Forget the Presidency -- will Hillary Clinton even be the Democrat's nominee? Hang in there Hillary!

Earlier, D.C. Whispers reported on federal investigators' request to initiate a full on CRIMINAL investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal due, at least in part, to Mrs. Clinton's alleged and purposeful destruction of classified material she kept on a private email server. Apparently this development is but one of several now plaguing a Hillary Clinton campaign that has a candidate who often appears "lost, confused, tired, and angry." ...

This past week saw campaign operatives trying to figure out how to break the news to candidate Clinton regarding her sudden drop in several battleground states that show her losing by wide margins to potential rivals like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker. When that news was finally delivered, Hillary Clinton is said to have initially brushed it off.

Mere hours later she proceeded to lash out her handlers, and then went on to blame what she perceives to be "unfair media coverage."


The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community says that Hillary Clinton send classified emails through her personal email server. The IG only checked 40 out of 30,000 emails, and he found 4 classified emails.

An internal government review found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails from her personal account containing classified information during her time heading the State Department.

In a letter to members of Congress on Thursday, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community concluded that Mrs. Clinton's email contains material from the intelligence community that should have been considered "secret" at the time it was sent, the second-highest level of classification. A copy of the letter to Congress was provided to The Wall Street Journal by a spokeswoman for the Inspector General.

The four emails in question "were classified when they were sent and are classified now," said Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general. The inspector general reviewed just a small sample totaling about 40 emails in Mrs. Clinton's inbox--meaning that many more in the trove of more than 30,000 may contain potentially confidential, secret or top-secret information.


Here's a list of companies that support Planned Parenthood and crushing babies to harvest their organs. If you work for one or patronize one, call them or send an email asking about their support for Planned Parenthood.

  1. Adobe
  2. American Cancer Society
  3. American Express
  4. AT&T
  5. Avon
  6. Bank of America
  7. Bath & Body Works
  8. Ben & Jerry's
  9. Clorox
  10. Coca-Cola
  11. Converse
  12. Deutsche Bank
  13. Dockers
  14. Energizer
  15. Expedia
  16. ExxonMobil
  17. Fannie Mae
  18. Groupon
  19. Intuit
  20. Johnson & Johnson
  21. La Senza
  22. Levi Strauss
  23. Liberty Mutual
  24. Macy's
  25. March of Dimes
  26. Microsoft
  27. Morgan Stanley
  28. Nike
  29. Oracle
  30. PepsiCo
  31. Pfizer
  32. Progressive
  33. Starbucks
  34. Susan G. Komen
  35. Tostitos
  36. Unilever
  37. United Way
  38. Verizon
  39. Wells Fargo


Here's a disturbing video in which Planned Parenthood's director of medical research Deborah Nucatola describes how they carefully crush babies while avoiding the organs they plan to sell to medical researchers for profit.

Antiabortion groups also said the callous nature of the discussion captured on film should tug at viewers' consciences -- particularly when Nucatola apparently describes "crushing" the fetus in ways that keep its internal organs intact and her remarks about researchers' desire for lungs and livers.

"I'd say a lot of people want liver," she says in the video posted on the Center for Medical Progress's Web site, between bites of salad. "And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance so they'll know where they're putting their forceps."

She continues: "We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."


New models of the solar cycle predict that the earth could enter a mini ice age in the 2030s, a prospect much scarier global warming. Life tends to flourish in warm eras and is strangled in the cold.

A mini ice age could hit the Earth in the 2030s, the first such event to occur since the early 1700s. New mathematical models of the Sun's solar cycle developed at Northumbria University suggest solar activity will fall by 60 percent, causing temperatures on Earth to plummet.

The last mini ice age occurred between 1645 and 1715 and caused global temperatures to fall dramatically, with London's River Thames freezing over during winter and sea ice extending for miles around the UK. The prolonged cold snap, known as the Maunder Minimum, was due to sunspots becoming exceedingly rare, as observed by scientists at the time.


Argh! Being a conservative is maddening sometimes. Ok, frequently. Trump jumps to top of Republican candidate field, followed by Jeb Bush and Rand Paul. Really? Look... any of these people -- almost anyone at all -- would be better than Hillary Clinton ( ed. -- that's what you thought in 2008) but these guys are hardly my first choices. Trump would be an interesting President I guess, but he feels like a sideshow. Nominating another Bush would be intentionally throwing the race. Rand Paul is a smart guy, but some of his policy views are just wrong for America.

The more I read about the candidates, the more I like Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina.


This pithy brilliance is why I read Ann Althouse: couples taking pictures with their "sex contracts" are mimicking weddings.

"I suddenly realized what's happening. This is a stand-in for a wedding ceremony."

"The fundamental idea is that sex is a component of marriage, not an activity to be undertaken lightly. What is revealed is a belief that consent is actually not enough, and this additional ritual, with a contract and photography, is a simulacrum of a wedding."

I write, over at Facebook, on a post about a National Review article titled "Students Told to Take Photos With a 'Consent Contract' Before They Have Sex."

At the linked article we read:

A "yes means yes" advocacy group, the Affirmative Consent Project, is instructing college students to take a picture with a contract before they have sex with each other just to make absolutely sure both parties are officially consenting.

In fact, the group has been distributing contracts to schools nationwide as part of its Consent Conscious Kit, according to an article in the Washington Examiner.

If no camera is available, students are encouraged to fill out the form on the back of the contract which states, "On this date [fill in the blank], we agree to have consensual sex with one another" followed by a space for students' printed names and signatures.


Does anyone believe that the new Greek deadline is for real? We've heard about "deadlines" for five years. There are no such things as real deadlines in international politics. (Daily Mail, as always, has the best pictures illustrating the ongoing unraveling of Greece.) Greece is a mess. I'd love to hear the various presidential candidates describe what Greek policies -- not negotiating tactics -- have led to this sorry state of affairs.

The International Monetary Fund called last week for European states to accept longer repayment periods and lower interest rates on their loans to Greece. Many economists say that Greece's debt burden, at almost 180% of annual GDP, is unsustainable for a country its size.

Greece has been granted two bailout programmes worth a total of €240 billion euros (£172 billion) in loans from other eurozone countries and the IMF.

But the spending cuts and tax increases demanded as a condition for the loans have hit growth, sending the country into a six-year recession and pushing unemployment to 25%.

As talks broke down between the Eurozone countries and Greece in Brussels last night, European Council president Donald Tusk said: 'I have no doubt that this is the most critical moment in the history of the EU.

'The stark reality is that we only have five days left to find the ultimate agreement.

'Until now I have avoided talking about deadlines, but tonight I have to say it loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week.'


I don't agree with all the policy prescriptions the President laid out in his remarks, but President Obama's eulogy for Pastor Clementa Pinckney may be the best speech of his career.

We continue to pray for the families of the victims at Mother Emanuel, for our country, and for Christians facing persecution around the world.

(HT: James Taranto.)


A question I've long pondered without any convincing answer. As an American (and conservative) I think the Declaration of Independence is awesome sauce, but it significantly realigned the relationships between God, government, and citizens. Is citizen sovereignty more in line with God's will than divinely appointed kings?

The key to this is to be found in the second sentence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. -- That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. -- That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Before the declaration, the standard political theory went something like this: God anointed a king, who is the locus of sovereignty on earth. Though the king is supposed to rule decently, it is the duty of everyone else to submit to the king, who is answerable only to God. The king might grant you rights, but if he did so that was an act of generosity on his part, not an entitlement on yours.

Divine-right political theory was understandably popular with kings and their supporters and hangers-on, and a form of it survives in assorted variations today. But the declaration takes a different approach. It says that rights come from God, not from the king, and that they are "unalienable" -- that is, incapable of being sold ("alienated") surrendered, or given away.

We Americans talk a lot about our God-given rights, but what scriptural authority do we rest these rights on? In Romans 13:1-7 Paul writes:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

So God instituted the authority of King George III and the American founding fathers rebelled against it... right?

In John 19:10-11 Pilate is questioning Jesus, who refuses to answer his questions.

So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?"

Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above."

Jesus clearly asserts that Pilate's authority was given to him by God. Jesus does not oppose Pilate's secular authority despite his supremacy as God.

Thus, my quandary. I love the philosophy behind the Declaration of Independence, but I struggle to justify it scripturally. There are certainly other potential justifications for the belief in "God-given rights" (e.g., nature, love, submission to God rather than men, etc.) but the Bible gives no direct support that I can find.


rope press.jpg

This is pretty hilarious: Hillary herds reporters with a rope. The text doesn't really do the included video justice. It's not just that the press was contained in a roped-off area... Hillary's aides hold ropes in their hands, surrounded the reporters, and then pushed the herd along by moving the ropes as Hillary walked.

Campaign aides for Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Saturday roped off reporters from the candidate as she walked and talked with potential voters during a July Fourth parade in New Hampshire, sparking frustration from the press corps and outrage from the state Republican Party.

"Hillary Clinton continues to demonstrate her obvious contempt and disdain for the Granite State's style of grassroots campaigning," New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn said in a statement. "The use of a rope line at a New Hampshire parade is a sad joke and insults the traditions of our first-in-the-nation primary."


The shooting last night at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston seems obviously motivated by race, but it also specifically targeted Christians at worship. The shooter is still at-large. Pray for the victims, their families, and the law enforcement officers who are risking their lives to catch the killer.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CBS Atlanta/AP) -- A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime.

The shooter remained at large Thursday morning and police released photographs from surveillance video of a suspect and a possible getaway vehicle.

CBS News reports worshippers were at the church at the time for Bible study.


For your financial entertainment here are two very different approaches to family finances. First, here's a name-dropping advocate for "wife bonuses".

As I stroll around the mall on a recent trip to Houston, Texas, moving from designer store to designer store, my mind is crunching numbers. Will I splurge on the elegant $750 French navy Chanel ballet pumps that I've been lusting after for months? Or shall I be pulling out my gold card to grab a pair of limited-edition $800 Louboutins, with striking red Valentine's hearts on the toe, to match their distinctive sole?

As I tally up the total, I can't help but smile -- I can easily stretch to both pairs of shoes, and still have plenty left of my five-figure bonus.

These pricey pairs of designer footwear will join a lineup of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Diane Von Furstenburg and Rupert Sanderson heels and a closet crammed with handbags from Prada, Chanel and Anya Hindmarch. Every single one was bought with one of my annual bonuses -- the nod from a happy boss for a job well done.

But, in this case, the boss in question is my husband, Al. The role he's rewarding me for is my work as a stay-at-home wife and mother. And the luxury labels are purchased with the "wife bonus" -- 20 percent of his own company bonus -- that I'm proud to receive for putting his career before my own, and keeping our lives together.

Second, single-digit millionaires who live more frugally than they have to.

There were common threads in this group. These were people who had all made the money in their own lifetimes and done that as much by saving, investing and making careful choices about spending as by making large salaries.

One of the big choices was what they spent money on. A common thread was frugality about cars. Not only did they buy modestly priced vehicles, they kept them for a long time.

But fancy cars were more of a proxy for unnecessary purchases. Steve Ingram, a real estate and oil and gas lawyer in Albuquerque, said he and his wife simply didn't care that much about material possessions.

"We have some nice things, but I drive a car for 10 years and then trade it in and get another car for 10 years," he said. "We like to travel, and we'll spend the money for that because it's worth it having a real experience together."

There are many paths you can follow in life. Scout ahead and see where your choices will take you.


President Obama is now pedaling an emotional appeal to the Supreme Court, hoping that the facts on the ground will be allowed to stand despite their illegality. Just as a reminder, zero Republicans voted for Obamacare; the law's shoddy crafting is a product of the Democrats' deception, intransigence, and reckless disregard for the will of the people.

In a speech to the Catholic Health Association, Obama will talk about the hundred years it's taken to reform healthcare in the United States, and the millions it has helped over its five years of implementation. With a ruling due by the end of the month that could potentially send the new insurance marketplaces into a tailspin, Obama will warn, the social contract is at stake.

"The rugged individualism that defines America has always been bound by a set of shared values; an enduring sense that we are in this together," Obama plans to say, according to excerpts released Tuesday morning by the White House. "That's we have an obligation to put ourselves in our neighbor's shoes, and to see the common humanity in each other."

He continues, "Five years in, what we're talking about is no longer just a law. This isn't about the Affordable Care Act. This isn't about Obamacare. This isn't about myths or rumors that won't go away. This is reality. This is health care in America."

"This is reality" he says, but it's a reality built on lies.


Random variance likely accounts for the mistaken perception that small schools and small classes are better for students. Did Bill Gates waste a billion dollars on this misunderstanding of statistics?

The problem is that because small school don't have a lot of students, scores are much more variable. If for random reasons a few geniuses happen to enroll one year in a small school scores jump up and if a few extra dullards enroll the next year scores fall.

Thus, for purely random reasons we would expect small schools to be among the best performing schools in any givenyear. Of course we would also expect small schools to be among the worst performing schools in any given year! And in fact, once we look at all the data this is exactly what we see. The figure below shows changes in fourth grade math scores against school size. Note that small schools have more variable scores but there is no evidence at all that scores on average decrease with school size.

States like North Carolina which reward schools for big performance gains without correcting for size end up rewarding small schools for random reasons. Worst yet, the focus on small schools may actually be counter-productive because large schools do have important advantages such as being able to offer more advanced classes and better facilities.

Good teachers and principals are more important than small classes and schools -- and the smaller your classes and schools, the more good teachers and principals you need to find.

Update:

The linked article doesn't mention class size at all -- in jumped to that conclusion myself!


Charles Murray has a novel suggestion for overcoming the suffocating rules our American bureaucracy foists on us free citizens: insure yourself against penalties and ignore the absurd regulations. I'd really like to read an analysis by an expert on insurance and insurance law who can tell us if this proposal is plausible.

Seen in this perspective, the regulatory state is the Wizard of Oz: fearsome when its booming voice is directed against any single target but, when the curtain is pulled aside, revealed as impotent to enforce its thousands of rules against widespread refusal to comply.

And so my modest proposal: Let's withhold that compliance through systematic civil disobedience. Not for all regulations, but for the pointless, stupid and tyrannical ones. ...

The risk in doing so, of course, is that one of the 70-odd regulatory agencies will find out what you're doing and come after you. But there's a way around that as well: Let's treat government as an insurable hazard, like tornadoes.

People don't build tornado-proof houses; they buy house insurance. In the case of the regulatory state, let's buy insurance that reimburses us for any fine that the government levies and that automatically triggers a proactive, tenacious legal defense against the government's allegation even if--and this is crucial--we are technically guilty.

Why litigate an allegation even if we are technically guilty? To create a disincentive for overzealous regulators. The goal is to empower citizens to say, "If you come after me, it's going to cost your office a lot of time and trouble, and probably some bad publicity." If even one citizen says that, in a case where the violation didn't harm anything or anyone, the bureaucrat has to ask, "Do I really want to take this on?" If it's the 10th citizen in the past month who says it and the office is struggling with a backlog of cases, it's unlikely that the bureaucrat's supervisor will even permit him take it on.

It's whack-a-mole, but the government doesn't have enough hammers to hit all of us.

More from Michael Barone.


Luke 16:18 is interesting because here Jesus only condemns actions of men as adultery:

"Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."

The word "adultery" comes from the same root as "adulterate" which literally means "to render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior one". In origin, adultery is sexual behavior that corrupts the line of inheritance, and therefore can only be committed against a husband -- there's never any doubt about the identity of a child's mother, so a wife's line of inheritance cannot be corrupted. In this legal sense, the crime of adultery was not so much about morals as it was about protecting a husband's assurance of legitimate offspring. (An assurance that a wife has thanks to biology.)

Which raises the question: in the two scenarios Jesus speaks of, who is the victim of adultery? Both cases are interesting in their own right.

Case 1: "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery". In the literal sense the man can only be committing adultery if the woman he marries was already the wife of another man, in which case the adultery is being committed against the other man. However, Jesus doesn't directly say that the new wife is or was married, which leaves open the door to the thought that Jesus is declaring that the spurned wife is actually a victim of adultery herself.

Case 2: "[H]e who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery". In this case it seems clear that the the first man is committing adultery against the divorced husband. However, if the marriage no longer exists then how can there be adultery? Perhaps the timing or circumstance of the woman's second marriage calls into question the legitimacy of the first husband's children? That seems like an overly specific reading for which there is no direct evidence.

Anyway, it's interesting to me that we've expanded the definition of "adultery" to include all sorts of marital sexual infidelity while at the same time "adulterating" the original purpose of the term: to protect husbands' assurance of paternity.


The New York Times carries a river-full of water for the Democrats' argument that the words of the Affordable Care Act don't mean what they say. The NYT invokes the phrase "drafting error" four times and the words "intend" or "intent" five times in the story, as if these magic talismans can protect the sloppy law from itself. Jonathan Gruber is not mentioned even once!

The story opens with a juvenile non sequitur:

They are only four words in a 900-page law: "established by the state."

It's crazy how just a few words can change the meaning of a whole document! You'd think that a journalist who works with words would grok the power of words, rather than be astonished.

But it is in the ambiguity of those four words in the Affordable Care Act that opponents found a path to challenge the law, all the way to the Supreme Court.

How those words became the most contentious part of President Obama's signature domestic accomplishment has been a mystery. Who wrote them, and why? Were they really intended, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell claim, to make the tax subsidies in the law available only in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, and not in the three dozen states with federal exchanges?

The "ambiguity" only exists insofar as the reader wills it into existence by invoking "drafting errors" and ex post facto "intent".

The answer, from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law, is that the words were a product of shifting politics and a sloppy merging of different versions. Some described the words as "inadvertent," "inartful" or "a drafting error." But none supported the contention of the plaintiffs, who are from Virginia.

If every single person you talk to falls on one side of "the most contentious" issue at hand, perhaps there's some selection bias at work? The only elected Republican quoted is former Senator Olympia Snowe, who was always extremely liberal but voted against Obamacare anyway.

Also, "who are from Virginia" is apropos absolutely nothing.

The Senate bill was on the floor for 25 consecutive days before it was approved on Christmas Eve 2009 by a party-line vote of 60 to 39. Senators always assumed that their bill would be polished and refined in negotiations with the House. But the expected conference between the two chambers never occurred. Democrats switched their plans after Scott Brown, a Republican, won a special election in January 2010 to fill the seat long held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who had died the previous year.

Having lost a filibuster-proof majority, Democrats believed they could not afford to make significant changes in the Senate bill; it was then approved by the House and sent to the president, with an agreement that lingering questions could be answered separately. Some were, though these four words were unaddressed.

Elections have consequences?

Anyway, it's completely nonsensical to enforce what someone claims ex post facto the law was "intended" to say. That's rule by men, not rule by law. The written word is the shared understanding that Congress voted on and the President signed. If the written words don't reflect the intent, then the solution is to pass a new law with the correct intent. Problem solved.

We humans use writing to coordinate all kinds of shared activities: contracts, laws, regulations, procedures, religious beliefs, etc. The point of writing things down is to make sure that there's a common understanding that everyone can rely on. If you can't rely on what's written down to mean what it says, then what's the point?


Real Clear Politics has constructed an election index that attempts to quantify Republican and Democrat party strength based on five values. I think it's a valuable tool for analyzing the disparate numbers.

Our index is the sum of five parts: presidential performance, House performance, Senate performance, gubernatorial performance and state legislative performance. The first is measured by the party's performance in the previous presidential popular vote (NB: In this, and all other measurements, third parties are excluded).

House performance is the average of the popular vote for the House and the average of the share of the House won by the party. This helps mitigate the effects of gerrymandering. Senate performance is the share of the Senate held by the party.

Gubernatorial performance is the party's share of governorships (again, with third party candidates excluded). We do not weight for population, for reasons explored further below. For state legislatures, we average four numbers: the share of state Houses and state Senates held by each party along with the share of state House seats and state Senate seats held by each party.

This gives us five metrics, all of which run on a scale from 0 to 100. Adding them together gives us a scale from 0 to 500. We then subtract 250 from the total. All this does is assign a score of zero to a situation where the parties are evenly matched, rather than 250. A positive score then means that the Republican Party is stronger while a negative score means the Democratic Party is stronger.


Sometimes it pays to be nice, and sometimes it pays to be a jerk. It shouldn't be a surprise that neither kind of behavior dominates every situation. The trick is knowing when to act how. Apparently the important aspect of jerkiness is the confidence, not the cruelty.

The problem with competence is that we can't judge it by looking at someone. Yes, in some occupations it's fairly transparent--a professional baseball player, for instance, cannot very well pretend to have hit 60 home runs last season when he actually hit six--but in business it's generally opaque. Did the product you helped launch succeed because of you, or because of your brilliant No. 2, or your lucky market timing, or your competitor's errors, or the foundation your predecessor laid, or because you were (as the management writer Jim Collins puts it) a socket wrench that happened to fit that one job? Difficult to know, really. So we rely on proxies--superficial cues for competence that we take and mistake for the real thing.

What's shocking is how powerful these cues can be. When Anderson paired up college students and asked them to place 15 U.S. cities on a blank map of North America, the level of a person's confidence in her geographic knowledge was as good a predictor of how highly her partner rated her, after the fact, as was her actual geographic knowledge. Let me repeat that: seeming like you knew about geography was as good as knowing about geography. In another scenario--four-person teams collaboratively solving math problems--the person with the most inflated sense of her own abilities tended to emerge as the group's de facto leader. Being the first to blurt out an answer, right or wrong, was taken as a sign of superior quantitative skill.

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