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Special Report

Another Camille and Overdue Bills

By 1.6.16

Today, Camille Cosby was scheduled to appear in a deposition relating to a lawsuit against her husband, Bill Cosby. But a federal judge agreed late yesterday to an emergency request filed on Monday by lawyers representing the Cosbys to delay the deposition, pending an appeal on whether she should testify at all. But the Crosby saga is far from over and has profound implications for the Clintons.

Seven women who allege Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them brought this particular lawsuit. A few hours before New Year’s Eve, Federal Judge David H. Hennessey had denied Camille Cosby’s motion to quash the deposition based on spousal privilege and that her testimony would be an “undue burden.” He noted she might have relevant knowledge, especially as Cosby’s business manager. Cosby’s leading-from-behind lawyers should have had her abrogate that post long ago.

Cosby himself has said, “People would rather deal with me than with Camille. She’s rough to deal with when it comes to my business.” Sounds like something Bill Clinton might say about Hillary.

The Current Crisis

Rahm, I Tried to Warn You

By 1.6.16

Chicago has always struck me as one of the most affluent cities in the world. Growing up in Chicagoland I saw little poverty in the city at the foot of glistening Lake Michigan. I am sure poverty was there, but Chicago in the 1960s seemed rich and abundant with opportunity. Alas, that was long ago. Chicago is still affluent at least on its north side and in the environs around Michigan Avenue, the city’s Magnificent Mile. Yet, statistics tell us something different when we consider Chicago as a whole. Its poor neighborhoods are desperate.

Read the headlines from the city that two generations of Daleys governed effectively. Young males, usually blacks, are dying on the streets often from run-ins with the police. For a certitude, they are acting recklessly, carrying weapons, often knives and guns, but the cops are acting aggressively. Just the other day a young man, agitated and carrying a baseball bat, was shot to death by a cop. Obviously Chicago cops are dangerous. Moreover, city government seems to be covering up for them.

The Public Policy

Sowing the Seeds of Discontent in the West

By 1.6.16

There are real and deeply serious issues underpinning the “standoff” at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon — both having to do with the idea that liberal appellate court judges, at the behest of federal prosecutors and agenda-driven bureaucrats, can send people back to jail after they have completed their initial sentences, and with the more general issue of the public policy problems surround federal ownership of massive amounts of public lands in the West.

It must be stipulated at the start, however, that the armed occupation of an empty federal facility is fundamentally unhelpful to the process of finding solutions to either, and, in fact, is nothing more than a distraction to serious discussions of those solutions. But solutions need to be found, since the problems surrounding the standoff (especially those pertaining to public lands) have been festering for decades.

The Obama Watch

Showman-in-Chief

By 1.5.16

Those who have been marveling at Donald Trump’s political showmanship were given a reminder of who is the top showman of them all, when President Barack Obama went on television to make a pitch for his unilateral actions to restrict gun sales and make a more general case for tighter gun control laws.

It was beautifully choreographed, like a great ballet, and performed with consummate skill and understated eloquence. First of all, the scene was set with a room full of people who had lost loved ones to gun violence. A father whose son had been gunned down made a long introduction before the president showed up, walked down the aisle and up on to the stage to growing applause.

As political theater, it put Donald Trump’s rantings in the shade.

As for the substance of what Obama said, there was very little substance, and much of it false, but one of the signs of great artistry was that the presentation overshadowed the substance. 

Political Hay

We Need a Conservative Alinsky

By 1.5.16

This week has seen a headache-inducing debacle unfurling in the tiny town of Burns, Oregon, in which a few members of the Bundy family have traveled there from their usual haunts in Nevada, accompanied by a few other colorful characters of Western flavor, and have successfully staged the conquest of a deserted headquarters of a federal bird refuge.

The occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters branched off from a sizable protest of the “re-sentencing” of Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son in a ranching family located south of Burns convicted by a federal court under an anti-terrorism statute.

Clinton Watch

Will Bill Cosby Defeat Hillary?

By 1.5.16

Who knew?

For the last few years there has been an increasingly loud drumbeat that America is trapped in a “culture of rape.”

Take this story in Time from 2014 by Zerlina Maxwell titled “Rape Culture Is Real.” It opens:

“You were drinking, what did you expect?

Those were the first words that I heard when I went to someone I trusted for support after my roommate’s boyfriend raped me eight years ago. When I came forward to report what happened, instead of support, many well-meaning people close to me asked me questions about what I was wearing, if I had done something to cause the assault, or if I had been drinking. These questions about my choices the night of my assault — as opposed to the choices made by my rapist — were in some ways as painful as the violent act itself. I had stumbled upon rape culture: a culture in which sexual violence is the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults

Sports Arena

Hail to the un-PC Redskins

By 1.5.16

As the calendar flipped from 2015 to 2016, the Washington Redskins were basking in two momentous pieces of good news. The first being the Redskins winning the NFC East, thereby qualifying for the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2012. The second piece of news, even more significant than the playoffs, played out off the gridiron and didn’t involve the team but an Asian American rock band known as the Slants.

To give some background for those of you who are unaware, the fight over the Washington football team nickname Redskins had leapt from the never ending debate on whether it is appropriate to use the term Redskins, to the courtroom where big brother was doing his best to throw cold water on the freedom of speech and expression. The first two rounds of this battle went to the censors when the United States Patent and Trademark Office injected itself into the debate and took the highly unusual and provocative measure of canceling the Washington Redskins’ trademarks that had been legally recognized for nearly 50 years. The reason cited was that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.”

Special Report

Education Freedom Accounts —Today’s Rosenwald Schools

By 1.5.16

Recently, in an editorial called “Private school doesn’t have to be only for the rich,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield argued that education savings accounts would enable poor and middle income students to afford private schools. Many academic studies support Mr. Wingfield’s view, as does the historical evidence from efforts such as the Rosenwald Rural Schools Initiative.

Another Perspective

Complicating the Obvious

By 1.5.16

Engineers who design computerized products and services seem to have an almost fanatical determination to avoid using plain English.

It is understandable when complicated processes require complicated operations. But when the very simplest things are designed with needless complications or murky instructions, that is something else.

For example, like all sorts of other devices, computers and computerized products and services have to be turned on and off. And everybody knows what the words “on” and “off” mean. But how often have you seen a computer or a computerized product or service that used the words “on” or “off”?

These simple and obvious words are avoided like the plague on many electronic devices — and this is symptomatic of a mindset that creates bigger problems with other operations. It is as if using words that everybody understands is beneath the dignity of a high tech product.

The Energy Spectator

SolarCity’s Silver Spoon

By 1.4.16

If you own a business — maybe a taco stand, a dress shop, or an insurance agency — you know it takes a lot of hard work, good market analysis, a better product or service than your competition, and advertising. Add in a bit of luck, and you hope to grow your business — though vacant storefronts and boarded up buildings in towns and cities across America show that isn’t always enough. Each going-out-of-business sale represents the death of someone’s dream.

If, however, you are a politically favored business — say solar — your story is different. Your growth is dependent on government generosity. And, when people, who may never buy your product or use your service, balk at underwriting your venture and convince their Congressmen to take away the taxpayer largesse, like a badly behaved toddler, you threaten to take your marbles and go home — leaving former staffers unemployed and customers without service.

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