Monday, May 23, 2016

Cruising the Web

Republicans are getting a bit poll-happy about Trump's recent poll numbers putting him on a par with Hillary and even ahead of her in some polls. Perhaps this is an auspicious augur for his campaign. However, I would offer some caveats. He, remarkably for where we were about a month ago, has wrapped up his nomination. She is still battling with Bernie in an increasingly acrimonious end to their campaign. So Trump is doing a bit better at working to solidify the Republican base than she is at this moment.

Unless she is indicted, she'll eventually wrap up her nomination and work out some peace treaty with Sanders. And then the Democrats will start to coalesce. Just as Hillary has served as a unifying factor among Republicans, Donald Trump will be a big factor to unite the Democrats against him. After that happens, we'll see what the numbers look like. We'll see if those Sanders voters move to Hillary, decide to stay home, or gravitate to Trump. I've long thought that a good part of the Sanders vote was just a protest against Hillary rather than an endorsement of Bernie. Nate Silver warns that Hillary might have a hard time winning over those voters.
According to the most recent YouGov poll, 61 percent of Sanders voters have an unfavorable view of Clinton, against just 38 percent with a favorable one. YouGov has been tracking these numbers for several months, and they’ve gradually gotten worse for Clinton
Silver goes on to point out that a lot of those Sanders voters are self-identified independents who tend to vote in the Democratic primaries.
Thus, citing Clinton’s reasonably strong general election numbers among self-identified Democrats — she had the support of 87 percent of Democrats in a recent NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll in her matchup against Trump, for instance, and 83 percent in a Fox News poll that showed her behind Trump nationally — may miss her problems among liberal-leaning, Sanders-voting independents. In the Fox News poll, only 30 percent of independents went for Clinton, and in the SurveyMonkey poll, just 36 percent did. But both surveys showed a large pool of undecided independents, potentially the Sanders voters that YouGov identified.

If Clinton wins over those voters, she’ll gain a few percentage points on Trump in national and swing state polls, and the race will potentially look more like it did in March and April, with Clinton having a fairly comfortable lead over Trump. If not, the general election could come down to the wire.
As Politico points out, Hillary's unfavorables have been growing.
Trump’s solidification of the Republican vote is only half the story, however. The Gallup data show Clinton sliding among Democrats: She dropped four points in the week between Gallup's two most recent surveys.

Both candidates remain historically unpopular among the broader pool of all Americans: The Gallup data show Trump with only a 34-percent favorable rating among all adults, compared to 39 percent for Clinton. Majorities have unfavorable opinions of both.

Among independent voters, Trump's numbers have improved since he vanquished his remaining GOP rivals in the Indiana primary on May 3.

“His number among Republicans certainly is getting better. And that’s going to be a key, holding that vote,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey. “But, right now, independents are looking at this populist message, and it’s resonating a little, at least while Democrats are fighting among themselves.”

As the WSJ writes, Democrats have to realize that Hillary's problem is not Bernie Sanders, but Hillary herself.
We’d humbly suggest that these Democrats are looking through the wrong end of the campaign telescope. Bernie’s continuing string of victories is the symptom of the political demand for change after eight years of Democratic rule. The real Democratic problems this year are the Obama record and the Clinton candidacy....

A major chunk of the Democratic base is showing buyer’s remorse at Mrs. Clinton’s looming coronation and is encouraging Mr. Sanders to fight to the bitter end. Few Bernistas will vote for Mr. Trump, but some might decide to demonstrate their unhappiness at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia or stay home in November.

Democrats can blame themselves for much of this political alienation. President Obama was only too happy to indulge the Occupy Wall Street movement when it served his purposes against Mitt Romney in 2012. He and his fellow Democrats played up resentment against “the 1%,” which Mr. Sanders and his voters have decided to take seriously and use as a cudgel against Mrs. Clinton.
Just as liberal professors have been shocked to see students protesting against them instead of the conservative targets that liberals have always thought were just fine to protest, Democratic politicians are startled to have minorities protesting against them instead of Republicans.
Democrats are especially sore at Mr. Sanders for the blowup last weekend at the Democratic state convention in Nevada, which included some ugly protest scenes. But most Democrats have also been happy to celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement despite its periodic calls to violence.

No less than Mr. Obama praised the group at his recent commencement address at Howard University. “It’s thanks in large part to the activism of young people like many of you, from Black Twitter to Black Lives Matter, that America’s eyes have been opened—white, black, Democrat, Republican—to the real problems, for example, in our criminal justice system,” Mr. Obama told the graduates.

No one should be surprised if this same politics of grievance and confrontation is now being aimed at Democrats too. All the more so when the party’s presumptive nominee represents the very heart of the “rigged” political system that Mr. Sanders and the progressive left have long been describing.

Hillary and Bill Clinton have used politics to become members of the richest 0.1%. She and her husband are walking conflicts of political interest—see the Clinton Foundation and its foreign donors with business before the State Department. And Mrs. Clinton represents big money and Wall Street—see her Goldman Sachs speeches.

Above all Mrs. Clinton represents the policy status quo that for seven years has failed to deliver on its central promises of 2008 and 2012. Health-care costs haven’t fallen, wages have barely risen, income inequality has worsened, and whites and blacks say that racial tensions have increased. This is the reality that the Sandernistas are implicitly rejecting when they say the system has failed them.
And SNL will continue to have fun with the Hillary/Bernie show as long as they have Larry David to tear it up as Bernie Sanders. Check out the opening from Saturday Night Live as Hillary and Bernie share beers at a bar. They have certainly glommed on to how unlikable Hillary is.

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It just goes to show that a strategy of delay and obfuscation works for Democrats when a scandal breaks out. It worked for Bill Clinton when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and it's worked for Obama and Hillary over Benghazi. And it really worked for them with the Fast and Furious scanda. As Paul Sperry writes, no one in Washington talks about that anymore.
The deadly-but-forgotten government gun-running scandal known as “Fast and Furious” has lain dormant for years, thanks to White House stonewalling and media compliance. But newly uncovered e-mails have reopened the case, exposing the anatomy of a coverup by an administration that promised to be the most transparent in history.

A federal judge has forced the release of more than 20,000 pages of emails and memos previously locked up under President Obama’s phony executive-privilege claim. A preliminary review shows top Obama officials deliberately obstructing congressional probes into the border gun-running operation.

Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that allowed assault weapons — including .50-caliber rifles powerful enough to take down a helicopter — to be sold to Mexican drug cartels allegedly as a way to track them. But internal documents later revealed the real goal was to gin up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in America. Fast and Furious was merely a pretext for imposing stricter gun laws.

Only, the scheme backfired when Justice agents lost track of the nearly 2,000 guns sold through the program and they started turning up at murder scenes on both sides of the border — including one that claimed the life of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

While then-Attorney General Eric Holder was focused on politics, people were dying. At least 20 other deaths or violent crimes have been linked to Fast and Furious-trafficked guns....

The program came to light only after Terry’s 2010 death at the hands of Mexican bandits, who shot him in the back with government-issued semiautomatic weapons. Caught red-handed, “the most transparent administration in history” flat-out lied about the program to Congress, denying it ever even existed.

Then Team Obama conspired to derail investigations into who was responsible by first withholding documents under subpoena — for which Holder earned a contempt-of-Congress citation — and later claiming executive privilege to keep evidence sealed.
But Eric Holder, with the support of Obama, fought against letting any of the information out and what should have been a horrific scandal just faded away.

Politico looks at what those groups paying out the big bucks got for their money when they paid to have Bill Clinton come speak before them.
A transcript of a private, $285,000 paid speech Bill Clinton delivered last year at the “China-U.S. Private Investment Summit” in Austin, Texas, obtained by POLITICO, offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the Clintons' controversial paid speaking gigs — and some insight into how the former president holds court out of sight of the press.

“Once I got a cartoon in the mail when I was fighting out that Whitewater business,” he reminisced in front of about 60 Chinese investors and 150 American business people gathered to discuss bilateral investment opportunities in late March 2015 — two weeks before Hillary Clinton officially declared her candidacy. “And Jiang Zemin and I are sitting together at a state dinner, and in the first frame, I say to President Jiang, I said, ‘You know, you're doing great economically, but our country has more human rights.’ And he looked at me and he said, ‘Yes, and if you were the leader of China, Ken Starr would be in prison making running shoes.’”

A self-deprecating Clinton admitted of those scandal-tarred days of his presidency: “I saved that cartoon for a long time. I must say there were days when I wondered who had the better model.”
Those Clintons - they just love trying to stifle criticism and investigations of their own behavior. And to Bill, it's just a joke. That's worth more than a quarter-million dollars to hear.

It may well be that we're about to see the end of Ben Carson. He's been a totally awful surrogate for Trump and it seems that Trump has lost all interest in having Carson play a major role in his campaign.
Ben Carson has the ability to say everything he shouldn’t at exactly the wrong time.
Since the former neurosurgeon has taken up the role of working on Donald Trump’s vice presidential team, he has suggested that the candidate may pick a Democratic running mate, dropped she-who-must-not-be-named Sarah Palin as a potential pick and earlier generally questioned a number of the presumptive nominee’s habits from his Twitter use to lack of pragmatism.

So he was off the VP team in a hurry.

Last week, Armstrong Williams (his business manager and close confidant), told The Daily Beast that Carson left the team of his own volition. Carson had bigger and more important things to do, according to Williams, like preparing Trump for his meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

But three sources close to the Trump campaign said Carson didn’t leave on his own. He was pushed.
Why anyone would have thought that the former neurosurgeon would have the skills to head up the selection team for the vice presidential nomination is beyond me. Trump keeps bragging about his ability to put the best people in place to accomplish great things and then keeps demonstrating a total inability to pick the best people to run his campaign.

Apparently, the Clinton campaign needs some remedial lessons in how to make a Venn diagram.

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Economic historian Deirdre McClosky, author of Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, the third book in her insightful trilogy, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce and Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World, has an essay in the WSJ giving her explanation of how the world got rich. Her explanation is the liberty given to average people so that they could work for their own economic improvement.
If capital accumulation or the rule of law had been sufficient, the Great Enrichment would have happened in Mesopotamia in 2000 B.C., or Rome in A.D. 100 or Baghdad in 800. Until 1500, and in many ways until 1700, China was the most technologically advanced country. Hundreds of years before the West, the Chinese invented locks on canals to float up and down hills, and the canals themselves were much longer than any in Europe. China’s free-trade area and its rule of law were vastly more extensive than in Europe’s quarrelsome fragments, divided by tariffs and tyrannies. Yet it was not in China but in northwestern Europe that the Industrial Revolution and then the more consequential Great Enrichment first happened.

Why did ideas so suddenly start having sex, there and then? Why did it all start at first in Holland about 1600 and then England about 1700 and then the North American colonies and England’s impoverished neighbor, Scotland, and then Belgium and northern France and the Rhineland?

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not. By certain accidents of European politics, having nothing to do with deep European virtue, more and more Europeans were liberated. From Luther’s reformation through the Dutch revolt against Spain after 1568 and England’s turmoil in the Civil War of the 1640s, down to the American and French revolutions, Europeans came to believe that common people should be liberated to have a go. You might call it: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To use another big concept, what came—slowly, imperfectly—was equality. It was not an equality of outcome, which might be labeled “French” in honor of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Piketty. It was, so to speak, “Scottish,” in honor of David Hume and Adam Smith: equality before the law and equality of social dignity. It made people bold to pursue betterments on their own account. It was, as Smith put it, “allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.”

Ben Casselman of 538 explains why Bill Clinton shouldn't be regarded as someone who knows how to "fix the economy."
The bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, and the subsequent recession, revealed that the 1990s boom was, at least to some degree, a mirage, the result of cheap money and, in then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s famous phrase, “irrational exuberance.” The recession that followed the tech bust, however, was relatively mild. If that were the worst consequence of the Clinton era, it might seem a small price to pay for a decade of solid growth.

But the Clinton boom, and even some specific Clinton policies, also helped sow the seeds for the far more severe Great Recession of the late 2000s. Mortgage-backed securities and subprime loans weren’t invented in the 1990s, but they expanded greatly during the period, part of a broader “financialization” of the U.S. economy that contributed directly to the severity of the Great Recession. Critics on the right argue Clinton-administration policies promoting increased lending to low-income and minority applicants contributed to the subsequent bubble; critics on the left, including Bernie Sanders, argue that Clinton’s deregulation of the banking industry paved the way for the crisis.

Bill Clinton deserves, at most, a small sliver of the blame for the financial crisis. But he probably doesn’t deserve much credit for the late-’90s boom, either. The reality is, presidents have at best limited influence over the economy. Clinton’s economic policy was determinedly centrist: modest tax increases, free trade (including the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement) and limited government regulation and spending (the latter due in part to the Republican Congress). Those policies no doubt affected the economy, for good or bad. But their impact pales in comparison to that of forces beyond Clinton’s control: the rise of the internet, the entrance of the baby boomers into their peak earning years, the “peace dividend” that came from the fall of the Soviet Union.

It is a stretch, then, for Hillary Clinton to argue that her husband — or anyone else — “knows how” to ensure a good economy. But there are still lessons to take from the late 1990s.
I just wish that some politicians would campaign saying that they know they can't fix the economy, but that they know enough to get out of the way and let the entrepreneurial spirit of average Americans reap benefits for the entire the economy. But any policies that seek to continue and expand the regulations that the Obama administration has put on the economy will keep economic growth reined in and negatively affect employment numbers. I'd like to see more of a return to the spirit of liberty leading to an age of Enrichment as Deirdre McCloskey is talking about. For example look to the Labor Department's new regulations on expanding who qualifies for overtime pay.
The scope of the change is huge: The Labor Department says the policy will extend overtime to an additional 4.2 million workers; other estimates put the number much higher. But no matter the number, workers shouldn’t necessarily expect a big boost to their paychecks. Some companies, no doubt, will raise pay (either by paying overtime or by raising workers salaries above the new threshold), but many more will likely rein in employees’ hours so they don’t work more than 40 hours a week.

In the short-term, the new policy likely means more free time for workers and perhaps also more jobs for the economy, as companies hire additional employees to do the work formerly done using unpaid overtime. Over the longer run, many companies will likely adjust wages to account for the new overtime requirements — paying a lower base salary in order to offset overtime costs, leaving workers with pretty much the same take-home pay as before. But the new rule will definitely mean one big change for millions of workers: no more working long hours without getting paid for it.
But if they're out of a job, what good will that do them?

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Michael Walsh makes the contrast that I made a few days ago between the reaction to Ronald Reagan's $2 million payday for speaking in Japan after his presidency with the yawns with which the general media has greeted the money that the Clintons have made from their speeches.
Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

So what would Washington and Jefferson make of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.
So who has been paying Hillary for her speeches. A lot of them have been Wall Street and banking institutions. Drug and health-care companies are also eager to hear her insights. And then there are the foreigner despots who like to have the Clintons come talk to them.
They’ve sucked up vast sums of “contributions” from some of the most unsavory folks on the planet, including Nigerian dictators and Kazakhstani despots.

But it’s their parlaying of “public service” by two career “civil servants” into personal enrichment that’s shameless.

Bill Clinton’s speaking fees skyrocketed just days after Hillary’s nomination as secretary of state in 2009. Corporations, such as TD Bank, that had never paid a dime to hear him speak suddenly bellied up to the bar, waving fistfuls of cash. Coincidentally, TD Bank was the largest investor in the Keystone XL pipeline, which needed approval from the new secretary of state. Hillary dodged and weaved and Obama later nixed it, — but the Clintons kept the cash. It makes sense to make friends with the woman who might just be the next president. But what does that say about what the office has become?

As Obama has shown, there’s now essentially no limit on the president’s power: He can dictate overtime wages (via executive decree), the forcible integration of the suburbs (via HUD) and even sexually integrate bathrooms (under Title IX). No wonder private companies want to cozy up to the White House. Your business is now the president’s business, if he or she wants it to be.

But, should Hillary attain the White House, you ain’t seen nothing yet. For the Clintons, who once rented out the Lincoln Bedroom, too much doesn’t even approach being enough.
They were corrupt when they were in the White House. Why should their behavior have changed when they were out?

David Boaz is amused
at Ruth Marcus calling Donald Trump a "stonewaller, shape-shifter, liar." Then she wrote another column trying to explain why these words apply uniquely to Trump and not to Clinton. Sure, Marcus thinks that Clinton is not pure, but Trump is just in a class by themselves. For Marcus, Clinton's lies are not really lies, just misstatements. After all, Glenn Kessler and PolitiFact have fact-checked what she said on Benghazi and just can't determine if she actually lied. Boaz isn't buying it.
Sure, she stonewalls and keeps secrets. But in many cases, she eventually comes clean. Like, you know, with her private-server emails and her Benghazi correspondence.

And yes, she’s flipped 100 percent from her previously firm positions on same-sex marriage (against, then for) and the Pacific region free-trade agreement (for, then against). Yet, Marcus writes, “voters, agree or disagree, can have reasonable confidence about Clinton’s basic worldview and where she stands on issues.” Really? Just where does she stand on trade? For TPP or against it? For a trade agreement with Europe or against it? Unless Marcus is psychic, she’d surely have to admit that Clinton stands firmly with her finger to the wind. (Admittedly, that might be better than Trump’s adamant support for protectionism.)

And then there’s, well, the lying. Marcus cites two fact-checkers who conclude that there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that Clinton lied about the Benghazi attack. Not beyond a reasonable doubt, anyway. Marcus even praises Clinton’s wildly inaccurate and repeated statements about coming under sniper fire:

Clinton’s handling of another “lie” is instructive. At several points during the 2008 campaign, Clinton described “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia in 1996; video debunked that account. But confronted with conflicting evidence, Clinton acknowledged that she “misspoke.” Has Trump ever backed down from his bevy of demonstrably false statements?
Sorry, counselor, this is not “misspeaking.” It would be misspeaking if she said she came under fire in 1998, when it was really 1996. We might even credit her with misspeaking if she said it happened in Bosnia when it really happened in Kabul; she’s traveled a lot. But in this case, she made a claim about her own experience, and repeated it many times over several years with great detail (as a video with 7 million views illustrates), that was completely at odds with the facts. It’s not a stumble. It’s more like the false claim of Joe Biden that he came from a long line of coal miners, or the false claim of Sen. Richard Blumenthal throughout his political career that served in Vietnam, or indeed the false claim of historian Joseph Ellis that he too served in Vietnam. In every case these claims served to make the teller seem more experienced and even heroic than he or she actually was — helpful in building a political persona, but absolutely false.

And that doesn’t even get us to statements at odds with known facts on such points as whether she was “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, why she was named Hillary, whether her grandparents were immigrants, and whether she tried to enroll in the Marines or how and why she voted for the war in Iraq.

My low regard for Donald Trump is pretty well known. But I don’t see how any honest assessment can dismiss the low levels of honesty that Hillary (and Bill) Clinton have displayed for 25 years now. (Links in original)

Robert Tracinski argues that Venezuela has given us a real-world example of John Lennon's idealistic vision in his song, "Imagine."
Venezuela has some of the world’s largest supplies of oil, with more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. But about 15 years ago, the late president Hugo Chavez set out to impose a socialist revolution, making a particular point about his great munificence in providing free health care for everyone. In pursuit of this revolution, Chavez crushed every industry outside the oil sector and brought the state-owned oil company under his control. The result has been a long spiral into poverty and oppression. Now we can see the results: socialism literally kills babies.

It began by imagining no possessions. Private property and private businesses and private profit were supposedly the source of everyone’s problems, so the Venezuelan government set out to get rid of them, with Chavez issuing a notorious set of 49 decrees in 2001 that gave him vast power over the economy. He used this power to seize private factories and expropriate foreign owners of Venezuelan firms—ensuring that no foreign investors would want to put a single dollar into the country for the foreseeable future.

A clueless 2009 article in a socialist magazine specifically hailed Chavez’s interventions in agriculture, quoting his assurance that “There is a food crisis in the world, but Venezuela is not going to fall into that crisis. You can be sure of that. Actually, we are going to help other nations who are facing this crisis.” The socialist reforms included redistribution of land, the nationalization of whole sections of the agriculture sector, the formation of socialist agricultural “cooperatives,” generous subsidies and price supports, and the creation of a vast chain of government-subsidized, government-run grocery stores.

When it all started to go wrong, the regime doubled down, blaming private retailers for “hoarding” and “speculation” and prosecuting them for waging an “economic war” against the people. Their solution was to impose price controls, which naturally made things worse, leading Venezuelans to protest by flooding the Internet with photos of empty store shelves.

The failure of this system was papered over by draining the country’s remaining oil profits, loading up on massive borrowing, and imposing a surreal system of currency controls. All of it reads like a vast experiment designed to find out what happens to an economy when you put it under the control of crazy people. But it’s actually what happens when you hand over the economy to people with a fervent belief that government decrees can change the laws of economics and coerce everyone into prosperity.
The result is a Hobbesian life for Venezuelans with looting becoming one of the only ways to feed one's family.
So much for “no hunger.” What about the “brotherhood of man”? Not only is looting soaring in Venezuela, but so are all forms of crime. It has gotten so far out of control that mobs of vigilantes are burning people alive in the streets over petty thefts. It turns out then when people are starving, there’s not a lot of brotherhood. Instead, they fight like dogs over a bone.

Before you judge Venezuela’s looters, consider what you would do if your children were starving.

Now for the part about “no greed.” If there’s one thing the history of socialism teaches us, it’s that government officials can always find a way to live like kings while the people starve. So in Venezuela we see rampant corruption, with Hugo Chavez’s daughter amassing a fortune estimated in the billions.

The NYT examines the term "Redskins" and decides that it really is a racist slur despite what the Washington Post poll found. It could perhaps be that the meaning behind the word has changed or that it has become a "reclaimed epithet," whose meaning has changed from when it used to be pejorative. However, there are "experts" whom the NYT can find who think that it is a no-brainer that the word is a slur and who just don't accept any poll telling them otherwise.
But Tara Houska, a tribal lawyer and a member of the Couchiching First Nation in Canada, along the Minnesota border, pointed out that during the American Indian Movement of the 1960s, tribal leaders across the country cited mascots and team names like the Redskins and the Cleveland Indians as racist and dehumanizing.

“This goes back long before I was born,” said Ms. Houska, 32, who helped organize a protest in Minneapolis in 2014 against the appropriation of Indian culture for team names and mascots.

She questioned the methodology of the Post poll — which mirrored the results of a poll conducted in 2004 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center — saying that a survey of 504 people could hardly represent the feelings of 5.2 million Native Americans.
While there may or may not have been problems with sampling in this particular poll, having only 504 people questioned is not the problem. Statisticians regularly sample about 800-1200 people to represent the opinions of 200 million Americans. So 504 for 5.2 million Native Americans is a very reasonable number. The question is whether this is a random sample. What does seem clear is that activists and leaders of Native American groups are upset with the word. But a lot of other Native Americans, as demonstrated by the respondent interviews with those in the Washington Post poll think that there are so many other problems facing their communities that the focus on one word is just misplaced.
However, interviews conducted with poll respondents may hold the context for why the majority of Native Americans polled differently about the term than the general public.

In one of the Post’s profiles of 12 poll respondents, Rusty Whitworth from Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, who identifies as Confederated Salish and Kootenai, remarked: “Let’s start taking care of our people and quit worrying about names like Washington Redskins.” According to the Post, he was one of many who commented that other community challenges such as substandard schools, substance abuse and unemployment were more urgent issues than the NFL team name debate.
It's a lot easier to demonize Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins, than address the poverty, unemployment, incarceration rates, and alcoholism among Native Americans.

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Now that it's clear that Jackie, the woman who initiated the whole phony University of Virginia rape story in Rolling Stone totally made up her story, Cathy Young asks if feminists, or as she calls them "Fauxminists" will admit their mistake.
Indeed, the NOW officials vehemently objected to the argument made by Eramo’s [the UVa dean suing Rolling Stone for smearing her reputation by accusing her of ignoring Jackie's complaints] lawyers that Jackie was not entitled to the privacy protections afforded sexual assault victims because of overwhelming evidence that her claims were false. According to the letter, “It is exactly this kind of victim blaming and shaming that fosters rape culture, re-victimizes those brave enough to have come forward, and silences countless other victims.”

In other words: fake victimhood should shield you from exposure because exposing it as fake means blaming and silencing victims. The “logic” here rivals killing your parents and asking for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan—only that one was actually a joke.

This is hardly the first time NOW has embraced dubious rape claims. Back in 2006, then-NOW president Kim Gandy condemned defense lawyers’ portrayal of Duke lacrosse rape complainant Crystal Mangum as a mentally unstable liar, decrying it as a “nuts and sluts” defense. (The case was later dismissed as a hoax, and Mangum is now in prison for the murder of her boyfriend.) Two years ago, the New York chapter of NOW gave a Susan B. Anthony Award to “mattress girl” Emma Sulkowicz—who is not a proven hoaxer like Mangum or Jackie, but whose credibility has been severely undercut by changing stories and by her behavior following the alleged rape.

Feminists are concerned about misogynist stereotypes of the vindictive or crazy woman who “cries rape.” Yes, such stereotypes were once common, and they still exist in unsavory corners of the Internet. But just because it’s noxious to generalize bad behavior to an entire group doesn’t mean no members of that group are guilty of such behavior. We can acknowledge that some men commit rape without slandering all men as rapists or presuming that every man accused of rape is guilty (unless we’re radical feminists). So why should recognizing that some women “cry rape” be equated with treating all women, or all rape complainants, as liars? In fact, feminist groups that advocate for victims would have far more credibility if they didn’t champion faux survivors.
Of course, these fausminists are always willing to believe the victim unless the accused is Bill Clinton.

And while feminists are so exercised by imaginary insults to American women, they ignore the true suffering of women around the world such as in Iran where women are now resorting to dressing like men so that they won't be harassed in public by the morality police.
A number of women have shared photos of themselves in public with their hair uncovered on Instagram and other social media.

The women have cut their hair short in some images and in others are dressed in clothes more typically associated with men.

The hijab is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in Iran as women step up their campaign against it and other oppressive, gendered laws. In recent months, women have been filmed walking through Tehran with their hair uncovered and activists have urged Western tourists to violate laws by refusing to wear the hijab during their visits to the Islamic republic.

But the response from authorities to this resistance has been severe.

A politician was disqualified from Iranian parliament after photos purporting to show her in public without a headscarf emerged, despite her insistence they were fake.

This week, eight models were reportedly detained for posting "vulgar" pictures on social media with their hair uncovered. One was pictured apparently making a public apology on state TV.
While our country seems to be in a tizzy over transgenders in bathrooms, Iranian women fear going to a football game or out in public without covering themselves.

Aww. Paul Pierce got a different sort of gift for his daughter's fifth birthday - a llama. Just what every five-year-old needs.

A couple of weeks ago, some of the leading members of the quiz bowl team I coach competed in and won a local quiz show for high schoolers. This past week, the announcer of the show came out to give the students some swag. The kids did an awesome job and I'm very proud of them.
Here they are posing in front of the collage I have in my classroom of Newsweek and Time covers. I started collecting Newsweek covers back when I started teaching history in 1998 and switched over to Time when Newsweek stopped as a newsweekly. You can see some more of my classroom in the photo slideshow. I'm a firm believer in having a lot of stimulation on the walls so students can learn even when they're drifting out of focus on what is going on in the class. And the kids are marvelous themselves. You can watch their championship win here. It was a great come-from-behind victory! I'm so very proud of them.

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