Twitter has suspended the account of @Instapundit, a.k.a. Glenn Reynolds, for recommending that people trapped by rioters use their cars to escape and protect their own lives. Here's the offending tweet:
Perhaps Professor Reynolds should have written "keep driving", or something less intemperate. Of course it would be illegal and immoral to use deadly force against a peaceful protester, but the protests in Charlotte have been quite violent.
It's both lawful and moral to use deadly force to protect your life and property.
Trump extends his lead to 5 points in this Rasmussen poll of likely voters. It's not hard to see why, when you consider the popularity of his positions. These positions are anathema to American elites of both parties, which is precisely why Trump has managed to insert himself so successfully into the national conversation.
Most voters oppose Obama's plan to bring more Middle Eastern and African refugees to this country next year and view that decision as an increased danger to U.S. national security. Clinton supports the president's policy.
Voters, on the other hand, strongly support Trump's plan for temporarily restricting immigration from countries with a history of terrorism and for testing to screen out newcomers who don't share America's values.
It's obviously fine for President Obama to campaign for Hillary and to express a strong preference for her victory in November, but he crosses the line when he meets with world leaders and denigrates Trump as unfit for office. Lots of people say that, lots of people believe it, but President Obama has a responsibility to the office and to America not to undermine a potential successor. Even if Obama is right, if Trump wins the election he will be the next President, and he'll have a tough enough job without this condemnation hanging over his head.
On many occasions, Obama has been explicit about the fact that his words are intended specifically about Trump. He's said questions about the GOP nominee come up in every meeting with a foreign leader, and he's emphatically declared Trump to be unfit to inhabit his role as commander in chief.
The NYT describes the woes of a small California pension due differences between actuaries and economists.
The two competing ways of valuing a pension fund are often called the actuarial approach (which is geared toward helping employers plan stable annual budgets, as opposed to measuring assets and liabilities), and the market approach, which reflects more hard-nosed math.
The market value of a pension reflects the full cost today of providing a steady, guaranteed income for life -- and it's large. Alarmingly large, in fact. This is one reason most states and cities don't let the market numbers see the light of day. ...
The market-based numbers are "close to the truth of the liability," Professor Sharpe said. But most elected officials want the smaller numbers, and actuaries provide what their clients want. "Somebody just should have stopped this whole charade," he said.
In short: the actuaries justify low numbers that please their clients (the governments who administer the pensions) while the economists warn that the pensions are vastly underfunded.
Mega McArdle gives a good description of discount rates.
A discount rate is a way of accounting for the fact that dollars in the future are not quite the same as dollars you have right now.
You know this, don't you? Imagine I offered to give you a dollar right now, or a dollar a year from now. You don't have to think hard about that decision, because you know instinctively that the dollar that's right there, able to be instantly transferred into your sweaty little hand, is much more valuable. It can, in fact, be easily transformed into a dollar a year from now, by the simple expedient of sticking it in a drawer and waiting. It can also, however, be spent before then. It has all the good stuff offered by a dollar later, plus some option value.
Even if you're sure you don't want to spend it in the next year, however, a dollar later is not as good as a dollar now, because it's riskier. That dollar I'm holding now can be taken now, and then you will definitely have it. If you're counting on getting a dollar from me a year from now, well, maybe I'll die, or forget, or go bankrupt.
The point is that if you're valuing assets, and some of your assets are dollars you actually have, and others are dollars that someone has promised to give to you at some point in the future, you should value the dollars you have in your possession more highly than dollars you're supposed to get later.
Zero Hedge (yeah, I know, not always the most temperate source) has an excellent report about how David Brock is laundering money through Media Matters and various "charities" to enrich himself. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for the Democrat-dominated "non-profit" sector -- if you think Brock is the only one doing this, you're delusional.
The Left's web of "charities" is intentionally incestuous and opaque for the purpose of graft, from the Clinton Global Initiative on down. Is it any wonder that they're freaking out about the possibility of a Republican president who isn't hesitant about smashing the status quo? It's hard to imagine a Trump presidency letting this all slide as "business as usual", no matter what President Bush ignored a decade ago.
Say, for example, you donate $1,062,857 to Media Matters for America. This is how David Brock would have used your charitable donation in 2014:
Media Matters would receive your $1,062,857 donation
- The Bonner Group would earn a $132,857 commission
- Media Matters would retain $930,000
Next, Media Matters would give what's left of your entire donation, $930,000, to the Franklin Education Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $116,250 commission
- The Franklin Education Forum would retain $813,750
The Franklin Education Forum would then forward the remaining $813,750 to The Franklin Forum
- The Bonner Group would 'earn' a $101,718 commission
- The Franklin Forum would retain $712,031
In the end, Brock's solicitor would have pocketed $350,825, almost a third of your initial donation! That's a far cry from the advertised 12.5% commission.
As bizarre as that scenario may sound, this is exactly what David Brock did in 2014.
In a display of raw physical prowess, Donald Trump repeatedly lifts a baby over his head. Ok, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but my first thought when I read this story was I bet Hillary couldn't lift a baby over her head like that.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lifted 18-month-old Tristan Murphy after his speech outlining a new childcare policy on Tuesday night in Aston, Pennsylvania.
Andrew C. McCarthy says it well: Relations between governments are best handled through diplomacy, not legal proceedings.
Why, when the Republican-controlled Congress is finally willing to fight President Obama to the point of forcing and potentially overriding a veto, do they pick an issue on which Obama is right?
In a grandstanding exhibition, Congress has enacted legislation that would enable private litigants -- the most sympathetic imaginable, the families of 9/11 victims -- to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. Obviously, even if it is sued successfully, the Saudi government is never actually going to pay any judgments. More to the point, legislation of this kind will spur other countries to enact laws allowing their citizens to sue the United States -- and maybe even criminal laws allowing the arrest of current and former American government officials (including military personnel) -- for actions taken in defense of our country and pursuit of our interests.
Since we have interests throughout the world and a military that acts globally (and lethally), our nation has far more to lose than most nations by playing this game. Consequently, while I get the populist zeitgeist, it is disappointing to see people who ought to know better claiming that a veto would represent Obama's prioritizing of Saudi interests over American interests. It would do nothing of the sort.
This is beyond parody: upon realizing that its systems were hacked, the DNC sent out a single new password to people by email.
- Why send out a new password using email that you know has already been hacked?
- Why do multiple people get the same password?
This picture of a gaggle of journalists waiting for Hillary is hilarious and embarrassing. Just look at the eager anticipation on their faces. It's obvious to everyone by now that the media loves Hillary and hates Trump, no matter what either of them say or do.
Glenn Reynolds argues that President Trump and the Democrat-aligned civil service will check each others' abuses. This seems logical to me. The big question is: how can America restore a non-partisan civil service?
The reason, of course, is that the civil service, though supposedly professional and nonpartisan, has become a Democratic Party monoculture. Federal employees overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, donate to Democrats, and, by all appearances, cover for Democrats as a routine part of doing their job.
So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service's behavior, that's got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he'll get a lot of pushback -- and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump's appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don't get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he'll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get -- or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.
So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump -- he's the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.
I hope that Trump and the Republican Party continue their engagement with African Americans, no matter what happens in November. The Democrats have dominated black political life for decades without doing much of anything to help the community other than lip service.
What, after all, does Hillary Clinton offer the black community? Does she promise to make our public schools better by demanding greater teacher accountability? Will she push to reverse decades of damage done by tenure and other rules that put union workers first and kids second? Does she promise to expand charter schools, so those tens of thousands of wait-listed African-American kids get a shot at the American dream? No, she does not. Hillary owes the teachers' unions, which promise to get out the vote and which have donated millions to her campaign.
Does Hillary promise to secure our borders and reduce the number of illegal immigrants vying for entry-level jobs? Does she embrace the new "gig" economy that attempts to circumvent the morass of red tape driving so many small businesses under? Does she back the law enforcement efforts that keep low-income urban communities safe? The answers are a uniform "no."
What Hillary Clinton offers African-Americans is four more years of Obama's policies, which Sean "Diddy" Combs, among others, have rightly described as failing the black community. Combs recently said that under Obama, blacks have been "a little bit short-changed" and that African-Americans should not automatically line up behind Clinton. "Hillary Clinton, you know, I hope she starts to talk to the black community directly. ... It really makes me feel, you know, almost hurt that our issues are not addressed, and we're such a big part of the voting bloc." Combs has recently opened a charter school in Harlem; no wonder he's not a Hillary fan.
As Instapundit is fond of pointing out, America's urban centers have been controlled by Democrats for decades -- why not give Republicans a chance to turn things around?
President Obama isn't solely at fault for the systematic collapse of American foreign policy over the past eight years, but there sure have been a lot of failures.
The Era of Hope and Change has been one prolonged act of suicide. If anyone had said that Obama would manage to alienate Israel and the Philippines, lose Turkey, pay Iran a hundred billion dollars, preside over the loss of a won war in Afghanistan, lose billions of dollars in military equipment to ISIS, watch a consulate burn, restart the Cold War with Russia, cause Japan to re-arm and go the knife's edge with China would you have believed it? If someone had told you in 2008 millions of refugees would be heading for Europe and that the UK would leave the EU after Obama went there to campaign for them to remain would you not have laughed?
It would sure be exciting if these space tests of the EmDrive work.
The EmDrive, a hypothetical miracle propulsion system for outer space, has been sparking heated arguments for years. Now, Guido Fetta plans to settle the argument about reactionless space drives for once and for all by sending one into space to prove that it really generates thrust without exhaust.
Even if mainstream scientists say this is impossible.
Fetta is CEO of Cannae Inc, and inventor of the Cannae Drive. His creation is related to the EmDrive first demonstrated by British engineer Roger Shawyer in 2003. Both are closed systems filled with microwaves with no exhaust, yet which the inventors claim do produce thrust. There is no accepted theory of how this might work. Shawyer claims that relativistic effects produce different radiation pressures at the two ends of the drive, leading to a net force. Fetta pursues a similar idea involving Lorentz (electromagnetic) forces. NASA researchers have suggested that the drive is actually pushing against "quantum vacuum virtual plasma" of particles that shift in and out of existence.
Most physicists believe these far-out systems cannot work and that their potential benefits, such as getting to Mars in ten weeks, are illusory. After all, the law of conservation of momentum says that a rocket cannot accelerate forward without some form of exhaust ejected backwards. Yet the drumbeat goes on. Just last month, Jose Rodal claimed on the NASA Spaceflight forum that a NASA paper, "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum" has finally been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, but this cannot be confirmed yet.
I'm not sure what to say about this, so I'll just link to it and you can make up your own mind: Cal State LA offers segregated housing for black students.
California State University Los Angeles recently rolled out segregated housing for black students. ...
Cal State LA joins UConn, UC Davis and Berkeley in offering segregated housing dedicated to black students. While these housing options are technically open to all students, they're billed and used as arrangements in which black students can live with one another.
With news that foreign hackers have hacked state election infrastructure it seems like the time is right to return to paper ballots.
The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.
The FBI warning, contained in a "flash" alert from the FBI's Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.
It's more important that elections be trusted and trustworthy than that they be cheap, easy, or efficient. Paper ballots are superior to electronic voting.
Anderson Cooper admirably tries to pin down Hillary on why her behavior was acceptable for a Secretary of State but wouldn't be for a President. Hillary strangely decides to use a metaphor about smoke and fire that any other person would invoke to suggest her guilt.
COOPER: Why was it OK for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations when you were secretary of state but it wouldn't be OK if you were president?
CLINTON: Well, what we did when I was secretary of state, as I said, went above and beyond anything that was required, anything that any charitable organization has to do. Now, obviously, if I am president, there will be some unique circumstances and that's why the foundation has laid out additional ...
COOPER: But didn't those unique circumstances exist when you were secretary of state?
CLINTON: ... if I am elected.
COOPER: Didn't those unique circumstances exist ...
CLINTON: No, no. And, you know, look, Anderson, I know there's a lot of smoke and there's no fire.
Apparently Hillary Clinton sold access to herself and the State Department while she was secretary.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million. ...
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
Isn't it worse that these bribes didn't violate the agreements signed by the Clintons?
This egregious corruption would sink Hillary if her opponent weren't Donald Trump.
On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities.
If these activities would create conflicts of interest for President Hillary, why weren't they a conflict of interest for Secretary Hillary?
Obamacare has destroyed the insurance market in many areas of the country, and it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the hardest hit areas are dominated by President Obama's political opponents. It's no coincidence.
According to an analysis from the consulting firm Avalere, as of now, there will be just one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage next year in seven states: Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, Alaska, North Carolina and Kansas. It is possible that more insurers could enter these markets before next year.
In one county in Arizona, there might not be an ObamaCare plan available at all.
Aetna had been the only insurer offering a plan in Pinal County. Unless federal and state officials can find another insurer to fill the void in 2017, the county's 400,000 residents will not be able to buy coverage on an ObamaCare exchange.
The dearth of options in rural, sparsely populated areas is a far cry from what Democrats promised when selling the Affordable Care Act.
The American birth rate is plummeting. The future belongs to those who show up.
The new birth rate numbers are out, and they're a disaster. There are now only 59.6 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States. Some of the decrease is due to good news, which is the continuing decline of teen pregnancies, but most of it is due to people getting married later and choosing to have fewer children. And the worst part is, everyone is treating this news with a shrug.
It wasn't always this way. It used to be taken for granted that the best indicator of a nation's health was its citizens' desire and capacity to reproduce. And it should still seem self-evident that people's willingness to have children is not only a sign of confidence in the future, but a sign of cultural health. It's a signal that people are willing to commit to the most enduring responsibility on Earth, which is raising a child.
But reproduction is also a sign of national health in a more dollars-and-cents way. The more productive people you have in your society, the healthier your country's economy. It's an idea that was obvious back in the 17th century, when economist Jean Bodin wrote "the only wealth is people."