It’s Rude to Say, “I Told You So,” But …

In July of last year, I commented over at PJ Media on the matter of Marlene Pinnock, a homeless woman whose rough treatment at the hands of a California Highway Patrol officer was videotaped by a passing motorist and broadcast to the world. At the conclusion of my piece, I predicted that the officer would not be convicted of any crime and, so far at least, he’s had no charges filed against him. I also predicted that the state would settle with Pinnock rather than take the case to trial. And yes, Pinnock settled for a tidy $1.5 million, more than enough — one would imagine — to secure a place to lay her head for some time. I finished by saying that Pinnock “will in due course be homeless and living on the side of the freeway.”

I’m now three for three on the predictions. The Los Angeles Times reports: “A woman captured on video last year being punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer on the 10 Freeway was arrested Tuesday and taken in for a mental health evaluation after she ventured into traffic on the same stretch of roadway, CHP officials said.”

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Status Quo Vadis?

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu stood before the UN to give what has since been described as a scathing speech, denouncing the world’s silence when it come to Jewish suffering. It was the pause heard around the world, and Bibi did what Bibi does best, by providing powerful quotes and newsworthy sound bites. The essence of the speech was ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens and slamming the international community for their failure to understand Israel’s need to do just that. Netanyahu has uttered those very words many times, and he does so flawlessly with right and might, but that night reality echoed his sentiment in the eeriest manner.

While Bibi was speaking, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were shot to death in front of four of their children as they were driving near their home in Samaria. A day later, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita Bennett were murdered and three other people injured while walking back from the Kotel through the old city, one of the victims a 2-year-old toddler who was shot in the leg. Twelve hours later, before the chaos had a chance to settle, an Israeli teenager was stabbed at a gas station in Jerusalem. In the past three days, four Israelis have been murdered, dozens of Israelis have been injured, 36 terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israel, and many more foiled.

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Formal Logic Undressed: The Screencast

On September 21st of this year, I led a workshop on formal logic at the Scala World conference in the beautiful Lake District of England. Although everyone was very kind about it, I completely failed to manage my time adequately, and essentially the last third of the workshop was therefore rushed and probably rendered nearly incomprehensible. So I decided to recreate the workshop as a screencast. It might appeal to those of you who are interested in logic, especially interactive development of proofs with automated tools, as well as to a philosopher or two, and to computer programmers who are curious about the relationship between programming and logic.

The really ambitious are encouraged to install Coq and PeaCoq and follow along at home. :-)

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Kathryn Steinle’s San Francisco

In addition to all of my work with political talk radio, and now, political/opinion writing, I’ve had an equally long career in sports radio. On weekends in the fall, I have a freelance gig, producing national radio broadcasts of NFL games. It’s an amazing side job, and I’ve been able to see most of this beautiful country many times over. Plus, I get paid to watch football. Unbeatable.

This past weekend, I was assigned the Green Bay Packers at the San Francisco 49ers. I was happy to get the assignment, as I had not seen Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the 49ers. I also love visiting San Francisco, as it’s one of the most beautiful cities in America, if not the world, but I stress “visiting.” I could never imagine living in such an anti-freedom, anti-conservative, radically progressive city. I need not detail how bad it is to fellow Ricochet readers. You know.

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Why Millennials Support Bernie Sanders

150429103538-bernie-sanders-gallery-photo-5-super-169Having access to a left-leaning, reasonably articulate Millennial, I was able to ask, “Why are you guys so crazy about this Bernie Sanders fellow?” The answer basically boils down to two things.

1. Millennials perceive the current system to be corrupt and stacked against them. They have completely bought into the line that too few people control too much wealth and that they are disadvantaged as a result. They like Sanders because he is going after “the wealthy.” This is a particularly potent attraction among those who have accumulated lots of college debt and have no prospects for paying it off. The idea of the government mandating paid paternity leave and a living wage sounds great. How could more money and paid time off not be great?

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Render Unto Kasich: Ohio Gov. Offers Bibles to Critics of Obamacare Expansion

John Kasich claims to be a Republican. In fact, he launched his quixotic run for the presidency on the Republican ticket. Yet he continues to approach governance using the arguments of a random “Democratic Strategist” guest on MSNBC Weekend.

Speaking Tuesday morning at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Governor Kasich swatted away complaints about his controversial Medicaid expansion in Ohio with one of his now-expected sermonettes:

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So, at Long Last, What Is Barack Obama’s Religion?

ahaloPresident Barack Obama has said that he is “Christian.” But isn’t that a bunch of religions? Which is his? It’s actually complicated as to whether “Christian” is several different religions or “one true catholic and apostolic church,” as many claim. More on that in a moment.

For some reason, the President’s religion keeps popping up. Candidates are asked if Barack Obama is a Christian. Candidates are told by questioners that Barack Obama is Muslim. A recent poll shows one percent of Americans think he’s a Jew. This persists despite the President’s own testimony of being Christian.

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The NSA and our Allies

480px-National_Security_Agency.svgAsked how the United States could better undermine good will from our allies — particularly, among commercially successful, technically savvy nations with small-l liberal values — one would be hard-pressed to find a better answer than to cite (essentially) unlimited powers of surveillance, coupled with the stated belief that technology companies should be encouraged/required to provide our intelligence services with backdoor access to their databases. For good measure, emphasize that we consider these methods to be in accordance with the fairly radical demands of the Fourth Amendment as it relates to our own citizens. Then, add that our supposed good judgement and self-restraint did not stop us from tapping the personal phone of the head of state of one of our closest allies, who just happens to have grown up under a government infamous for tyrannical surveillance.

Unfortunately, that is precisely the situation we find ourselves in and — unsurprisingly — it has consequences:

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The United States of Awesome: America Still Leads in Innovation and Economic Dynamism

The Economist looks at the challenge advancing technology like sharing platforms poses to left-wing politicians, using France as an example. Check out the fun fact at the end of the paragraph, which is really the main reason for the post:

Emboldened by books such as “The Second Machine Age”, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron Macron and his friends are grappling with how to rewrite the rules of equality and welfare for the digital economy, which hollows out the salaried middle, spreads freelance work and sidelines union-backed incumbents. What, they ask, will the left have to say when driverless cars make unionised taxi-drivers redundant? Or about legal working time in an Uberised economy where freelancing prevails? Such questions may seem otherworldly to those handing out flyers and treading pavements to try to stave off electoral defeat today. But the workplace shake-up is on its way faster than Mr Hollande can perform a pirouette on economic policy. Nearly 25% of Europe’s workforce is not salaried. Mr McAfee reckons that half of today’s jobs will in time be automated out of existence. And France is ripe for disruption: mergers aside, the youngest firm in the CAC 40, the main stock index, was founded in 1967.

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Can Obama’s Foreign Policy be Reversed?

shutterstock_13753447Conservatives hope that, with the next election, they can undo Obama’s fundamental transformation and revive the United States’ reputation as a valuable friend and a dangerous enemy. But is that even possible? A country that twice elected a Barack Obama — and that could very well elect a Bernie Sanders from the Left or a Rand Paul from the Right — can never be a dependable ally. America might, for a time, become a dangerous enemy, but only until the next election or poll.

Perhaps, the most a conservative president could accomplish in the short term is to keep his or her mouth shut, increase the size of America’s stick, and use that stick when our nation or our citizens are attacked. Until the United States shows that it will consistently protect itself, no potential ally or enemy will take it seriously.

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Thought Experiment: Congress for the White House?

white-congIf you were given the choice, would you accept winning the White House in 2016 at the cost of losing both houses of Congress? For the sake of argument, assume the numbers for Congress would mirror what they are right now.

Please give a “yes” or a “no” as the first word of your answer, followed by as much explanation as you see fit. If you’re 51% in favor of the proposition and 49% against, that’s a “yes.” Explain, if you wish, after your answer.

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Welcome to the Hotel Euthanasia

do-no-harm-300x234With the words, “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others,” Governor Brown of California signed into law provisions that will allow terminally ill patients to kill themselves with the assistance of a physician.

There is so much wrong here it is hard to know where to begin.

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Crimea River, Says Sputnik News

article-2127660-1288DA1D000005DC-0_634x396Today’s report on the unbelievably fraught, perilous, unstable, and ghastly state of the world is brought to you by Russia’s пропаганда organ Sputnik News. (I still cannot believe they gave it that Leika-the-Space-Dog of a name: Didn’t they market test that? Hell, maybe they did — maybe I’m just old as dirt and these new-fangled Millennials think Sputnik sounds like a totally credible name for a Russian newspaper.)

Anyway, they write:

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The Bookmonger with John J. MillerWhat Is Conservatism? With Buckley, Hayek & Goldberg

What Is Conservatism? It’s not a hard question — it’s a title that proves everything old is new again. ISI Books has reissued What Is Conservatism? It’s the 1964 classic edited by Frank S. Meyer and featuring contributions from the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Friedrich Hayek, plus a new foreword by Jonah Goldberg.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Goldberg explains why he calls this volume, “The Federalist Papers of American conservatism,” which of its essays everyone should read right now, and what a book from half a century ago can teach conservatives in 2016.

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Yes, I’m an Opera Singer. No, Not Like Charlotte Church…

Charlotte_ChurchA recent conversation with a friend reminded me of something I dealt with frequently in my singer days. For years, after someone found out I was a classical singer, they would say excitedly, “Oh! You sing like Charlotte Church?! She has the voice of an angel.” At this point in the conversation I had three options: 1) Tackle them to the ground and slap them silly, 2) Explain in depth why Charlotte Church and Jackie Evancho are the products of amazing PR, but have been paraded and pushed beyond their vocal limits, ruining their voices in the process, or, 3) Smile and say, “Well, not really…”

I usually opted for number 3, unless I felt the person had the interest and ability to understand my exegesis on the horrors of tween “opera singers.” For the longest time, my mother would always say, “You’re just jealous that she’s so successful.” Of course, every singer wants to be successful, but not like that. So I would like to shed some light on the education and development of young singers in hopes that y’all will never buy a Charlotte Church or Jackie Evancho album every again.

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Elementary Schools Hiring ‘Recess Consultants’ to Supervise Playgrounds

shutterstock_181990121For modern parents, every summer is a scramble. Beginning in March (or late April, for slackers like me), moms and dads worry how to keep their kids occupied while school is out. For our family, it’s a Gantt chart of swimming lessons, art classes, summer school, vacation Bible school, and a week with the grandparents. Once we’ve logged all of that into our iPhone calendars, we try to find a single week still open so we can shoehorn in a family vacation. (Keep in mind, we live in the Arizona desert and often work from home, so we need at least a few hours of air-conditioned fun so our kids don’t lose their minds and we don’t get fired from our jobs.)

My mom had a far superior method of ensuring my siblings and I got proper exercise, mental stimulation, and social integration over those long, hot summer months. She yelled, “go outside, you’re driving me nuts!” We’d dutifully scatter on our bikes, my brother to the local library, my sister to one of her giggling friends’ homes, and me into the deserts ringing Phoenix where I would jump ditches with my Mongoose BMX bike, build forts, and get into epic dirt-clod fights with my fellow prepubescent ne’er-do-wells.

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Pro-Abortion Maggie Hassan (NH) Running for Senate

Maggie Hassan

Pro-abortion Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire is running for Senate.

New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan (D) announced today she is running for the US Senate against incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R). I’ve been trying for almost two months to get Hassan to say whether or not she has seen the Planned Parenthood abortion videos put out by Center for Medical Progress.

I still haven’t received an answer, even after I threatened to sue the executive branch through New Hampshire’s Right to Know law (RSA 91-A), our version of the federal Freedom of Information Act. By contrast, Ayotte’s communications director replied within five minutes of my email that Ayotte has seen some of the videos.

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Having My Fill


Nice little email box ya got there… It would be a shame if anything happened to it. I mean we could fill the thing up hourly… This morning’s beg-a-thon letter from the Grand Old Party: GOPFRaising

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Does Giving Immigrants Citizenship Improve Assimilation and Civic Participation?

shutterstock_155168414_SwissPassportYou wouldn’t know it by listening to Donald Trump, but rounding up and deporting — humanely, according to Trump — some 11 million undocumented/unauthorized/illegal immigrants would be pretty pricey. Lots of different estimates, but maybe anywhere from $100 billion to $600 billion, if preventing future illegal entry is also included.

Legal status for many or most undocumented immigrants already in the US seems more likely. One potential compromise is legalization without citizenship. Immigration expert Peter Skerry has outlined a plan for “permanent non-citizen resident” status. These immigrants would be prohibited from ever becoming eligible for naturalization — unlike green card holders — but they would have full access to the labor market. And that may be enough for most of the undocumented. Skerry notes that a quarter century after the 1980s amnesty, only 41 percent of the nearly 2.7 million individuals who became legal permanent residents had gone on to exercise the option to naturalize. In other words, when offered the chance to become citizens, the overwhelming majority of the undocumented have settled for less.

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Contra the Media, Stuff Does Happen

Defending Jeb Bush is detrimental enough to a person’s reputation, but I’m going to risk it all defending the latest caricaturized version of Jeb. “Stuff happens” is politically incorrect in the strictest sense: It’s the incorrect sentiment to express if you want to advance politically. But the world of politics is not known for its concern with facts, and “stuff happens” is appropriate and accurate. (Note: I’ll continue to use Jeb’s wording, though I prefer the more common, earthy variant.)

In regular conversation, “stuff happens” can be a flip response to terrible events or an excuse for inaction, but coming from the government, it’s just the right response (provided the terrible events aren’t the government’s fault). In the government’s case, I support finding as many excuses for inaction as possible. “Stuff happens” happens to be a good one, as it’s a pithy form of the conservative belief that humanity is sinful and the libertarian belief that central planners and bureaucrats won’t change it from being so.

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Forget the Wicked; Celebrate the Heroes


Chris Mintz, a man whose name we all should know, via his family’s GoFundMe page.

Some months back, Steven Pinker made the insightful (if somewhat obvious) observation that the simplest way of gaining attention, fame, and glory is to murder others in a sensational fashion. As this is not terribly difficult to do, it should be of little surprise that a handful of people will turn schools and other public places into temples where the innocent are sacrificed to a god of narcissism. The wonder of it is that it does not happen more often.

Via the Wall Street Journal, the latest spree murder has spurred a renewed effort to extirpate the murder’s name, identity, and motivations from from discussion in the press:

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Unhappy Meal: The Problem with McDonald’s

I recently had the chance to hear from the Senior Director, Supply Chain Management, Quality Systems for McDonald’s. I include the whole title because I’m a sadist, and also because it perfectly captures what’s wrong with the home of the unhappy meal. Unhappy because McDonald’s sales are tanking, dropping for three years in a row, including a 2 percent drop in US sales last quarter.

There are problems in Ronald McDonald land, and a job title that arcane is a perfect example of a bureaucratic corporation that is unlikely to turn things around. If you can’t get your job title in a tweet, it’s probably going to be hard for both you and everybody else to know just exactly what it is you do.

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