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Re: Prison Rape



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As has NRO (here and here)! Ahem.

Humor Police



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From a reader:

Jonah,

Are “off-color” prison jokes okay with your editor? I believe that he has made the argument that prison rape is one of the truly horrific facts of the penal system and that it’s no joke. I agree with him. You wouldn’t joke about rape in any other context. Why is it funny when some weak guy in prison (probably for some drug offense that did no harm to anyone else) gets raped, possibly infected with AIDS, and becomes a sex slave for the rest of his stay in jail (and then is psychically scarred for the rest of his life)? You might be saying, “hey, lighten up.” But it does seem to me to be one of the largest travesties in the US that this goes on. It really is a human rights abuse that the government does so little about it. You should consider dropping prison rape jokes from your schpiel.

My response: Sigh. Yes, yes prison rape is a real problem. Yes, yes, I think more should be done about it. Yes, Rich has written and published several articles on the subject. And, yes, yes, I am saying lighten up. I won’t get into a big argument about this, but I will note that jokes about how terrible a place prison is — even for poor harmless drug dealers — has some social utility which hardly detracts from the case for making prisons more humane.

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Re: The Guardian & The Museum



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Do make sure you read the conclusions in that Aaronovitch piece:

The first is the credulousness of many western academics and others who cannot conceive that a plausible and intelligent fellow-professional might have been an apparatchiks of a fascist regime and a propagandist for his own past. The second is that – these days – you cannot say anything too bad about the Yanks and not be believed.

Web Briefing: April 18, 2014

In For a Penny



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Anatole Kaletsky takes a look at Gordon Brown’s ‘case’ for the Euro in Today’s London Times:

“Yesterday’s most important revelation was much simpler and more astonishing than any of these. In a section of his preamble which seemed to attract as little attention from the Treasury as it did yesterday in Parliament, Mr Brown revealed the maximum economic benefit that Britain could expect from joining the euro, even if his ideal economic conditions were satisfied:

“Our assessment is that inside the euro UK national income could rise over 30 years by between 5 and 9 per cent, boosting, subject to convergence, potential output by up to one quarter percentage point a year, worth up to £3 billion a year.”

Think about that — £3 billion may sound like a lot of money, but divide it among the 60 million Britons who would be joining the euro and it comes to just £50 a year. Or think about it another way — £3 billion is less than half the increase in National Insurance taxes Mr Brown imposed on the country just this year. It hardly even counts as small change in relation to a £1,000 billion economy. “

Read the whole thing.


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Cheering For The Euro



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Peter Mandelson was one of the most important architects of Tony Blair’s ‘new’ Labour. Lately, his career has taken some pretty remarkable turns (it’s a long, long story) but one of his principal roles these days is as a cheerleader for the EU’s single currency. His new piece in today’s Independent is a classic of the genre, in particular for this astonishing claim:

“Germany’s problems are nothing to do with the euro.”


What is it about the deflationary impact of the Growth and Stability Pact (the agreement that was a precondition to the introduction of the Euro) on Schroeder’s collapsing economy that Mandelson doesn’t understand?


Ca Recall



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I like Howard Kaloogian, who’s one of the leaders of the recall-Davis campaign. But I don’t agree with a recall. The political fallout is, I think, secondary to the question of propriety. The time to make the case against and to unseat Davis was last year. As for the recall as a conservative strategy: Obviously it isn’t one by itself. Just throwing the dice and hoping that Davis is replaced by someone better is irresponsible and may backfire. If the strategy is to try to elect a conservative with 22 percent of the vote, I don’t think that makes sense either–and you’d have a stronger case, in some ways, for recalling such a minority governor. Either way, the state would edge closer to banana republic territory.

Rather than look for gimmicks or celebrity saviors, the California GOP ought to be recruiting a strong challenger to Barbara Boxer. She should be beatable next year, as she will presumably not have the strong top-of-the-ticket help she got from Clinton in 1992 and Davis in 1998. Opposition to her is one of the great unifying forces in the state’s fractious Republican party, and beating her would be the first step to rebuilding.

Fading Gray



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So far, I think the recall effort described in the

Lost From Baghdad Museum: The Truth



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Martha Stewart



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I’m not a fan of the prosecution so far, but I think some of her defenders on the Right are coming close to echoing the “cover up without a crime” defense that Clinton apologists used in 1998. Whether the law about lying to investigators should be changed is worth discussing. But if the allegation that she lied to investigators proves true—and the conduct of the media prosecution thus far does not give me confidence that it will—she should pay the legal consequences commensurate with her offense. I hope that she will suffer no additional punishments designed to settle cultural scores or to soothe prosecutorial egos.

Blasting Pryor



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The Mobile Register reports on twin attacks on 11th Circuit judicial nominee Bill Pryor by People for the American Way and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. PFAW’s Ralph Neas says Pryor is “one of the most dangerous judicial nominees.” Birmingham lawyer Larry Childs blasts back: “It is curious, and even laughable, that these liberal extremist groups are criticizing Bill Pryor as being outside the mainstream of American law for cases in which the Supreme Court ruled in his favor.”

Sheen Vs. Me



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From a reader:

Outstanding speech…I doubt they’ll forget that one. Our commencement at Loyola University New Orleans featured Martin Freakin Sheen. Talk about a greasy slide into misery. He spent the whole time talking about some cop-killer on death row in Louisiana. Got a standing ovation from the the Sociology Dept. I tried to paper cut myself to death with the program. His prison jokes sucked, too.

Donald Regan, Rip



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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Treasury Secretary Donald Regan has

died, according to a Merrill Lynch spokesman.

Soccer Team Terrorists



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Public Policy, Hot and Fresh



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This morning, at around 7:00 AM, Cosmo started barking. But it wasn’t his usual “squirts in the wire!” (Trans: “Squirrels inside the perimeter”) bark. I went to the door to see what the rumpus was. A fresh copy — hot off the presses — of the Public Interest was at my door. The PI has long been one of my favorite publications (I used to hang out with the editors when I was at AEI). Anyway, I just thought it was kind of funny to have a quarterly public policy journal delivered to my house like it was a bag of fresh bread from the bakery. Thank goodness it got here today!

By the way, it does look like a great issue, including a lead piece by James Ceaser on “The Genealogy of Anti-Americanism” and a tease of Charles Murray’s new book, which some of us have been waiting for for a very long time.

Another Filibuster?



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Tomorrow morning the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on William H. Pryor, Jr., Attorney General for the State of Alabama, and nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Pryor’s conservative record has the usual suspects in a tizzy. People for the American Way just released a 43-page report condemning Pryor for, among other things, successfully advancing federalism before the Supreme Court — a state AG advancing federalism, imagine that! — and daring to speak “approvingly” of 5-4 decisions upholding federalist principles (Gasp!). Additional attacks are sure to follow in the next twenty-four hours, as liberal interest groups hope to lay the gruondwork for a strict party line vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For updates of all-things-Pryor, check out Southern Appeal; past SA posts on Pryor are listed here. Also worth reading is Douglas Kmiec’s defense of Pryor in the WSJ, and Michael Greve’s NRO article from last week (see the section “Let Pryor Be Pryor”).

Hail Hillsdale



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“Faster, Please”



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Al Qaeda in Iran. A Gertz report.

Just a Thought About Martha



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The case has been made that Martha Stewart is being unfairly pursued and prosecuted (see, for instance, Alan Reynolds). But one of the complaints made is that it is because she is a woman. (Reynolds does not make this case, but assorted pundits throw it out on the taking-heads shows.) How about: The media, at least (I would not play with this theory as being the prosecution’s motivation), are no fans, because she’s making money off a conglomerate that, face it, is largely used by women, to do things that women traditionally, and largely, do. Sure, guys might use the magazine for this or that, and there are exceptions and all, but still, the generalization, I think, is still a reality. And, it might have something to do with the fact that not too many of Martha Stewart’s fellow elite Democrats are crying tears for her. (Some, actually, are downright hostile to their successful sister.) Anyway, I toyed with this idea a little last year here.)

Let’S Say Hillary Is Telling The Truth



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From an e-mailer:

Over the past several days, print and TV pundits from the left and the right have been squaring off over HRC’s account of the Lewinsky scandal. The focus has invariably been on whether Hillary is telling the truth when she says that she didn’t know/believe that Bill had had “relations” with Monica until he sat her down and told her. But one thing has gone unmentioned. What if she IS telling the truth?

Wouldn’t that speak volumes about Hillary’s capacity for rational judgment? Isn’t a person’s inability to draw a rational conclusion in the face of mountains of historical evidence at least as probative of their fitness for higher office as their honesty?

I suspect people see Hillary as too smart to actually have fallen for Bill’s lies, and that’s part of the reason that they immediately seized on the implausibility of her story. But if she wants to confess that she was a monumental dupe, I’ll take her at her word and conclude that she lacks the skill and acumen necessary for leading this country.

Vrwc: Back@The Scene of The Crime



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In the Katie interview the Today Show is rolling out this week in installments, when asked if she stands by her Vast-Right-Wing Conspiracy, HILLARY said, “I might have used a more artful term….” It’s not really a conspiracy, because they’re (we’re) not hidden, but there is a there there on the right.

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