Carly Fiorina rings some bells on why Mrs. Clinton cannot be President.

An Interview With the Woman in Charge of the T-TIP

Do you have concerns about the damage to national sovereignty from the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? Have you noticed the intense popular opposition to it, and how it steamrollers on without taking much notice? A reporter from the United Kingdom's Independent got a word with the boss, who explains.
When put to her, Malmström acknowledged that a trade deal has never inspired such passionate and widespread opposition. Yet when I asked the trade commissioner how she could continue her persistent promotion of the deal in the face of such massive public opposition, her response came back icy cold: “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”

So who does Cecilia Malmström take her mandate from? Officially, EU commissioners are supposed to follow the elected governments of Europe. Yet the European Commission is carrying on the TTIP negotiations behind closed doors without the proper involvement European governments, let alone MPs or members of the public. British civil servants have admitted to us that they have been kept in the dark throughout the TTIP talks, and that this makes their job impossible.
The T-TIP's mirror image is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which is also being negotiated in secrecy. Congress wasn't allowed to look at the text except in a secured room from which they were not allowed to take notes, and they were sworn not to talk about what they saw. When the Obama administration was asked about opposition, they had the audacity to say that their opponents couldn't name anything specifically wrong with it. Well, indeed they could not: they were forbidden by law.

Both of these treaties need to be shot down or, failing that, abrogated immediately by the first better administration we get.

Babylonian integral calculus?

This article claims the Babylonians knew that the area under a curve showing velocity as a function of time equaled the distance traveled.

When we're not watching

Sheriff's office's got moves.

Common Ground: What about Daily News?

Where do the folks at the Hall get their daily news?

For me, I tend to go to aggregators first:

Real Clear Politics (and its associated sites) does a great job, I think. I particularly like that they'll put opposing articles on top of each other. E.g., from today's RCP:

Clinton Harmed Our Country & Helped Our Adversaries - John Schindler, NY Observer
Hillary Clinton Is the Change America Needs - John Stoehr, The Week

The Drudge Report

Then, I like to follow USA Today, because I like to think it's what the average American who is not totally consumed by politics would see every day instead of all the stuff I read.

I'm afraid I only read a few blogs on a daily or near daily basis. In addition to the Hall:

Ace of Spades

There are a couple of conservative / conservativish sites I check daily:

The Federalist -- One of my favorite places, these days.
PJ Media

I have to confess that I think I should be reading a broader range of stuff. For example, I do little to keep up with what Progressives are saying, or defense news, or international news sources.

So what do you read on a regular basis?

Common Ground: Short Reads

There's a good list of sources which have influenced various members of the Hall at the Common Ground: Sources post. Here, I thought it might be useful to link the shorter ones that could be read relatively quickly. The longest is "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," a novella that might take a couple of sittings. I have included links to the Wikipedia articles on these documents as a starting point for understanding their context, history, etc.

Feel free to add more short sources in the comments, or to give related sources and links (e.g., websites or books that explain or interpret these sources).

The Magna Carta (This is the National Archives page on the document. Here is the text.) (Wikipedia article)

The Declaration of Arbroath (This is the National Archives of Scotland page on it. They offer a PDF with the original Latin and translation in English.) (Wikipedia article)

The Declaration of Independence (Wikipedia article)

The Constitution and Bill of Rights (Wikipedia article)

NB: The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights pages are part of the National Archives's Charters of Freedom website, which has a number of pages which explore the history and impact of these documents.

"Harrison Bergeron", Kurt Vonnegut's short story about the push for complete equality (or, depending on your interpretation, his sarcastic attack on those worried about the push for complete equality) (Wikipedia article)

"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novella about life in the Soviet gulags (Wikipedia article)

OK, So Maybe This "Shariah" Thing Has Gone Too Far

The Parliament of the United Kingdom may be forced -- in a country they allegedly rule, without 'branches of government' or 'separation of powers' -- to forgo having a bar in their building because it is governed by shariah law.
In June 2014 George Osborne announced that Britain was launching the first Islamic bond scheme in the non-Muslim world. Three Government buildings in Whitehall were transferred to Islamic bonds, switching the ownership from British taxpayers to wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen and banks. The issue of bonds raised £200million and was the first carried out by a Western country and Osborne said it would turn the UK into 'the western hub of Islamic finance' and the 'undisputed centre of the global financial system.'

But critics say the scheme would waste money and could undermine Britain's financial and legal systems by imposing Sharia law onto government premises. The bonds – known as Sukuk – are only available for purchase by Islamic investors. The money raised will be repayable from 2019.

But instead of interest, bond-buyers will earn rental income from the three Government offices as interest payments are banned in Sharia law. The Treasury agreed to make the sukuk fully compliant with Sharia law to ensure investors were not put off investing in the scheme, meaning each of the buildings used to finance the products must meet the terms of Sharia law, including the ban on alcohol.
How does a Western government agree to a scheme in which only Muslims can buy bonds? Is there a similar scheme for Anglicans?

Parliament is a thirsty bunch, by the way -- check the sidebar on how much liquid their house bar moves every year.

State Department Cuts Sling Load

I'm sure you all saw the story that State won't be releasing some of Clinton's emails, even redacted, because no amount of redaction would make it safe to release the information. That's a big, bad-sounding story, but it's not the worst story for her today.

The worst story for her today is that the State Department itself declared 22 of her email threads to be Top Secret.

The reason it's much worse is that the determination that her emails couldn't be released redacted came from the intelligence community, and the IC has already given a sworn statement to its Inspector General that her emails contained Top Secret and Special Access Program information. Until today, though, State has held that there was no genuinely Top Secret information included. State's position has been that the IC was overclassifying the information it found in her emails, and that the worst she was guilty of exposing was Secret information.

The Clinton camp could thus claim that this was all a bureaucratic, interagency dispute. One determination is just as valid as another! The IC must be pursuing a vendetta against her, some vast-right-wing-conspiracy type of thing.

John Kerry is Secretary of State. There is no right wing conspiracy vast enough to include him. If his office is saying she passed Top Secret information in the clear, then she can't attribute the charge to partisanship.

Furthermore, this eliminates the dispute between the IC and State on whether or not she insisted on a system in which Top Secret information was passed on an unsecure server. The Federal government now has a unified position: she did.

Now the only question that matters is what they are going to do about it.
From Jonah Goldberg's newsletter:
Speaking of Sanders, some wag on Twitter noted that the best thing about the run on the grocery stores in blizzard-besieged D.C. is that it gave the Beltway crowd a sense of what it will be like under a Sanders administration. I don’t want to live under a socialist president, but a silver lining would be seeing all those MSNBC hosts waiting in line for toilet paper.

Against Multiple Regression Analyses

I mean, really against them.
A huge range of science projects are done with multiple regression analysis. The results are often somewhere between meaningless and quite damaging.... I hope that in the future, if I’m successful in communicating with people about this, there’ll be a kind of upfront warning in New York Times articles: These data are based on multiple regression analysis. This would be a sign that you probably shouldn’t read the article because you’re quite likely to get non-information or misinformation.
Journalism is hard hit, but -- as the article shows -- the biggest damage is to psychology.

Now You're Talking

A house done right: a photo essay.

A Comprehensive Answer to which Elite College is Best

You've probably heard alumni of Harvard and Yale sneering at each other, while wondering whether either of them really know as much as they think they do. A better question may be whether they know the right things. Thanks to the Open Syllabus project, we can now say which of these universities offers the best education. The answer is: the University of Chicago, with the University of Pennsylvania in second place.

I make this judgment based on the most-read books in their courses; obviously it doesn't measure how well the books are taught. Still, in any university much depends on the student. The University of Chicago list is short on Plato and Homer, but is overall the strongest list. The Princeton list, by contrast, contains only three books of lasting value: Thucydides, Schumpeter, and Henry Kissenger's Diplomacy. (I suppose some people would argue for Weber.) Harvard's list is likewise mostly fashionable noise, although it has a few highlights: Dr. King's letter, Machiavelli, and Rawls (though reading Rawls without Aristotle is like making a stew out of a rich marrow bone, and then just eating the bone).

Yale's list has both works of Homer's, which is good, and I thought Ralph Ellison's book was very insightful (but of interest probably chiefly to Americans). They also read Tocqueville (also especially of interest to Americans). Amazingly, you have to go all the way down the list to Columbia to get Kant; but it is to their credit that the work you then encounter is the later Metaphysics of Morals, and not the earlier and more-often read Groundwork. The latter is much more famous because it is where he lays out the overarching moral theory, including three formulations of the Categorical Imperative. But the later work offers a much richer picture of his actual moral vision. He anticipated JS Mill's harm principle, although he isn't usually credited for doing so, in his division between cases where state coercion is acceptable, and cases that are moral questions but matters for individual virtue. And it is only in the late work that you learn how completely he believed his Groundwork concepts would recreate Christian morality from the ground of pure practical reason.

The University of Chicago, however, gives first place to Aristotle -- the top two places are for Aristotle's Ethics, most likely always the Nicomachean Ethics but possibly occasionally the less-read Eudemian Ethics. They also read Kant's late work, St. Augustine, and both famous works of Machiavelli. (His Art of War is of no interest except for students of period warfare, as he has largely dramatized Vegetius with very few updates, none of which turn out to be of universal or lasting value).

The University of Pennsylvania is not as philosophically strong, but does include several excellent dramatic approaches to understanding life. Chaucer, Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Sophocles, and Benjamin Franklin join Plato there, not rising to inclusion on the most read lists anywhere else. It's a good list, and marks a different approach but a valid one.

NOVA and Virginia

Governor McAuliffe surrendered on his repeal of handgun carry reciprocity between Virginia and many other states. Republicans in the state apparently agreed, in return, to prevent people subject to "permanent" protective orders for domestic violence from carrying guns for the two years during which the order is valid. (Yes, two years is "permanent" in Virginia.) That seems like a very worthy trade to me, as so-called 'permanent' orders involve a real court hearing in which both sides are allowed to present their side -- they're not issued just for the asking, or on one person's unchallenged testimony. Violence against women over domestic issues remains a serious matter. Two years is probably long enough in most cases for the tortured romantic feelings to pass away, after which it's not an issue on the same scale.

So, well done. And a compromise of a sort, which should make Cassandra feel good about her southern neighbors.

A Good Point

John R. Schindler in the Observer:
All this angers Americans with experience in our military and intelligence services who understand what Ms. Clinton and her staff did—and that they would be held to far harsher standards for attempting anything similar. They know that brave Americans have given their lives protecting Top Secret Codeword information. They know that in every American embassy around the world, our diplomatic outposts that worked for Hillary Clinton, Marine guards have standing orders to fight to the death to protect the classified information that’s inside those embassies.
He goes on to say that she needs to explain herself if she expects to be Commander in Chief. I would say that no explanation for this behavior could possibly be sufficient to permit her to assume that office.

The Efficacy of "Government Vetting"

We've heard quite a bit from the Obama administration (when it can divert its time and attention from childish taunts and trash talk aimed at U.S. citizens who oppose its policies) about how rigorously they plan to vet migrants and refugees fleeing Syria and other war torn hellholes That Enlightened-and-Uber-Tolerant Paradise Across the Pond. But casual perusal of the daily news offers few grounds to support the requested leap of faith:
...the government has spent more than $1 billion trying to replace its antiquated approach to managing immigration with a system of digitized records, online applications and a full suite of nearly 100 electronic forms. A decade in, all that officials have to show for the effort is a single form that’s now available for online applications and a single type of fee that immigrants pay electronically. The 94 other forms can be filed only with paper. This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials.
And then there's this:
Health and Human Services delivered over at least six migrant children from Guatemala into the hands of human traffickers without visiting the homes where they would live or verifying any family connection to them, a Senate committee has found. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leading crusader fighting to crack down on the trafficking of children in the United States, said the Ohio case is just one of many examples of HHS's systemic lapses in the way it handles the placement of migrant children out of U.S. detention centers for illegal immigrants. The findings derived from a case in Marion, Ohio in which six defendants allegedly lured child victims to the United States with the promise of schooling and a better life and instead enslaved them on an egg farm and forced them to work 12 hours a day in squalid conditions with no pay. A report by the committee found other disturbing examples of HHS delivering minors into the hands of sex traffickers or sexual predators.
The report found widespread evidence of "lax verification standards" and systematic defects, concluding that despite repeated indicators that something fishy was going on with the Marion placements, [wait for it...] "HHS failed to connect any of the dots." None of this is confidence inspiring. If the federal government lacks the ability to vet people who are already here in the U.S. before placing innocent children in their power, how on earth are they going to vet migrants from other countries effectively?

"Do We Know What We Are Doing in Afghanistan This Year?"

A small question from retired Major General Eric T. Olson. (Note that this is the retired Army general and former 25 ID commander, not the retired Admiral and Navy SEAL of almost the same name, Eric Thor Olson).
As the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan mission drew to a close in December 2014, President Obama said:
For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.
More than a year later, in President Obama’s final State of the Union address, concerning the progress of the mission in Afghanistan, he said … nothing.

This is disappointing, but not surprising. The Obama administration often prefers to leave open difficult questions about U.S. failures to meet its goals.
So, he says, we should look elsewhere. However, looking at official military records leaves us confused, as he notes: we have been repeatedly told that the remaining US mission, except for a counterterror element, is 'advise and assist' at the corps-level and above. US forces are not involved in "combat operations." However, the recent attack on US forces in Marjah was not a counterterrorism operation, but was rather an embed at the battalion level who was directly involved in combat. So the top level characterization of our mission is not, strictly speaking, accurate.

Olson puts together a picture of the mission and its likely changes in the next year, and figures we're going to have to up our force structure even if the Afghans are able to take more of the weight of the fighting. Alternatively, we'll have to cut loose some of the restrictions the President has imposed on our fighters in terms of what they're allowed to do. Either way, the looked-for drawdown isn't coming.

It's pretty obvious that the President actually intends to run out the clock on Afghanistan, the war he promised to win, and pass it off to his successor. That may be the best of possible worlds from here. His half-surge-with-an-expiration-date proved capable only of getting a lot more Americans killed than in the Bush years, and is going to leave the Taliban in a stronger position than they were eight years ago. More leadership from this President may not be what we need.

Know What I Like to Kill More Than Anything Else in the Entire World?

"Watermelons. I hate watermelons."

The language is NSFW, but the video is fine. Unless you are offended by exploding watermelons.

UPDATE: He has an alarm clock app!

The Art of the Deal

Or, why sometimes no deal is far better than any deal at all.
If the world were "so riddled with fraud that the auditors have felt unable to sign off its accounts" it would largely explain why authoritarianism is back in style. Tyranny is busting out all over because stopping tyrants is bad for business.  The Wall Street Journal writes that political rights and civil rights have been declining ever year since 2006. The "annual Freedom in the World report [finds that] In all, 110 countries, more than half the world’s total, have suffered some loss in freedom during the past 10 years."...

This decline is no coincidence.  The tolerance of tyranny has been normalized, even in Western democracies. It is more than a little disturbing that president Obama is politically embracing Hillary Clinton just as she expressed delight at the prospect of appointing him to the Supreme Court. But they would understand such quid pro quo in Obama's home town, where according to Chicago Magazine, it has long been custom to buy off gangs in exchange for political support.

Are You Kidding Me?

For more than two years, the Navy’s intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He’s not allowed to know any secrets.

Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations.

More than 800 days later, neither Branch nor Loveless has been charged. But neither has been cleared, either. Their access to classified information remains blocked.
I mean, it's the Navy. Still.

"International Holocaust Remembrance Day"

Like most Americans, I know nothing about international holidays that don't predate the Founding. However, the friends I made in Israel two Decembers ago have pointed out to me that today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I can see why they would consider it a matter of importance that we know of it.

My only advice about holocausts is that it's ordinary people who have to stop it. Governments are often behind them. If not governments, it's mobs that governments are too weak to stop. The right tools and training for the people are important. In the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, it was mostly machetes that killed all those people. They mostly had machetes to try to stop it. It might have worked, had they trained in how to use machetes together in defensive formations. Rifles would have worked better, even against men with rifles, especially if they had training as well as tools.

We may or may not see another such holiday without a new bloodletting on a similar scale. The pressures of the war in Syria have created millions of refugees. The war in Afghanistan is about to get much worse. The oil war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, made possible by Obama's Iran deal, is likely to destabilize whole regions -- including in Latin America. We've been brought to a dangerous moment by unwise leaders whose eyes are closed to their folly.

Semper paratus. Think on your moral duty, and rather die than yield it.

First Philosophy

For those of you interested in metaphysics, this is a fascinating piece at the Imaginative Conservative. The author is a very famous lady in philosophy, Eva Brann, who must by now be ninety or thereabouts. She writes with the benefit of a full life's scholarship and consideration. It turns out she has a small collection of pieces at this outlet, which I will have to peruse.

Sanders is ahead of Clinton in Iowa polls

By more than the margin of error.  Ok, I really need the Hall to talk me out of this.  South Carolina is an open primary state.  Frankly, none of the down ticket races are of any interest to me, and all of the Republican candidates frankly are rather poor.  I may actually grab a Democratic ballot and vote for Sanders this primary season.  Not because I like him, or want him to be President.  But because I literally cannot stand Hillary Clinton at this point.  Is this wrong?  It certainly doesn't feel right.

What Make Statesmen?

As the time to vote nears, The Art of Manliness republishes an article on the four qualities of a statesman.
Dr. J. Rufus Fears [is] professor of an incredibly manly subject: the history of freedom. One of the things the good professor emphasized to us captivated students was that a politician and a statesman are not the same thing. A statesman, Fears argues, is not a tyrant; he is the free leader of a free people and he must possess four critical qualities:

1. A bedrock of principles
2. A moral compass
3. A vision
4. The ability to build a consensus to achieve that vision
These four qualities are explored in greater depth in the article. Is he right? If so, who among the candidates has these qualities?

Quick thought

Ever notice that when we in the US talk about putting up a wall, it's to keep people out, but every time a socialist country talks about it, it's to keep people in?  Yeah, I wonder why you'd have to keep people from leaving your socialist paradise?  It's a mystery.

Flop Top Beer

The DUI rules have tightened a very great deal since this song was recorded. These days you'd go to jail for a long time just for doing a hundred, if they caught you. If they did.

I understand Ireland has repealed DUI laws for the countryside, and only enforces them in the city. They decided it was better, and less of a risk to everyone overall, to let country people drink in pubs together than to make them drink alone at home. Probably less of a risk to let them drive a hundred on country backroads, too, than to chase them down.

Georgia Legislature Update

Since the unceremonious death of any hope for new gun-control bills this year, after the Speaker of the House flatly said he wouldn't schedule any such votes, talk has turned to other things. To a surprising degree, it's turned to marijuana. I have no real opinion on marijuana, just an unreasoned sentiment against it. Still, the pot people have picked their bills very carefully, and have managed to put together a list of cases that are controversial even for people whose instinct is that dope is bad. They all turn on medicinal uses, especially a use of cannabis oil on children with skin diseases or burns. Carefully chosen wedges!

Another issue is the one we talked about when the session opened, which is religious liberty. I note with deep amusement the irony of Al Jazeera's coverage of this question. It's good to know that the folks in Qatar are deeply concerned about Georgia passing 'anti-gay' legislation.
The coalition’s purpose: “to oppose discrimination of any kind,” said Chance, now a spokesman for the group. “In fact, the first thing you think of when you think of the South is racial discrimination."
Is that right? Maybe you should consider moving to a place with better mental associations for you. Qatar, say.

It's amazing how far this has gone in a year. At this point we aren't even talking about a recognition that civilization would simply cease to exist without heterosexual relationships, nor that loving marriage between the parents is the objectively best thing for the children of such unions. At this point, what we're talking about is that we might suffer an economic boycott if we don't force everyone to participate in the celebration. What is the loss of liberty beside the loss of profit?

What was this country for again? It seems like someone wrote something down, way back when, that had to do with the whole reason governments were instituted among men. Maybe it was profit. I forget.

The Candidate of Muscling You Along

An interesting observation from The Intercept: in terms of union nominations, Hillary Clinton wins the union's nomination whenever the leadership of the union decides whom to nominate. If the membership decides, the endorsement goes to Sanders.

I have noticed that seems to apply to left-wing political action organizations like MoveON, too. They set a high bar for endorsement, saying that they'd only endorse a candidate if a three-quarters supermajority sided one of the candidates. Sanders won. Likewise with Howard Dean's PAC, which put the matter to a vote and got a vast supermajority for Sanders.

Even members of the old Clinton administration are starting to break away: yesterday, Robert Reich endorsed Sanders.

For now, before anybody has voted (and before the FBI has made its impact known), Clinton has a narrowing national lead. She's hoping that superdelegates, union leaders, and other power players will pull everyone into line.

Maybe not.

Range 15 Red Band Trailer

What do you get when a bunch of Iraq and Afghanistan vets get together to make a movie, and successfully raise a ton of money? Apparently you get a zombie movie starring a bunch of Medal of Honor recipients, co-starring a bunch of former Rangers and veterans including at least one SEAL -- plus William Shatner and Danny Trejo.

Are We Going to War?

Mitch McConnell appears poised to vote the President powers unlimited in time or space to pursue ISIS. He apparently put this together without telling anyone, even his deputy, and has advanced it using a Senate rule that allows him to bring it to a vote at any time rather than at a time scheduled on the calendar.

Oddly, the Democratic Party are the ones balking at this vast transfer of authority to the President. Senator Murphy of Connecticut described it thus: “It is essentially a declaration of international martial law, a sweeping transfer of military power to the president that will allow him or her to send U.S. troops almost anywhere in the world, for almost any reason, with absolutely no limitations.”

Plausibly much of the world has descended into a situation in which 'martial law' is the only law left, especially in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. None of those three areas are likely to improve soon without major US involvement. On the other hand, this is a big ask to come out of nowhere with no national debate. President Obama has performed very badly as Commander in Chief, but he has now less than a year in office. We don't have any idea to whom we are delegating this authority. This may not be the time. Certainly it's worth thinking about whether or not a largely-unlimited transfer of authority is the right approach.

Is There a Hippocratic Specialist in the House?

Contrary to what I have believed for a couple of decades, "First, do no harm" is not in the Hippocratic Oath, although there is a promise that, "With regard to healing the sick, ... I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage."

At least, the promise was in the original. It's interesting how the ancient Greek oath has changed in its modern form.

A 'Judgmental Churchgoer' Talks Bikers

Under the heading of honest soul-searching, an unlikely friendship prompts this article:
Fair Disclosure: I'm not part of the biker culture. In actuality, I'm a Middle American, fairly conservative, church girl. And I'll be the first to admit, I'm pretty darn judgmental. Always have been.

Yes, I know it's wrong. And yes, I'm working on it. Really I am. Feel free to check-in later for a progress update.

But I can assure you, I don't need a twelve-step recovery program. I'm already enrolled in the unofficial Sonny Barger, "Get-Over-Yourself-Candy-You're-Not-Better-Than-Anyone-Else," one step program.

How did that happen? Despite our vast differences, I've been close friends with Sonny for over three decades. And if there's one thing I know for sure -- he's a man of integrity.
It's on the misuse of the Patriot act to target bikers under Obama appointee Janet Napolitano, following similar abuses during her term as governor of Arizona.

UPDATE: By the way, in the Waco case, the DA finally gave in and agreed to turn over the evidence against one biker without requiring a mandatory oath from the defense attorney that he wouldn't talk to the press about it. It looks like they managed to get a lot of the other attorneys to sign, and the agreement with the one attorney just prevented a court from ruling that the DA's practice was illegal.

It's Good To See The Regulations Catching Up

The Department of Defense is set to release new security rules later this week, making it clear that consequences for violations don’t apply equally to everyone, sources say. The revisions will make explicit what has until recently been an informal system that occasionally treated powerful people the same as peons, and, more rarely, sometimes failed to bring the wrath of God down on regular people acting out of conscience.


From Jim Gerraghty's newsletter:

"The Dark History of Liberal Reform"

A review of a new book by Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics & American Economics in the Progressive Era. It is not about current politics, and Leonard is apparently a progressive himself. It is about an honest look at the history of the movement.
In a 1915 unsigned editorial at this magazine [The New Republic], the editors ridiculed the Bill of Rights as a joke. “They insist upon invoking abstract principles, instead of trying to determine for concrete cases whether social control should supersede individual initiative…how can we discuss that seriously?” The doctrine of natural rights will “prevent us from imposing a social ideal.”...

“The progressive goal was to improve the electorate,” Leonard writes, “not necessarily to expand it.” Jim Crow laws suppressed turnout in the South, but it fell in the North as well. New York state’s participation went from 88 percent in 1900 to 55 percent in 1920.

It’s impossible to understand early twentieth-century progressives without eugenics. Even worker-friendly reforms like the minimum wage were part of a racial hygiene agenda. The progressives believed male Anglo-Saxons were the most productive workers, but immigrants and women were willing to accept lower wages and displaced white men...
A legal minimum wage, applied to immigrants and those already working in America, ensured that only the productive workers were employed. The economically unproductive, those whose labor was worth less than the legal minimum, would be denied entry, or, if already employed, would be idled. For economic reformers who regarded inferior workers as a threat, the minimum wage provided an invaluable service. It identified inferior workers by idling them. So identified, they could be dealt with. The unemployable would be removed to institutions, or to celibate labor colonies. The inferior immigrant would be removed back to the old country or to retirement. The woman would be removed to the home, where she could meet her obligations to family and race.
If Leonard didn’t have the quotes from prominent progressives to back up his claims, this would read like right-wing paranoia: The state’s most innocuous protections reframed as malevolent and ungodly social engineering. But his citations are genuine.


To bring right-wing fears full circle, the progressive Supreme Court of 1927 (including Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis) ruled 8-1 in Buck v. Bell that forced sterilization was constitutional. Holmes wrote that, “It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”
That sounds like an interesting book. Honest soul-searching is rare in any age. The author of the review states that it is very difficult to 'suss out' any lessons from the history, which leaves 'no good guy left standing.' I'm not sure there wasn't one -- the lone dissenter on the Supreme Court -- but it sounds like a book worth reading to see.

There's Always A Boom Tomorrow

CERN scientists say they've broken the speed of light.

Father Gabriel Tooma

Preserving the Christian legacy by disguising it.
What he is doing, he says, is even more important to the Christian minority's fate in northern Iraq: He is rounding up ancient manuscripts and relics and hiding them in secure locations around Kurdistan, hoping to save them from the iconoclastic fury of the terror insurgency.

"If Daesh burns down a church we can rebuild it, but the manuscripts are our history. They trace back our roots, they are part of our civilization," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. "If they get destroyed, then we are lost, and our culture will be forgotten."
Not forgotten from the mind of God. Nevertheless, it is good work that he is doing.