.
But what’s remarkable is that at no point in this conversation did anyone call attention to the fact that Carson is an African-American. Indeed, most analysis of Carson’s popularity from pundits focuses on his likable personality and his sincere Christian faith. But it’s intriguingly rare to hear people talk about the fact that he’s black.

One could argue that he’s even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama’s mother was white and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience — in Hawaii and Indonesia — and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.

Meanwhile, Carson grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hard-working single mother. His tale of rising from poverty to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories of the last half-century. (Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in the movie about his life.) He was a towering figure in the black community in Baltimore and nationally — at least, until he became a Republican politician.

And that probably explains why his race seems to be such a non-issue for the media. The New York Times is even reluctant to refer to him as a doctor. The Federalist reports that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is three times more likely to be referred to as “Dr.” in the Times as brain surgeon Carson. If the Times did that to a black Democrat, charges of racism would be thick in the air....

How strange it must be for people who comfort themselves with the slander that the GOP is a cult of organized racial hatred that the most popular politician among conservatives is a black man. Better to ignore the elephant in the room than account for such an inconvenient fact. The race card is just too valuable politically and psychologically for liberals who need to believe that their political opponents are evil.

Carson’s popularity isn’t solely derived from his race, but it is a factor. The vast majority of conservatives resent the fact that Democrats glibly and shamelessly accuse Republicans of bigotry — against blacks, Hispanics, and women — simply because they disagree with liberal policies (which most conservatives believe hurt minorities).
Apparently, Goldberg got a lot of heat from critics for "whitesplaining" about Ben Carson being "even more authentically African American than Barack Obama given that Obama's mother was white and he was raised in party by his white grandparents" in that column. Goldberg is not impressed with the response to his column. He quotes from several other writers who commented that Obama's experience is not that of most African Americans. President Obama even wrote about his personal struggles identifying with the black experience as a teenager.
o, somehow it’s racist or insensitive for me to take Obama at his word? I am an ignorant white guy living in a cocoon because I take liberal arguments seriously? That’s a weird argument.

Of course, it’s not really an argument at all. It’s bullying and smearing gussied up as logic. Which brings me to the hypocrisy and racket-protection part. Liberals — white and black — routinely play the game of denouncing minorities and women as sell-outs, Uncle Toms, etc. whenever they refuse to toe the party line. They confuse political conformity with ethnic or sexual authenticity. Hence Clarence Thomas is an Uncle Tom and Ben Carson is a “house negro.” There are too many examples to list, because it is a near daily occurrence. After all, only recently we were told that Bobby Jindal is a fake Indian but Elizabeth Warren is a real one. But my favorite example remains Wendy Doniger’s claim that Sarah Palin’s “greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.” Even biological facts take a backseat to ideological conformity.

RELATED: Liberals Are Playing a Racial Shell Game

In our culture these days, the ability to take offense is a kind of power. Liberals abuse this power like a drunk cop with a nightstick. They abuse it so much, they have become addicted to it and become blind to the reality in front of them.

And that was the actual point of my column. The Democrats, MSNBC, Salon, et al. are so invested in their narrative that the GOP is a racist cult that they have trouble dealing with the fact that Ben Carson — a black guy — is arguably the front-runner and certainly the most popular figure in the Republican field (and drawing most of his support from precisely the voters the MSNBC crowd is most convinced are the recrudescent racist heart of the conservative movement). Rather than celebrate this huge step forward in racial progress, or at least think about what it really means, they instead ignore it, dismiss it, or attack my “racism” for pointing it out. Well, to Hell with that game. (Links in the original)

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Michael Barone explains why free stuff is not the answer to our nation's policy questions.
Free college! That's what the Democratic candidates were offering in their presidential debate. And it's likely that, if the subject had come up, they would have offered something like free home mortgages as well, to judge from Hillary Clinton's statement that she had urged Wall Street to stop mortgage foreclosures. Sounds a lot like free houses!

Free stuff sounds good to many people, and it's not just Democrats who promise it. Republican candidates have been talking about reducing college costs, too, and George W. Bush was as passionate a supporter as Bill Clinton of encouraging home ownership for blacks and Hispanics.

Such policies are not necessarily examples of political demagoguery, though some are. They are based on observations of undisputed facts. College graduates over the years tend to make more money than non-graduates. Homeowners over the years tend to accumulate wealth and to build communities more than renters.

From these observations policymakers have drawn the following conclusion. If we just get more people -- especially minorities -- into college, they will make more money. If we just get more people -- especially minorities -- to become homebuyers, they will accumulate more wealth. And what easier way to do that than to make these things free, or close to that?
As Barone notes, we've had such policies for decades. And the results have not been quite what was promised.
Government policies, aided and abetted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, promoted low- or no-down-payment mortgages for buyers, especially Hispanics and blacks, previously considered not credit-worthy. Policymakers, lenders and buyers all assumed that housing prices would always rise so that homeowners could always refinance any money problems away.

Oops. Housing prices fell sharply starting in 2006, and financial firms ended up with mortgage-backed securities that regulators classified as safe but for which they suddenly could find no buyers -- and the economy crashed. Mortgage foreclosures soared, and by my estimate about one-third of those foreclosed on were Hispanics in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, whose recent low- or no-down-payment mortgages left them deep underwater when prices plummeted.

In response, many politicians, mainly Democrats, are calling for iatrogenic policies: more of the medicine that caused the malady. Free college (actually, just free tuition) falls in this category, giving colleges and universities a more direct pipeline to government funds but not guaranteeing better results for students. Junior college is already largely free, but most enrollees don't graduate.

And the Obama administration is seeking to reinstate Clinton and Bush administration policies providing low- and no-down-payment mortgages to blacks and Hispanics who do not meet traditional credit standards. What could go wrong?

Recent experience should tell us that college and homeownership are not for everyone. Many people lack the cognitive skills for higher education but have other abilities that can make them productive and successful adults. Many people, like those who move frequently, are better off renting than paying the transaction costs of buying a home.

Maybe policymakers got causation backwards. Increased college and homeownership, they thought, would upgrade people, and for a long while it did. But we seem to have reached the point of diminishing returns, when making things free will hurt the intended beneficiaries more than help.

Remember how the Democrats liked to portray Paul Ryan as someone so cold that he'd throw granny off the cliff? The real Paul Ryan is someone very different. Jim Geraghty links to this story about "A Side of Paul Ryan You Probably Haven’t Seen Before." He quietly goes in his spare time to help addicts and pray with them.
“You meet a lot of people who play the part,” says Jubal Garcia, pastor and program director at Outcry in the Barrio, a faith-based Christian outreach organization that ministers to and provides rehabilitation services for people struggling with addiction. “Like, ah, okay, photo-op, let’s go get this picture. He was — no. Paul was just genuine, man. You could feel his compassion for people. You could see he really genuinely cares about people. It’s not just a job for him. It’s a passion for him.”

The guy who liberals depicted throwing granny off the cliff . . . goes into drug treatment centers, touches the scars from the “track marks” of heroin addicts, and prays with and for them.

Robert L. Woodson, founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, concludes, “The comment [from my team] I get about Paul is, ‘I trust him.’”
It's clear that Paul Ryan is a very good man. I hope that being Speaker doesn't drain that out of him.

The Democrats have figured out how to attack Marco Rubio. They're dissing him as the "Republican John Edwards." That is very funny. Which party made Edwards their vice presidential candidate? Even Harry Reid got in the act, but told us that his comparison wasn't "because of any of the [personal] stuff," just his ambition ever since he arrived in the Senate. As Guy Benson comments,
Of course, Reid leveled no such complaint against then-candidate Barack Obama in 2007, who launched a highly ambitious presidential bid after spending even less time in the Senate than Rubio has, and after stating publicly that he wouldn't seek the presidency due to his own lack of experience and knowledge. Democrats like Obama and John Kerry somehow escaped Reid's judgment, despite missing more votes than Rubio has in pursuit of lofty goals. In fact, Reid was exceptionally laudatory of Obama in his own special way, describing the African-American candidate as "light-skinned" and betraying no "negro dialect." But let's be frank: The Edwards analogy is absolutely meant to raise vague, sordid questions. John Edwards wasn't merely a highly ambitious politician; he was a cad who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with his videographer, fathering a love child, and going to great pains to cover it up. As is the case with many young, prominent politicians, unsubstantiated rumors about Rubio's social life have simmered beneath the surface for years. Charlie Crist's people whispered about it in 2010, ultimately producing absolutely no evidence -- neither in the primary nor the general election, both of which they lost. Democrats now appear to be setting the table to do the exact same thing. What's the line about how Democrats' telegraph their fear? Parting thought: Let's say Pfeiffer, Reid, et al genuinely see Rubio as a callow, lightweight, would-be flameout with career-ending skeletons lurking in his past. Wouldn't they bite their tongues today, in hopes of facing him in the general? Or maybe Harry Reid is simply engaged in some good-faith advice-givin', with the best interests of the Republican Party at heart. 'Cause that's how he rolls

W. James Antle III thinks that Donald Trump doesn't really support his own immigration policy.
The real question is whether that paper even reflects Trump's immigration policy. The candidate, who lost his longtime first place standing in the Washington Examiner's power rankings to Rubio, certainly uses the sharpest rhetoric in criticizing illegal immigration. But his comments frequently don't match the details of his supposed immigration plan.

"I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley," Trump said Wednesday night, declining to criticize either Rubio or H-1B visas. Yet the Trump immigration paper complains as much as "two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program," lamenting "the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program."

In the same paragraph, Trump's plan includes the offending remarks about Rubio and Zuckerberg, saying a proposal to triple the number of H-1B visas "would decimate women and minorities." Trump said none of that on the debate stage and instead allowed Rubio to be the one to say that companies abusing H-1Bs to avoid hiring American workers "should be permanently barred from ever using the program again."

When directly asked about H-1Bs, Trump said, "I'm in favor of people coming into this country legally. And you know what? They can have it anyway you want. You can call it visas, you can call it work permits, you can call it anything you want."

This isn't the only daylight between Trump and his ostensible immigration plan. The Republican front-runner has repeatedly said in interviews and on the stump that he would deport at least the vast majority of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. His plan, however, only calls for the "mandatory removal of all criminal aliens," as in the deportation of illegal immigrants guilty of other crimes. It makes no mention of mass deportations.

Trump has often suggested that he would allow the "good" illegal immigrants to return on an expedited basis. Without the technical details, this sounds like then Congressman Mike Pence's "touchback" plan to deal with illegal immigrants in 2006, which many immigration restrictionists denounced as a stealth amnesty. None of this is in his policy paper.

Like most Republicans, Trump on the stump emphasizes he is only opposed to illegal immigration. But his policy paper suggests that overall immigration, including legal immigration is too high, calls for "immigration moderation," even a greencard "pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers."
There is the rhetoric he throws out to audiences and then his plan which is not as extreme as his rhetoric.

Donald Trump think he's better looking than Marco Rubio. Er, no. Just stop.

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Politico has has an interesting, but long, article about the year 1994 and how the politics of that year affected so much of what we see today. For example, that was the year that Jeb Bush was defeated for the governor of Florida because Lawton Chiles' campaign did an ugly push poll the last weekend calling seniors to say that Jeb Bush wanted to cut their Social Security. How they thought a governor could cut Social Security is beyond me. WHen I teach students about push bowl, their book has an article using Chiles' dirty tactics as an example. THe kids were fascinated this year when I pointed out that, if Jeb had won that election, he probably would have been the Bush brother to win the presidency in 2000. And he wouldn't have had to worry about winning Florida by only a few hundred votes. 1994 was also the year when the public learned about Whitewater. And the Clintons were already trotting out their earliest version of blaming the vast right-wing conspiracy. But that story lost airplay as the O.J. story ate all the media. And Republicans plotted how to take control of Congress. I'm a sucker for books that are devoted to just one year and reading all about what was going on at the same time. Reading an article like this is similar, but a lot shorter. I can see this article one day becoming a book. It was a fun read to look back at what was going on then and seeing how things have both changed so much, yet not changed at all since 1994.

If you haven't seen the movie, The Martian, I heartily recommend it. It is an uplifting story with a fascinating look at how the protagonist keeps working hard to solve the problems he faces on Mars with the limited materials available to him. And judging from how it's doing at the box office, the public agrees. But apparently some are not satisfied. Robert Tracinski reports on how some have reacted with disappointment to the movie.
What made me notice this was Dan Kois in Slate, giving a review that focuses on what he sees as the superiority of the film over the book. He actually goes so far as to describe Andy Weir’s original book as “spiritually empty” because it “replaced” character and plot with “scientific ingenuity.”

Fans of the novel are likely to furrow their brows into a quizzical expression at this point. The whole point of the novel is that scientific ingenuity is the plot, and Mark Watney’s scientific mind is his character. (That, and his offbeat sense of humor.)

...The book, he complains, is “heavy on the practical and light on the psychological,” and “the movie, for the most part, zips along engagingly at a level similarly close to the surface. There are no long disquisitions on the meaning of it all. Mark Watney is not given a dead-child backstory.” Ah, there it is. Science is a superficial and therefore uninteresting practical concern. To be dramatically interesting and meaningful is to be “psychological,” which means either vague poetic groping or some heart-tugging personal tragedy. It means: emotion rather than reason. Kois complains:

Space, to Mark Watney and the book’s other characters, isn’t vast or unknowable or terrifying or awe-inspiring. Space is merely a series of problems to be solved—different from the problems one faces on Earth due to transmission delay and lack of oxygen, but nonetheless solvable with some math and a little elbow grease.
Well, yes, and that’s actually kind of an awesome way of looking at things. It’s the way an actual scientist or technological innovator looks at it. But there is a certain mindset that views this as inadequate because it fails to conform to the usual tropes of the humanities.

And notice what redeems the film, in this view: “[Director Ridley] Scott frequently cuts to gorgeous FX shots of a tiny Watney amidst the immensity of the planet on which he’s trapped. These moments slow us down and allow us to consider Watney’s predicament, and the literally otherworldly place human folly has left him.” “Human folly”—in a film that’s all about human ingenuity? Oh, I get it. A few landscape shots allow Kois to read into the film his own preferred philosophical theme about mankind’s irrationality.
It's not just one writer at Slate. Tracinski goes on to quote several critics who think that the movie doesn't have a plot or that it's lacking in poetry. It's amazing how clueless some critics are and how determined they are to criticiz a movie for not following the storyline that they prefer.

Keeping on the theme of movie and culture, Ace has a rant about how movie critics have long thought that art reflects the culture. But they're not making those analyses now that Obama is president.
After Watergate, there were a series of very paranoid and nihilistic films -- The Parallax View, Capricorn One, The Conversation on the paranoid end; then all the violent ones about a growing nihilism in the world -- Dirty Harry, Death Wish, and so on.

Cultural observers had no problem pointing directly at Watergate (and the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr.) to explain the paranoia, and nor were they so blind as to not notice the decay and malaise (and rising tide of bloody crime) of the seventies were responsible for the various violent retribution films.

During the Carter years and the first few years of Reagan (bear in mind, movies take a year or year and a half to greenlight, make, and exhibit), there were lots and lots of movies about taking the money and running and pulling heists. Even normal, everyday suburbanites were just stealing stuff (Fun with Dick and Jane, The Thief Who Came to Dinner), due to the economic insecurity of the age and the lingering recessions of the late seventies.

Lot of outlaw movies made then: one about D.B. Cooper, a new burst of Old West movies, this time all about the outlaws.

In the eighties, cultural observers had no problem tracing movies' focus on wealth and excess for the "Age of Greed" they said was a product of Reagan, nor even in the nineties did they fail to notice that a spate of paranoid entertainments -- Murder at 1600, Absolute Power, Wag the Dog -- were all rooted in a very definite cultural consciousness that Bill and Hillary Clinton's co-presidency was a shady affair. You'll no doubt remember the "Arkansas Death List" emails that circulated about.

Since 9/11, we faced a lot of movies about cataclysm and the end of the world. It's easy enough to see that connection.

But the Age of Obama has not produced any uplift, nor any respite from the current preoccupation of people with the End Times. As a non-religious person, I don't mean this literally (though many may), but it is impossible not to note the idea of Apocalypse and Cataclysm is in the air.

Look at the number of zombie films and zombie tv shows -- as obvious a metaphor for decay and rot as can be imagined. Or the still-doing-bonzo-business cataclysm fantasies. Even the latest Man of Steel was about cataclysm.

And now add into that the large number of paranoid, rotten dystopia movies.

If the Age of Obama is so swell, if we're all filled with Hope, why is this age not producing the spate of feel-good, have-fun, get-rich movies the 80s did?

Why are our collective fantasies in the Age of Obama so single-mindedly focused on the idea of dystopia, cultural decay, and ultimately cultural destruction?

Whether liberal cultural critics want to admit it or not -- and they seem very much to not want to admit it, because this is so obvious it's painful, and yet they fail to make this obvious connection -- the Obama years are years of economic want, emotional depression, and spiritual chaos, at least as reflected by entertainments resolutely focusing on the end-times and the wretched dystopias that arise after the End Times, when civilization is dead but just hasn't stopped moving yet.

The Leftovers, The Returned, Revolution, the Walking Dead not only being a top-rated show, but spawning a top-rated spin-off -- I dare anyone to find any previous moment in American history, including in the years of paranoia after Watergate, in which our fantasies have been so dark, depressive, anxious and foreboding.

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Claire McCaskill had what she thought was a great idea, but it reveals a lot about the liberal mindset. In a press call about a bill that would require colleges and universities to have accusations of sexual assault crimes investigated by the police instead of by campus officials, she mused about putting even more crimes in the hands of such college officials.
"Keep in mind, they have only carved out this exception for sexual assault – not any of the other violent crimes," McCaskill said, according to a transcription by the Huffington Post. "So a young woman could be robbed at gunpoint, decide she wanted to just try to get that person off campus and go to their university ... but if she was raped, she would not be able to do that unless she went to the police."

Slate quoted the senator as saying the woman robbed at gunpoint could "go to her university and they could take action under Title IX."

Neither Slate nor HuffPo questioned the senator's comments or explained them in any way.

Because what Sen. McCaskill appears to be suggesting is that colleges really are their own court system, adjudicating gun crimes the way they adjudicate sexual assault – and that the anti-gender discrimination law known as Title IX requires them to do so. Colleges and universities are required to adjudicate accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment because of Title IX. The argument goes that these are gender-specific crimes and are therefore a form of gender discrimination.
Somehow, robbery at gunpoint has become in McCaskill's mind a crime of sex discrimination which is the only way that Title IX would apply. Right now students accused of sexual assault are being investigated and tried and punished by colleges without their rights of due process being respected. Sometimes they're not allowed a lawyer or the right to question the one making the accusation. And now McCaskill wants to extend those denials of due process to gun crimes? And should being expelled from a university be the sole punishment for someone who committed armed robbery?
Let's say a student is expelled for sexual assault because the victim didn't want to go to police, and that student goes on to rape a non-student. Certainly the family of the non-student victim would want to sue the university for setting loose that student on the larger community. But schools would have a good defense in that they did what was required of them under federal law – Title IX doesn't require them to report to police.

But if a student is expelled for holding another student up at gunpoint and goes on to murder the next student they try to rob? The school couldn't point to Title IX in that case, as it doesn't cover robbery or murder.
Accusations of assault whether sexual assault or with a weapon should be investigated by the police and tried in courts of law. We shouldn't have these kangaroo courts that we now have for charges of sexual harassment and assault. It's amazing to me that Democrats don't want to have such serious charges investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law provides. But that is the topsy turvy world they inhabit these days so that they oppose a law that would do so.

We are in the midst of the largest migration in recorded history.
There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history — 60 million in all — and they are on the march in numbers not seen since World War II. They are coming not just from Syria, but from an array of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, even Haiti, as well as any of a dozen or so nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa. They are unofficial ambassadors of failed states, unending wars, intractable conflicts.

The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get.

What if Islamic State militants are not beaten back but continue to extend their brutal writ across Iraq and Syria? What if the Taliban continue to increase their territorial gains in Afghanistan, prompting even more people to flee? A quarter of Afghans told a Gallup Poll that they want to leave, and more than 100,000 are expected to try to flee to Europe this year....

While the flow of migrants to Europe this year already represents the biggest influx from outside the Continent in modern history, many experts warn that the mass movement may continue and even increase — possibly for years to come. “We are talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said in a recent Twitter posting.

Many of the migrants are fleeing persecution, poverty, ethnic and religious strife and war, but these afflictions are often symptoms of more profound changes.

In the Middle East and Africa, borders drawn by Ottoman dynasts and European colonialists are breaking down as the autocratic Arab states that enforced a grim peace for generations continue to implode.

As traditional lines of authority break down, militant groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram, in Nigeria, seek to fill the vacuum while minority sects and ethnic groups suffer unspeakable treatment at their hands.
European governments don't really understand what to do with these migrants. And we can expect that they will be coming here at some point.

It's not just political reporting that had decline precipitously. Matt Yoder writes at how sports reporting has been fully Kardashianized.
Two stories from the past few days highlighted the harrowing reality of the media world that has now finally and fully made its way into sports. The defining message from this week couldn’t be more clear. Quality sports journalism is being gobbled up by tabloid gossip. Great sportswriting and reporting is being drowned out by who can scream and yell the loudest.

In other words, we’ve gone full Kardashian.

ESPN announced on Friday it was shutting down Grantland. The widely-respected home of some of the best sports and pop culture writing on the web was given the axe by Bristol.

Within the blink of an eye, TMZ proudly announced that TMZ Sports would be coming to FS1. TMZ Sports will air every weeknight on FS1 at midnight (12:30 AM after Garbage Time on Wednesdays) bringing the gossip site into the mainstream sports world.

What does it say about our universe that the home to Wesley Morris, Charlie Pierce, Jonah Keri, Bill Barnwell, Molly Lambert, David Shoemaker, Bill Simmons, Rembert Browne, Brian Phillips, and so many other talented writers has to be given its last rites while the site that produces articles such as “KC ROYALS POPPIN BOTTLES & GOGGLES AFTER WORLD SERIES WIN” and “HOUSTON TEXANS CHEERLEADERS HALLOWEEN TURN UP SEXY COSTUME DANCE PARTY” gets its own national television platform. I’m not even sure that last headline is from the English language, it’s just a bunch of random words combined for SEO purposes in the hopes that college freshman around America will find it on Google.

Who wants to read 1,000 words of compelling storytelling when you can read 100 words about Gary Player’s sex life, right?

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