June 30, 2016

Headline of the Day

Donald Trump Faces Rocky Terrain in Colorado

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"

2016 Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 7:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law--but only when it was challenged.


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

There’s a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called "Controversial Opinion." The rules are simple: Don't talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to "argue"-- only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from "I think James Bond movies are overrated" to "I think Donald Trump would make a excellent president."


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.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

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 Harsanyi
Likely a "whole thing read;" even Democrats noticed.

June 28, 2016

Darryl Glenn

Okay losing this one. Congrats to Commissioner Glenn.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I was glad to see that the margin was not close. We have enough disunity in the party as it is.

Also of note, State Assembly phenom Cassandra Vargas did not fare as well amongst the general Republican electorate. An interesting contrast to the Assembly result, where Vargas was within 18 votes of knocking Lamborn off the primary ballot entirely.

So you tell me, which is more "conservative" the Colorado GOP leaders, or the statewide Republican electorate? One possible explanation is that Lamborn won on incumbency and name recognition, but that certainly isn't the whole story.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2016 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's the story with the Vargas/Lamborn result.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2016 3:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I like Glenn; I hope he turns his rhetorical guns on Senator rubber-stamp, stays focused on economics and stays positive! Anybody remember how Gardner ran such an effective, positive campaign? Here's one idea:

From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

I'd substitute "time to time" with "everyday on NPR"

and in other excellent news, the disreputable Gordon Klingenschmitt was drummed out.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 2, 2016 12:05 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Xtra credit for those who recognize the quote's origin.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 2, 2016 12:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I like it, nb! But I can't name the source. My first thoughts were Lincoln or Kennedy.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2016 12:48 PM

All Hail Taranto!

taranto160628.gif

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

'es a 'oss!

Nigel Farage, being hosslike (and having some kind words about Mister Trump).

Europe Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

And, yes, cutting better trade deals - something that Clinton joins the NeverTrumpers in painting as an unthinkable nightmare.

Sorry, does nobody recall how President Bill Clinton renegotiated a major trade treaty?

Bubba took office in 1993 with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, already a done deal. But Democratic special interests - unions, the green lobby - didn't like it, so he made more concessions to Mexico and Canada in order get major "labor and environmental side accords" added on.

Trump can similarly open up President Obama's Trans-Pacific trade deal - this time dumping items that Obama inserted to please his favored special interests in order to get a deal that's better for American workers and businesses.

There's no reason Trump can't (eventually) do the same on NAFTA and other standing deals. And none of it risks a trade war.

How much good it'll do, I can't say - I put more faith in the rest of his pro-growth program, particularly the energy policies.

But tens of millions of voters see trade as a huge issue, one where the establishment has ignored their perfectly valid concerns for a generation - when it hasn't smugly dismissed them as ignorant.

Yes, Trump can get harsh when he's talking trade (and other issues). But how else does he show he means it?

Mitt Romney made tough noises on trade with China (and on immigration, too). Nobody believed him, because he was so plainly a guy who would wilt under establishment pressure.

Fine, I wince at some point whenever I watch Trump. But I've been wincing at every Republican nominee since Reagan; every one of them still got my vote.

And if you look at Trump's actual program, he's not even close to being off the GOP reservation - he's just opened the door to Americans who've quite rightly been feeling left out.

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.

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.
On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

Straight Outta Europe

Love this:

straight_outta_europe.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Not that there's anything particularly for which to blame the "Polish" but it rhymes with "police."

And then there's our very own brother Keith who posted on fakebook,

"IN 1776, the American Colonies declared their independence; 240 years later, England follows suit. Congratulations, England, and welcome to the club!"

And they didn't even have to waste any tea!

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2016 11:10 AM
But jk thinks:

Quel Horreur!

This threatens the Paris climate change accords!!!

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2016 1:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the link in the previous comment comes this "Yeah, I agree" moment:

"The problem is one of the most serious problems in the world which is climate change because it has the potential to literally destroy all life as we know it and turn this planet into a bare planet like Mars," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg commented that history had shown that politicians didn't always do what they said on the campaign trail once they were elected.

"The real progress has been made at a city level by city governments and the private sector," he said, "I am not so much worried about what any one candidate says, although some things are inexplicable."


UFF da. Inexplicable indeed.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2016 2:38 PM

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.

Sobering.

But johngalt thinks:

Let freedom ring! By a decisive margin,United Kingdom votes to "quit the EU." Take that, Brussels. You and your "common future" and "obligations."

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36615028

One man's ceiling is another man's floor: "Catastrophe" or "Independence Day."

I was not expecting the torch of liberty to ignite in Europe, even in Britain. But our English cousins surprised me. Bravo! My optimism in the human spirit is vindicated. May that brave and determined spirit reappear five months hence, on this side of the pond.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2016 3:08 AM

Big Day!

Released!

SG_facebookpost.jpg

Website

UPDATE: A story in Datanami.

UPDATE II: Cool look at the signing party on our corporate site.


But Terri thinks:

BIG Day!!
Congratulations!

Posted by: Terri at June 23, 2016 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Many thanks, Terri.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2016 5:58 PM

And then there's this...

But jk thinks:

I'm staging a sit-in in my home office today. It's going to be EPIC!!!

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2016 10:21 AM

All Hail Insty!

insty160623.gif


Point - Counterpoint

I'm not saying we're polarized as a nation or anything. But

Point.jpg

Two spaces down:

CounterPoint.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

And their sit in is so important and they are so dedicated to their cause that when the Speaker recessed the house for a couple of weeks, they all went home. Hey gang, you won! You took control of the well of the house! Pwn it! Hold press conferences every day to rub it in that you won!

Unless it was all just a stunt. In that case, go home quietly.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2016 11:15 AM

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):

In a fine speech in 2013, David Cameron, the British prime minister, called for fundamental reform, but this year he settled for far more modest demands in a travesty of a "renegotiation." He has since campaigned for a vote to Remain, making increasingly implausible claims about the wars, depressions and plagues of Egypt that will follow if the world's fifth-biggest economy tries to survive in a world where Norway, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore seem to manage fine.

UPDATE: Then, you might enjoy the photo over Taranto's BOTW today:

DontEUWantMeBaby.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

Snap!

I'm a Brexit fan for the same reason I want to roll back the U.S. federal government in power and scope. #Liberty

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2016 1:55 PM

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.

"Assault Weapons" are distinguished by cosmetic features. Standard hunting rifles are frequently much more lethal than the scary looking guns that are to be regulated. The AR-15 is wildly popular because it is comfortable, lightweight, and customizable. There have been 30 million guns sold on that platform -- not to 30 million serial killers, but 30 million sportsmen, hunters and self defense enthusiasts. I surmise that a lot of Toyotas are used in crimes. It's not a "criminal's car" but a popular car full stop.

Almost all legal sales are subject to background checks. The idea that multiple loopholes can be quickly plugged is simply not true. Private sales are still allowed. In a true story, I sold one and gave one away when I moved. It was to an ex-cop who was a good friend of mine. Trust me, those will not be employed in crime. Should I really have been forced to go to a dealer and pay money to run a background check?

If you want to discuss radially reducing gun owners' rights and access to weapons, fine that is a conversation to have. But do not accept this idea that "commonsense" measures will stop criminals' access and not affect lawful users. Everything that fits that bill has been done.

But johngalt thinks:

It turns out that common sense isn't as common as it used to be. Now it's a different kind of sense that one typically encounters - nonsense.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2016 5:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

There's a bumper sticker I've seen that says: Common Sense is so rare it should be declared a super power!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 22, 2016 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Or.

Perhaps "common sense" is the problem. It is sold on the same rack as "common knowledge:" no proof or reason required. You just know that guns are bad.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2016 9:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I had wanted to include the only Heinlein quote I could find on common sense, and now that brother jk has teed it up:

"I was just trying to show you," he went on, "just how insubstantial a 'common sense' idea can be when you pin it down. Neither 'common sense' nor 'logic' can prove anything. Proof comes from experiment, or to put it another way, from experience, and from nothing else." Chapter 10, "The Method of Science" (p. 105)

From the book 'Rocket Ship Galileo' (1947) which I haven't read. dagny?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2016 1:53 PM
But dagny thinks:

Probably read it. Don't remember it.

Posted by: dagny at June 22, 2016 5:56 PM

June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

My Dad:

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.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

That remains awesome on stilts!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2016 11:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Only more precious with the passage of time. You come by your musical chops naturally my friend.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2016 1:59 PM

Review Corner

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.
[...]
But real-world questions aren't like word problems. A real-world problem is something like "Has the recession and its aftermath been especially bad for women in the workforce, and if so, to what extent is this the result of Obama administration policies?" Your calculator doesn't have a button for this.

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"

Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 17, 2016

Email Subhead of the Week

reason_email.gif

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."

The package costs up to $4,000 and is generally comprised of four nights at four-star accommodations in Mecca and six nights in Medina, complete with buffet meals, sightseeing and religious studies and lectures.


Note his arsenal wasn't exactly cheap, either. How much was this guy making?

Jihad Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wait 'till he gets the bill for his seventy-two virgins.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

"Actually, they're raisins, Saheeb Mateen. Don't worry, many of the Umma make that same mistranslation. You'll laugh about it in a few centuries..."

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2016 3:24 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I have it on good authority that his seventy-two virgins all look like they play for the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line. The bad new for him is, they think he's kinda cute.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 3:34 PM

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:

taranto160617.gif

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

Look Ma!

I'm on Amazon!

SG_amazon.jpg

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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I will buy a copy this weekend. You put in the effort, you deserve to be paid for that effort.

As you can imagine, I've been looking forward to this for some time now -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Nooooo! You are kind, but I did the work as a salaried employee. ("Don't ask me lady, I only work here..."). Not a bad gig, but I promise I get 0% of sales.

My employing firm underwrote this both to propagate some important ideas which redound to our firm's benefit and to show some "thought leadership."

Any money received will be donated to a school we support in Laos. But your kindness would likely ruin somebody's day "Holy Stinkyfish, somebody bought one. What do we do?"

They'll have to figure that out someday soon, but don't let it be your name they curse.

Would you prefer Kindle or paperback?

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2016 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alright, alright. Uncle already. You've done enough arm twisting that I promise not to buy a copy of your new bINO.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2016 6:15 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I think JG and I have sufficiently demonstrated not demanding the unearned. We're both prepared to pay for a book that deserves to be paid for.

So if you're not getting a piece of the action, then I'd guiltlessly accept a Kindle copy, thank you so much.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 6:57 PM

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!

A family member posts this on Facebook:

NRA_Senators.gif

I am truly astonished.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 6:53 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I am cruelly indifferent ... to their hyperbole.

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2016 7:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here's a relevant question: how many of these mass murders were carried out by NRA members? I'm ever so curious.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 2:45 PM

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...

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Did you get the P232, or the P238? Either way, very nice choice. If it's compact, I'm guessing it's the P238. Soon you'll be collecting them like guitars.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 17, 2016 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

This is my first "nice" one. I owned a couple lower-end Rugers and Beretta.

As they were processing my background check, I thought "Man, my blog brothers will be so proud of me for owning a Sig." Then I thought "no they won't, it's a .380."

Two-thirty-eight.

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2016 3:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

S&W M&P.
.40SW. (nearly identical terminal ballistics as .45ACP.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2016 5:07 PM

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 gun-grabbing fascist democrats our friends across the aisle might be overreaching again.

Post_assaut_ban_poll.gif

Vote.

But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I was happy to pile on.

Tell me, Hillary. Would your new ban also apply to licensed security professionals, like the Orlando murderer? The rifle used in this crime was most likely a fully-automatic model. A "machine gun" that is already "banned" from sale to the general public.

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2016 2:43 PM
But AndyN thinks:

The rifle he used is almost definitely not fully automatic. I know reporting on these things is awful, so I'm not assuming that they've correctly identified the model even now, but it looks like he was using a Sig Sauer MCX that he personally bought brand new recently.

Even if they still don't have that information right, you have to know that it's an absolute certainty that if he was using a machine gun, it would be headline news.

More to the point though, if Hillary wants even licensed security professionals to stop carrying autoloaders of any type, she can lead by example and insist that her security detail abandon every weapon they currently use in favor of revolvers.

Posted by: AndyN at June 17, 2016 10:43 AM

June 15, 2016

Extinctified -- by your SUV!

BrambleCayMelomys.jpg

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.

It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.

An expert says this extinction is likely just the tip of the iceberg, with climate change exerting increasing pressures on species everywhere.


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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wait a minute - these scientists were monitoring this population of Bramble Bay melomys, watched on as the ocean rose and killed them all, and did nothing? Nothing other that bitch to the newspapers, I mean?

Did it not occur to these science geniuses (genii?) to round them up and move them? Transport them to some sort of animal conservancy, where they could live out their lives is safety? THEY LEFT THEM TO DROWN?

As I thought in my head as I looked at your picture... "rat. Bastards... Rat bastards!"

Seriously, it didn't occur to any of them to take a couple of them home to save their lives? Is it that much more satisfying to them that they can say they whinged to the Powers That Be to no avail, instead of manning up and doing it themselves?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 15, 2016 2:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:
Pinpointing the extinction (or pseudoextinction) of a species requires a clear definition of that species. If it is to be declared extinct, the species in question must be uniquely distinguishable from any ancestor or daughter species, and from any other closely related species.

What is the uniquely distinguishable characteristic of this "mosaic-tailed rat?" A mosaic pattern on its tail? Come on, man!

As Wikipedia summarizes, isolated extinctions are quite common. And the source article (not linked in the post but available here) agrees, in its closing paragraph:

"Certainly, extinction and climatic change has gone hand in hand throughout the history of the world," he [John White, an ecologist from Deakin University in Australia, who was not involved in the study] said. "So, if this is one of the first, it is more than likely not going to be the last."

To which one should add, ... in the history of the world.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 3:28 PM

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_Voted.jpg

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:

KackGraham.jpg

But johngalt thinks:

If he were half as ballsy about the human right of private citizens to decide whether or not to conduct free trade with other folks exercising their other human rights - well then, we might have a winner.

And: Climate Change. I think that was the issue that earned him my newly minted [ninth comment] rINO label.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 3:13 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I read the answers from the KHOW questionnaire. He's the Dem of the lot. He'd be a ton better than the one we have, but I don't seem him having a chance. I gonna choose the black guy; crossover appeal (and non-Trump'ish), y'know! Establishment/RINO's not gonna cut it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 23, 2016 12:17 AM

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?

But johngalt thinks:

I'm trying to remember what it was that convinced me but I recently called Jack Graham, "the RINO's RINO." I'm beyond disappointed with his answer on the religious baker question: A church shouldn't be compelled to serve gay weddings, but "it's different for private businesses?" Really?

America - Land of the compelled and home of the taxed. Not the kind of leadership I'm voting for.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2016 7:26 PM
But jk thinks:

And I was certain the horsies would sway you.

Not my favorite answer on the "Cake Police" question, but he's in line with Gov. Gary Johnson (THC - NM)*

He was not on my radar, I had heard "RINO" charges; in a possible separate topic, that term is ready for the same retirement Lowell Weicker, Jim Jeffords, and Lincoln Chafee enjoy. It ceased to mean what it meant. As the debate(s) wore on, I saw him providing better answers on trade and speaking from conviction instead of pandering to the base.

Probably not the greatest voice of liberty in my time, but a pragmatic and electable guy whom I am comfortable having him represent me. The other guys are far more firebrandish, but on social issues they plan much greater compulsion than Jack "Bake the Goddam cake already!" Graham.

* ooh, that's a good one!

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 7:55 PM
But jk thinks:

One exception: the term "RINO" may still be employed to reference the Senior Senator from Maine. Maine senators King and Collins back gun sale ban based on terror 'watch lists'

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 7:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"The senior senator from Maine" and, umm, Mitch McConnell?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 11:16 AM
But jk thinks:

"Can't we all get along?"

No sir, that is the exact usage which exasperates me (oh great, he's exasperated now...)

Sen. Collins could run as a Democrat or Republican in most states. She has no dedicated crusades. She's a moderate voice, better than Sen. Boxer. But, like a Jeffords or Chafee, she can change and nobody will say "huh?"

I know you are displeased, exasperated perhaps, with Leader McConnell. I'll sit still while you call him all kinds of names. You may even use coarse language. But he is not a RINO, per se.

Not rock-solid on guns, eh? You read the Wall St. Journal Ed Page or watch Kudlow? There is a broad swath of serious Republicans who favor gun control. (And a DINO or two who don't).

He's a wheeler-dealer who is too willing to trade some items I wish were not on the table. But I hear the Leader and Speaker Ryan called RINOs. It seems to have morphed into "somebody I do not like or agree with" like the lefties calling everyone "fascist."

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2016 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So since being a Democrat means advancing any one or more redistributionist or anti-liberty law or policy, and being a Republican only means wheeling and dealing with Democrats to achieve "progress" in our country, I get it now: It is unfair to apply a "purity test" to Republicans, even if the purity being sought is adherence to the principles of republicanism.

So McConnell (and probably every other senator not named Lee, Cruz, Paul or - hopefully - Glenn) is a rINO, and Jack Graham would be a rINO's rINO.

Fair?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 3:05 PM

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:

But jk thinks:

I owe you an answer on two thoughtful posts concerning the Presidential contest. I am not ducking you. Here's a short one and I will expand in the future.

There is much time but -- at this moment -- Sec. Clinton is strangely attractive because of her corruption. The corporate interests which "own" her will not allow much of the mischief I fear in a Trump Administration.

"But we will lose all our rights!" Yes. Rights are not going to be protected in the next four years either way. I wish to have the largest possible remnant of a nation and economy for the occupant in 2021 or 2025.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. That's a novel way of looking at the situation.

What about the Supreme Court? Are you as sanguine about letting either of them botch the nomination of the next 1-n Justices?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 5:05 PM
But Jk thinks:

I do not trust Mr. Trump to make better picks than Sec. Clinton. I did get good reviews on his list, but he backed off it before the ink was dry. Making good picks -- and, more importantly, defending them -- requires conviction. Of which Trump has a paucity.

Posted by: Jk at June 15, 2016 9:03 PM

Brother Bryan Speaking Tonight!

No, Shameless Promotion of Others.

Bryan_lortf.jpg

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 Somin
A-freaking-men.

June 12, 2016

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Let me be a little more specific: who killed ROBERT Kennedy? What was his religion and nationality, and what was his motivation?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 13, 2016 10:43 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Are you asking about specific Kennedys? Because if you're just wondering about Kennedys in general, I'd have to guess Mr. Jack Daniels probably had a hand in more than his fair share of their deaths.

Posted by: AndyN at June 13, 2016 8:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure either of those is what Mick & Keef had in mind, but I do love ThreSources.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 1:57 PM

Review Corner

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:

BrokenWelcomeMatCover.jpg

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.
[...]
From the founding of our nation until 1875, America operated on an open-border policy. Other than a few requirements for citizenship (i.e. a residency minimum and a demonstration of moral character), there was no immigration law to decide who could or couldn't come to the U.S. and stay. Therefore, the U.S. didn't have an illegal immigration problem.

Things began to change in 1875. The Page Act was the first immigration law in U.S. history to restrict certain groups of people from entering the U.S., including: convicts, women "imported for the purposes of prostitution," and Chinese laborers.


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!

But johngalt thinks:

I am interested in the historical facts of American immigration law so I would love to read this book - in the scope of the timeframe which I have devoted to reading, which is to say, very little.

My offhand comments are,

"Democracy! Screwing up economic markets since 1875."

And, I'll challenge you on your E-Verify arguments. The economy did NOT "complete, total 100% crash." I realize that you exaggerate for effect, but the '08 Recession - caused largely by democratic government distortion of the housing market - was not that severe, nor even the likely cause for diminished economic activity. That ignominious award goes to the redistributory and regulatory administration of one President Barack Obama. The job creators saw a storm on the horizon and battened down the hatches.

Still, Raleigh's cause and effect conclusion about the state of Arizona could still hold up to scrutiny. Do we have any data on the 2007-2012 illegal immigrant population of Arizona's neighboring states without E-Verify?

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2016 7:05 PM

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.

Question: Does anyone believe this strategy will bring a stampede of black and Latino voters into the party? Do they think this will get the media off their back?

(...)

All of this is self-defeating on a thousand levels. First, don't these lame-brained Republicans get it that they hang together or they hang separately? Tearing down Trump will mean thousands of political casualties down ticket. Democrats do get this.

Second, since when do we judge our candidates based on the left's warped criteria? Republicans seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome of seeking the affection of their captors.

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.

The greatest victims of Barack Obama's littany of economic failures have been blacks and Hispanics. Obama's no racist, but the impact of his policies is. Does it really matter that he means well?"

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
Not the Spaces Offered by Paternalistic Do-Gooders"

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.

There is merit to the health critique, but not so for the economic one. But there is one way in which McDonald's provides an inestimable service to the poor. It has gone almost entirely unremarked, until a reporter recently interviewed regulars at a McDonald's in the Bronx. The Guardian's Chris Arnade points out what has been staring us all in the face: that "in many poor and middle-income neighborhoods" "McDonald's have become de-facto community centers... ."


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...

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

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."

Reagan's arms are defensively crossed, but he's still far too genial to convey anger convincingly. It shows why Reagan was a B actor but an A-plus politician. -- James Taranto (All Hail!)

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.

Rein Man: When Turcotte Stood Tall in the Saddle

Horses Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Great story, thanks.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2016 6:22 PM
But dagny thinks:

Anyone that thinks the horse does all the work has never tried it. :-)

Posted by: dagny at June 9, 2016 6:53 PM

Celebrating History

Too much time on my hands:

HRC_notMyCircus.jpg

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.
[...]
The party of Franklin Roosevelt through Lyndon Johnson and its alliance with private-sector industrial unions made Democrats aware that their fortunes ultimately were joined to the success of the private sector.

The Democrats are now the party of Bernie Sanders, the progressive icon Sen. Elizabeth Warren and--make no mistake--of Barack Obama, a man of the left from day one. Rather than distrust the private sector, they disdain and even loathe it.


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.

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

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
[...]
Well over a 100 years old, old news. In Winston Churchill’s book The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, published in 1899 , Churchill specifically mentions Lake Chad. (This can be read for free online .) Following an account of a dust up between British and French forces in the small outpost of Fashoda in the Sudan, Churchill takes some time to describe how Northern and Central Africa was to be divided between the Europeans/Egyptians [...] and even Lake Chad, into which the Shari flows, appears to be leaking through some subterranean exit, and is rapidly changing from a lake into an immense swamp.

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

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) J. Russell George testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and told lawmakers IRS employees erased 422 backup tapes that housed 24,000 emails sent to and from Lerner.

Employees erased the contents of the tapes just a month after IRS officials were told that thousands of Lerner's emails were missing because of a hard drive crash.

In his testimony, George said he "did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or law enforcement."

Additionally, the IRS watchdog noted that it's likely the employees didn't know about a 2013 directive instructing them not to destroy such email backup tapes during the investigation.


Oh. Well, allright then. I guess everything is tickety-boo.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:11 AM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Sorry, I don't think you read the article. It said that they didn't know what was up and there was no evidence that they did anything wrong on purpose. They just happened to delete 422 backup tapes (we do that all the time where I work!). But the article made it quite clear they did nothing wrong.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2016 12:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I echo JG's, especially the first paragraph. Not only do the circumstances allow a reasonable person to infer guilt, but the spoliation all but requires it.

Simply put, either this is the most bizarre chain of accidents, to the point that the entire IRS is inept to the point of being incompetent from top to bottom or, what is more likely, the evidence was destroyed because somebody WANTED it destroyed.

Any private company worth its weight in potato peelings would have moved heaven and earth to preserve the evidence, out of fear of wrath from on high. The fact that the IRS didn't is a strong argument that the guilty actors had reason to believe there would be no repercussions.

I will add one bit of trivia: anyone who's ever been through an audit, or had to deal with a negative finding from the IRS, knows that this is a jurisdiction where the accused has zero presumption of innocence before being found guilty. The IRS needs to be held to its own standard.

Elect me President, and the IRS will be eliminated, all of its employees terminated, and their pensions cancelled. Think of it as the agency and its accomplices paying their debt to society.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 7, 2016 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I cannot pledge through November, but I think you have solved my problem. I will be writing in your name, Keith.

You two are, of course, correct. What an enfeebled press we have that allows this.

TaxProfBlog is up to The IRS Scandal, Day 1125. Linked, dutifully every day on Instapundit. I remember thinking it amusing when they got close to 365. "How long can they possibly...?"

I think we're all old enough to remember Watergate. It became annoying that every frikken' day they would pursue some small lead. WIthout the press push, I don't think anything ever would have happened. This is wrapped up in a pretty bow for any major media outlet. Naah...

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2016 1:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to amend my comment. What I proposed is just a down payment on the IRS paying its debt to society.

I have, if you will, a modest proposal. We have two problems: an outlaw IRS, and a Navy committed to green fuel sources.

When I'm President, I will frogmarch the IRS down to the Navy yard, and each former employee will be escorted to a bench and chained to his or her oar. How many of them do you think it will take to get an aircraft carrier moving at thirty-five knots?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 7, 2016 1:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK is right. Y'all [correction: WE all] are overreacting. I did not read the article before I commented, but I have done so since. There was nothing "wrong" but merely a "mistake" and some things that are "troubling."

We should all remember that government employees are people too, and can make mistakes. Like Spiro Agnew's bribery and tax fraud "errors", the Nixon Administration's Watergate "boo boo", or Ronald Reagan's Iran Contra "hiccup." Nobody should be jailed or even forced to resign their life-long career simply on account of basic human fallibility.

Especially not a Democrat.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2016 2:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Scooter Libby's "indiscretion." Gen. Petraeus's "indelicacy." Oh, how we'll all laugh about these in a few years.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2016 6:47 PM

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.

Gun Rights Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

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.

View image

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.

States could start with eliminating tax carve outs and replacing them with lower-overall tax rates and lighter regulatory burdens. Federal lawmakers could also do their part by lowering America’s highest-in-the-developed-world corporate tax rate. These already proven ideas would help states create a healthy economic climate to attract businesses and investment.

Embracing these policies would protect taxpayers, who should never be forced to fork over their money to companies that include multinational firms with multimillion-dollar profit margins. Consumers and taxpayers will also benefit once a level economic playing field forces businesses to compete with each other based solely on the quality of their products and services.

Readers will note that the entire excerpt starts with the word "if."

But jk thinks:

Richie B's was a house favorite and I am sad to see it go.

From the Erie Facebook page I learned that several vendors had not been paid, and that employees had not received paychecks. Without disputing Gardner's (excellent) editorial or underestimating the burden of taxation on small businesses with strait-out-outta-central-casting authentic New Yorker proprietors, it seems trouble went deep.

The State, with its monopoly on violence, however, gets to be the one to shut you down and lock your doors.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2016 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for making my point: Vendors and employees, who gave something of value to the business have limited recourse when they aren't paid. Contrast that with the State who, when not paid "the Gov'nors share" as they say, seizes your shit and auctions it to pay your taxes due. I s'pose if there's any left over they might divvy it up between the creditors, at pennies on the dollar. But the Gubna comes first.

And my other point- that entrepreneurs like this, even when they DO no how to keep cash flow positive, don't have the spare time and knowledge to calculate just how much better off they could be without government's boot on their neck, and go blackmail government to cut them some slack.

But it's okay, because that same government has an "Office of Economic Development" whose job is to make sure that the money coerced from establishments like Richie's gets doled out to others - in the name of "helping small businesses." Gee, thanks.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2016 6:40 PM

Strange Bedfellows

Smug Neil deGrasse Tyson takes on übersmug anti-vaxxer Bill Maher:

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

Boom!

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.

"If you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing," Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute, told AFP.

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?

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Those are our choices? The PPACAof2010 must have already progressed further than I had feared.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2016 11:23 AM

June 6, 1944

dday.jpg


June 5, 2016

Review Corner

[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 said
A 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!"
"Wait and see," said Allen

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

Eventually it became clear that there was no way to make them work given the current state of knowledge. In some sense the "data" being modeled was not pure economic data, but rather the opinions of the tweaking economists about what was going to happen in the future. It was more efficient just to ask them what they thought was going to happen. People still use models, of course, but only the unflappable true believers place great weight on their predictive ability.

This lesson from economics is essentially what the "lukewarmists" bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects. Because climate scientists, like the macroeconomists, can't run experiments where they test one variable at a time, predictions of feedback effects involve a lot of theory and guesswork. I do not denigrate theory and guesswork; they are a vital part of advancing the sum of human knowledge. But when you're relying on theory and guesswork, you always want to leave plenty of room for the possibility that your model's output is (how shall I put this?) ... wrong.


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.

But johngalt thinks:

How did economists know that the econometric models "didn't work?"

And then the whole effort was basically abandoned, because the models failed to outperform mindless trend extrapolation -- or as Kevin Hassett once put it, "a ruler and a pencil."

The model predictions were able to be compared side-by-side to other predictions, and to observed reality. When that is attempted with climate models, and the model predictions are found lacking, we're told that the timescale isn't long enough. "We must wait longer to see the true predicted effect." But you can bet your Aunt Petunia that the timescale would be "long enough" if there were any agreement whatsoever between the models and the actual climate.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2016 2:50 PM

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:

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, live at Code Conference 2016

Be like Jeff.

Amazon Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | What do you think? [10]
But johngalt thinks:

He is asked about Donald Trump at 1:02.

Bezos restricted his response to Trump's effort to "freeze or chill the media who are examining him." "With Kay Graham as my role model, I'm very happy to let any of my body parts go through a big fat wringer, if need be."

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2016 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Elon Musk's is out today. He's a bright guy, but more James Taggert if Bezos is Hank Reardon.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2016 6:15 PM
But jk thinks:

His space stuff is cool, gotta admit that.

And, I forgot The link.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2016 6:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'm a grouch. Musk is smart and charming. His addiction to the gub'mint teat is disturbing, but this interview show his best side.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2016 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Looks like that's the Bezos link again, brah.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2016 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Link fixed, thanks! Quick warning: when you click it it comes on very loud and includes some NSFW language as they are setting up.

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2016 4:25 PM

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?

I am from a different country. I'd say different age, but we're contemporaries. I am from the land where the growling grinding teeth in the hole of the sink reduce everything to fluid and hasten it along to the treatment plant, because we are not living in huts on the edge of a field and sharpening sticks in case the sabre-toothed tigers come at night, again. Save the pepper cores! They can be mixed with out filth and heaped around the gourds!

Always thought the future would be a bit more elegant than that.


Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll @ Insty


Don't click this. Comments (2)