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why it's great news that treasury is cutting crowdfunding regulations

the treasury department recently released the first of what is sure to be many reports aimed at deregulating financial markets. supporters of the free market and entrepreneurship should welcome these efforts, especially the reforms to the rules governing crowdfunding.one of the greatest innovations of the internet has been connecting entrepreneurs to potential investors. websites like kickstarter and indiegogo revolutionized the fundraising process for budding entrepreneurs, designers, and artists. previously, the only realistic route for these entrepreneurs was to solicit limited funds from friends, family, and their local community. either you hit it big or your projects quickly fizzled out. today, many successful music and film projects have been funded through crowdfunding vehicles.even more interesting is the development of equity crowdfunding to finance retail and business ventures. browse websites like crowdfunder.com and you’ll see everything from microbreweries to tech firms, all willing to exchange shares for capital. it’s all just another way in which the sharing economy is disrupting established markets. think uber, but for finance.but in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, the government apprehensively passed the jobs act of 2012. while it opened the market to some investors, it placed overly burdensome regulations on equity crowdfunding. congress set fundraising caps of $1 million and still required small startups to provide an...





it's past time for congress to stop writing a blank check to wage war

white house chief of staff and four-star general john kelly took to the white house press podium recently to remind us all what it means for a u.s. soldier to be killed overseas. in painstaking detail, he outlined the cleaning and embalming process of a soldier’s remains, the way bodies are carefully carried home, and the role of the casualty officer, whose job kelly described as “break[ing] the heart of a family member.”kelly’s remembrance was made all the more significant because he has lived it. his son, second lt. robert kelly, was slain in afghanistan in 2010. his brief but powerful comments underscore the very real sacrifices we ask the men and woman in uniform to make on our behalf. they outline the necessary, tangible, and terrible dimension of sending americans into war.no one understands the weight of these choices better than current and former soldiers. it is significant, then, that a handful of them have come together to introduce a revised authorization of military force (aumf)—one that repeals the outdated aumfs from 2001 and 2002 and replaces them with an updated authorization reflecting the realities of the current fight against terrorism.the importance of a war authorizationan aumf is, essentially, congressional approval of a pretense for war. it is congress exercising its constitutional responsibility to determine whether a cause is righteous and essential enough to require the sacrifice of american lives and resources.congress understood this...





why the supreme court should step into this gun waiting period case

after the supreme court held that the second amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms in district of columbia v. heller (2008), it was up to circuit courts to explore the metes and bounds of that right and develop a consensus. reality, though, couldn’t be further from this ideal.from the ninth circuit recently deciding citizens have no constitutional right to sell guns, to the second circuit deciding the courts only need to scrutinize laws if they “severely” burden our rights, one thing is clear: we need help. the supreme court has been gun-shy for the past few years, but one case, silvester v. becerra, seems to have attracted their interest. silvester may finally help move the courts toward competent second amendment decisions.the california code requires most firearm purchasers to wait 10 days before they can bring their gun home, regardless of whether they already own one, or whether they pass their background check sooner. jeff silvester, a california resident who already owned firearms, easily passed a background check in less than 10 days, and wanted to buy more firearms. because there was no reason he should be arbitrarily forced to wait after passing a background check, he challenged the law.silvester won in the eastern district of california because the only reason the state could muster for forcing a gun owner to wait on receiving a subsequent gun after having passed a background check was that it would provide a “cooling off” period. of cou...





how school choice can solve states' huge debt and pension woes

in 2011, arizona became the first state to adopt the most flexible school reform yet, an education savings account (esa) plan. it provides parents who believe their child is poorly served in the local public school with an annual budget they can spend on a wide variety of accredited alternatives—not just private or parochial schools, but tutoring, online academies, special-needs services, and even computer equipment for home schooling.more recently, five other states have followed arizona’s lead: florida, mississippi, nevada, tennessee, and just this year north carolina. initially these programs were designed to better serve learning-disabled children, but with the realization that most of its students could be educated independently for a fraction of public-school per pupil spending, nevada authorized a plan open to any of that state’s children in 2015.to date, democrats in the nevada legislature have held up funding for about 10,000 applicants, but nearly all of arizona’s k-12 children are now eligible for an esa worth 90 percent of their district’s per pupil spending.with this history in mind, marty lueken, director of fiscal policy and analysis at the edchoice foundation, and i decided to calculate how much esas could help a financially troubled blue state, where the longstanding alliance of teacher unions and liberal politicians has created per pupil costs that are three, four, and even five times what is needed to independently educate. our goal was to see how...





how the left's attacks on religious liberty pushed me back into church

i grew up in the north new jersey suburbs with parents who’d gone to catholic school in the 1960s. they didn’t enjoy the experience, mostly from fright of the nuns, who physically abused students. they vowed never to send my brother or me to catholic school, but we were baptized and did have to go to sunday school—“ccd,” we called it. it was the only time i ever went to church, outside of weddings or funerals.we weren’t practicing catholics. i can’t ever recall us attending church services. we didn’t give things up for lent. we ate meat on good friday. basically, we were part of the christmas and easter club. once all the molestation scandals broke, my parents completely gave up on the catholic church. i stopped going to ccd and never made confirmation.fast-forward about 20 years. i’ve come to this political, conservative awakening and i’m starting to question everything. i keep hearing the phrase “judeo-christian values.” it’s clear to me the left is doing everything they can to attack religious people, except of course muslims, but religion still didn’t resonate with me. then one story in particular caught my attention and pushed me back into religion.senators dianne feinstein and dick durbin, democrats from leftist havens california and illinois, questioned one of president trump’s judicial nominees, notre dame law professor amy coney barrett, who is now confirmed. the senators referenced a law review article barrett, a practicing catholic, ha...





for christmas’s sake, let’s roll back christmas creep

we have grown wearily used to “holiday creep,” that irritating tendency of retailers to start decorating for various holidays well before they begin: jack-o-lanterns in mid-september (or even, in some cases, july), valentine’s chocolates in early january, easter candy a few days before valentine’s day.in my corner of the country they start running labor day sales in mid-july and fourth of july sales in early june. but no creep is more aggressive than that of christmas; no holiday spills its traditional temporal confines and works its way as aggressively up the calendar as this one. the season now regularly lasts up to eight or nine weeks where it used to span maybe five.the problem, which has been around in varying degrees for over a century, is getting worse, and qualitatively so: where the shopping season used to start relatively early, the aesthetics of that season have begun arriving sooner and sooner each year. in some cases, stores have put out the trees and the stockings before halloween.a radio station in chicago began playing christmas music on november 7 this year; outlets in los angeles and phoenix followed soon after, and doubtlessly they were not the only ones. the other day i found myself in a wal-mart already decked out with tinsel and candy canes—still a couple of weeks from thanksgiving, mind you. last week i saw one of those salvation army santas ringing his donation bell outside of a grocery store. this is not uncommon.are we really that desperate...





what’s inside dc’s new theme-park-influenced museum of the bible

the professor of jewish studies passes under an ornate archway, leading to another part of the sprawling history of the bible floor. keeping up with him isn’t easy, as we dodge workers who continue to install museum panels before opening day.“there’s nothing false anywhere,” professor lawrence schiffman says over his shoulder, gesturing towards dozens of torah scrolls carefully lit for preservation. “i’ve been walking around even today, reading more labels. we keep criticizing little picky things; that’s our job as scholars.”led by schiffman, who sports a brooklyn accent and traditional kippah head covering, the scene would fit more at a new york synagogue than a bible museum founded by evangelical christians. director of hebraic and judaic studies at new york university, he has served as a hebrew manuscripts consultant since early 2016 for museum of the bible, which opened last weekend in washington dc.“this museum is not a hijacking of jewish tradition to serve another religion,” he says bluntly when asked about its mostly christian funding. “it’s legit.”proving legitimacy has been an uphill battle since its announcement in 2011. brimming with technology and artifacts that illuminate the sacred text, museum of the bible has been hounded by various critiques. there’s either too much god or not enough jesus, depending on the critic.yet even skeptics are wowed by the high-tech museum once they see it. pulitzer prize winner philip kennicott called mu...





how the civil war gave us today’s thanksgiving, and can teach us

this week, americans will gather around kitchen and dining room tables from sea to shining sea for one of our most distinctly american celebrations. for generations, we’ve marked the fourth thursday in november as a national day of thanksgiving.at the end of this fractious year, coming together in gratitude may feel difficult. in a nation that seems to be fraying at the seams—battered by racial tensions, political turmoil, bloodshed, and scandal—exactly what do we have for which to corporately give thanks?it’s not as if our national discord is contained to the halls of congress or the editorial pages; it invades our daily lives. when we can’t even watch the lions game or get a second-rate cup of coffee from grandma’s keurig without political implications, has thanksgiving become a meaningless exercise in whistling past the graveyard?thankfully, the roots of our thanksgiving celebration—like the discipline of thanksgiving itself—go deeper than happy feelings over food and football. most of us know the story of the first thanksgiving, celebrated by that tiny band of separatists at plymouth in 1621. however, we may not realize that our modern thanksgiving celebration originated in our nation’s worst period of turmoil and bloodshed: the civil war. in that story, there are lessons that can help us today.how the civil war led to thanksgivingit’s a fairly simple tale. in america’s early days, thanksgiving celebrations were sporadic and mostly regional affairs. ...





the most insane media reactions to allegations against franken

after a news anchor accused sen. al franken (d-minnesota) of sexually assaulting her in 2006, some of those in the press have reacted rather bizarrely. here’s a list of the most insane responses yet.‘mock groping’msnbc’s coverage of the photo of franken leaning in to grab leeann tweeden’s breasts without her consent as she sleeps was, shall we say, interesting. kasie hunt described the incident as franken “mock groping” tweeden. watch.apparently that’s because, in msnbc’s mind, the intention behind the unwanted grope matters.he’s good at saying sorrymsnbc’s joy reid gave franken a pass because his apology seemed sincere.an apology doesn’t change what he chose to do.if al franken gets expelled, a lot of other creepy democrats will have to go, tookate harding, a feminist who studies rape culture, wrote over at the washington post that expelling franken from his senate seat over these allegations would be a bad idea because he’s not the only pervert in the democratic party. giving franken the boot for his misdeeds would likely mean losing a lot of other democrats too. and in harding’s mind, it’s better to have men in office who grope women so long as they vote in favor of abortion than to have office-holders who do not sexually harass or assault those nearby. i kid you not. here’s what harding had to say in her own words:it would feel good, momentarily, to see franken resign and the democratic governor of minnesota, mark dayton, appoint a senat...





tom coburn has a plan to fight washington and save america

people say a lot of things about politicians. one of those things is never, “i miss that person and i wish he were still in washington.” well, we may have to make an exception for former oklahoma senator tom coburn. for republicans concerned about exorbitant federal spending and congressional abuses of authority, the affection is obvious. even liberals have to concede that coburn was that rare creature, a swamp-dwelling unicorn who stuck to his principles and and cared more about getting things done and fixing problems above all else.coburn’s latest book, smashing the dc monopoly: using article v to restore freedom and stop runaway government, is also rarity in and of itself: a book written by a politician that’s worth reading. that’s because coburn pulls no punches in spelling out exactly what’s wrong with washington. in fact, after coburn’s 2003 book breach of trust: how washington turns outsiders into insiders, the new york times reported that the book had ruffled feathers on capitol hill because he had the gall to actually criticize “republican leaders, whom he singles out by name, [for being] more concerned with being re-elected than with spending tax dollars wisely.”accordingly, in smashing the dc monopoly coburn recounts subsequent episodes from his senate career where coburn’s insistence that congress act transparently and responsibly infuriated his colleagues, earning the m.d. the nickname “dr. no.”alaska senator ted stevens once said he w...





'masturbation spokeswoman' in louis c.k. video now seems insightful

louis c.k. has been dominating the sexual harassment news for the past week, after five women came forward in a new york times story accusing the comedian of sexual harassment and misconduct. according to the accounts, louis c.k.’s misbehavior came in the form of asking to, or simply proceeding to, masturbate in front of women who often were less prominent colleagues.since the story broke, tv and film execs have halted all of louis c.k.’s works in progress, of which there were many. c.k.’s agent dave becky, who is thought to have helped cover up accusations, has been under fire; and c.k. himself has admitted “these accusations are true,” offering a public apology, which has continued to receive scrutiny.the majority of the news coverage seems to agree: louis c.k.’s behavior was inexcusable and abhorrent. never mind that his jokes about masturbation and irrepressible male sexual urges received laughs from many of these same folks not long before the scandal. as many outlets have noted since the scandal broke, louis c.k. employed the topic of masturbation frequently in his comedy.nevertheless, the entertainment industry, now aware of his misconduct, has all but blacklisted the comedian. “now is not the time for him to make television shows,” fx wrote in a statement, upon severing all ties with c.k.‘it’s like telling people not to breathe.’ maybe youthis week, i skimmed the archives of some of louis c.k.’s past comedy bits on masturbation, partly out of c...





hemingway and harsanyi talk sexual assault, twitter policing, and movies

federalist senior editors david harsanyi and mollie hemingway host federalist radio to discuss the escalating number of sexual abuse and assault cases in hollywood and elsewhere. “we don’t have good guardrails and norms for what is appropriate interplay between colleagues and whatnot,” hemingway said. “some stuff is so clearly over the line, just absolutely awful. and other things, you kind of get the sense you need more context to understand.”they also consider the lines between the public and private space as it applies to twitter’s responsibility to regulate users’ speech. “we have such a massive administrative state right now…there is very little purely private, or purely public. there is just this massive space in between,” hemingway said.listen to their full conversation here:





paid loot crates are bad for gamers, and ea knows it

this week was supposed to be the exciting, triumphant debut of the latest star wars video game, “star wars battlefront ii.” following on the heels of its very underwhelming predecessor, “battlefront ii” was advertised as giving you a chance to play with your favorite heroes and villains across all eras of the star wars universe on planets and in ships from the classic movies, the prequels, and the newest generation of films. however, the reality is quite different.most every star wars fan would love to play “battlefront” as darth vader. why not? he’s one of the best bad guys in all of cinema, and to slaughter digital rebels with your lightsaber and force chokes is great fun. unfortunately, you can’t do that out of the box. you have to earn him.when the beta of the game came out recently, players picked up on this and complained. loudly! ea’s plan was to have people pay real money for an in-game currency that allows players to purchase “loot crates” that provide random rewards for the game, which may or may not include something a player wants.sounds similar to loading coins in a slot machine, pulling the lever and hoping to hit it big, doesn’t it? there’s the problem. many think that this system is akin to gambling, and they might be right. the dutch think so, and their authorities are now investigating the matter to determine if loot crates can be classified as online gambling. if they are, it’s likely the end of the loot crate money grab that is ...





thanksgiving, gal gadot, and taylor swift

in this week’s episode of #problematicwomen, kelsey harkness of the daily signal and bre payton, a staff writer at the federalist, chat with lisa depasquale about her new book, “i wish i might,” and how to survive thanksgiving dinner with all the social justice warriors in one’s family.the two also talk about gal gadot sticking up for herself and for her fellow co-stars by getting brett ratner, who had been accused of sexual assault, kicked off the set of a wonder woman sequel. they also discuss the glamour woman of the year awards, which included no conservatives despite rampant recognition of political activism.you can get a copy of lisa’s “i wish i might” here and check out “the social justice warrior handbook” here. 





why you shouldn't buy 'star wars battlefront ii' today

“star wars battlefront ii’s” release today may provide gamers the last chance to stop the loot box creep from completely overtaking games. i don’t need to rehash what sarah dezelin said earlier this week. ea’s microtransaction plan for “star wars battlefront ii” is a cynical, calculated mess that will likely work. turning a $60 game into something resembling a freemium mobile game will probably only succeed because it has “star wars” in the title. casual gamers, parents, and grandparents who do little research beforehand will unwittingly “prove” that consumers are okay with this setup for games.encouragingly, the non-gaming media has picked up on “battlefront” fan frustrations in a way i’ve never seen. cnn, fortune, and the bbc have all reported on the backlash and not in a condescending manner. there’s even a (likely ill-fated) push to categorize loot boxes as gambling, a paradigm-shifting change that would certainly affect what games parents buy for their kids. ea and dice’s responses so far have mostly been “we’re sorry you’re sad about it” and “we’ll work on ways to make you complain less.” late last night, ea announced they would turn off all in-game purchases for now. it’s a start, though a cynic might consider this a disingenuous tactic to keep week one sales high. they have not earned the benefit of the doubt.i really enjoyed 2015’s “battlefront,” despite its many flaws. it captured the essence of the star wars uni...





why amazon is buying up all those cryptocurrency urls

people really want amazon to get into cryptocurrency. amazon-watchers have shivered with anticipation as the company bought web domains like amazonbitcoin.com, even though the site has never done more than redirect to amazon’s main page. but a new wave of purchases has observers keyed up all over again. this time the acquired urls are amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com. what’s going on?the easy answer is brand protection. anyone who’s worked on a political campaign knows the virtue of over-hoarding web addresses that could be used in any conceivable way to tarnish, mock, or otherwise weaken the candidate and his or her public image. amazon can certainly afford to collect as many potentially brand-diluting or revenue-reducing domains as seems reasonable. with cryptocurrency now penetrating the consciousness of ordinary people, now is a decent time as any to scoop up a few more destinations would-be customers might go.the sexier answer is amazon wants to be ready to jump with a moment’s notice into accepting bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, you name it. now that cryptocurrencies have made a pretty good claim to durability—even if their prices might fluctuate speculatively—the next big economic question is which institutions are going to muscle in first, if any.cryptocurrency isn’t a good platform for commercewall street is too divided on the wisdom of crypto. sovereign wealth hasn’t shown enough interest. as far as we can te...





'masturbation spokeswoman' in louis c.k. video now seems insightful

louis c.k. has been dominating the sexual harassment news for the past week, after five women came forward in a new york times story accusing the comedian of sexual harassment and misconduct. according to the accounts, louis c.k.’s misbehavior came in the form of asking to, or simply proceeding to, masturbate in front of women who often were less prominent colleagues.since the story broke, tv and film execs have halted all of louis c.k.’s works in progress, of which there were many. c.k.’s agent dave becky, who is thought to have helped cover up accusations, has been under fire; and c.k. himself has admitted “these accusations are true,” offering a public apology, which has continued to receive scrutiny.the majority of the news coverage seems to agree: louis c.k.’s behavior was inexcusable and abhorrent. never mind that his jokes about masturbation and irrepressible male sexual urges received laughs from many of these same folks not long before the scandal. as many outlets have noted since the scandal broke, louis c.k. employed the topic of masturbation frequently in his comedy.nevertheless, the entertainment industry, now aware of his misconduct, has all but blacklisted the comedian. “now is not the time for him to make television shows,” fx wrote in a statement, upon severing all ties with c.k.‘it’s like telling people not to breathe.’ maybe youthis week, i skimmed the archives of some of louis c.k.’s past comedy bits on masturbation, partly out of c...





the philippines’ president spurns the u.s. to flirt with china

the trump administration needs to start asking an important question: what should it do with the philippines? one of america’s oldest asia-pacific allies, as well as its former colony, the philippines seems to be daily drifting toward china. this was abundantly clear this week as the asean and apec summits came to a close and president trump headed home after his 12-day trip to asia.on tuesday, the day trump left town, the president of the philippines, rodrigo duterte, raved about china’s willingness to begin talks on establishing a code of conduct for the south china sea, going so far as to call the chinese “gracious.”gracious, indeed. china has already run roughshod over the half-dozen countries that have claims in the strategically significant waters of the south china sea, where china has laid claim to an expanded maritime border along its notorious nine-dash line. in recent years, beijing has been constructing man-made islands in the south china sea and expanding islands that already exist, equipping them with strategic military bases that include radar sites, aircraft hangers, and runways. not only would these islands allow china to control some of the world’s busiest international shipping lanes, it would also give beijing a huge strategic advantage should the united states and china ever go to war.beijing’s south china sea shenanigans are all part and parcel of china’s goal of becoming a regional military powerhouse, ruling over a chinese sphere of influ...





netflix’s ‘gerald’s game’: great acting, unsuitable ending

this review includes no spoilers past what’s revealed in the trailer.the latest adaptation of stephen king’s work is a netflix original entitled “gerald’s game.” i would award it an 11/10 if it weren’t for the last ten minutes. with the ending, i can only do about 8/10. i will describe the perfection of the first 90 minutes, then get to the controversial misstep gathering ardent defenders.baring a freakishly spectacular performance from another actress before 2017 ends, carla gugino deserves to win best actress in every single award committee. a strong case could also be made for her winning best supporting actress across the board, since she portrays two versions of the main character who actually dialogue with each other vis a vis hallucinations.bruce greenwood likewise should be nominated and win at least a screen actors guild award in the supporting actor category. neither have been a-list stars, but both have consistently put out excellent work in small parts for decades, and i have long thought gugino deserves a much wider audience.the cast is very small, and the majority of screen time taken up by the dysfunctional duo of gugino and greenwood, who incarnate the opposite of chemistry. they portray a wealthy older married couple vacationing in their stately but isolated “cabin in the woods.” greenwood’s eponymous gerald brings some handcuffs to spice things up, and we learn quickly that their marriage has been dry for a while.gugino’s jessie is obviou...





how shaming for sex sins exposes the world’s need for salvation

for reasons that are beyond my understanding, as long as there have been celebrities there has been a market for celebrity gossip. as the old television advertisements for national enquirer used to remind us, “enquiring minds want to know.”from that publication and others like it to old-guard television programs such as “entertainment tonight” and relatively new ones like “tmz,” celebrity gossip has never failed to find a sizeable audience. there is within human nature a prurient curiosity about others, especially when those others are famous.it is obvious that social media has made this appetite easier to feed. what is evidently not obvious enough is that this craving is unhealthy. we learn from martin luther’s catechism that the divine injunction against bearing false witness includes the duty to protect our neighbor’s good name. to say it another way, we are to avoid being involved in any communication that unnecessarily hurts anyone else’s reputation.there are myriad reasons for that, but for the purposes of this article i will state that the court of public opinion almost never affords a fair trial to the accused, for good or for ill. the ease with which “dirt” is exposed, reported, and spread leaves those who consume it wanting more. indeed, scripture and experience teach us that the best way to make a devious craving stronger is to give it what it wants. ask any drug addict, alcoholic, overeater, or serial porn-watcher how many times this time has...