It's not the first time Rand Paul has voted in a surprising way on issues related to Obamacare and medical issues. For example, he voted to make the Medicare doc fix permanent while Cruz and Rubio opposed it. (The actual legislation also included a huge amount of money for various other medical programs, particularly S-CHIP).
Some of those votes I could explain by noting that Rand Paul is a doctor, and while that doesn't necessarily grant him more moral authority to spend my money, it does grant him a different perspective along with some understandable self-interest. But in this case, Paul supposedly blocked a subpeona that would reveal who filed an application with the DC small business Obamacare exchange that allowed Congress (and staff) to obtain heavily subsidized Obamacare insurance. And I can't for the life of me think why a principled, libertarian-ish Republican wouldn't want to expose the corruption here.
Which makes me wonder if Paul isn't the principled sort of person he claims to be.
Rand Paul, the public deserves an explanation for this vote, and not the pathetic argument about a Constitutional amendment.
Cruz is right on the facts. "Global warming" is alarmist, Chicken Little nonsense. The evidence is now clear that carbon dioxide emissions, while a potential contributing factor, are not the driving force of Earth's climate. 17 years of continued carbon emissions with no further warming demonstrates conclusively that something else is going on, and Occam's Razor suggests that the great big nuclear fusion reactor in the sky probably has a significant influence over temperatures on earth.
And if carbon emissions do have some, small influence over the temperature on earth, I'd rather sweat a little than freeze in the next ice age.
McConnell is trying to shore up the credibility of the NSA with the credibility of the other branches. What he doesn't realize is that the judicial branch recently ruled the program illegal (even before getting to Constitutional questions), and the other two branches have pretty much zero credibility as it is. Linking them to the NSA surveillance programs does nothing but reduce the credibility of the executive and legislative branches.
It's been enough of a persistent and noticeable problem that I really don't have to explain the background. I do have a few thoughts on why colleges feel such a desire to involve themselves, though.
I will mention in passing the fact that the government is putting pressure on colleges to be tougher about sexual assault and similar crimes, both by threatening to cut government funds and by citing the Title X rules (the ones that ban gender discrimination, and which were intended to allow women to get a college education, not promote the 57 flavors of genitalia). So, OK, government pressure on the one hand.
On the other hand, though, there's an interesting set of incentives that makes schools reluctant to pass the matter off to the police. See, the cases that get the most attention are the cases between two students. When was the last time a college student who was raped by someone who wasn't another student got all "rape cultured" in the media?
But when you have two students and one alleges they were raped by the other, particularly when it's a close case involving alcohol and unclear memories, the college isn't seeing two people with a criminal justice problem. It's seeing two customers who happened to bump into each other inside the store, and maybe one of them got hurt, but for sure they are yelling at each other and making a scene and distracting all the other customers from buying things.
The college doesn't really care about justice. It just wants both students to shut up. And, if possible, have both of them remain paying customers. And not report anything happened so that the incident doesn't show up in campus statistics that more customers are looking at.
So the goal of the college administration is to sweep everything under the rug. Contacting the police will not do that, so that's out -- plus it would inevitably piss off one of the customers. If you do nothing, you piss off the other customer (who might just go to the police on her own). The only way out is not to actually judge the case, which you as a school are ill equipped to do anyway, but to pretend to judge the case and impose a punishment that is a) enough to make the victim feel vindicated and b) not enough for the accused to stop being a customer.
And that's it; it's practically preordained. The facts of the case, the evidence, these things rarely matter. What matters is that the case falls into that grey area that is too significant to ignore and not significant enough to involve the police. For those cases, the college administration will seek to find a voluntary compromise that both students can agree to abide by while remaining students... and ideally, shut up about the whole thing so as not to scare off any other customers.
Rand Paul promises to filibuster surveillance authority renewal legislation
The differentiating factors between the Republican candidates in the early primary battle appears to be shaping up along their approach to NSA surveillance reform.
Rand Paul seems to be making his early campaign differentiation about ending warrantless NSA surveillance and refusing to renew the legislation authorizing it at all. That's certainly a good cause. The risk is that it forces Senators to take a black or white position, and may thus torpedo compromise attempts to reform the law.
Ted Cruz seems to be occupying the middle ground by supporting some reforms while also renewing the authorization. Ironically enough this is also the position Obama seems to have staked out for himself. This is is also the position taken by the House, which passed renewal and reform legislation. Unfortunately, the legislation is sufficiently watered down that the Electronic Frontier Foundation withdrew its support.
The establishment position, renewal without reform, is supported by Rubio (and also McConnell).
So who's right?
I can tell you without any doubt that Rubio and McConnell are wrong. That part is easy. Obama is also wrong; he wants political credit for reforming the program without imposing significant limits on his ability to blackmail his political opponents prevent terrorist attacks against people he likes.
The flip side is that if Congress does not act and allows the authorization to expire, the NSA may continue the program anyway. So passing new legislation the imposes the best privacy guarantees we can get may be the only route to reform. If the NSA goes completely outside legislative authority, Congress is unlikely to have sufficient gumption to rein it in.
That statistic has been repeatedly debunked, but frankly, I can't argue with the desire to defend yourself from assault -- sexual or otherwise -- even if it is a low-probability event. Well, lower than one in four, at least. More like less than 1 in 100. But, sure, if you're that fractional 1 person, it's a pretty awful experience that you would really, really rather not have. So I understand wanting to carry a weapon to defend yourself.
So let's be honest.
Sticking your keys between the fingers of your closed fist is not a weapon. Neither are big multi-finger rings. Those are the things you improvise a weapon with when you neglected to actually carry a weapon.
Mace or pepper spray is understandable if you live in a draconian anti-gun state, I suppose, though the really bad ones also restrict those. I do see a few tasers, too. Credit where due to people who are actually carrying purpose-built defensive weapons, even if they are non-lethal.
But as Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying about global warming, I'll believe it's a crisis when the people telling me its a crisis start acting like it's a crisis.
So, about the campus rape epidemic?
Wake me when the women in the photo collection are carrying guns.
Z Street IRS discrimination lawsuit likely to survive appeal
The strategy at the IRS appears to have been: 1) Delay as long as possible. 2) Interrogate conservative applicants about their political and religious views in order to intimidate them into dropping their applications. 3) Build political intelligence from the answers to questionaires about who funds which groups, and possibly release that information to third parties for political use. 4) Eventually, if forced, offer the groups a "deal" where they can agree to a 40% rather then 49% limit on political activity, preserving the left's advantage. 5) Point to groups eventually approved after years of delay and agreeing to discriminatory rules as evidence for a purported lack of bias.
So, we've established that the test is a grueling physical challenge that this recruit cannot pass, but two other women in her class did pass successfully. So it's not impossible for a woman to pass, it's just difficult.
This is what really exposes the whole thing as a problem. Every other successful candidate was able to pass this test, including two women. Wax was not. The test is designed to simulate the difficult and challenging real-world conditions firefighters face while fighting a fire. If it was just a question of time, I could see a credible argument that a few minutes doesn't make much difference. But over many attempts, she failed multiple times because her air supply ran out. In a real fire, that likely means she would die.
Based on her performance in that test, diversity may very well kill her.
2016: Why I'm probably not voting for Carly Fiorina in the primary
Carly Fiorina has announced that she is running for the Republican nomination for President in 2016. I'm probably not voting for her, and no, it has nothing to do with her gender. I don't take a position on the Senator versus Governor debate except to note that I would like it if a serious candidate has some successful campaigns behind them. Experience as a CEO is certainly relevant, but it's not the same. The single most important political race in the country is a mighty big egg to put in an unproven basket.
That said, she seems to have some vigor and enthusiasm. She could turn into a credible VP candidate.
There are too many examples of this for me to conclude that it is an isolated incident. The facts seem to be that law enforcement, as a whole, has developed a culture of callous indifference to suffering. To some extent this is understandable and necessary, but it is also corrosive and corrupting.