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25 Jul 22:43

WHO SAYS LOCAL JOURNALISM IS DEAD? Chance the Rapper Buys Chicagoist, Promises to Investigate Rahm …

by Glenn Reynolds
24 Jul 12:58

BRAD SMITH: The IRS gives up power for once, and the Left goes nuts. Finally, we might ask why, …

by Glenn Reynolds

BRAD SMITH: The IRS gives up power for once, and the Left goes nuts.

Finally, we might ask why, absent a very good reason, the federal government should ever be collecting data on our memberships and donations in the first place. What business of the government is it if you belong to a fishing club or the National Association of Realtors, or want to support Everytown for Gun Safety or the NRA?

Nonetheless, government agencies can be remarkably unwilling to surrender power or information. So praise is in order for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter for doing away with the requirement. . . .

Even more interesting, however, is the response of the progressive Left and the press. Because some of the organizations now exempt from filing donor information speak out about issues, or make some political expenditures (legally limited by tax law), this modest regulatory rescission is being portrayed as a victory for “dark money” in politics. Now, the Institute for Free Speech has pointed out repeatedly that “dark money” is the political bogeyman of our times — it amounts to a tiny percentage of political spending in the U.S., and attempts to completely end it intrude on the freedom of law-abiding people without providing any useful information to the public.

But let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that stopping “dark money” is an important goal. Here’s the thing: The information the IRS had been collecting was required by law to be kept private! So not reporting the information to the IRS has no legal effect at all on “dark money.” Think about that.

In short, what the progressive and media criticism of the IRS’s decision boils down to is some combination of the following:

They want to whip up hysteria about “dark money,” even when it is irrelevant to the policy at issue.
They want the IRS to illegally leak the data collected.
They hope that a database of donor memberships might be used by a future progressive administration for some unspecified purpose.
They simply don’t want to give up any potential power over Americans and perhaps hope, if the government is already collecting this information, it will be easier to pass more laws intruding on privacy in the future.

Yeah, I don’t trust them.

24 Jul 03:53

YES, THE FISA PROCESS WAS ABUSED AND WEAPONIZED, BUT IT’S ALSO CLEAR THAT THE FISA COURT IS IN FACT …

by Glenn Reynolds
17 Jul 03:04

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: The American Nobility Pays No Price For Its Failures: Accountability shouldn’…

by Glenn Reynolds
16 Jul 13:49

#FAKENEWS: Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump’s S…

by Glenn Reynolds
11 Jul 15:39

I THINK YOU JUST DID:  Caught on Camera: Tedra Cobb Tells Supporters She Wants ‘Assault Rifle’ …

by Sarah Hoyt
10 Jul 13:16

ANALYSIS: TRUE. #PermitPatty Showcases the Dangers of Overregulation. The real face of overregula…

by Stephen Green

ANALYSIS: TRUE. #PermitPatty Showcases the Dangers of Overregulation.

The real face of overregulation has been in the news in recent weeks, after bystanders called the police on three young people in different states for peaceful behavior. The incidents serve as a reminder that an overly broad “rule,” even if rarely enforced, can be weaponized at any time. Such rules can serve to empower pettiness and bigotry that otherwise might have been limited to rude speech.

The three incidents all went viral, from the pathetic marijuana-corporation executive who called the police on an eight-year-old girl for the “crime” of “illegally selling water without a permit” on a hot summer day, to the neighbor who called the police on a 12-year-old for his summer lawn-mowing business, to the 16-year-old boy who was cuffed and arrested in Charleston, S.C., for selling palmetto roses (a longstanding Charleston tradition). Luckily, the police did not act on the complaints in the first two cases — but the very fact that people feel empowered to call the police over harmless behavior shows the pernicious reach of the regulatory regime. In each of these cases, the regulations in question were the sort justified on health-and-safety grounds.

And in all three cases, the children were black. These regulations may not have been written with race in mind, like those of the hallowed Progressive Era were, but the fact remains that this all-encompassing regulatory regime allows racists to act on their prejudice with force. Those who oppose bigotry, and yet support high levels of regulation with good intentions, ought to bear in mind that enforcement often falls upon those who are already marginalized, as we have also seen with drug and gun laws.

Never agitate for a government power you wouldn’t trust your political opponents to wield — because someday they will.

08 Jul 03:52

SO DON’T EXPECT AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: NASA Reveals Experimental Quiet Supersonic Plane….

by Glenn Reynolds

SO DON’T EXPECT AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: NASA Reveals Experimental Quiet Supersonic Plane.

03 Jul 04:27

LUKE ROSIAK IS ON TOP OF THIS STORY, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE IS IGNORING IT FOR SOME REASON: In Ne…

by Glenn Reynolds

LUKE ROSIAK IS ON TOP OF THIS STORY, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE IS IGNORING IT FOR SOME REASON: In Newly Obtained Memo, Congress’ Top Cop Said House Democratic Caucus Server VANISHED.

A secret memo marked “URGENT” detailed how the House Democratic Caucus’s server went “missing” soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. The secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”

In the memo, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

The memo, addressed to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and dated Feb. 3, 2017, was recently reviewed and transcribed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The letter bolsters TheDCNF’s previous reporting about the missing server and evidence of fraud on Capitol Hill.

It details how the caucus server, run by then-caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, was secretly copied by authorities after the House Inspector General (IG) identified suspicious activity on it, but the Awans’ physical access was not blocked.

And by “for some reason,” I mean:

23 Jun 01:35

Neil Gorsuch Joins Sonia Sotomayor in Questioning the Third-Party Doctrine

by Jacob Sullum

As Damon Root noted earlier today, Justice Neil Gorsuch's dissent from Carpenter v. United States reads more like a concurrence, agreeing with the majority's conclusion that police generally need a warrant to obtain cellphone location data but disagreeing with its reasoning. In fact, Gorsuch is bolder than the majority, recommending a broader reconsideration of the doctrine that says the Fourth Amendment imposes no limits on the government's access to information that people entrust to third parties. At the same time, Gorsuch agrees with Clarence Thomas, who also filed a dissent in Carpenter, that it makes little sense to draw the boundaries of Fourth Amendment rights based on expectations of privacy that judges deem reasonable.

The Supreme Court developed the third-party doctrine in United States v. Miller, a 1976 case dealing with bank records, and Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 case involving "pen registers" that record the phone numbers called from a particular location. As the Court explained the principle in Miller, "the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third party and conveyed by him to Government authorities, even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed." Gorsuch recognizes the sweeping implications of that principle in an age when sensitive information is routinely stored on remote servers:

What's left of the Fourth Amendment? Today we use the Internet to do most everything. Smartphones make it easy to keep a calendar, correspond with friends, make calls, conduct banking, and even watch the game. Countless Internet companies maintain records about us and, increasingly, for us. Even our most private documents—those that, in other eras, we would have locked safely in a desk drawer or destroyed—now reside on third party servers. Smith and Miller teach that the police can review all of this material, on the theory that no one reasonably expects any of it will be kept private. But no one believes that, if they ever did....

Can the government demand a copy of all your e-mails from Google or Microsoft without implicating your Fourth Amendment rights? Can it secure your DNA from 23andMe without a warrant or probable cause? Smith and Miller say yes it can...But that result strikes most lawyers and judges today—me included—as pretty unlikely.

Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the majority opinion in Carpenter, expressed similar concerns in United States v. Jones, the 2012 decision that said monitoring a suspect's movements by attaching a GPS tracker to his car counts as a "search" under the Fourth Amendment. In that case, Sotomayor observed that the third-party doctrine is "ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks."

Gorsuch notes that "the Court has never offered a persuasive justification" for the third-party doctrine. A person's willingness to share information with someone else for a particular purpose does not imply that he is willing to share it with the world, and his awareness of the risk that it will nevertheless be divulged to others does not give those people permission to peruse it. Gorsuch draws an analogy to paper mail, which the Supreme Court since the 19th century has recognized as protected by the Fourth Amendment because the sender entrusts it to the postal service for delivery. The content of letters is protected even though people surrender possession of them and understand that they may be vulnerable to snooping.

Gorsuch is equally leery of linking Fourth Amendment rights to a "reasonable expectation of privacy," as the majority does in Carpenter. That standard, which was invented in the 1967 eavesdropping case Katz v. United States, is hard to apply in a principled way, since everything depends on which expectations count as reasonable, a question judges may not answer the same way most people would. "Katz has yielded an often unpredictable—and sometimes unbelievable—jurisprudence," Gorsuch writes, citing a couple of examples (citations omitted):

Take Florida v. Riley, which says that a police helicopter hovering 400 feet above a person's property invades no reasonable expectation of privacy. Try that one out on your neighbors. Or California v. Greenwood, which holds that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the garbage he puts out for collection. In that case, the Court said that the homeowners forfeited their privacy interests because "[i]t is common knowledge that plastic garbage bags left on or at the side of a public street are readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public." But the habits of raccoons don't prove much about the habits of the country. I doubt, too, that most people spotting a neighbor rummaging through their garbage would think they lacked reasonable grounds to confront the rummager.

Gorsuch also notes that the Katz test has little to do with the text of the Fourth Amendment, which makes no mention of expectations or of privacy per se. Rather, the amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." That guarantee, as Thomas shows in his dissent, is intimately related to property rights. "This case should not turn on 'whether' a search occurred," he writes. "It should turn, instead, on whose property was searched."

For Thomas, the answer is clear: The property belonged not to Timothy Carpenter, whose location records were used to implicate him in a series of armed robberies, but to MetroPCS and Sprint, the companies that provided his cellphone service. Gorsuch, by contrast, thinks it's "entirely possible a person's cell-site data could qualify as his papers or effects under existing law." He notes that federal law treats those records as "customer proprietary network information," which people generally cannot obtain without the customer's permission.

Gorsuch sees advantages to "a Fourth Amendment model based on positive legal rights," as advocated by a brief the Institute for Justice filed in Carpenter, which draws on the work of law professors William Baude (University of Chicago) and James Stern (William & Mary). Under that model, the Fourth Amendment is implicated whenever the government seeks special access to information that ordinary people cannot legally see without the subject's consent. That approach offers a promising alternative to the infinitely malleable Katz test, which invites judges to constitutionalize their own privacy preferences, and a Fourth Amendment that covers your data only as long as you retain physical possession of it.

22 Jun 21:22

GOOD LORD: 13-Year-Old Charged with Felony for Recording Conversation with School Principal. “If I …

by Stephen Green

GOOD LORD: 13-Year-Old Charged with Felony for Recording Conversation with School Principal. “If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined.”

The incident took place last February at Manteno Middle School, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. Young Paul Boron was arguing with Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short.

About ten minutes into the meeting, which was held with the door open, Boron told the men he was recording it. At that point, the principal told Boron he was committing a felony and ended the conversation. But then, according to the Illinois Policy Center:

Two months later, in April, Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping – a class 4 felony in Illinois.

“If I do go to court and get wrongfully convicted, my whole life is ruined,” said Boron, who lives with his mother and four siblings…”I think they’re going too far.”

…. Members of the Manteno Community Unit School District No. 5 board, Conrad and Short have not responded to requests for comment on the incident.

Unfortunately for Boron, there is a law against recording people without their consent in Illinois. There’s even a rule against it in the student handbook. But the handbook also says that it is fine for the school to have video cameras monitoring the public areas of the building. In other words, it’s fine to keep the kids under constant surveillance, just not the administrators.

You don’t ruin a kid’s life over anything so trivial. You erase the recording and send him back for extra detention.

Unless of course you’re less interested in educating children and more interested in establishing authority over them.

21 Jun 21:07

BUT WHAT WILL THEY TASTE LIKE? Scientists Expect to Genetically Engineer Chickens into Dinosaurs Wit…

by Stephen Green
07 Jun 03:34

The Older Brother Looks Forward to The End of Alzheimer’s

by The Older Brother

Hey, Fat Heads!

Long time. My bad for not getting this out there last week while Tom was on the Low Carb Cruise. I had kind of a week.

My annual Abe’s Army started up again last week, so I spent that Monday night running and trying to remember why I thought that’s a good idea.  It’ll come to me.

Then I had to make a 50 mile trip north for non-GMO chicken feed Tuesday (we’ve got a new batch of meat birds on the farm), which turned into two days because I had to beat it back to town to head out of town 50 miles west for an unexpected visitation (childhood friend of The Wife’s), dropped the chick feed the next day (15 miles east), and spent a couple of days making trips to move stuff from The Younger Sister’s house that just sold to her new place, which is, oddly enough, about 50 miles south. The closing on her house went a month ahead of schedule, which was good. Unless you had a few other things you’d planned on.

Guesting in The Big Chair, for example.

Speaking of which, someone (ahem) moved all of the knobs around on The Big Chair during the whole Nautilus website remodel adventure, so I was a little disoriented. I couldn’t ftp to save my life. Not that I’m complaining.

This post is something of a callback. Tom had a post (here) about two years ago about a treatment protocol developed for Alzheimer’s patients that incorporated several lifestyle modifications without involving some new $5,000 a month pharmaceutical miracle pill. Nine out of the ten patients participating in the study improved, and six who’d stopped working returned to their vocations. I don’t know if I pointed it out to him, or if we both heard about it at the same time, but we were both naturally intrigued after Dad spent the last few years of his life as an Alzheimer’s zombie.

The protocol, developed by Dr. Dale Bredesen, focused on what is essentially a keto-centric diet, regular physical activity including weight-bearing lifting, stress and sleep management, hormone and nutrient balance, and genetic testing.

I kept kind of following up occasionally, and Dr. Bredesen has a book now laying out the whole protocol. For something as relentlessly hope-shattering as Alzheimer’s has been, Dr. Bredesen makes some bold statements.

Consider that over the last few decades tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars have been spent, nearly 250 drugs have been tested (fail), hundreds (thousands?) of research organizations, universities, and pharmaceutical companies have focused on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Where are we?

Nowhere.

Patients : 0, Alzheimer’s : WINNING!

[Aricept, the one you’re going to be given if diagnosed, supposedly moderates onset for up to two years, at which point you’ll be in the same place cognitively as if you’d never taken it. I suspect kind of like statins supposedly prevent heart attacks.]

If you’re in a treatment program, you’ll be given Aricept, maybe one or two others that have been proven not to kill anyone too quickly yet, and encouraged to participate in more trials as a guinea pig for whatever new molecule has been cooked up to eliminate the dreaded amyloid plaques.

I’m pretty sure that at some point, “amyloid plaques” will be in the same wing with “arterycloggingsaturatedfats” in The Museum of Things We Got Conned Into Thinking Were Trying to Kill Us (The MOTWGCITWTTKU, for short).

But here is Dr. Bredesen:

“Let me say this as clearly as I can: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.”

“What the research from my laboratory colleagues and me adds up to is this: No one should die from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Whoa. What did he say?!?

“Let me say that again: No one should die from Alzheimer’s disease.”

So, what’s Dr. Bredesen know that everyone else is missing?

There’s several points he brings out (some of these are already out there in the wild, but of course diligently ignored by the pharmaceutical-driven research establishment):

  • Alzheimer’s is not a result of the brain doing something it’s not supposed to — it’s an effort by the body to mitigate damage.
  • Ditto for the dread amyloid plaques.
  • There are three different types of Alzheimer’s, and it’s important to identify the type involved to effectively address it.
  • There are over thirty molecular mechanisms that contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  • Most of those mechanisms have to be addressed to reverse Alzheimer’s — fixing one or two won’t get results if several others are out of range.
  • Treatment — whether hormone supplements, vitamin levels, physical activity, sleep management — must be to optimal levels, not minimum or “recommended” levels.

As Fat Heads, I’m pretty sure none of those thirty-plus factors will come as a shock to you. In chapter 4, facetiously titled “How to Give Yourself Alzheimer’s: A Primer,” Bredesen goes over everything you can do in modern life to pull the trigger on whatever cognitive gun your genes have loaded — high carb/gluten-laden diet, continuous stress, statins, proton-inhibitors, terrible sleep habits, environmental factors, etc., etc.

His protocol, formerly called MEND and now re-branded to ReCODE (Reverse Cognitive Decline), consists of a battery of tests to determine levels for all of those (currently 36) markers, and then designing an individualized program to move everything into the optimal range, accompanied by regular evaluations and feedback.

Of course, once they had completed the initial study, fine-tuned the protocol, and worked with several dozens more patients with similar levels of unheard-of success, they got a backer and applied for a clinical study. They proposed a “four arm” test of a new drug (already in use in 48 other countries, but not the US) both alone and in combination with the ReCODE protocol, and a placebo with and without ReCODE.

Of course, they were granted “a perfect storm of rejection.”

Surprised?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bit of quick math. Let’s assume Dr. Bredesen is on to something and there are (as currently defined) thirty-six different variables that have to be in balance to reverse cognitive decline. To test each of the possible combinations using the “scientific” approach that the single-bullet research industry insists on, that would be 2 (true or false) to the 36th (number of variables) power. So you’d only have to run between 68 and 69 billion separate studies.

I’m thinking it would be worth a shot to allocate a few million of the billions of dollars the Anointed of the Alzheimer’s industry have been pounding down the amyloid plaque rat hole for the last couple of decades. You know, just to see what happens.

Or how about we have a vote? We can have a vote between all of the people who have demonstrated long-term clinically measured improvements in cognition from the several hundred that Bredesen has treated vs. all of the people who have demonstrated long-term clinically measured improvements in cognition from the several million that the existing Alzheimer’s industry has treated. Pretty sure the Bredesen group would win by a landslide.

The book lays out all of the tests in the protocol, along with how to assemble an action plan based on the results. The easiest way to implement the protocol is to go to Bredesen’s website and send an email via the “participant” tab. It’ll cost you $75 a month (one year minimum), plus probably several hundred to a thousand dollars for a local practitioner (they have a list) over the year, and whatever supplements or additional tests you need. All in, probably about what most people spend on their cable and cell phone plans for a year.

Besides being an interesting, well-written read on a topic that’s going to affect many of us personally and certainly all of us as a society, I also got a new favorite term out of the book — “hanging crepe.” The origin is in the old practice of hanging black crepe in the doorway and windows of a home where someone has died to notify everyone of the bad news. It’s evolved to mean being incredibly pessimistic generally, and in medicine it means painting the bleakest possible picture to prepare concerned parties for the worst possible (inevitable) outcome. So now when I hear “Alzheimer’s specialist,” I think “million dollar crepe hanger.” It works.

So, we’ve kind of got primers for each stage of the HFLC/Paleo/Primal/Fat Head life. Of course, “Fat Head Kids” for the younger crowd. If you’re under 35 or 40, read (and live) “Primal Blueprint.” Up to 60 or so, if you’re a little late to the party, you should probably check out “Undoctored.” Sixty-plus or have someone you care about who’s getting a bit (or very) fuzzy, buy “The End of Alzheimers.”

Today would be good. Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

The Older Brother

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01 Jun 02:28

A SEARCH ENGINE’S CURRENCY IS TRUST: Google listed “Nazism” as the ideology of the California R…

by Glenn Reynolds
17 May 00:58

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, CRAZY YEARS EDITION: Professor notes men are taller than women on a…

by Glenn Reynolds

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, CRAZY YEARS EDITION: Professor notes men are taller than women on average, SJWs storm out angrily.

The speaker you’ll see here is biology professor Heather Heying, wife of professor Bret Weinstein. Both Heying and Weinstein left Evergreen State College as part of a settlement deal last year. Heying was making a point about physiological differences between men and women. “Are men taller than women on average?” Heying asked rhetorically. She added, “Does anyone take offense at that fact?”

It seems someone in the audience did because Dr. Peter Boghossian (seated on the right) turned toward the back of the room and Professor Heying chuckled.

“So I would say you could be irritated by it,” Heying said. She continued, “You could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones that gestate and lactate. You could be irritated by a lot of truths but taking offense is a response that is a rejection of reality.”

But before she had even finished her statement, a group of students got up and walked out of the room. As Heying continued to talk about physiological differences between men and women, there was a loud commotion in the back of the room. One of the protesters apparently damaged the sound system on the way out.

At this point, a camera out in the lobby area shows a small group of protesters, one of whom (the girl with purple hair) is led to a seat by a police officer. There are some cuts in the video but she is clearly agitated and says at one point, “Even the women in there have been brainwashed.” She shouts “F**k the police” as she exits a few moments later.

Another protester in the lobby says, “You should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society.” I guess that explains the urge to wreck the sound system.

I predict that it will be harder and harder to argue that higher education adds value, either for individuals or for society.

15 May 21:41

DAN SANCHEZ: Mises Never Gave In To Evil. “Put yourself in Mises’s shoes on the front line. You, be…

by Glenn Reynolds

DAN SANCHEZ: Mises Never Gave In To Evil. “Put yourself in Mises’s shoes on the front line. You, better than anyone else in history, understand the workings of the peaceful market society. You understand the fatal flaws of socialism and interventionism and the futility of war. You have the answers! You know the societal code that would unlock and unleash humanity’s potential. But nobody will listen to you, and you are surrounded by destruction and madness.”

Well, to be fair, I am on Twitter almost every day, so . . .

01 May 18:12

JUSTICE: Microsoft Persuades Court to Imprison Man for ‘Counterfeiting’ Software They Give Away for …

by Stephen Green

JUSTICE: Microsoft Persuades Court to Imprison Man for ‘Counterfeiting’ Software They Give Away for Free. “The electronics recycling innovator faces 15 months in prison and a $50,000 fine.”

01 May 16:00

REMEMBER THIS WHEN THEY TELL YOU THE SCIENCE IS INFALLIBLE: DNA Blunder Creates Phantom Serial Kill…

by Glenn Reynolds

REMEMBER THIS WHEN THEY TELL YOU THE SCIENCE IS INFALLIBLE: DNA Blunder Creates Phantom Serial Killer. “The only clues that ‘The Woman Without a Face’ left behind at 40 different crime scenes were DNA traces. These were collected on cotton swabs, supplied to the police in a number of European countries. Now police investigators have established that in all probability the DNA had not been left by their quarry but by a woman working for the German medical company supplying the swabs, who had inadvertently contaminated them.”

That’s right: Her DNA was on the cotton swabs they used to check for DNA, because she worked at the cotton swab factory.

01 May 14:48

THE LAST SLAVE: Zora Neale Hurston’s Interview Found. The book is based on three months of perio…

by Glenn Reynolds

THE LAST SLAVE: Zora Neale Hurston’s Interview Found.

The book is based on three months of periodic interviews with a man named Cudjo Lewis — or Kossula, his original name — the last survivor of the last slave ship to land on American shores. Plying him with peaches and Virginia hams, watermelon and Bee Brand insect powder, Hurston drew out his story. Kossula had been captured at age 19 in an area now known as the country Benin by warriors from the neighboring Dahomian tribe, then marched to a stockade, or barracoon, on the West African coast. There, he and some 120 others were purchased and herded onto the Clotilda, captained by William Foster and commissioned by three Alabama brothers to make the 1860 voyage.

After surviving the Middle Passage, the captives were smuggled into Mobile under cover of darkness. By this time, the international slave trade had been illegal in the United States for 50 years, and the venture was rumored to have been inspired when one of the brothers, Timothy Meaher, bet he could pull it off without being “hanged.” (Indeed, no one was ever punished.) Cudjo worked as a slave on the docks of the Alabama River before being freed in 1865 and living for another 70 years: through Reconstruction, the resurgent oppression of Jim Crow rule, the beginning of the Depression.

When Hurston tried to get Barracoon published in 1931, she couldn’t find a taker. There was concern among “black intellectuals and political leaders” that the book laid uncomfortably bare Africans’ involvement in the slave trade, according to novelist Alice Walker’s foreword to the book, which is finally being published in May.

Fascinating. I hadn’t read before about the famed woman soldiers of Dahomey being used to capture slaves en masse.

The book is Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo.” (Bumped).

23 Apr 02:41

THEY’RE ALWAYS IN THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK: Astronomers Discovered another Earth. “While it has bee…

by Glenn Reynolds

THEY’RE ALWAYS IN THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK: Astronomers Discovered another Earth. “While it has been projected that there are at least 40 billion Earth-sized planets circling in our Milky Way Galaxy, this specific finding is labelled the first Earth-sized planet to be discovered in the habitable zone of another star.”

18 Apr 18:33

PRECIOUS GEMS: These diamonds are tiny, flawed, and may come from a long-lost planet. A new study…

by Stephen Green

PRECIOUS GEMS: These diamonds are tiny, flawed, and may come from a long-lost planet.

A new study published in Nature Communications today offers a dramatic origin story for the meteorite. Based on materials found inside the diamonds nestled within, researchers think this may be the remnant of a long-lost planet or planetary embryo; one that was still in its infancy when the chaos of the early solar system obliterated it.

In this case, the diamonds aren’t the most important part of this story. They’re just the heavy-duty packaging for much more precious cargo held inside. While a jeweler might see a bit of rock trapped inside a diamond as a flaw, to a geologist it is precious. Because of their strong crystal structure, diamonds can preserve minuscule bits of material that would otherwise disappear under the relentless changeability of the universe over time.

Researcher Farhang Nabiei—of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland—was looking at the relationship between the diamonds and the layers of graphite surrounding them when he started wondering about the small pockets of substances trapped within.

Upon closer inspection, he found that the material inside the diamonds could only have been formed at incredibly high pressures—much higher than anything the meteorite would have been subject to as it crashed toward Earth. These diamonds must have held the weight of an entire world — literally.

Read the whole thing — this is an amazing find.

16 Apr 14:40

ROGER KIMBALL: Robert Mueller’s Excellent Adventure. “While we wait for answer, ask yourself this:…

by Glenn Reynolds

ROGER KIMBALL: Robert Mueller’s Excellent Adventure. “While we wait for answer, ask yourself this: what does all this have to do with the central reason a special counsel was appointed in the first place, namely, ‘to investigate any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’? Well might you ask.”

Plus:

Lee Smith explains that, too. “[B]y using the justice system as a political weapon to attack the enemies of the country’s elite, Robert Mueller and his supporters in both parties are confirming what many Americans already believe. That in spite of all the fine rhetoric, we are not all equal under one law. There is in fact a privileged class, a ruling class that sees its own interests as identical with the public good, and never pays a price for its failures, its abuses, and its crimes.”

Yes.

13 Apr 20:05

John Tierney on the war on science from the supposed ‘party of science’ - Publications – AEI

by Mark Perry

AEI
John Tierney on the war on science from the supposed ‘party of science’

From John Tierney’s (contributing editor of City Journal and science columnist for the New York Times) article in City Journal (“Scott Pruitt, Warrior for Science“):

Imagine if the head of a federal agency announced a new policy for its scientific research: from now on, the agency would no longer allow its studies to be reviewed and challenged by independent scientists, and its researchers would not share the data on which their conclusions were based. The response from scientists and journalists would be outrage. By refusing peer review from outsiders, the agency would be rejecting a fundamental scientific tradition. By not sharing data with other researchers, it would be violating a standard transparency requirement at leading scientific journals. If a Republican official did such a thing, you’d expect to hear denunciations of this latest offensive in the “Republican war on science.”

That’s the accusation being hurled at Scott Pruitt, the Republican who heads the Environmental Protection Agency. But Pruitt hasn’t done anything to discourage peer review. In fact, he’s done the opposite: he has called for the use of more independent experts to review the EPA’s research and has just announced that the agency would rely only on studies for which data are available to be shared. Yet Democratic officials and liberal journalists have denounced these moves as an “attack on science,” and Democrats have cited them (along with accusations of ethical violations) in their campaign to force Pruitt out of his job.

How could “the party of science,” as Democrats like to call themselves, be opposed to transparency and peer review? Because better scientific oversight would make it tougher for the EPA to justify its costly regulations. To environmentalists, rigorous scientific protocols are fine in theory, but not in practice if they interfere with the green political agenda. As usual, the real war on science is the one waged from the left.

MP: That’s the opening above, the entire article is worth reading. Venn Diagram version appears above.

John Tierney on the war on science from the supposed ‘party of science’
Mark Perry

13 Apr 17:58

THE SCIENCE IS PRETTY DAMN SETTLED: Science proves communism makes nations poorer and less healthy….

by Glenn Reynolds

THE SCIENCE IS PRETTY DAMN SETTLED: Science proves communism makes nations poorer and less healthy.

Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.

In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.

Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education.

Instead, the single strongest predictor for a country’s health, and the second-strongest for its wealth, turned out to be whether its rulers had embraced communism.

The study said that after World War II, economic growth in Communist Eastern Europe was slower than in the West, but despite the Soviet Union’s collapse almost 30 years ago, the effects are still being felt.

Communism destroys social trust — communist governments do this by design — and that does longterm damage.

06 Apr 15:08

OOPS: A woman says an Ancestry.com DNA test revealed her father — her parents’ fertility doctor…

by Glenn Reynolds

OOPS: A woman says an Ancestry.com DNA test revealed her father — her parents’ fertility doctor. “The doctor recommended that Ashby undergo a procedure in which she would be inseminated with both sperm from her husband and an anonymous donor who matched the couple’s specifications, the lawsuit says. The couple requested a donor who was in college and taller than 6 feet with brown hair and blue eyes — and Mortimer told them that he had found a donor matching their description, the suit says. But the lawsuit claims that when Mortimer performed the procedure in the summer of 1980, he used his own sperm. He did not match the couple’s specifications. Ashby became pregnant and, in May 1981, Mortimer delivered his own child — never divulging the secret, according to the lawsuit.”

Plus: “After news of the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Ancestry.com said in a statement Tuesday that DNA testing ‘helps people make new and powerful discoveries about their family history and identity.'”

04 Apr 16:36

OH TO BE IN ENGLAND: London pensioner, 78, is arrested on suspicion of murder after ‘stabbing armed …

by Ed Driscoll

OH TO BE IN ENGLAND: London pensioner, 78, is arrested on suspicion of murder after ‘stabbing armed burglar, 38, to death in a struggle in his kitchen’ when two intruders woke him as he slept next to his wife.

Shades of the vignettes Mark Steyn described in his June 2000 American Spectator column, “In the Absence of Guns:”

No wonder, even as they’re being pounded senseless, many British crime victims are worrying about potential liability. A few months ago, Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion boutique whose clients include the daughter of the Princess Royal, was ironing some garments when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and stole her watch, leaving her badly burnt. “I was frightened to defend myself,” said Miss Best. “I thought if I did anything I would be arrested.”

And who can blame her? Shortly before the attack, she’d been reading about Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer whose home had been broken into and who had responded by shooting and killing the teenage burglar. He was charged with murder. In April, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment–for defending himself against a career criminal in an area where the police are far away and reluctant to have their sleep disturbed. In the British Commonwealth, the approach to policing is summed up by the motto of Her Majesty’s most glamorous constabulary: The Mounties always get their man–i.e., leave it to us. But these days in the British police, when they can’t get their man, they’ll get you instead: Frankly, that’s a lot easier, as poor Mr. Martin discovered.

More here:

Between the introduction of pistol permits in 1903 and the banning of handguns after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, Britain has had a century of incremental gun control–“sensible measures that all reasonable people can agree on.” And what’s the result? Even when you factor in America’s nutcake jurisdictions with the crackhead mayors, the overall crime rate in England and Wales is higher than in all 50 states, even though over there they have more policemen per capita than in the U.S., on vastly higher rates of pay installing more video surveillance cameras than anywhere else in the Western world.

Steyn’s column is a pretty good sneak preview where America could be headed if the Parkland kids have their way.

(Found via Dana Loesch.)

03 Apr 17:34

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER: Found via Gabriel Malor of the Federalist, who twe…

by Ed Driscoll

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER:

Found via Gabriel Malor of the Federalist, who tweets, “Er…a non-twitter pal notes that WaPo has literal communist propaganda today.”

03 Apr 14:41

REMINDER: Winnie Mandela’s Ex-Bodyguard Tells of Killings She Ordered. “Mr. Richardson, 48, who is…

by Glenn Reynolds

REMINDER: Winnie Mandela’s Ex-Bodyguard Tells of Killings She Ordered. “Mr. Richardson, 48, who is serving a life sentence for the killing of 14-year-old Stompie Seipei, described beating, torturing and killing people whenever ‘mommy’ (his name for Mrs. Mandela) asked him to do so. . . . Mr. Richardson told of using garden shears to kill Stompie Seipei in 1989 after beating him for days. He said Mrs. Mandela participated in the beatings, using her hands, fists and a whip. But she never did any of the killing, he said.”

More here:

The following five years were increasingly controversial. In 1986 she made a speech in which she talked about achieving liberation from apartheid by using “necklaces” – a reference to the brutal murder of suspected collaborators by putting tyres round their necks and setting them alight. There was also the matter of an opulent £125,000 house built in one of the poorest areas in the country.

The most serious allegations, however, stemmed from the activities of her personal bodyguards, the so-called Mandela United Football Club. Reports of their brutality were commonplace in Soweto and her house was attacked in 1988 by local people who had had enough.

Mrs Mandela refused to curb the team’s activities, however, and the following year came the decisive incident. A 14-year-old activist, Stompei Seipei Moketsi, was kidnapped by her guards and later found murdered. The ANC leadership declared that she was out of control but Nelson Mandela, in jail and in ill-health, refused to repudiate her.

Worth keeping in mind, particularly when looking at South Africa’s present state.

28 Mar 17:29

WEIRD HOW THIS STUDY HASN’T GOTTEN MORE ATTENTION: A false narrative on race and gender debunked. “T…

by Glenn Reynolds

WEIRD HOW THIS STUDY HASN’T GOTTEN MORE ATTENTION: A false narrative on race and gender debunked. “This false narrative about race and gender was discredited again last week by researchers at Stanford and Harvard. Using census data, IRS tax returns and other data, they examined how race affects economic mobility — defined as the ability to do better or worse than one’s parents; to rise or fall from where one started. By and large they found that race is not determinative.”

28 Mar 13:15

HEH: A chef responds to vegan protesters by cutting up a deer leg in front of them. Punch back tw…

by Stephen Green

HEH: A chef responds to vegan protesters by cutting up a deer leg in front of them.

Punch back twice as hard, the wise man once said.