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The Honesty Gap

By 3.3.15

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a “pay gap” between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both discriminate against women, that they are themselves part of the nefarious “war on women” that so many on the left loudly denounce? The poetic justice in the recent “pay gap” revelations is that the fundamental fraud in the statistics that are thrown around comes back to bite those who are promoting that fraud for political purposes.

What makes such statistics fraudulent is that they are comparing apples and oranges.

Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men.

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At Large

At War With Whom?

By 3.3.15

In this second in the series of reports from France on the war between Islam and the West (the first, put out immediately after the January attacks, here), François d’Orcival, member of the Institut de France and president of the editorial board of the newsweekly Valeurs Actuelles, discusses a recent speech by Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, comparable to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations). The CRIF this week appealed to Americans to find a way to prevent social media from being used as a jihadist recruitment platform and spewer of anti-Semitic hate. — Roger Kaplan

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Ben Stein's Diary

This Man Is Dangerous

By 3.2.15

Let’s be clear about this: Barack Obama is a great disappointment. I knew he was going to be trouble back in 2004 when he gave his first national speech and talked about the need for the U.S. to help the Palestinians. It’s not that the Palestinians don’t need help. They desperately do. But they are already getting a huge amount of help from the USA. Their problems are of their leaders’ making. They could have two prosperous states on either side of Israel.

Instead, their leaders have chosen war and terrorism and poverty and have blamed it all of the USA and Israel. When a man like Obama, who is no Kissinger, but is not a complete idiot, starts spouting the Palestinian stuff, you know he’s into USA-hating and Israel-hating in a big way.

So, he starts out with a message of anti-Israel and anti-U.S. incitement and that’s how he keeps going.

He starts out as President saying he’s going to straighten out the mess Bush 43 made, and instead he makes things a lot worse.

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The Environmental Spectator

Heat’s on Climate Change Dissidents

By 3.2.15

“I am under ‘investigation,’” professor Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado Boulder posted on his blog Wednesday.

The top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, sent a letter to university President Bruce Benson that asked the school to provide its financial disclosure policies and information on how they apply to Pielke, as well as any drafts and communications involving Pielke’s testimony before Congress between Jan. 1, 2007, and Jan. 31, 2015.

In 2013, Grijalva explained, Pielke told the Senate that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” Grijalva is a fervent believer in climate change. Pielke is a believer, as well. He has defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and supports a carbon tax. But Pielke doesn’t buy all the hype — hence his testimony that challenged the catastrophic-weather argument. For that, Grijalva wants to give Pielke the full treatment — a full financial and documentary probe.

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Profiles in Cowardice, Alinsky-Style

By 3.2.15

For all the accusations that House Speaker John Boehner has been engaging in partisanship by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress concerning Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is the Obama administration and congressional Democrats who are making a partisan issue of Netanyahu’s speech.

The Obama White House has gone in full Alinsky mode on Netanyahu — whether it’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki questioning Netanyahu’s honesty, National Security Adviser Susan Rice claiming the speech would be “destructive” to U.S.-Israeli relations, or Secretary of State John Kerry admonishing Bibi for supporting the War in Iraq. Kerry’s admonition is precious considering that he too once supported the same war. But no matter. Netanyahu is the target and he has been frozen, personalized, and polarized. 

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A Further Perspective

Europe’s Real Time-Bomb

By 3.2.15

While Europe’s governments and financial markets have been fixated in recent months by the ongoing fiscal and political disaster otherwise known as Greece, the challenges facing one of the EU’s smallest members are, frankly, quite minor compared to what may well be Europe’s biggest looming internal problem.

The name of that challenge? In a word: France.

It’s no exaggeration to say that France is facing one of its most systematic crises since the Fourth Republic’s collapse in 1958. This time, however, there’s no man of destiny—no Charles de Gaulle—waiting in the wings to save France from itself. In fact, that’s part of France’s problem: a political class that, regardless of party, isn’t adept at imaginative thinking, especially concerning Exhibit A of France’s problems: its economy.

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The Right Prescription

King v. Burwell Is Much Bigger Than Obamacare

By 3.2.15

John Adams, in a 1775 essay referencing the Roman historian Livy and other sources, wrote that a republic was “a nation of laws, not of men.” As recently as fifty years ago, most Americans would have intuitively understood his point and why it was relevant to their lives. Today, it isn’t clear that the President of the United States, the leaders of the Democratic Party, or the members of our “news” media would grasp the meaning of Adams’ words, much less that they still matter today. We will soon discover if the same can be said of the Supreme Court.

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Flick Story

Haunted Hollywood

By 3.2.15

Part of the reason David Cronenberg’s new Maps to the Stars is so engrossing is that it’s two kinds of movie at once. The surface is all brutal Hollywood satire, the child star who only eats red Skittles and the washed-up actress demanding that her assistant fetch her Xanax and Kozy Shack pudding. This stuff is breathtaking: the massage therapist who helps his scantily-clad clients work through child abuse (“I’m going to press on a personal history point now”), the hateful cheek-kissing and the jaded, foul-mouthed tweens.

But all of that satire is in the service of another kind of movie. Maps to the Stars is a ghost movie, both literally and figuratively. Slowly its weirdnesses, its hallucinations and catchphrases, start to focus on one central concern: How do we free ourselves from the past?

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The Public Policy

Time for Congress to Gut the FCC

By 2.28.15

A couple of weekends ago, when my entire family was down with illness and rain was pouring outside, the Internet was our best friend. What better to do while sick in bed than catch up on all of my Facebook friends’ lives, find new ebooks to download from, catch up on a backlog of movies over Netflix, and tweet until my fingers were tired? And I don’t just mean myself—the whole family was doing all of that, and more. Watching YouTube videos, posting YouTube videos. Between coughs and sneezes.

Here’s what’s remarkable: According to the FCC our Internet connection, which facilitated all of that activity flawlessly, without a glitch, no longer counts as broadband.

There is literally nothing we want to do on the Internet that our connection can’t handle. And we have a teenager, for a clincher. We’re reasonably early adopters of just about every Internet connected device and service. But our Internet connection no longer meets the FCC’s definition of broadband.

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Patriot Nation

It Wasn’t My Call, Says Pete Carroll

By 2.28.15

This just in from the Seattle Seahawks: In a press conference early next week, head coach Pete Carroll is prepared to disavow his earlier statements and deny any personal responsibility for what many have called “the worst play call” at an absolutely critical moment in the history of major sporting events.

In short, he will perform an amazing feat — rising up and walking away from the sword he fell upon four weeks ago when he refused to blame anyone except himself for the team’s shocking last-minute loss to the New England Patriots on Super Bowl Sunday.

With the New England Patriot defenders gasping for breath and the Seattle Seahawks down on their 1-yard line with 26 seconds remaining in the game, every diehard football fan in America knew what Carroll and the Seahawks had to do to ice their second consecutive Super Bowl championship.

All they had to do was to give the football to Marshawn Lynch and let their rampaging, unstoppable “beast” of a running back take it in for the game-winning score.

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