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F-16 Flies Way Too Low at Air Show



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Attendees of the Waddington International Air Show in England got more of a show than they were expecting over the weekend: A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet appears to have flown just feet above onlookers’ heads. As spectators filmed and watched the approaching aircraft, many hit the deck when they realized it wasn’t going to climb.

“That was a bit close, wasn’t it?” someone on video is heard saying off-camera. Yes, it sure was.

MSNBC Panel: Border Crisis ‘Katrina Moment’ for Obama



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An MSNBC panel of prominent Washington reporters agreed that the Obama administration has poorly handled the ongoing border crisis, especially if the president chooses not to go to the border during an upcoming visit to Texas. One went so far as to compare it to the Hurricane Katrina disaster during George W. Bush’s presidency.

USA Today’s Susan Page said the president needed to take “tougher action” to take steps towards deporting the children coming over, particularly as the situation becomes “unacceptable to more than Republicans.”

When asked if President Obama should visit the border while on a fundraising junket in the Lone Star State, the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, the New York Times’s Carolyn Ryan, and Page all agreed that it would look bad if he didn’t visit. (The White House has repeatedly stated the president has no plans to go this week.)

Page likened to the situation to a natural disaster, calling it a “Katrina moment” for President Obama, while Ryan said it would seem “impossible” for Obama to skip a visit amid the crisis. Balz added that while he would be surprised if the president didn’t go, the situation is a “lose-lose” for President Obama due to his failure to act.

Via Washington Free Beacon.

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CNN Columnist: ‘Illegal’ is Today’s N-Word



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The use of the term “illegal” as a modifier or noun for people who entered the United States, you know, illegally, has attracted its share of PC criticism: The stylebook of the Associated Press, for instance, recommends against the term.

But CNN’s Sally Kohn thinks this is a bigger deal than just journalistic accuracy or good taste: She wrote in a column Friday that “illegal” — the “i-word” — is equivalent to the “n-word” and the “f-word” (the latter being the derogatory term for a homosexual).

“Today, opponents of immigration reform attack undocumented immigrants as ‘illegal immigrants.’” she wrote. “Even worse, like anti-immigration extremists, some prominent elected officials use the term ‘illegals.’”

Kohn explained that the n-word and f-word used to be acceptable terminology used to undermine “not only the basic rights but basic humanity” of black and homosexual people, she wrote, and they’re now considered very inappropriate because of the shifted social landscape.

“Not the same thing? Of course it is,” Kohn wrote. ”The intensity of the anti-immigrant rhetoric is stunning.”

“The history of the United States that anti-immigration activists profess to defend is one perpetually defined by inclusion rather than exclusion,” she wrote.

Kohn described the work of the campaign “Drop The I-Word,” which works for the media to stop using the offensive term. The campaign’s website describes its mission to “present the dehumanizing and inaccurate aspects of the i-word, give space for immigrants to tell their stories, and to highlight the history behind the term ‘illegal’ and other dehumanizing language.” It has succeeded in getting the Associated Press, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and other news outlets to drop the word.

“Today, most people find the n-word and the f-word incredibly offensive,” Kohn concluded. “Let’s hope that most if not all people will feel the same way about the words ‘illegals’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ in the not too distant future.”

Web Briefing: July 10, 2014

De Blasio’s New York: Twelve People Shot in Five Hours over 4th of July Weekend



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New York City saw the most concentrated explosion of gun violence of the year over the Fourth of July weekend, with twelve people shot in just over five hours, according to the New York Post.

Saturday night through Sunday morning, shootings were reported in the The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Three people were shot fatally.

This was the third consecutive weekend in which at least a dozen people were shot in the city. 

Additionally, Sunday morning in Crown Heights, a bike was thrown from a fifth-floor balcony at four NYPD officers who were busting a gunman. One cop suffered a concussion, while another suffered a gash to his head. 

“The atmosphere is, ‘We’re going to do what we want,’ that ‘We’re going to get away with it,’ ” police-union president Ed Mullins told the New York Post. “There’s a perception that the mayor is soft on crime. The perps’ perception is that the cops are backing down.”

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Ryan Anderson, Hadley Arkes, and the Right to Be Wrong



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Was Elizabeth Warren Responsible for the CFPB’s Over-Budget HQ — and Its Missing Records?



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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), charged with protecting American consumers from exploitation by financial institutions, seems to need a watchdog for its own budget. 

The renovation of the bureau’s headquarters, originally estimated at $55 million, has ballooned to $145.1 million (or $215.8 million, if one includes moving expenses and rental costs) — and the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve (OIG) reports that the documents authorizing the renovation are nowhere to be found. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The inspector general’s report, released Wednesday, said bureau officials have been “unable to locate any documentation of the decision to fully renovate the building.”

The bureau also failed to follow its own guidelines for approval by an internal investment review board [IRB] because a required analysis of alternatives to the renovation was not completed, the report said.

“We cannot conclude whether a complete analysis would have altered the decision to approve funding for the renovation,” said the report by the Federal Reserve’s inspector general, which is the official watchdog for the bureau.

“However, without this analysis, the value of the IRB process as a funding control is diminished and a sound business case is not available to support the funding of the renovation,” the report said.

Breitbart observes that Massachusetts senator and potential Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren​ was one of the supervisors of the CFPB from September 2010 until her resignation in August 2011, as presidentially appointed “Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

The renovation decisions would almost certainly have occurred during her tenure. The decision to renovate the CFPB headquarters — the former quarters of the Office of Thrift Supervision, at 1700 G Street NW, in Washington, D.C. — was formally announced in February 2011, and initial funding for renovation had been designated by October 1, 2011, the beginning of the CFPB’s fiscal year.

The question of Warren’s involvement aside, the CFPB’s lavish spending shows: The renovated headquarters will include a new penthouse floor and an indoor waterfall. House Republicans say that, per the OIG report, the building will cost $590 per square foot — more than the Trump World Tower in New York City, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

McDaniel Campaign Manager Won’t Endorse Cochran



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The establishment and tea-party wings of the GOP won’t be coming together anytime soon in Mississippi. Chris McDaniel, the state senator who challenged six-term senator Thad Cochran in a bitter primary fight, is still disputing the results of the June 24 runoff. Now, his campaign manager, state senator Melanie Sojourner, is saying she won’t endorse Cochran in the general election against former Democratic representative Travis Childers, under any circumstances.

The reason? Sojourner said in a July 4 post to her Facebook page that Cochran’s “race-baiting” tactics were simply a step too far.

Between the June 3 primary election, in which McDaniel finished ahead by half a percentage point, and the runoff election, which Cochran won by about two points, the Cochran campaign actively courted black Democrats. A super PAC that backed his bid distributed literature touting his support for historically black colleges and attacking McDaniel for voting against funding for Mississippi’s civil-rights museum.

In her Facebook post, highlighted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, Sojourner said that, rather than appeal to African Americans on the basis of shared conservative principles, the Cochran campaign “used race baiting tactics to take advantage of African-American voters all for the sake of holding onto a seat to feed their money grubbing, greedy, selfish egos.”

McDaniel hasn’t yet conceded to Cochran, but if and when he does, this is a foretaste of the vituperation that Cochran can expect to be heaped upon him from some Mississippi Republicans.

The Huffington Post’s Finest Meets Hugh Hewitt, Does Not Go Well for HuffPo



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Zach Carter, the Huffington Post’s “senior political economy reporter,” recently joined radio host Hugh Hewitt for a rather embarrassing on-air interview in which Hewitt revealed that Carter’s outspoken views on the Iraq War, Dick Cheney, and more were somewhat lacking for historical context. (Audio here, via Hewitt’s website.)

Carter had publicly blasted Cheney for remarks the former vice president had made on Hewitt’s show last week about Iraq and the threat of terrorism, arguing that the vice president hadn’t offered adequate explanations for the 2003 invasion.

Carter admitted in the segment that he hasn’t read the memoirs of Cheney, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, noting that he tries to avoid books written by politicians “as a matter of principle.”

In Hewitt’s interview with Cheney, Carter had argued, Cheney said that the administration was dealing with plans in the event of a nuclear collapse, and that the Iraq War was one of the things that they’d done to keep Americans safe from such a possibility.

“Now Zach, he actually said nothing remotely like that. I’ve gone over it,” Hewitt said. “You completely mischaracterized what the vice president said.”

Throughout the interview, Carter revealed some substantial gaps in his knowledge of the topic on which he’d criticized Cheney. Hewitt rattled off the titles of many books about Iraq and the Middle East that Carter had never read or heard of, including Bernard Lewis’s Crisis of Islam, Robin Wright’s Dreams and Shadows, and Thomas P. M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map.

“So how in the world do you presume to know the threats the United States faces, as opposed to, say the secretary of defense?” Hewitt asked.

When Hewitt asked about the implications of President Bill Clinton’s air strikes on Iraq in 1998, Carter said he didn’t know that had happened.

Cheney’s statements on Iraq, Hewitt explained to Carter, were based upon four years as secretary of defense, eight years as vice president, and time as White House chief of staff.

“In other words, he has lots of reading, lots of experience on which to assess risk,” he said. “You apparently read very little, but presume very much, take conventional wisdom for granted, and don’t know why Bill Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998.”

Hewitt also asked, unrelated to the main topic of the interview, a question he always asks young-journalist guests: whether the interviewee has heard of Alger Hiss. Carter had not, though he told Hewitt that if he’d been asked whether Hiss was guilty of being a Soviet spy, he’d have said yes.

Progressives and the Constitution



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E. J. Dionne Jr.’s latest column attempts, in response to some recent arguments of mine, to make the case for a progressive constitutionalism. He wants to take a mile; I will give him an inch.

He begins by casting doubt on originalism.

One plausible progressive response is to see Ponnuru’s exercise as doomed from the start. The framers could not possibly have foreseen what the world would look like in 2014. In any event, they got some important things wrong, most glaringly their document’s acceptance of slavery. Moreover, because the Constitution was written primarily as a foundation for government, it can answer only so many questions.

Sentences two through four are absolutely correct. But originalism is compatible with recognizing the limitations of the Founders. The Constitution creates a lot of space for politics, and the original understanding of it yields more space than contemporary courts often give. It creates a political process that we can use to deal with problems that the Founders could never have foreseen. The Constitution’s provisions can be applied, with no undermining of originalist principle, to new circumstances: The President’s commander-in-chief powers extend to the Air Force even though the Founders did not know it; we can argue about how the idea of “unreasonable searches and seizures” should be applied to cell phones. And of course where the Founders got something wrong, we can amend the Constitution—as we have done, most gloriously, in the cases of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Dionne writes that conservative originalists’ interpretations of the Constitution “often seem to overlap with their political preferences.” That too is true—but it seems to me less of an indictment of originalism than Dionne believes. Certainly if your reading of the Constitution enshrines your party’s whole platform you are doing it wrong, and I think conservatives sometimes do fall prey to that temptation. (I think, for example, that affirmative action is constitutional even if unwise.)

A lot of non-originalist theories, on the other hand, not only have quite a bit of overlap between constitutional interpretation and policy preferences but make it hard in principle to distinguish between the two. If, for example, a judge is to use political philosophy to fill in constitutional terms with the fullest and best meanings for equality and liberty, then the tasks of determining the right policy and interpreting the Constitution become identical.

Finally, there is a good reason for the overlap on the Right: The Constitution is in many ways a conservative document, and originalism a conservative methodology. Those aren’t points that can be proven in a blogpost, of course; suffice it to say that if that’s right, then conservatives should not be embarrassed that insisting on the original understanding of the document will tend to serve conservative ends and subvert progressive ones.

Dionne wants of course to press a progressive reading of the document—and because it deliberately leaves so many matters unsettled, some of the space the Constitution creates can be filled by progressive initiatives. But progressivism does not seem to me as good a fit with the constitutional structure, which is why so many progressives over the years have expressed impatience with that structure. Dionne quotes a Gilded Age journalist who

argued that “imbedded” in the Constitution is “the principle” mandating “the widest distribution among the people, not only of political power, but of the advantages of wealth, education and social influence.”

If the Constitution truly mandates that principle, then an awful lot of political choices are foreclosed. If that principle is “imbedded,” though, it’s imbedded too deep for me to see it.

Update: Steve Hayward comments, with staggering generosity.

Study: Average Reader Doesn’t Get Past Page 33 of Hillary’s Book



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Not only is Hillary Clinton’s new book Hard Choices falling short in sales, but those who actually bought it are apparently losing interest pretty early on in the book. According to a metric used to gauge how deep readers are getting in to books on Amazon Kindles, Clinton’s account of her time as secretary of state is failing to capture people’s attention.

The “Hawking Index,” which essentially measures the average page number of the five most-highlighted passages on Kindles divided by the total length of the book, finds that people are only making it about 33 pages, or 2.04 percent, in to Hard Choices before putting it down. According to the Washington Post, three of the five most-highlighted sections are within the first ten pages.

Compared to other potential 2016 hopefuls, Clinton is trailing: She’s nipping at Vice President Joe Biden’s heels — readers made it just under 3 percent in to his 2008 Promises to Keep — while fans of Elizabeth Warren are getting about 15 percent in to A Fighting Chance, released earlier this year. Nonetheless, Clinton can take solace in knowing that readers made it about 18 percent into her 2004 autobiography, Living History.

Hard Choices isn’t the only book that hit the shelves with much fanfare by the Left, only to apparently garner little actual readership once people sat down with it: Readers apparently only made it about 2.4 percent, or 26 pages, in to Thomas Piketty’s widely praised Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Police in Calif. Expect Hundreds of Protesters over Transfer of More Illegal Migrants



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Federal officials have not informed the police department of Murrieta, Calif., about whether or when exactly more buses transporting illegal immigrants will arrive in the city. At the same time, federal authorities are counting on local police to ensure safe passage for illegal immigrants being transported to the Border Patrol station in the city, where there have been protests over the transfers in recent days.

Murrieta Police Department public-information officer Lieutenant Jon Flavin says Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement officers have not provided these details to Murrieta police due to “operational security concerns.” But Flavin says he expects buses to arrive every 72 hours –meaning the latest group of buses will arrive sometime later today — and extra police officers will be in the area to keep the peace for most of the day. Some reports have suggested that federal officials will be arriving in riot gear at the protests.

Flavin says he anticipates up to 500 protesters will arrive on Monday morning in response to the possibility that more buses will arrive in Murrieta. And it’s not just Southern Californians coming to protest the arrival of the illegal immigrants — Flavin says he received a phone call from someone from Georgia explaining that he was coming to protest the transportation of illegal immigrants.

“We do have an influx of people that are coming from out of our city,” he says. “It’s not just the citizens of Murrieta that are arriving.” Flavin says he expects some of the protestors will stay until 2 or 3 a.m. tonight before leaving the area.

ASU Gives Female Students Extra Credit for Not Shaving Armpits



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At Arizona State University, female students can earn extra credit by agreeing to not shave their armpits and legs for ten weeks. 

Breanne Fahs, a professor of women and gender studies, has made the special offer to her students as a way to encourage them to challenge social norms.

“There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” she told ASU News. “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.”

Female students looking to earn extra credit are asked to not shave their legs or underarms for ten weeks of the semester and to keep a journal to document their experiences.

Male students aren’t being left out: They can receive the extra credit by shaving all body hair from the neck down. This labor-intensive process gives men some understanding on what women who choose to shave must go through, Fahs said. 

One student who participated in the project, Stephanie Robinson, called it a “life-changing experience.” She noted the looks she received from people around campus who “seemed utterly disgusted by my body hair.”

“It definitely made me realize that if you’re not strictly adhering to socially prescribed gender roles, your body becomes a site for contestation and public opinion,” she said. 

According to ASU News, professors at other universities have been inspired by the body-hair exercise, and are considering using it in their own classes. Fahs says she is excited to see how the project will be practiced in other settings. 

“There is a big difference between imagining not shaving and actually trying to not shave,” she said.
 

Everytown and Moms Demand Want to Restrict Magazine Size



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Finally, we have an answer from Everytown and Moms Demand Action on a policy question — albeit one delivered somewhat indirectly.

As I noted a while back, the outfit has been reluctant to outline its desired reforms:

Strangely, representatives from the group were accommodating of my inquiries right up until the point at which I asked for specifics: namely, for the group’s position on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, both of which the leaders of MAIG and MDA wanted to ban last year. Rebecca Morgan, a Mom who Demands Action, who contacted me on Twitter to tell me that she “volunteers” her time to “work on common sense gun safety legislation such as: bg checks which 74% of NRA members support” ran away when I asked for more detail. “Sorry, Charles,” Morgan wrote. “Juggling helping kids w/ homework & cooking dinner & talking to u. Gotta go or I’m going to burn dinner etc.” My subsequent attempts to engage have yielded nothing but silence. Why?

Erika Soto Lamb, Everytown’s communications director, also clammed up when I asked her a simple policy question: “Does Everytown have a position on an ‘assault weapons’ ban or a limitation on the size of magazines?” Dodging the issue completely, Lamb curtly referred me to the group’s website — which is notably silent on those topics. I pushed again, and received no response. Only on my third attempt did I get anything remotely approximating an answer, accompanied by the instruction that I must quote the reply in full.

That full answer is here. In it, the outfit refuses to endorse a ban on certain magazines or on “assault weapons.”

This week, however, the two groups put out a questionnaire for prospective politicians to answer. It’s mostly the usual repetitive and dishonest stuff: There are a number of questions about background checks, all of which pretend that conscious public policy decisions are “loopholes”; there’s some standard-fare pablum: “Do you agree: we can both do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect the rights of responsible, law-abiding people?”; and there are some statistics that are badly lacking in context. But question eight should raise some eyebrows. It asks:

In many mass shootings, including the 2011 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ, bystanders have been able to subdue perpetrators of mass shootings when the shooters stop to reload. Research from Virginia showed that the federal limit on high-capacity magazines in effect from 1994 to 2004 led to a 50% reduction in criminals being armed with high-capacity magazines— and when the law expired, the share of crime guns with such magazines doubled. Several states have enacted limits on the size of ammunition magazines. Do you support limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines?

There is, of course, no reference to this on either outfit’s website.

Cass’s Latest on China



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Michael Strain and I criticized Oren Cass’s recent NR cover story on how to fight Chinese trade practices. He replies to our critique here. As with his original article, there’s a high verbiage to substance ratio, so there’s no need to have another lengthy round.

He is quite right to say that we made some pretty basic points in our comment on his article. We did so because he got the basics wrong. He neither owns up to it nor contests our point. Nor does he make even a millimeter of progress in establishing that the strategy he recommends would succeed in its aims. And as in his original article, he acknowledges no possible downsides to that strategy. How to deal with China and its problematic practices is a subject that deserves careful and thoughtful attention. Perhaps someone else can provide it.

HHS Will ‘Muzzle the Media’ During Tour of Immigrant Child Housing



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Health and Human Services officials will allow reporters to visit a military facility housing some of the immigrant children who have arrived at the southern border in recent weeks, but only if the media promises not to record anything, not to ask any questions during the tour, and not to talk to any of the staff members or children.

“This violates the First Amendment,” Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.), who represents the congressional district containing the housing facility at Fort Sill, said of the HHS invitation to the media.  “This is not transparent. HHS is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the administration’s failure to enforce the law.”

HHS attached seven rules “in order to protect the safety and privacy of the children” for the media who come to the tour, according to an HHS invitation released by Bridenstine’s office:

- No recording devices will be allowed
- No questions will be allowed during the tour
- No interacting with staff and children at the shelter
- We ask that your questions be provided via email or phone after the tour to Kenneth Wolfe
- HHS ACF public affairs will provide answers to your follow up questions as quickly as possible
- We will provide photos of the facility after the tour
- There will be no on-site interviews by HHS staff before or after the tour, all inquiries go to Kenneth Wolfe

Bridenstine was barred from entering the Fort Sill facility on July 1. He is trying to schedule a July 12 visit, in addition to unannounced visits that he will again attempt to make.

“Ordinary Americans have a right to know what is happening in these facilities, how the children are being treated, and what is being done to stop this human tragedy,” he said in a Monday morning statement.

Federal Judge Tells SCOTUS to ‘STFU’ over Hobby Lobby Ruling



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A federal judge in Nebraska thinks the Supreme Court should have “shut the f*** up” regarding the HHS mandate and religious freedom and opted not to take up Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case last month. Judge Richard G. Kopf took to his personal blog over the weekend to blast the court for moving to protect the religious beliefs of private business owners in a “result [that] looks stupid and smells worse.”

Kopf, a judge on the federal court for the state of Nebraska, argued on his blog that the court shouldn’t take up such “hot button cases,” because of their divisive nature, and should instead allow either an executive or legislative fix to such issues.

“As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu,” he wrote. Stfu” is a popular acronym for the phrase “shut the f*** up.”

Kopf notes that it was five male, Catholic judges who sided with Hobby Lobby in the case. Even if they made the ruling consistent with the law, Kopf argues, the appearance of the men making this decision reflects poorly on the court.​

And the court didn’t need to take up the case, he says: “What would have happened if the Supreme Court simply decided not to take the Hobby Lobby cases?. . . What harm would have befallen Hobby Lobby family members who would have been free to express their religious beliefs as real persons? Had the Court sat on the sidelines, I don’t think any significant harm would have occurred.”

Kopf, who was appointed in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush, has served in the Nebraska district court since 1992, and served as chief judge from 1999 to 2004.

Holly Fisher: Public Enemy Number 310,345,204



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This image — which features an American woman named Holly Fisher and an international terrorist named Sherafiyah Lewthwaite* — has been doing the rounds on Lefty Twitter:

“Explain the difference”? With pleasure.

The woman on the left is a peaceful American citizen with a husband in the military. She has never killed anybody, and nor does she have any desire to. The reason that you know her name is that she has become a minor political celebrity for her outspoken support of a Supreme Court decision that upheld the rule of law against the intrusion of the executive branch. In her photograph, she is mocking the president for his intolerant and ignorant “cling to guns or religion” comments.

The woman on the right, by contrast, is Sherafiyah Lewthwaite*, also known as “The White Widow.” The reason that we know her name? Her husband blew himself up on a train in London on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people, and, after his death, Lewthwaite picked up where he left off, becoming in the process one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. Lewthwaite is a former British citizen who gave up her life in England to become a member of the radical Al-Qaeda-linked militant group, Al-Shabaab. She is suspected of being behind a number of deadly attacks on civilians around the world, among them a grenade attack in Mombasa. In her photograph, she is reaffirming her commitment to jihad.

Any more questions?

Michael Stone, who blogs over at Patheos under the moniker “progressivesecularhumanist,” is deeply concerned by Fisher’s photograph, suggesting that it renders her the “New Face” of the “American Taliban” and serves to expose “the striking parallels between Islamic and Christian extremists, to demonstrate “the striking similarities between Christian and Islamic extremism,” and to reveal the “romance with religious violence both types of extremists seem to share.” Oddly enough, Stone seems wholly incapable of making up his mind as to quite how Fisher presents a threat to anybody. First, he suggests rather excitably that:

Perhaps the only thing more dangerous and destructive than religious extremism, is violent religious extremism cloaked in the mask of pseudo patriotism.

But, in the very next sentence, he concedes that:

While Holly Hobby Lobby is just a social media clown out for attention, she represents a dangerous strand of Christian fundamentalism that enjoys flirting with, if not threatening, real violence.

To sum up, then: Fisher’s “dangerous strand of Christian fundamentalism” is so extraordinarily “dangerous” that it has not only failed to engender any “real violence” but it can’t even bring itself to threaten harm? Goodness, let’s bring out the national guard.

As Stone himself confirms, that “strand” about which he is so vexed seems to be remarkably peaceful. He asks:

How long until the Christian extremists stop flirting with violence and start shooting?

Not sure, Michael. Enjoy the wait, though.

*UPDATE: It’s been suggested to me that the person on the right in the attached picture is not, as Michael Stone and those distributing the photograph claim in their caption, Sherafiyah Lewthwaite. Instead, it is Reem Saleh Al-Riyashi. If this is the case, let my second paragraph read: The woman on the right, by contrast is Reem Saleh Al-Riyasha. The reason that we know her name? She’s a wealthy Palestinian who blew up herself and four Israelis at the Erez crossing in 2004, thereby fulfilling her lifelong dream of turning her “body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists.” Al-Riyashi left behind two children, observing before her death, “I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyrdom operation, where parts of my body can fly all over . . . God has given me two children. I love them [with] a kind of love that only God knows, but my love to meet God is stronger still.” In her photograph, she is reaffirming her commitment to jihad.

Same point, different terrorist.

Meme Watch: #IStandWithHolly
A Charleston, W.V ., Army wife and mother of three found herself on the front lines of the culture war over Obamacare, gun rights, and the so-called “War on Women” — and she’s not backing down one little bit. Here’s a look at Holly Fisher and the Holly Hobby Lobby meme.
Fisher first gained the attention of the political blogosphere in June when she took to Twitter to complain about diminished coverage for her children under an Obamacare-compliant plan. Wrote Fisher with this picture: “Thanks, @BarackObama, for causing her to lose her cardiologist. Her name is Norah, not that you care.”
But it was this so-called “hat-trick” photo on July 1 of Fisher — standing in front of a Hobby Lobby wearing a “Pro Life” shirt and holding a Chick-fil-A — that really sent Lefites into conniptions. Fisher’s message to her critics was short and to the point: “ATTENTION LIBERALS: do NOT look at this picture. Your head will most likely explode.”
The original picture along with some friendly Photoshop enhancements quickly spread on Twitter and Facebook, gathering thousands of likes and a torrent of comments both for and against.
Fisher then doubled down on her critics, posting this picture on her Twitter page Holly Hobby Lobby on Independence Day, writing: “Biggest complaint I’m getting about my #HobbyLobby pic is there’s no gun, bible, or flag. Tried to make up for it.”
Left-wing bile towards Fisher ranged from coarse at best to foul and bigoted against Christians and pro-gun America. The attacks reached a crescendo with variations on this graphic, which tried to draw moral comparisons between Fisher and a known Islamic terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda.
Slate Magazine referred to Fisher as “a right-wing online agitator.” And even though they admitted that Fisher isn’t a suicide bomber, their story still warns about the “potential consequences of aggressive national pride.”
Twitter user GuardAmerican (@GuardAmerican) offered this piece of advice for those who intentionally have trouble making obvious distinctions.
Another user offered a similar sentiment. (Image via Alex, @Alex_@2nd)
HIT BACK TWICE AS HARD: Throughout the past few weeks, Fisher has pushed back against her attackers, gleefully retweeting the mockery (and sometimes threats) sent her way and upping the ante with more images of herself as an unapologetic conservative and gun owner.
Responding directly to some particularly threatening comments from a Twitter user who expressed a desire to stone her to death and have her raped, Wilson tweeted this shot and the message: “@PatKasprik yeah, you’re welcome to try and kill me and have me raped. Warning: I’ll have my rape whistle.”
“This thing is AWESOME!” (@HollyRFisher)
"Jihad Barbie. That means they think I'm pretty, right"? (@HollyRFisher)
"FINALLY, someone fixed it ;)" (@HollyRFisher)
“Oh no, more fat jokes. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m having Doritos and freedom for breakfast.” (@HollyRFisher)
“Guess what I’m doing today.” (@HollyRFisher)
Fisher with a selection of conservative-themed tee-shirts.
“Who says conservative women aren’t strong? I can curl twice as much weight as the leader of the free world!” (@HollyRFisher)
“Several ppl asking what exactly is #HobbyLobby … here are just a FEW of my HL items! I could buy the entire store.” (@HollyRFisher)
“Libs told me to lay off Chick-fil-A because it’s making be fat … so I went back for breakfast. Got diet Coke though!” (@HollyRFisher)
“Ignorance at its finest. @DLoesch will like this.” (@HollyRFisher)
“Having lunch w/strong, amazing, GOP women! Who’s ready for @RepShelley to turn a US Senate seat red?!” (@HollyRFisher)
Challenged to wear a Redskins jersey, Fisher offered up this image: "Best I can do today." (@HollyRFisher)
STAND WITH HOLLY: Supporters also rallied to Fisher’s defense on the hashtag @IStandWithHolly, expressing their sentiments about the intolerant Lefties who attacked her. User CounterMoonbat tweeted this picture with the message: “ #IStandWithHolly because the alternative is standing with chicks like this.”
"I Hope @HollyRFisher Runs For President Or Congress Someday Washington Could Use People Like Her! #IStandWithHolly" (James Nathanial, @JamesNathaniel7)
"*tugs collar* Is it getting hot in here, or is it just @HollyRFisher & @DLoesch?!" (Loud Mouth, @jflysocal)
Updated: Jul. 07, 2014

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Colorado Anti-Fracking Ballot Measures Begin Signature Collection



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Colorado’s anti-fracking groups have begun an effort to collect signatures for several ballot measures aimed at restricting energy extraction across the state.

To date, Colorado’s Supreme Court has cleared a total of 10 ballot measures for the signature-collection process. As the Denver Business Journal reported last week:

The proposals vary slightly, but in general address either how far drilling rigs should be from homes or whether local governments should have the authority to limit or ban oil and gas development within their jurisdictions.  

… The campaign has until Aug. 4 to collect more than 86,105 valid petition signatures on each measure and turn them in to the Secretary of State’s office.

The campaign said Friday that its first week of collections resulted in a combined 15,000 petition signatures and that the campaign had purchased $100,000 in digital ads.

The ballot measures are the latest in a series of efforts that seek greater restrictons on fracking in Colorado at the state and local level. Late in June, residents of Loveland voted down a two-year moratorium on the process, but since 2012, five other cities have approved either moratoriums or outright bans.

And nine of the new ballot measures enjoy the support of U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, a Boulder representative and millionaire whose anti-fracking activism is causing a major rift in Colorado’s Democratic party, as National Review Online reported last month.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a staunch supporter of natural gas, has been thus far unsuccessful in his attempt to reach a legislative compromise on the regulation of fracking. As the Washington Times reported last week:

Unfortunately for Mr. Hickenlooper, the Loveland vote may have convinced those in Colorado’s surging oil-and-gas industry that they can win at the ballot box in November, when they’re expected to face two statewide anti-fracking measures backed by multimillionaire Democratic Rep. Jared Polis.

That would foil Mr. Hickenlooper’s plan for a compromise over the state’s heavily contested energy future, under which Mr. Polis agrees to drop his anti-fracking initiatives in exchange for more state regulations on the oil and gas industry.

The last thing Mr. Polis‘ fellow Colorado Democrats want is an expensive statewide anti-fracking fight, which would expose the party’s rift on oil-and-gas development, risk alienating their allies in the environmental movement, and endanger the re-election bids of Mr. Hickenlooper and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

The “upshot” from the Loveland vote “is the business community is going to be even less inclined to come up with a compromise. I think their confidence level is going to go up substantially,” said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. “No. 1, they’ve already given up a tremendous amount in terms of the regulations, and the compromise that was offered is more than they believe is appropriate. Second, they now believe that they can beat these folks.”

The Democratic division about fracking is only one nationally relevant aspect of this political battle. As a purple state where it’s relatively easy to get measures on the ballot, Colorado is often used to test-drive controversial initiatives. Anti-fracking successes in Colorado will likely be replicated in other states.

— Jillian Kay Melchior is a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

CAIR Steals My (Intellectual) Property



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The Council on American–Islamic Relations, founded by Hamas supporters and seeking to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States, has engaged in so many morally dubious activities that there’s a bibliography of my writings on not trusting CAIR. America’s self-styled “Largest Civil Rights and Advocacy Organization” has played so many dirty tricks on me that I finally had to document these in both an article and then a follow-up blog post.

This pattern comes to mind because, for once, I managed to obtain a little justice vis-à-vis CAIR. Last September, it issued one of its ritualistic studies purporting to show the rising tide of anti-Islamic hatred in the United States (if it’s so awful here, why do Muslims keep coming into the country?). This one, entitled Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States, regurgitated the usual specious research (i.e., “the inner core of America’s Islamophobia network enjoyed access to at least $119,662,719 in total revenue between 2008 and 2011”). It also featured a picture of me on the cover and four times within, on pp. 6, 7, 14, and 32. This picture happens to be owned and copyrighted by me, and is one which I did not grant CAIR permission to use.

When I wrote CAIR demanding (among other steps) the removal of this picture, it replied that its use of my picture is “not an infringement” of my rights. But when educated about American laws and confronted with the possibility of a lawsuit, it offered “in the interests of resolving this matter amicably,  . . . to replace Mr. Pipes’s picture with one from the public domain,” as well as to destroy its existing stock of paper copies of this study. As it turns out, CAIR did more than this: It not only removed the offending picture of me from the new version, but it took out all pictures of me and of every other individual discussed in the study, perhaps because it sought to resist further such problems.

It’s satisfying to remind the spawn of a terrorist organization how things work in a law-abiding country. This incident occurred at about the same time that CAIR lost a case it supported in Michigan, where an effort to intimidate a private citizen who opposed the opening of an Islamic school backfired, leading to the quashing of subpoenas and its side having to pay her court costs. I hope these two small victories over CAIR inspire others to resist its predations.

Tags: Council on American-Islamic Relations , CAIR

D’Souza’s America and Our Schools



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Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, America: Imagine the World Without Her, stands as a rebuttal to inaccurate and one-sided leftist critiques of this country. D’Souza, for example, takes on Howard Zinn’s tendentious yet widely read A People’s History of the United States, relying in part on testimony from Ron Radosh.  (D’Souza also interviews me for the film.)

No doubt, some will say that the leftist critics of America who appear in D’Souza’s film – Noam Chomsky and Michael Eric Dyson among them — are strident outliers, representing no cultural force of any significance. Would that it were true.

It turns out that D’Souza’s film could not be better timed. Although it has barely registered yet in our public debates, the teaching of American history in our high schools has just been seized in what a few sharp-eyed critics rightly call a “curricular coup.” The College Board, the private company that creates the SAT test and the various Advance Placement tests, has issued a new set of guidelines that is about to turn the teaching of American history into exactly the sort of grievance-based pedagogy that D’Souza decries in his film.

Leftist academics have finally figured out a way to circumvent state and local control over America’s schools and effectively impose progressive political indoctrination on the entire country. Once the AP U.S. History test demands blame-America-first answers, public and private schools alike will be forced to construct an American history curriculum that “teaches to the test.”

Up until the last few months, the College Board has provided high school teachers with only a brief topical outline for the AP U.S. History test. The brevity of this outline has permitted states, school districts, and teachers across the country to approach American history in their own way.  Now, however, the College Board has created a lengthy and detailed “framework” for their AP U.S. History test.  That framework effectively forces teachers to adopt an ideologically left-leaning approach to American history, heavily emphasizing our country’s failings while giving short shrift to our founding principles.

George Washington, a key figure in D’Souza’s film, barely makes an appearance in the new AP U.S. History Guidelines. Figures like Benjamin Franklin and James Madison are completely omitted. The Declaration of Independence is presented chiefly as an illustration of the colonists’ belief in their own superiority.  Slavery and the treatment of Native Americans are at center stage.  At times, the presentation of the New Deal and the Reagan era seems to come straight out of a Democratic Party press office. If you want your child to be admitted to a top quality college, you may soon feel pressure to parrot this line.

While the new AP U.S. History Standards clearly lean leftwards, they are not quite as egregiously ideological as a full-on college course taught by the likes of the leftist critics D’Souza interviews for his film. Yet the difference is surprisingly small. The College Board is pushing U.S. history as far to the left as it can get away with at the high school level.  In doing so, the Board is creating a kind of feeder system that perfectly primes students for the more openly ideological training they’ll be getting at college.

Jane Robbins and Larry Krieger, the first critics to protest this change, write about it here and here. Trevor Packer, a vice-president at the College Board, responds to Robbins and Krieger here, while they reply to Packer here. Since that initial dustup, Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, has weighed in with further background on, and criticism of, of the College Board’s ill-advised move here.

This attempt to nationalize a leftist American history curriculum by way of the College Board has been in the works for years. The Board made its move, however, shortly after selecting David Coleman, architect of the Common Core, as its new president.  I and many others have been concerned that a de facto federalizing of the K-12 curriculum through the Common Core would create an opening for those seeking to nationalize leftist indoctrination in our schools. Coleman’s role in formally authorizing and supervising the AP U.S. History changes only heightens these concerns. Coleman hasn’t fully revealed his plans for linking up the Common Core and the College Board’s testing regime. At this point, however, Coleman has lost the benefit of the doubt.

If the new AP U.S. History framework is allowed to take root unopposed, we can expect analogous changes in other AP tests. The College Board could use its AP tests to effectively federalize nearly the whole of America’s high school curriculum, with all of it “aligned” to the Common Core. This, of course, would be a back-door way around the Constitution, which by withholding power over education from the federal government reserves control of it to the states.

What can be done to stop these changes? Vocal protest at the state and local levels is needed. State legislatures may have to step in to prevent the effective seizure of their curricula by the College Board. Efforts to break the College Board’s monopoly on AP tests may also be in order. Is a market opening up for an alternative set of AP tests?

Many of the enthusiastic audience members streaming out of D’Souza’s film have said that they’re looking for something to do, a way to take action against the misrepresentations and distortions of American history that increasingly dominate our culture. Over and above electoral politics, here is something you can do. Join or create a movement to protest and combat the effort of the College Board to impose an ideologically one-sided American history curriculum on our country’s schools.

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