December 29, 2012

Bipartisan Attack on USA Civil Rights

Bridget Johnson reports:
The amendment from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to block the president’s broad power to hold American citizens without trial was stripped from the final defense authorization bill in conference, prompting a “no” vote on the entire bill from Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
(HT: Instapundit.) See Rand Paul's remarks as quoted by Johnson.

If things get screwed up to the point at which a man person on horseback emerges, the bill will provide a handy justification for rounding up the culprits in the ruling class. For starters, everybody in Washington who supported an unbalanced budget since Y2K. Sure, a few good apples will be gathered with the bad, but they can be sorted out later. National emergency, y'know. Compelling government interest.

Why Did Romney Lose?

The Boston Globe has a plausible narrative, to my chagrin.

Susannah Fleetwood has another. (HT: R.S. McCain)

The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal claims that Obama's nerds outclassed Romney's nerds. More here, among other Google links.

Pat Caddell and Michael Walsh had yet another. In contrast to most of the commenters above, they were writing in advance of the election.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Fleetwood, in particular, makes a good case that I hadn't considered--but the buck stops with the would-be President.

December 27, 2012

To Tax or Not to Tax: A False Dichotomy

For reasons I don't fully understand, Megan McArdle's shtick is starting to pall on me. I question whether she knows as much as she pretends to. However, I agree with this (boldface mine):
But I am uncomfortable when the government makes more money off your labors than you do. Yes, some people don't work very hard to earn their money, or earn it in ways that seem illegitimate. But the solution is to change the law so that it's harder to earn money in illegitimate ways, not to take the majority of their money in taxes--and the majority of the money of other people who work quite hard indeed.
(HT: Instapundit.)

I've been meaning to post the same thing. In fact, commenter jvic, one of the few conservatives left at LGF, recently wrote:
I view the taxation "debate" as a false dichotomy in which both parties collude. I would take it more seriously if it were accompanied by discussion of policies which abet concentration of wealth. Two examples that immediately come to mind are too-big-to-fail financial institutions and excessive protections for intellectual "property". There is corporate welfare in general, of course.
Addendum 20140114: See James Pethokoukis, here,

December 22, 2012

The Mess in the GOP

Corporate kleptocrats and religious kooks are fighting for control of the GOP. The trouble is that each is becoming unelectable.

No, the country is not going to ban abortion across the board. No, the country does not believe that billionaires are panting to create jobs, except overseas.

For the GOP to survive and prosper again, both factions have to make their agenda realistic. To save face, call it clarifying their agenda:

1. 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.

2. Economic conservatives should stress that they favor free markets over big businesses; if they don't, they should damn well start. Questioning the too-big-to-fail status quo is one place to start. Adopting Derek Khanna's agenda is another. A market economy with a safety net is salable to the electorate, and big business might prefer it to what the Democrats want to do to them.

December 18, 2012

A Historical Glitch, Not a Turning Point?

Reagan and Thatcher.

This guy expressed what has been on my mind, although I wasn't aware of the analogy with Diocletian.

(Paul Johnson thinks we're irreversibly far gone. He's not optimistic about China either. One possible outcome: a war that will make WW2 seem like a background scuffle.)

December 11, 2012

I'm Worse Than Mad. I'm Indifferent.

From Legal Insurrection, I infer that perhaps the conservative faithful are not flocking to their places of worship the way they did before the election. My response:

1. Why are you reading this?

Because you still care (?).

I’m reading this out of habit and because I agree with many of your positions as academic propositions. As a practical matter, I note that the Right, having been utterly outmaneuvered by the Left in an election which was the Right’s to win, is carrying on with business as usual.

2. Your previous Operation Counterweight urged your readers to support eighteen candidates, including honorable mentions. Fifteen of them lost. Your reaction: Would do it again, with the same choices. My reaction to your reaction: And likely with the same outcome.

3. America is heading toward a point of no return. It may or may not have reached it. If it hasn’t reached it, the conservative movement as currently constituted is not going to change the direction.

4. In a comment thread started by stevewhitemd, I replied to Towson Lawyer as follows:

The kook faction and the kleptocrat faction are vying for control of the GOP. Everybody else lacks critical mass.

Your suggestion about the abortion issue coincides with my opinion, but afaik it is not acceptable to the kooks.

After the eruption of post-election lunacy on this board, I decided to stop commenting regularly. The loss of a winnable election was bad enough; the post-election craziness is the last straw.

Maybe America hasn’t suffered enough. My real worry is that the country may be too far gone to respond constructively to experience.

Never before has a nation been presented with the position and opportunities America had at the dawn of the millenium. Never before has so much been squandered so quickly. Heaven help us if history is just.

Rant over. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming: Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great! No new taxes!

5. WAJ has called abortion “the civil rights issue of our time”. There were overwhelming thumbs-downs against the term “zygote” because it is supposedly dehumanizing. It’s been a waste of my time to seek common ground on this. Enough is enough.

“Conservatives” are for limited government, except when government can be used to shove their religious practices down the country’s throat. Good luck selling that. Santorum-Akin 2016!

6. I could go on and on. For example, Asian Americans are more disadvantaged by affirmative action than whites are. How, then, did the GOP contrive to lose 3/4 of their votes?

7. During WW2 George Orwell told British pacifists that objectively they were aiding the Fascists. A similar indictment applies to Real Conservatives™ wrt the Left.

And perhaps the collection baskets are emptier than they were before the election.

December 9, 2012

Climate Engineering

Geo-engineering wins scant enthusiasm at UN climate talks, reports Canada's Financial Post.
“Let’s first use what we know,” said Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, dismissing suggestions that it was time to try geo-engineering to halt a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

“There are so many proven technologies we know exist that are tried and true that have not been used to their maximum potential,” she told Reuters. “To begin with, the simplest is energy efficiency.”
...
“Let’s face it, geo-engineering has a lot of unknowns,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.’s panel of climate scientists, told Reuters on the sidelines of U.N.-led climate change talks among 200 nations in Doha from Nov. 26-Dec 7.

“How can you go into an area where you don’t know anything?” he said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is examining geo-engineering in depth for the first time as part of a major report due in 2013 and 2014.
But if the science is definitive that warming is anthropogenic, why can't that definitive science be used to assess climate engineering technologies?

I can't think of an answer that is complimentary to vested AGW/CAGW alarmist interests.

(Count me as a skeptic. Not a denier, a skeptic. If there is doubt, I'll give the benefit to economic growth which will facilitate technological progress:
I’m not willing to turn the economy inside out because there might be a problem, and I’m not willing to bet the biosphere that there isn’t a problem.
...
If humanity hasn’t learn(ed) to tweak the atmosphere by the time the extreme AGW scenarios are expected, it doesn’t deserve the label of homo sapiens.
Research into climate technology should be a no brainer for rational policymakers---unless they have ulterior motives to the contrary.)

December 1, 2012

The Scots-Irish

I've read Jim Webb's Born Fighting with admiration and Walter Russell Mead's The Jacksonian Tradition with eye-opened respect.

Scots-Irish heroism, especially in the service of lost causes, cannot be overpraised.

But good Lord, if a cause isn't lost, they'll turn it into one.

At a conservative blog where I used to comment regularly, the S-I reaction to the Romney loss? We aren't being emphatic enough that every sperm is sacred! Incredible.

November 26, 2012

Why Are Commented Blogs Getting Unreadable By Anyone But the Crazy Regulars?

The Arxiv Blog links to a preliminary explanation.

The notion that the Internet is fostering extremism is not new, but it is worth repeating in this context.

Addendum 20121227: Cyberpioneer Jaron Lanier has expressed concerns along the lines above, as far back as 2001. (HT: jvic at LGF.) Hopefully this addendum will be followed by at least one full post because Lanier's concerns warrant serious attention. Unfortunately what comes readily to mind are solutions, e.g. abolishing online anonymity, that are worse than the problems which Lanier identifies.

November 24, 2012

Enough is Enough

No one expected the Republicans to win the black vote. They should have done better with the Hispanic vote.

But it took real genius to lose the Asian vote by 3:1. (Asian Americans are severely disadvantaged by affirmative action, more so than whites.)

I've had it with the GOP in its present form. I've had it with the conservative coalition in its present form.

The loss of a winnable election was bad enough, but the reactions of the commenters at Legal Insurrection were the last straw for me.

My guess---purely a guess---is that Asian Americans looked at the influence of the creationist, every-sperm-is-sacred religious kooks and said sayonara.

I'm saying sayonara too.

November 17, 2012

Akin-Mourdock 2016!

Orwell on British pacifists:
Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other.
In that light, what should be said about the right-wing kooks who insist that human life begins at conception and abortion should be forbidden even for rape?

I say that they are so debasing the reasonable case for putting reasonable limits on abortion that they, as a matter of practical politics, are advancing their opponents' agenda.

This isn't rectitude; it isn't principle; it's stupdidity. Stupidity from the Stupid Party.

(A similar claim could be made about those who pass from justifying abortion to justifying infanticide, but at this time infanticide is not being seriously proposed in the USA.)

November 11, 2012

The Election

I said it here:
Some conservative reactions to the election worry me a lot more than the results do.

November 5, 2012

Polls

The Pew Research Center reports that only 9% of the people they contact agree to be polled; twelve years ago the figure was 36%.

Some time ago I got a robocall, claiming to be from Rasmussen, that asked for my views on the economy. As the questions continued, they became so personal and intrusive that I hung up. How secure were my responses? Would they be sold to political parties or financial institutions?

Pollsters might get better responses if they prefaced their interviews by stating reassuring privacy policies. Come to think of it, that's such an obvious step that it's suspicious that they aren't doing so already.

October 30, 2012

Question for Pat Robertson

If Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy is well received, it could get him reelected. Did God send the storm for that purpose?

Addendum 20121105. This post mocked the superstitious Right when it should have been mocking the superstitious Left. One Savannah Guthrie (Whozzat? The host of the Today Show) pretty much said in all seriousness what I wrote in sarcasm.

Which are dumber, the people who suggest the hurricane was divinely ordained to get Obama reelected, or the people who unquestioningly characterize it as due to anthropogenic global warming?

October 29, 2012

Closure of US Financial Markets

Ostensibly because of Hurricane Sandy, US stock exchanges will be closed today.

IMHO the powers that be are concerned about vulnerability to flash crashes more than vulnerability to weather per se, but I'll be surprised if they admit it.

October 25, 2012

Another Discrepancy Like Y2K's?

According to various polls, Obama is narrowly behind in the popular vote but narrowly ahead in the Electoral College.

So far the National Popular Vote Compact has been ratified only by blue states. Look for a lot of back-pedaling if, heaven forbid, the current results hold up. (Of course the Left won't call it back-pedaling.)

October 20, 2012

She Always Struck Me As a Stuck-Up Member of a High School Student Council

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has no idea what Obama's Kill List is, and could care less. (HT: Ed Driscall@Instapundit and Reason)

I'm not accustomed to being on the same wavelength as Glenn Greenwald, but he nails it:
One expects corrupt partisan loyalty from people like Wasserman Schultz, eager to excuse anything and everything a Democratic president does. That's a total abdication of her duty as a member of Congress, but that's par for the course. But one does not expect this level of ignorance, the ability to stay entirely unaware of one of the most extremist powers a president has claimed in US history, trumpeted on the front-page of the New York Times and virtually everywhere else.
This person is being touted as the successor to Pelosi as the leader of House Democrats.

It would be funny if it weren't horrifying. You can smell the rot.

Dippy Wasserman Schultz.

October 19, 2012

Is It Better To Be Lucky Than Correct?

The preceding post decried Romney's gaffe about Libya. Despite the disfavor of Real Conservatives™, here and here, when I called it a gaffe, my opinion is consistent with Krauthammer's. (Even Megan McArdle gets it.)

No question that the moderator inappropriately injected herself into Romney's gaffe, but suppose she had ignored it. Instead of focusing on her blunder & the underlying media bias and on the US failures in media, the Right would now be playing defense after the Left nitpicked out "acts of terror" from the transcript. (Wrt my previous post, in this situation it's better to be desperate on offense than desperate on defense, but I admit that my attitude has changed somewhat since that post.)

October 17, 2012

Who Sounds Desperate?

Given the frantic hairsplitting (but see this) about the distinction between acts of terror and acts of terrorism, the answer is that the Republicans do.

Romney was correct on the substance but threw it (the debate? the election?) away with an ill-chosen (ill-researched?) phrase.

Someone seeking to oust an incumbent President can afford very few unforced errors.

October 13, 2012

Promises by Real Conservatives™

1. No new taxes. Read my lips.

2. The Permanent Republican Majority.

(Why is Karl Rove not persona non grata like Richard Darman was?)

3. SCOTUS will throw out Obamacare.

4. Claire McCaskill is a goner in Missouri. The seat is a surefire GOP pickup.

5. Paul Ryan will destroy, crush, obliterate Slow Joe Biden in their debate.

October 11, 2012

Why Don't MA Voters See Through Elizabeth Warren?

So marvels LI commenter Jeffrey. I respond that Warren's deceit...
...might be easy to rebut out in flyover country. The prosperous, superbly credentialed, highly intelligent, deeply caring people who are so numerous in MA accept Warren’s narrative at face value and defend it ferociously.

Because they’re running the same scam Warren is. Wrecking the country for their own benefit while pretending to be stewards. (Some of them believe their own BS.)

PETA Kills Animals

I acknowledge this revelation belatedly.

It makes me wonder what the Legions of Militant Compassion would do to human beings if they had their way. Heck, look at what happens where they do have their way.

(IMO suicide is a fundamental human right and the State has no business meddling with it except maybe to the extent of requiring a waiting period. Nevertheless, IMO, involuntary euthanasia should be prosecuted as murder. I recognize that there are borderline situations, e.g. expensive high-risk treatments and limited resources. Right-wing religious kooks dishonestly conflate assisted suicide and euthanasia, pointing to one as a pretext for banning the other.)

October 9, 2012

A Senate Radical Caucus?

Sanders, Baldwin, Warren.

Still four weeks to go, but the Left is making cautiously triumphalist sounds about Warren. Intrade has Baldwin as a 3:2 favorite.

Brown gave the cold shoulder to Tea Partiers who had worked their hearts out for him in 2010. Although Warren is a disaster looking for the worst possible place to happen, Brown is stupid and deserves to lose.

I don't know much about WI, but gather that the Tea Party "patriots" divided their votes in the primary so a GOP squish won.

October 8, 2012

"Giving Back"

That phrase is a pet peeve. I've been intending to post about it, but wound up commenting:
1. After I accepted this phrase for years, some time ago it triggered a double take. It’s been an irritant ever since.

2. When I did volunteer work, I did not perceive it as repayment of an obligation; in fact, I would have been less likely to do it had it been so presented.

Afaic philanthropy is commendable, but its least commendable forms are philanthropy performed out of social pressure or for self-promotion. Even philanthropy performed for tax advantages strikes me as preferable to the foregoing.

October 7, 2012

Who Would Be Stupid Enough

...to believe that Chavez would lose the Venezuelan "election"?

Probably the same enlightened folk who think that liberal protests will force Putin out of office before his term is up. Yes, those protestors are the Russian liberals who let the thugs take over the country during the Yeltsin administration.

And the same enlightened folk believed that pluralistic democracies would sprout from the Arab Spring

October 6, 2012

Cutting Their Losses, And More

Submitted as a comment to Kristine Rusch:
As a reader, I am exasperated by publishers who cut a series off unresolved, even in mid-crisis, as soon as sales wobble. This goes at least as far back as the Dumarest of Terra series and the Dray Prescot series.

Their attitude toward their readership is as short-sighted as their attitude about authors’ sales. Of course, I’m not saying they should keep publishing a series which no longer makes money; my point is that they should provide a wrap-up to the readers who made the series successful.

With hardly any exceptions, I no longer buy a series of novels until it is complete.

My attitude as a viewer is similar.

October 5, 2012

Ideological Imbalance in Academia

I'm not proposing the following proposal as a definitive policy, but as a starting point for discussion:

No institution of higher learning that receives government funding more than TBD may require politically partisan coursework as a requirement for graduation. If such coursework is required, said funding will be cancelled.

I could propose that no credits toward graduation be granted for partisan coursework, but I am just brimming with tolerance, accommodation, and sweet reason. ;-)

Iran

I'm reading about a currency crisis, potential hyperinflation, and mass demonstrations. Is the regime in danger?

There seems to be a sort of Brezhnev Doctrine wrt Islamism: nowhere can it be rolled back. A replacement of the Iranian regime by a pluralistic one would be important.

Is there a potential effect on the US election?

October 2, 2012

Althouse and The Obamaphone Video

My two cents are here. Nice takedown in this thread, including links to the infamous crying episode. Money quote:
That coming from an educated person, a law professor, and one who is supposed to be in the moderate middle. I went to bed truly disturbed last night after I read that post. The first time a blog entry has ever done that to me. There is no hope for the future for our country if we have to fight that level of stupidity and inanity in someone with those sorts of qualifications.
Finds the words I've been looking for.

The attitude is everywhere. I attracted a noticeable disapproving minority when I wrote that, no, it is not a good idea to turn our Attorney General over to Mexico for trial.

What Big Content Really Wants

No transformational innovation allowed. They mean it:
...according to the former Register of Copyrights, Ralph Oman, under copyright law, any new technology should have to apply to Congress for approval and a review to make sure they don't upset the apple cart of copyright, before they're allowed to exist.
The review would be conducted by the same people who write the laws which Congress passes: special-interest lobbyists.

I found the above link through Instapundit. In a related post, he links to this piece discussing the latest from the Against Intellectual Monopoly authors.

September 27, 2012

The Polls Are Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!!

So say the Republicans. Maybe. Some sensible people think so.

So do some people who aren't sensible. According to them, it's a conspiracy involving the media, the pollsters, and the Democratic Party. They haven't yet folded in Putin and Ahmadinejad, but there are weeks to go until the election.

Will Mitt Romney take join Tom Dewey's place in history?

Afterthought. And what about the prediction markets? If the polls are wrong, you'd expect some participants to recognize it.

Ya Think?


Republicans wonder why they're not blowing out the Democrats given the Obama record.

I just went to an up and coming conservative blog, Legal Insurrection, at which I comment regularly. Scrolling down the front page yielded pieces critical of Tammy Baldwin, Democrat candidate for Senator; Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat candidate for Senator; and Barack Obama, incumbent Democrat candidate for President. Not a favorable word about their opponents.

Maybe, just maybe, this is part of the GOP's problem.

September 24, 2012

We Are All Pauline Kael Now

Right and Left are in their cocoons, unable to visualize anything but victory, actul or stolen. It's like reading about two different countries. It's like the two branches of a Schrödinger's cat scenario.

September 22, 2012

Peggy Noonan

The notion crossed my mind that Peggy Noonan is the Right's Maureen Dowd, but it seemed too frivolous to post. Then I read this and this.

Response to Ann Romney

My impression of Ann Romney has been favorable, but this distinctly rubs me the wrong way:
During an interview early this evening with Radio Iowa, Mrs. Romney directly addressed her fellow Republicans who’ve criticized her husband.

“Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” she said. “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”
Lady, a lot of people did get in the ring, and your husband used his financial advantage to crush them with carpet-bombed negative advertising.

(Yes, most of those people were worse than Romney, but my point remains.)

September 19, 2012

An Obvious Question, Now That I Think of It

Do any influential bloggers receive support from superPACs?

September 17, 2012

Immigration

After watching the riots wrt Innocence of Muslims, I wonder if explicit endorsement of the Bill of Rights should be required of immigrants. Perhaps a sign like Behead All Those Who Insult the Prophet should be grounds for deportation. Maybe revocation of permanent residency or naturalization should be an option wrt egregious violations of the aforementioned endorsement.

The foregoing is off the top of my head, not a considered opinion. I am dubious about increasing the distinction between naturalized and natural-born citizens; citizenship should be citizenship.

September 14, 2012

Obama Gains at Intrade

As I write, Obama has 2:1 odds at Intrade. He has been moving up steadily despite the Mideast, jobless claims, gas prices, and Romney bouncing back on Rasmussen. Why?

1. Intrade is being gamed by Obama supporters with deep pockets.

2. Intrade speculators are wrong.

3. Intrade speculators expect Romney to lose the debates.

4. Intrade speculators believe the debates will be rigged so Romney loses.

5. Intrade speculators expect an October surprise that will get Obama reelected.

6. Intrade speculators correctly recognize that this is no longer a country which dumped Jimmy Carter for Ronald Reagan, or maybe they correctly recognize that Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan.

Update 20120915: A week ago, Powerline touched on this here and here, as did Andy McCarthy.

Update 20120917: Patrick Caddell unloads on Romney here. The New Republic's William Galston does so here. The base is not happy.

For that matter, as he criticized the administration for the deaths in Libya, what the hell was he thinking during those smirks? A bigger image is here.

And what genius decided to exclude Sarah Palin and Michael Steele from the GOP convention?

Update 20121009. More Caddell here.

My Gut (Not Considered) Reaction

Oderint dum metuant.

Update 20120915: Where is the outrage at the Stevens murder? Why isn't Death to America being met with Death to Savages? What's wrong with us?

(The first two questions are wrt popular sentiment, not government policy.)

Afterthought 20120920. After 911 I thought that The Battle Hymn of the Republic would ave been a healthier reaction than the widespread America the Beautiful. I still think so.

Addendum 20130817. Sarah Hoyt, here and here, says that the Battle Hymn was taught in her children's CO school after 9/11. It didn't seem that way to me in MA.

September 11, 2012

September 8, 2012

The Apollo Program

This was posted before Neil Armstrong's death:
Whoever said that we went to the Moon a half-century early may have had a point. Apollo was a tour de force, but only now is the tech infrastructure emerging to repeat it sustainably, affordably, and profitably.

Though IMHO it may take additional decades of biology before humans can reside off-planet (and return).
Osteoparosis develops in orbit. Afaik not even animal breeding has been tested in non-terrestrial gravity.

This too:
Though there is no substitute for boots on the ground, in my reflective moments our planetary fly-by's seem more praiseworthy than Apollo.

Hegel and American Exceptionalism

In college my assigned reading included parts of H's Philosophy of History. I remember hardly any of it except the statement that when a country formulates a model of its place in history, its leading role is drawing to an end.

It's something to keep in mind when viewing the chest-beating, especially on the Right, about American exceptionalism and about how we are the only country ever founded on an idea. It's especially something to keep in mind given the blatant discrepancy between such rhetoric and the country's performance.

September 4, 2012

On Homosexuality Gayness

I've been meaning to post the following, and finally did it at Dinocrat:
No one expects the Diversity Inquisition!

Imagine what they would do to someone who complained how the meaning of ‘gay’ has been changed. Their response to a complaint that the meaning has been ‘perverted’ is too gruesome to contemplate.

NB: I am deeply dubious when custodians of the mainstream culture change a fairly common word because of usage within a small minority. I have no problem with, and it’s none of my business, how members of such a minority label themselves within their community.

August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong

Let's build something big and name it after him.

Something big on the Moon.

Addendum 20120828. I disagree with Armstrong's advocacy of business-as-usual NASA programs which were collapsing due to bureaucy and pork-barrel politics. (HT Instapundit). Today's NASA is not the agency of von Braun's time.

IMO the next step should be private-sector human spaceflight. Let the private sector create a sustainable human infrastructure in earth orbit; then, if necessary, adapting lessons learned, let the government fund early human spaceflights within the solar system.

The foregoing orderly scenario does not take into account that helter-skelter international rivalries may supervene.

No disrespect meant to Neil Armstrong or his achievements.

August 24, 2012

Schadenfreude at China

Some people, especially on the Right, are chuckling at the negative consequences of rapid growth: city-scale developments standing empty, problems with transportation infrastructure, etc.

They may stop laughing if/when China keeps its economy going, and its surplus males occupied, via increased military spending. The products thereof may not lie around unused.

As for me in 2010:
I decline to project China's future until they've gone through at least one business cycle.

I said that when they were riding fast and high, I'm saying it now that they're looking wobbly, and I expect to repeat it when they're banged up from a fall.
I'm sticking with it.

August 23, 2012

Rule of Thumb?

The longer a conspiracy theory takes to explain, the less likely it is to be true.

It occurred to me after scrolling down this.

Addendum20120824
: The foregoing is actually a corollary to Occam's Razor.

August 21, 2012

Sophisticated Voters Are Rubes

This epiphany came to me after I tried to inform myself about some issues that the parties are squabbling over. I've forgotten what they are[1].

After digging through volumes of spin, half-truths, lies, misinformation, disinformation, and bullshit---all deliberately created by both sides of the "debate"---, I still wasn't confident I had the facts straight.

It's not worth it. They're playing me for a sucker with all that stuff. They want me to feel like I'm making an informed decision, but informed decisions are the last thing they want. (That much the opposing parties agree on.)

Just as the campaigns are getting into high gear, my inclination is to tune politics out.

I'm going back to the old rule of thumb: am I better off than I was four years ago? If I am, I'll give the rascals another term. If I'm not, I'll throw the rascals out. It's that simple.

(Rules of thumb are not meant to be infallible. They exist because it is a waste of time to treat every case on its in-depth merits.)
----------------
[1] Iirc something snapped after watching Debbie Watshername Schultz refuse to acknowledge that Ryan's Medicare proposal exempts people over 55, and then following Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin's "apologies".

August 20, 2012

"Legitimate Rape" Is a Dog Whistle

I refer to Akin, of course.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
The implication---the dog whistle---is that the body of a woman who was impregnated during rape did not resist. In fact, her body enjoyed it. What does that make her? Ask Rush Limbaugh about Sarah Fluke. Hey, you know, maybe she was asking for it.

spit

Afaik the Democrats have not yet pointed the foregoing out. I expect them to do so in due course if Akin does not withdraw.

August 19, 2012

More Predation in the "Creative Community"

Some big publishers are offering contracts which transfer the author's rights over all their creative output, present and future, to the publisher; in some cases, the clause is buried in the boilerplate (HT: Sarah Hoyt).

The link emphasizes that publishers have moved beyond wanting an option on future work to demanding control of future work.

In principle I support the Constitutional enactment of intellectual property to support science and the useful arts. In practice IP is devolving, if it hasn't already devolved, into something that does more harm than good.

August 18, 2012

Arctic Ice

1. Wrt the AGW controversy, I had been watching Japanese monitoring of Arctic ice (HT: Climate Debate Daily). There was a hiatus when the satellite stopped functioning, but the monitoring has resumed[1]. The ice was seasonally robust earlier this year, but has now dropped to a low for this period, perhaps partly due to a major Arctic storm.

Jeff Masters links to ongoing analyses in the USA, Germany, and Denmark.

2. I actually visited Masters' site to keep an eye on tropical storm activity. It's a great site for that and a useful weather site overall. (I stopped subscribing when Masters became too militant for my taste about AGW.)

3. Irene spared my town last year though she was forecast to pass directly overhead; areas west and east of me got hit. Being in poor financial, physical, and psychic shape to deal with a major disruption, I'm keeping my fingers crossed to remain unscathed this year---and at least until my entrepreneurial exploit (hopefully) pays off & I recover my overall vitality.
----------------
[1] This sentence is a reminder that data does not fall like manna from heaven.

Palin's Future

My thoughts about how she can rehabilitate herself back to a serious contender for national office are here:
In exchange for delivering her constituency on Election Day, IMO she should be offered something like responsibility for putting the country on the path to energy independence (I presume that such a role can be created in a way that passes Constitutional muster).

Success at that would reposition her to run for President.
Other posts of mine in the thread are related.

August 16, 2012

Don't Get Cocky, Instapundit Warns

The Republicans could start by not taunting Obama to replace Biden with a stronger candidate.

Arrogant. Overconfident. Tempting Fate.

The Stupid Party, being stupid.

Addendum 20120818. Some people whose judgment I respect believe that the taunts are to Biden's advantage because Obama would lose face by heeding them.

August 6, 2012

The Internet: More USA-Backed
Thuggery and Corruption

Ukraine has shut down the Demonoid site as a favor to the USA.

I've said it before, here and here: the USA can no longer be trusted as an honest steward of the Internet.

For the moment we are clinging to control, but losing it is just a matter of time if things continue as they are.

As the USA remakes itself into a banana republic with a parasitical ruling class, it's understandable that other banana republics want in on the spoils.

Afterthought.
Helpful note to UN kleptocrats: Justify your efforts to seize the Internet by pointing to US copyright imperialism, and you'll get support. Blend in anti-Semtitic hate directed at Hollywood and you'll get more.

Mars, Etc.

1. Congratulations to NASA and especially the Curiosity team. Best wishes for a successful mission.

2. Osteporosis is a problem in space which could limit long stays like interplanetary voyages. Rotationally induced gravity is a brute-force, very expensive solution.

Somewhere it is claimed that we went to the Moon fifty years too soon: Apollo was a tour de force that happened decades before sustainable technology evolved. Do the biological sciences also need to evolve before humans can take up (semi-)permanent, reversible residence in zero/low gravity?

August 5, 2012

Two Remarks

Here:
By resisting the natural tendency of government to grow, (c)onservatives and libertarians are swimming against the tide. To succeed, it’s essential to be in the right, not just on the Right.
Here:
I am a libertarian who is agnostic to the border of atheism.

Nevertheless, I would rather be governed by moonshine-drinkin’, sister-marryin’, snake-handlin’, NASCAR-lovin’ Bible thumpers than by over-educatedschooled postmodern multicultural elitist leftists of the Obama/Warren type.
One more, a restateent of Murphy's Law (added 20120820):
Your worst-case scenario is hopelessly optimistic.

July 26, 2012

Gary Johnson 2012 & Ralph Nader 2000

I wondered about that here and here. Recent polls are consistent with my concern (HT: Althouse). Johnson would likely hurt Romney, but I did not foresee the possibility that he might hurt Obama.

Johnson was treated badly during the primaries. A successful two-term governor of a swing state was not accepted as a serious candidate. His third-party run is understandable. Hopefully it won't reelect Obama.

Racial Differences?

John Derbyshire thinks they exist and that research will reveal them. He also thinks the research will be done in Asia because the West is too screwed up to do it. As befits a working scientist, Steve Hsu, a very gifted guy who is actually doing such research, is much more tentative than Derbyshire:
An astute commenter asks why we should oppose race-based decision making, if there is real correlational information to be had from ethnicity. I offer two reasons: 1. this country has a bad record on race, and striving towards a race-blind society is worth some small sacrifices, 2. the evidence for genetic group differences is not conclusive and should be treated with great caution.
(Boldface mine.)

For political and quasi-Marxist (oppressed minority = oppressed class) reasons, US anti-discrimination policy is formulated in terms of groups. Differences in group outcomes are attributed to discrimination. The finding of outcome-affecting genetic differences (if they exist) between groups would be mitigated were social policy focused on treating individuals fairly.

July 20, 2012

The Fizzies are Doing Well

Is Instapundit realizing that the STEM "shortage" is BS?

He's correct that quality, not quantity, is the issue.

(I'm not surprised that the unemployment rate for physicians is below 2%, but physicists too?)

Geithner's Plans

Huffington Post reports that Geithner gave his IG a hard time, and concludes with:
The Treasury Department was not immediately available for comment about the episode, or about the more-damning allegations of the book: that Geithner's Treasury Department repeatedly tried to undermine Barofsky's authority, ignoring his warnings about the risk of fraud in TARP programs and generally carrying water for the banking industry.
Of course he carried water! He intended to make big bucks running one of those institutions. At the very least, he was laying the groundwork for a much better sinecure than Phil Gramm enjoys.

Obama and Romney: Liars by Omission

In the 'you didn't build that' kerfluffle, neither of them acknowledges that entrepreneurs and businesses have competitors. Competition implies the existence of losers, and neither candidate wants to admit that into his happy-talk messaging.

Obama is a bigger liar than Romney because his happy communitarian babble ignores the fact that government-impelled actions are mandatory.

July 18, 2012

Destroying the American Social Contract

US News headline:
For the First Time, Canadians Now Richer Than Americans
The deal with living in America is that things are tougher here than in other democracies, but the payoff is that the standard of living is higher for those who cope.

Instead, Chimpy and Chumpy and their cohorts, especially Chumpy, have given us a society that is more stressful and poorer.

I suspect that the ruling class has made out just fine.

July 13, 2012

Pessimism and Optimism

Pessimism:
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
Optimism:
For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith.
She reels not in the storm of warring words,
She brightens at the clash of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’,
She sees the Best that glimmers thro’ the Worst,
She feels the Sun is hid but for a night,
She spies the summer through the winter bud,
She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls,
She hears the lark within the songless egg,
She finds the fountain where they wailed ‘Mirage’!
On Friday the 13th.

Obama's College Transcripts

Maybe he's not hiding his grades, but his courses, i.e. a de facto major in Marxist Anticolonial Studies.

Just a thought.

July 10, 2012

The Little Blue Book

Appalling. Deliberate rejection of the concept of debate. Review here. There really are people who think that 1984 was a how-to manual.

The review focuses on the book's emphasis on propagandistic repetition. I wish the review had given more attention to the deliberate distortion of the language.

July 8, 2012

Great White Sharks Are Cute and Harmless

This report is framed so as to dispel concern about the sighting(s).

Summary: The government has opened a wildlife sanctuary for Atlantic seals at Cape Cod. The seals are attracting predators. The predators are venturing near beaches where humans swim. So far they have not killed a human. No worries!

(Could human swimmers be easier than seals for sharks to catch? Nah! Besides, it's their ocean, not ours, isn't it?)

Addendum 20120715. Sure enough: Australian surfer bitten in half by shark. The astounding thing is the people who swarm the comments in defense of the shark. Astroturfing by animal-"rights" crazies, or the general population really that nuts?

More here.
After the last fatal attack in March, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett ruled (out?) a culling programme, saying it was impossible to protect all people at all times.

"While it's still a rare occurrence, the ocean is the domain of the shark and we go there with a risk always," he said at the time.
The culling is coming, you moron, and, I fear, not just for the sharks.

July 5, 2012

Drug War Cartoon

Spot on. I commented:
This is what I’ve been thinking. Crime makes strange bedfellows. (Would pro-legalization legislators get threats if the issue came to a vote?)

This cartoon deserves wide circulation.

You haven’t even mentioned the prosecutors, police, correctional officers, prison corporations, social workers, therapists, probation officers, etc. who get paid for waging the idiotic Drug War.
Hopefully cartoons like this will spread into the major media.

June 30, 2012

Proposed Plot for a Science Fiction Novel

1. Note that the higher lower (corrected 20130729) the population density of a piece of US ground, the more likely, on average, it is to be inhabited by conservatives, and vice versa.

The novel describes a near-future civil war between urban and rural areas. After initial setbacks to the conservative rustics, they are driven to Mao' and Ho's writings to learn how to run a peasants' guerrilla war. (Of course, the American Revolution was in part a rural rebellion.)

To turn the novel into a series, introduce conflict among leaders of the rebellion. Some are fighting to roll back the power of the government, and others seek to emulate Mao and Ho in governance as well as in guerrilla strategy. The latter is plausible given the authoritarian tendencies of much social conservatism.

2. In fact, I originally wondered if Mao and Ho can be adapted to political tactics for rural conservatives. Probably not, is my inclination though I haven't read M&H: the methods proposed by these writers are intrinsically violent.

3. The hacker culture may well have something to teach conservatives and libertarians who are resisting the metastasis of the State.

Happenstance or Enemy Action?

On the heels of the Obamacare decision, Legal Insurrection commenter 'janitor' reports:
Incredibly, to cap off the horrid news yesterday — and this has never happened before, and it happened TWICE — prospective customers (complete strangers) asked me what political party I am affiliated with because they weren’t going to do business with a Republican! The first was nasty, said that she has to know because Republicans are “crazy lunatics”.
He is joined by 'tazz':
Interesting – family member had same exact thing happen… Foolishness from the left….
My take:
I wonder if they thought of this behavior on their own, or if someone put them up to it. If the latter, who and how?
If the behavior is foolishness, it is a pernicious kind.

June 29, 2012

A Video That Must Happen

Hitler Learns That Obamacare Was Upheld.

This parody is begging to materialize. If created skillfully, it should make it into the top 10 Hitler parodies.

June 28, 2012

The Obamacare Ruling

My reaction is here:
1. Some well-intentioned conservatives claim that Roberts has executed a cunning plan to undermine the conceptual grounding of Leftist politics. I contacted Saul Alinsky via ouija board to ask about this. He said:
We’re happy to concede the moral victories, the intellectual victories, the ethical victories, the future (so you believe) victories to you reactionaries as long as we get power now.
Chuckling, he signed off.

2. America’s Ruling Class takes care of America’s Ruling Class. This is a good day to re-read Angelo Codevilla’a article of that title. I commend it to the attention of anyone who hasn’t read it.

3. This ruling forces me to rethink my opposition to Sarah Palin as a national candidate. Ditto for Gary Johnson. As a first step to that end, I’ve signed up for their mailing lists.

4. It is clearer than ever that replacing Obama with the Republican nominee is a finger-in-the-dike tactic—but it’s a worthwhile finger-in-the-dike tactic.

5. If it turns out that Roberts has laid the groundwork for a repeal of Obamacare by majority vote in Congress, I will admit I was wrong in #1. The rest of my post, with more urgency than usual, addresses matters that go well beyond Obamacare.

June 27, 2012

Kurzweil and Newsweek

Back when a Newsweek piece expressed reservations about some of his predictions, futurist Ray Kurzweil did not react amiably.

The Digital Power Index is Newsweek/Daily Beast's "collection of the 100 most significant players in 10 fields across the rapidly-expanding digital universe". Guess who isn't on it?

LeBron James Grows Up

In part due to his relationship with Hakeem Olajuwon: see here and here. Here, here and here too. Here. Even Forbes is impressed.

June 22, 2012

Sandusky: Damage by Act and Omission

There is the active damage done to his victims. There is also the harm experienced by young males who need mentors and role models, and will be less likely to receive them.

The End of Men?

I'm not sure why Instapundit linked to this two-year-old piece without mentioning its age. Slow news day? Anyway, a couple of reactions:

1. It's becoming ever more obvious that a good part of affirmative-action politics is about power, justice be hanged. The appeal to justice is a scam designed to disguise the thrust for power.

It's not true for everyone, of course--but it's true a lot. I suspect that it's disproportionately true for people in the upper levels of these movements.

2. Alienated Western men would be a fertile soil for Islam if Islam demonstrated the ability to run a technologically based civilization. Mustafaa El-Scari, a social worker in the Atlantic piece, may know that. So may the Turks...and the Saudis:
...a 2004 law passed by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers, which entitles expatriates of all nationalities who have resided in the kingdom for ten years to apply for citizenship with priority being given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields.[179] The Articles 12.4 and 14.1 of the Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System can be interpreted as requiring applicants to be Muslim.[180]
Knowing it and being able to implement it are two different things.

3. Demographic competition is emerging between the modern and postmodern family and cultures like Mormonism and ultra-Orthodox Judaism, which foster traditional male-centered families. I'm not sure the postmodern family can reproduce itself, let alone keep up.

We may see the postmoderns (try to) use the power of the State to limit the reproduction of their competitors. Alternatively, technological solutions like artificial wombs may appear; such seem like science fiction...until they happen.

Addendum 20120627. Not only are some fringe cultures reproducing rapidly, the mainstream culture seems determined to commit suicide. (HT: Instapundit.) Some people will perceive an evil plan in this, but IMO it's unintended consequences.

What a difference five years make.

June 19, 2012

Hillary Trial Balloon?

Here. I commented (cache here):
I continue to believe that Vice President Hillary would appoint herself Senior Co-President and work toward her 2016 agenda. Yanked among Hillary, Michelle, and Valerie Jarrett (with Bill Clinton in the background), Obama might regret it if he won the election.
Earlier comment here.

June 18, 2012

Chinese Reforms Stall

The New York Times reports. A sidelined reformer speaks:
His fate, he says, paralleled a growing belief within China’s leadership that it has little more to learn from the West, especially after the global financial crisis of 2008 and China’s success in riding it out. “We’re suddenly so important,” he says, with more than a touch of sarcasm in his voice. “Look at America. It has problems. We don’t have problems.”
Given the touchy nationalism of many Chinese, it is surprising, and arguably reassuring, to hear someone speak that candidly, even from the sidelines. (HT: Dinocrat.)

Vae Victis

The post-WW2 expulsion of German minorities from Allied countries was worse than I thought (HT: Instapundit).

It was nowhere near as bad as what the Nazis would have done had they won. That's a partial but inadequate excuse.

Well, let the truth come out. Hopefully it will not come out with typical postmodern malice.

June 16, 2012

Elinor Ostrom, RIP

Ever since her Nobel Memorial Prize I've meant to mention her but not, alas, this way. Her work could not be pigeonholed ideologically, so it got less attention than it deserves.

I cannot rule out, and venture to hope, that somehow, somewhere, in a manner we cannot conceive of, she continues to apply her sturdy humane Midwestern scholarly common sense.

June 15, 2012

Glenn Reynolds...Easygoing?

Usually, but this time he does not mince words:
Let me be clear. These people are not well-meaning do-gooders who have just gone a bit too far. They don’t actually “mean well” at all. They don’t mean well, they mean to be in control. They are power-fetishists, drunk on the joys of bossing the little people around. They are not good people. They are evil. They should be ashamed of themselves, but shame — like taxes — is for the little people.
A reminder that Glenn is a preacher's son.

His Lileks link is pretty blunt too:
A culture that redefines food choices as moral issues will demonize the people who don’t share the tastes of the priest class. A culture that elevates eating to some holistic act of ethical self-definition - localvore, low-carbon-impact food, fair trade, artisanal cheese - will find the casual carefree choices of the less-enlightened as an affront to their belief system. Leave it to Americans to invent a Puritan strain of Epicurianism.
But I must admit that if I had money, I would buy free-range meat and eggs for humanitarian reasons. But this is none of the government's business. I also welcome the day when meat is vat-grown.

June 14, 2012

Wyden & Issa Propose Digital Bill of Rights

Hurray! Bravo!

The Internet community should be taking assertive action to protect the Internet from those who wish to suborn it for their own political or economic ends. Doing nothing more than resisting attempts at censorship is is a static, defensive, ultimately inadequate strategy.

Democrat Wyden is one of the good guys: someone I can respect despite disagreeing with his ideology.

Hey, Stupid!

Yes, I'm talking to you, George Bush:
The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.
Somtimes? Try usually:
Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there's one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile "freedom fighters" who were supposed to have liberated their people.
Moron.

I respect the element of idealism in US foreign policy. However, it takes people, especially leaders, of real stature to implement successfully. as time passes, it is becoming more arguable that the world would be better of had Bush restricted himself to amoral realpolitik. Limited men should restrict themselves to limited agendas.

June 13, 2012

Soon an Endangered Species?

From fellow LI commenter Trooper John Smith:



Thanks for permission to repost!

Do Right Wingers Gloat?

According to Charles Johnson, we do:
If there’s one thing right wing blogs do better than whine about being persecuted by liberals, it’s gloat. They’re experts at it.
My reaction:
If there’s one thing that left wing blogs do better than sneer at conservatives, it’s gloat. They’re experts at it.
Gloating is enjoyable. Sneering is enjoyable. Whining is not enjoyable.

Therefore, America, the way to maximize your national happiness on Election Day is to hand conservatives a smashing victory. QED.

Bipartisanship!

June 10, 2012

Saul Bellow Reviews Fifty Shades of Grey

According to Artur Sammler:
...I was saying that this liberation into individuality has not been a great success. For a historian of great interest, but for one aware of the suffering it is appalling. Hearts that get no real wage, souls that find no nourishment . Falsehoods, unlimited. Desire, unlimited. Possibility, unlimited. Impossible demands upon complex realities, unlimited. Revival in childish and vulgar form of ancient religious ideas, mysteries, utterly unconscious of course astonishing. Orphism, Mithraism, Manichaeanism, Gnosticism. When my eye is strong, I sometimes read in the Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Many fascinating resemblances appear. But one notices most a peculiar play-acting, an elaborate and sometimes quite artistic manner of presenting oneself as an individual and a strange desire for originality, distinction, interest—yes, interest! A dramatic derivation from models, together with the repudiation of models. Antiquity accepted models, the Middle Ages—I don't want to turn into a history book before your eyes—but modern man, perhaps because of collectivization, has a fever of originality. The idea of the uniqueness of the soul. An excellent idea. A true idea. But in these forms? In these poor forms? Dear God! With hair, with clothes, with drugs and cosmetics, with genitalia, with round trips through evil, monstrosity, and orgy, with even God approached through obscenities? How terrified the soul must be in this vehemence, how little that is really dear to it it can see in these Sadic exercises. And even there, the Marquis de Sade in his crazy way was an Enlightenment philosophe. Mainly he intended blasphemy. But for those who follow (unaware) his recommended practices, the idea no longer is blasphemy, but rather hygiene, pleasure which is hygiene too, and a charmed and interesting life. An interesting life is the supreme concept of dullards.
Mr. Sammler's Planet appeared forty years before Fifty Shades of Grey.

June 9, 2012

Pregnancy and Accountability

Should a man be responsible for supporting a baby he didn’t want?, a State column asks. (HT: Instapundit.)

As did I, a couple of years ago.

Elizabeth Warren's New Strategery

Turn farther left. I kid you not. (HT: Commenter Moe4 at Legal Insurrection.)

The race would be over if...if only this wasn't Massachusetts...if only Scott Brown hadn't alienated the Tea Party whose efforts got him elected.

But it is and he did.

(Does Warren's decision mean she is worried about shoring up her base?)

June 6, 2012

Romney Overconfidence?

Romeny appointed liberal Mormon Republican Mike Leavitt to head his transmission team. Is he trying to see how many parts of the conservative coalition he can anger simultaneously?

I've posted that the rotting corpse of a syphilitic camel would be better than Obama. Is Romney trying to push the envelope?

Honest, Agenda-Free Oversight, I'm Sure

From the Atlantic: Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are (HT: Instapundit.)

Gee, a cynic might think the exaggeration is deliberate.

(I overlooked it because I don't have a TV. Recycled my tube when they went high-def and didn't upgrade. Don't miss it.)

Where Are My Manners?

Congratulations to SpaceX for the first visit of a private craft to the International Space Station.

May an off-earth economy become profitable, and then self-sustaining.

May 30, 2012

California Police Want to Be Secret Police, and the Assembly Agrees

Here.

I don't expect this to stay restricted to CA. Nor to police.

Down, down, down. The trend is down.

May 28, 2012

UN Eyes the Internet, Again

Pam Geller.

WSJ.

Another route to SOPA? Watch for Hollywood extolling internationalism (more than usual).

In fairness, America's ongoing attempts to impose SOPA on the rest of the world create skepticism that we can be trusted as an honest steward of the Internet. However, IMHO the UN proposal would take us out of the frying pan into the fire.

May 27, 2012

A Contemporary Conundrum

When an industry supports a politician who turns around and proposes raising their tax rate from 15% to 35%, they get upset. How can this be? We need to unleash the full power of postmodern insight on the question. Answer: it's their childish egos.

(The industry is the hedge fund business. Moreover, the administration is proposing to tax the sale of a hedge fund as ordinary income, not as capital gain.)

May 26, 2012

"There’s really no problem we can’t fix with more incarceration."

The title is a quote from Radley Balko. An honor student with divorced absentee parents, who is working two jobs and caring for siblings, has been sentenced to a night in jail for truancy: here and here. The judge should think about the American flag on his tie stands for.

But how did the case get to court? Was the judge told about the obviously extenuating situation? The administrators at Diane Tran's high school deserve as close a look as the judge does. My first reaction: they are at best stupid or gutless; at worst, bigoted and malicious.

Riehl Stupid

This is enough to bar one from polite society, but it's nothing compared to this:
Mitt leaned in close and said, "Man that Chuckles Johnson really takes it in the azz, doesn't he?"
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new record! Unlikely to be broken any time soon.

The implication is that Romney said this in a manner that could not be overheard. Anyone can post a revolting smear, but it takes riehl genius to involve your Presidential candidate in a manner that cannot be refuted. Not surprisingly, they're already having a field day at LGF.

May 25, 2012

Chiming In...

...re Kimberlin.

I threw this together as an expression of solidarity and will clean it up later. I'll start with the person whom perhaps I respect most in the blogosphere, Radley Balko. Also: The Blaze. Memeorandum. Legal Insurrection. Instapundit.

Little Green Footballs. Just kidding! Your search - kimberlin site:littlegreenfootballs.com - did not match any documents. Hey, look over there. A racist! Added later: Now there are some hits. Charles Johnson identifies Kimberlim as a "pile-on target" and claims, without providing evidence, that he (CJ) is being lumped in with Kimberlin.

Addendum 20120609. Such tactics are nor restricted to the Left. In fact, afaik the radical Left has not killed one of their targets.

A plague on both their houses.

May 21, 2012

Good for Them

Gay activists urge against prison time for Dharun Ravi, the student who taped a sexual encounter of a gay roommate who thereafter killed himself.

This kind of behavior earns my respect for their opinions more than any amount of screeching about supposed second-class citizenship.

The suicide was very unfortunate, but being a putz is not a sufficient reason for jail time.

May 15, 2012

National Gay Marriage

Five days ago, I remarked:
That said, I’m pretty sure the Left plans to use the judicial system to impose gay marriage on the country. It may take a Constitutional amendment to preserve the right of the states to decide.
That didn't take long (HT: Althouse):
Rep. James Clyburn, the House Democrats’ third-ranking leader, said on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown Monday that the question of legal recognition of marriage between same-sex couples should not be left to state laws, but instead ought to be decided at the national level, a position that puts him at odds with President Barack Obama....

If DOMA were repealed or struck down, then there could be two possible ways to pass a national policy of recognition of same-sex marriages:
  • Enactment of an amendment to the United States Constitution...
  • A ruling by the Supreme Court which would find in the text of the Constitution a right for same-sex couples to marry.
Sure Clyburn is at odds with Obama. Surrrrre he is...

Gay marriage is a pressing issue! How has the country survived so long without it? We'd better deal with it right away and not take any more chances. America, ignore the bigots who are using the economy as a distraction.

May 9, 2012

Freeman Dyson and Climate

I knew he is a skeptic about anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I hadn't known that he worked in the field.

May 6, 2012

sigh Only in America (Alas, Babylon?)

It's been a long time since I posted an image. Here's one:

Jack Welch Tells Women to Rely On Merit For Advancement. Fury Ensues.

As of this writing, the WSJ article is here; Google cache is here. An extract is here.

I'm not sure who I have less sympathy for: Welch or the executive wymyn. I felt the same way when Larry Summers shot his mouth off.

Imagine if Welch had criticized the "disproportionate" numbers of females enrolled in higher education.

May 2, 2012

The Economy and the Election

I want Obama to lose in November. The economy will probably determine the election, but I don't wish for bad economic news. I wish for economic news that accurately reflects the long-term effects of his policies.

If veridical economic news indicates that my assessment of Obama is incorrect, so be it.

Addendum 20120528. Forbes' Joel Kotkin notes that private-sector job growth has begun outpacing the public sector, and gives lists of cities with favorable employment climates (none in New England, iirc).

The Norfolk Racial Attack

A white couple, newspaper reporters out on a date, was beaten by a black mob: see here and here. It took two weeks for their own paper to report the attack. A cynic might note the publisher holds a post in the Obama administration. That cynic might also note that the publisher, Maurice Jones, is black.

A bigger cynic might note that had the couple followed John Derbyshire's much pilloried, with some justification, advice, the attack would not have happened.

May 1, 2012

yawn More Hype From Singularity "University"

Instapundit links to this.

That place has been open for almost three years.

If technology is accelerating like they claim, where are the profit-making transformational spin-offs? Where are the IPOs?

April 29, 2012

They'd Wreck America to Win a Single Election

The Democrats proposal to US stagnation: more identity politics, more regulation of business, more ammunition to trial lawyers. (HT: Instapundit.)

In effect the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act requires employers to perform some preliminary pretrial discovery for disgruntled female employees.

Let's not forget that Bush's Republicans federalized the Terry Schiavo matter.

Science Fraud on the Increase

Glenn Reynolds posts.

Also the distinctions among fraud, misconduct, shoddy research practices, and pseudoscience are getting blurred.

The notion, which appealed to me in my youth, that science operates in a higher untainted realm is no longer credible. Once upon a time one could think that although the hours were long and the pay was not competitive with professions that required less cognitive skill, a scientific career was free of sleazy grubbing after money and status. That illusion has vanished.

April 28, 2012

Summary of the 2012 Election?

Kipling:
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.
I hope not, but it's astonishing that Obama is not fifteen points behind and dropping. A bad indication of the country's common sense.

Addendum. Now I'm really worried: Peggy Noonan is optimistic. Remember her fawning over Obama and, into an open mike, over that political titan, Kay Bailey Hutchison?

April 24, 2012

Interview with Bear Attack Survivor

Slate reports.

The most appalling thing is that wildlife officials received death threats for euthanizing a bear that devoured a human and attacked another.

An eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth attitude crossing my mind wrt those who made the threats. Poetic justice: when someone makes threats that are credible beyond a reasonable doubt, punish them with the very threat they wielded.

Will Obamacrats Stop Bungling?

Maybe.

The Crony-Capital Crowd Finds Another Way to Rip Off Future Generations

Not just rip them off, eliminate them. (HT: Instapundit.)

April 23, 2012

Secondary Consequence of Intellectual "Property"

Equating IP to actual property is meretricious on its face, but Reason points out another problem: it diminishes the already-weakened standing of actual property.

April 19, 2012

Romney: Signs of Sapience

1. In contrast to McCain, Romney may understand that the media are his enemies.

2. Romney said the election is about 'jobs not dogs'. The right tone: bringing the focus back on the economy without alienating the base. McCain would have excoriated his supporters for daring to ridicule Obama.

April 17, 2012

America's IP Hypocrisy Is Even More Egregious Than I Thought

Forbes reports. The USA: intellectual "property" rights are for me, but not for thee.

The More the US Declines, the More Arrogant the Government Becomes

Foreign banks are renouncing American accounts. Francisca N. Mordi at the American Bankers Association:
"They're going to drop Americans like hot potatoes," Mordi says. "The foreign banks are upset enough about the regulations that they're saying they just won't keep American customers, and it's giving (Americans living abroad) a lot of sleepless nights."
Expats are renouncing their citizenship.
...I asked myself, 'What am I gaining as an American?' And the cons outweighed the pros."
The danger I mentioned in 2007 (here too) is increasing.

On the IRS's "name and shame" policy: As the ship of state takes on water, the officers and crew blame the fleeing rats.

As Instapundit keeps saying, what can't go on forever, won't.

As we draw ever closer to the edge, all I hear is blah blah Sarah Palin blah blah social justice blah blah Christian nation blah blah marriage equality blah blah blah blah blah.

April 14, 2012

Dog Whistle Malfunction

Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life." Her apologists are claiming that of course Rosen meant work outside the home and only Dumb Conservatives would take her statement otherwise.

My suspicion is that Rosen did mean outside the home but deliberately chose language which smeared Romney.

April 9, 2012

Advice for the GOP

Race and gender cards fill the air everywhere. The Democrats and Romney may bring us the nastiest, most divisive campaign since 1968 or 1972.

Why are the Democrats doing this? To distract from the economy, maybe hoping that today's anemic conditions may come to be accepted as normal.

How to respond? Simply changing the subject is better than nothing, but it moves the discourse in the direction of the screaming match that the Democrats want.

IMO the way to go is, first, to link the Left's issues to the economy. If the country were prospering, old scars would be fading, old wounds would be healing, and new wounds would not be created. A rising tide lifts all boats, said President Kennedy. Then hit the Democrats on their own issues. The Left, having made a bad economy worse, seek to win the election by exploiting the very problems they created. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

That approach seems promising. It minimizes the high risk of an effort to unseat an incumbent President: if the economy recovers, Obama will win no matter what; if the economy does not recover, Republicans are refuting Democrat demagoguery by highlighting the Left's greatest weakness. Trying to profit from problems you cause. There you go again.

The Derbyshire Firing

He is undergoing cancer therapy which may affect cognition. That makes the case different from Coulter's. The decent thing to do would have been to suspend him and discuss his status when he is recovered.

But that would require a spine.

Cf. my comment at National Review.