May 13, 2015

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New York Magazine covers the Clinton Foundation’s problems with Charity Navigator, an independent non-profit watchdog. 

Last Wednesday, Bill Clinton ratcheted up Clintonworld’s counter assault on Clinton Cash, the book by conservative author Peter Schweizer that ignited the latest media frenzy over the former First Couple’s $2 billion foundation. “There’s just no evidence,” Clinton defiantly told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during an interview at the Foundation’s confab in Morocco. “Even the guy that wrote the book apparently had to admit under questioning that we didn’t have a shred of evidence for this, we just sort of thought we would throw it out there and see if it flies, and it won’t fly.”

Clinton’s analysis is flawed in at least one regard. As my colleague Jonathan Chait recently wrote, the Clintons’ web of murky relationships and opaque finances exacts a political cost whether or not their critics ever find a there there. The Clintons, more than anyone, should know that negative press — true or not — can have potentially catastrophic consequences. Remember, it was David Brock’s 1993 American Spectator article alleging that Arkansas state troopers arranged Bill’s trysts, which sparked Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit, which led to the Supreme Court case, which led to Monica Lewinsky lying under oath about the affair, which led Linda Tripp to turn the tapes over to Ken Starr, which led to impeachment.

The Clinton Foundation scandal cycle is already spinning off new complications. A case in point: After being the subject of a spate of negative newspaper accounts about potential conflicts of interest and management dysfunction this winter — long before Clinton Cash — the Clinton Foundation wound up on a “watch list” maintained by the Charity Navigator, the New Jersey–based nonprofit watchdog. The Navigator, dubbed the “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is a powerful and feared player in the nonprofit world. …

 

 

Matthew Continetti says Hillary Clinton is having a hard time defining herself.

Hillary Clinton is moving so quickly to the left that it’s hard to keep up. Her aides are telling the New York Times she wants to “topple” the One Percent, she’s pledging solidarity with union bosses over lunch meetings at Mario Batali restaurants in Midtown, she supports a constitutional amendment to suppress political speech, she’s down with a right to same-sex marriage, she’s ambivalent over the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she’s calling for an end to the “era of mass incarceration,” she wants to go “further” than President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. It’s called pandering, but the press is too frazzled or sympathetic to call her on it. There’s desperation to Clinton’s moves, an almost panicked energy, to close the gap between her and her party’s base. If Elizabeth Warren called for full Communism, Clinton would be at the barricades the next day.

Warren’s the reason for the policy shuffle. Clinton is so terrified of losing the Democratic primary—again—that she’s willing to trade consistency for security against an insurgent from the left. But she may be trading electability too. The Democrats have an advantage in presidential elections, but last I checked the country hasn’t turned into a really big MSNBC greenroom. One day Clinton will have to defend her positions against a non-witch Republican, and she’ll have eight years of Obama to answer for as well. She doesn’t have the gall, the rakishness, or the aw-shucks charm that allowed her husband to slither out of such difficulties, and judging from Bill’s most recent interviews he’s losing his abilities too. Indeed, the politician Hillary Clinton reminds me most of lately isn’t her husband or Warren. It’s Mitt Romney. …

  

 

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes on the Clinton way in Haiti.

… Mr. Clinton loves to paint himself as a third-world redeemer, as he did in an interview in Africa with an NBC reporter that aired last week. The reporter asked about charges that the Clinton Foundation’s practice of pulling in big money from governments and wealthy donors during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state was a conflict of interest. Mr. Clinton countered that he’s helping the poor.

As an NBC narrator described Clinton Foundation activities, the former president and his daughter were shown fitting locals with hearing aids. Pravda could not have crafted a better piece of propaganda.

Yet peel back the veneer of “charity” and one finds that the Clinton way has inflicted egregious harm on the poor in developing nations because it has undermined respect for the rule of law that is so necessary for economic growth. If a former president of the U.S. flouts anticorruption protocols, why should the locals get hung up on them?

Haitians learned about Mr. Clinton’s affinity for cronyism after he used the Marines to restore deposed Haitian strongman Jean Bertrand Aristide to power in 1994. As I have documented in this column, “friends of Bill” subsequently were awarded, in secret, a sweetheart deal from the state-owned monopoly phone company, Haiti Teleco, that gave them a substantial edge over the prevailing, mandated long-distance rates set by the Federal Communications Commission.

Within two weeks of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, the word had already gone out from the State Department that Bill Clinton would be in charge of U.S. reconstruction efforts. “That means,” one individual told me and I reported in a Jan. 25, 2010 column, “if you don’t have Clinton connections, you won’t be in the game.” …

 

 

Jonathan Tobin says the Clinton war room has “jumped the shark.”

By the end of last week, the Hillary Clinton camp was acting as if they had weathered the worst of the Clinton Cash scandal and emerged unscathed. While polls showed that trust in Hillary and belief in her truthfulness was heading south, support from the overwhelming majority of Democrats remained strong. She also maintained leads in head-to-head matchups against possible Republican opponents. But in spite of these reasons for confidence that the Clinton brand can survive — as it has before — virtually anything, their bold talk about no one believing the book isn’t convincing anyone. The drip, drip, drip of scandal stories from a variety of news outlets inspired by Peter Schweizer’s muckraking book has kept the allegations in the news rather than it fading away. As a result, the Clinton “War Room” that has been assembled to trash Schweitzer and dismiss the book is starting to show the initial signs of panic. When longtime Clinton family retainer Lanny Davis called the book and those exploring its charges an example of “McCarthyism” during an appearance on C-Span, it was clear that Hillary’s friends have officially jumped the shark in their efforts to silence the nation’s unease about the former First Family’s conduct. …

 

 

Power Line picks up on a book store in DC with a sense of humor. This will be the start of some great cartoons

May 12, 2015

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We have a couple of posts today on the recent shooting in Texas. Mark Steyn is first and he has some cartoons drawn by the winner of the contest in Garland that the jihadis had gone to break up.

As we mentioned a week ago, I’m none too well at the moment, and it so happens my preferred position in which to write causes me severe pain – which is presumably some kind of not so subtle literary criticism from the Almighty. But I’m back, more or less, with lots to catch up on. …

… If the American press were not so lazy and parochial, they would understand that this was the third Islamic attack on free speech this year – first, Charlie Hebdo in Paris; second, the Lars Vilks event in Copenhagen; and now Texas. The difference in the corpse count is easily explained by a look at the video of the Paris gunmen, or the bullet holes they put in the police car. The French and Texan attackers supposedly had the same kind of weapons, although one should always treat American media reports with a high degree of skepticism when it comes to early identification of “assault weapons” and “AK47s”. Nonetheless, from this reconstruction, it seems clear that the key distinction between the two attacks is that in Paris they knew how to use their guns and in Garland they didn’t. So a very cool 60-year-old local cop with nothing but his service pistol advanced under fire and took down two guys whose heavier firepower managed only to put a bullet in an unarmed security guard’s foot.

The Charlie Hebdo killers had received effective training overseas – as thousands of ISIS recruits with western passports are getting right now. What if the Garland gunmen had been as good as the Paris gunmen? Surely that would be a more interesting question for the somnolent American media than whether some lippy Jewess was asking for it. …

… In Copenhagen, in Paris, in Garland, what’s more important than the cartoons and the attacks is the reaction of all the polite, respectable people in society, which for a decade now has told those who do not accept the messy, fractious liberties of free peoples that we don’t really believe in them, either, and we’re happy to give them up – quietly, furtively, incrementally, remorselessly – in hopes of a quiet life. Because a small Danish newspaper found itself abandoned and alone, Charlie Hebdo jumped in to support them. Because the Charlie Hebdo artists and writers died abandoned and alone, Pamela Geller jumped in to support them. By refusing to share the risk, we are increasing the risk. It’s not Pamela Geller who emboldens Islamic fanatics, it’s all the nice types – the ones Salman Rushdie calls the But Brigade. You’ve heard them a zillion times this last week: “Of course, I’m personally, passionately, absolutely committed to free speech. But…”

And the minute you hear the “but”, none of the build-up to it matters. A couple of days before Garland, Canadian Liberal MP (and former Justice Minister) Irwin Cotler announced his plan to restore Section 13 – the “hate speech” law under which Maclean’s and I were dragged before the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission and which, as a result of my case, was repealed by the Parliament of Canada. At the time Mr Cotler was fairly torn on the issue. We talked about it briefly at a free-speech event in Ottawa at which he chanced to be present, and he made vaguely supportive murmurings – as he did when we ran into each other a couple of years later in Boston. Mr Cotler is Jewish and, even as European “hate” laws prove utterly useless against the metastasizing open Jew-hate on the Continent, he thinks we should give ‘em one more try. He’s more sophisticated than your average But boy, so he uses a three-syllable word:

“Freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy,” said Cotler, who was minister of justice under Paul Martin.

“However…”

Free speech is necessary to free society for all the stuff after the “but”, after the “however”. There’s no fine line between “free speech” and “hate speech”: Free speech is hate speech; it’s for the speech you hate – and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don’t have free speech, then you can’t have an honest discussion. All you can do is what those stunted moronic boobs in Paris and Copenhagen and Garland did: grab a gun and open fire. What Miliband and Cotler propose will, if enacted, reduce us all to the level of the inarticulate halfwits who think the only dispositive argument is “Allahu Akbar”. …

… Can Islam be made to live with the norms of free societies in which it now nests? Can Islam learn – or be forced – to suck it up the way Mormons, Catholics, Jews and everyone else do? If not, free societies will no longer be free. Pam Geller understands that, and has come up with her response. By contrast, Ed Miliband, Irwin Cotler, Francine Prose, Garry Trudeau and the trendy hipster social-media But boys who just canceled Mr Fawstin’s Facebook account* are surrendering our civilization. They may be more sophisticated, more urbane, more amusing dinner-party guests …but in the end they are trading our liberties. …

  

 

Craig Pirrong of Streetwise Professor has kudos for the policeman in Garland.

A few words about Garland.

First, the traffic cop who blew away two Islamist would-be mass murders is a total badass. He took out two guys who surprised him and were spraying him with assault weapon fire: pictures from the scene show dozens of evidence markers on the ground, most of which are likely indicating ejected brass from their assault weapons. His assailants were wearing body armor, which means he took them out with freaking head shots while taking rifle fire. With a service pistol. If that isn’t coolness and courage under fire, I don’t know what is. …

… Third, this event has provoked the left into paroxysms of rage . . . at Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, for having the audacity to engage in politically incorrect speech. As in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, I’ve lost count at the number of talking heads and pixel stained wretches who condemn the violence but . . . The “but” involves some variant on the theme that Geller engaged in hate speech, and had it coming, or at least the government should constrain such offensive speech to prevent such unfortunate events from recurring.  Indeed, the “buts” are more frequent and insistent here, because the Hebdo staff were hard core leftists, and Geller and Wilder are most definitely not.

As my father would say when I would try to talk my way out of something: No buts. Period. …

… The fact that a local traffic cop was the only thing that saved hundreds from the homicidal plans of two Islamist fanatics (one of them a native born American citizen) is deeply concerning. But what is far more disturbing is that this isn’t what disturbs what I would wager is a clear majority of the chattering class. What disturbs them (or what they opportunistically claim disturbs them) is speech that they disagree with, and which they are hell-bent on limiting the rights to engage in such speech. They are not targeting hate speech: they are targeting speech and speakers that they hate.

Fine. As we say in Texas: Come and take it.

 

 

Michael Barone has written 5,200 words on the British elections. We have some of it and then a link if you want to read more.  

Big surprises in Thursday’s British election. For weeks the pre-election polls showed a statistical tie in popular votes between Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party and the Labour opposition led by Ed Miliband. It was universally agreed that neither party could reach a 326-vote majority in the House of Commons. A prominent British political website projected that Conservatives would get 280 seats and Labour 274.

But the exit poll, released when voting ended at 10 p.m., projected Conservatives with 316 seats and Labour with only 239. It showed the Scottish Nationalist Party sweeping 58 of Scotland’s 59 seats and the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives’ coalition partners for five years, reduced from the 57 seats they won in 2010 to 10 this time. That turned out to be pretty close to the mark. The main error was that even this underestimated the Conservative wave.

Both major parties were suffering because of choices they had made. As party leader since 2005, Cameron made the Conservatives more metropolitan- and less traditional-oriented. The result was a strengthening of the anti-European Union, anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, which was getting 13 percent in pre-election polls.

As Labor leader since 2010, Miliband abandoned Tony Blair’s New Labour philosophy and turned Left. But Blair’s creation of a separate Scottish parliament whetted rather than slaked the desire of Scots for independence. Scotland voted against independence by only a 55 to 45 percent margin last September, after which the Scot Nats rallied to seriously contest parliamentary seats, 41 of them held by Labour.

So how did Conservatives come to win?

Scotland was a large part of it. In televised debates SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon promised to support a minority Labour government to keep Cameron out of No. 10 Downing Street. But that raised fears that the SNP would force left-wing policies on the whole country — and demand more subsidies for Scotland. “They would take money from the West Midlands,” one Conservative candidate there said, “and send it to Scotland.” So Labour failed to make the gains in England predicted by the pre-election polls. …

… Still, the Conservative victory shows that, once again, the appeal of economic redistribution and the opposition to “austerity” have been overestimated. Maybe that’s a lesson for America too.

 

 

After a few days reflection Barone has some observations. 

… Were the 2015 results far out of line with historic precedent? Not really. In fact, if you look at each party’s percentages of the popular vote, you see that Conservatives and Labour were very close this year to their percentages in 2010. Conservatives have clearly recovered from the trough they found themselves in during the Blair election years (1997, 2001, 2005) but still below the percentages they won in the Thatcher and Major election years (1979, 1983, 1987, 1992).

However, the Liberal Democrat vote evaporated far below the level of all those previous elections and the Ukip (United Kingdom Independence party) did much better and the Scottish Nationals somewhat better than in previous contests (keep in mind that the Scots Nats fielded candidates only in the 59 Scottish seats and not in the 591 English, Welsh and Northern Irish seats). …

… 2. Why were Conservatives able to get a majority in 2015 when they weren’t able to do so in 2010 with a similar popular vote margin over Labour?

The first answer is that this year they had more incumbents, who had been able to perform constituency services over the past five years: that can be good for 1 or 2 percent and occasionally more: the difference between victory and defeat in a target seat. I noticed this tendency in the Watford constituency, where the hard-working Conservative Richard Harrington was re-elected by a wide margin in a seat which was close in 2010 and in which Conservatives finished third in 2005.

The second and more important reason — though here I am speculating — is that the Conservative campaign, run by the Australian campaign guru Lynton Crosby, seems to have targeted districts shrewdly and bombarded them with messaging emphasizing especially the dangers posed by the possible Scots Nats dominance of a Labour government.

Perhaps in some places this included a high-minded appeal not to break up a Union which has existed since 1707 and under whose Union Jack flag Scots and Englishmen fought and died in battles that saved the world from tyranny. The more typical message would be similar to the Conservative billboard showing former SNP leader Alex Salmond picking a man’s pocket and urging voters not to let the Scots Nats steal their cash.

The appeal might be aimed particularly at Ukip sympathizers and supporters: the only way to stop the Scots stealing your money is to vote Conservative. My hypothesis — I need to see more evidence on this — is that prompting Ukippers to vote Tory is the best explanation of why Labour won so few of the Conservative seats it targeted in England and Wales, and why Conservatives managed to take Labour seats there in significant numbers. …

 

Follow this link if you want to read more of Barone’s analysis.

Here are some further observations about the British election, based on further analysis over the weekend.

  

 

Roger Lowenstein reviewing David McCullough’s biography of the Wright Brothers calls them “the workingest boys.”

In “The Wright Brothers,” David McCullough has etched a brisk, admiring portrait of the modest, hardworking Ohioans who designed an airplane in their bicycle shop and solved the mystery of flight on the sands of Kitty Hawk, N.C. He captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished and, just as important, the wonder felt by their contemporaries. John T. Daniels, who witnessed the first flight in 1903, wrote: “It was one of the grandest sights, if not the grandest sight, of my life.”

Aviation was an improvement that people did not expect to see. The Washington Post had stated plainly that “it is a fact that man can’t fly.” There had been many attempts in the 19th century, mostly leading to humiliation. “The difficulty,” Mr. McCullough observes, “was not to get into the air but to stay there.” The predecessor who seems to have gotten furthest, at least conceptually, was a German, Otto Lilienthal, who disparaged the popular air balloons and, hoping to mimic the technique of birds, built more than a dozen gliders before fatally plunging from an altitude of 50 feet in 1896.

Lilienthal inspired Wilbur, then 29 and the proprietor with Orville, 25, of a thriving bicycle business in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Nothing in their prior lives hinted at epoch-making greatness; they were talented mechanics, unusually well-read (books were among their few possessions) and a bit eccentric. The brothers, Mr. McCullough observes, “worked together six days a week, ate their meals together, kept their money in a joint bank account” and even, according to Wilbur, “thought together.” …

 

 

Speaking of work, ESPN Golf Writer Bob Harig writes on the prospects for Tiger Woods being able to learn how to again grind out the work that precedes wins on the Tour.

Tiger Woods gingerly made his way from the 18th green Sunday, fans screaming his name as he headed toward the scoring area, about to sign for his worst 72-hole score ever at the Players Championship.

Sweat continued to pour from his face as he took questions afterward, summing up a week he described as “a mixed bag,” probably something all should have expected given his lack of play both recently and in general.

Perhaps that might explain why Woods walked a bit carefully, maybe it was fatigue, possibly stiffness setting in after a rare 72-hole tournament of late. The Players marked the first time since December of 2013 that Woods played a fourth round in consecutive tournaments, and that really says everything about his game at the moment.

A nine-week break starting in February was a necessary step to get numerous issues in his game back in working order. Then came the Masters, where he surprised many by not only making the cut, but by finishing 17th. A month later brought a tie for 69th at the Players Championship on a TPC Sawgrass course that doesn’t allow for the inconsistency Woods is fighting now.

A healthy dose of perspective is again in order, and Woods typically is the one lacking it. So many times he stubbornly pushes forward, looking for results now instead of patiently looking toward the future. And yet it was Woods who took the long view on Sunday. …

May 11, 2015

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Turning our attention back to the problems caused by liberal Democrat government in Baltimore. Kevin Williamson says one weird trick can make a city more prosperous. He takes us to Philadelphia to show the trick.

I have never understood why West Philadelphia became a slum. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the real estate: Right in the middle of West Philadelphia is an Ivy League university; go eight-tenths of a mile east from the University of Pennsylvania down Walnut Street and you’re in one of the nicest city centers in the Northeast; go four miles northwest down Lancaster Avenue and you’re in Lower Merion, the fifth-highest-income municipality in the country (sandwiched between San Ramon, Calif., and Brookline, Mass.), where you can catch a polo match or a steeplechase race. There is terrific residential architecture, from the Victorian rowhouses on Spruce Street to the stately 19th-century homes spread out on broad lawns as you approach the city limit.

But in between is a lot of blight and some very bad blocks, though less blight and fewer bad blocks than there were 30 years ago. …

… There are many variables in the success and failure of cities, but one stands out. It isn’t race — Philadelphia is a minority-majority city, as is New York. And it isn’t affluence, either: Rank U.S. metros by income and Los Angeles barely cracks the top 50. But each of those cities has enjoyed a measure of success in recent decades by improving the material conditions in poor neighborhoods through the sort of commercial development bitterly denounced as gentrification. The streets of West Philadelphia are not nearly so mean as they used to be. New York City’s transformation in the Giuliani years was dramatic not only for the well-off precincts of Manhattan but in the rest of the city, too, with development even in places such as the South Bronx, once written off as a total urban loss. Los Angeles, which experienced a much worse version of the Freddie Gray riots in 1992, is a different city today. Economic policy is of course a piece of that, though not so big a piece as the economic-policy wonks like to think — does anybody remember what Rudy Giuliani’s tax plan was?

These cities are now safe — that’s the difference. New York City may be backsliding under its new Sandinista regime, but there’s still not much of the old menace there. …

… The real issue is moving people, businesses, and resources into poor neighborhoods — which is not going to happen when the locals are assaulting people, burning down businesses, and destroying resources. Lawlessness and violence convert assets into liabilities — all those boarded-up houses that once were homes are attractive nuisances on a massive scale. Somebody, somewhere, wants to sell things in those abandoned Baltimore storefronts, but no one can, because it is not safe.

And that’s the horrible irony here. If Baltimore wants to get its economic act together, it has to get something else right first: policing.

So far, neither the police department nor the people of Baltimore have shown any particular capacity for keeping the peace.

 

 

 

The UK.s Guardian says Baltimore is going back to its old ways.

Nine shootings were reported in a 24-hour period in Baltimore on Thursday, including at least two that were fatal.

The city has seen roughly three to four shootings a day over the past 10 days. In contrast, throughout the protests in West Baltimore following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray and the riots on 27 April, there were no casualties. From 28 April to 3 May, 18 shootings were reported in the city. …

 

 

Ron Christie says that after Baltimore’s mess, America is heading “blackwards.”

I’m worried about my country today. I’m worried because a fear I’ve spoken of for several years now is coming to fruition in a way that threatens to rip apart the fabric of our American society.

In 2012 I published Blackwards: How Black Leadership Is Returning America to the Days of Separate But Equal, in which I warned that our country was headed on a dangerous course marked by race and ethnic identification at the expense of the positive attributes we ascribe as being American citizens. In short I wrote: ”I believe this phenomenon is most pervasive in the black, dare I say African American, community. I believe that calls of racism and unequal treatment in the era of Obama has helped create a toxic climate that will spread unless we stop the stain that is spreading through our schools, offices, communities of worship and political discourse.”

The essence of heading blackwards has manifested itself in the events that have unfolded in Baltimore over the past few weeks. We still don’t know what happened to Freddie Gray while in police custody or the tragic events that led to the young man’s death. We’ve been told over and over again on television and on the radio that racism is the culprit at play for Gray’s death. Unfortunately facts no longer matter in our society today—slogans and efforts by those seeking “justice” for wrongs real or imagined are more important than a clearheaded and dispassionate search for the truth.

Consider the statement given by the Baltimore State’s Attorney late last week in charging six police officers with Gray’s death. Rather than disclose facts and assure the people of Baltimore she would proceed with prosecution based on solid evidence, Marilyn Mosby instead offered: “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace,’” she said. “Your peace is seriously needed as I seek to deliver justice to this young man.” “No Justice, No Peace” is a political statement to be used at a rally, not a comment that ought to be made by someone heading an impartial search for evidence to provide the basis for a conviction in a court of law. …

 

 

More from Andrew McCarthy who was a federal prosecutor in New York city. 

An incompetent prosecutor — or worse, a politically driven prosecutor who also happens to be incompetent — can do worse things than blow an important case. The more one scrutinizes the case against six Baltimore police officers said to be implicated in the death of Freddie Gray, the more one worries that the prosecution will cost lives.

I’ve recently explored the incoherent and patently politicized set of charges filed last Friday by Marilyn Mosby, the social-justice activist who doubles as the Maryland state’s attorney for Baltimore City. The prosecutor has alleged a second-degree “depraved heart” murder offense and other homicide charges that contradict her “depraved heart” theory. The complex case was rashly lodged before investigators had come close to completing their witness interviews and other reports. Ms. Mosby admitted, with clueless pride, that she’d filed a murder case because she heard “the call of ‘no justice, no peace’” from demonstrators across the country.

The homicide charges are of immediate danger to the police officers named in them. By contrast, everyone in Baltimore is endangered by Ms. Mosby’s decision to charge police with false imprisonment. …

… If police are now to conclude that they cannot, without fear of being prosecuted, take routine investigative steps based on reasonable suspicion, communities cannot be protected. There can be no security and no commerce. Innocent people will be preyed upon and killed.

The unlawful-imprisonment charges filed by prosecutor Marilyn Mosby are not even social justice, much less justice. They are a death sentence for Baltimore.

 

 

Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is last today on Baltimore.

… Half a century ago, when black poverty was greater, there was much less violent crime in black communities, notes economist Thomas Sowell, who is black. Half a century ago, Baltimore was prosperous.

Black poverty is a symptom — not a cause — of urban decay. White racism isn’t to blame for it. What’s killing cities are the leftism, corruption and ineptitude of city “leaders.”

Baltimore is fast becoming the next Detroit because its “leaders” — most of whom are black, all of whom are Democrats — kowtow to thugs.

“You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large,” Mr. Sowell wrote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2015

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The death of David Goldberg perhaps caused by an accident on a treadmill or, the use of a phone while on a treadmill, calls attention to the risks of the machines. And calls attention to the risks of exercise. WaPo tells us about the dangers of treadmills.

… Today, treadmills are the nation’s most popular type of exercise equipment. More than 50 million Americans now use them, CBS reported. The exercise industry grew by 3.5 percent in 2014 to a total of $84.3 billion, and “treadmills continue to be the largest selling exercise equipment category by a large margin,” according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

But exercise equipment — and treadmills in particular — can also be dangerous.

“Almost 460,000 people were sent to the hospital in 2012 for injuries related to exercise equipment,” according to USA Today. “The vast majority — nearly 428,000 were treated and released for their injuries — but about 32,000 were hospitalized or were dead on arrival.”

Treadmills account for the majority of such exercise equipment injuries, Graves told The Washington Post in a phone interview. In a study of 1,782 injury reports from 2007 to 2011, she found that “treadmill machines comprise 66% of injuries but constitute approximately only one-fourth the market share of such equipment.”

“Mechanical belt-driven equipment may present disproportionate injury risk in mechanical home exercise equipment,” she wrote in her study. “While we do not have data on the use of these machines, our study suggests the need to consider the hazards associated with in-home mechanical exercise equipment in the context of exercise recommendations.”

Graves says she was shocked not only by the proportion of injuries caused by treadmills but also by the victims. “We were surprised by the number of pediatric injuries that we saw,” she says. “There was a pretty high incidence among kids, especially 0 to 4 years old, also 5 to 9 years old.” In many cases, kids turned on their parents’ treadmills, only to burn their hands on the fast-moving tracks or, worse, get their fingers caught in the powerful machines. …

 

 

The Post followed up with an item about using treadmills safely.

It’s a pretty straightforward piece of equipment and you’ve been walking and running for how many years now? I mean, how difficult can it be to try a treadmill for the first time?

As my colleague Michael E. Miller points out in this excellent post, more than 460,000 people found out about the dangers the hard way when they suffered injuries related to exercise equipment, according to data for 2012. About 32,000 people were hospitalized or dead on arrival after those accidents and, according to one study, 66 percent of gym injuries involve treadmills. The tragic death of Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband of Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg, is the exclamation point at the end of this warning.

So if you’re on vacation, as Goldberg was, and get a hankering to jump on the treadmill, or you’re a novice starting an exercise program, here are some great tips on how to use the treadmill safely. They come from exercise physiologist Mike Bracko of Calgary, Alberta, who wrote the American College of Sports Medicine’s guide on treadmills. (The guide covers home treadmills but the lessons apply in the gym as well.)

• No phones! Or as Bracko put it: “Don’t look at your friggin’ phone, man. You’ve got to [set] your priorities. If it’s exercise, it’s exercise.” Many people don’t realize at first that the running or walking gait you use on a treadmill is different from the one you use in real life. Until you’re accustomed to that, and even once you are, looking at your phone is a major distraction that can cause you to trip.

“If you trip, you’re going to go down and it’s not going to be pretty,” Bracko said.

But what if your music is in your phone (for those of you comfortable enough to listen on the treadmill)? Set it to airplane mode, Bracko said, so you won’t be tempted to respond to each ping or vibration as e-mails and texts arrive. And set your playlist so you won’t have to fiddle with a phone or iPod while you’re running. …

 

 

Fox News reports low levels of vitamin D lead to increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

While it’s clear that too much sun can increase the risk for skin cancer, a new study has found that too little vitamin D can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The study is the first to link vitamin D deficiency with pancreatic cancer, Medical Daily reported.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine gathered data from 107 countries and found that those with the least amount of sunlight also had the highest rates of pancreatic cancer. …

 

 

 

Continuing with the health theme, Huffington Post lists 10 things you can do to live to 100. Pickerhead’s favorite is #6.

6. Laugh a lot.
In a 2012 study published in the journal Aging, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yeshiva University researchers identified what personality characteristics that a group of 243 centenarians had in common. Among them? They all found a reason to laugh a lot. “They considered laughter an important part of life,” the lead researcher said.

7. Learn to drink tea the healthy way.
Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that relax blood vessels and protect your heart. In a Japanese study of more than 40,500 men and women, those who consumed green tea had a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Other studies involving black tea showed similar results.

Ready-to-drink teas don’t count because the catechins degrade once water is added. And some studies suggest that adding milk diminishes tea’s protective effects on the cardiovascular system; stick to lemon or honey.

8. Be a giver, not a taker.
Generous people give of themselves in many ways. They do favors, pay compliments, go out of their way to help others. And what they get in return for it is, among other things, a longer life. Researchers from the University of Buffalo found a link between giving and having a lower risk of early death. “Our conclusion is that helping others reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality,” study researcher Michael J. Poulin, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, told PsychCentral. …

 

 

Salon with a piece attacking fad diets (gluten-free, paleo, etc.). This is long so we included just the start of it. Follow the link if you want to read more.

The numbers are hard to pin down, but roughly 1.1 million Americans keep kosher in their homes. Around 15 million are vegetarian. Meanwhile, according to a 2013 survey, more than 100 million Americans are trying to cut down on gluten, and (as of 2014) more than 10 million households are gluten-free. Simply put, gluten avoidance is the reigning dietary restriction of our time.

It’s harder to pin down why gluten-free diets should have conquered the culture so quickly. Few people have the kinds of serious medical conditions, such as celiac disease, that necessitate the elimination of gluten from the diet. Billions of people thrive on gluten-rich foods, all around the world.

Yet somewhere in our collective search for health, security, and purity, gluten transformed into a mainstream taboo. Scientific-sounding language (and savvy marketers) have driven this transformation, though one suspects that mass gluten avoidance has more in common with religious food restrictions than it does with anything premised on actual medical data.

Fittingly, Alan Levinovitz is a religion professor at JamesMadisonUniversity and a chronicler of our peculiar dietary culture. In his new book, The Gluten Lie, Levinovitz digs into the fear and moralizing that surrounds dietary fads, including gluten avoidance and the MSG scare.

Reached by Skype, Levinovitz spoke with The Cubit about paleo dieters, grain-free monks, and why Fitbit represents a cultural descent into profound moral vacuity.

 

 

Late night humor from A. Malcolm.

Fallon: The Kentucky Derby is that special time of year when people use a two-minute event as an excuse to drink for 12 hours.

Meyers: A new survey finds people in Ireland tell an average of four white lies per day. And three of them are, “I’m fine to drive home.”

May 7, 2015

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We think ideas and thoughts expressed by people in the commentariat should be passed along without any reference to the race of the authors. However we will change that for today to point out we are starting with three black Americans with Baltimore comments. Readers will not be surprised to see Thomas Sowell first.

… The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century.

Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.

You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965.

We are told that such riots are a result of black poverty and white racism. But in fact — for those who still have some respect for facts — black poverty was far worse, and white racism was far worse, prior to 1960. But violent crime within black ghettos was far less.

Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, DOWN — during the much lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.

Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read “Life at the Bottom,” by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large. …

 

 

Jason Riley who is on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal is next. 

The racial makeup of city leaders, the police department and other municipal workers in Ferguson, Mo., played a central role in the media coverage and analysis of Michael Brown’s death, which is worth remembering as history repeats itself in Baltimore.

The Justice Department’s Ferguson report noted that although the city’s population was 67% black, just four of its 54 police officers fit that description. Moreover, “the Municipal Judge, Court Clerk, Prosecuting Attorney, and all assistant court clerks are white,” said the report. “While a diverse police department does not guarantee a constitutional one, it is nonetheless critically important for law enforcement agencies, and the Ferguson Police Department in particular, to strive for broad diversity among officers and civilian staff.”

Broad diversity is not a problem in Baltimore, where 63% of residents and 40% of police officers are black. The current police commissioner is also black, and he isn’t the first one. The mayor is black, as was her predecessor and as is a majority of the city council. Yet none of this “critically important” diversity seems to have mattered after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died earlier this month in police custody under circumstances that are still being investigated. …

 

 

Walter Williams former George Mason econ prof is the last.

… Criminal activity is a major problem in many black communities. That means many black citizens will have some kind of contact with police officers, either as victims of crime or as criminals. One of the true tragedies is that black politicians, preachers and civil rights advocates give massive support to criminals such as Brown, Garner and Scott. How much support do we see for the overwhelmingly law-abiding members of the black community preyed upon by criminals?

The average American has no idea of the day-to-day threats and fears encountered by the law-abiding majority in black neighborhoods on account of thugs. In addition to giving threats and instilling fears, criminals have turned many black communities into economic wastelands where there is a lack of services that most Americans take for granted, such as supermarkets, other shops and even home delivery. Black residents must bear the expense of having to go out of their neighborhoods to shop or shop at high-cost mom and pop stores.

The protest chant that black lives matter appears to mean that black lives matter only if they are taken at the hands of white police officers.

 

 

Now we turn to one of our favorite topics over the past few weeks – Hillary Clinton’s campaign. First up is Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post. He says Bill Clinton still doesn’t get it. 

Bill Clinton is the best politician of his generation and one of the all-time greats.  No serious person can dispute that fact.

And yet, in an interview with NBC News over the weekend, Bill showed, yet again, the blind spot that he and, to a lesser extent, his wife, have when it comes to their relationships with donors and how they talk about their own personal finances.

Two Clinton quotes really stood out to me.

1. ”People should draw their own conclusions. I’m not in politics. All I’m saying is the idea that there’s one set of rules for us and another set for everybody else is true.”

Um, okay. First of all, the “I’m not in politics” line is absolutely amazing.  The world has rarely created someone as political (and as good at being political) as Bill Clinton. He will always be “in politics”; it’s, literally, who he is.

The second sentence is more eye-opening.  This is Bill Clinton in self-pitying mode; people treat us so unfairly and we do so much good and so on and so forth. Feeling bad for yourself is never an attractive look for a politician but especially in this case. …

  

 

Ruth Marcus, another liberal from WaPo has more on Bill.

Oh, Bill. There you go again. We knew you were going to pop off, but did it have to be so soon — and so tone-deaf?

The Clinton deal is “two for the price of one,” as Bill Clinton famously promised in 1992. But 23 years later, that bargain comes with different baggage attached.

Then it was the intimations of Hillary Clinton as co-president, Machiavelli in a pantsuit. Now — and let us pause to appreciate the role reversal and the country’s journey on issues of gender — it is the awkward reality of running not only while married to an ex-president but also as a name partner in the sprawling entity of Clinton Inc.

Into this treacherous swamp strolls Bill Clinton, on an annual Clinton Foundation trip to Africa. His interview with NBC News’s Cynthia McFadden was vintage Clinton, with its air of injured dismissiveness about concerns over his assiduous fundraising and lucrative speechifying.

Will you continue to give speeches, McFadden asked? “Oh yeah,” Clinton responded, as if the notion of calling a halt during his wife’s presidential campaign were absurd. “I gotta pay our bills.”

Oh. My. God.

As if the first $500,000 speech, or the 11th, were not enough. As if the former president had not raked in more than $100 million on the speaking circuit since leaving office. As if stopping would leave the Clintons huddled around the kitchen table, worrying over which bills to pay. …

 

 

And Ron Fournier says the stonewall might work for the Clintons, but it should be about more than winning. Presidents, he says, need to have some moral authority to govern.

… Whether the next survey cuts for or against Clinton doesn’t change what we know about her actions, what we still must find out about her actions, and how those actions might be predictive of her presidency.

What we know so far is that she violated White House ethics rules on government email and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. She deleted emails, disabled her rogue email server, and allowed the brazen comingling of government business and the family business. 

Integrity. Transparency. Accountability. These are attributes that people, particularly younger Americans, expect to see from leaders in an era of radical connectivity, social change, and institutional decline. So far, they’re not seeing such qualities in Candidate Clinton.

I think she needs to come clean to win the public’s trust: Allow an independent review of the email and return foreign donations, because anything less fails to recognize how much media and information has been democratized since the 1990s, when the tactics she’s now using were effective. But I may be wrong. …

  

 

Today is the big vote in Great Britain. A Contentions post says it is very close and putting together a coalition might be as difficult as what just happened in Israel. 

Britain is currently in the grips of one of the most closely fought elections in decades. Of course, the same could have been said five years ago at the last election. In a rare occurrence for Britain the 2010 election saw no outright winner, a hung parliament. That time the Conservatives managed to pull together a coalition with the country’s third party, the Liberal Democrats. But as Britain’s formerly solid two party system has further disintegrated it is not only once again looking unlikely that any party will have an outright majority but worse, current polls foretell of a parliament in which it is difficult to see either the Conservatives or the Labor opposition being able to form a workable coalition.

The fact that sitting Prime Minister David Cameron looks unable to secure a majority is itself cause for comment. Yes, it is usual for incumbents to see their mandate reduced if re-elected. But it is also far from impossible for the opposite to happen. In 1983 Margaret Thatcher significantly increased the Conservative vote from what she polled in 1979. To be sure, Cameron is no Thatcher. But what his government has done in turning around the British economy from the mess bequeathed by the last Labor government ought to have been enough to have won the votes for a majority.

Britain had after all been hit particularly hard by the global recession. Unemployment spiraled and the Labor government engaged in a bout of Greek style borrowing. It was unsurprising then that the Conservatives came out of the 2010 election as the largest party, but what should concern Britain’s center-right is the fact that even then Cameron failed to actually win the election outright. In fact, even with Labor having presided over one of the longest and deepest declines in GDP since the Second World War, it was still the left that essentially won that election. Combined, Labour and the Liberal Democrats took the most votes and the most parliamentary seats. …

May 6, 2015

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Kevin Williamson says we got lucky at the jihadi shootout in Garland, Texas.

Of course he was a convict.

Elton Simpson was the first figure identified in the latest eruption from the Religion of Peace — an attempted massacre at an exhibition of anti-Islamist cartoons in suburban Garland, Texas, which ended in the shooting of Simpson and his coconspirator, because Texas is where terrorists go to get out-gunned at an art show. Simpson and his pal are as dead as a tuna casserole — in Texas, we shoot back.

We got lucky when luck wasn’t what we needed.

Simpson was, like the overwhelming majority of murderers and most of those who commit serious violent crimes, already known to the authorities. He had been investigated by the FBI on the suspicion that he was attempting to travel to Somalia to engage in jihad. He was convicted of lying to the FBI in that episode, and sentenced to . . . probation. The average sentence for a tax-related crime in these United States is 31 months in a federal penitentiary, but for attempting to join up with a gang of savages who are merrily beheading, torturing, enslaving, and raping their way around the world? Probation, and damned little subsequent oversight, apparently.

The federal government will always tell you what it really cares about, if you are paying attention. Trim a bureaucrat’s paycheck by 1 percent and you’ll see mighty Leviathan roused from his dreaming slumber. …

… For Pete’s sake, the guy seems to have been on Twitter talking up “#texasattack” before the . . . Texas attack. Where was the FBI? No doubt still on the hunt for those angry Christian right-wing militia extremists who keep not attacking anything other than unlucky squirrels in rural Idaho. …

… Federal authorities weren’t doing their job on 9/11. They weren’t doing their job before the attack in Garland, either. No, nobody can stop every crime or detect every criminal, much less every jihadist. But this one had a great big flashing neon sign over his head reading “terrorist.”

If nobody saw, nobody was looking.

 

 

Walter Jacobson of Legal Insurrection says another attack on Scott Walker boomerangs.

… It seems that attacks on Scott Walker seem to boomerang and simply add to his political persona of being a regular guy.

Did you hear the one about how Scott Walker never graduated college? #Fail.

The latest attack on Walker is that he has “up to” $50,000 in credit card debt to — wait for it — Sears.  

We don’t know exactly how much because financial disclosures only are made in broad ranges, so it could be as little as $10,000.

Regardless, it’s SEARS! …

… I don’t see how any of this hurts Walker.

The Boston Globe article linked by The Daily Beast was titled, Baggage of Wealth Burdens Presidential Candidates.

Walker doesn’t have that baggage.

You know what the biggest surprise in Walker’s financial status is? SEARS still exists!

 

 

Paul Mirengoff calls Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore prosecutor a grandstanding hypocritical ideologue.

Alan Dershowitz, the famous defense lawyer, has called the case against the six Baltimore officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray “a show trial.” The actions of prosecutor Marilyn Mosby “had nothing to do with justice,” but instead amounted to “crowd control,” Dershowitz said in remarks reported by the Daily Caller.

With regard to the second-degree murder charges against Caesar Goodson, Dershowitz stated that “there’s no plausible, hypothetical, conceivable case for murder under the facts as we now know them.” At most, there may be a case for involuntary manslaughter.

Dershowitz believes that, having overplayed its hand, the prosecution is unlikely to obtain any convictions. And if even if it does, there’s a good possibility the convictions will be reversed on appeal.

Dershowitz compared the case of the Baltimore six with that of George Zimmerman. In that case, Dershowitz accused the prosecutor of overcharging Zimmerman and argued that she should be disbarred for unethical behavior. As we all remember, Zimmerman was acquitted.

Speaking of the Zimmerman case, Chuck Ross reports that after Zimmerman’s acquittal, Marilyn Mosby denounced the verdict during a protest rally at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. Her husband, city council member Nick Mosby, went even further, calling for a boycott of Florida businesses.

Either the Mosbys don’t understand the concept of self defense or they are demagogues. Maybe both. …

  

 

Jonathan Tobin comments on the indictments and claims it’s no way to fix America’s cities.

… It goes without saying that the plight of those trapped in inner cities with failing schools and dysfunctional economies are right to want change. But no matter how Freddie Gray was killed, nothing in this case changes the fact that cities like Baltimore have been governed by the political left and often by minority politicians for decades. Racism is part of the reality of American history. But the collapse of these cities is the fruit of a failed liberal government project. Liberals and Democrats point to the Baltimore riots as the justification for a renewal of the same big spending policies that have already repeatedly failed. Nor will an attempt to shoehorn isolated incidents of police misbehavior into a general narrative of racism that makes it hard for law enforcement to work bring peace to neighborhoods. That’s especially true of those that badly need police to defend the safety and property of citizens beset more by crime than a notional oppression that has little connection to their lives.

The danger here is not just that justice is always sacrificed when mobs exercise influence over politicians who fear to anger them (such as Baltimore’s mayor who called earlier this week for giving thugs “space to destroy). It’s that a productive dialogue about how to expand economic opportunity and improve education — the only factors that can heal broken cities — is being drowned in a sea of misleading rhetoric about race and police violence.

 

 

Editors of the Chicago Tribune have similar thoughts.  

No one could accuse Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby of dragging her feet on the decision to file charges over the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody on April 12.

Mosby got the report from an internal police department investigation on Thursday and the results of an autopsy on Friday morning. Within hours, she was standing on the courthouse steps, announcing charges against six police officers. Four of the officers are charged with homicide counts, ranging from involuntary manslaughter to second-degree murder.

Mosby bypassed a grand jury, declaring unflinchingly that she had found probable cause to file the charges herself. She batted away a call for her to step aside and let a special prosecutor handle the case because her husband is a Baltimore city councilman. …

… In last year’s election, Mosby, 35, unseated the incumbent state’s attorney by promising to hold police accountable. She said unabashedly that her goal was to “reform the criminal justice system.”

Four months into the job, Mosby the prosecutor is under considerable pressure to deliver on the promise made by Mosby the politician.

The officers are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s a very high bar. How will Baltimore — or America — react if prosecutors come up short? What if the officers are not guilty?

This case needs to be about what happened between Freddie Gray and the six police officers who interacted with him on April 12, not about righting the entire criminal justice system. The stakes are high enough already.

 

 

Victor Davis Hanson writes on CA’s preventable drought.

The present four-year California drought is not novel — even if President Barack Obama and California governor Jerry Brown have blamed it on man-made climate change.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California droughts are both age-old and common. Predictable California dry spells — like those of 1929–34, 1976–77, and 1987–92 — are more likely result from poorly understood but temporary changes in atmospheric pressures and ocean temperatures.

What is new is that the state has never had 40 million residents during a drought — well over 10 million more than during the last dry spell in the early 1990s. Much of the growth is due to massive and recent immigration.

A record one in four current Californians was not born in the United States, according to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Whatever one’s view on immigration, it is ironic to encourage millions of newcomers to settle in the state without first making commensurately liberal investments for them in water supplies and infrastructure.

Sharp rises in population still would not have mattered much had state authorities just followed their forbearers’ advice to continually increase water storage. …

May 5, 2015

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Today is one of the great days with no items about DC miscreants.

And we have late night humor from Andy Malcolm.

 

BBC arms us with a piece on the subtle science of selling. 

If I told you this is the most important article you’ll read this week, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But what if I could say that 75% of your friends agreed? Or if I could pull out the fact that nine out of 10 people of your age, education and income judged the article as relevant to them?* Then, perhaps, you might be more likely to read on.

Many of us are probably aware that salespeople often use psychological tricks to persuade us to buy their products, even if they themselves aren’t aware of how these techniques mess with our mind. We might even like to think we are immune to that sort of manipulation. But the scientific evidence strongly suggests we aren’t. So why are the following hidden sales tricks so effective?

Take, for starters, the techniques of used car sales. In the name of research, Robert Levine, a professor of social psychology at California State University, Fresno, masqueraded as a salesman at a used car dealership in the early 2000s. As he recounts in his book, The Power of Persuasion: How We’re Bought and Sold, he was worried that he would fail to shift many cars because he wouldn’t be able to remember all the stats about the various models on the lot. Levine quickly learned, however, that plenty of used car salespeople don’t carry this information around in their heads either – to sell a car, they only really needed to memorise a few basic facts that applied to all the models on the lot. What mattered more was showing the cars in a strategic order.

In doing so, the salespeople are making use of the concept of the “base rate fallacy”. When a shopper isn’t aware of the intrinsic value of a product – and the value of used cars can be difficult to judge without some homework – a base rate can be established and then used to emphasise the exceptional value of another product by comparison.

“If a bunch of $200 espresso machines are sitting next to one overpriced $400 espresso machine that does basically the same thing, the $200 machines suddenly look like an obvious good deal,” Levine explains. “This is especially true if you have a skilled salesperson who divulges that the $400 machine isn’t really any better than the others. But the reality is, most of us probably have no idea how much an espresso machine should cost.” …

 

 

And Authority Nutrition says coffee makes you live longer.

Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

It is more than just dark-colored liquid with caffeine… coffee actually contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which have important health benefits.

Several massive studies have now shown that the people who drink the most coffee live longer and have a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

When hot water runs through the coffee grounds while brewing, the substances in the coffee beans mix with the water and become part of the drink.

Some of these substances are well known, including caffeine, but there are hundreds of other compounds in there as well, many of which science has yet to identify.

Many of these compounds are antioxidants that protect our bodies from oxidation, which involves free radicals that damage molecules in the body. …

 

 

Tesla introduces a “whole house battery.” Discovery has the story. 

Electric car pioneer Tesla unveiled a “home battery” Thursday that its founder Elon Musk said would help change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world.”

The Tesla Powerwall can store power from solar panels, from the electricity grid at night when it is typically cheaper, and provide a secure backup in the case of a power outage. 

In theory the device, which typically would fit on the wall of a garage or inside a house, could make solar-powered homes completely independent of the traditional energy grid.

“The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world, to completely sustainable zero carbon,” Musk told reporters shortly before unveiling the Powerwall in a stylish warehouse space outside Los Angeles. …

  

 

NY Times has an article about coping with arthritis. Says you have to find a way to keep moving.

… The big question now is how the growing millions of adults with arthritis will cope with a painful, disabling and as yet incurable disease. Although several commonly affected joints — hips, shoulders, ankles, wrists and elbows as well as knees — can be replaced by artificial ones, not everyone affected is a candidate for surgery, and the operation itself leaves some people with activity limitations.

According to Patricia A. Parmelee, a professor of psychology and the director of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging, arthritic pain and disability often force people to abandon activities they love. “Some stop moving altogether, brood over what they had to give up and become depressed,” she said in an interview.

“The depression is not necessarily severe, but low-level depressive symptoms can interfere with daily functioning,” Dr. Parmelee said. “People tell us ‘I’m not functioning as well as I could,’ ‘Life isn’t as good as it could be.’ ”

The trick to not losing quality of life “is to find a substitute for the activities limited by arthritis,” she said. “Can’t play golf? Can’t garden? What can you do? Walk, swim, walk in water — anything that gets you moving. The bottom line: As we get older, if we don’t get up and move around as much as we can, then we soon won’t be able to move at all.”

In a 10-year study of more than 2,000 men and women with arthritic knees, Jungwha Lee and her colleagues found that fewer than 10 percent met the national guidelines of doing 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. But if they improved their physical activity, “they functioned better and had less disability,” said Dr. Lee, a biostatistician at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. …

 

 

Popular Mechanics says tires, with proper care, can last up to 10 years.

Chances are, there’s some sourceless bit of knowledge rattling around in your head. You don’t know how it got there or where it came from, but you believe it. Maybe your convictions on tire life falls into that category. We’ve always held that that our favorite round rubber bits had a use life of about two years before age had a serious negative impact on performance. Turns out, we were wrong. Way wrong.

Woody Rodgers, a tire product information specialist, has been with Tire Rack for sixteen years, and he says that given proper storage and care, tires can last you up to a decade.

“I won’t say a tire has the shelf life of gravel,” Rodgers said, “but it’s close to that.”

When properly stored in a climate controlled warehouse, tires have an almost unlimited shelf life, and once they’re on the road, proper care can add many years to a tire’s life. …

 

 

We can make tires last 10 years, but how have Russians kept Lenin looking ready to lead a revolution? Scientific American reports.

For thousands of years humans have used embalming methods to preserve dead bodies. But nothing compares with Russia’s 90-year-old experiment to preserve the body of Vladimir Lenin, communist revolutionary and founder of the Soviet Union. Generations of Russian scientists have spent almost a century fine-tuning preservation techniques that have maintained the look, feel and flexibility of Lenin’s body. This year Russian officials closed the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square so that scientists could prepare the body for public display again in time for the Soviet leader’s 145th birthday anniversary today.

The job of maintaining Lenin’s corpse belongs to an institute known in post-Soviet times as the Center for Scientific Research and Teaching Methods in Biochemical Technologies in Moscow. A core group of five to six anatomists, biochemists and surgeons, known as the “Mausoleum group,” have primary responsibility for maintaining Lenin’s remains. (They also help maintain the preserved bodies of three other national leaders: the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and the North Korean father–son duo of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, respectively.) The Russian methods focus on preserving the body’s physical form—its look, shape, weight, color, limb flexibility and suppleness—but not necessarily its original biological matter. In the process they have created a “quasibiological” science that differs from other embalming methods. “They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter the body is less and less of what it used to be,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. “That makes it dramatically different from everything in the past, such as mummification, where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes,” he adds. …

 

Andrew Malcolm with late night humor. 

Meyers: George W. Bush is reluctant to talk about the 2016 election, fearing he might be unhelpful to his brother Jeb. Jeb Bush commented, “I don’t have a brother.”

Conan: Ford has recalled almost 600,000 vehicles for steering problems. Owners are being told to bring their cars in as close to the dealership as they can get.

May 4, 2015

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Ron Fournier, liberal journalist, is still after Clinton.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t play by the rules. 

That’s not a partisan attack. It’s not a talking point. It’s not a fantasy. It’s a fact—an agonizing truth to people like me who admire Clinton and her husband, who remember how Bill Clinton rose from a backwater governorship to the presidency on a simple promise: He would fight for people who “work hard and play by the rules.” 

The evidence is overwhelming and metastasizing: To co-opt a William Safire line, Hillary Clinton is a congenital rule-breaker.

In the three days since my last column on Clinton, the headlines are revealing:

“More than 180 Clinton Foundation donors lobbied her State Department.” “That’s not illegal,” writes Vox reporter Jonathan Allen, “but it is scandalous.” The coauthor of a fair-minded Clinton biography, Allen notes that while there’s no evidence of illegal corruption, “The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking.” He adds, “The Clintons have shown they can’t police themselves.” 

“Clinton Foundation failed to disclose 1,100 foreign donations.” The cofounder of the Clinton Foundation’s Canadian affiliate revealed to Joshua Green of Bloomberg Politics that 1,100 donors to the foundation had never been disclosed. “The reason this is a politically explosive revelation is because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of State,” writes Green, a widely respected political reporter. 

“Clinton charity never provided foreign data.” A spokeswoman for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which makes up nearly 60 percent of the Clinton charitable network, told The Boston Globe that CHAI never submitted information on foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State. The reviews were required as a condition of her joining President Obama’s Cabinet, the Globe reported. …

  

 

Jonathan Tobin asks if the Clinton Foundation is really a charity.

One of the mantras one must invoke when discussing the Clinton Cash controversy is to say that whatever one might think of the pay-to-play aspects of the former first family’s charitable endeavors, the Clinton Foundation does a lot of good work around the world. But now that more of the press is finally asking tough questions about the Clintons’ activities, it appears that their charity may not pass the basic question donors ask of any philanthropy: how much of the money raised is actually spent on the causes you are supposed to be aiding? Though the foundation has claimed that 88 percent of its expenditures are spent on good deeds, their own tax filings reveal that the real number is about ten percent. But far from being an unrelated, albeit embarrassing, sidebar to the allegations about influence peddling, this data is a reminder that the main point of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is to support its namesakes in a lavish fashion and to allow wealthy donors access to them.

Sean Davis highlighted the discrepancy between the 88 percent figure and the reality of the Clinton Foundation spending ten percent on charity in a recent Federalist article. He followed up with another, skewering a claim by the left-wing Punditfact site that this claim was “mostly false.” As he wrote, the only way to come to such a conclusion was to simply ignore facts, including, most importantly, the filings of the Clinton Foundation that made it clear that it spent very little of its money on good deeds. …

 

 

And Jennifer Rubin points out two more headaches for Clinton. 

At a time when she is reeling from multiple scandals, the foreign policy debacles she helped create and a political talent deficit, Hillary Clinton got two more pieces of bad news. Since she is firmly adhering to the White House, running for essentially a third Obama term, she will have to bear the burden of not only the president’s foreign policy but also his domestic track record.

The Post reports: “The U.S. economy ground nearly to a halt in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Wednesday morning, as exports plunged and severe winter weather helped keep consumers indoors. The gross domestic product grew between January and March at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said, adding to the picture of an economy braking sharply after accelerating for much of last year. The pace fell well shy of the 1 percent mark anticipated by analysts and marked the weakest quarter in a year.” This is symptomatic of the puniest economic recovery in memory, one in which the economy has never truly taken off. Clinton has few ideas to juice economic growth because her view of the United States is so government-centric. President Obama has ladled on a host of regulations (including Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank), is only now getting to a significant new free-trade deal (about which Clinton sounds unenthusiastic) and nixed tax reform that doesn’t include a tax hike. It is no wonder the economy is anemic.

The second data point today comes from Gallup poll: “Americans are considerably less likely now than they were in 2008 and years prior to identify themselves as middle class or upper-middle class, while the percentage putting themselves in the working or lower class has risen. …

 

 

Switching subjects from the proposed presidential disaster of Hillary, Karl Rove points out that barry’s present presidential disaster leaves behind problems in domestic policy as large as his serial goofs in foreign affairs.

… Regardless of what items Mr. Obama checks off, he will leave to his successor a staggering array of domestic problems, some he ignored and many he made worse.

Slow economic growth will be at the top of the list of problems. The pattern of American history has been that the more severe the recession, the stronger the recovery. Until now. In Mr. Obama’s recovery, average annual growth has been the slowest since the U.S. began compiling reliable economic statistics near the 20th century’s beginning—a feeble 2.9%. This year is off to an even slower start, with GDP growing 0.2% in the first three months.

The number of jobs also will be on that list. It took from June 2009 to April 2014—nearly five full years—to get back to having the same number of people working as when the recession began in December 2007. That’s a longer period of time to return to the starting point than in any recession in U.S. history. Meantime, roughly 14.7 million people came of age without a job available. The last time the job participation rate was this low was 1978. A third of Americans between 18 and 31 last year were living with their parents, the highest percentage in at least four decades.

The quality of jobs available will be another topic on that list. …

 

 

Erick Erickson of RedState wishes the president was not black. Then maybe he’d figure our why he is disliked.

Over the weekend, most of the worst people in the world gathered together in Washington, D.C. as a circle of jerks to sing each other’s praises. Sadly, there was no Samson to tear down the columns and collapse the roof on the Philistines of Washington. But there was a President of the United States willing to make jokes about the “F-word” and an Imperial Court to worship him.

Byron York notes that much of President Obama’s speech to the White House Correspondents Dinner centered around “black anger.” In other words, President Obama let loose over the weekend that he has concluded all the opposition to him is because he is black. …

… If only President Obama weren’t black, maybe he would realize that people don’t dislike him because he is black, they dislike him because he is a self-absorbed ass.

  

 

Kevin Williamson rode on Amtrak’s Acela with Joe (Man of the People) Biden. He calls Biden”Herr Gropenfuhrer” and that is why we read Kevin Williamson.

… And then came Herr Gropenführer himself. Biden’s biography alleges that he is six feet tall, and maybe he is, but he scurried into the train in a thoroughly rodential fashion, looking tiny and terrified, like a very old man who has wandered out of a dementia ward.

The entourage on the train wasn’t all of it, of course. At each station, the forward door of our train car was guarded on the platform by additional agents, whose job it was to prevent people from using the door the vice president used. Whatever additional unseen security was deployed beyond this I cannot guess. Drones circling overhead, I suppose, with agents in some underground black-site bunker intoning into headseats: “Creepy is on the move! Creepy is entering Sector 4!”

At Union Station, the sub-imperial entourage was met with yet more security, and the train’s passengers were prevented from exiting until the vice president had meandered to the end of the platform toward whatever it is he pretends to do all day.

One understands that security measures are necessary — there are more people who wish to do harm to the vice president of the United States than to Finland’s minister of education (who but a monster could wish harm to Krista Kiuru?). My neighborhood Starbucks apparently generates enough cash to justify a Brink’s pickup. We conservatives believe in nothing if not caution.

But in Biden’s case, all of this is done for the sake of theater — so that Joe Biden can continue doing his ordinary-guy shtick. Ordinary people have to be inconvenienced so that Joe Biden can pretend to be an ordinary guy. The serfs have to be forcibly reminded of their serfdom — no, you cannot just get off a train in our nation’s capital, willy-nilly and whenever you like, and here’s a man with a gun to make sure! — so that the lords can show us that they’re just like us. …

May 3, 2015

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Time to examine the trainwreck in Baltimore. Kevin Williamson starts us off saying liberal Democrats own the disaster in American cities.  

… St. Louis has not had a Republican mayor since the 1940s, and in its most recent elections for the board of aldermen there was no Republican in the majority of the contests; the city is overwhelmingly Democratic, effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Baltimore has seen two Republicans sit in the mayor’s office since the 1920s — and none since the 1960s. Like St. Louis, it is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Philadelphia has not elected a Republican mayor since 1948. The last Republican to be elected mayor of Detroit was congratulated on his victory by President Eisenhower. Atlanta, a city so corrupt that its public schools are organized as a criminal conspiracy against its children, last had a Republican mayor in the 19th century. Its municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, but the last Republican to run in Atlanta’s 13th congressional district did not manage to secure even 30 percent of the vote; Atlanta is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department.  

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit. Money can paper over some of the defects of progressivism in rich, white cities such as Portland and San Francisco, but those are pretty awful places to be non-white and non-rich, too: Blacks make up barely 9 percent of the population in San Francisco, but they represent 40 percent of those arrested for murder, and they are arrested for drug offenses at ten times their share of the population. …

… The evidence suggests very strongly that the left-wing, Democratic claques that run a great many American cities — particularly the poor and black cities — are not capable of running a school system or a police department. They are incompetent, they are corrupt, and they are breathtakingly arrogant. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore — this is what Democrats do.

And the kids in the street screaming about “inequality”? Somebody should tell them that the locale in these United States with the least economic inequality is Utah, i.e. the state farthest away from the reach of the people who run Baltimore.

Keep voting for the same thing, keep getting the same thing.

 

 

But of course, the president says it’s all caused by the rascally republicans. Noah Rothman of Hot Air has the story.

… But the president conceded that he has no real plan to address the chronic hopelessness that bedevils cities like Baltimore when he claimed that what this moment truly called for is more infrastructure spending. And he would get it, too, if it weren’t for those darn Republicans.

“If we are serious about solving this problem, then we’re going to not only have to help the police, we’re going to have to think about what can we do, the rest of us, to make sure that we’re providing early education to these kids. To make sure that we’re reforming our criminal justice system so it’s not just a pipeline from schools to prisons. So that we’re not rendering men in these communities unemployable because of a felony record for a nonviolent drug offense. That we’re making investments so they can get the training they need to find jobs.

That’s hard. That requires more than just the occasional news report or task force, and there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that. I’m under no illusion that under this Congress we’re going to get massive investments in urban communities. And so we’ll try to find areas where we can make a difference around school reform, and around job training, and around some investments in infrastructure in these communities trying to attract new businesses in.”

That might have made the president’s dispirited liberal base voters, many of whom reside in these hopeless urban environments, feel better, but this is about as naked an admission of powerlessness as you could get. And the president is correct to concede his impotence. The federal government has squandered much of its credibility among urban minorities. …

 

 

John Nolte of Breitbart has an answer to that. 

Contrary to the emotional blackmail some leftists are attempting to peddle, Baltimore is not America’s problem or shame. That failed city is solely and completely a Democrat problem. Like many failed cities, Detroit comes to mind, and every city besieged recently by rioting, Democrats and their union pals have had carte blanche to inflict their ideas and policies on Baltimore since 1967, the last time there was a Republican Mayor

In 2012, after four years of his own failed policies, President Obama won a whopping 87.4% of the Baltimore City vote. Democrats run the city of Baltimore, the unions, the schools, and, yes, the police force. Since 1969, there have been only two Republican governors of the State of Maryland.

Elijah Cummings has represented Baltimore in the U.S. Congress for more than thirty years. As I write this, despite his objectively disastrous reign, the Democrat-infested mainstream media is treating the Democrat like a local folk hero, not the obvious and glaring failure he really is.

Every single member of the Baltimore city council is a Democrat.

Liberalism and all the toxic government dependence and cronyism and union corruption and failed schools that comes along with it, has run amok in Baltimore for a half-century, and that is Baltimore’s problem. …

 

 

Daniel Henninger says it’s Al Sharpton’s Baltimore.

… When Al Sharpton popularized the chant, “No justice, no peace,” it was unmistakably clear that “no peace” was an implicit threat of civil unrest.

Not civil disobedience, as practiced by Martin Luther King Jr. Civil unrest.

Civil unrest can come in degrees. It might be a brief fight between protesters and the cops. It might be someone throwing rocks through store windows. Or it might be more than that.

Whenever groups gathered in large numbers to start the “no justice, no peace” demonstrations and listen to incitements against “the police,” we would hear mayors, politicians, college presidents and American presidents say they “understood the anger.” They all assumed that any civil unrest that resulted would be, as they so often say, “containable.” Meaning—acceptable.

In Ferguson, it was barely so following the Missouri grand jury’s decision in November not to indict a policeman for Michael Brown’s death. Businesses were demolished. As they were when street violence erupted in Berkeley, Calif. New York’s police stood aside while marchers intimidated much of the city and marauded through department stores.

But what the whole nation watched on television Monday for about nine hours in Baltimore was not “containable.” …

 

 

David Harsanyi says of course the democrats deserve blame for what’s happened in Baltimore.

… Where does the blame for the civil unrest lay? In plenty of places. Some of those places have absolutely nothing to do with politics and can’t be fixed by any Washington agenda — imagined, or otherwise. The tribulations plaguing cities like Baltimore are complex, having festered for years. But does that excuse the bungling of Democratic Party governance? Does it change the fact that massive amounts of spending have done little in the war on poverty?

And if Democrats claim they are uniquely empathetic towards the poor and weak, that welfare programs can never be reformed only expanded, that perpetually pumping “investments” into cities is the only way to alleviate the hardship faced by citizens, it’s more than fair to gauge the effectiveness – not to mention the competence – of those allocating and overseeing those policies. Because Republicans may be horrible, but they aren’t running Baltimore.

 

 

The above are all prose. Trust Roger Simon to write poetry.

After festering for half a century, we’re witnessing the endgame of LBJ’s Great Society.

Who wasn’t hugely depressed watching the non-stop coverage of the Baltimore riots Monday night?  So sad. How has it come to this?  We’re back in Watts, only it’s five decades later !

Well, it’s not exactly the same.  It was white businesses that were trashed in Watts — this time they were black ones.  And there was another, even more important, difference…

Commentators were repeatedly asking, where are the parents?   Ben Carson — the neurosurgeon, potential Republican presidential candidate and onetime Baltimore resident — urged the city’s parents “Please, take care of your children.”

Great idea, but here’s the problem.  They don’t have ‘em.  According to liberal CNN’s Don Lemon, 72 percent of African-American children are born out of wedlock. His stats were born out by the Centers for Disease Control.  One can only imagine what the stats would be broken down for those Baltimore neighborhoods that were rioting.  The presence of a father in the home would be a rarity indeed.  And a lot of the moms are probably holding their fatherless homes together for dear life, desperately trying to make a living when their kids are pouring out of school.  No one was home.

Of course, it wasn’t always that way.  The black family was the bulwark of that community.  So what happened?  I’ll be blunt, since I was once part of the problem and equally culpable — liberal racism.  Ever since the days of Lyndon Johnson, social welfare programs aimed at making the lives of “colored people” better actually made them worse.

 

 

Just to show what Simon called ”liberal racism” is still running strong, Peter Wehner highlights a conversation between Jon Stewart and George Stephanopoulos.

… The argument Stewart and Stephanopoulos were throwing out–we’re dramatically under-investing in America’s cities–is liberal claptrap. To stay with the issue of education, the problem with American education in general, and large urban school districts in particular, isn’t lack of funding. It’s lack of accountability and transparency, lack of competition and choice, lack of results and high standards. We obsess on inputs and ignore outputs. What often happens, in fact, is the worst school districts often get the most money based on the flawed premise that the reason the schools are failing is lack of funding.

We’re spending an enormous amount of money on a system that isn’t producing, and it’s liberal interest groups (e.g., education unions) and the Democratic Party that are ferocious opponents of the kind of reforms that would improve American education. What exactly are the compelling public policy and moral arguments for opposing school choice for kids in the worst schools in America? There are none. The opposition is based on wanting to maintain and increase political power. If it’s the kids who suffer, so be it. Progressivism has an agenda to achieve, after all. …

April 30, 2015

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Ron Fournier is after H. Clinton again. That will kick off another day to examine her efforts. 

Let’s remember what this story is about. Hillary and Bill Clinton want it to be about a “conservative author” who catalogued their conflicts of interest. They want it to be about The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and any other media outlets who dare to question the couple’s integrity. They want it to be about “Republican overreach.”

The media mostly wants it to be about Election Day 2016. We commission polls and hire pundits to parse the winners and losers of each news cycle. We shrug:”Real voters don’t care about this story.” As if it’s not our job to help them understand why these scandals matter. 

Hillary Clinton seized all emails pertaining to her job as secretary of State and deleted an unknown number of messages from her private server. Her family charity accepted foreign and corporate donations from people doing business with the State Department—people who hoped to curry favor. 

She violated government rules designed to protect against corruption and perceptions of corruption that erode the public’s trust in government. She has not apologized. She has not made amends: She withholds the email server and continues to accept foreign donations.

That’s what this is about. …

 

 

John Fund is asking if the Dems are worried. He ran many of them at the White House Correspondent’s dinner.

… But what was striking about last night’s dinner was that many people have come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in deep trouble and she is no longer as inevitable as people once thought. Working reporters who cover her and other Democratic politicians wouldn’t go on the record, but you heard the same thing from several of them:

“It’s not that she’s too old — she just can’t relate to younger generations.”

“A couple more scandals, and you’ll wonder if they will start to define her campaign.”

“Younger women know a female will become president in their lifetime; many of them don’t think it has to be or even should be Hillary.”

“How can she possibly distance herself from the Obama administration she served for four years, but whose policies increasingly alienate independent voters she needs?”

That last comment goes to the heart of her problem with Democratic insiders. Publicly, they praise Hillary as a candidate of exceptional experience in government and one who is likely to harvest bushels of votes from people eager to elect the first female president. Privately, they fret about a recent Quinnipiac poll in which 54 percent of Americans say Clinton is not honest or trustworthy. Among independents, that number hits 61 percent. “Candidates distrusted by that many people can win the White House, but it leaves no margin for error or another big scandal,” one Democratic former officeholder admitted to me. …

 

 

Chris Cillizza says she had the worst week in Washington.

… Like the semi-scandals of the 1990s and 2000s, none of the pieces was the sort of death blow that could end or even badly hamstring Clinton’s presidential candidacy. But taken together, they remind people — even people who are favorably inclined toward the Clinton family — of all the baggage that goes along with electing them to any office.

Remember that when it comes to Hillary Clinton, America already holds two contradictory ideas in its collective head. On the one hand, a majority (62 percent in a recent QuinnipiacUniversity poll) believe she would be a strong leader. On the other, more than half of the public (54 percent in that same poll) believes she is neither “honest” nor “trustworthy.”

Hillary Clinton, for playing to type long after you should have known better, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

 

 

Glenn Reynolds speculates on winners and losers in this Clinton mess.

… But who benefits from Clinton’s troubles now, and who suffers? A few thoughts:

First, this is a shot in the arm for her potential Democratic challengers, who have labored in obscurity. Probably the biggest beneficiary is former Virginia senator James Webb, whose military background and more centrist views could help bring in the white working-class voters that the Democrats are realizing they have alienated during the Obama era. Also helped is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, though her close resemblance to Clinton (another northeastern Ivy League white woman) and her own strong corporate ties (Warren made money advising asbestos companies how not to pay claims, and is worth many millions) might hurt. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley also gets a boost, though he’s the probably the longest shot of the three.

On the other hand, Clinton’s candidacy is well-established, heavily financed (though that’s part of the problem, I guess) and endowed with high name recognition, ’90s nostalgia and her husband’s formidable political skills. Losing that is a sore blow to the Democratic Party’s 2016 hopes.

On the Republican side, Clinton’s travails both hurt and help. By making the political establishment look corrupt, they especially help the anti-establishment candidates such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. …

  

 

From The Federalist we learn the Clinton Foundation only spent 10 percent of its budget on charitable grants. He wasn’t President Pig for nothing.

… If you take a narrower, and more realistic, view of the tax-exempt group’s expenditures by excluding obvious overhead expenses and focusing on direct grants to charities and governments, the numbers look much worse. In 2013, for example, only 10 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s expenditures were for direct charitable grants. The amount it spent on charitable grants–$8.8 million–was dwarfed by the $17.2 million it cumulatively spent on travel, rent, and office supplies. Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.

While some may claim that the Clinton Foundation does its charity by itself, rather than outsourcing to other organizations in the form of grants, there appears to be little evidence of that activity in 2013. In 2008, for example, the Clinton Foundation spent nearly $100 million purchasing and distributing medicine and working with its care partners. In 2009, the organization spent $126 million on pharmaceutical and care partner expenses. By 2011, those activities were virtually non-existent. The group spent nothing on pharmaceutical expenses and only $1.2 million on care partner expenses. In 2012 and 2013, the Clinton Foundation spent $0. In just a few short years, the Clinton’s primary philanthropic project transitioned from a massive player in global pharmaceutical distribution to a bloated travel agency and conference organizing business that just happened to be tax-exempt.

The Clinton Foundation announced last week that it would be refiling its tax returns for the last five years because it had improperly failed to disclose millions of dollars in donations from foreign sources while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State.

  

 

Jonathan Tobin has more on the Clinton “good works.”

… The latest shoe to drop is the report about the way the Clintons became the “gatekeepers” for any company that wanted to do business in Haiti during the reconstruction effort after a devastating earthquake in 2010. By the same set of curious coincidences that led those who profited from the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves to Russia to become donors to the Clinton Global Initiative and sponsors of highly paid speeches by Bill Clinton, a different set of “philanthropists” wound up getting contracts to aid reconstruction and infrastructure work in Haiti also after donating fortunes to the ubiquitous Clinton Foundation. The former president, who was co-chair of a recovery commission, and the State Department facilitated such access. One of the most egregious and embarrassing examples came when a company with little mining experience was granted a gold mining permit. By another astonishing coincidence, Tony Rodham, the secretary of state’s brother, was soon named to its board.

In reply to this and the shocking revelations about a Russian state agency acquiring an American uranium mine from Clinton donors, friends of the putative 2016 Democratic presidential candidate can only shrug their shoulders and demand that critics “prove” to a legal certainty that the favors done their benefactors was part of corrupt deal. They’re right. There probably isn’t a piece of paper lying around in which Bill or Hillary say what it will cost in terms of charitable gifts or honorariums to help potential donors. And if it was ever written in an email, we know that email and the server on which it was recorded have since been erased. …

  

 

Abe Greenwald closes today’s look at the Clintons with an effort to understand the mindset of their apologists.

The Clinton Cash scandal has spurred much discussion of the serial misconduct of Bill and Hillary Clinton. But the affair speaks to realities larger and more destructive than the political pathologies of one family. The Clinton Foundation saga marries liberalism’s core grandiosity to the impunity of the new high-flying elite and lays bare a class of global VIP forever celebrating its progressive good works while holding the common citizen in contempt.

Progressive grandiosity was born long ago with the socialist impulse to remake the world. It lives on in the liberal expectation of a savior who will set things right. Such political messianism makes it hard for many liberals to find fault with liberal leaders. While conservatives reject perfection and take human defects as given, many liberals see the shortcomings of a Barack Obama or a Hillary Clinton as a threat to their faith.

It’s easier, then, for liberals to downplay a progressive politician’s record and focus instead on their “meaning.” This goes a long way in explaining both the reelection of Obama and the continued support for Hillary, two liberal politicians stuffed to the gills with meaning and shot through with teleological purpose. They’re not admired for what they’ve done but for simply being objects of admiration—and inevitability. …

… Liberal messianism and elite-worship enjoy a wholly complementary relationship. Progressives expect to cede large realms of their lives to capable leaders who will deliver a fairer world. The Clintons have traded on both their meaning and their unquestioned elite status to earn pardons for a multitude of sins. While the world looked the other way Clinton Cash happened. Both ideas are there in Hillary’s campaign message: “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion.” The Clintons have long thrived in the convergence of these trends. It remains to be seen if they will also be undone by them.