September 30, 2017

What do the kneelers want?

Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel says that the majority of NFL kneelers last week acted because they were "outraged by Trump's comments."

They came together. Black and white. Rich and, well, richer. United together. Against hatred and division and inequality. It was a peaceful demonstration, a peaceful expression for positive change. Against division. It was not a statement against the flag.

It was not a statement against the military. It was about unity.

But those comments by Trump were a reaction to Colin Kaepernick's muddled conflation of the flag and our national anthem with a mixture of Marxism, anti-police sentiment, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Muddled messages tend to get misinterpreted. The Detroit Free Press columnist interprets it this way:

This has grown far bigger than Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started a movement last season by sitting or kneeling the national anthem in protest of social injustices in America.

Sunday's show of unity was about positive change, not about causing division.

They were protesting the divisive words of a president who has preached exclusion.

Building walls. Banning people. They were protesting a president who was tone deaf during the protests in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally over the planned removal of a confederate statue turned deadly. A president who has done nothing to unite people.

A president who has done nothing to calm racist tensions.

The words and the viewpoint of a journalist who spins his narrative in a way that, I think purposely, fans those "racist (sic) tensions."

But I don't personally believe that most of the NFL players who knelt *want* racial tension. They want justice. Not "social justice" which is a veiled euphemism for egalitarian socialism, but actual, equal treatment, justice. Genuine equality.

There have already been mumblings that protesters should and will start to actively engage on this issue off the field, away from the national anthem sung before they go to playful work on the football field. But if those efforts employ the same old race and class posturing that has dominated this issue for decades, we should expect it to have the same result - perpetuation of disunity. But there is, I think, a much better way. A way that has not been tried, but that everyone who wants a peaceful solution should be open to considering.

The United States of America should allow each and every black person to opt out of laws that use violence against nonviolent behavior. Every law that uses violence to resist evil. Every victimless crime law that punishes vice with violence. Every regulation that interferes with choice, risk, savings, innovation, imagination, free expression, association, or voluntary agreement.

This peaceful, empowering, humanizing, Christian idea was proposed by David Gornoski in his Christian Manifesto for Black Lives Matter last February. He goes into far more detail than what I have snipped, but here is his crescendo:

We can do this today. We can save millions of black lives from theft, assault, and death. We can reunite thousands of black families starting right now. But we have to renew our minds. We have to change our minds about who we want to imitate. Not some political party. Not some slogan about which lives matter. Of course all lives matter. But let's prove it. Let's imitate Jesus and love our neighbors as ourselves. For once in our lives, let's stop this game. This guilty pleasure of casting out and dehumanizing our scapegoats of every pigment—black, white, brown, blue, whatever.

Let's start this new mindset by extending Jesus' mercy and grace to our black brothers and sisters. Let's agree as a society to set them free from all of these fraudulent laws against nonviolent behaviors.

Let them enjoy the full fruits of their labor. Let them innovate. Let them pursue their dreams unimpeded by government "rigged-ulations." These freedoms are intrinsic to their humanity. They are intrinsic to the very image of God, which Jesus says is in every one of us.

Why do they kneel?

Because, according to one retired NFL great, Democratic elitists have taught them it is better to kneel than to "stand up as men." Burgess Owens, former New York Jet and Oakland Raider, writes:

Is it possible to embrace a national history today that is such a dichotomy regarding the human experience? The liberal Left says that we shouldn't. They feel that all reference to that part of American history should be destroyed and our country should transfer wealth to atone for the deeds of white strangers who died 150 years ago. They suggest that slavery is the root cause of the misery found within today's urban community.

Conservatives, on the other hand, point to the success of the Texas Republican as an example of the possibilities available to all Americans when individuals are granted a choice to adhere to the principles and values of success.

The middle-aged Texan proved the truth of this philosophy as he partook the fruit of his labor. His gratefulness and unique connection to an eight-year-old South Carolina slave boy gave him an enduring love and respect for his country and his flag. The two, after all, were one and the same - my Great-Great Grandfather Silas Burgess, whose name I'm honored to carry.

Millions of other Americans from every other culture share this American experience. It is the gratitude of our present generation for our ancestors' grit and tenacity that forges a spiritual connection that gives us pride in our country's flag.

It is this connection that most black Americans do not have due to the sanitization of their history.

Owens says respect for the flag is important.

"My concern with this whole process is what the flag stands for," Owens said Monday night. "When I stood on the sideline I remembered getting teary-eyed at points because I was so excited about being there, I was so proud to be part of that process. But I also grew up in a time where 70% of black men were mentors to us. They were in the home, doing things they needed to do, teaching us that this country is the greatest place to be and to grow in."

And that the root of the entire kneeling controversy is one thing - socialist politics.

Owens said this is not a black or white American problem, "it's a Democratic, elitist problem." Owens called on players to stand up against the corporate and liberal elites in the NFL who are "using my race."

September 29, 2017

Not For more than a day or two Longer

Interesting that National Review is having the same internecine argument as we. But I will give my pal, Jonah, QOTD for a portion of his response:

Surely, we can think of a thousand opinions that we believe to be correct. We, after all, are in the opinion business. To paraphrase Paul Newman in the Road to Perdition, "There are only opiners in this room!" But I bet we could go through that list of correct opinions and identify a very large number of them that it would be best for the president to stay quiet about.

But johngalt thinks:

Consider Goldberg's main point: "Trump made the problem worse."

Trump made the problem more visible, the discussion of it louder and more impassioned, the number of players kneeling and pundits talking about it multiply, and yes, made people who were already mad at Trump more mad, but who says any of this is "worse?"

If the net result is that the natural cycle of yet one more social crisis is resolved faster, or at least made to progress further, faster, isn't that "better?"

I can't get past the notion that people who don't like Trump's style will never approve of Trump's tactics. No matter what.

Some people never liked Dirty Harry either, but he always got the bad guy.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2017 3:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hafta side with JK on this one: Trump took a simple problem, and exploded it all over the NFL, and perhaps beyond. "Should be fired!" is too much from the bully side of the pulpit.

He's supposed to be first and foremost, a leader. If he'd stopped with 'don't disrespect the flag', he would have kept that mantle. Now, lots of players (and owners) who don't disrespect the flag are being aligned with those who do. (the Kaepernick sleeze, who DOES disrespect all that is good and true ... when he is able to put out a cogent thought)

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 29, 2017 8:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anyone but me make any allowance for the fact that Trump's statements came at a political rally, and not from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office? It wasn't exactly the bully pulpit.

I understand that we bourgeois types prefer a certain decorum, but the boys in the hood have more respect for a man who keeps it real.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2017 11:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I thought the "should be fired!" crack was a tweet. If not, he's still allowing his words to be twisted by virtue of his carelessness.

I do not think anymore that these tweets are proving he's 'crazy like a fox.'

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 1, 2017 12:56 AM
But jk thinks:

My work here is done.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2017 11:31 AM

September 28, 2017

De-boogeymanning Trump

Trump is worse than Hitler we've been told. Can we please take a breath?

I did my thoughtful best to reply to a friend who is scared about a president who fires or threatens to fire people for not being patriotic. I think it is germane to repost it here too.

I agree that they have the freedom to kneel. I don't agree that it is a First Amendment issue, however. Those who frame it that way are relying on the assumption that the President (still not a supreme ruler despite some of the excesses we've witnessed from that office in recent decades) might use government force to have people fired, or worse. From a libertarian viewpoint, what I heard in his comment, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners ...say... he's fired" is a reminder that owners have rights, and so do fans, not just players. Freedom does not indemnify one against consequences. Or are you suggesting that, because a baker has to make and serve cakes at ceremonies he is personally opposed to, a team owner can't fire players for his own personal reasons? Where's the freedom in that?

Presidents have, in the past, actually fired government employees for protesting. President Reagan fired government air traffic controllers when they went on strike. The Republic survived. The current president isn't even doing that. Indeed, it has become much harder for presidents to fire people since then.

You mentioned earlier how our minds can be made to play tricks on us. President Trump has been called "worse than Hitler" but why? What is the argument for that? And did this horrific characterization precede the conclusions that his detractors are coming to in the wake of perfectly rational executive decisions or statements? Is it a factor in their assumption of the worst of intentions on his part?

I fully agree with you on your basic point: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to stand for the anthem nor to recite the pledge of allegiance." But the threats you fear are hollow in our free society, and disgrace exists only in one's heart.

I take it even further: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to do anything against his will." Unfortunately, we have crossed that line many times on many issues, and are much further down the slippery slope that frightens you on the issue at hand. I can't tell you how frightened I was during the previous eight years. Or, in retrospect, how much more frightened I should have been during the eight years prior to that.

What I see today is an electorate that has had enough of leaders who put "the world's" interests first. America is a nation that was founded on each individual's ability to put his own interests first. This is the complete opposite of "National Socialism" or any other form of socialism. It is individualism. President Trump was elected to return to that ideal. To "make America great again." Whether he succeeds or not, or takes the right decisions at this turn or that, is still to be seen. But I see it as an existential necessity for the Republic of the United States of America, and therefore for human freedom in the entire world - not just in our country. I'm willing to give him a pass for whipping up a patriotic frenzy amongst supporters who feel the same way.

But jk thinks:

But I feel underrepresented in the "No Trump is not Hitler, but nor is he the reincarnation of James Madison" camp.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2017 4:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's cool - as long as you aren't afraid of the boogeyman.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:33 PM

Not For a whole lot Longer

Hey, just 'cause y'all are done...

No, I found a good, temperate piece by supermind Eugene Volokh that I enjoyed reading and that served to calm me down a bit further. He is not too keen on my argument (and David French's) that the President's speech is out of First Amendment bounds:

When the statements carry a threat of governmental retaliation if the employee isn't fired, then they stop being protected and may themselves become First Amendment violations. See, e.g., Okwedy v. Molinari (2d Cir. 2003). But I haven't seen such a threat in the Trump tweets I've read, and it seems unlikely to be implicit, especially since the NFL has little legal interaction with the president.

Score one for Brother jg. But I'm going to take general points that remove it further from the context of a culture war:
It's one thing to expect someone not to express a political view while on the clock, especially if he is free to express it on his own time. It's a graver imposition, I think, to demand that the person express a political view (or be seen as expressing it), even when he is on the clock.

All and all -- unsurprisingly -- a well reasoned view.

But johngalt thinks:

Well, he did say the latter point was outside of the law and, therefore, his area of expertise. ;)

Whatever happened to "politics stops at the water's edge?" That is the sentiment that is represented by EVERYONE standing for the national anthem. It's not the red anthem, or the blue anthem. At least not until Colin Kapernick tried to make it that way.

I'm not here to compel anyone - just to explain. And if one-third of NFL fans want to boycott over it, hey, it's a free country.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:30 PM

Use the Warming, Luke!

The good week for Lukewarmers persists

We note the increasing discrepancy between the climate models and reality, but what we do, instead of running a series of new models, is rely upon the mathematical form of observed warming. Since the second warming of the 20th century began in the late 1970s, and despite the "pause," the rate has been remarkably linear, which is actually simulated by most climate models--they just overestimate the slope of the increase. However, one model, the INM-CM4 model from Russia's E.M. Volodin, indeed does have the right rate of increase.

September 27, 2017

Not For (Much) Longer

Whip this horse once more? I've always liked Matt Labash, but as the distance between me and the staunchly neoconservative Weekly Standard has increased, I encounter him less frequently.

I'm giving him Qoute of the Day, though, both for witty language and encapsulating the problem I have with President Trump's escalation:

And yet, I flash back to F. Scott Fitzgerald's maxim that the test of a first-rate intelligence is to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time, while still detesting both of them. (I paraphrase.) For Donald Trump once again has taken a worthy idea (serving as a custodian of our patriotic sacred symbols) and sullied it with his boorish behavior, his total lack of judiciousness, his Twitter buffoonery, and his injurious choice of words. ("Get that son of a bitch off the field.")

The whole piece is very good.

But johngalt thinks:

For some reason I don't feel like there's any upside to posting any more comments on this topic.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm taking a knee in this conversation to protest the blaming of Trump for the NFL's problems.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 11:50 PM

September 26, 2017

Not For Long

I'm promoting a comment thread to a new post. Both because I wish to add a link, and also to add the internecine category as I think I may have cheesed off Brother Keith on Facebook. Brother jg (who never gets cheesed off at me) said below "but I don't think Trump has ruined the NFL, he's just pointing out that it has been ruined."

I had given the President of the United States of America only half credit for ruining the NFL, but I am quite peeved with him. There is a dynamic of his speaking with bravado to excite his base, then his opponents overreact and act stupidly. Then the President and his base enjoy the overreaction. Lather. Rinse F'ing Repeat. (Oh, and Rant...)

This has been annoying me since Jan 20. But it had been annoying me from Monday-Friday, and a half day on Saturday. It ruined Sunday's otherwise excellent NFL lineup (Chris Collinsworth pointed that out as well). So I am bummed.

The new Link is to David French. And this or my commentary cheesed off ka. He adds one excellent point that the First Amendment does not proscribe Collin Kaepernick, but it does President Trump. I'd add that among 32 rich NFL owners, some likely have some business deal in front of the executive branch. The President would like me to fire my Left Tackle? Huh, he's on the bubble...

In the space of less than 24 hours this weekend, the president of the United States did more to politicize sports than ESPN has done in a decade of biased, progressive programming. He singled out free speech he didn't like, demanded that dissenters be fired, and then -- when it became clear that private American citizens weren't going to do what he demanded -- he urged the economic boycott of their entire industry.

But jk thinks:

AND I LAMBASTED HIM FOR IT! If all bad executive behavior is the be permissible because one of the previous 44 did it, it's going to be a looooong few years. "Well, Jackson drove the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears; I don't see why President Trump cannot..."

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 10:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And you are perfectly welcome to lambast Trump for anything he says but the fact remains, there is no proscription in law or in tradition on the head of state weighing in, or even "issuing verdicts" on controversial issues. That was the purpose of my example. I did not make any judgment that what either of them said was right, only that they are within acceptable norms to say it.

[As an aside I should also point out that Andrew Jackson's use of government force to relocate folks is a far different matter than calling anyone "sons of bitches."]

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

To recap: he's better than Andrew Jackson and about the same as Barack Obama. Okay, we're in agreement.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Really? Is that the best you've got today brother? Smug?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! Well, it is a Wednesday...

No, no statute, but I think both examples incredibly and outrageously wrong. President Obama absolutely positively should not have commented on an ongoing local investigation (not only Gates, But Treyvon Martin "if I had a son"); it was a perversion of justice.

Calling for a private firm to fire somebody for voicing a position with which you disagree is really no better.

Both are very Banana-Republic-ish. There's no law against wearing a big Evita hat with fruit either, but...

(How was that? That was better, wasn't it? The Evita hat? I thought that was pretty good!)

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 7:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well there's this ideological struggle under way. Some even think it has escalated into a war - Social Justice versus Culture. What happens when one side stops showing up to the battle, but the other side doesn't?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 8:48 PM

September 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

Laugh to keep from crying, as President Trump and his opponents have ruined the NFL. Jim Geraghty documents Rex Ryan's changing position from Trump supporter to being "p***** off" (that's NRO speak; I believe Coach may have said it without the asterisks.) At least the long-time Jets fan was able to close with humor:

Let's face it, this is not the first time Rex Ryan selected a particular person for a high-stakes job and found himself deeply disappointed with the results

But johngalt thinks:

Still need to read the linked article but I don't think Trump has ruined the NFL, he's just pointing out that it has been ruined. Perhaps they will change the way the do business to better please their customers, rather than their business partners in the media.

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2017 1:18 PM

September 21, 2017

Good Week for Lukewarmers

D'ja see this? Didja?

Climate computer model projections of future man-made warming due to human emissions of carbon dioxide are running too hot, says a fascinating new study in Nature Geoscience. Consequently, researchers reckon that humanity has more time to prevent dangerous future climate change than had been suggested earlier by the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Insert caveats here...

In other words, climate computer models projected the global average temperature should be about 1.2 C above the pre-industrial baseline for the 2,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide already emitted. Instead, global average temperature is only 0.9 C higher.

Running the models forward from a 2015 baseline yields a carbon budget of around 880 gigatons of additional carbon dioxide before passing through the 1.5 C threshold. That amounts to about 20 years of emissions.

A later paragraph suggests 30 years. I say, let's spend the next 20-30 years getting richer and smarter. Them we will be able to tackle it effectively if needed.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Last week, the tireless ones at PowerLine brought up this article that noted, amongst other things:

the good match between surface air temperatures and model simulations (in the Northern Hemisphere but less so in the Southern) was a result of homogeneity adjustments that added non-existent warming to the raw records. Whether these adjustments were applied in a deliberate attempt to match observations to AGW theory is, however, questionable. They are more likely a result of the initial and never-questioned assumption that the raw records were cooling-biased by such things as station moves from downtown to airport locations
it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that these adjustments were applied in a deliberate attempt to match the measurements to the models. But if so the attempt was not blessed with success. The match between the published series and model simulations is still poor.

Here's the URL for the PL article: the commentoriat take this ball, over the endzone and spike it in the press box!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2017 8:05 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Thru the PL peanut gallery, I found this
excellent page with all sorts of neat ideas and graphics supporting new, low-pressure, nuclear plant ideas. The "deaths per TWHr Generated" graphic is sobering (what about solar kills people, I wonder?) and sure to please the kill-coal crowd.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2017 8:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I do love ThreeSources: the one spot on Earth where I'm not the denier.

I am sympathetic to the suggestion of jiggery-pokery's (if I am using that term correctly) producing observed warming. I was turned around mostly by the BEST (Berkeley Estimated Surface Temperatures) paper. It has now grown into an interesting but rah-rah website.

These people took a very serious and data-intensive look at many of the objections I had: urban heat island, &c. At the end, I found it compelling, and joined Matt Ridley and Ronald Bailey in the "Lukewarmer" camp.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2017 10:59 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hi, thanks for the reminder and vote of confidence in the BEST paper (cool, website "Berkeley Earth").

Libertarians love things that are transparent (unless it's the Obama kinds of "transparent"). How much warming since Y2k does the BEST paper say has occurred?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 25, 2017 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

"1.5 degrees C in the past 250 years, and about 0.9 degrees in the past 50 years."

Commensurate with a lukewarmer sensitivity of about 1.3°C per doubling of CO2. I like this because it is the exact amount predicted by pure CO2 -- the larger values include feedback warming which I find dubious.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2017 2:36 PM

Very Bad Man, Vol XLVII



Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

"You deserve all the finest things in the world," a young Homer Simpson once wrote to his beloved Marge, "and although I can give them to you, they will be repossessed." Senator Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All Act of 2017 (MFA) makes similarly sweeping promises while relegating financing to a Post-It note, affixed to our national refrigerator: "To do: design and implement the single largest tax increase in human history."

To his credit, Homer Simpson understood where his generosity would lead. -- Robert Graboys

But johngalt thinks:

Two words: Wealth Tax.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2017 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

And three back: "Damn straight, Skippy!"

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2017 7:13 PM

September 19, 2017

A Salute to Renewable Energy

I have seen untold approbation for our good Australian friends' successes in implementing renewable energy. The lads down under may talk funny, but they're truly leading the way on environmentally responsible energy.

As shown in this graph . . . oh, wait, no . . . this graph shows energy costs:


Ronald Bailey at Reason seems to think they are somehow related.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [5]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've been quiet lately - lot going on - but this is a quiet reality being covered in typical fashion by the media: strongly, with a pillow!

I read an energy newsletter this little tidbit:

Another source, who asked not to be identified, attributed the growth to reasons other than tax credits — at least in those areas with vertically integrated utilities. "Utilities figured out a few years ago that they can put in high cost renewables and pass along price increases to customers because the commissions and enviros won't push back," the source said in an email Tuesday. "The more they spend, the more they make. If they put in lower cost traditional generation, they'll be fought tooth and nail. If they keep existing coal generation, they can’t raise rates. Shut down coal, add renewables and raise rates. ... Electric utility rates have gone up on average about 50% over the past decade ... and they'll continue to rise if renewables keep going in."

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2017 7:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I like this a lot -- thanks! Is this available online?

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2017 11:07 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No, I doubt it; it's a pricey subscription model our company pays for called "Megawatt Daily" from Platts.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2017 11:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I find it quite similar to how GE lobbied to make CFL's (and now, more "efficient" lights, aka LEDs) omnipresent. They get scant margin for the old standard lightbulbs, but very high prices for CFL's and LEDs....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2017 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I was guessing that -- thanks for sharing. Funny how these people never notice how much their good intentions benefit GE and Goldman Sachs, innit?

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2017 10:42 AM

September 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

Megan's husband does not seem totally down with Sen. Sanders's single payer plan.

To call it a plan is, in some sense, too generous: Although it envisions a sweeping and generous system that would make government the primary payer for nearly all health care in the United States and virtually wipe out employer health coverage in the space of just a few years, it is not really a plan. Instead, it is a legislative fantasy built on a combination of wild overconfidence in government and an almost comical refusal to grapple with costs or trade-offs. -- Peter Suderman

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

There are no trade offs. Everything is free, but there's none to be had. It's an all of the above and none of the above plan, at the same time!

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2017 1:28 AM

September 12, 2017

But johngalt thinks:

I don't see it. Did you pull it?

No, I've got it - Facebook spiked it! ;)

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2017 1:37 PM

September 7, 2017

More Trump Revolution

I'm in a good mood today. Two Trump Revolution posts. You're welcome.

I'll even tweak a favorite of mine. Reason magazine sends an email highlighting some stories they're certain I'd enjoy:

Hey Libertarians for Trump, How Much More #Winning Can You Take?
The president is doing everything he can do to alienate libertarians who believe in shrinking the size, scope, and spending of government.
by Nick Gillespie and Todd Krainin

Okay, typical Reason scathing of any elected Republican, much less President Donald J. Trump. But, what's this other one?
Betsy DeVos: The Era of Weaponized Title IX in Campus Rape Cases Is Over
Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach.
by Robby Soave

Who made Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education? Was that Ron Paul?

The DeVos piece is worth a red in full.

No one could accuse DeVos of pulling punches. Her speech accuses her predecessors of "weaponizing" federal regulations and turning them against students.

"The era of 'rule by letter' is over," her speech says, referencing the Obama-era Education Department's infamous "Dear Colleague" letter, which fundamentally changed the way schools handle sexual misconduct issues.

But johngalt thinks:

Serious question: Which of Donald Trump's primary opponents would also have appointed DeVos?

One for sure who would not have is Jeb! Bush. What professional politician would appoint a disruptor to his or her cabinet?

That's an excellent adjective for POTUS 45 too, by the way - "disruptor." After nearly a century of barely-checked Progressivism, America's 2-party polity is in desperate need of some disruption.

Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2017 6:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Zero. And I think I have admitted that. Same for Ajit Pai at FCC and Scott Gottlieb at the FDA. A Jeb Bush / George Bush / Mitt Romney would not tolerate the backlash, and I admit that's being a key advantage -- removing the "media veto" of a controversial candidate is a huge plus.

But the other side of the coin (or sword) is "to whom does he pay attention when he is indeed wrong?"

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2017 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Having endured eight years of President Obama, I'm not really that concerned about what damage Trump might do. Now, Hillary, on the other hand...

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2017 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I did start this post to be nice. But that was yesterday and two comments ago.

I'll die on this hill: Really? The last guy was bad and the President's opponent was bad. Therefore, I am going to let him do whatever the hell he wants! Seriously, man, this is grossly worrisome to me and you are far from the only offender.

The folks at Reason can be a little tiresome because they recognize no pragmatism or marginal improvement, but the basic idea to be a little suspicious of EVERY politician seems well warranted by recent history.

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2017 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not "going to let him do whatever the hell he wants" although the idea of me personally stopping any president from doing anything seems more than a little Quixotic. What I meant was, President Obama didn't completely destroy America in eight years, with virtually no counterbalance from the Fifth Estate. President Trump can't go to the bathroom without mass media pushback.

The risk they run, however, is the same as the boy who cried wolf. When President Trump "is indeed wrong" how will the voting public know it is any different than, say, media criticism of the first lady's footwear?

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2017 5:28 PM

The Mask Drops

Correction: In New York in 2017, you don't need a mask at all:

It is no surprise that New York's progressive mayor believes that private ownership of wealth and property is a hindrance to the creation of a just society, but it's remarkable that [Mayor Bill DeBlasio] would state his utopian vision so bluntly. "If I had my druthers," he said, "the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents."

Trump Revolution, Indeed

I'm nothing if not fair. James Freeman has some kind words for the President, on the WSJ Ed Page:

Former President Barack Obama sure seemed upset this week that his illegal gambit to avoid resolving America’s immigration argument now has an expiration date. So imagine how distraught Mr. Obama must have been over President Donald Trump's Wednesday speech in North Dakota.

In his typical rambling fashion, with various asides more or less related to the topic at hand, Mr. Trump nevertheless offered impressive coherence. In both style and substance, virtually every moment was a repudiation of Mr. Obama and his economics.

Mr. Trump never mentioned his predecessor by name. He also never mentioned biofuels or any other type of alternative energy. Proudly standing in front of the Andeavor Refinery outside Bismarck, he talked about unleashing restrictions on U.S. oil production, approving pipelines and dominating world markets. Come to think of it, this speech may have annoyed Vladimir Putin almost as much as Mr. Obama.

Let's March!

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." -- Abraham Maslow
I have long groused that the left's protests are complete waste of time. There may be a few exceptions, but they are rare. People with a voting franchise have better methods at persuasion.

But in the case of #DACA, I think it counterproductive. All the Trump supporters are going to see young people marching and holding signs -- and demanding things given out of compassion. It will only harden hearts against their cause.


A frustration of opposing the President is that so many of his opponents are -- what is the term I am looking for -- batshit crazy. There's never a hope of a reasonable alliance.

But johngalt thinks:

But... #Racism! (R)[TM]

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2017 12:44 PM


It will probably not shock anybody that the WSJ Ed Page is close to my position on President Trump's dream squashing. But it is not just me, La Raza, and CNN.

As America's problems go, these young adults shouldn’t even be on the list. And it shows the Republican Party at its worst that the state AGs and Attorney General Jeff Sessions want to make this an urgent priority, rather than let Congress take it up when it has a less crowded schedule. They are pandering to the restrictionist right that is a minority even within the GOP.

The complete editorial has some harsh words for President Obama's overreach.
This was Mr. Obama at his most cynical, and it takes gall for him to scold Mr. Trump as he did Tuesday for making a "political decision" about "a moral question" and "basic decency." Mr. Obama's "political decision" to act as his own legislature teed up this moral crisis and created the legal jeopardy.

And it includes limited credit for President Trump's acting less harshly than his campaign rhetoric. But it is still well summed by its headline: "The Dreamer Debacle."

But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps a better moniker would be, "The Dreamer Maneuver."

"We discussed that [DACA] also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I," Trump said. "And I said if we can get something to happen, we're going to sign it and we're going to make a lot of happy people."

That's "Chuck and Nancy" as in "Schumer and Pelosi."

"Hey congressional Republicans, if you don't want to play ball with my White House then I'll just have to see what I can work out on the other side of the aisle."

I see the 3-month continuing resolution as a shot across the right side of the aisle, and if they don't get their act together on tax cuts and/or Obamacare repeal and replace, there will be a longer CR with the Democrats next time.

Call him unprincipled if you like, but it looks to me like he's not going to let anyone make him a lame duck president for his entire first term, followed by an ignominious defeat - even fellow members of the Republican Party.

The best-case scenario is it gets congressional Republicans asses in gear to work together for once.

Rather than "pandering to the basest part of his base" he may be playing three-dimensional chess.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2017 3:54 PM

September 4, 2017



In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening

Hoagy Carmichael & Johnny Mercer ©1951

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


The Dream has Ended

Again, much of the Trump presidency has been a pleasant surprise to this non-supporter. I was wrong about some things and insufficiently appreciative of others.

Yet I am astonished at news that he is ending DACA. I roll my eyes at "The Wall," but get it. I think the "Kate's Law" concerns about non-citizen predators represent misguided attention to statistics and risk but, okay, you want to deport criminals, have fun stormin' the castle.

I have also been critical of the President's opponents: they tend to oscillate between irrational and completely crazy. But they are right this time. We will see a parade of talented and productive young people who only know life in America and are making great contributions toward her. The President's supporters can call them cherry-picked but they are in fact representative.

All the things going on today, and President Trump is going to deport productive people who came here as children. He is going to steal their labor from their employers, tuition from their teachers, rent from their landlords. To be in the program, these people have to have clean records. All to pander to a cruel populist section of his base.

Bad policy, bad economics, bad politics -- and cruel effects.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

"Slow down, lie, I'm still tying my shoes," truth said.

If President Trump had refused to act, many States were prepared to pursue litigation to end DACA by court order.

Under the change announced today, current DACA recipients generally will not be impacted until after March 5, 2018, six months from now. That period of time gives Congress the opportunity to consider appropriate legislative solutions.


The DACA program was never intended to be permanent—even President Obama admitted it was a temporary, extraordinary measure. And President Obama repeatedly recognized that such unilateral actions were in excess of the Executive’s appropriate role.

But I'm not surprised if none of this was reported by "the news."

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2017 4:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not believe any part of my post qualified as "a lie." Yes, I said "end" instead of "phase out in six months." But I think if you were going to be deported to a country which you had not seen since you were a toddler, the idea that it would not happen for six months would be little relief. "Oh, not 'till March? Whew -- I was concerned for a moment."

Immigration being important to me, I was aware of each of your truths -- and I'll add executive overreach on your side. It is still bad.

Need I quote Milton Friedman here on the August pages? "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." I think we can safely say that had we elected President Hillary Clinton it would be mysteriously extended. Likewise President Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker...)

These people are -- by definition -- the last people you ask to leave. Productive, non-criminal, residents without culpability for their crossing and little connection with their place of birth.

You get to these when you're being cruel. Or you start with them to prove a point.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2017 6:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or you start with them to create an intractable problem.

"Every president since Ronald Reagan, since 1986, has said hands off on these folks," Napolitano explained. "The only president that reduced that to writing in a series of 12 executive orders was Barack Obama. And when those 12 executive orders were challenged in court, the court invalidated them, saying this is for Congress to do."

He said if Obama had dealt with this "quietly and under the radar screen" as his predecessors had done, there would be nothing for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to invalidate.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2017 3:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Also, I didn't mean anything you said was a lie, only that the media talking points that helped work you into a lather are, if not lies, intentionally misleading demagoguery.

And it has gotten "halfway around the world" already.

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2017 4:15 PM

September 3, 2017

Harvey Helpers

Best article I've read yet (only had time for a few), from Kevin Williamson (one of my faves) at NRO. It has this great quote:

Texas’s culture may strike some as atavistic macho-cowboy silliness, but, as it turns out, when the water gets high you really want to have some atavistically macho cowboys around.

The now-famous Houston Chronicle photo of a stoic-looking man wading through the flood waters while carrying an exhausted woman who is herself carrying a child is an iconic expression of certain realities that are not, whatever the voguish academic nonsense claims, “socially constructed.”

And this really good primer for us liberty-lovers, which I can confirm from my days as a safety engineer:

our buildings do not collapse and will not fail absent extraordinary circumstances. This is, as I have argued before, partly the result of one of the great regulatory success stories of our time: our building codes, which are developed through a decentralized, organic process involving everyone from architects and engineers to fire marshals and elected officials. The robustness of our building standards is, in fact, sometimes silly: Commercial glass must be able to endure hurricanes of a certain determined force, and it is tested by using a pneumatic cannon to fire lengths of two-by-four at a certain speed into the windows. An engineer of my acquaintance, suspecting that these standards were in fact superabundantly high, puckishly decided to point the cannon at the walls rather than the windows, and the two-by-fours of course blasted right through them. Standing in front of the plate glass may very well be the safest place to be in a commercial building during a hurricane.

Houston's over-buiding in flood plains however can be laid at the feet of our beloved Federal Gov't, however, in the wonderfully titled "How Washington made Harvey Worse,"

September 1, 2017

Elecric Car + H20?

A Houstonian ponders an aspect of EVs:

What would it take to persuade you to buy an electric car?

An electric Jeep that can ford 2-3′ of water, with a 360 mile range and be rechargeable in less time than I might have to wait in a gas line in Houston next week... might be what it would take to persuade me to buy an EV... Only if it cost less than $40,000.  But that's just me.. What about you?

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