And the National Bank at a Profit


… sells road maps for the soul to the old folks home and the college:

  • When I wrote about Vice President Biden's visit to the University Near Here yesterday, I didn't talk too much about the actual substance behind the visit: issuance of new regulations from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) dealing not only with sexual violence, but also sexual "discrimination" and "harassment".

    All of that's problematic for anyone who prefers limited government. But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) issued a statement on the latter bits. Realizing that universities have a long history of using "harassment" as an excuse to shut down constitutionally-protected expression, FIRE notes:

    In discussing the legal obligations borne by colleges and universities under Title IX to respond to both sexual harassment and sexual violence committed against students, OCR fails to sufficiently recognize the fact that public universities may not violate the First Amendment rights of their students and that private universities must honor their promises of freedom of expression to their students. Nowhere in Assistant Secretary Russlyn Ali's letter are free expression concerns mentioned, nor is OCR's 2003 "Dear Colleague" letter regarding the intersection of freedom of expression and harassment policies referenced or cited for further guidance. In that 2003 letter, former Assistant Secretary Gerald A. Reynolds made clear that "OCR's regulations and policies do not require or prescribe speech, conduct or harassment codes that impair the exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment."
    It's a safe bet that we'll see an increase in unconstitutional foolishness from our institutions of higher ed in the near future as a result of this effort by Our Federal Government. Most of which, and hopefully all of which, will be eventually swatted down under long-standing precedent in the court system.

    Which would be amusing, except for the utter waste in time and resources and the disciplinary havoc wreaked on students.

  • Pun Salad has occasionally aimed its ire at Official New York Times Food Nag Mark Bittman over the past couple months. (Specifically, here, here, here, here, here, and here, not that I'm obsessed or anything. Once a lazy blogger finds an easy target…)

    Anyway, Rick Berman gets in on the fun at the Daily Caller. Sample:

    This much is inescapable if you spend any time reading Mark Bittman's meanderings: If you want to recover from your acute case of not being Mark Bittman, you need to spend hours upon hours cooking at home every day. And what you cook has to satisfy his finely tuned sense of high-minded food snobbery.
    I hope we'll be able to peek at Bittman now and again through the NYT paywall. (So far, it hasn't hindered my browsing. You?)

  • A few days back I moaned and groaned about the "fact", as reported in the New York Times that the General Electric Corporation was paying no 2010 taxes. My bad: I believed the New York Times.

    And they want me to buy a digital subscription… why, again?

    Ed Morrissey has the story, as does Megan McArdle.

  • Radley Balko does the universe a service by juxtaposing quotes from celebrity airheads: ex-Mouseketeer Britney Spears and Mother Jones lefty blogger Kevin Drum. Balko's site appears broken as I type, so, pulled from the Google cache:

    "Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens."

    -Britney Spears, in 2003, commenting on the war in Iraq.

    "But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I'd literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he's smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust him, and I still do."

    - Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, in 2011, on Obama's war in Libya.

    Great minds think alike. So do mediocre ones.

  • If anyone tries to tell you that Adam Smith advocated progressive taxation, you'll wish you had bookmarked this David Friedman post.


stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

As regular Pun Salad readers know, Mrs. Salad and I have absolutely no problem in watching movies ostensibly for the kiddos. And when Johnny Depp is involved, Mrs. Salad will subtly suggest that it's time to make one of our rare visits to an actual movie theatre. She looooves Johnny Depp.

Local consumer note: BarnZ's Barrington Cinema tickets are $6 on Wednesdays. Nevertheless, we were the only two people in the theatre.

But here's the story: our hero is a so-ugly-he's-cute chameleon, pampered by his habitation of the only world he knows: a family terrarium. But a mishap strands him in the middle of the Mojave desert, where a mystical armadillo guides him to the dusty town of Dirt, where he adopts the name "Rango". A series of misunderstandings and accidents wins him the sheriff's badge, and (of course) he is soon hopelessly over his head, as the town fights for its survival in a severe water shortage. But (also of course) his wits and courage allow him to unravel the mystery and eventually thwart the villains.

The animation is stunning, the script is clever, and the voice talent is top-notch. (Is that Shelley Duvall I heard? No, it was Isla Fisher. But it could have been Shelley Duvall, which makes Isla Fisher OK in my book.)

Movie buffs will want to pay attention, because there are a lot of homages to great old movies. Chinatown is a biggie, so is Clint Eastwood's early oeuvre, and a lot of people will catch references to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Star Wars. There are probably more.

Last Modified 2012-09-26 1:09 PM EDT