Thursday, June 11, 2015




What is it about Marco Rubio that so inflames the left? If you go by the measure of how much the ire rises around a candidate’s fairly conventional defects, Rubio is the leader by far among the 2016 candidates. For the other Republicans, the flaws alleged by the left are more significant and meaningful, at least in the “raises questions about whether they should be president” way – indictments or pending indictments, allegations of corruption and donor favoritism, questions about how they have governed or voted. These are  meaningful questions for any politician in either party. But this week’s potshots at Rubio have been so overblown, so ludicrous, not even Jon Stewart can pretend they matter.  “Suddenly the man who paid off his student loans and got a boat is printing counterfeit hundreds in his basement!” Give me a break.

It’s not even the initial reporting that bothers me. At some point you ought to report things like this, obviously – if only we had such a lens pointed toward the purchasing decisions of the Clintons, I think we can guarantee they’ve spent eighty grand (or, as they refer to it, “not quite half a speech”) on things that are a lot more interesting than a boat.  But it’s pretending that these items indicate some sort of troubling aspect that render the candidate unfit for office. My gosh, he paid off his law school debts and bought a house with “oversized windows”, can you believe? He got upside down on a house – heavens! He bought a fishing boat that looks like the type designed to house shirtless dadbods propping cold beers on their tummies – unthinkable! Careful, it’ll be your third monocle this week.

Thankfully, some corners are recognizing what this is for Rubio – not a mark of questions about his judgment, but something that’s a lot more politically advantageous than Democrats might like.  “While the Clintons' personal wealth has drawn heavy scrutiny, and Republicans see it as a major weakness in Hillary Clinton's campaign, it could be tougher to exploit with a Republican millionaire landing the shots. But a candidate like Rubio could both be a credible messenger for attacks on the Clinton's earnings and an appealing figure for average Americans looking for a candidate who understands their financial and legal struggles. Diaz joked that, in particular, the idea that Rubio's four traffic tickets over 18 years could be damaging for him was laughable. "In Florida, that makes you a very good driver," he said.”

Senator Rubio is not my favorite 2016 candidate by far. But he’s quick on his feet, charming and relatable. He can absolutely turn this little kerfuffle to his benefit if he ends up standing across the stage from Hillary Clinton. And the fact that this is being rolled out against him so early indicates that both Democrats and his Republican opponents recognize how formidable he could be as a candidate of a new generation, one that has not turned celebrity and power into wealth, but has struggled through the past decade of financial challenge, just as most Americans have.

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Left and right line up against fast tracking trade agreements.  “The Stop Fast Track coalition, backed by unions and groups such as the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union, is asking the public to call members of Congress and tell them the legislation is “undemocratic”—a message that appeals to voters on both sides of the aisle. “There are some areas where the guys on the left—unions and others—get it right, and this is one of those issues,” said Judson Phillips, head of Tea Party Nation, one of the main tea party organizations… Leaders of left-leaning and conservative groups aren’t working hand in hand—an approach that would likely backfire in today’s polarized Washington—but their combined message is forcing Mr. Obama and Republican leaders who back the fast-track bill to fight a war on two fronts as they seek to corral the final votes.”

How the next financial crisis will happen.  “After the financial crisis, a focus on safety and soundness was good medicine for the financial system. New bank liquidity and capital policies, among other initiatives, strengthened a debilitated patient. The banking system is now stronger, with more liquid assets and better underwriting standards. Despite good intentions, however, politicians and regulators constructed an expansive and untested regulatory framework that will have unintended consequences for liquidity in our financial system. Taken together, these regulatory changes may well fuel the next financial crisis as well as slow U.S. economic growth.”

Growth concentrated in most suburbanized cities.  “More than 50% of the growth between 2010 and 2014 has been in core municipalities that are more than 90% post World War II suburban or exurban (0 to 10% urban core). This growth share is nearly one-half higher than their population share of 35%... These most suburban of core cities grew the fastest, up 6.8% from 2010 to 2014. These municipalities had less than 10% of their population in urban core neighborhods, and include core cities that annexed substantial suburban or rural territory, such as Phoenix, San Jose, Charlotte, Tampa, Orlando and San Antonio.”

Rules for regulators.  “CMS has a history of pushing out massive regulations with only the slightest wisp of thoughtful analysis. A recent Mercatus Center analysis found the agency routinely fails to conduct thorough cost-benefit analyses. One of the more outrageous recent examples of poor rulemaking on the part of the agency is last year's Medicare Part D rule. CMS grossly underestimated the regulatory costs, completely ignored major provisions in the proposal that would have driven up Part D spending, and focused its estimates almost exclusively on provisions it claimed would save money. Though the rule was ultimately withdrawn, a rarity and an embarrassment in the regulatory world, the damage to the agency's credibility was done, and that's where our proposal fits. Regulated entities operate under the penalty of fines, or in some cases jail time, for failure to follow federal regulations. Regulators, on the other hand, play by a different set of rules. They can ignore or willfully disregard guidance from the White House on conducting thorough cost-benefit analyses. Agencies also routinely violate the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, and the Congressional Review Act. The penalties for agencies are normally non-existent, aside from an occasional call before Congress to account for these mistakes and violations.”

RELATED: Fast-track holdouts play ‘let’s make a deal.’  Trader Joe’s ex-president opens store with aging food and cheap meals.  The 3 trillion bond trade Citigroup says investors should fear.  In ‘another life,’ Jack Ma says he’d forgo Alibaba’s IPO.  Let America fix the highways Washington broke.


John Davidson.  “The details of Burwell reveal the degree to which the Obama administration’s handling of the ACA is ultimately at odds with ideals and aspirations that really are woven into the fabric of America: the rule of law and the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution.

“The ACA says plainly that subsidies may only be administered “through an Exchange established by the State.” But when it became clear that dozens of states were not going to create exchanges, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), at the behest of the White House, simply issued a rule saying that subsidies could flow through exchanges created and operated by the federal government.

“In other words, the challengers in King v. Burwell contend that the White House illegally authorized billions of dollars of taxes and spending, circumventing Congress and flouting the statutory text of the ACA by administrative decree. The accusation isn’t a stretch. After all, governing by decree has become commonplace in the Obama era—from the ACA’s many unauthorized delays, to the president’s executive order on immigration last year, to the State Department’s recent gun speech gag order.”


Reason Magazine subpoena stomps on free speech.  “Whatever you think of Ulbricht or Silk Road, you can see why libertarians might be upset. A federal judge has just made the belief that it’s good for people to have “the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit” part of her justification for the most punitive sentence short of the death penalty. Her rationale offends libertarians on two grounds: It punishes political views and it punishes their particular political views…

“Puerile they undoubtedly are, but Reason commenters are also harmless (unless you care about reasoned political discourse or the image of libertarians). In this case, they were furious and, in their fury, some of them got nasty. “Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot,” wrote Agammamon. “Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you feed them in feet first,” responded croaker. “I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman,” commented Rhywun. “I'd prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well,” chimed in ProductPlacement. (Reason has since removed the offending comments.)

“No one in their right mind would take this hyperbolic venting seriously as threatening Judge Forrest, who back in the fall had personal information published on an underground site, along with talk of stealing her identity or calling in tips to send SWAT teams to her house. The Reason commenters, by contrast, included nothing so specific.

“As White notes in his post, which offers a detailed legal analysis of the situation, the comments “do not specify who is going to use violence, or when.  They do not offer a plan, other than juvenile mouth-breathing about ‘wood chippers’ and revolutionary firing squads. They do not contain any indication that any of the mouthy commenters has the ability to carry out a threat. Nobody in the thread reacts to them as if they are serious.” Nobody even assumes the judge will see their comments. Why would she?

“Venting anger about injustice is not a crime. Neither is being obnoxious on the Internet. The chances of one of these commenters being convicted of threatening the judge are essentially nil. Conviction isn’t the point. Crying “threats” just makes a handy pretext for harassing Reason and its commenters.”


Mollie Hemingway critiques Marlow Stern’s review.  “Stern’s real problem, though, is what we might call “serious mommy issues.” As in, he seems to think being maternal is some kind of negative. He’s not the only one with fecundophobia — the fear of children and mothers. I guess it’s because feminism means valuing yourself in terms of how much money you make and how many hours you put in at the office instead of, you know, the quality of your relationships with people in your care… Yes, there’s nothing women hate more than being sweet-talked by ridiculously hot guys who teach us to laugh and enjoy the higher things in life. NAILED IT, Stern.”

“[D]espite the media’s rush (particularly pronounced in recent weeks) to believe that think-feelings are more definitive than biological reality, femininity is not, in fact, a social construct. The phrase “social construct” is a social construct, but femininity is not. Femininity, the qualities of womanliness, is inextricably tied to our chromosomes and the fact that we have wombs and breasts. The reality of these things mean that women — in general, not always, and not in a “have to” way but more like a “get to” way — are very good at nurturing other humans and being responsible for a lot of those social bonds that help societies thrive, including conceiving, gestating, birthing and breastfeeding babies. But even women who aren’t directly engaged in such maternal activities also can participate in the nurturing of humans. This is a feature, not a bug. It’s awesome. I love being a woman and so do many of the women I know who don’t identify as feminists. And while feminism may wish to devolve away from that, it’s completely untrue that Stern has a good handle on whether women even want to trade meaningful human relationships and the propagation of humanity for lots of time at the office.”

The Transom recommends Ledbury shirts. Receive a credit for your first purchase here.


Uber: An oral history.


Run rabbit run!


VP for Public Affairs, Food and Beverage firm.



Obama’s new plan against ISIS signals that U.S. still in for a long war in Iraq.

ISIS has enough material to make a dirty bomb.

Senators Flake, Kaine push for debate on anti-ISIL war.  Islamic State war authorization goes nowhere, again.

Iran spends billions to prop up Assad.

Data-collecting spyware reportedly found at Iran nuclear talk venues.

Iran abandons past promises on nukes.

The Chinese have all your numbers.

Hackers may have obtained names of Chinese with ties to U.S.

British government to exit the Royal Mail.

Why Argentina’s so excited about a dead cow.

Upset over op-ed, GOP lawmakers seek to curb privacy board.


Jon Ward: The Koch brothers vs. the RNC.

GOP candidates take aim at Obama on ISIS.

In Florida, Marco Rubio gains on Jeb.

Rick Perry switches positions on TPP.

Can Kasich avoid McCain, Huntsman mistakes in 2016?

Clinton building vast network of campaign staff, volunteers.


Gallup: Americans value liberty in terrorism fight.

Brian Sandoval rejects Washington.

GOP fights back in Virginia.

After the government takes his life savings, this 22-year-old fights for justice.

American Millennials rethink abortion, for good reasons.

Georgia woman charged with murder after self-administering abortion pill.

Climate scientists criticize government paper that erases ‘pause’ in warming.

Pernicious political activities.

Free speech again at center of court case involving man's arrest at selectmen's meeting.

Software engineer’s political writing gets him booted from conference.

For the New York Times, a headache called the Washington Free Beacon.

Diane Rehm’s list of troublesome Jews.

Anthony Cumia hires Gavin McInnes for his radio network.

Rob Tracinski: When the insane are normal, the normal are insane.

The closing of the liberal mind.

What 'Seinfeld' can teach college students.

Health Care:

House, Senate closing in on Obamacare backup, senator says.

Why everything we ‘know’ about diet and nutrition is wrong.

Common heartburn medications linked to greater risk of heart attack.


Dan McLaughlin: Can gays and Christians coexist in America? Part IV.

Ross Douthat: Caitlyn Jenner and the American religion.


Bethany Mandel: Four ways to make your kids completely safe.

Six days in North Korea.

How the NCAA cheats athletes out of a future.

Amazon: Your one-stop shop for niche, long-lasting books.

A review of The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany.

The great national destiny: Lessons from Andrew Jackson’s Navy.

Bonnie Greer resigns from floundering Brontë Society after months of infighting.

Why human resources is dead.

Michelle Beadle: ESPN’s female rebel, raw and uncensored.

Hugh Hefner is an old, old man.

Brad Pitt’s next star vehicle: War Machine, a “dark comedy” about Gen. McChrystal.

Why Brad Pitt is joining the Netflix bandwagon.

Chris Hemsworth cast as secretary in Ghostbusters reboot.

Han shot first.

Riding dirty: The science of cars and rap lyrics.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cover.


Robby Soave and Jonathan Last.


“To darkness and fire.”


“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis

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