Why Would Anyone Send His Daughter to College?

President Obama has announced another of his useless initiatives, the only purpose of which is to distract attention from the comprehensive failures of his administration. This one is intended to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. It is claimed that one in five women on college campuses is sexually assaulted–an absurd statistic if by “sexually assaulted” you mean sexually assaulted. Nevertheless, interested persons (politicians who want to talk about something other than the economy, immigration and foreign policy, and grievance hustlers who want money and power) repeat it endlessly.

In this parody video, Glenn Reynolds takes the one-in-five claim seriously. With that sort of risk, you would be crazy to send your daughter to college. What’s the alternative? Why, Reynolds Online University, of course! It’s the only responsible choice:

“Climate Science Is Not Settled”

It is not often that you see someone of Steven Koonin’s prominence publicly immolate his future in Democratic Party politics and perhaps in the senior reaches of academia at the same time. But that’s what Koonin does today with his Wall Street Journal feature “Climate Science Is Not Settled.” Koonin served in the first term of the Obama administration as the undersecretary of science in the Department of Energy; he was previously provost at CalTech, and was head scientist for BP’s research on renewable and low-carbon energy.

Koonin is no climate skeptic, but after today’s article that departs from the “97 percent” party line, it is impossible that environmental groups will allow him to be nominated by a Democratic president for any position, unless it was a minor consular post in Micronesia to stash him away somewhere out of sight. (Just look back on how the greens opposed Cass Sunstein’s nomination to OMB, because—gasp!—Sunstein has nice things to say about cost-benefit analysis.)

Read carefully, you will see that Koonin reflects pretty much the Power Line position, namely that the current state of climate science is nowhere near good enough to tell us what the state of the climate is going to be several decades from now, and that, as I’ve argued myself in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, you can see this in the IPCC reports if you take the time to read them with any care at all. (He even endorses an idea I first proposed ten years ago—that a “Team B” ought to be set up to produce rival assessments of the data and scientific findings. The infamous “Climategate” emails contained some reference to my idea, and that it caused consternation amongst the climatistas.)

You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing (especially his very good summary of the serious limitations of the computer climate models), but here are a couple of key highlights:

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future. . .

We often hear that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn’t a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue. . .

• The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right. . .

These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research. . .

Despite Koonin’s moderate tone and outlook, I predict you will see the climatistas attack him savagely in the coming days—just as soon as Joe Romm clears the coffee from his computer keyboard this morning in fact. Because 97 percent!! We’ll watch and bring updates.

The Week in Pictures: Harmonic Convergence Edition

Every once and a while when the planets come into alignment, comet watchers and other New Age gnostics will declare that it means something.  Right now the panic over the NFL, panic over the Democratic Party’s prospects at the polls in November, panic over the Clintons gearing up for an uninspiring 2016 campaign, and panic over Obama’s obvious incapability to measure up to his job, have come into perfect alignment.  This kind of convergence must be hell on New York Times editorial writers.  Things were so much simpler when all you had to worry about was the lack of women members at Augusta National Country Club.

Reid Obama copy

Firing the Base copy Pelosi Civilization copy Pelosi Waterboarding copy Inevitabillary copy Clintons in Iowa copy Clinton Gothic copy Ebola Care copy

NFL copy NFL Trops copy

Ray Rice Jersey copy

Condi Rice copy

Romo Choking Hazard copy

Scotland copy

Thus guy mush have been jonesing for a donut real bad.

Thus guy must have been jonesing for a donut real bad.

It's All Cool copy People Don't Land copy Missing Wine copy Lincoln One Cent copy Plotting in Background copy Starbucks Ultrasound copy Aplle Watch copy Medication copy Beer Value copy Chuck Roast copy Fcebook Confession copy

Jayne 6 copy

And finally, yeah, I can’t wait for the new season. . .

Hot Lana copy

Incapable in Kansas

The race for the Kansas Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Pat Roberts has been essentially a three-way affair among Roberts, Democrat Chad Taylor and Independent (Democrat) Greg Orman. When Taylor purported to withdraw as the Democratic nominee earlier this month, he did so in a terse letter to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach:

I, Chadwick J. Taylor, Democratic nominee for the United States Senate race, do hereby withdraw my nomination for election effective immediately and request my name be withdrawn from the ballot, pursuant to K.S.A. 25-306b(b).

The cited statute provides:

Any person who has been nominated by any means for any national, state, county or township office who declares that they [sic] are incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected may cause such person’s name to be withdrawn from nomination by a request in writing, signed by the person and acknowledged before an officer qualified to take acknowledgments of deeds.

Taylor having made no acknowledgment of incapability to serve, Kobach ruled that Taylor would stay on the ballot as the Democratic nominee this November. This point of the whole Democratic charade being to get Taylor off the ballot and get Democrats behind Orman, Taylor followed up with an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. Having made his withdrawal “pursuant to” the statute, Taylor argued that he incorporated the statutory requirement of incapability by reference. This week the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously agreed:

We conclude the plain meaning of “pursuant to K.S.A. 25-306b(b)” contained in Taylor’s letter effectively declares he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected. Simply put, the phrase operates as an incorporation by reference of this particular requirement.

The Kansas Supreme Court opinion is posted online here. It therefore ordered Kobach to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot this November. My reaction is of the you’ve got to be kidding me variety. Why didn’t Taylor say directly that he was incapable of serving? I think the answer is obvious: because he is capable of serving.

Chad Taylor in the Kansas  Supreme Court: He is "capable" of following orders.

Chad Taylor in the Kansas
Supreme Court: He is “capable” of following orders.

The photo at the left depicts Taylor as he stares meaningfully into space, listening to the argument of his case in the Kansas Supreme Court. He looks capable. Indeed, he continues to serve as the Shawnee County District Attorney.

The Wichita Eagle covers the story here. Byron York follows up in the Washington Examiner here. Byron asks a series of questions reflecting the view that Taylor’s argument is not to be taken at face value.

Taylor’s withdrawal was obviously orchestrated by Democrats to maximize their chances of knocking off Roberts. Taylor is equally obviously capable of serving. He is lying for the greater good. The whole thing is a charade.

Taylor having succeeded in making the case that he has declared himself incapable of serving “pursuant to” the Kansas withdrawal statute, will anybody who covers Kansas politics bother to ask Taylor why he is incapable of serving and when he became incapable? It would take Kansas voters somewhat nearer to the heart of the story than they are now.

UPDATE: I meant to note that Legal Insurrection’s William Jacobson takes a look at the current state of the race here.

The Eisenhower Memorial farce

We have sporadically followed the long, sad saga of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has now survived 15 years. We have no Eisenhower Memorial, but the commission has a plan (a bad one) and a promotional website. For good and sufficient reason the National Capital Planning Commission rejected the proposed memorial plan earlier this year. The Washington Examiner reported on the NCPC’s rejection
in a long article by Luke Rosiak, but the memorial plan is not dead yet.

The commission is chaired by one Rocco Siciliano, a nonagenarian resident of Beverly Hills, and his loyal staff of nine full-time employees occupying K Street offices. The commission clings to Frank Gehry’s failed plan for a four-acre monument including eight eight-story columns.

I think of it as a monument to bad taste. In her column this week Mona Charen declares it “A monument to waste.”

The monument is also tougher to kill than Frankenstein’s monster, and just as ugly. Mona devotes her latest column to the story, recalling Eisenhower’s virtues while declaring the monument saga “a textbook case of corruption.” It is that too.

Indeed, the monument saga is a case study of several kinds. This is ugly — and I don’t mean only the proposed memorial. Wikipedia provides a lot of useful background here.

Mona begins with the establishment of the commission by Congress in 1999 and the commission’s original funding $64 million:

Without a design competition, the commission chose a design by Frank Gehry that critics, including the Eisenhower family, regard as insulting to Eisenhower’s memory. Featuring enormous metal “tapestries” eight stories tall that would depict the Kansas prairie, the block-long memorial park with its enormous metal curtains would dwarf the statuary in the center. The original design called for Ike to be portrayed as a barefoot boy. Thus is a key figure in the history of the 20th century reduced to insignificance. Historians sometimes do that to people — memorials are meant to do the reverse.

The boy Ike has since been replaced, after protests, with a proposed statue of Ike as a cadet. Not much better. West Point has produced many cadets but only one Eisenhower. Gehry now proposes to eliminate the tapestries, but keep the pillars. Commission member Bruce Cole, who believes a simple statue of the man would have been best (and most consistent with Ike’s wishes), says the pillars standing alone “look for all the world like industrial smokestacks.”

Opponents including the Eisenhower family have succeeded in keeping the Gehry plan for the memorial from being built. Mona looks back:

After 15 years, the commission has spent $41 million, including paying Gehry 95 percent of the price of construction drawings before the design was approved. According to the…Washington Examiner [in Rosiak's article linked above] Gehry used some of the $15 million he received to hire former Clinton counsel Gregory Craig to help secure approval of the design. That’s how it goes when you’re well-connected in Washington.

Mona observes that congressional Republicans have declined the commission’s request for $50 million more: “They appropriated just $1 million last year, which still leaves the corrupt commission in business.” The story has not yet reached its end. Mona fittingly concludes with an open-ended question: “Is this farce to be the only memorial to one of our greatest leaders?”

We all live in a ruling class machine

Angelo Codevilla has written a piece called “Washington’s Ruling Class Is Fooling Itself About The Islamic State.” Codevilla points to some of the fallacies inherent in President Obama’s approach to dealing with ISIS.

I’d like the article more if Codevilla didn’t use the term “ruling class” in nearly every other sentence. I get it: he thinks that Washington Democrats and Republicans are all part of the same ruling class.

In a sense, perhaps they are. However, since their views diverge on almost every discrete issue, it’s not very useful, except perhaps for polemical purposes, to treat them as a single entity when discussing a particular issue. Typing “ruling class” repeatedly doesn’t overcome the problem.

I haven’t heard “ruling class” bandied about this much since I attended my last SDS meeting in 1969. All that’s missing is the long hair and the obscenities. The latter seem to be implied.

The politics of the vote on arming and training syrian rebels

This week, the Senate voted 78-22 in favor of arming and training Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Noah Rothman points out that four possible 2016 presidential contenders were among the “no” votes. They are Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand and Republicans Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. A fifth potential contender, Marco Rubio voted “yes.”

Rothman suggests that the contenders who voted against arming and training the rebels “calculat[e] that this war will not be as popular in 18 months as it is today.” Accordingly, repudiation of Obama’s approach to the war will be a central theme for presidential candidates of both parties. A “no” vote this week sets up that repudiation.

As I see it, the politics of this vote are straightforward for any Democratic presidential contender. Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden if Clinton doesn’t run, can only be defeated from the left of her Party, just as she was in 2008. So regardless of whether Warren and Gillibrand believe that the war against ISIS will lose popularity, the smart vote politically was “no.” (I don’t mean to say that the vote of either was based on politics, though. Indeed, for Warren, at least, the “no” vote must have come very naturally).

Things are less straightforward on the Republican side. A year ago, the GOP had taken a decidedly non-interventionist turn. Today, it is back to being pro-intervention. Next year, who knows?

But keep in mind that the Senate wasn’t voting to go to war or to authorize the use of American ground troops. Accordingly, this week’s vote was not momentous.

What would it mean for the “war,” as Obama has conceived it, to go badly? It would mean that ISIS is not degraded, much less destroyed. In Syria, it would mean that the rebels we arm don’t fight ISIS or fight ISIS and are defeated. It might mean that more U.S. equipment falls into the hands of ISIS or other jihadist fighters.

These are all bad outcomes. But in the absence of U.S. troops being killed, they shouldn’t carry serious adverse political consequences for Republicans like Rubio who voted to arm and train rebels.

Rubio could argue that arming and training the rebels was the right move, but that Obama failed to provide them with sufficient air support and intelligence, or that the training and arming were poorly executed. Very likely, that argument would be correct.

If Obama’s strategy somehow succeeds in Syria, Rubio will look better than Paul and Cruz on this vote. Moreover, the pro-intervention wing of the GOP will be ascendant with Rubio well-positioned to ride its wave. But even in this unlikely scenario, the vote on arming and training the Syrian rebels isn’t likely to be a political game-changer.

Politics aside, Rubio was a natural “yes” vote and Paul a natural “no.” Cruz was the interesting case. Did he allow political calculation to influence his vote? There’s no way to tell.

My guess is that the fecklessness of Obama’s approach to ISIS and its air of unreality protects Republicans from any serious political consequences, thus allowing them to vote their conscience even if one assumes they normally might not.