December 31, 2015
2015 - When Lying Jumped the Shark
2015 will soon be Auld Lang Syne and Thomas Sowell says, Good riddance.
Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as "no big deal" by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton's lies by admiring how well she handled herself.
And thereís a hand my trusty friend!
December 30, 2015
One Cheer for Donald Trump!
And he likely earned two. Why do people like him? This is why people like him.
Donald Trump last week used some typically coarse language to describe Hillary Clinton, who responded by accusing Mr. Trump of sexism while announcing that she is unleashing Bill Clinton to campaign for her. This was too ripe an opening for Mr. Trump, who is now attacking Hillary for acquiescing in Bill's predations against women.
Nobody else would really "go there" (Carly?) yet it is a destination requiring a connecting flight. A responsible press corps would point it out but -- hey, stop laughing in the back!
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds plays a column in the same key.
I do enjoy a public bet. Bryan Caplan puts up $200 against a CATO intern. Caplan says no recession in the next two years.
Why do I think I'll win? Base rates. U.S. quarterly GDP growth is about 3%, and there's a high short-run positive correlation for quarterly growth. So we're extremely unlikely to have negative GDP growth for the next two or three quarters. The chance we actually get two consecutive quarter of negative growth before the clock runs out therefore seems well below 50% to me, making this a good bet.
Fun stuff. But even better, at the bottom, he links to his own "The Bettor's Oath"
When I lose a bet, I will admit defeat, pay promptly, and hold my tongue -- never protesting that I was "really right." If I have caveats or reservations, I will declare them when I make the bet -- not after I lose it.
December 29, 2015
Huh, this is pretty close to what I have been talking about.
Thezman (all the name I can find without work) is truly on to something in [gender appropriate singular possessive pronoun] essay "Star Wars and Fake Nerds."
But we now live in the age of the fake nerd and I think that's where Star Wars fits best. The people that "fucking love science!" and watch Big Bang Theory can't shut up about Star Wars. It's another method to signal their membership in the cult of pseudo-scientism. They may never have made it past geometry in school, but they swear they grew up on comic books and were always a nerd.
I would never question Jonah's Gilligan's Island scholarship, or my own, but that is just me. For the record, I do love Star Wars but am sympathetic to the suggestion that it is not great science fiction. Thezman goes on about real nerds who do not fit the stereotype.
Of course, turning science into a religion is why we have kooks like Bill Nye demanding to have skeptics thrown in prison. He's a good reminder that you can be batshit crazy and still be able to design a decent toaster. The amusement park manager, Neil deGrasse Tyson, made it through a doctoral program, but found better money in peddling pseudo-scientific nonsense to rich people.
I don't have to stretch to imagine myself in the tribe. I have passionate, vocal interests in less popular pursuits, and I never expended much energy in conformity or traditional popularity. But my lacunae are too large and numerous: no comic book background or knowledge, I played D&D exactly once, I was good at math but probably was more of a stoner than nerd in high school. (I went to a small school, we had to have joint membership in multiple cliques to keep them staffed.)
But I do have a bucket of "I f-ing love science" Facebook friends. And I have to say I question their authenticity. They worship at the altar of Neil deGrasse Tyson, but when I recommend a cosmology book, I feel like the bacon salesman at an ISIS rally. I enjoy the Phys.org group, and a handful of pro-GMO groups, but those guys get a bit on my nerves: it's all about crafting the perfect meme that "just destroys" or "pwns" the stupid folks on the Internet who are not so enlightened as we.
I have prattled on far longer than the article I linked -- it's well worth a read in full.
National Review's Kevin Williamson writes, in describing "the Democratic party's newfound commitment to totalitarianism" that is expressed through President Obama's lawless executive orders:
But, remember, Democrats: These are your rules.
Except that they can't. Were a Republican to do what Barack I has done, the fourth estate would plaintively wail. The political pressure on a Republican president who singled out political foes would, and should, be unbearable. (The problem being their utter disregard when a Democrat does so.) But the "news" media would be equally critical of executive orders to, for example, authorize a uniform national concealed carry license; or rescind all of the putative air "pollution" regulations on energy companies. And that's why we are not at liberty: Because hoi polloi only pays attention when their media master calls for it. Because those media masters want a totalitarian president - as long as he is their flavor of totalitarian.
December 28, 2015
George Washington's Regret
"Our presidents are beginning to act like kings" because "there is always a crown beyond the horizon."
More from Charles C.W. Cooke was (re)printed today, and I find it has a familiar ring.
Once upon a time, Obama insisted that he was "not a king" or an "emperor" or a "dictator," and confirmed that his "job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law." Now he justifies his behavior with talk of necessity and vows that if "Congress won't act," he will.
No, we aren't. At least not as much as the founders hoped.
Drunks and Drug Dealers
Bank robbers and killersI'm always wary of a headline purporting to "bust myths." They frequently claim authority to advance an idea less grounded in facts that the myth. But I gave Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine a click for "The Myth of Over Incarceration."
We are led to believe that blacks are victims of the criminal justice system in large part because, thanks to the war on drugs, our prisons are overflowing with low-level drug offenders, a disproportionate number of whom are African-American. The left, including our President, the mainstream media, and others who love to cast our country in a bad light mindlessly parrot this theme.Lets accede to some overlap. Anti-American sentiment is pretty heavy in the community which complains. Check. Demanding racial quotas to match the prison population does not match my idea of rule of law. Check. I concede that law in order in a vibrant society like ours requires enforcement. But enough Kumbayas.
Mirengoff's complaint is that drug offenders are a minority of inmates -- especially in state prisons and that most of these are dealers and not users. See? Everything's fine. Less than half of people in Federal Prison are in there for buying something or selling something that somebody else wanted. Presumably, we could imprison all the country's Japanese Americans and it would not be a violation of rights until they hit the magic 50% mark.
At the risk of disposing Christmas goodwill too early with two Internecine posts on Dec 28, I think we have, in Randy Barnett's words, "An inalienable right to property in our own person." This tradition traces itself back to JS Mill and says you cannot put me in jail for what I do to myself. Ergo: all the non-dealers are wrongly imprisoned. Whether or not they are a majority, every single one is a tragedy and a wrong.
But, dealers, jk! Drug dealers!
Well, I live in Colorado. And we have legal drug dealers who pay taxes and try to figure out how to do business in cash because their federal government disallows their being offered bank services. Maybe the Fed guys are in for heroin, but JS Mill was not so specific on Schedule I compounds versus Schedule II.
I don't suspect these guys are schoolboys. If they kill somebody to acquire turf, let's prosecute them for murder. And if we could just release 20% of non-violent inmates that would be a game changer. Sorry, I find that "myth" still holds.
UPDATE: Mea Culpa, I had misspelled Mirengoff. ThreeSources regrets the error.
Time for Cartman's Wall
I'm less worried about living in a computer simulation and more worried about living in a South Park episode. Cartman's border wall to keep the immigrants in the US may be needed after all.
The U.S. construction and home-building boom in the 1990s and early 2000s is a notable phase. Without formal market mechanisms allowing bidders and suppliers to engage in legal transactions, underground networks matched employers to employees.
Perhaps Mister Trump will get them to pay for it after all.
December 23, 2015
Merry Christmas, Humanity!
The deal involves rights to stream 224 songs from the original 13 studio albums released in the UK as well as "essential" collections including Past Masters.
UPDATE: Available now on iHeart Radio, among other places.
"Shocked Face" Auditions.
Okay. First, let's see your standard expression. Good.
What was billed as a grassroots movement by a group of moms to oust three conservative members of the Jefferson County Board of Education has direct ties to the nation's largest teachers union.
Shocked Face!!! "What, you mean the whole grassroots campaign was underwritten by union stooges? Really?"
But what about the GOOD effects?
Today's Chipotlefreude post remind of some research I did last week into a family member claim that "microwaving food ruins its nutritional value" or some such. I think the belief was inspired by someone along the lines of Mike Adams, whose piece in a 2007 posting on Organic Consumers Dot Org soft pedaled the issue thusly:
But microwaving that broccoli destroys the anti-cancer nutrients, rendering the food "dead" and nutritionally depleted. There's even some evidence to suggest that microwaving destroys the natural harmony in water molecules, creating an energetic pattern of chaos in the water found in all foods. In fact, the common term of "nuking" your food is coincidentally appropriate: Using a microwave is a bit like dropping a nuclear bomb on your food, then eating the fallout. (You don't actually get radiation from eating microwaved foods, however. But you don't get much nutrition, either.)
You get the picture. But the "other side" coming from the authoritative Harvard Medical School is that microwave cooking is among the best possible methods to preserve nutritional content.
The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method.
The loss of nutrients is really a result, says Harvard, of cooking the food at all.
Some nutrients break down when they're exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. But because microwave cooking times are shorter, cooking with a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that break down when heated.
And cooking has a secondary benefit, or perhaps primary if you're trying to run a successful Chipotle franchise, of killing food-borne pathogens.
Now back to Mister Adams. What is his advice for the best way to prepare food?
When you need to heat something, heat it in a toaster oven or a stovetop pan (avoid Teflon and non-stick surfaces, of course). Better yet, strive to eat more of a raw, unprocessed diet. That where you'll get the best nutrition anyway.
Ummm. Yeah. Maybe a little irradiation first please?
Click continue reading for an interesting aside on Adam's preoccupation with, and complete misunderstanding of "irradiation."
Microwaving is, technically, a form of food irradiation. I find it interesting that people who say that would never eat "irradiated" food have no hesitation about microwaving their food. It's the same thing (just a different wavelength of radiation). In fact, microwaves were originally called "radar ranges." Sounds strange today, doesn't it? But when microwaves were first introduced in the 1970's, they were proudly advertised as radar ranges. You blast your food with high-intensity radar and it gets hot. This was seen as some sort of space-age miracle in the 1970's. Perhaps someday an inventor will create a food heating device that does not radically alter the nutritional value of the foods in the process, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. Probably the best way to heat foods right now is to simply use a countertop toaster oven, and keep the heat as low as possible.
The "irradiation" of food is a process where it is subjected to "ionizing" radiation from sources such as x-rays or gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation or "radar" waves from, say, a microwave oven, are "non-ionizing" radiation. It is completely different, unless you are a junk science fear monger. And if you still want to disagree, stop recommending the use of a "countertop toaster oven" which heats things by showering them with infrared radiation! "It's the same thing [as microwaving] (just a different wavelength of radiation)."
Perhaps someday our schools will produce an adult citizenry whose average member has a better understanding of science, or at least some understanding of what he doesn't know - but I'm not holding my breath on this one.
Major Win for Free Speech
But yesterday, a majority of the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit ruled in the Slants case that not only was the USPTO wrong in rejecting the band's trademark, but that the portion of the law preventing the registration of offensive marks is unconstitutional.
Take that, Political Correctness!
Tweet of the Day
Chipotlefreude, Vol. XIX
Founder Steve Ells vowed on a global groveling tour that Chipotle will ramp up safety measures at the company's nearly 2,000 locations. The company will likely rely less on local suppliers, many of whom can't comply with sophisticated testing. The company will also chop, prepare and hermetically seal ingredients such as cilantro and lettuce in a central kitchen before shipping it to local restaurants.
Modernity. What a concept. As I said, I wish the Denver-based chain luck in pulling itself out of its market cap swoon. But it remains an important lesson and I am all about lessons.
The junk-science-back-to-the-cave loonies I work with in Boulder assume that all the benefits of modern processing and packaging just fall from the sky. They freak about BPA to the point where when we give away company-logo themed water bottles, they must be certified BPA free.
The science is unclear whether BPA poses a 0.0000000000001% cancer risk or a 0000000000.0% cancer risk. We're awaiting further studies. But botulism deaths have plummeted to one, and millions of tons of food that would have been discarded in pre-BPA cans has been saved. (I was taught to throw away a dented can, now one collects a discount.)
I'm glad that we're so affluent and that our young people are so separated from many forms of grisly death. And every casualty of Chipotle's institutionalized smugness is a tragedy. But do not let the reminder pass: modernity rules!
Quote of the Day
Cruz opposes legalization of marijuana. I have two teenage daughters. I worry about them. And marijuana is a drug that makes teenage boys drive slow. -- PJ O'Rourke
December 21, 2015
Quote of the Day
What are the motives for violence? ... There are ideologies, such as those of militant religions, nationalism, Nazism, and Communism, that justify vast outlays of violence by a Utopian cost-benefit analysis: If your belief system holds out the hope of a world that will be infinitely good forever, how much violence are you entitled to perpetrate in pursuit of this infinitely perfect world?
The Onion, Facebook, and POLITICO.
I shared a funny Onion photo on Facebook:
GOFFSTOWN, NH--Saying he would not accept anything offered by the nation's corporate elite, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders reportedly refused to use the podium provided by ABC for Saturdayís Democratic primary debate in favor of his own modest, homemade lectern. "No, no--I donít need some flashy, expensive podium when I can make one myself," said the Vermont senator, waving off ABC producers as he dragged on stage his own crudely built lectern, cobbled together from several old two-by-fours and some reclaimed plywood from behind his garage.
I thought it amusing. My brother (a die hard #BernFeeler) commented "But he was a carpenter," prompting a little research. It seems, and I hope some scatalogical references will be forgiven:
He worked some as a carpenter, although "he was a shitty carpenter," Bloch told me. "His carpentry," Morrisseau said, "was not going to support him, and didnít."
My first though was OSHA, that extension cord business sounds dangerous. But my second was that this article is pretty telling. I wonder how many are drawn to Socialism by an inability to flourish in Capitalism.
December 19, 2015
Another "Gun Culture Atrocity"
The widespread public ownership of guns has apparently claimed two more victims, late-night workers in a convenience store who were shot to death in a crime described by the local police chief as "over-the-top violence, absolutely unnecessary, gratuitous -- evil."
Except that this crime wasn't commited in America. It was in gun-phobic Canada. Edmonton, to be precise.
Knecht said investigators have made a possible link between the suspects and other recent robberies. It's unclear why the crimes escalated. Surveillance video shows the two victims were passive and co-operative.
Fear not, for the authorities are eager to "better protect vulnerable, night-shift retail workers, who are often young people and immigrants." Through legislation.
He wants to see Alberta follow regulations in place in British Columbia, where employers must have more than one night person on duty or keep lone staffers in locked areas and behind barriers. Manitoba also has similar legislation.
"Behind bars. Err, barriers." Um, weren't there two people on duty in this case?
Are you ready for some DE-baaaate!
A Sat'day night PAR-taaaay!
With the energy of the race on the Republican side, however, Democrats have low expectations about the enthusiasm level for a Donald Trump-less debate showdown on the Saturday night before Christmas -- even with the drama of a major data breach unfolding as the candidates and their staffers traveled to Manchester.
Perhaps that's why Team Clinton and the DNC (redundancy alert) chose to torpedo the Sanders campaign this week. A lack of interest and enthusiasm for Clinton and ... polling lead in early primary states:
Until the data breach ramped up tension, Cunninghamís comment was a rare direct shot at Sanders by a Clinton ally. Indeed, her campaign sees no upside in overtly targeting a liberal popular with the partyís base.
This despite Clinton showing a 25-point lead, albeit tightening with Sanders' share being as high as ever.
Sitting on a sofa On a Sunday afternoon, Going to the candidates' debate, Laugh about it, Shout about it, When you've got to choose, Every way you look at it you lose.
December 18, 2015
I even put this up on Facebook. I'm sure I'll regret it, but this is too good.
Skulduggery at the DNC? Mai non!
Updated, 9:27 a.m. | The Democratic National Committee has told the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clintonís private campaign data.
Of course, my Facebook angle was "NOW SHE CARES ABOUT DATA SECURITY!"
December 17, 2015
How Did I miss This?
Oh for a real live snopes -- I'd love to know the truth
Really, it sounds a little high, there are no real citations, and it's just a blog. I wonder... A cursory search shows it authoritatively debunked several times. But all from sites that look no more convincingly authoritative.
A Washington Times story seems more credible:
Hawaii provides the favorite example: The 37 turbines at the Kamaoa Wind Farm stood derelict for more than six years after it was discovered that repairs were more expensive than replacements. This is just one of six abandoned wind farms in one of the most wind-ideal places on the planet.
A real number would be very good to know, but I don't think it's computable to the pajamed Internet sleuther. Anybody know any good sites on this?
GOP Debates as Star Wars
It was done far more trenchantly and amusingly as a cartoon making the Facebook rounds, but Dan Henninger (pimpin' the WSJ pages today!) gets a column in. Notable is a tactical comment that Cruz's classical debating skills might be a liability and not an asset in the less-rhetorical and more bare-knuckled political debate arena.
Who's good? Henninger claims Sen. Rubio (H2O - FL) got the better of the Libya exchange:
These two are formidable politicians, but Mr. Rubio's ability to identify vulnerability and stick a shiv through the Cruz armor was unexpected.
Dearest Carly. When all is darkness, there is light -- did'ja see this?
Madame Vice President.
Quote of the Day
By now, illegal immigration is to the GOP what global warming is to the Democrats: the all-purpose bugaboo that is supposed to explain nearly every problem and whose redress must be part of every solution. But immigration policy is not foreign policy, much less a counterterrorism strategy. And there are probably larger pools of would-be jihadists in Montreal and Vancouver than in Monterrey or Veracruz. Shouldn't Mr. Cruz call for a wall from Quebec to British Columbia? -- Bret Stephens WSJ
December 16, 2015
Watch Your Ass in Nunavut
If it does not freeze off, you may get shot!
Ignore my flippant headline and read the insanely cool gun stats that Mises.org has assembled, comparing US States to Canadian provinces and territories.
Indeed, the northern United States in general tends to have quite low homicide rates in a global context. (There are problems with comparing across national boundaries. For more on that see below.)
Hell, even I buy into the "crazed gun culture" / "this doesn't happen anywhere else" arguments. But the chart effectively destroys any dreams of correlation between gun laws and homicides.
Two-Point-Five Cheers for Cruz!
Yes, the junior senator from Texas was Praiseworthy in opposing the Ethanol Mandate on the stump in corn-rich Iowa.
And yes, he has taken a more America-centric position on foreign interventionism.
He has even been, according to his rival Mr. Rubio, supportive of inflows of immigrant labor into America.
Rubio has tried to shift the attention away from this potential vulnerability by arguing that Cruz has supported legalization for undocumented immigrants and moved to expand the H-1B visa program. Cruz has withdrawn his support for these measures and accused Rubio of trying to "muddy the waters."
Yes, in the wake of Paris, San Bernardino, and Mr. Trump's massive popularity, Ted Cruz has backtracked on the free market position regarding immigration. RCP's Caitlin Huey-Burns writes:
He also characterized his opponent's support for the "Rubio-Schumer" immigration bill as a national security issue, pointing to a provision that gave the president unilateral authority to admit refugees.
I know this will not sit will with a blog brother or two. I hope he doesn't see it as a deal-breaker. As I see it, this obvious pivot is obviously strategic. Immigration reform is, as Rubio noted, "down the road" but winning the presidency begins with winning the nomination and that is now or never.
Besides, even Rand Paul sided with Cruz over Rubio. Which may lead one to speculate that the tag-team effort may have been planned. Which then naturally inspires thoughts of a Cruz-Paul ticket. Rand didn't work this hard to go home empty handed, and if he has to settle for co-pilot instead of left seat I predict he'll say, "Let's roll."
Tweet of the Day
Ain't gonna study war no more.
Blog friend tg posts an interesting article to Facebook. I highly recommend it.As he warns, set a little time aside, this is not a meme -- it is a serious tactical look at Donald Trump's strategy.
We can better understand what Trump has done successfully, as well as his ultimate limitations as a candidate and why he would be such a terrible president, using the ideas of military strategic theorist John Boyd. Trump has been, thus far, the true Boyd candidate in this race, yet he is already exhibiting symptoms of precisely the flaws that Boyd saw as fatal in combatants.
As a side benefit, the reader gets a good primer on Boyd's OODA loop. I had a general understanding, but it is well developed here -- now I feel I could hop in a jet fighter and get on your tail in 40 seconds. It is that good an article.
ThreeSources Style Guide dictates that I provide a short quippy excerpt to dumb it down, and I did find this gem:
In years past, right-leaning talk radio had treated favorably many of the people running, and many of the leading conservative talkers were people with movement conservative backgrounds who understood well the principles Trump treats as fungible. Yet, right-wing talk radio has--with a few honorable exceptions--rallied around Trump, basking in the audience-driving controversy he brings with him. When the circus comes to town, everyone wants to be a clown.
Interesting, but it strikes me how little interest I have in strategy and tactics. The election is all about ideas and message to me and I am pretty happy leaving the tactical skirmishing to others. I hate to call a respected friend names, but it seems tg and I are opposite sides of the coin. He has directed me to eloquent blog posts discarding rights' importance in government philosophy. He's conversant with Locke but studies Sun Tzu.
The power, enforcement, and protection of a rights-enforcing regime is important (cf. The Man in the High Castle), but I delegate that, like I delegate polling. I'd like to try winning someday, and I attempt to lean the message toward the pragmatic. But i the end, like the great miniskirted libertarian political philosopher Kacey Musgraves, "I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't."
December 15, 2015
Propsworthy II: People are Smarterer than Media Allows
Or...Brother jg was right...
As in any group of people -- like, say, a random collection of well educated journalists stationed safely north of the Mason-Dixon line, one of whose members suspects a missing jetliner has been swallowed up by a black hole -- some members of the Woodland community expressed fears that, to the better informed, were not well grounded.
Propsworthy: Western Oil Producers
When America's fracking-enabled shale oil revolution took off, OPEC leader Saudi Arabia was adversely affected by the drop in worldwide oil prices. Fashioning itself the 900 pound gorilla, the Saudis embarked on a sort of "WalMart strategy" whereby they hoped to put the upstart American companies out of business by driving the price of oil low enough to undermine fracking economics. But they made a big mistake in underestimating the competitive spirit of American businessmen. Guardian's Nils Pratley writes:
Investment in shale and conventional oil has plunged, it is true - the evidence is the slump in the number of rigs operating in the US. But investment and production are different things. Producers adapt. They squeeze their suppliers, they drill only their best prospects, and they cut costs. BHP Billiton, for example, has slashed spending on its US shale fields, but last month predicted that "improved recoveries and lower drilling costs will deliver stable production" this year at its Black Hawk and Permian onshore oilfields in Texas.
And where does that leave Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and the bulk of the OPEC cartel?
In the end, of course, low oil prices will probably deliver production cuts, as the Saudis intended; it's just that the timescale is constantly being extended as oil inventories soar. Having persuaded its Opec co-travellers to sign up for a short campaign, the Saudis risk being dragged into a long battle by default. The low oil price is great news (at least for the time being) for oil-consuming countries. But when, like the Saudis, you require $100-a-barrel oil to balance your budget, you have a serious problem. Even foreign-exchange reserves of $640bn don't last for ever.
A Lukewarmer's Elevator Talk
Of course, all the environmentally responsible interlocutors have taken the stairs...
But grade me on this: short & sweet.
I'm not saying that man is not contributing to climate change; I am saying that the problem is likely not catastrophic, and certainly not in the near term. In fact, I think we could study the problem for ten years, spend ten years assembling a plan, and then spend ten years implementing the plan.
Three Cheers for Cruz!
Who are you and what have you done with jk?
No, I provide props when appropriate. And opposing ethanol in Iowa is props-worthy.
Joel Gehrke at National Review noted that Cruz had "managed to turn a disagreement with a crowd of Iowa businesses and farmers into an applause line," and noted that the audience's applause after his comments about the RFS gave Cruz "the warmest welcome so far" that day.
Stalwart Conservative Donald Trump? Jim Geraghty offers a revealing quote:
"Well look he's from Texas -- to the best of my knowledge, there's a lot of oil in Texas, right? So, he gets a lot of money from the oil companies, and he's against ethanol and everything you're else talking about. And I'm not, I'm totally in favor. And you know it's a big industry here, it's a big industry. You know if that industry is upset Iowa's got problems," Trump said to the crowd of about 1,500, composed of Iowans from special-interest groups.
The Cost of Junk Science
Schadenfreude Alert! A great Denver based corporation is "imploding" and I suppose I should be upset. But I contend that the market is doing its job. Henry Miller of Forbes documents "Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well"
The company found it could pass off a fast-food menu stacked with high-calorie, sodium-rich options as higher quality and more nutritious because the meals were made with locally grown, genetic engineering-free ingredients. And to set the tone for the kind of New Age-y image the company wanted, Chipotle adopted slogans like, "We source from farms rather than factories" and, "With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we're working to cultivate a better world."
To some a better world means more people getting enough to eat and eat safely. Miller points out "Outbreaks of food poisoning have become something of a Chipotle trademark." But as you're retching, you can rest assured that your infestation is natural, organic, non-GMO e coli.
December 14, 2015
Buying a clue
Dear fellow occidentalists, Please, whatever you do, do not "reproduce[ed] and reinforce[ed] stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate..." lest you be singled out for sanction "by the government's anti-discrimination commission." I'm not sure what government - hopefully not ours, but I'm seldom shocked anymore.
Here's the "offensive" advert. What does it show? "The ad shows fair-skinned, attractive, young people turning up at an indigenous town bearing gifts of sugary fizzy drinks and a Christmas tree for the overawed locals." The utter gall.
While it's unclear whether the ad was pulled because of the "controversy" or because its run was through, I would like to rebut with a multi-cultural message of my own:
"I'd like to buy the Left a clue,
From "segregation and isolation is racist" to "engagement and dialog is offensive."
WE ARE ALL FLOWER CHILDREN NOW.
Can we apply the same logic to homeless populations in the west? Any effort to reach out or acknowledge them is offensive and degrading, and suggests that they are "culturally subordinate."
Holding His Nose Already
Forty nine days until the Iowa caucuses -- and PJ O'Rourke is already psyching himself up to support a disappointing candidate.Peej has picked Florida Senator Marco Rubio -- and he lists the reasons:
Marco Rubio earned his success the old-fashioned American way!
Sorry for introducing negativity, but O'Rourke is -- as usual -- very funny.
Myself, I'm thinking that if Sen. Cruz delivers me from Trump, he will earn my fealty.
December 13, 2015
Hard to Pick a Side
I hate Junk Science. It saddens me to see technology abjured for claims that lack credulity.
But, if it has gotta happen...
Sorry for the Outage
I do not know exactly what precipitated the failure of ThreeSources which prevented new posts and comments.
Clearly, statists and general enemies of liberty will stop at nothing to shut down our voice -- but we are not easily silenced. I reset the database password and we are back.
December 10, 2015
America's Middle Class "Plummets!"
Seriously! That's how Newser's Jenn Gidman presented it. From about 80 million households in 1971 to... about 120 million households today. Must be the "new math."
Pew Research center, where the report originated, wasn't much more objective. By focusing on the share of households that are neither "upper" or "lower" income, they carefully hide the fact that upper income households in America have roughly TRIPLED.
Where I come from, that's called progress.
ACA Horror Story of the Day
With ObamaCare's cratering, this category has been too silent.
One can say that it has all been said. But, no, today I learned one more original truly bad thing about the PPACAo2010:
In 2014, premiums spiked, and then in 2015 they exploded again along with deductibles so high that many decided not to be insured at all. Over half of Obamacare's co-ops collapsed this year, most of them this fall, and now the providers who took their clients may end up stuck with the bills.
One hates to direct coarse language at medical professionals, but the line from Animal House seems applicable: "You f***ed up! You trusted us!"
December 9, 2015
Charles C W Cooke on 2nd Amendment
In a WaPo forum, Cooke nails it:
Reacting to this argument, we often hear advocates of gun control propose that the Founders' observations are irrelevant because they could "not have imagined the modern world." I agree with the latter assertion: They couldn't have. As well-read in world history as they were, there is no way that they could have foreseen just how prescient they were in insisting on harsh limitations of government power. In their time, "tyranny" was comparatively soft -- their complaints focused on under-representation and the capricious restriction of ancient rights. In the past century, by contrast, tyranny involved the systematic execution of entire groups and the enslavement of whole countries. The notion that if James Madison had foreseen the 20th century he would have concluded that the Bill of Rights was too generous is laughable.
Mark Steyn vs. Congress
Quote of the Day
To reach this developing world level of CO2 emissions, Mr. Sanders would: impose an unspecified carbon tax; ban all offshore drilling and fossil-fuel leases on federal lands; stop "dirty pipeline" projects; ban natural gas and oil exports; force states to ban fracking; ban mountaintop coal mining; impose a new fuel-efficiency standard of 65 miles per gallon by 2025; spend "massive" federal dollars on subsidies for wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, home-efficiency programs and energy storage; federally underwrite electric-car charging stations, high-speed passenger and cargo rail, a smart grid, and clean-energy job training; shut down the nuclear industry; and provide "clean energy funding" to the rest of the world.
December 7, 2015
Un Coup? Non, merci!
The non-news from Paris' conference of the uber-rich last week should be taken as a positive. The 11/13 terrorist attacks certainly stole some thunder, but I think even the private jet-set are starting to notice the lack of any common touch to their message:
I found the survey via the wonderfully prolific Matt Ridley's post on the Green Blob (which I much prefer to the Green Mob). If I were much smarter, I would have started my realist campaign by first noting good things happening in today's world, like ideas having sex. With that background I could say things like putting the interests of rich peopleís grandchildren ahead of those of poor people today not only with a smile, but able to put a smile on others' faces! Lastly, I could offer such powerful truths as:
look at the policies enacted in the name of mitigating climate change. Weíve diverted 40 per cent of Americaís maize crop to feeding cars instead of people, thus driving up the price of food worldwide, a move which according to one study killed about 192,000 poor people in 2010 alone, and continues to affect nutrition worldwide. Weíve restricted aid funding for fossil-fuelled power stations in developing countries, leaving many people who would otherwise have had access to electricity mired in darkness and cooking over wood-fires ó the biggest environmental cause of ill health, responsible for more than three million deaths every year.
Nice rejoinder to the WHO report supposing a quarter million climate deaths per annum. According to Daily Beast, that alarmism wasn't alarming enough to the alarmists, so they upped the ante to nearly 1/2 million in what the DB's author calls, probably without irony, "path breaking."
Another sign, again old news, is how they feel the need, as quoted in the Washington Times:
Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was also listed in the complaint [to ban skeptics], said in an email that the climate-change movementís recent efforts ďprove they know they canít persuade the public if there are voices to challenge the media cheerleading.Ē
"a philosophy of national security reflecting the preference of most Americans?"
That's where Ted Cruz is apparently trying to position himself, between the extreme isolationism of candidate Rand Paul, and the extreme interventionism of candidate Marco Rubio.
A Cruz Doctrine would ask of military action:
This is comparable to a debate I had with jk in June of 2014. Our differences were nuanced, but generally along the same lines as Cruz v. Rubio.
At the time I said Obama was right not to invade Syria in pursuit of Islamic State. While jk did not disagree, he did stand in support of "some of the excesses of neo-conservatism." Cruz seems to sense that most Americans are no longer willing to endure those excesses.
Instead of nation building, how about a principled realpolitik under which America defeats terrorist regimes with massive force, then swiftly brings the boys home -- making it clear We Shall Return if terrorists are replaced with other terrorists. (...)
Gonna be one of those days, is it?
"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." -- George Bernard Shaw
December 6, 2015
Far more than we like to admit, the world is to a remarkable extent a self-organising, self-changing place. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to, termites build cathedrals without architects, bees make hexagonal honeycombs without instruction, brains take shape without brain-makers, learning can happen without teaching, political events are shaped by history rather than vice versa.Matt Ridley has written a couple of my favorite books [Review Corner] [Review Corner]. Hearing that he had a new one, it was easy to drop everything. It's potential to affect the book I am working on and be included as "research" didn't hurt. I quickly purchased and read The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. Yet, I have stalled for three weeks in posting Review Corner. Well, the Broncos played the Patriots last week...
It's a sweeping and important book. In many ways it is a capstone For "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters" and "The Rational Optimist:" our science, our innovation, and our prosperity are as much emergent phenomena as our eyes and opposable thumbs.
This truth continues to elude most intellectuals on the left as well as the right, who remain in effect "creationists". The obsession with which those on the right resist Charles Darwin's insight -- that the complexity of nature does not imply a designer -- matches the obsession with which those on the left resist Adam Smith's insight -- that the complexity of society does not imply a planner. In the pages that follow, I shall take on this creationism in all its forms.
Lord Ridley has a job to do, and "The Evolution of Everything" has a whiff of polemic that is missing from his other books. A lesser author might lose fractional stars for that, but Ridley is consistent and dispassionate, with everything included in a larger and important thesis. Ridley takes on the Darwin deniers and Smith deniers sequentially and with equal fervor.
The beauty of Darwin's explanation is that natural selection has far more power than any designer could ever call upon. It cannot know the future, but it has unrivalled access to information about the past. In the words of the evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, natural selection surveys "the results of alternative designs operating in the real world, over millions of individuals, over thousands of generations, and weights alternatives by the statistical distribution of their consequences". That makes it omniscient about what has worked in the recent past. It can overlook spurious and local results and avoid guesswork, inference or models: it is based on the statistical results of the actual lives of creatures in the actual range of environments they encounter.
As he did in "Genome," Ridley adds to the corpus of evolution and understanding. Richard Dawkins has added much to the science of evolution and genetics. But he is like Michael Oakeshott, St. Thomas Aquinas, and to some extent my hero, Karl Popper, that you are frequently better off reading about him than reading him directly. David Deutsch and Matt Ridley explain Dawkins much better than Dawkins. Ridley brings his insights home with his (Ridley's) other work on genetics and economics.
Indeed, to borrow a phrase from a theorist of innovation, Richard Webb, Darwinism is the "special theory of evolution"; there's a general theory of evolution too, and it applies to much more than biology. It applies to society, money, technology, language, law, culture, music, violence, history, education, politics, God, morality. The general theory says that things do not stay the same; they change gradually but inexorably; they show "path dependence"; they show descent with modification; they show trial and error; they show selective persistence. And human beings none the less take credit for this process of endogenous change as if it was directed from above.
Chapter by chapter, Ridley looks at language, religion, culture, government, marriage and shows how all these items that seem pre-ordained are emergent. I'll challenge anyone nodding his or her head right now in agreement -- you will find at least one thing in this book with an evolutionary history that will surprise you. I am a T-Shirt wearing Hayekian and I found several.
Plato said that society worked by imitating a designed cosmic order, a belief in which should be coercively enforced. Aristotle said that you should look for inherent principles of intentionality and development -- souls -- within matter. Homer said gods decided the outcome of battles. St Paul said that you should behave morally because Jesus told you so. Mohamed said you should obey God's word as transmitted through the Koran. Luther said that your fate was in God's hands. Hobbes said that social order came from a monarch, or what he called "Leviathan" -- the state. Kant said morality transcended human experience. Nietzsche said that strong leaders made for good societies. Marx said that the state was the means of delivering economic and social progress. Again and again, we have told ourselves that there is a top-down description of the world, and a top-down prescription by which we should live.
I've a dozen more quotes that remain on the cutting room floor, damp with tears at their omission. It's a superb book. Five stars without question.
If you put a gun to my head (you Americans are so violent!) and made me pick one, I would have to choose "The Rational Optimist" as a slight favorite over this. But if I could cleverly grasp your weapon and turn it around against you, I would make you buy and read both -- and "Genome." They're spectacular.
December 4, 2015
FBI: California shooting investigated as act of terrorism
"How can we stop these shootings, togeeeether?"
Gypped from a very good RedState piece, 'This is Why Fox News Continues to Destroy CNN and MSNBC' here is CNN's Carol Costello emoting and John R. Lott Jr. reasoning:
Back to RedState:
It's the day after what might be the first major Al-Qaeda attack on American soil since 9/11, and FoxNews is giving people news. MSNBC and CNN are giving people sermons on gun control. And that's why FoxNews is winning.
All Hail Harsanyi!
(Side note, David Harsanyi has picked up a partisan edge writing for The Federalist. I wonder if that causes friction at Reason?)
But today he is there and all the way live:
What do you call it when elites fly their private jets to an international climate change conference to forge a deal with despots that caps American prosperity without our consent? You call it progressivism.
December 3, 2015
Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.
Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.
And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.
Not to completely re-litigate the issue of importing Syrian refugees, and before the ties of the San Bernadino couple are exposed, I'd like address one point made by my smart blog-brothers, that immigrants will integrate within three generations.
Which I view as a nice theory, if unsubstantiated (?), and not particularly relevant to my point partly made here which is Islamic Arabs seem to have a much greater propensity to go radical, in order to eradicate our free radicals (and any others lying around). I think I actually focused on reasons they might not integrate, but now ammend that to being more worried about those who radicalize.
Not in answer to either issue, but an interesting case to consider is the Minnesota Six.
Unscientifically, I'd put Syrians, Yemenis, Lebanese, Somalis, Palestinians and perhaps Egyptians (in no particular order) in a "high risk category" for a variety of reasons, primarily the rise is ISIS and non-demise of A/Q as well as some other reasons I noted in that earlier post. What heightens that risk here is the Obama Administration's disdain, when not direct assault, on traditional American values, culture and mores.
Put it another way: I'd look at Syrian refugees in a very, very different light if GWB was still in the White House.
in Minnesota these refugees ďcan take advantage of some of Americaís most generous welfare and charity programs.Ē
I'll try in the next few days to look up the Hmong population in the twin cities area: they were brought in in the same rough numbers and now are double in size to the Somalis, Wiki covers it quickly here: noting
As of 2013 the Hmong businesses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area had revenues of over $100 million total.
Next up is the problem we're apparently having keeping up with this metastasizing jihadi threat.
the FBIís Loven queried how long law enforcement will be able to count on such informants [that helped break the ring]. Loven highlighted the increasing difficulty of tracking the radicalization of individuals online given the evolution of social media and the growing use of encrypted communications.
Vote here about which choice one thinks BHO and his minions will try to make for any potential refugees:
We all agree that they're least likely to radicalize and mostly likely to integrate if they choose #1, I'm mostly concerned that the bureaucracy does its best to make sure any and all choose #2.
Quote of the Day
If you are Mark Zuckerberg and have $45 billion, it is easy to live a lavish lifestyle with only 1% of it.
December 2, 2015
Quote of the Day
We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the end of the inevitable tokenization of all marginalized bodies at Hamilton College. Hamilton College cannot continue to overwhelmingly perpetuate narratives that center whiteness, able-bodied individuals, colonization, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity. The faculty, administration, staff, and student body at Hamilton College almost ubiquitously encompass a single population that continues the exclusion of historically underrepresented communities. -- We the Students of Hamilton College (via PowerLine)Hat-tip: Elizabeth Price Foley @ Insty
We'll Always Have Paris!
President Obama, ignoring the chimes indicating that he is speaking over his time limit.
I feel like that when I hear him speaking.
December 1, 2015
Go along to be "credible"
Did anyone else see this? I heard him say it live, this morning. Or at least, his lips were moving and these were the sounds I heard.
It's not merely that "99.5% of scientists" say that global climate science is "real" and "serious" [up from a steady 97 percent for the last two decades or so] but more importantly, the President says, "also 99% of world leaders."
"It spans political parties," he continued. "You travel around Europe and you talk to leaders of governments and the opposition, and they are arguing about a whole bunch of things. One thing they're not arguing about is whether the science of climate change is real and whether or not we have to do something about it."
So in order to be "credible" and in order to influence events, one must accept a tenuous theory assembled upon a mountain of dubious or downright fraudulent data, and be willing to act against the interests of American citizens to prove that he "takes seriously what other countries care about?"
Is he as stupid as he thinks we are? He really does take this "lead from behind" a.k.a. "follow" strategy seriously. No credibility gap there.
As for that 99% consensus of world leaders, meet MP Tim Yeo.
In 2009 Yeo said: "The dying gasps of the deniers [sic] will be put to bed. In five years' time no-one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change." Now, four years later, he is saying: "Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place." Within the Anthropogenic Global Warming hierarchy, that retraction is broadly akin to Richard Dawkins joining the Cistercian Order.
And MP David Davies:
I could go on.