04 Oct 2015


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04 Oct 2015

Nihilist Security Question

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From McSweeny’s:

Nihilistic Password Security Questions.

– – – –

What is the name of your least favorite child?

In what year did you abandon your dreams?

What is the maiden name of your father’s mistress?

At what age did your childhood pet run away?

What was the name of your favorite unpaid internship?

In what city did you first experience ennui?

What is your ex-wife’s newest last name?

What sports team do you fetishize to avoid meaningful discussion with others?

What is the name of your favorite canceled TV show?

What was the middle name of your first rebound?

On what street did you lose your childlike sense of wonder?

When did you stop trying?

03 Oct 2015

Rara Avis: the Conservative at Harvard



The Crimson strokes its chin and wonders if diversity in politics should, or even could, be established at Harvard.

[T]hat conservatives come in small numbers at Harvard comes as no shock. For years, The Crimson’s freshman survey has found that liberals may outnumber conservatives in incoming classes by as much as five to one—65.1 percent of the 1,184 respondents to this fall’s Class of 2019 survey, for example, identify as somewhat liberal or very liberal, compared to just 12.2 percent who identify as somewhat conservative or very conservative. Last year, among survey respondents from the graduating College Class of 2015, former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton had a higher favorability rating than Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker—combined. A surveyed senior was almost 10 times more likely to have a favorable view of Bernie Sanders than Ted Cruz.

And the liberal bent—to put it mildly—is not limited to the student body. A Crimson data analysis last year found that nearly 84 percent of campaign contributions from a group of 614 University faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees. In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, that number was closer to 96 percent. …

“Diversity? Political? Two words [that] can be put in the same sentence?” concludes freshman Sapna V. Rampersaud ’19, a registered Republican.

03 Oct 2015

“Bark! Bark! (Timmy’s in the Well!)”



02 Oct 2015

The Hunt Is On

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02 Oct 2015

Veteran Shot Seven Times Trying to Stop Shooter

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Chris Mintz

30-year-old Chris Mintz, a veteran who had served 10 years in the US Army, though unarmed, tried to stop the Oregon shooter yesterday. Mintz was shot seven times. Both his legs were broken, and he was also shot in the abdomen and hands. No vital organs were hit, however, and he is expected to recover.

It’s too bad that Mr. Mintz did not actually get a chance to close with Mercer.

The Daily Mail has lots of Mintz photos.

02 Oct 2015

The Nugent Marathon Corinthian Helmet

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photo via Belacqui.

Royal Ontario Museum description:

The Corinthian helmet type is one of the most immediately recognisable types of helmet, romantically associated with the great heroes of Ancient Greece, even by the Ancient Greeks themselves who rapidly moved to helmet types with better visibility, but still depicted their heroes in these helmets. …

This specific helmet (ROM no.926.19.3) was purchased by the Royal Ontario Museum in 1926 [at] Sotheby’s (auction of 22 July 1926, lot 160). A skull (ROM No. 926.19.5) was said at one stage to be inside it, and in this condition was excavated by George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent of Carlanstown, on the Plain of Marathon in 1834.

01 Oct 2015

The Modern Man Fisked

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Via Karen L. Myers and Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, a NYT column defining “The Modern Man” with replies in red ink.

01 Oct 2015

Elizabeth Warren Purges Brookings Economist

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Elizabeth Warren & Strobe Talbott

This Robert Litan guy it seems deviated from the Party Line, and Strobe Talbott (my old boss at the Yale Daily News) followed Warren’s orders and executed him.

The Wall Street Journal tells the sad story:

President Obama has let Elizabeth Warren veto presidential appointments, and the power rush seems to have gone to her head. Now the Massachusetts Senator has forced the resignation of a Brookings Institution economist because he dared to report that new financial regulations will cost investors.

Robert Litan, a Democrat who has been affiliated with Brookings for decades, is nobody’s idea of a conservative. And he’s not philosophically opposed to financial regulation. He was among the first to endorse Ms. Warren’s proposal for an independent agency to protect financial customers. It was a terrible idea that has become worse in its execution. The 2010 Dodd-Frank law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the rest is overbearing bureaucratic history. But the point is that Mr. Litan was an ally of Ms. Warren before her election to the Senate.

She’s not the sentimental type. In July Mr. Litan told the Senate about his research into a Labor Department plan to force investors to move from brokers to fiduciaries. Mr. Litan testified that “the benefits of the rule do not outweigh its costs. In fact, during a future market downturn, we estimate the rule could cost investors as much as $80 billion.”

He added that “the notion that all retirement investment advisers should be held to a best interest of client standard is not controversial. It’s the way the Department proposes to implement it, which because of its costs and risks, will lead to many clients going without an adviser, or if they are able to retain one, only at substantially higher costs.”

Ms. Warren likes the Labor plan because it provides more work for bureaucrats and trial lawyers. So more than two months after the hearing, still unable to rebut Mr. Litan’s economics, she has attempted an assassination of his character. In a letter to Brookings President Strobe Talbott, Ms. Warren accused Mr. Litan of, among other things, “vague” disclosure regarding the funding of his research.

Vague? Here’s the note about funding that appears on the first page of his prepared testimony, which is available on the Senate website: “The study was supported by the Capital Group, one of the largest mutual fund asset managers in the United States.” Did Ms. Warren provide that much clarity in describing her own corporate legal clients prior to her 2012 election?

Brookings is telling reporters that Mr. Litan violated a rule of the think tank. As a non-resident fellow, he was not supposed to be identified as a Brookings scholar when he testified on the Hill. But we’re told that the rule is a recent creation and that when Mr. Litan realized his mistake after the July hearing, he apologized—and that Brookings didn’t have a problem with it until this week’s letter from Senator Warren.

Remind us never to share a foxhole with Mr. Talbott. We also wonder how Brookings scholars and donors feel about letting a Democratic Senator bully their institution into stifling independent research. And what is former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doing at Brookings while he’s also a senior adviser to Citadel, the giant hedge fund?

01 Oct 2015

Franz Marc Postcard, 1912-1913

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The Tower of Blue Horses, to Else Lasker-Schüler in Berlin, end of December 1912/early January 1913.

and 7 more

30 Sep 2015

Sophistry as the New Constitutionalism

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Bruce P. Frohnen, at the University Bookman, points out how the recent SCOTUS Obergefel decision typifies the operation of modern American government outside the realm of law.

Can’t get the votes you need? Simply change the rules of the Senate. Lack sufficient support to ratify a treaty? Re-define it as an Executive Agreement. Can’t get Gay Marriage through the legislatures? Interpret some new “rights” out of the Constitution.

Limited government with defined powers is magically transformed into totally unlimited government, free to do anything the community of fashion strongly desires to do.

What made Justice Kennedy´s decision in Obergefell so damaging was not its seemingly endless, vapid paeans to individual autonomy and other pseudo-intellectual claptrap. The inferior quality of Kennedy´s musings is beside the point. The problem is that his musings have no basis in our Constitution or in the moral and intellectual traditions that shaped it and our culture. Kennedy´s legal reasoning, such as it is, flagrantly violates the rule of law in order to impose the “correct” policy on the nation.

The judiciary’s willful conduct has inured it, and us, to the tactics of ideological force.

I am hardly the first to point out that Obergefell substitutes the will of judges for the rule of law. It demands of the people that they forego their obligation to follow and uphold the law of the land and instead bow to the will of the rulers. Such commands are inimical to any semblance of ordered liberty. Unfortunately, these commands, issuing ever-more frequently from the courts and the administrative state, have become deeply embedded in our legal culture and have rendered our legal nomenklatura immune to arguments rooted in reason and to principles of fair play and civil discourse. At the same time, the judiciary’s willful conduct has inured it, and us, to the tactics of ideological force.

Read the whole thing.

30 Sep 2015

Not Just a River in Egypt

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City Council member Mark Levine, City Council member Daniel Dromm, Robert Meeropol, Michael Meeropol and Gail Brewer on the steps of City Hall.

Atomic spy Ethel Rosenberg, executed for treason in 1953, was honored last Monday on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Not as you might expect at FSB (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации [pФСБ] headquarters in Moscow, but in Manhattan!

NY Post:

Three council members joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in issuing two proclamations lauding Rosenberg, a Lower East Side resident, for “demonstrating great bravery” in leading a 1935 strike against the National New York Packing and Supply Co., where she worked as a clerk.

The proclamations also said she was “wrongfully” executed for helping her husband, Julius, pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.

“A lot of hysteria was created around anti-communism and how we had to defend our country, and these two people were traitors and we rushed to judgment and they were executed,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens).

30 Sep 2015

14 Most Inebriated Pennsylvania Counties

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Kittaning, county seat of Armstrong County

Only in Our State

Clinton County (County Seat, Lock Haven) comes in first. (Applause!)

Lackawanna (Scranton), Luzerne (Hazleton), Monroe (Stroudsburg), and Huntingdon (Huntingdon) all get in there. Sadly, my native county, Schuylkill, does not even make this list. It would have in the old days. My hometown in its prime had more barrooms than Philadelphia, typically six per block: each corner building and one in the middle of the block on either side of the street.

29 Sep 2015

Trump’s Tax Plan

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Donald Trump was sinking slowly in the polls and a number of pundits were predicting his candidacy was in terminal decline, but The Donald yesterday stopped whining about Fox News and actually produced a substantive policy proposal: a dramatic revision of the tax code.

Tax Prof Blog

Trump’s plan is simple, but it would certainly be a revolutionary change, eliminating scads of special interest deductions, freeing less well-off Americans entirely from federal taxation (except for Social Security), and giving US businesses a major shot-in-the-arm by making our business tax much more competitive. Trump’s plan is simple, but it is intelligent and possesses enormous potential voter appeal. In one fell swoop, Donald Trump has revived his candidacy and made himself again the man to beat.

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