June 30, 2016
Headline of the Day
Spoiler Alert: It's going to be t'riffic! " 'I think I'm going to be great in Colorado,' he said in an interview this week"
Most Transparent Administration in Bwahahahaha
Relentless criticism of our President from those right-wing wackos at . . . um, the Associated Press and PBS:
The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.
Hat-tip: James Taranto (all hail!) who adds:
In 2007, candidate Obama signed a Reason Foundation pledge "to conduct 'THE most transparent Administration in American history.' " In a 2009 national-security speech at the National Archives, the president promised: "I will never hide the truth because it's uncomfortable." And if you like your plan, you can keep it.
The Other Side is Not Dumb
My mad-lefty, biological brother posted this on Facebook. Me, and his mad lefty buddy with whom I did the book exchange, and a couple others posted wildly approbational comments. It's a good and short piece.
The "Other Side" Is Not Dumb
Last time I played that game, I -- of course -- talked about "Fight Club." But . . . oh, maybe I should not have mentioned that.
I went searching for a Megan McArdle piece which said similar things and influenced me deeply. My Google-Fu® chops were not up to the challenge, but she also asked how many of your posts are virtue-signalling and tribal to the point where they undermine persuasion.
It's a good piece. McArdle's was, of course, better. But she's not a stupid lefty.
All Hail Harsanyi!
Moreover, it's not like [AG Loretta Lynch and President Bill CLinton] randomly bumped into each other at the grocery store or while picking up dry-cleaning. People don’t have a lot of "impromptu meetings" on private jets sitting on the tarmacs at airports. As KNXV ABC 15 television reported, Clinton heard Lynch was en route to that airport, sought her out, and waited there for her arrival. Maybe it was just dumb luck that this happened only a day before the Benghazi Report was released by congress, or a few days after the Associated Press published another 165 pages of e-mails Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent via her unsanctioned and unsecure private e-mail server and did not want anyone to see. Or perhaps, as his wife's stories are becoming increasingly impossible to believe, Bill felt the need to say a few words to the Attorney General overseeing the criminal investigations of his wife? Whatever the case, the appearance of a conflict of interest or loss of impartiality is clearly present. -- David HarsanyiLikely a "whole thing read;" even Democrats noticed.
June 28, 2016
Okay losing this one. Congrats to Commissioner Glenn.
'es a 'oss!
Nigel Farage, being hosslike (and having some kind words about Mister Trump).
June 24, 2016
Make America Great Again...
... by making America grow again.
Donald Trump may or may not have the chops to pull this off, but a fifty-fifty chance is better than Hillary's 8 more years of cold porridge.
This guy though, thinks he can.
Whereas Trump early on talked up "jobs, jobs, jobs" - with specifics on where they're coming from, from broad tax cuts to unleashing the US energy industry.
Trump is not the intellectual's intellectual, but he is a born leader who can rally a movement to go in approximately the right direction, rather than precisely the wrong way in which his alternative will steer the country.
Otequay of the Ayday
In our present climate, it is customary for cosmopolitan sorts to accuse anybody who dissents from the European project of being an unreconstructed "nationalist." Insofar as this describes the dissenters' desire to return power to their own parliament and to ensure that their vote matters as much as it should, it is an accurate term. Outside of that, however, it is a slur, and a damnable one at that. George Orwell contended that the difference between patriotism and nationalism was that patriotism involved "devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people," while nationalism "is inseparable from the desire for power." By this definition at least, Britain's decision to extricate itself from the EU was patriotic, not nationalistic. Indeed, if there is any group within the debate that seeks to impose "a particular way of life . . . on other people," it is the one that wants ever-closer integration into Europe, and, eventually, a federal super-state.
- Charles C.W. Cooke, 'The Brexit Vote Was Just the Beginning.'
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437082/brexit-uk-eu-referendum-vote-beginning
True Story from a guy at work.
My wife and I went into town and visited a shop. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and I said, "Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?" He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a "butt-head." He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn-out tires. So Sherry (my wife) called him an "idiot." He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing more tickets.This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote. He finally finished, sneered at us and walked away. Just then our bus arrived, and we got on it and went home. We always look for cars with Hillary 2016 stickers.Well, he says it is true.
June 23, 2016
Brexit at Tiffany's
I'm feeling for my anarchist friends today. (And they'll tell you how rare that is.)
The Brexit vote, at 3:49 Mountain) is too close to call. Forty-eight percent are going to be terrifically disappointed with a key aspect of their "social contract" based on popular vote.
UPDATE: A story in Datanami.
UPDATE II: Cool look at the signing party on our corporate site.
And then there's this...
Point - Counterpoint
I'm not saying we're polarized as a nation or anything. But
Two spaces down:
June 22, 2016
All Hail Lord Ridley!
He's a Brexit fan:
In voting Thursday on whether to leave the European Union, the British people face perhaps the most momentous decision since Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century so he could marry as he pleased. Though lust is not the motivation this time, there are other similarities. The Catholic Church five centuries ago was run by an unelected supranational elite, answerable to its own courts, living in luxury at the expense of ordinary people, and with powers to impose its one-size-fits-all rules despite the wishes of national governments. We were right to leave. -- Matt Ridley
Honorable mention (same column):
UPDATE: Then, you might enjoy the photo over Taranto's BOTW today:
June 21, 2016
Elevator Talk on Guns
The cavernous divide between Americans on Guns is startling. On many contentious issues, I suggest people understand the other side's position. They certainly do not accept it, and may likely not admit it, but in disagreements over gay rights and even abortion, down very deep, most interlocutors know the other side's arguments on some level.
On guns, I am startled that this is not the case. As a late-life convert to Second Amendment rights, maybe I can look across the divide one way. Guns are scary, and wishing a world without them is illogical but understandable. (My elevator talk on that aspect is "Yeah, we tried that. It's called the Middle Ages. The biggest meanest guy gets everything he wants.")
But on #commonsensegunregulation which 90% of Americans want if only the #meanoldNRA would let them have it, I have a new spiel. It's consequentialist and may not go over well here, but here's tryin'. Plus I'm certain my more knowledgeable peers can tighten the technical arguments as well.
Despite what the "do something" politicians say there's no low hanging fruity on gun legislation.
June 19, 2016
Happy Father's Day!
The song, Belle Isle Streetcar Line, was written for my Mom. That's her voice requesting it. Dad died a few months after this was recorded and I am pretty happy to have this footage. I had just purchased an 8mm camcorder, which seemed wondrous as the time. I brought it down to play with it and captured this.
To them, the length of that hypotenuse had been revealed to be not a number at all. This caused a fuss. The Pythagoreans, you have to remember, were extremely weird. Their philosophy was a chunky stew of things we'd now call mathematics, things we'd now call religion, and things we'd now call mental illness. They believed that odd numbers were good and even numbers evil; that a planet identical to our own, the Antichthon, lay on the other side of the sun; and that it was wrong to eat beans, by some accounts because they were the repository of dead people's souls.I shall not solicit their opinion in the Tau vs. Pi debate. The quote is from Jordan Ellenberg's How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, recommended to me by a fellow named Bill Gates. Well, he did not text me, but I saw it was included on his Five Books to Read this Summer. And, it's a pop-math book: what could possibly go wrong?
I'm not sure about the title -- and, to be fair, Ellenberg takes a couple self-deprecating whacks at it. The whole book is a clarion call to use rigorous, structured mathematical thinking and reasoning in everyday problems. Many interesting historical math characters are trotted out, as are several fun facts. There is not enough math to chase anyone off; anyone could make it through. And yet there is enough depth to keep a geek immersed. That is the hardest part of a math/science book for public consumption, and he does better than most.
For example, there is a topological solution to picking every pair in a Powerball-style lottery that went over my head, but it did not despoil the interesting chapter on the MIT kids who would buy all pairs in the Massachusetts Lottery on certain conditions. (I just scared off three readers and sent three to buy it, but the book is completely accessible.)
The largest swath is devoted to debunking the misuse of statistics. If the TV news intones that a new study shows that watermelon cures dandruff or whatever, he offers good reasons for skepticism which has nothing to do with scientific or journalistic malfeasance.
You can do linear regression without thinking about whether the phenomenon you're modeling is actually close to linear. But you shouldn't. I said linear regression was like a screwdriver, and that's true; but in another sense, it's more like a table saw. If you use it without paying careful attention to what you're doing, the results can be gruesome.
It was once said of Colorado Governor Dick Lamm that if he encountered a baby born weighing seven pounds, and the little tyke grew to 14, Lamm would become upset that in the year 2040 the child will weigh a million tons! Ellenberg raps prestigious journals for the same thinking:
The Long Beach Press-Telegram went with the simple headline "We're Getting Fatter." The study's results resonated with the latest manifestation of the fevered, ever-shifting anxiety with which Americans have always contemplated our national moral status. Before I was born, boys grew long hair and thus we were bound to get whipped by the Communists. When I was a kid, we played arcade games too much, which left us doomed to be outcompeted by the industrious Japanese. Now we eat too much fast food, and we're all going to die weak and immobile, surrounded by empty chicken buckets, puddled into the couches from which we long ago became unable to hoist ourselves. The paper certified this anxiety as a fact proved by science.
Without using the term "common-core," he looks into different methods and teaching styles. A student of his that writes down a stupid answer "The Horse weighs -100 grams." with an annotation that the answer is stupid will get partial credit. One who provides only the stupid answer gets zero.
In fact, I'm not radical at all. Dissatisfying as it may be to partisans, I think we have to teach a mathematics that values precise answers but also intelligent approximation, that demands the ability to deploy existing algorithms fluently but also the horse sense to work things out on the fly, that mixes rigidity with a sense of play. If we don't, we're not really teaching mathematics at all.
On Review Corner even math books get graded on politics. I'd call him pretty middle of the road. For an academic, that is certainly a bruising right-wing neocon! He generally picks out Republicans to be the butt of a joke, but he always follows up with "Democrats do it too." Again, for an academic, I'm scoring that as "fair."
The Washington Post graded the Romney campaign's 92.3% figure as "true but false." That classification drew mockery by Romney supporters, but I think it's just right, and has something deep to say about the use of numbers in politics. There's no question about the accuracy of the number. You divide the net jobs lost by women by the net jobs lost, and you get 92.3%. But that makes the claim "true" only in a very weak sense.
And, one of my favorite, just how frequently improbable events happen in a nation of 300 million. People win the lottery all the time, get struck by lightening, bit by sharks, die of bee stings...
If a random Internet stranger who eliminated all North American grains from his food intake reports that he dropped fifteen pounds and his eczema went away, you shouldn't take that as powerful evidence in favor of the maize-free plan. Somebody's selling a book about that plan, and thousands of people bought that book and tried it, and the odds are very good that, by chance alone, one among them will experience some weight loss and clear skin the next week. And that's the guy who's going to log in as saygoodbye2corn452 and post his excited testimonial, while the people for whom the diet failed stay silent.
As the cleverer among you have inferred from the quotes, Ellenberg has a clever wit and a folksy attachment to Math. He decries those who leave the field when they see they're not the best, he provides lovable tales of odd mathematicians but underscores that they're outliers.
It's a pleasant and informative read. I do not mean to suggest that because it is easy it does not have much to offer even those with a good feel for statistics and probability. Even the chapter subheads are good "ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT'S ME, BAYESIAN INFERENCE"
June 17, 2016
Email Subhead of the Week
I guess they got this week covered...
Nice Work if You can get it
An interesting comment on the Orlando shooter from Jim Geraghty[subscribe]:
How many security guards do you know who go on ten-day and eight-day overseas vacations?Mateen's first trip to Saudi Arabia was for 10 days, and the jaunt a year later was for eight. The 2011 trip was arranged by U.S.-based Islamic travel agency Dar El Salam and was a package the company calls the "Sacred Caravan Umrah."
All Hail Taranto!
I don't know if y'all are familiar with James Taranto's "Bye-kus," but every candidate gets one when they bow out. He frets that today's might not be warranted by Sen. Sanders's ambiguous announcemnets. But James has penned a true masterpiece:
I'm on Amazon!
Fer NED's sake -- don't buy one! I have a few paperbacks lying around and they have promised me several codes for free Kindle downloads.
UPDATE: Amazon's preview.
June 16, 2016
I'm difficult to offend
Remember when Gov. Palin was held responsible for the shooting of Rep. Giffords because she had drawn a map of Tucson with Proofreaders' marks? Good times!
Not That There's Anything Wrong with That...
I have been talking about acquiring a Colorado Concealed Carry Permit for some time. My cousin is also interested. I got a nice compact Sig Sauer .380 for my birthday, ran into my cousin, and it is all systems go after a year of talking about it (I was the limiting reagent).
But I read about the most admirable surge in Gays' arming themselves. My grooming is clearly not up to par for me to be mistaken, but my cousin, I dunno...
Otequay of the Ayday
In the fantasyland of modern progressive politics, if a boy identifies as a girl, then he's a girl. But if a gay Muslim registered Democrat identifies as a martyr for the Islamic State, he's still a Republican.
The Federalist's Sean Davis - The New York Times Can't Figure Out the Orlando Terrorist's Motive
Not a winning issue in Colorado
Yeah an online poll. But methinks
June 15, 2016
Extinctified -- by your SUV!
Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef's only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location.
Tiresome on stilts. We cannot truly pin down what portion of the small warming is outside of spec, what part of sea-level is apportioned to temperature. And -- I am not a biologist, but there is no way I accept certainty that this loss can be pinned on sea level rise.
I know you're already looking forward to Review Corner, just 'cause. But Sunday's How Not to be Wrong is a dive into misuse of statistics and faulty conclusions. I think The Guardian hit the trifecta on fallacies.
June 14, 2016
Colorado GOP Senate Primary
Brother jg beat me to the punch. Again.
Yet I post because I have a graphic and wish to appeal to the USA Today audience:
I chose [insert dramatic pause here...] Jack Graham! Or, as I like to call him "Jack from Central Casting." Dude seriously looks like a Senator.
On a more serious note, I was a fan of Ryan Frasier going in and he is still my second choice. Darryl Glenn a solid third and I do appreciate his route to the ballot. But I watched a couple of televised debates, and Jack Graham won me over:
First, at the end of a televised debate, the final question was whether they would seek legislation to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. The first four tried to outdo each other in a brutal display of sanctimonious less-gayer-than-thou-dom. Going fifth, Graham said "No. It is a human right and it was properly decided." We might disagree 'round here. But that was in front of a live Colorado GOP Primary Debate audience. Ballsy as hell, Jack -- ballsy as hell!
That got me "leaning." In the second (Channel 12 alt-PBS), he solidly built on that. He has no truck on social issues, and he seems hesitant to pander. I think both would sell in a general and his equanimity would be a benefit in a Trump year.
UPDATE: And because, horsies:
GOP senate contenders chime in
Hats off to KHOW's Ross Kaminsky (formerly RossPutin) for getting this ball rolling.
He got all six to answer 18 questions. See the results here.
I think I still like Mr. Keyser, not just b/c he's first. Other votes?
June 13, 2016
Women, Artists, Gays... Who Ya Gonna Call?
If I may attempt to return the focus, away from guns, gays and "Islam is not to blame" back to where it belongs, i.e. Trump v. Clinton, I will at least do it in the context of current events.
Milo Yiannopolous sez:
The Christian Right may not be totally down with homos, and Trump may say things that hurt our delicate feelings, but they aren't going to kill us or put us in camps. Only Islam would do that -- the same Islam that, bizarrely, now stands at the top of the left's hierarchy of victimhood.
And the leading spokesperson for that leftist hierarchy, seeking to grab the baton from a gasping President Obama, is Hillary:
Brother Bryan Speaking Tonight!
See ya there.
Quote of the Day
Not surprisingly, strong emotional reactions to a recent tragedy exacerbate these and other biases, and make us even less objective in our thinking than we would be otherwise. If your reaction to the Orlando attack is a strong emotional feeling that it reinforces whatever you previously believed about terrorism, radical Islamism, gun control, or immigration, there is a strong chance that you are engaging in confirmation bias rather than objectively considering the evidence. That does not mean your reaction is automatically wrong. But it does mean you should not have too much confidence in its reliability as a guide to policy. -- Ilya SominA-freaking-men.
June 12, 2016
I Shouted Out "Who Killed the Kennedys?"
Both my siblings speak English, are college-educated, and are the most productive time in their lives. If they waited 12 years to become legal immigrants, after their applications were eventually al proved in 2028 or later, they would already have passed their prim The same visa bulletin shows that someone immigrating from Mexico has to wait 18 years to bring his siblings over, and for a Filipino, the wait is even longer -- 23 years.I've had the pleasure of meeting Helen Raleigh a few times. She has spoken at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons (LORT-F) and we have many friends in common. Her "Confucius Never Said" got five stars in Review Corner, and if you click through you can see video of her talk at LOTR-F.
"Confucius Never Said" is autobiographical and philosophical in that she loves and understands liberty and has seen the consequences of its deprivation. When I heard she had written a book on immigration, I was concerned. I had mis-heard or misconstrued some statements of hers and thought she was a restrictionist in the mold of a Michelle Malkin: "I endured the process and came legally, you can too!"
Instead, let me make a picture worth 1000 words (considering my typing, a very good bargain). I bought the paperback before the Kindle version came out. I cannot highlight in a real book, so I put in flags for later scanning. I use a blue one for quotes I enjoy and agree with . . . and I use Red for substantive disagreements or perceived flaws. Here's both the attractive cover, and visual representation of the proportions:
The Broken Welcome Mat: America's UnAmerican Immigration Policy and How We Should Fix It is a splendid piece of scholarship. Immigration's being a hot-button issue has resulted in many works which are based on the author's opinion and a few cherry-picked facts to support it. Raleigh starts with the founders' intent and documents significant legislation throughout the nation's history, describing both causes and effects.
Jefferson reminded Congress of the unique role America plays by asking, "Shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe?" While he advocated for America's role as the sanctuary for humanity, Jefferson didn't support open borders.
Raleigh also catches a "Bootleggers & Baptists" alliance between organized labor and nativists, which I'd suggest extends to today:
But to the anti-Chinese immigrant crowd, especially the labor unions, the Page Act of 1875 didn't go far enough. The Knights of Labor led the cry: "The Chinese must go!" Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, claimed "the superior whites had to exclude the inferior Asiatics, by law, or if necessary by force of arms."112 The labor unions pushed the U.S. government to do more. Since the U.S. economy during the second half of the 19th century was dominated by manufacturers and railroads, organized laborers from these industries were powerful political forces that many politicians were only too happy to appease.
Arriving at the present, Raleigh takes a sober look at where we stand and attempts a pragmatic path forward. While it is not exactly the path I would choose, she addresses the things which I feel to be both true and important. It helps that she -- in the style of David Mamet [Review Corner]'s Rabbi -- demonstrates her appreciation for other sides in the debate:
Libertarians are for open borders, which is the only immigration policy they believe isn't in violation of individual rights and property rights. Here, they borrow the classical property right definition of John Locke, who famously said, "Every man has a property in his own person."273 Thus, they see individuals as having the freedom to travel, to take their bodies to wherever they desire. Libertarians do not see illegal immigration as a problem. On the contrary, they see laws restricting immigration by quota and punishing employers for hiring illegal immigrants as a problem.
She is equally generous with her restrictionist friends, but claims the middle ground for herself in the Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan school:
Their thinking is best represented by President Reagan, who said,Illegal immigrants in considerable numbers have become productive members of our society and are a basic part of our work force. Those who have established equities in the United States should be recognized and accorded legal status. At the same time, in so doing, we must not encourage illegal immigration.274
She examines the immigration policies of other nations, and finds that a couple other members on the Anglosphere to be doing it a little better.
It is time for the U.S. to adopt a merit-based immigration system, similar to what Canada and Australia have. We shouldn't do away with family-based immigration and immigration on humanitarian need, but we should emphasize skill-based immigration by dedicating at least 50% of the annual immigration visa quota to skill-based immigrants (instead of the current 20%).
Her focus is on facilitating immigration of needed workers regulated by market demand and also attracting highly skilled workers. She speaks to augmented enforcement (funny I didn't highlight and scan those parts...) but I appreciate that she clearly ses the importance in fixing legal immigration as apart of slowing or stopping the other.
Importantly, she clearly demonstrates the flaw in the "get in line!" argument. For all intents and purposes, there is no line. There is a jumbled and mixed up lottery for certain workers, a short road for family reunification in some countries, but generational waits from others, different statuses for "asylum seekers" and "refugees" (did anyone inform Tom Petty?) And all these disparate parts are glued together by an inefficient and frequently corrupt bureaucracies in both the US and home country. What could possibly go wrong?
So . . . what got he dreaded red flag? (Even the greatest books usually get more than one.) I found this jewel as a point of disagreement:
Is E-Verify an effective tool to deter the hiring of illegal immigrants? We can look to Arizona for a successful case study. According to a Pew Research study, Arizona's illegal immigrant population grew almost fivefold between 1990 and 2005, to about 450,000. But the inflow began to reverse in 2008 after Arizona required that all employers, public or private, use the E-Verify system. Between 2007 and 2012, Arizona's population of illegal immigrants dropped by 40%. Based on Arizona's experience, I suggest our nation make E-Verify mandatory for all employers nationwide.
Or rights grounds, I must say no: de facto government permission required to get a job? She knows the dark side of government too well to suggest that's being a good idea. On consequentialist grounds, I must say no. Between 2007 and 2012 inflow reversed? Hmm, I am trying to think of some other event in that time frame which might have impacted immigration. Oh, yes, the Panic of '08 and the complete, total 100% crashing of the economy. That's it! Pardon the flippancy, but all Mexican immigration headed toward net zero -- some say negative -- in this time period. The Mexican economy improved, ours worsened. I am not ready to credit BigBrother.
But that is one itty bitty red flag. The book is a masterpiece! Five stars and a fulsome recommendation. It is even out in Kindle now. Go buy it!
The Real Racists: PC-Worshipping Republicans
For many weeks during the primary I defended Donald Trump's (choose one: lame-brained, idiotic, myopic, stupid, or maybe just misunderstood, distorted, poorly explained) statements because a) I respected the passion and sincerity of the blue-collar movement that propelled him and b) I believed I could see a respectable (read: rational self-interest) point of view in most everything he said. I have largely been quiet since he achieved presumptive nominee status. "My blog brothers are tired of my excuse-making" thought I.
This morning I read Steven Moore's "The Stupid Party Keeps Getting Stupider." It explains exactly why I believe Republican "thought" leaders - Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush - the crowd we, or at least I, hoped to see defeated and discredited and lose in the primary - which they were, and did - have been backing the bus over their standard bearer at every opportunity. Why? Because, as Moore opens, "The Republican braintrust knows only how to appease the left."
They seemed to be saying: see how racially progressive I am. I just denounced Donald Trump. He's the Republican racist, not me. That's statesmanship for you.
And this is I think the single biggest reason for the Trump phenomenon. American voters, be they Republicans, Democrats, or unaffiliateds, are sick and tired of watching politicians from both parties slavishly serve the politically correct version of racial ettiquette. Trump talks about race in a way that no other politician does - the same way that most voters talk about it, or at least think about it. Without varnish. Without blinders. Recognizing that it is used as a political tool to disadvantage whites so that others can be "lifted up" but - hasn't anybody noticed - there is no lifting up!
Moore offers a playbook for Republicans to blitz up the middle to the goal line:
Instead, why don't Republicans ever try to seize the offensive on the race card? Want to divide and conquer the left? Take a school choice agenda into the inner city and tell poor minority parents that the GOP is offering their kids better schools? Promise to bring safety, jobs, and development to their neighborhoods. Promise to stop putting young inner city blacks in jail for drug use.
Apparently it does, if your name is Romney, McConnell or Paul.
June 11, 2016
Feel-gooders vs. Do-gooders
Truth: "McDonald's Restaurants Are America's Real Community Centers
The kale-and-quinoa set love to vilify McDonald's as a bane of the poor. McFood causes obesity and chronic disease. McBosses pay low wages, and, when workers "fight for fifteen," they villainously respond by replacing them with computerized kiosks for taking customer orders.
Click through to read the whole Guardian article. It is superb. A bit of "Wah Wah, income equality," but it is the Guardian and -- to be fair -- it is germane: "When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other." And an Egg McMuffin. I'm getting a little hungry typing...
June 10, 2016
Quote of the Day
[President Obama] doesn't sound all that hot, though. In that regard, the video [endorsing Sec. Clinton] reminds us of a Barry Goldwater campaign ad from 1964, featuring Ronald Reagan. "I ask to speak to you because I'm mad," the future California governor and president tells the camera. "I've known Barry Goldwater for a long time. When I hear people say he's impulsive and such nonsense, I boil over."
UPDATE: Honorable mention, a few paragraphs down:
Another Sanders backer, 24-year-old Deonte Smith, says: "I would vote for Mickey Mouse before I pick Trump or Hillary." Bill Kristol, are you listening? Mr. Mouse has excellent name recognition and is very popular with denizens of Main Street USA.
June 9, 2016
Not just along for the ride
No particular reason. Just a damn good story.
Too much time on my hands:
The Party of Bernie
Hope you're all feeling all historic and shit this week!
Sorry for the coarse language, but I can't get into it. I actually did harbor some excitement about Barack Obama. Tough I supported Sen, McCain, I was happy when this great nation elected an African-American. I don't have a whiff of that with Clinton. Not one whiff.
Dan Henninger says it doesn't matter
The real claim to Democratic Party history belongs to Bernie Sanders. Sen. Sanders has recentered the Democrats, once and for all, as a party of the political left. He has reimagined the Democrats--almost with the force of his personality--as a party of the state, of government and of redistribution. Period.
Like the populists woken by Donald Trump, this wing of the party was always there. Sen. Sanders showed them they could win. Or, they could have, were there no superdelegates.
June 8, 2016
Bloody Inconvenient, that!
Huh? What? An inconsistency or factual anomaly in VP Gore's Oscar-winning film?
One of the evidences used by Al Gore in his Oscar winning and vacuous work An Inconvenient Truth is the shrinking Lake Chad. Gore shows a series of four images of Lake Chad on page 116 of his book. The pictures show the lake shrinking from about 25,000 square kilometers in 1963 to about 1,500 square kilometers in 2001. While largely debunked here and elsewhere it is has been a used canary of climate change by others pushing the narrative
That 1897 Land Rover SUV emitted an unholy amount of hydrocarbons.
June 7, 2016
Quote of the Day
Maybe quote of the primary season:
This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization -- incredibly -- conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it's only fitting that their nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward and undemocratic sputter. -- Noted Right Wing Nutjob Glenn Greenwald
Hat-tip: Blog Friend Sugarchuck on Facebook
Not a smidgen
None dare call it corruption. No, wait, I do! A private company's IT staff would be crucified.
Investigators at the Internal Revenue Service are looking to agency employees as the reason thousands of emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner were lost, and the agency's watchdog said today their actions were a mistake.
Oh. Well, allright then. I guess everything is tickety-boo.
June 6, 2016
The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua
Clearly, the 13th Amendment, like all Amendments is subject to reasonable, local and state regulation. I think that's what Sec. Clinton is trying to say here.
Acute vs. Chronic Harm
ThreeSourcers are familiar with the fact that concentrated interests, i.e. special interest lobbying groups, have an advantage when lobbying government over diffuse interests, i.e. individual taxpayers. A similar inequality [yes, I admit the gratuitous use of a leftist dog whistle term - anyone think it will prompt the righteous indignation that is due? - me neither] exists in the harm done to commerce by government.
Americans for Prosperity's Brent Gardner writes in a WSJ piece that multinational corporations are well situated to demand and receive special treatment from government. On one hand I support such behavior, on the grounds that government should not be taxing corporations in the first place. But government should not be taxing mom and pop businesses either, and they have less leverage to fight the (equal) injustice.
To coin a phrase, the harm to a large company is often acute where the harm to thousands of small companies is chronic. Large companies are often unable to pursue a particular market without these special carve outs. Not only can they do something about it, they have the accounting and business development wherewithal to be aware of it in the first place. Many entrepreneurs simply wonder why its so hard to keep the doors open. One large hint: Taxation.
But the villain in this story is not multinational corporations, nor any large business. It is the government who favors them in naked surrender to the power of their concentrated interest. Gardner:
If state and local lawmakers are truly interested in spurring job creation and economic growth, they have better options than handing out taxpayer money to a lucky few.
Readers will note that the entire excerpt starts with the word "if."
Smug Neil deGrasse Tyson takes on übersmug anti-vaxxer Bill Maher:
From the "life imitates Three Sources" department...
Almost 80 percent of Swiss voters rejected a guaranteed monthly income Sunday.
They dropped it like it's hawt.
But the majority of Switzerland doesn't buy this argument and are instead wary of the idea, believing it would cripple the Swiss economy by eliminating all motivation to work.
And we thought it was complicated. It isn't.
Eighty percent! Eight. Zero.
Quote of the Day
Reason.com suggests Clinton's foreign polict is bad but Trump's is worse. I'm not prepared to accept or deny that premise but found the facebook lead-in QOTD-worthy:.
If you needed a major operation, would you choose a surgeon with a haughty manner and a checkered past who loses more than the usual number of patients? Or would you trust the job to a taxidermist?
June 5, 2016
[Lady Ada Lovelace]'s ability to appreciate the beauty of mathematics is a gift that eludes many people, including some who think of themselves as intellectual. She realized that math was a lovely language, one that describes the harmonies of the universe and can be poetic at times. Despite her mother's efforts, she remained her father's daughter, with a poetic sensibility that allowed her to view an equation as a brushstroke that painted an aspect of nature's physical splendor, just as she could visualize the "wine-dark sea" or a woman who "walks in beauty, like the night." But math's appeal went even deeper; it was spiritual. Math "constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world," she saidA new friend lent me a book. He mentioned that he had just finished The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson. I had enjoyed his biography of Steve Jobs, though it somehow escaped a Review Corner. And it was free.
Isaacson goes from the specific case of Steve Jobs to the general case of who brought us computers, transistors, integrated circuits, networks, software, the Internet -- all the digital goodies we enjoy today. He starts with Charles Babbage and Ada and proceeds, for 560 pages, through many well known and innovators -- and quite a few I had never heard of.
Had they [used vacuum tubes rather than mechanical switches] right away, they would have gone down in history as the first inventors of a working modern computer: binary, electronic, and programmable. But [Konrad] Zuse, as well as the experts he consulted at the technical school, balked at the expense of building a device with close to two thousand vacuum tubes.
It is a well written and enjoyable book. Isaacson includes just enough anecdotal information to keep it personal, while advancing the story through the many innovations and innovators required to make Review Corner extant.
"You know, Bill," Allen warned him, "when you get to Harvard, there are going to be some people a lot better in math than you are." "No way," Gates replied. "There's no way!"
A recurring theme for Isaacson -- and great interest of mine -- is the intersection of technology and art. Ada Lovelace opens and closes the book as the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, with her ability to see computing 's encompassing more than spreadsheets.
Ada Lovelace would have been pleased. To the extent that we are permitted to surmise the thoughts of someone who's been dead for more than 150 years, we can imagine her writing a proud letter boasting about her intuition that calculating devices would someday become general-purpose computers, beautiful machines that can not only manipulate numbers but make music and process words and "combine together general symbols in successions of unlimited variety."
There's precious little politics. A throwaway line "That was back when state governments valued education and realized the economic and social value of making it affordable" gives away the author's media background, but I am tough. He defends government spending on R & D, and even bravely goes into the breach to defend vice President Al Gore's legitimate claims in promoting the Internet.
I, however, am going to impute some philosophy on top. I started this right before I finished Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Equality [Review Corner] and this is what it is all about. Ada is born in England in 1815 and the computing section of The Great Enrichment proceeds apace. At the risk of mixing reviews, I'm not asking "Is Isaacson right?" but "Is McCloskey right?" And I suggest it supports her.
Many of the players are Jewish or German, and while wartime R&D spending advances many projects, many of the brightest minds are shut out. McCloskey pictures the next Einstein or Steve Jobs stuck to some plow in Africa. What about those not allowed to compete at all. The world almost lost Andy Grove. Twice.
Grove, born Andras Grof in Budapest, did not come from a madrigal-singing Congregationalist background. He grew up Jewish in Central Europe as fascism was rising, learning brutal lessons about authority and power. When he was eight, the Nazis took over Hungary; his father was sent to a concentration camp, and Andras and his mother were forced to move into a special cramped apartment for Jews. When he went outside, he had to wear a yellow Star of David. One day when he got sick, his mother was able to convince a non-Jewish friend to bring some ingredients for soup, which led to the arrest of both his mother and the friend. After she was released, she and Andras assumed false identities while friends sheltered them. The family was reunited after the war, but then the communists took over. Grove decided, at age twenty, to flee across the border to Austria. As he wrote in his memoir, Swimming Across, "By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis' Final Solution, the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint."35 It wasn't like mowing lawns and singing in a small-town Iowa choir, and it did not instill genial mellowness.
Linus Torvalds was able to contribute -- outside of the capitalist mode -- but still requiring McCloskey's Bourgeois Deal:"
I also wanted feedback (okay, and praise). It didn't make sense to charge people who could potentially help improve my work. I suppose I would have approached it differently if I had not been raised in Finland, where anyone exhibiting the slightest sign of greediness is viewed with suspicion, if not envy And yes, I undoubtedly would have approached the whole no-money thing a lot differently if I had not been brought up under the influence of a diehard academic grandfather and a diehard communist father.
Likewise, I'd admit it supports McCloskey's (and Adam Smith's) tolerance of less-than perfect liberty. Advances come from all over the (bourgeois) world: from governments, garages, large outfits like Bell Labs. Isaacson has plenty of data to support government research funding. I still believe in optimising innovation, but there is no magic bullet that fosters or overly impedes human reaching.
This innovation will come from people who are able to link beauty to engineering, humanity to technology, and poetry to processors. In other words, it will come from the spiritual heirs of Ada Lovelace, creators who can flourish where the arts intersect with the sciences and who have a rebellious sense of wonder that opens them to the beauty of both.
Four-point five stars.
June 2, 2016
Question Models' Authority
Feel free to read the headline in your best Eric Cartman voice.
Megan McArdle compares climate models to econometrics models. Very similar -- except one has been abandoned and one is accepted as gospel, capital-T truth.
They could make some pretty good guesses from that data, but when you built a model based on those guesses, it didn't work. So economists tweaked the models, and they still didn't work. More tweaking, more not working.
McArdle links to a nine part series on Coyote Blog and compliments its seriousness and measured tone. I would say teh same for her piece.
June 1, 2016
Be Like Jeff!
I got into a Facebook spat (Moi?) with a brilliant and liberty loving friend about an Elon Musk meme. The meme ended with "Be like Elon."
I failed to convince her that the subsidies given Musk's companies are fundamentally different in direction and amplitude from others. "GM gets $3.8 Billion" retorts a link. That's 200 a car and wrapped in deep accounting voodoo sez me.against an out and out 7500 bribe to each purchaser -- plus a bunch of extra voodoo.
I don't think I won, but I went for the fabled last word today with a link to this:
Be like Jeff.
Quote of the Day
This blog's problem? Not enough Lileks lately. Mandatory composting comes to Minneapolis:
Except . . . I don't know what they do with lawn waste. We have new bins now for composting, which suggests the old lawn waste is probably fed to a compactor, turned into incredibly dense cubes, shipped to China and thrown down a bottomless well. I don't know. As for the composting bin, so far we've composted exactly Zero Molecules, because I don't have a bin under the sink to dump my Organics. There isn't any room for the bin. In a recent work meeting when the subject came up, a co-worker said she had a pail on the counter where the organics went, and I was incredulous: you have a bucket of rotten vegetables on your counter?
Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll @ Insty