Friday, May 27, 2016

Cruising the Web

Ramesh Ponnuru has some recommendations for Clinton on how to attack Donald Trump. He suspects that attacks on Trump's misogyny might just serve to hurt Hillary even more among men. The problem with attacking him as a fraud is that no one trusts Hillary either. Trump is running on his business record and attacks on that record, which is much weaker than Romney's was, doesn't seem to have hurt him among voters. Ponnuru recommends a different line of attack.
Her most powerful message against Trump might be a non-ideological one: His lack of knowledge, seriousness and impulse control make him too dangerous to put in the presidency.

That strategy would have room for many specific criticisms of him that fit within the overall message of his unfitness. Instead of presenting his $11 trillion tax cut as a typical right-wing scheme, for example, she could tie it together with his speculation about defaulting on the debt and suggest that he is far more reckless than normal conservatives. (His encouragement of other countries to get nuclear weapons also illustrates this point.) And she would have to outsource some potential attacks to others. Calling Trump a “fascist,” for example, would make her rather than him look wild-eyed.

Clinton would be presenting herself as the candidate of safety. This strategy has its dangers, too. One is that people will decide, as Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort says, that he “can fill the chair.” Another is that Clinton would also become the candidate of the status quo at a time most Americans are dissatisfied with it. But this might be a risk worth taking. Henry Olsen, a conservative election analyst at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, says: “She needs to be the candidate for the person who is not irretrievably committed to blowing up the system. And I don’t think there’s a majority of those people.” The fact that the incumbent president has a 51 percent approval rating in the same Washington Post-ABC poll that has Trump slightly ahead suggests that Olsen is right.

Americans already think she is qualified to be president and he isn’t. The path should thus be open for her to get them to follow the implications of that thought. “I really think this is a race about temperament,” says Axelrod. “If I were a strategist on the other side of him, that would be the thing that I would work hard.”
I remember how Ross Perot batted down criticisms that he shouldn't be president because he had no experience in governance. He would say that he agreed that he had no experience doing all the things that were angering voters. I would suggest to the Trump people that they have him study this answer that Perot gave in a 1992 debate when he was asked about his lack of experience in government.
Well, they've got a point. I don't have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don't have any experience in gridlocked Government where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else. I don't have any experience in creating the worst public school system in the industrialized world, the most violent, crime-ridden society in the industrialized world.

But I do have a lot of experience in getting things done. So if we're at a point in history where we want to stop talking about it and do it, I've got a lot of experience in figuring out how to solve problems, making the solutions work, and then moving on to the next one. I've got a lot of experience in not taking 10 years to solve a 10-minute problem. So if it's time for action, I think I have experience that counts. If it's more time for gridlock and talk and finger-pointing, I'm the wrong man.
I had no liking for Perot back in 1992 and thought he was often a bit wacky. I had no idea how awful a different billionaire candidate could be. I now look back to Perot's candidacy with fondness and wish he were the billionaire celebrating having wrapped up the nomination.

Donald Trump has been happily attacking Hillary as enabling her husband's sexual depredations, but he was indifferent to Bill's behavior before Trump decided to run against Hillary. S.E. Cupp writes with disgust of Trump's "bro code" excuse for why he never minded Bill's behavior before.
If Trump wants to go after Bill's womanizing past and Hillary's enabling behavior, he needs to explain, however, is why he actually defended Bill Clinton back in the day.

"Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer back in 2008. "They tried to impeach him, which was nonsense."

Plenty of Democrats said the same thing in the 1990s, but putting Bill's infidelity with Monica Lewinsky aside, it's actually kind of a big deal that the President of the United States lied under oath about it. You know, perjury?

What’s worse than the reversal, though, is the explanation the Trump camp has been giving for it. When asked why Trump changed his opinion on the importance of Bill's infidelity and alleged sexual assaults, Trump's lawyer and campaign surrogate Michael Cohen told CNN's Chris Cuomo that Trump was "just being a friend" back then. That's right—Trump was just protecting his pal, Bill Clinton.

That the Trump campaign came up with the "friend" defense as a justification for his change of heart tells you everything you need to know about the mentality of the candidate and the campaign. Someone actually thought this sounded good.

In essence, this is "bro code" at the presidential level. Trump wasn't defending Bill because he believed he was innocent, or didn't think that adultery was a big deal. He was defending him because, you know, "bros before hos."

One has to wonder: what else would Trump defend if the reputation of one of his bros was on the line? Do conservatives—or any voters—really want a president who has replaced a moral compass with a sense of loyalty most often seen in frat houses? (Apparently, enough people do—he is beating Clinton in some national head-to-head polls.)

To make matters worse, Trump himself offered a disturbing explanation for his past behavior. "I'm dubbed as a world-class businessman, which frankly that's what I am, and I got along with everybody," he told The Today Show. "I got along with the Clintons, the Republicans, the Democrats, the liberals, the conservatives. That was my obligation, as a businessman. But I get along with...the Clintons and I get along with everybody virtually, because that was—when I needed approvals, when I needed something from Washington, I always got what I wanted."

Hear that? Trump happily overlooked scandals, breaches of ethics and questionable legality among his powerful friends because he need them to get what they wanted. What happens when he’s up against Vladimir Putin? Will he overlook horrific human rights abuses to get what he wants? Will he turn a blind eye to corruption in Washington if it greases the wheel for his pet project? Will he allow his powerful buddies in business to cheat and steal if he’s benefiting from their influence?

If that doesn't offend voters to the core, I'm not sure anything will.

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Jonah Goldberg writes that we shouldn't be at all surprised by the State Department's scathing report on how Hillary Clinton ignored her own department's security protocols and national laws in order to set up her very vulnerable-to-hacking private server. We knew all that. And we knew that she has been lying about it ever since the story came to light. She's been using very lawyerly-selected language to defend herself by claiming that none of the material she sent or received was marked classified, but it's been clear from the first that she was lying and we've found out that over two thousand of the messages contained classified material.
Nonsense. Classified material is “born” classified, and it was Clinton’s job to understand that. Moreover, how could the classified material she sent be marked “classified” if the whole point of her shadow server was to avoid oversight by the people who do the classifying? It’s like selling bootleg gin and then claiming that no one from the government marked it “bootleg.”

Another major lie: that she did this out of “convenience” because she didn’t want to carry two devices. The whole thing sort of just happened on auto-pilot while she was concentrating on much more important things, Clinton insisted.

More lies. Not only did she carry several devices, but the IG report makes it clear that this stealth rig took a lot of planning and effort. She told staffers, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

When two employees in the IT department raised concerns that Clinton’s stealth server would not properly preserve records, a supervisor replied that the matter had been reviewed and approved by lawyers and that the staffers were “never to speak of the secretary’s personal e-mail system again.”

That’s a strange instruction for something lawyers approved, isn’t it? The IG couldn’t find any evidence of this legal review of Clinton’s system. These mystery lawyers are surely unreachable because they are aiding O. J. Simpson in the search for the real killers.

If such a review existed, you’d think the Clinton campaign would provide it to investigators (and the press). Then again, if Clinton did nothing wrong, she also would have talked to the inspector general, as every other relevant secretary of state did. And she would have happily told her team to cooperate with the IG to clear the air. They all refused. I wonder why.

Just kidding. Of course I don’t wonder why. From the earliest days of this scandal — and it is a scandal — Clinton has lied. Unlike Donald Trump’s lies, which he usually vomits up spontaneously like a vesuvian geyser, Clinton’s were carefully prepared, typed up, and repeated for all the world to hear over and over again.

I would think this is an important distinction. Neither of the candidates is worthy of the office in my eyes, but voters might discount many of Trump’s deceits as symptoms of his glandular personality. Much like Vice President Joe Biden, who always gets a pass for launching errant fake-fact missiles from the offline silo that is his mouth, Trump is often seen as entertainingly spontaneous.

Meanwhile, Clinton — who lives many time zones away from the word “entertaining” — is marketing herself as the mature and upstanding grown-up. She does nothing spontaneously. And that means all of her lies are premeditated.
There's a slogan. "Vote for Hillary; At Least Her Lies are Premeditated."

Of course, Hillary blames others for her own transgressions.
Hillary Clinton's campaign on Wednesday blamed the State Department's sloppy record-keeping system for Clinton's inability to preserve records from her private email system when she led the department.
Never mind that she was the one who decided to set up her own server and then had her own private lawyer go through the emails to decide what to turn over in contravention of the laws about preserving records.

Peggy Noonan sees a United States where people have become so cynical about how those in power act that nothing surprises them. And the popularity of shows like House of Cards and Scandal just fuel that cynicism about the decadence of our nation's leaders.
But the real decadence Americans see when they look at Washington is an utterly decadent system. Just one famous example from the past few years:

A high official in the IRS named Lois Lerner targets those she finds politically hateful. IRS officials are in the White House a lot, which oddly enough finds the same people hateful. News of the IRS targeting is about to break because an inspector general is on the case, so Ms. Lerner plants a question at a conference, answers with a rehearsed lie, tries to pin the scandal on workers in a cubicle farm in Cincinnati, lies some more, gets called into Congress, takes the Fifth—and then retires with full pension and benefits, bonuses intact. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for years for the woman who in some cases targeted them, and blew up the reputation of the IRS.

Why wouldn’t Americans think the system is rigged?
And now we see the clear evidence that Hillary Clinton broke laws and has repeatedly lied about it.
Almost everything she has said publicly about her private server was a lie. She lied brazenly, coolly, as one who is practiced in lying would, as one who always gets away with it could.

No, she was not given legal approval to conduct her business on the server. She was not given the impression it was fine. She did not comply with rules on storage and archiving. Her own office told U.S. diplomats personal email accounts could be compromised and they must avoid using them for official business. She was informed of a dramatic increase in hacking attempts on personal accounts. Professionals who raised concerns about her private server were told not to speak of it again.

It is widely assumed that Mrs. Clinton will pay no price for misbehavior because the Democratic president’s Justice Department is not going to proceed with charges against the likely Democratic presidential nominee.

This is what everyone thinks, and not only because they watch “Scandal.” Because they watch the news.

That is the civic decadence they want to see blown up.

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And this is how intolerance of conservatives is facilitated by university administrators.
The president of DePaul University likens campus race activists that shut down a conservative event to troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos was threatened with violence and hit in the face by a female student during a speaking engagement at the university’s Chicago campus on earlier this week.

A letter issued Wednesday by Rev. Dennis Holtschneider said the students were wrong — yet also very much like Allied Forces who fought and died in France on June 6, 1944.

“Yesterday’s speaker was invited to speak at DePaul, and those who interrupted the speech were wrong to do so,” Rev. Holtschneider wrote from Normandy. “I was ashamed for DePaul University when I saw a student rip the microphone from the hands of the conference moderator and wave it in the face of our speaker. […] Here in Normandy, I expected to be moved by the generosity of those who gave their lives on the beaches early on June 6, 1944. I did not expect, however, to be shocked when I realized that most of the soldiers were the same ages as our students today. The rows on rows of white crosses in the American cemetery speak to the selflessness of the human spirit at early adulthood to lay down their lives for a better world. I realize that many of yesterday’s protesters hold similarly noble goals for a more inclusive world for those traditionally held aside by our society.”
Yup, freeing the world from the genocidal grip of Adolf Hitler and stopping a speaker with whom you disagree all stem from the same desire to lay down one's life for a better world. And the Reverend Holtschneider takes care to express his disdain for the speaker.
“Generally, I do not respond to speakers of Mr. Yiannopoulos’ ilk, as I believe they are more entertainers and self-serving provocateurs than the public intellectuals they purport to be,” the university president wrote.” Their shtick is to shock and incite a strong emotional response they can then use to discredit the moral high ground claimed by their opponents. This is unworthy of university discourse, but not unfamiliar across American higher education. There will always be speakers who exploit the differences within our human community to their own benefit, blissfully unconcerned with the damage they leave behind.”
Hence his understanding of the noble goals of those who prevented him from speaking. If the university truly respected the free exchange of ideas, it wouldn't matter that the reverend disliked the speaker and he wouldn't need to put that into his letter.

I despair for true liberty on college campuses when a university president senses a similarity in the goals of one group of young men who gave their lives fighting for freedom for others and those young people who risked nothing, apparently from the college's lack of disciplinary action, to stop someone from speaking.

Charles Krauthammer presents
an interesting distinction between those who are "idealists" in foreign policy and those who are "realists."
Ask one question: Do you believe in the arrow of history? Or to put it another way, do you think history is cyclical or directional? Are we condemned to do the same damn thing over and over, generation after generation — or is there hope for some enduring progress in the world order?

For realists, generally conservative, history is an endless cycle of clashing power politics. The same patterns repeat. Only the names and places change. The best we can do in our own time is to defend ourselves, managing instability and avoiding catastrophe. But expect nothing permanent, no essential alteration in the course of human affairs.

The idealists believe otherwise. They believe that the international system can eventually evolve out of its Hobbesian state of nature into something more humane and hopeful. What is usually overlooked is that this hopefulness for achieving a higher plane of global comity comes in two flavors — one liberal, one conservative.

The liberal variety (as practiced, for example, by the Bill Clinton administration) believes that the creation of a dense web of treaties, agreements, transnational institutions, and international organizations (such as the U.N., NGOs, and the World Trade Organization) can give substance to a cohesive community of nations that would, in time, ensure order and stability.

The conservative view (often called neoconservative and dominant in the George W. Bush years) is that the better way to ensure order and stability is not through international institutions, which are flimsy and generally powerless, but through the spread of democracy. Because, in the end, democracies are inherently more inclined to live in peace.

Liberal internationalists count on globalization, neoconservatives on democratization to get us to the sunny uplands of international harmony. But what unites them is the belief that such uplands exist and are achievable. Both believe in the perfectibility, if not of man, then of the international system. Both believe in the arrow of history.
For almost all of his presidency, Barack Obama has been firmly in the optimistic and idealist camp. He loves, in both foreign and domestic policy, to evoke the image of the arc of history bending toward justice. Because of that idealism he appeased dictators around the world from Putin to the Iranian leaders, the Castros and Hugo Chavez. However, Krauthammer detects some strands of realism in some of Obama's more recent actions.
But now an interesting twist. Two terms as president may not have disabused Obama of his arc-of-justice idealism (see above: Hiroshima visit), but they have forced upon him at least one policy of hardheaded, indeed hardhearted, realism. On his Vietnam trip this week, Obama accepted the reality of an abusive dictatorship while announcing a warming of relations and the lifting of the U.S. arms embargo, thereby enlisting Vietnam as a full partner in the containment of China.

This follows the partial return of the U.S. military to the Philippines, another element of the containment strategy. Indeed, the Trans-Pacific Partnership itself is less about economics than geopolitics, creating a Pacific Rim cordon around China.

There’s no idealism in containment. It is raw, soulless realpolitik. No moral arc. No uplifting historical arrow. In fact, it is the same damn thing all over again, a recapitulation of Truman’s containment of Russia in the late 1940s. Obama is doing the same, now with China.

He thus leaves a double legacy. His arc-of-justice aspirations, whatever their intention, leave behind tragic geopolitical and human wreckage. Yet this belated acquiescence to realpolitik, laying the foundations for a new containment, will be an essential asset in addressing this century’s coming central challenge, the rise of China.

I don’t know — no one knows — if history has an arrow. Which is why a dose of coldhearted realism is always welcome. Especially from Obama.
But then we get these sorts of reports from the Obama administration and all thought of Obama's supposed realism dissipates.
The Obama administration has the power to sanction key Russian arms sales to Iran, but has so far abstained from exercising this right under U.S. law, prompting some in Congress to question whether the administration is “acquiescing” to the arms sales in order to appease Iran, according to conversations with sources and recent congressional correspondence to the White House exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

President Barack Obama has the authority under U.S. law to designate as illegal Russia’s contested sale to Iran of the S-300 missile system, an advanced long-range weapon that would boost the Islamic Republic’s regional military might.

However, the administration has declined for weeks to clarify its stance on new sanctions, despite expressing opposition to the sale. Administration officials have further declined to answer questions from the Free Beacon and other outlets about whether the president will consider taking action in the future.

The administration’s hesitance to act has prompted a new congressional inquiry, the Free Beacon has learned, and has sparked accusations that the White House is not exercising its sanction authority in order to prevent Iran from walking away from last summer’s nuclear deal.
Sure. Russian arms to Iran. That's got to be part of that whole arc-bending-toward-justice thing, right?

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This is a very enjoyable two and a half minutes to watch as Senator Tom Cotton delivers a scorching take-down of the detestable Harry Reid who had been whining about not having enough time to read a defense bill that passed with a vote of 98-0. Cotton said he was compelled to speak after having been "forced to listen to the bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings of the minority leader.”

Reid had attacked Senator John McCain for supposedly having written the bill in secret. And of course, Reid was lying about the bill having been written "in the dead of night," when it had actually been public for weeks. Cotton was having none of that and rose to defend John McCain.
“To say that he’s delaying this because he cares for the troops, a man who never served himself, a man who in April 2007 came to this very floor before the surge had even reached its peak and said the war is lost, when over 100 Americans were being killed in Iraq every month, when I was carrying their dead bodies off an airplane at Dover Air Force Base,” Cotton said. “It is an outrage to say that we had to delay this because he cares for the troops. We are delaying it for one reason and one reason only: to protect his own sad, sorry legacy.”

And Reid was, as Cotton reminded anyone who had been in a coma six years ago, "the man who drafted Obamacare in his office and rammed it through this Senate at midnight on Christmas Eve, on a straight party line vote."

How lovely to hear someone speak the truth about Reid, who truly has been a nasty, contemptible leader. He will not be missed. I look forward to hearing from Tom Cotton for a long time to come.

I'm with Steven Hayward.
Has there ever been a more squalid senator than Reid? More to the point: Do we have to wait for 2020? How about Cotton-Sasse 2016?

The Daily Caller really beclowned itself by reporting on the house that President Obama has reportedly bought for his retirement is "1000 feet from the Islamic Center of Washington DC" as if that was the reason the Obamas bought this lovely 8,200-square-foot mansion. But the Daily Caller was enthralled with imagining that they wanted to be near the Islamic Center which, as they breathlessly report, features prayer five times a day. What silliness.

Philip Bump of the Fix has some fun ridiculing the Daily Caller by using Google Maps to find what is within 1000 feet of the offices of the Daily Caller. There must be something quite nefarious going on when we learn that the Daily Caller is with 1000 feet of the UN INformation Center, the National Council of La Raza, Al Jazeera, Victoria's Secret, and ... the American Islamic Congress.

Well played, Mr. Bump.

Sports Illustrated has an interesting story on a little-known book, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timonthy Gallwey, that has inspired Steve Kerr, Pete Carrol, Grant Hill, as well as Chip Engelland, the assistant coach of the Spurs known as "the Shot Doctor" for remaking the shots of stars such as Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. And a whole lot of other athletes from all sorts of sports have learned from this book which I'd never heard of.
Roughly the size of a Reader’s Digest. Only 134 pages long. You’ve likely never heard of the author, Timothy Gallwey, even though the title’s been in print for 40-plus years. The opening quote is from Maharaji; the back cover promises the ability to “Master Your Game from the Inside Out!”

And yet this is it, the book Warriors coach Steve Kerr swears by, the one he re-reads every off-season. It’s a book he distributes frequently (“I have like 10 copies because I’m always giving them out,” he says); one he says informed both his playing career and his coaching approach; a book that bonded him with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and provides an unexpected link to his current opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder; a book some view as akin to a cheat code not just for athletics, but life.

A book about tennis.
Apparently, Steve Kerr has been so inspired by this book that it has inspired his approach to playing and coaching basketball. Engelland gave him the book when Kerr was playing for the Bulls.
It’s about the challenge athletes face in making the connection between the mind and body, Kerr explained, becoming enthused. He said he first read it as a player with the Bulls. At the time his role was to enter the game in short spurts, take a few jumpers and then sit back down. Make the shots and the night was a success. Miss and it was a failure. The stress, as you can imagine, was formidable....

The book’s basic concept, which draws on Zen Buddhist principles, is simple: Our brains often screw up what our bodies are perfectly capable of doing on their own (or, “potential minus interference equals performance,” in Gallwey’s terms). “If you ever watch a tennis player, a lot of them will talk to themselves. ‘Oh, what are you doing!?’” explains Kerr. “[Gallwey] was a tennis teacher and he was watching his student one day and thought to himself, ‘Who is he talking to?’ It’s kind of weird if you actually stop and think about it. You’re talking to yourself, right? So does that mean there are two yous?”

According to Gallwey, there are. One is your mind (“Self One”) and the other your body (“Self Two”). And far too often in sports, Self One is berating Self Two. We’re constantly disappointed in ourselves (“My backhand sucks today! Hit a goddamn shot!”). Here we have a remarkable physical machine, one capable of innately calculating and executing complicated sequences in microseconds, and we treat it with contempt. The question for the athlete, as Kerr puts it: “How do you get out of your own way? How do you stop the chatter in your mind?”
Sounds like insights that could help people in a lot of situations that have nothing to do with sports. I see students who stress out so much about a test or having to speak in class that they just can't perform at the level I know they're capable of. They need to get out of their own way.

Ironically, Sam Presti, the GM of the OKC Thunder is also a big fan of the book.
And now here was Presti, the Thunder's GM, another believer. His enthusiasm was contagious. “I’m always re-reading it,” he said, becoming excited. “It’s a tremendous tool for experiencing life as it comes to you, not looking ahead or behind. We miss what’s right in front of us.” Like Kerr, Presti received the book from Engelland, when he was in San Antonio, and he reads it so often that he’s created a Word document with favorite passages—his own Cliffs Notes. Presti also gave the book to his staff to read, as well as Thunder reserve Nick Collison (though he doesn’t think Collison has read it).

Presti said he distinctly recalls the first time he saw the "Inner Game" in action, in 2003, when he was a recently-promoted assistant director of scouting with the Spurs. It was Game 6 of the Western Conference finals between San Antonio and Dallas. Down 15 in the third quarter and desperate, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich turned to a seldom-used, 37-year-old who’d played only three minutes in the series to date. The veteran came in and calmly hit his first three-pointer—his first trifecta in over a month.

Watching, Presti had an immediate reaction. As he says: “I remember thinking, ‘That’s the book! That’s the 'Inner Game!’”

In the minutes that followed, the veteran hit another three, and another, eventually finishing 4-of-4 from behind the arc to lift San Antonio to a series-clinching victory, in what would be the final defining moment of his playing career.

That veteran, of course, was Kerr.
Whoo. Spooky.

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Here's a depressing statistic about life in today's America.
Many of America's young adults appear to be in no hurry to move out of their old bedrooms.

For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34, an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found.

Nearly one-third of millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. It's the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.
Michael Barone examines the historical factors influencing such changes in the living situations for young people.
America before World War II was a nation with more people than rooms — one in which multiple extended family members or boarders typically lived in a house or apartment, which today's Americans would find intolerably cramped for a couple. In that country, sexual liberation for most people meant getting married. And in the 15 years of unexpected prosperity immediately after World War II, that's exactly what increasing numbers of Americans began doing at younger and younger ages: the median age for marriage in 1959 reached an all-time low of 22.5 for men and a near-all-time-low of 20.2 for women.

But another thing happened in Post-war America: a nation of renters became a nation of homeowners. In the process, we became a nation with more rooms than people. And in such a nation, with the birth control pill and other forms of contraception increasingly available (condoms were readily obtained in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the two states' whose largely unenforced contraception bans were overturned by the Supreme Court in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut), sexual liberation increasingly came to include extramarital sex. You didn't have to get married any more. Married ages rose, and so did divorce rates and premarital sexual relations.

These trends continued to the point that we have more 18-34s living with their parents rather than living with a (legally married or not) spouse. As the Pew analysts note, more men but not more women are doing so, which reflects a continuing trend of women tending to marry older men and therefore to marry at younger ages than men. And many more college-educated 18-34s are married or cohabiting than living in parents' homes, as this Pew chart shows, while more non-college-educated 18-34s are living with their parents than with a spouse.

New Yorkers should be prepared to kiss good-bye
to all the progress that the city has made in fighting crime and improving the quality of life for average citizens that they've seen since the early 1990s.
New Yorkers under a certain age may not recall when racing home from the subway at night was normal, but maybe they’ll get the opportunity. They can thank the progressive city council, which this week repudiated the “broken windows” policing that has contributed so much to making Gotham safe.

On Wednesday the councillors decriminalized so-called quality-of-life offenses such as littering, drinking or urinating in public and loitering in parks after dark. The package of new laws downgrades such misdemeanor citations to civil summonses so scofflaws will no longer have to appear in court or pay hefty fines.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito claims the laws will reduce arrests and incarcerations of minorities. Quality-of-life offenses make up about half of criminal summonses. However, only one in five individuals who are summoned to criminal court are actually found guilty, and fewer than 10% of those arrested for misdemeanors are sentenced to jail.

Relaxing law enforcement will almost certainly promote disorder instead, as James Q. Wilson and George Kelling surmised in their classic 1982 article “Broken Windows.” Their theory, which has been borne out in real life, is that tolerating widespread disorderly behavior encourages greater lawlessness, and minor infractions often lead to major crimes.

During the Rudy Giuliani administration, police chief William Bratton used broken-windows policing to return order to the streets and subways. As the commissioner and Mr. Kelling explained in City Journal last year, “By cracking down on low-level offenders, the police not only made neighborhoods more orderly; they discovered that many misdemeanor offenders were also wanted for serious crimes, from illegal gun possession to murder.”

Annual shootings fell by nearly 3,300 in four years after Mr. Bratton began more aggressively enforcing quality-of-life laws. Over the last two decades, New York’s murder rate has fallen by more than 80% while the national rate has declined by about half. As a result of reduced crime, felony arrests have dropped by about 60,000 while the city’s jail population has shrunk by nearly half.

Because city streets are safer, fewer minorities are being arrested and imprisoned. Early intervention also deters young men from committing bigger crimes that result in longer prison sentences.
But due to the skewed perceptions of the city's government, New Yorkers can return to those years when the streets and subways reeked from urine and crime flourished.
As we learned in the 1960s and 1970s, making the city safer for small offenders will eventually make it less safe for everyone else.
Who would want to return to those years? Progressives. Contrary to their name, these city leaders are more about regressing to the past than achieving any sort of progress.

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The Twitterverse might be conflicted over how Jeopardy winner Buzzy Cohen has been trolling Alex Trebek, but I've been enjoying his success. But, apparently, there are some people who find him quite punchable. As a quiz bowl coach, I enjoy seeing someone who knows a lot and can recall that information so quickly. Though any of my quiz bowl team would have gotten the Final Jeopardy question from last night that none of the contestants got.That's a standard bit of information that comes up all the time in quiz bowl. Quiz bowl is great preparation for Jeopardy. So it's no surprise that Ken Jennings, the longest-winning champion on Jeopardy, was a former quiz bowl competitor who even wrote questions for NAQT, the organization that writes questions for many of the tournaments we participate in throughout the year.

And they host the national tournament to which I'm traveling with seven members of our quiz bowl team in Dallas this afternoon. We'll be there all weekend. It's always very exciting and intimidating to compete against some of the smartest kids from around the country. Last year, our team tied for 53rd out of 272 schoolsat the national tournament in Chicago and we were quite pleased with that finish.

I'm just glad that we don't have to fly in and out of O'Hare this year. I just don't want to get stuck in an airport with seven teenagers. The kids are all focused on the competition. My stress is about travel arrangements and finding places to get meals for the kids. I'll keep my fingers crossed for both our performance and the smoothness of our travel.