May 8, 2014

China Fed Up with North Korea?

Here and here.

A decapitation move against NoKo would let Beijing demonstrate its power with minimal counterreaction from the US and its uneasy Asian neighbors. In fact Beijing could present itself as a responsible upholder of stability.

A Foreigner Does a Job Americans Won't Do

From the NYT: Angela Merkel expresses in a glance a skepticism that the American media have refused to exercise for seven years.

The Holy Family

Here.

(If I knew nothing else about Hillary!, the range of personas she's recently adopted would give me serious pause about her fitness for high office.)

April 29, 2014

Amnesty

I comment:
GayPatriot reports:
Republican Leadership: “If you elect us, we’re not going to repeal Obamacare but we will pass Amnesty”
I’ve said it repeatedly: A nation that refuses to protect its borders does not deserve to survive, and won’t. Sooner or later its luck, like the dodo’s, will run out.

A government that refuses to protect its borders is not a legitimate government. A government that undermines its own laws is not a legitimate government. A government that sabotages the general welfare on behalf of kleptocratic elites is not a legitimate government.
The paragraph about the dodo is something I've repeatedly posted before; the final paragraph presents the implications.

Also this:
If the GOP puts up Jeb Bush, I will turn in a blank, write-in, or third-party Presidential ballot even if the D’s nominate Trotsky.
Come to think of it:
None of the major GOP factions (e.g. the kleptocrats, the religious kooks, and the chickenhawks) appeals directly to the welfare of the overall middle classes. Those factions have agendas that many voters disagree with.

The danger in something like a Warren candidacy is that the Stupid Party, thinking the outcome is assured, will choose a ticket that will make Betty look like the lesser evil. Such an attitude is already evident in the GOP Establishment’s lust to pass amnesty.
Here's a thought: why not only vote for a political party when it makes my interests a priority? I've had it with affirming the lesser evil.

No way do I support the Democrats, but it's crossing my mind that they lie less than the post-Reagan Republicans do.

Afterthought: In the GOP's "minority outreach", why don't they tell Latino voters that illegal immigration threatens their jobs and depresses their pay? Because they don't want their middle-class Anglo dupes to know. No, Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public, family values don't stop at the Rio Grande: the illegals may take your job, but they oppose abortion hallelujah!

NB: America should not be a closed shop whose labor costs make us globally uncompetitive. Not only do I support immigration, but it may well be indispensable. However, regarding the tradeoffs, I have not seen discussions that I consider intellectually honest.

April 26, 2014

Awww, Did I Lose My Temper?

Here:
Not every contemporary Palin supporter is a loutish, deceiving, stupid, and/or willfully ignorant kook, but that’s my baseline assumption unless contrary evidence emerges in any given case.
No, I didn't lose my temper. I decided to stop trying to meet halfway people who have no intention of meeting me halfway.

April 24, 2014

Remote-Controlled Killer Drones Robots

A benchmark along the path to autonomous Terminators? If the optimal design is humanoid, maybe the operators will wear virtual reality suits.

The thought, which presumably is not original, occurred to me upon seeing Increasingly, Robots of All Sizes Are Human Workmates (a step toward the integration of human & machine?).

A possible itinerary: from human-operated drones to human-operated robot warriors to autonomous robot warriors with a human overseer. Whereupon some genius will claim it's perfectly safe and more cost-effective to give the things full autonomy...

Added 20140426: The Russians are going directly to Terminator mode (HT: Instapundit):
Armed Russian robocops to defend missile bases

THE West has always been a little squeamish about the idea of arming robots. Despite decades of development, no systems have ever been deployed and a vocal human rights campaign means it's unlikely to happen in the near future. The Russians, on the other hand, appear to be rather less concerned.

Last month, Dmitry Andreyev of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces announced that mobile robots would be standing guard over five ballistic missile installations. These robots can detect and destroy targets, without human involvement. Russia, it seems, is taking the lead in a new robotic arms race.

April 23, 2014

Russia and...What's It's Name...Cathay?

I comment:
I was just wondering about China. In particular, I’ve been wondering why our governing elites—the very best people from the very best schools, y’know—apparently haven’t been wondering about China post-Crimea. I’m guessing that our ruling class’s timeline doesn’t run past the next election, so it’s irrelevant to them that a shoe might drop by November 2016. (The Chinese leadership may suspect that, left to its own devices, America will unravel itself more effectively than anything they could do to undermine us, but they cannot entirely ignore their nationalistic populace.)

If getting caught flatfooted by a bear was bad, wait till we’re caught flatfooted by a dragon.
To be fair, Obama supported Japan in its island dispute with China.

Ooo! Chelsea Clinton!! Ooo!

Fast Company swoons and sucks up here and here. Ace and Geraghty comment.

Given her parents' genes, Chelsea Clinton is almost certainly not a stupid person. At this time she also does not look like a bad person...but power tends to corrupt.

April 18, 2014

The Precautionary Principle Encroaches on Science

(The following is extremely crude and needs elaboration & iteration, which I'd never do if I didn't hold my nose and post the current version. I need to connect this to, among other things, The End of Science and remarks like Higgs's that he couldn't survive in today's academia.)

This is what happens when an unchecked bureaucracy is created. (HT: Instapundit.) First some benefits, and then Pournelle's Iron Law takes over. See also "Suffocating Science Harms Everyone".

April 17, 2014

Decadence, Pure and Simple

Finland's new sadomasochistic homoerotic stamps. (Via Althouse, who too often seems to feel that the Role of Art is to gross people out shatter boundaries, be transgressive, and challenge preconceptions.)

I thought Finland was relatively sane and levelheaded.

The Onion Gets It

"...Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States"

Well played, AQ. It's unlikely the US would wake up if you went around blowing stuff up, but why take chances?

April 13, 2014

White Privilege and "White Privilege": Cui Bono?

In response to this, my opinion:
IMO the whites who benefit most from so-called white privilege are white elitists who declaim against it.
Addendum 2014040421: Victor Davis Hanson on Clive Bundy:
He is no Jay-Z or Sean Penn. He is a world away from the Kardashians and the BMW meets Mercedes crowd of the California coastal corridor or the psychodramas of brats at Dartmouth. Bundy does not have the white privilege that those who have it — mostly liberal, wealthy, and seeking an apartheid existence — damn in others.
The whole thing is worth reading.

Addendum 2014040423: Should, heaven forbid, a race war happen in the US, the cushily ensconced white leftists whose policies are pushing us in that direction will get a surprise if their side wins and they're still around. (The trick to living large by ruining your society is to time things so the chickens don't come home to roost during your lifetime.)

Supplements to O'Sullivan's Law

The original form of the law states:
All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.
I add:
Conservative organizations tend to get captured by religious kooks.
That is, by people who care about little besides banning abortion (even during a rape, Bog can do a miracle!) and gay marriage. Furthermore:
Every centrist conservative organization tends over time to be captured by crony capitalists.
That is, by "job creators" for illegal aliens and workers abroad. No Irish American citizens need apply.

April 11, 2014

What, Specifically, Has Hillary Achieved?

Hilarious::
It's funny watching the question of Hillary's greatest accomplishment asked and laughingly rejected as ridiculous at first, then having it slowly dawn on the panel that none of them has an answer.
Alas, achieving nothing gives her a leg up on the last two Presidents.

Added 20140411. The Hillary machine's responses are received with laughter. Yes, that's the Hillary machine that blew the nomination to Barack Obama.

Caution: no doubt there are Democrats who are eager to be even worse than the bad President that Hillary would be.

I repeat:
A Hillary Presidency would be the Tantrum Boomers’ last chance to exact revenge for their inadequacy to the Great Generation. (Maybe those Americans who are zealous to tear down the country are driven, in part, by the knowledge that they lack what it took to build it.)

STDs Rampant In USA

A third of the population. (HT: Instapundit.) Good grief.

I had accepted sexual liberality as part of progress and modernity, but this gives me pause. Is Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, somewhere, saying I told you so?

April 9, 2014

Jeb Bush Is a David Cameron Wannabe

He gives me the same vibe, i.e. blueblooded but soft. He tried to act corageous: "Jeb Bush: Many illegal immigrants come out of an ‘act of love’". My reaction:
1. This is the same as George W. Bush’s Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande. Old BS in a new package.

2. Iirc some time ago I posted that, next to the Kennedys, no post-WW2 family has damaged the country more than the Bushes have. spit

3. So what’s Jeb’s plan? It’s to alleviate the desperation of the illegals by making life harder for law-abiding ordinary Americans—and thereby enrich the moneyed caste to which, mirabile dictu, the Bushes belong. TR’s phrase malefactors of great wealth comes to mind.

4. Political orientation aside, I am sympathetic to the plight of many illegals who, in effect, were lured here by powerful Americans conspiring not to enforce the law. However, the interests of American citizens come first.

5. I’d love to find a way to throw those powerful Americans in jail. I acknowledge that will never happen short of revolution because they are shielded behind too many layers of deniability and tailor-made laws.

6. I’ve posted it before: a country that refuses to enforce its borders does not deserve to survive, and won’t. Sooner or later its luck, like the dodo’s, will run out.

7. (Afterthought.) It is despicable to use “love” and “family values”, i.e. the Judeo-Christian virtues, to persuade Americans to set aside their legitimate self-interest and vote to make the Bushes and their ilk richer.

April 8, 2014

The Confederate Flag

I agree with this commenter:
1. What’s all the fuss about? Just a few patriots expressing their support for individual liberty and states’ rights.

2. Besides, people fought bravely for the Confederacy. We’re just commemorating their courage.

3. I mean, people fought bravely for the Third Reich too. You wouldn’t criticize people parading around with swas…okay, nevermind.

4. In case it needs stating, the above points are sarcasm. I have never been thrilled about the Confederate flag, but my mind became fully made up when someone pointed out that slavery was hardwired into the Confederate constitution.

5. This is not to deny the valor, though misguided or perverted, of many who fought for the Confederacy. If a way can be found to acknowledge that valor without a linkage to slavery, that would be okay with me.

6. The heroism of the Thermopylae 300 is honored, notwithstanding that Sparta was a slave state. Maybe someday the Confederate flag will be decoupled from its association with slavery, but not in the foreseeable future.
In fact, if the GOP is serious about outreach to minorities---a big if---it would be sensible to develop an alternative to the Confederate flag for those who wish to honor Confederate valor. Ideal would be if Southern Republicans developed such a symbol from the grassroots.

April 7, 2014

Crisis!! Sexism in Silicon Valley!

Instapundit links the NYT and TPM.

Ia another Great Moral Crusade sprouting in the astroturf?

(Though I have no sympathy for the colluding monopolists in Silicon Valley...no more than I do for tobacco companies which thought they were buying long-term support from politicians.)

Militant Elites

Dinocrat posts and I comment:
There certainly are a lot of angry people in the upper crust today.

“Transformative justice.” It turns out that what Privileged Angry Youth are angry about is that they’re not running things.

Wadda surprise.

There are many reasons to dislike corporations, government, and crowds of all sorts.

Afaic some of increased wealth inequality is legit because technology leverages high performers. Afaic some of it is illegitimate because of crony capitalism and corruption.

Afaic the increased concentration of wealth is just one aspect of an increased concentration of power: political power, economic power, cultural power, social power,… Factions in our society advocate concentrating forms of power that are favorable to them, and the opposite for unfavorable forms. I don’t foresee that process ending benignly.
Dangerously (fatally?) many would say with a straight face that the problem is not the overconcentration of power; the problem is that the right people don't have it.

Addendum 20140421: Yale economist Robert Shiller claims the solution is to raise taxes on the rich. Transfer money and power from one metastasized part of society to another. Yeah, that'll work. (Why am I not surprises that Shiller is a Brookings participant?)

If I were king, I would tinker with the boundary conditions for antitrust, regulation, and monopolies like IP to abet the private sector in reducing the concentration via creative destruction. Government fiat should be a last resort. I fear, though, that the country's misgovernance, shortsightedness and corruption are so bad that growth of government power will continue until collapse or, at best, stagnation.

Addendum 20140424: If I were king, I would tinker with the boundary conditions for antitrust, regulation, and monopolies like IP...

And I'd order the Royal Antitrust Enforcer to take a very hard look indeed at those cushy compensation committees composed of overpaid executives who set each others' remuneration.

Nurture Your Children Or Go To Jail

Who decides if you're nurturing properly? The State, of course. And they're not "your" children.

Same thing over and over: an imperfect reality is compared to the utopian ideal which increased government power will create.

(A pessimist might claim that teaching children the world is a harsh unpredictable dishonest place is the best thing to do for them, given that corrupt hypocrite elite buffoons are steering our civilization toward ruin.)

April 6, 2014

Made the Switch, Finally

Instapundit:
SARAH HOYT HAS A NEW BOOK OUT. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to buy it.
I can.

Before dumping Firefox, I mulled it for some time. Ditto for Instapundit.

As of recently, the first place I go on the Internet is now Ace.

April 5, 2014

More About Mozilla

1. In the medium term, the Eich defenestration may well cripple the organization's capacity for innovation.

In fact I've developed a growing frustration with Firefox and have been reading about other people feeling the same way. Is the Eich affair a symptom of a deteriorating organization?

Afterthought. If Mozilla goes south, the company culture can overlook its own deficiences and blame The Bigots for dropping the product. Win-win for the gaystapo?

Added 20140406. Aggressive groupthink in a culture of innovation? Something will have to give.

There are those who will get malicious pleasure from watching layoffs at Mozilla. I suspect that it's a matter of when, not if.

2. I wouldn't trust Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker with any issue public, private, or personal.

A Modest Proposal for Mozilla

Keep your products free, provided the user warrants no to contravene various leftist dogmas. To break the pledge exposes one to liability.

Don't worry, folks, the Mozillans would never ever use your private information against you. They're tolerant and enlightened.

Venezuela

A first step toward rationing.

The link smacks of apologetics for the socialist government, and yet...

I'm not reading about the Venezuelan poor and working classes joining the anti-government demonstrations. That's an inconvenient truth that Venezuela's US critics seem to avoid. What gives?

April 2, 2014

NASA Suspends Relations With Russia

Except for the Space Station. They use the occasion to whine for more funding.

Not surprisingly, the Russians have several responses available (short of letting the American crew run out of supplies) and we have few. They can refuse to carry any more Americans to the Station, in effect taking it over. They can raise prices. They can abandon the Station and let it plunge into the atmosphere.

A move which leaves you with fewer options than it offers to your opponent is a dubious move. Backing down in front of the whole world is one of those very few American options.

The World Economy Disengages From the Dollar

Gently, gently (HT: GayPatriot).

Businessweek: Bundesbank, PBOC in Pact to Turn Frankfurt Into Renminbi Hub. Xinhua:
BERLIN, March 28 (Xinhua) -- China and Germany on Friday signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) on establishing an RMB clearing and settlement mechanism in Frankfurt, moving the German city closer to becoming an offshore RMB center.

The document was inked here by China's central bank, or the People's Bank of China, and its German counterpart, the Deutsche Bundesbank, in the presence of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Reuters:
NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia, March 27 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would develop its own credit card system to reduce reliance on Western-based companies and soften the potential blow from U.S. and EU sanctions.

Putin voiced his support for plans described by senior officials to create a domestic-based system in response to restrictions placed on Russian banks last week by Visa and MasterCard, which are widely use by Russians.
There's a lot more to be found in non-mainstream sources whose credibility I am unsure of (which is not meant as endorsement of mainstream sourcews).

March 31, 2014

Teh Wimminz Shud Rool

So says WA saintly Senator Patty Murray:
If women ruled the country, the government wouldn't be on the brink of shutting down or defaulting on its debt, according to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Murray spoke to a largely female audience on Wednesday, at an event that was part of The Atlantic's Women of Washington series.
Things like college attendance and completion make it plausible that the US is headed for gender equality at the very least. Why then the relentless feminist pounding on the victim drum?

Because some feminists aren't interested in gender parity and equal opportunity...because they're using victimology to establish a hard-to-dismantle legal framework for future female dominance? Consider how men are depicted, here for example, in the Lean In Collection. The traditional role of the sexes has been reveresed, not equalized; the males look like adjuncts, not partners. I doubt that's accidental.

I question whether an American gynarchy is sustainable. Maybe it will be sustainable for a time among US whites, whose cultural confidence is being browbeaten out of them. That said, I'm open to the notion that women could run a static, bureaucratic society better than men could. However, I question whether the US can transition to such a society without major quantitative external and internal setbacks. (Of course, especially in a prosperous democracy, the general welfare is often (usually?) a peripheral concern to those who have their eyes set on power.)

March 30, 2014

" Senate Democrats struggle to define a message that can save their majority"

The above headline is copied from the Washington Post (HT: Instapundit). According to WaPo, the Democrat strategy is to focus on their base rather than on swing voters.

Will it work? Well, I remember a right-of-center blog or two mocking the Life of Julia ads in 2012...until the election returns came in. The mockers completely overlooked that the ads were not directed at them.

The GOP has done well in recent spot elections. Maybe they've learned from losing the 2012 election they should have won, but they're called the Stupid Party for a reason(s).

March 28, 2014

Jen Psaki, You Go Grrl!!

She responded to Russian aggression in Ukraine with...a tweeted selfie. Who, you ask, is Jen Psaki?---
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was mocked Thursday after posting a photo of herself on Twitter holding a sign that read #United­For­Ukraine @State­Dept­Spox.”

Psaki, who has worked closely with President Obama since his 2008 campaign and is the chief communications adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, is smiling and giving a thumbs-up in the photo.
"Vladimir Putin must be quaking in his boots."

I don't know what's worse, the risible message or th smug look on her face.

2014 = 1914 + 100.

March 25, 2014

High Tech Rigs Recruitng to Hold Down Salaries

Here. CEO salaries, stock options, and perks, not so much. There was a piece on this some time ago by a Silicon Valley reporter, but not the documentation which has now come out. HT: Instapundit, who writes:
You can see why they want a lot of temporary visas for cheap foreign workers.
A golden age of STEM has been just around the corner for 30+ years. Talk of critical shortages is a cynical lie.

(Again via Instapundit, here's a bit about St. Steve.)

Embarrassing

There's the montage of Putin vs. Obama. That was assembled to make Barry look bad.

It's hard to make that excuse for Michelle vs. Peng Liyuan when they're standing next to each other.

We are governed by people whose primary talent is lying to line their pockets.

March 24, 2014

Top Web Comics

The site, which ranks indie webcomics via online polls, is here. It surprised me that the great majority of protagonists are female.

(I read science fiction regularly in youth and remain an off-again-on-again reader. I used to thinks nothing of heroines like Telzey Amberdon or Susan Calvin. Now that there is a push to highlight Strong Empowered Women and/or People of Color, I scrutinize potential reads with such protagonists more closely. Great job, diversicrats!)

March 20, 2014

All-Encompassing Regulation, Selective Enforcement

That's the governing philosophy I associate with today's PC Left and with many on the Right. David French:
For much of my life as a lawyer, a writer, and an advocate for Christian and conservative causes I’ve made a terrible mistake. I can remember exactly when I started down the wrong path. It was the year 2000, and Tufts University had just kicked a Christian student group off campus because the group (*gasp*) required its leaders to agree with the organization’s statement of belief. I represented the group, and when trying to explain why the group’s alleged act of “discrimination” was in fact an act of total common sense, I would say things like, “Would a gay student group want Christian fundamentalist leaders? Would a Muslim student group want Jewish leadership?”
...
I went on to present hypotheticals like this again and again, convinced I was making headway largely because everyone who already agreed with me found them convincing. I now understand that this messaging failed. Utterly and completely. Dozens of universities followed Tufts’ example, and religious free association is precarious, at best, on campus after campus.

...there is no chance that a Muslim student group would be forced to admit a hostile student because that would constitute discrimination against the Muslim student group. (In fact, when I once tried to persuade a Muslim leader to join with Christian groups in protecting religious liberty, he looked at me and said, “The college will never touch us. That would be discrimination.”)
They're interested in power. Justice and good governance are pretexts.

Sex Work: Live and Let Live?

Live and let live has been my attitude, but I've been reading about feminist Duke student Belle Knox/Miriam Weeks's porn gigs. The university's support contrasts with its attitude during the phony rape allegations against the lacrosse team.

Some on the Left use justice as a pretext to grind down traditional values. A caveat from a gay marriage supporter:
When weak, the left preaches tolerance. When strong, conformity.
How did live and let live work out wrt the homosexual community? Sometimes with accusations of bigotry.

If you're going to be innocent as a dove, be wise as a serpent too.

March 18, 2014

Bravo, Mr. President!

With the kerfluffles in Ukraine, Iran and Venezuela adroitly attended to & with better, more economical healthcare in place, Barry can return his attention to America's real problems: rape culture, homophobia, and white privilege. And climate change and islamophobia, of course.

March 14, 2014

Why Is Downton Abbey Popular with the PBS Viewership?

Because it's a pretext for watching an all-white show?

I'm such a cynic (who hasn't watched the series).

'No Compulsion in Religion''

Should a binding oath to this effect be a precondition for residency or citizenship?

(With the risk of losing citizenship if the violation is serious enough. While I am skeptical about making distinctions between naturalized and native-born citizens, IMHO there's room for discussion of the above concept.)

Obama Tops Carter's Giving Away the Panama Canal

He's giving away the Internet. (After all the hanky-panky by US spy agencies, he may not have much choice. See this and this.)

Meanwhile, Putin is seizing Ukraine. Weak horse, strong horse...

The elite fools who govern us think there are no consequences to their arrogant stupidity. Of course, their response is to demand more power when the chickens come clucking home.

UN-type transnational kleptocrats would love to tax the Internet, and I bet some American politicians would go along for a cut of the loot. Human progress be damned.

March 11, 2014

Preaching to the Choir, Not Making Converts

That's the trouble with conservative & libertarian media, IMHO. Suggestion:
...it might be useful to have awards recognizing people who spread the conservative message to skeptics and people who haven’t heard it. Best Conservative Evangelist, with categories like Blogging, Press, Radio, Television, Policy Analysis, etc. Ditto for libertarians.
But nooo...

_____ _____ & Rand Paul & Ted Cruz

Paul and Cruz are running for President. (Paul won the CPAC straw poll for the second year in a row.)

First-term senators with politically extremist parentage and no executive experience...sounds good to me. What could go wrong?

Added 20140311: Which leaves, I suppose, Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

Perry is qualified, but...somehow meh. His apparent strong alliance to the Religious Right puts me off, and, as somebody wrote, No New Texans. Walker me in mind of a sales manager at a used-car dealership, or of Reggie in old Archie comic books. The concocted Bridgegate "scandal" does not change my reserve toward Christie, who always struck me as a lout: more to the point, as a lout who has reached his maximum level of competence. (Instapundit's online straw poll did not even include Jeb "Two Losers But Third Time's the Charm" Bush.)

March 7, 2014

Don't Give Them Ideas, Rep. Polis

After Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for a federal ban on bitcoins, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) proposed that the government ban paper currency. He warned:
I write today to express my concerns about United States dollar bills. The exchange of dollar bills, including high denomination bills, is currently unregulated and has allowed users to participate in illicit activity, while also being highly subject to forgery, theft, and loss. For the reasons outlined below, I urge regulators to take immediate and appropriate action to limit the use of dollar bills.

By way of background, a physical dollar bill is a printed version of a dollar note issued by the Federal Reserve and backed by the ephemeral “full faith and credit” of the United States. Dollar bills have gained notoriety in relation to illegal transactions...
...
Printed pieces of paper can fit in a person’s pocket and can be given to another person without any government oversight. Dollar bills are not only a store of value but also a method for transferring that value. This also means that dollar bills allow for anonymous and irreversible transactions.

The very features of dollar bills, such as anonymous transactions, have created ubiquitous uses from drug purchases, to hit men, to prostitutes, as dollar bills are attractive to criminals who are able to disguise their actions from law enforcement. Due to the dollar bills’ anonymity, the dollar bill market has been extremely susceptible to forgers, tax fraud, criminal cartels, and armed robbers stealing millions of dollars from their legitimate owners. Anonymity, combined with a dollar bills’ ability to finalize transactions quickly, makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse fraudulent transactions.
...
The clear use of dollar bills for transacting in illegal goods, anonymous transactions, tax fraud, and services or speculative gambling make me wary of their use. Before the United States gets too far behind the curve on this important topic, I urge the regulators to work together, act quickly, and prohibit this dangerous currency from harming hard-working Americans.
Congressman, your heart is in the right place, but be careful what you ask for. The regulatory state would love to record every single financial transaction. We might be shocked to learn how much information they already collect on credit cards, banking, etc.

(Whether the bitcoin implosion will turn out to be partial or complete, one should not forget that technology often/usually advances via trial and error.)

Ukraine Is a Trifle

Yours truly, at Dinocrat:
2. This crisis is nothing compared to what looms ahead. Russia’s GDP is about 12% of that of the USA or EU; China’s, more than 50%.

Wait till the Chinese leadership assesses their economy to be robust enough to underwrite a military of global reach. There are already a few indications, but we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
Where next? The South China Sea is an obvious candidate, but there are others.

March 3, 2014

Unusual K-12 Malpractice

The narrative is not unusual: elementary school traumatizes disabled child, punishes him, gets parents in trouble with authorities for suspected child abuse, lies, experiences no consequences. (HT: Instapundit.)

What struck my eye is where this happened: Princeton, NJ. The father is a Princeton psychology professor, composer, and successful writer of children's and literary fiction; the mother is a PhD/MD and also a Princeton professor.

I had assumed that people this successful and accomplished have enough status and clout to be immune from this kind of hassle. Apparently not. (If Princeton, NJ does not offer first-class public schools, who does?)

February 25, 2014

Trolls Are Not the Worst People Online

Recent reports indicate that trolls can be sadistic, narcissistic psychopaths (Google: "internet trolls are psychopaths").

Even worse are people who foment online witch hunts and lynchings, who knowingly appeal to a community's worst instincts.

Then there are the professionals (HT: Instapundit).

February 24, 2014

Ukraine and Venezuela

Unless common decency is overriden by something like fear of a despot, a country's military and police may refuse to fire on their own people:
The heads of four Ukrainian security bodies, including the police's Berkut anti-riot units, appeared in parliament on Saturday and declared they would not take part in any conflict with the people.

They represented the paratroop unit of the military, the Berkut anti-riot police, Alfa special operations unit and military intelligence. The Interior Ministry had already signaled its allegiance to anti-government protests under a new minister from the ranks of the opposition.
Which explains why the Venezuelan regime allegedly is importing Cuban troops. (Though I'd like to know who supports the Venezuelan regime and why, given its incredible failure.)

February 21, 2014

Why Was Microaggression "Discovered"?

Because the multiculti Left is no longer content to monitor speech. They want to monitor facial expressions and body language too.

February 15, 2014

Heartachingly Poignant

For some time it's been understood that some women submit to sex when all they want is intimacy.

Now a few men are paying online sex workers---paying a premium---for virtual dinners via webcam (HT: Instapundit). They don't want a whore; they want a girl friend, a companion, and they'll pay extra for that.

All the lonely people...

Opposites Attract

That's the title of a WSJ piece stating that couples with traditional male-female roles have better sex lives (HT: Instapundit). Taranto's piece also links to some of the crazier things that have come out lately, like "gender-minimized" dating.

From the Taranto column:
"The less gender differentiation, the less sexual desire." So sex differences are sexy:
What about interracial marriages, then?

February 13, 2014

Is Amazon Stock A Table-Pounding Short?

Down over 10% from the high...price/earnings of 600 (internet bubble territory...owner distracted by a space company, the Washingtn Post, and who knows what else...

Bargains are a lot harder to find than they were a couple of years ago...free shipping harder to get than it once was (higher minimum and the "Add-On Items")...looks like they're trying to reduce unit size and increase per/unit price in groceries...prices have drifted up so my supermarket is often competitive again...

If I were speculating in the market nowadays, I'd definitely take a flyer on a short or a put.

Added 20140214: The foregoing is not, of course, a personal opinion; it is not investment advice.

Added 20140314: Now, lawsuits:
Amazon claims that a $79 annual membership for Amazon Prime provides free two-day shipping on "millions" of items, but for some products, the company is accused of encouraging sellers to inflate shipping prices, according to two recent lawsuits.
If my Prime membership expired today, I wouldn't renew. It remains to be seen whether Amazon will can do something to change my mind.

February 2, 2014

Framing 'Inequality'

Framing the discussion in terms of economic inequality obscures the growth of government size and power that has accompanied the growth of economic inequality.

Growing concentration of power is the problem. A serious discussion must not ignore that, if left unchecked, the biggest crocodile (the government) will eventually devour the others. In that sense, today's situation is worse than what Reagan faced in 1980.

January 24, 2014

Comments January 2014

• On Geithner and the S&P prosecution (gs Jan 23, 2014 @ 13:49:27):
Moody’s, which like S&P was up to its nose in the mortgage disaster, is not getting sued by the government. Maybe it’s coincidental that Moody’s has not downgraded the USA’s AAA credit rating. Maybe it’s a coincidence that Obama ally Warren Buffett is a major Moody’s shareholder.

Looking for crony capitalism? Move along, nothing to see here…
To be fair, Moody's just downgraded health insurers' outlook, citing Obamacare.

• On Wendy Davis:
...
2. Afaic Davis’s character should disqualify her from responsible office. Nevertheless, turning the campaign into a messaging contest about character may benefit her. It distracts from the fact that Republican policies have succeeded in TX whereas Democrat policies have failed in other big states.

Democrats don’t like to compare records with Republicans. Their strategy is to make Republicans run against utopia.

3. Ever since Betty Warren claimed she’s not running for POTUS, the people who bankrolled her are looking for someone to run against Hillary from the left. IMO Wendy Davis is running for governor with the intention of running for President in 2016.

• On climate:
... 2. The polar vortex, taken in isolation, seems plausible enough. However, I don’t recall seeing the shiver-inducing Polar Vortex of Dread being predicted before the current outbreak of cold. (Speaking of currents, there indeed have been warnings that the Gulf Stream might get impaired. However, the Gulf Stream is water. The Polar Vortex is air.)

My prejudice remains that the plethora of parameters and processes in the big climate models is so complex that almost anything can be rendered plausible by cherry picking. That’s not a reason for What me worry?; it’s a reason for more research by smarter, better, more objective researchers.

3. Professor Curry writes:

Is global warming causing the polar vortex?
Posted on January 7, 2014 | 311 Comments

by Judith Curry

In a word, no.

And now for the 2nd question: Does the massive cold air outbreak blanketing much of the U.S. disprove global warming?

Same word: no.

The media are mostly in stupid mode over this one.

I think I’m in love, but the lass is out of my league…
Afterthought here.

• On cheating, in college and later:
In one way it’s worse today, since the powers that be are so deeply dishonest.

I doubt that the cheating problems at our power elite’s prestigious almae matres began with the current generation of students. I doubt that the members of our power elite who cheated in college abandoned that mindset once they graduated.

• On online mobbing:
From one of our host’s links:
Slick and omnipresent television ads from the group’s early years, produced by the same agency that made the Geico Auto Insurance gecko famous, have been replaced by smaller web-based programs. One ongoing effort, “Reality Drop,” helps activists post boilerplate comments to blog entries written by climate change skeptics.

Outside the trainings, the Gore group focuses on the digital world, trying to tell the story of climate change and shame skeptics online. The “Reality Drop” program, still in beta phase, allows users to post prewritten comments on articles the group says distort the facts about climate change.
Worth keeping in mind, IMHO.

• On the creative impulse (gs January 9, 2014 at 8:33 am):
1. I suspect that the Muse is largely indifferent to me as an individual. She views me as an instrument for her purposes. Heaven and earth are not humane, Lao Tzu cautioned.

2. Is the Muse sometimes a Siren? We don’t hear much from people whose alluring creative vision turned out to be a life-blighting illusion, but I suspect they’re out there. While some of them were defeated by Resistance, I’m pretty sure that some of them should have taken the road more traveled by. (Yes, in part I am expressing my own self-doubt, and, yes, I remember that Steven has written that self-doubt is a good sign.)

• On Rich Lowry (okay, this one was posted December 31st):
In 2012 Rich Lowry canned John Derbyshire for writing PC-unpalatable things about race relations. Afaic this decision severely damages Lowry’s standing as a cultural dissenter.

Standing athwart history, pleading Not so fast.
Worthwhile writers remain at National Review, but afaic Lowry has done a terrible job overall.

January 19, 2014

The Fallen Mighty: Little Green Footballs

In 2004 the blog influenced the course of the Presidential election by helping to debunk the forgery of debunk Bush's National Guard evaluations. Subsequently Charles Johnson changed his political orientation, which is his prerogative, whereupon he banned many (most?) of his commenters in a way that led to long-term rancor.

Where did this get him? He is now posting expos├ęs of...Minnesota state senators.

January 13, 2014

SCOTUS and ACA

Imagine that Roberts had voted to find Obamacare unconstitutional. To this day, the media would be saturated with fury and anguish about Utopia Denied. Roberts may have done the GOP a medium-term favor.

Another situation in which good politics is the opposite of good policy.

Bello's Bellows

Actress-"activist" Maria Bello recently announced she is lesbian "whatever". Her ex and 12-year-old son, "with a wisdom beyond his years", approve. Hurray!

Afaic many changes are continuing to ensue from technology and prosperity, and my overall attitude is wait-and-see. However, I'm surprised that Bello's parents, according toher anyway, didn't at least speak up for traditional mores.

Above all, I'm seriously uneasy about the Nemesis-summoning smugness that spews of Bello's piece and its spinoffs.

January 11, 2014

Sports Team Names Deemed Racist

The race card crossed my mind when the Florida State Seminoles won the national championship in football, and sure enough... (HT: LI)

Honor a defeated enemy and he'll do all he can to validate your respect. Case in point: the military service of Southern whites. Do the opposite and you'll get the opposite. Case in point: all the prattle about diversity and tolerance.

But progressives purport that American Indians are victims and America is the oppressor. When the mainstream culture honors them, it undermines the Narrative, and must be quashed remorselessly.

January 10, 2014

Sustainability of Apartheid and "Apartheid"

Iirc apartheid South Africa claimed a right to their territory because whites supposedly arrived on the land just before southward-migrating blacks did. Sounds dubious, but whatever.

Could they have maintained apartheid if they'd created a more or less fully whites-only society, with whites doing the grunt work instead of becoming an ultimately unsustainable privileged caste? Probably not, given the international boycott.

What about Israel and other advanced societies? Does the emergence of robotics change the equation? As for boycotts, an advanced society has more to offer than boycotted South Africa did. For example, while the decadent West turns against Israel to varying degrees, Israel and a rising China are cooing at each other.

Added 20140221:
This example of Israeli pride does not overlook the implications.

Caveat: Hubris is not a Hebrew word, but maybe it should be.

January 3, 2014

The Ban on Incandescent Light Bulbs

It's self-evident that Big Business and the regulatory state have created a predatory arrangement against the consumer. Even so, it's expressed well here and here. (HT: Instapundit.)

January 1, 2014

Internal Developments in China

25 years ago Deng Hsiao-ping ended struggle sessions. Chinese citizens are allowed to travel abroad as tourists. "Reeducation" labor camps are being eliminated. The Chinese president serves a fixed term.

Maybe China's elite recognizes that an advanced technological society requires a degree of openness. Time will tell.

Afterthought 20140206. Otoh, I've seen reports that China denies entry to foreign journalists who report critically. And there are periodic crackdowns on dissidence and dissent. Per the original post, time will tell.

Applause for Mugabe?!

At the Mandela memorial service.

He wrecked his country, but, hey, he stood up to the West by wrecking his country. Huzzah!!

Addendum 20140103: A milder variant of this kind of behavior is shaping up in the US: with the same kind of heedlessness they picked Obama with, a country which acknowledges the failure of his Presidency may well elect Hillary Clinton as his successor.

December 30, 2013

Belated Thought About the Obama Selfie Incident

At the Mandela memorial service, Obama took a selfie with the attractive Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. It's disputed whether Michelle was angry (but note that the previous link does not mention her changing places with Obama who thereby was no longer sitting next to the PM).

I am no fan of Michelle Obama:
Michelle Obama’s scowl is so ingrained that, figuratively and maybe literally, it is her expression in repose.
That said, one wonders if perhaps she has reason to scowl. At first blush it seems unthinkable that Barry would fool around like FDR, Ike, JFK, LBJ and WJC did. Why? (Another possibility is that Barry has reason to fool around.)

December 28, 2013

The WW1 Christmas Truce & US Partisanship

Worthwhile read about the truce here (HT: Ace). Two reactions:

1. Note that the truce only happened early in the war. Subsequently high commands clamped down and the misery of war took its down on latent goodwill.

2. The extracts of wartime propaganda reminded me of (much but not all) commenting in the political blogosphere. For example, the derangement at Little Green Footballs continues apace. Not a promising indicator for the future of American democracy. Ben Franklin warned that at some point a citizenry brings despotic government upon itself.

December 24, 2013

"Inequality: Government Is a Perp, Not a Bystander"

That's the title of Dean Baker's piece posted by a leftist think tank (HT: Instapundit). Public choice theory is not mentioned; unsurprisingly, people with political axes to grind are not enthusiastic about clear-eyed exploration of their motivations.

Also unmentioned is my notion about taxes and inequality:
From time to time I point out that, given a graduated income tax, income inequality maximizes the government’s revenue, all else being equal. In that sense, notwithstanding protestations to the contrary, income inequality is in the government’s interest—and the politicians know it.
(Otoh, that comment's concern about a VAT proved unfounded. So far.)

IMHO Baker is correct to write that:
Inequality did not just happen, it was deliberately engineered through a whole range of policies intended to redistribute income upward.
But he doesn't go far enough.

(When billionaires ostentatiously call for their taxes to be raised---but don't make donations to the Treasury---, I don't think they expect to lose money in risk-adjusted terms. IMO they are proposing a quid pro quo whereby the government protects their wealth from the vagaries of a market economy.)

Addendum 20140103: Roger Simon chimes in with some good lines, but IMO he doesn't go far enough. Per this post, Simon's "Soros Socialists" get a net benefit from the policies they espouse.

Is this a step toward full socialism? Maybe, maybe not; not immediately, anyway. Even if the statist crocodile eats the sorosians last, for the time being it protects them from attack via the free markets---and fattens them up.

December 12, 2013

Appalling, If True

A cancer patient who complained about his health insurance coverage being dropped, and an activist who tried to help him, have both been hassled by the IRS. (HT: Neo-Neocon and Ace).

Also astonishing is the claim that existing federal law does not allow cancellation of health insurance to people with life threatening conditions. The question, I suppose, is whether the Obamacare legislation preempts the previous law.

December 2, 2013

Orbital Tourism for ~$150K?

Eventually, according to Elon Musk.

Wow.

And he'd like to get to Mars for $500K.

Though I wonder if the biological challenges, e.g. breeding and growing up in nonterrestrial gravity, may be more difficult than the astronautical ones.

November 28, 2013

November 26, 2013

Self-Recording Police?

No-brainer! Yes!, I say. Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin (HT: Instapundit) agrees: she required that stop-and-frisk encounters be recorded in parts of NYC with high incidences of such encounters.

1. The Reason article notes that such recordings are a win-win which deters both police abuse and false accusations by unscrupulous citizens. It has plausible suggestions for fine-tuning the policy.

2. It's too bad that this had to be imposed by a federal magistrate, rather than by the mayor or city council. I'm guessing that the elected officials are deterred by the clout of police unions.

November 14, 2013

Obama's Insurance Turnabout

I'm seeing claims that insurance companies can't adjust their business plans fast enough to correct the situation, even though they're being allowed to.

It's not what goes wrong that concerns politicians, it's who gets blamed. It's entirely possible that the Democrats are already gaming how to blame Republicans and insurance companies for next October's rate hikes, thereby using the debacle to gain votes. It's less likely that the Republicans are on to the possiblity.

Addendum 20131115. I had a little more to say here:
Howard Dean, yes, Howard Dean, was saying he isn’t sure the President has legal authority to allow the cancellations to be revoked.

Iirc, in his swing vote upholding Obamacare, John Roberts said it was not the job of SCOTUS to rectify bad legislation, only to rule on constitutionality. That statement should be put to the test.

Obama’s action should be litigated.
Litigated with a fast track to SCOTUS urged because this might be the most urgent situtation since Bush vs. Gore. And, importantly, litigated while remedial legislation is being pursued and publicized to the extent possible

Addendum 20131116.. This post was in good contemporaneous company: see Via Meadia and compare Politico.

Unfortunately True

This (boldface in the last sentence is mine):
Words that think for us

An accusation of “denial” is serious, suggesting either deliberate dishonesty or self-deception. The thing being denied is, by implication, so obviously true that the denier must be driven by perversity, malice or wilful blindness. Few issues warrant such confidence. The Holocaust is perhaps one, though even here there is room for debate over the manner of its execution and the number of its victims. A charge of denial short-circuits this debate by stigmatising as dishonest any deviation from a preordained conclusion. It is a form of the argument ad hominem: the aim is not so much to refute your opponent as to discredit his motives. The extension of the “denier” tag to group after group is a development that should alarm all liberal-minded people. One of the great achievements of the Enlightenment—the liberation of historical and scientific enquiry from dogma—is quietly being reversed.
HT: Judy Curry.

November 6, 2013

Cuccinelli Lost. Good!

Today's news: the sun rose in the east, and the Stupid Party stupidly lost another election they should have won.

Upon learning about his meddling with Michael Mann, I had no use for him. The notion of an ideologically motivated prosecutor using State power to assess unwelcome research is horrifying. My low regard for Michael Mann does not enter into the picture.

As I noted here and here, apparently Cuccinelli got the GOP nomination process reconfigured to his advantage. His people changed the process from an open primary not to a closed primary, but to a convention which his people packed.

Like George MacacAllen, Cuccinelli got what he deserved.

November 5, 2013

PJ Media Gets An Early Jump

Normally the Right waits until after they blow a winnable election to complain that Democrats cheat, but PJ Media's Bryan Preston makes the claim even before Virginia's polls close.

A naive commenter foolishly suggests that maybe Cuccinelli's situation has something to do with his being a terrible candidate. Predictably, a couple of people jump down his throat: Cuccinelli's problem, it seems, is that he is too doggone nice.

I've been tempted to reactivate my PJM registration. Note to self: stay resolute.

For Mayor-Elect de Blasio's Urgent Attention

I gather that deB will end or rein in the program because of racial profiling...and yet, African-Americans are, um, overrepresented in violent-crime statistics. What to do, what to do?

Simple once you think of it: race norming!

Hire a bunch of police to stop & frisk all racial groups in equal proportion. That will be a whole lot of police, but no price is too high to pay to avoid racial profiling. You'll also want to replicate the experience of being frisked by an officer of different race, so most of the new hires will be minorities.

Hurray for diversity!

November 1, 2013

Unfortunately This Great Idea Has Not Yet Been Implemented Properly

Marxism? Well, that too, but I meant Obamacare.

Maybe this post should have been titled Nobody Ever Lost Money By Underestimating the Intelligence of the American Public.

Another poll, by Rasmussen, is here; NBC poll, here.

The mixed signals from the polls imply that the issue is spinnable. No doubt the political pros, especially the Democrats, are taking heed. Note to the Stupid Party: it's spinnable by competent operatives, which includes you out.

October 30, 2013

Narratives

The old: The buck stops here.

The new: What difference, at this point, does it make where the buck stops?

The newest: Whatever.

Addendum 20131103: "I won’t be surprised to see the Clintons claim, with a straight face, that everything was fine until Hillary left the State Department."

October 24, 2013

Civilizational Suicide: The Latest Fashion

Disdain and shaming of couples with more than two children. Instapundit calls it fecundophobia (here too).

Before the financial crisis, Wall Streeters were having lots of kids. So the signals are mixed.

(But of course we can't criticize never-married welfare mothers with multiple children and multiple fathers. That would be racist.)

October 23, 2013

I Didn't Know This

From a reader review of Harvey Silverglate's Three Felonies a Day:
... between 2001 and 2007 the Department of Justice (DoJ) opened investigations into seven times more Democratic public officials than Republicans.
Curious, isn't it, that this goes unmentioned by the people beating the tom-tom's about the Obama administration's abuse of the IRS?

That corruption is bipartisan does not make it more excusable. On the contrary, the fact that it is systemic makes it more serious.

Denmark Is a Happy Place

In fact, supposedly the happiest country in the world, according to HuffPo.

Why? Gender equality and support for families, among other things.

Sooo...what's the birth rate among these happy Danes? Not at replacement level. Odd that HuffPo doesn't mention that.

NB: I'm not dismissing what the Danes are doing. Maybe they're on to something. I wish them well. They're worth watching. However, it's not yet clear whether they have a sustainable society or whether,drawing down the social capital accumulated by previous generations, they're gracefully extincting themselves. Until their native population becomes self-sustaining (or not), the jury is still out. Their current birth rate makes their solution incomplete, and Incomplete is the grade I give.

They Named It the WHAT?!

Nowadays my life is a solitary one. I neither get out much nor keep up with trends.

Nevertheless, passing by a McDonald's, I was stupefied to learn that the company recently introduced a product they call the McWrap. The director of US marketing explains:
She added that the Premium McWrap platform itself was an example of a menu idea from other areas of the world that McDonald’s imported to the United States.
I'm guessing that they don't speak colloquial English in those areas of the world, nor, apparently, do they do so at McDonald's headquarters.

However, if the few reviews I've seen are any indication, the name is well chosen.

(The only comparison that comes to mind was told me by a plausible source back in the 1980s: some advertising genius pitched to An Wang, the founder and CEO of Wang Laboratories, the slogan Wang: The Chink In IBM's Armor.)

October 22, 2013

America's Future: California Shows the Way

Poverty. California's is highest in the nation. (HT: Instapundit.)

The GOP's corporatism is little better, if what I read about North Carolina is true.

The problem is the size and reach of government, not which party is in charge. They're both corrupt.

October 20, 2013

Obamacare and Obama GOTV

Legal Insurrection notes the discrepancy. I couldn't say it as well as David Gerstman did.

In fact I didn't say it as well, but I said it a week earlier.

October 17, 2013

A Religious Kook, I Suspect

A stenographer disrupted the House. Instapundit says she sounds like an Obama supporter. From the biblical flavor of her rantings, I'm guessing a religious nut. (Could be a congregant of a preacher like Jeremiah Wright, and thereby both.) We'll know soon enough.

Added before posting: Yup, she shouted "Praise be to GOD".

October 15, 2013

Here'a a Crazy Thought

The USA wouldn't be tied up in knots about the debt crisis if the government didn't have any debt.

Completely nuts, I admit. If anyone should happen to read this, please don't have the mental health authorities track me down.

I mean, who could have possibly foreseen today's precarious mess back when our wise, compassionate and prudent elites were making all those "investments"?

October 10, 2013

Planning for the Shutdown

Dinocrat notes that detailed planning was required to set up the annoying, visible, and unnecessary shutdowns. Who did it? Who gave the orders?

Yours truly
chimes in that this seems a promising plot (pun intended) for digging with the FOIA.

The Queen of Self-Reliance Didn't Tell Me This

States most affected by the federal shutdown include:
—D.C., Maryland, Alaska, Hawaii and Virginia have the most federal workers per capita and are disproportionately affected by the shutdown's immediate impact.

—D.C., Virginia, Alaska,New Mexico and Maryland receive the most federal contract money per capita, which means people in those areas stand to lose even if they don't technically work for the federal government.

—Small-business owners from the Dakotas, Colorado, Alaska and Michigan who are seeking funding are hurt most by an inability to garner Small Business Administration loans, as those states have displayed the highest small-business borrowing rates in recent years.
(Cf. Forbes...and consider the amazing resemblance between the CNBC piece and the prior Forbes one.)

Dukakis and Palin: the kind of "reformer" whose real complaint about the machine is that they're not in charge.

October 9, 2013

On Commenting in the Blogosphere

Thoughts here:
Yes, some people behave as though being too toxic to interact with means they “win”.

A thought or few have lodged in my brain to keep me sane online (to the extent that I am):

1. I am not obliged to have the last word. Getting (or foregoing) the last word does not mean I’m right and it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

2. For certain discussions: If an onlooker buys into my interlocutor’s “argument”, anything I say will not change their mind.

3. Some things are not worth the time to talk about.

4. I like to talk with people who have something to offer me, whether or not we agree, whether or not I persuade, am persuaded, or neither. If they have nothing to offer me, why am I talking with them?

And if my counterparty doesn’t view me similarly—it’s highly unlikely that they are Richard Feynman, posting anonymously from Beyond—, why are they talking with me?

5. Unfortunately, my belief in suasion by reason has declined since I went online. Some people in effect demand to be manipulated. (Nor am I necessarily always immune.)
I quit smoking a long time ago. Before taking the last and hopefully final plunge, I knew I'd have to quit eventually but wasn't ready. I'm developing a similar attitude toward comenting online.

That attitude is probably suboptimal. What I should do is develop a thick(er) skin about ignoring people with whom engagement doesn't advance my understanding.

October 6, 2013

A Simple Reason Why Republicans Lose

Here:
... swing voters distrust both parties wrt hidden agendas. That being so, they understandably vote for the party that offers them free stuff.
Abusive behavior directed at me in that thread was tolerated by the blog owner, whose position it supported. A few months ago I decided between subscribing to Hoyt's site and joining Ricochet. Apparently I chose wrongly and, unless something changes, will correct the mistake unless something changes by renewal time. Yet another reason why libertarians and conservatives lose: they either have forgotten or are unwilling to emulate what Reagan demonstrated about disagreeing without being disagreeable.

October 4, 2013

WWII Memorial Wired Shut

Disgusting.

Sometimes a little thing is more revealing than a big thing.

Miriam Carey

1. Carey was the individual shot by DC law enforcement. An investigation should be conducted to determine whether unnecessary force was used. Was there a prospect of her gaining entry to high-value government facilities? Was there a plausible risk that she would do harm to high-value government personnel?

2. I'm thinking that some people are disappointed by how this turned out. Case in point (boldface mine):
Dr. Matt
10/04/2013 7:04:16 am PDT

Clint Van Zandt was reporting today that she was paranoid about the government and thought President Obama was spying on her. Wonder how this paranoia was fueled…….,.
The Tea Party made her do it!

3. What was involved in the "lockdown" of the Capitol? Were members free to leave if they wished? It would be a very bad sign if they weren't.

Added: Instapundit quotes Da Tech Guy along the lines of my #1. Not surprisingly, some of his commenters are frothing-mouth crazy.

Addendum 20131008: Instapundit and PJM's Jack Dunphy defend the police, but some commenters at each link aren't buying it.

October 3, 2013

The Bush-Rove-Delay-Lott Crowd's True Colors, Again

My post at LI:
Trent Lott trashed Ted Cruz…to a Mother Jones reporter.

The prominence of people like Lott and Rove in the previous administration is one reason why my contempt for Bush has not diminished despite the passage of time and his catastrophic successor.
Obama's disaster does not mitigate Bush's failure. "Miss me yet?" No.

Oh Yeah, the Snowden Affair

I haven't joined the Republican screeching about Snowden's accusations because I recall that Bush started, or accelerated, this stuff.

Lately there haven't been too many stories about evil Chinese hackers compromising our security so giving more power to our wise and good government was the only recourse. (Yes, Chinese hackers probably are compromising our security...and some people see that as an opportunity to further erode our liberty.)

September 24, 2013

September 18, 2013

Bush and Obama

Both had failed Presidencies, and there are no grades such as F+ and F-. Nevertheless, a distinction can be made:

During a placid interval in USA history---either Bush, for that matter---Bush would have been an unexceptional mediocre President whereas Obama would have been a disaster anytime.

Pigs Attack Chicken

Chicken, Alaska, population 17, was swarmed by an armed government "task force" in body armor. (HT: Instapundit and Fox News.)

Hegel, Insight, and Hindsight

Thread here at ATH. Is criticism of Hegel overdone because Marx adapted him? Dunno. In any event, the line
The owl of Minerva takes flight only at the onset of dusk.
is a fine one.

September 12, 2013

Marissa Mayer, Microsoft CEO?

It sounds improbable, but aspects of her personality seem Gatesian: the intelligence, the arrogance, the relentlessness, the insane workaholism, the insensitivity...

September 11, 2013

August 23, 2013

Very Belated Thoughts on the NBA Finals

1. I don't begrudge high salaries to people who excel. Too many professional athletes don't excel, and collect anyway. Too many are thugs.

Apparently LeBron James is shaping up as an exception. It's good to watch him (hopefully) mature and grow out of his juvenile arrogance.

2. It was a very good series played by well-managed franchises which expressed mutual respect. The saying that It's too bad somebody had to lose applied. A heart wrench for Tim Duncan.

3. The decisive seventh game almost went to overtime. That would have been something else.

4. The whole thing about championships has gotten grossly overdone in American sports. It's reasonable in the pros (though how statistically significant is a narrow win in a seventh game?), but at the college level it's become completely crazy.

August 21, 2013

Coptic Self-Determination? Arm the Copts?

Makes sense to me, but not to the doofi or worse who are ignoring the Iranian Green Movement.

Bad as their situation is, the Copts may be better off without American support: cf. the fate of Iraq's Marsh Arabs.

The US is not doing enough on behalf of religious communities (Christian, Hindu, Buddhists, etc.) which externally funded Islamists attack. NB: I am hesitant to interfere in internal conflicts, which is why I specified 'externally funded'.

Addendum 20130823. Megan McArdle suggests we offer asylum to the Copts. I had the same thought, but in contrast to McArdle (and Instapundit), I looked up how many there are: over 7 million.

I gradually have been getting disenchanted with McArdle. My guess is that a lot of knives have been sharpened for the release of her book.

August 18, 2013

The Religious Right: A Glimmer of Sanity?

Maybe. Rising Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore acknowledges that the Religious Right has lost the culture wars. (HT: Rick Moran/PJ Media.)

Moore:
On protecting the unborn, Mr. Moore says he is a "long-term optimist" but "a short-term pessimist." He doesn't get excited every time a poll shows that more Americans are pro-life than pro-choice...

But he also believes that this battle will not be won in Washington: "You have to take it to a personal level." He touts the many faith-based pregnancy crisis centers that not only try to talk women out of having abortions, but also help with child-care, job training and housing—"all of the things that have brought them there in the first place."
Yours trulyy, after the 2012 election:
Social conservatives should stop trying to impose their religious views via the federal government. They should work to devolve social issues to the states: abortion, drugs, gay marriage, assisted suicide, etc.

Or maybe not: it's not clear whether the Religious Right understands why they lost the culture wars in center-right country that Reagan left them. Still, Moore's views are a hopeful development---hopefully not too late---and bear watching. Too bad that socons didn't think this way all along.

Speed Traps Are Sooo 20th Century

Why issue a ticket when you can seize the car and everything in it? In Tenaha, TX for example. The ACLU Apparently has stepped in. (The fever swamps have spilled into reality: I found the previous links here, at a conspiracy forum. Maybe one should say that the expansion of the authoritarian state has carried it into the fever swamps.)


The justification is the Drug War, yet this kind of action is only taken against the vulnerable. As the New Yorker piece notes, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid was not seized although his sons used it as an "emporium of drugs".

Stillman's New Yorker article makes me wonder about linkage between the Drug Warriors and the Religious Right.

August 17, 2013

Intelligence and Ideology

Unfortunately, the point is not whether liberals are smarter than conservatives/libertarians (or vice versa). The point is under what kind of system the ruling class is more prosperous.

IMHO a nation with market-based economy requires greater intelligence to govern than a state-directed economy---but the ruling class fares better in the latter. The American Founding may have been an exception.