Thursday, July 31, 2014

Marco Rubio: fool in Republican's Clothing?

Marco Rubio is partnering with crony capitalist Claire McKaskill to propose a profoundly illiberal and anti-male sexual assault law.  El Rubio is once again demonstrating an astounding lack of principles not to mention political savvy.  It's crazy time in DC and I'm afraid Mr. Marco is honking like the loons.



Head of NSA retires and instantly launches new cybersecurity tech innovation at a million a month a pop

So just when did this 'tireless servant of the people, standing guard on the cyberwalls of civilization' have the time to create a fabulously expensive and profitable new cybersecurity technology that didn't rely on any government tech or facilities or intellectual property or time or, or, or.

Hell, he looks as greedy and crooked as....Bill Clinton.  Our top public servants are apparently not like us - they have fewer scruples.



What works is the opposite of what we're getting in healthcare.

Here's another story about the wonderfully heterodox Oklahoma City surgical center that lists its deeply discounted prices for every procedure it does and is laughing all the way to bank.  It takes insurance and cash but not Medicaid and Medicare because the Feds ban the posting of actual procedure pricing in favor of opaque incomprehensibility (no, I don't understand our Federal Stupor State any more than you do).  They're kicking the competition's asses by giving consumers clarity and good pricing for good service - and competitor prices are consequently falling fast.  of The city Oklahoma City estimates it will save $1.3 million this year by using the clinic rather than other more traditional delivery methods.

It's a pity that O'care is dragging our healthcare system in exactly the opposite direction: further away from consumer friendly, clear and concise market based medicine.  And we're going to pay through our noses for their cynical blunder.  Rest of the story here.


Nothing beats competition for increasing value to customers

Uber and lyft are driving Seattle's traditional cab companies to send their cabbies to "charm school" to improve customer service. Gee I wonder why?  Ain't competition grand? 


The 'bad' Samaritan and the murder of community by the state

"In Robert Nisbet’s excellent book The Quest for Community: Nisbet predicted that, in a society without strong private associations, the State would take their place—assuming the role of the church, the schoolroom, and the family, asserting a “primacy of claim” upon our children. “It is hard to overlook the fact,” he wrote, “that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.” In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning."

We see this all around us as the state picks up roles formerly handled by neighbors or voluntary associations.  Here are a few examples from this outstanding article by Gracy Olmstead who wrote the above paragraph as well:

 Woman arrested for letting 8yo play in park with cellphone while she worked nearby,

Man faces six months in jail because his son ditched Sunday School.



In each of these cases the 'Samaritan' in question percieved the child as threatened and instead of doing something constructive like finding their mother or in the case of the Sunday School desperado taking the child home because they knew his father, they called the police who promptly criminalized behavior that was utterly normal a generation ago when violent crime and other risks to life and limb were much more prevalent. Indeed, I used to walk four blocks to Kindergarten every day even in midwinter when it was dark.  Mom walked me the first day, introduced me to my teacher and after that I was on my own.  She would probably do prison time if the authorities caught wind of that today.

But the issue I want to focus on here is the loss of community:  neighbors calling the police rather than watching out for each other - assuming the quality of a stool pigeon or snitch rather than a neighbor.  Lets assume that each of these parents were acting recklessly - I don't think so but let's say for argument's sake they were.  Is the best neighborhood response getting them arrested? Prosecuted? Wouldn't a decent human being instead try to help the kid and talk to the parent?  You know, what we used to call being a good neighbor?

It seems to me that Robert Nisbet was wrong;  it's not only societies with weak civil cultures whose governments turn vindictively parental, it's societies with overly strong and invasive law.  When something is criminalized it is a signal to people that the only way to solve the problem is by calling in the criminal justice system.  As our omni(in)competent state has expanded it has displaced other gentler, more personal methods for solving problems.  With the best of intentions and in the pursuit of the right outcomes, the legalizers have inadvertently damaged many of the natural community processes that routinely delivered the outcomes they were seeking.  So in pursuit of the perfect, the statists are seriously damaging the good.

Look at it from a slightly different angle:  the statist destruction of civil society is a little like the debate over infant formula.  Everyone agrees that mother's milk is better than infant formula -  nutritionally, economically and relationally.  Infant formula was originally invented to provide nutrition to babies who for whatever reason couldn't get access to their mother's milk.  It was to fill a gap - solve a known problem.  But as time went on, the formula companies realized that they could make a lot more money if it was pitched as a 'convenient' replacement for mom's milk.  The result for a time until the alarm was sounded was lots of moms wasting lots of money giving their children substandard nutrition.  And in poor countries this occasionally turned deadly.  Likewise, the state's interventions into our families and relationships and communities were originally designed to deal with major issues that we couldn't deal with informally:  murder and mayhem, fraud, etc.  Today the state manages and criminalizes deviations from its prescriptions for our food, parenting, recreational substances, energy consumption, housing construction, garden choices, health insurance and a thousand and one other categories, with each intervention replacing more healthful, natural, free civil society with artificial, cruel, expensive state coercion.  And like overuse of infant formula, it kills.  Particularly in poor communities.

One of the reasons this happens  is because people, particularly in very strong, homogeneous communities don't realize the destructive displacement that they sponsor. They look at less well endowed communities with more diversity and less cohesion and they conclude that 'those people' need to be managed better by what they consider to be 'their' government. They don't realize that the mechanisms that govern that community may be different for a reason and that replacing them with state intervention won't likely make them better but just more bureaucratized and coercive.  It's funny, the left says it believes in diversity but demands that the state rule ever more detailed elements of people's lives in exactly the same way everywhere while the church lady right says it believes in community and local initiative but then demands that the state coercively ban behaviors that it doesn't like from the top down.

And all this well meaning but utterly self righteous coercion both right and left is killing our communities.  And turning us all into snitchful bad Samaritans.

State inked a controversial $48 million deal with Bill Clinton while Hillary was Secty of State

For 215 (!) Speeches and "consulting". So that's how WJC ended up worth $200 million. Astounding corruption if it turns out to be true. The Clintons really are America's Lannisters and impunity really is the watchword at our enormous Federal Stupor State.

joint investigation by the Washington Examinerand the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watchfound that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch and released Wednesday in an ongoingFreedom of Information Act case, State Department officials charged with reviewing Bill Clinton's proposed speeches did not object to a single one.
Some of the speeches were delivered in global hotspots and were paid for by entities with business or policy interests in the U.S.
The documents also show that in June 2011, theState Department approved a consulting agreement between Bill Clinton and a controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band.
The consultancy with Band's Teneo Strategy ended eight months later following an uproar over Teneo's ties to the failed investment firm MF Global.
State Department legal advisers, serving as "designated agency ethics officials," approved Bill Clinton's speeches in ChinaRussiaSaudi Arabia,Egypt, the United Arab EmiratesPanamaTurkey,TaiwanIndia, the Cayman Islands and other countries.
The memos approving Mr. Clinton's speeches were routinely copied to Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's senior counsel and chief of staff.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The biggest thing wrong with Obamacare isn't the website.

I wrote this essay during the O'care debate and boy has it stood the test of time:

One of my biggest problems with the health care debate is that most debaters make a category error when characterizing the problem. Let me explain what I mean by category error: in philosophy one makes a category error when one puts things in a category for which it cannot belong. In the case of health care, the category error being made is assuming that the 'health care problem' is a technical one, subject to a technical answer when in fact, the 'health care problem' is not a problem so much as a condition.

A technical problem typically has one or at most a few answers. For example if I wake up and my room is too hot, the technical problem might be that the thermostat is turned up too high and therefore the solution to the problem is that I go and turn it down. But if I wake up and conclude that the problem is that "the world is too hot", then I have placed my discomfort in a category that precludes my ability to solve it, at least with a technical solution.

Likewise with our health care 'system'. The system that we have has certain attributes, some good some bad. For example our system is expensive and creates access problems for people that don't have health insurance. However, it also delivers the best survival outcomes for people with cancer and heart disease and for most people, offers the greatest access and highest level of care in the world. It also supports most of the world's health innovation.

Choosing another health care system, say for argument sake, the Canadian system, would not 'solve' the health care 'problem'. Instead, it would simply deliver a different set of trade offs than the current one. For example in Canada, there is no problem with equality of access, but if one is seriously ill, there is far less access and poorer outcomes. The Canadian system is quite a bit cheaper than the US, but it also funds virtually no innovation, indeed relies on the US for new technologies. Depending upon your culture, values and circumstances, that might be a trade off worth making - clearly it has been for the Canadians - so long as we live next door, that is. But it would be inaccurate to say that Canada's choice 'solved' their health care 'crisis'.

Because it's not a 'crisis', it's a condition or state of nature that we humans have always struggled with: given limited resources, how to care for the weak and sick in our society? But there are some guidelines (or should be) for how to go about managing a 'condition' rather than solving a 'problem'.

Solving a problem is relatively straightforward: get the best minds in the area together and come up with a solution. If your house is on fire, there's one 'school' solution: get everyone out and then call the fire department. On that almost all experts agree. By contrast, there is no agreement on what type of house one should choose. That choice is governed by geography, culture, religion, economics, family size and other considerations. It would be unreasonable to attempt to dictate a technical solution to the question of what dwelling place you should live in. Consequently wise nations use markets to allocate housing and let the rules for them be defined locally so as to optimize the needs of widely varying local communities.

Health care should be treated the same way: whenever possible, health care funding and usage decisions should be made by individuals operating in markets, because only they can make the complex trade offs of culture, values and economics necessary to make the optimal choice. When the rules of the game need to be set for all, they should be set as locally as possible, to reflect the unique characteristics of those communities.

The benefits of this approach are obvious: first it maximizes consumer choice and freedom, something that Americans value greatly. Second, it enables innovation to flourish. Since we are suffering from a health care 'condition' and not problem, there is no one best answer, but there are likely 'better' answers. These 'better' answers are most likely to be found by consumers and governments experimenting and not by experts dictating a single solution from on high.

This is why there should be no 'national health care plan' in the US: it presumes a solution when there are only trade offs, it excludes much consumer choice and it guarantees that innovation will be stifled by bureaucracy and special interest politics. To make such a choice will be to freeze our dynamic health care system in Amber just as it is preparing to be transformed through biotechnology and health informatics.

A greater tragedy could not befall us.  Well has befallen us. Sigh.

Barnacles. We have mega wasteful and destructive offshore wind farms for barnacles.

Because the supply of rocks and ships has been declining steadily.

The desperate need by enviros to rationalize the stunning environmental and economic damage of Big Wind has now entered the realm of parody. From James Delingpole at Breitbart.

Happily, all these disadvantages have been nullified by this glorious news, as recounted in Christian Science Monitor:
No one doubts that the rotating turbines of offshore wind farms can hazardous to avian life, and that the devices’ constant whine can scare off some marine mammals from traditional habitat.
Now there’s new evidence that at least some sea life can actually benefit from these structures. Researchers from Britain, the Netherlands and the United States report in the new issue of Current Biology that wind farms can be rich sources of the foods that sustain harbor seals.
The report says the team studied wind farms in the North Sea and found that they serve as artificial reefs that become bases for barnacles and other crustaceans. These crustaceans, in turn, attract hungry fish, which in turn attract hungry seals.

Maroons. The press are a bunch of Bugs Bunny maroons.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Insurers cozy with Obami?

I don't really see the big deal underlying all the breathless reports of the Administration 'colluding' with insurance companies:

Publicly, President Obama loves to demonize insurance companies. But behind the scenes, Big Government and Big Insurance maintain a cozy alliance that the Obama administration actively nourishes, often at taxpayer expense. Indeed, as emails recently obtained by the House Oversight Committee show, Big Government and Big Insurance have worked together to promote Obamacare. They’ve also worked together to make sure taxpayers will help bail out insurance companies who lose money selling insurance under Obamacare — that is, unless Republicans stop this from happening. Moreover, Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is among the prominent White House officials who’ve been in the middle of this collaboration between insurers and the administration — between those driven by the profit motive and those driven by the power motive.


What O'care does is strip away the ability of insurance companies to protect themselves against catastrophic losses unmatched by premium payments.  Everyone knew that O'care would draw millions of customers that had expensive pre-existing conditions and that any insurer who undrwrote these customers would lose their ass.  Therefore, insurers liking their well formed derrières would refuse to participate with the result being no Obamacare, no 'historic achievement'.  The Feds knew that they had to cover the excess initial losses due to preexisting conditions to jump start the program. Hence all of the cash payments to insurers to reflect the difference.

Where it seems to have gotten ugly, however is that the Obami pressured insurers to underprice the first year policies to improve the political optics - implicitly promising that they'd cover these losses as well as the preexisting condition losses.  This sets a precedent for ongoing back door subsidization of private health insurance via payments to the insurers guaranteeing their losses due to normal market forces.  This subsidization to keep 'healthcare costs down' will become an irresistible temptation for both parties as O'care, Medicaid, Medicare and aging cause real healthcare costs to explode. The result will be a disaster because if the insurers know their losses are limited by Uncle Sugar they will not fight as hard to manage costs and will incur far more risk for upside gain than they would if they faced symmetrical downside risk (gee, just like the mortgage and equity markets). And the victims will be our kids because today's taxpayers are too busy getting the subsidy sugar.

The end game will be when the dollar collapses and our 'saviors' denounce the 'thieving' insurers and expropriate their customers for the new 'efficient' national health insurance scheme (led by the people who brought us the O'care website) that will make things ever so worse.  But hey! At least the statists will have finally gotten complete power over what will then in all likelihood be an empire of dirt.

The problem isn't the payments, it's the underlying worldview that says that the government should replace the market, bear the risk and print the money to pay for it all.  Smashing functioning markets and replacing them with apparatchik management is always stupid.  Ask the Russians.

US fumes over Israel's treatment of Secretary of State John Kerry

Send a buffoon proposing cowardly capitulation to a close ally and he's going to be treated like a buffoonish coward.  Whaddya expect?  This administration displays more self righteous high dudgeon for less reason than any in our history.  Thoroughly post modern in it's outlook, it really isn't interested in anything but posturing for the next election.  Pretending that nothing matters but the 'process', whether it be elections or peace talks is really the acme of cowardice.

Bob Fogel helps us understand why the left is obsessed by income distribution

Here's Arnold Kling reviewing my old professor Bob Fogel's Summa Magnifcat:  The escape From Hunger and Premature Death: 1790 to 2100. In it he indirectly explains the left's obsession with income inequality.

In it Fogel demonstrates why the left can no longer milk solicitude for the poor to get power and wealth because in America at least, real poverty is virtually nonexistent. Indeed a decade ago the American poor already in physical terms lived lives equivalent to the middle class in 1970. Their physical circumstances with higher life expectancy, ever cheaper basic commodities, much greater access to information and entertainment and cleaner air and water are even better today. In these respects, the poor have never lived so much like the rich.. What they lack is morality and purpose. (This is my surmise via Murray, not Fogel's conclusion) Their lives are impoverished of meaning and autonomy not things. And meaning and autonomy are the things the omni(in)competent stupor state reserves to itself.

So with nothing real to campaign against the left howls it's not fair because fairness, unlike destitution, is an infinitely malleable post modern concept.  No matter what the society achieves it will never be "fair". It's the perfect issue for the professionally aggrieved that dominate our left. Indeed our nation is rapidly bifurcating into states with falling median standards of living dominated by the professionally aggrieved and elitists (CA, NY ) and those (now much richer in real terms such as TX and UT) still hewing to the American dream. Expect the standard of living picture to continue to widen even as the left attacks the remaining pockets of capitalist prosperity. Because the left, lacking legitimate accomplishments for nigh on half a century has no record to run on as it must destroy "the other" to retain power. Hence the IRS, FEC, and EPA electoral scandals and the Dems proposed gutting of the First Amendment. They cannot survive in an environment of prosperity and liberty so it must go.


I used to walk four blocks to kindergarten alone unmolested by thuggish police.

And at a time when violent crime was at least twice as high as it is today. My kids used to bike up to Ben Franklin alone at that age. Of course by giving them the experience of autonomy I guaranteed that they would be unprepared to be police or prosecutors because evidently you must be a sheltered paranoid hysteric to be in "law" thugforcement. 


Badged baboons everywhere on the savvanah. The bad Samaritan problem is getting out of hand.

Another profoundly evil prosecutor who abuses his discretion to persecute people he hates

See below to see why I characterize our legal system as insane. Do not cooperate or interact with the police unless forced. And if forced don't say anything to them whatsoever without your lawyer present. Since essentially everything is against the law and prosecutors are so abusive of their discretion the most reasonable position is to politely treat the police as your adversary. They are not on your side. They are on they're side.

Ashe Schow: Why Doesn’t The Left Care About Shaneen Allen?
Allen had been robbed twice in 2013, so she bought a handgun legally in Pennsylvania and obtained a concealed-carry permit. She didn’t realize the permit wasn’t valid in every state and was driving in New Jersey when she was pulled over for a minor traffic offense. She informed the officer she had a weapon and provided her permit, thinking she was within the law.
But she wasn’t. New Jersey’s stringent gun laws don’t recognize Pennsylvania’s concealed-carry permits.
National Review Online noted last week that the prosecutor in Allen’s case, Jim McClain, could have been lenient on Allen. . . . But McClain didn’t. He sought maximum punishment for Allen — three years for firearm possession and an additional year for the ammunition

Prosecutors have far to much power and discretion.

Hattip instapundit.com

Now I understand what the meaning of is is is all about: Congress doesn't write laws, it ideates

And unelected bureaucrats determine what "is" is for the purposes of a law. Which makes law infinitely malleable, incomprehensible to normal people and functionally irrelevant.  It is the death of law and the rise of impunity. And the death of law is the death of rule by the people and it's replacement by a permanent technocracy that will say what "is" is for us.

Saul Alinsky was right: government is nothing but power and power is simply what you can get away with. Here's an example from this Federalist article:

  this case, the ad hoc rewrites are driven by an implicit admission that Capitol Hill’s super-genius central planners could not actually project the law’s results or design a workable system. So when major parts of the law don’t work out the way they thought they would—one after another—they’re scrambling to save the system by reinventing it ad hoc. And they don’t want any fussy ideas about the letter of the law to get in their way.
The mentality behind this is on perfect display in the mental gyrations of one defender of ObamaCare, who goes so far as to claim that the definition of “state”—as in the 50 states—is unclear in the law, despite being explicitly defined multiple times. As ridiculous as this is, notice what use he makes of this alleged ambiguity.
What matters is that whether the wording was sloppy or deliberate doesn’t change the fact that it’s ambiguously written, which means you have to look at the context in the other thousand-plus pages of the law to figure out what the intent was…and the name of the law itself is the “Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act”. “Affordable” is right there in the name…and screwing over people in 2/3 of the country by making them pay 3-4x as much for their insurance as people in the other 1/3 of the country isn’t exactly “Affordabl

What terrifies is the underlying worldview that this behavior illuminates

Many, many colleges evidently don't believe in equality before the law, due process or in the moral autonomy and responsibility of women.  In these respects most of our universities look more like sharia courts than liberal academic institutions.


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – MY RAPIST
Had Dinner Twice With Parents Just After, But Still Found Guilty
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 28, 2014): In a bizarre twist on the famous movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a complaint in federal court charges that a coed invited a male student to have dinner with her and her parents twice – and then, shortly afterwards, and only after learning that he had not been faithful to her, charged that an act of intercourse they admittedly engaged in just before the first dinner was really a rape.
If the facts in this complaint against Philadelphia University and his female accuser are correct, it seems hard to believe that, if she had been raped, she would have had anything to do with him thereafter, especially inviting him to have dinner with her parents not just once but twice immediately following the alleged rape, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
He notes that the two had been in a sexually active romantic relationship for some two years before the more recent act of intercourse which she branded as a “rape.”
But, says Banzhaf, who is studying the legal issues, this is only one of several truly bizarre situations in which colleges have found students guilty where the evidence seemingly doesn’t warrant it.
In an equally bizarre situation at the University of Michigan, a female student agreed to spend the night in the bottom bunk of a male student’s bunk bed. They kissed, and then had intercourse, while the male student’s roommate was trying to sleep in the top bunk.
Although their amorous activities were so noisy that the roommate in the top bunk texted the accused to complain that the two in the bottom bunk were “loud and inconsiderate,” he never heard the female cry out for help or otherwise complain. Yet, according to his law suit, the student was expelled.
At Swarthmore, a female student climbed into bed with a guy she had been having sex with for three months. She successfully rebuffed his first attempt at sex one night but, when he later made a second attempt, “I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything – I had already said no [earlier in the evening]. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish.”
Getting into bed with a sexual partner of some three months, and then letting him both start and “finish” without saying “no” again, because she was just too tired and wanted to go to sleep, probably don’t sound much like rape to many, including fellow male and even female students, suggests Banzhaf.
Interestingly, a female student – whose complaint that Swarthmore violated Title IX by ignoring her report about rape triggered major changes in how the school handles date-rape cases – has now come out in strong support of a male student whose law suit is challenging those very procedures as unfair, says Banzhaf, noting that it is only one of many such law suits.
Banzhaf has been studying a new legal movement in which males found guilty of date rape are then successfully suing their colleges, sometimes under the same Title IX which triggered the problem.
Also, some are being urged to videotape their sexual encounters to help prove that the intercourse wasn’t against the woman’s will, and several accused have used videotapes successfully in the their defense, says Banzhaf, noting that in many states such surreptitious tapings may not be illegal.
Interestingly, even those who are sympathetic to the problem of campus date rape, and are in charge of the campus adjudication process, are now recognizing that it can be unfair if not illegal.
For example, the director of the Association of Title IX Administrators bluntly warned that some male students may have been improperly penalized.
“Some boards and panels still can’t tell the difference between drunk sex and a policy violation,” he wrote. “We are making Title IX plaintiffs out of these men.”
In the Swarthmore case, “John Doe” and “Jane Row” had two sexual encounters in 2011 which did not involve intercourse. Subsequently, the male and female had intercourse, which the woman agrees was consensual.
But, 19 months after the fact, she suddenly claimed that the two earlier episodes had been coerced. The school originally thoroughly investigated and then cleared the man in January 2013 without even filing disciplinary charges.
However, sometime thereafter, the student newspaper published articles charging that women who reported rape felt re-victimized by the college’s failure to take their complaints seriously, and Mia Ferguson’s highly publicized Title IX complaint against Swarthmore went public. Less than two weeks later, Swarthmore told the male, a law student, that they had reopened a complaint filed against him a year earlier.
Then, after an emotional hearing before a panel made up of faculty, staff, and students, he was expelled. His attorney charges that the inference is clear.
“To correct one wrong – its past unresponsiveness to female complaints – [Swarthmore] committed another wrong against John based on his gender . . . He was a male accused of sexual misconduct at the wrong time and in the wrong place.” Mia now apparently agrees.
Swarthmore has subsequently changed its adjudication procedures, and now has such cases heard before and decided by a retired judge; a tacit admission, suggests Banzhaf, that its former procedure – using possibly biased and also untrained faculty members and students – had serious problems.
Male students have already used legal action successfully at Brown (2X), Central College, Denison, Duke (2X) , George Washington, Holy Cross, Occidental, Saint Joseph, University of the South, and Xavier.
Meanwhile, law suits filed by male students convicted by their universities of rape and/or sexual assault are pending against Bucknell, Cincinnati, Columbia, Delaware State, Depauw, Drew, Kenyon, U of Michigan, Philadelphia U, Swarthmore, Vassar, Williams, and perhaps others.
“When even rape victims and Title IX administrators admit that men are being convicted unfairly, and male students are being found guilty in cases where the facts seem so clearly to suggest some consent, it’s long past time to consider changing the procedures,” argues Banzhaf.

Is this profoundly fascist worldview what they are teaching our kids? Read the whole thing. It's outrageous what these "charities" do as a matter of course. I hope their male victims sue them into penury. They're winning case after case after case.

At least unless and until Obama stacks the Supreme Court with left ideologues because by holding colleges funding hostage unless they stripped men of basic rights he is the source of much of this fascist illiberality.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gangsta nappers

I am down in Houston with my parents helping my dad through his latest cancer ordeal and it's been a great time to spend with my parents but I have to admit that enduring the pounding intensity of the octogenarian lifestyle is sometimes difficult. What with all the gangsta nappers and gunplay blasting from Fox News at volume 95.

I particularly am struggling with the "get dad to gain weight diet" which has totally bombed with him but has made me the bomb - Fat Boy that is. I have about 15 pounds of excess uranium or plutonium or something really nasty for me wrapped around my midriff. I mean how many different flavors of premium ice cream and M&Ms and pies and half gallons of half and half for the Frosted Mini Wheats do they have to parade in front of me?  I'm not made of stone!

Of course when I waddle with Dad down to MD Anderson they draw so much blood from him that I question whether the founder, Mr. Anderson isn't in fact still kicking if not alive in some crypt in the basements near the radiation oncology death rays.  Speaking of death rays, I can say with certainty that radiation oncologists have absolutely no sense of humor.  All of my Dr. Evil and secret Volcano Basement Lair jokes fell completely flat.  Must be a side effect of all that radiation.  Because I don't care what looks they gave me, I was funny.

Dad also got a new high tech chemotherapy infusion pump so that they could slowly poison him 24 hours a day.  There is really nothing quite so creepy is sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of pumpers, their little poisoners that could going screet, schroink, whoosh, rrrnk in complete disjoint cacophony. With everybody just sooo damn happy to be there.

I consider myself to be pretty tough, really - Ok, knock it off wise guys - but I can't take the kids.  The bald, half starved toddlers with deep circles under their eyes and the exhausted, frightened looks of their parents.  I have several long walk routines that I do to cope with all of the waiting - I think some of the staff think me demented because I pace and pace and pace - but I've had to stop going by the Children's Oncology Center - I actually go upstairs and then back downstairs again.  I just can't take it.

So much for the poor pitiful meing.  I've been trying to get out more to get to a lower stress environment so I went to my international high school class reunion.  And I was struck by how old all my old friends looked. I concluded that they must have taken a lot more drugs than me because, damn!  Then I looked in the mirror.  I mean really looked.  And damn!  If I keep decaying at my current pace there is no way I'm going to be able to survive the Octogenarian Lifestyle.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

That quote from Glenn Reynolds and this one from (immigrant) Eugene Volokh: are particularly apt in today's environment.

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.


I also find it interesting that a political persuasion that believes that the state should manage and regulate (and this is just a few minutes of the As) Automobile safety, automobile emissions, airplane design, AM radio, ambulatory care centers, automobile fuel efficiency, adolescent esteem, advertising content, automobile propulsion technology, airplane safety, ambergris distribution, airline operation, airport access, airport fees, adenoid removal reimbursement, American flag usage, anti-coagulants, anti-histamines, armor piercing bullets, air conditioner coolant, air conditioner efficiency and air quality (both indoor and outdoor) with a brutality in terms of prosecutorial resources, swingeing fines and disproportionate prison sentences that would astound our founders literally throws it's hands up at the border saying "weuns cain't do nothin' 'bout thiiyas, its justa happenin' y'know?".

Midwest days over 90 continue to decline

Of course this time series starts in the 1930s which was the hottest decade on record so you'll get a negatively sloped regression. If I were pro AGW hysteria I would have started in the 40s and shown new daily min record highs. Shows how both sides can manipulate data to prove their point. Oh also: this must be the "raw" data before NOAA manipulated it to get 2012 to be the "hottest evah".

Regardless, the data doesn't back up the hysterical (Ezra "VOX me baby, VOX me baby all night long" Klein's) "we are all going to burn" narrative (you stay crazy, Ezra). Climate science: lying liars in pursuit of billions in science swag.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hillary Clinton: The Bachman Turner Overdrive of politics

Liberalism has become the domain of Church ladies with Hillary leading the Hens pecking away at anything fun.

There's no energy left in liberalism, no excitement, just more rules, more controls, everything the punks hated. You can't say this, you can't think that, everybody read the memo – today we're scheduled to be angry at people don't want to subsidize our birth control! Oh, and make sure you obtain a videotaped, notarized consent form before you kiss your cisgender hook-up.

What's hilarious is that it’s us hidebound, repressed, sex-hating conservatives who are the ones trying to liberate liberalism's victims from its fascisty clutches, but its greatest victims are the ones doing the most resisting.

Everything about liberalism is stodgy, everything is old, everything is about control.

Liberalism has the aesthetics of a Junior High home room. Self righteous Foghats to our Ramones.


Where the minimum wage inexorably leads

Tron will be your server.


Hattip Powerline.com

Wind and solar aren't green. Not by a long shot.

They don't make economic sense as ways to reduce carbon emissions even when the price for a ton of carbon is set 5 times above the current European price. And they don't make environmental sense either. Wind slaughters birds and bats by the millions and solar installations consume thousands of acres of habitat for very little power generated.



Nuclear power and gas are much better investments to reduce carbon. They of course are opposed by most enviros demonstrating once again that catastrophic global warming is simply a means to the end of a deenergized society that they believe would be more "respectful" of their pagan "Earth God". 

The Economist has more details here. And remember these numbers use a carbon price that is 5x more than today's price. So cut the emissions saved and added by 80% if you want today's true economics. But if anyone comes to you arguing for wind or solar as the solution to anything but our 'excess wealth' problem you have my permission to tell them that they are raping the land and your pocketbook.  Worse than any 1950 chemical industry honcho because the honchos at least didn't piss money away when they raped the land.

That'll put them on their heels.


Anti semitism sweeping Europe

Nothing is new under the sun.  And it's happening in chock full of social democracy and progress Europe.  Very progressive don't  you think?



Aliens cause global warming

Before he died Michael Crichton was a great advocate for scientific integrity - and a darn good novelist as well.  He gave a very important speech at Harvard about the erosion of scientific integrity in the service of politics.  His basic argument is that beguiled by the money, status and attention that being 'politically relevant' brings, scientists have made claims about the future that are fundamentally unscientific and that this misuse of science threatens to damage its reputation and status in our society in ways that will be bad for all of us.  He provides some trenchant examples of this 'scientism' from the Search for Extraterrestrial Life and the Drake Equation to Nuclear Winter and of course Catastrophic Global Warming.

He's not arguing the details of these issue areas, instead he uses them to show where the science leaves off and scientists begin traversing the swamps and quicksand of politics.  While I don't agree with his final recommendations, I think his lecture is definitely worth your while. The lecture is called "Aliens Cause Global Warming".  Here he is on the concept of "consensus":

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let's review a few cases.

In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth. One woman in six died of this fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compelling evidence. The consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent "skeptics" around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women.

There is no shortage of other examples. In the 1920s in America, tens of thousands of people, mostly poor, were dying of a disease called pellagra. The consensus of scientists said it was infectious, and what was necessary was to find the "pellagra germ." The US government asked a brilliant young investigator, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, to find the cause. Goldberger concluded that diet was the crucial factor. The consensus remained wedded to the germ theory. Goldberger demonstrated that he could induce the disease through diet. He demonstrated that the disease was not infectious by injecting the blood of a pellagra patient into himself, and his assistant. They and other volunteers swabbed their noses with swabs from pellagra patients, and swallowed capsules containing scabs from pellagra rashes in what were called "Goldberger's filth parties." Nobody contracted pellagra. The consensus continued to disagree with him. There was, in addition, a social factor—southern States disliked the idea of poor diet as the cause, because it meant that social reform was required. They continued to deny it until the 1920s. Result—despite a twentieth century epidemic, the consensus took years to see the light.

Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology—until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees.
And shall we go on? The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therapy? The list of consensus errors goes on and on.

Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

Policeman sneaking into yard shoots dog, keeps dog's owner from helping him for over an hour.

I could post more than one if these every single day. Overcriminalization and out of control policing of our nation are destroying the trust that law enforcement needs to be effective.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lying liars get caught in their lies.

So an Architect of Obamacare says at least twice in public forums on videotape that states that don't set up exchanges by design don't get subsidies and now claims that each time it was an elaborate and identical "mistake". This matters because it backs up an appeals court ruling.

Oh well I guess there's always a market for pathetic integrity free shills. It says volumes about MIT that they would have one on the faculty.

President Obama's unilateral ban on trade in beef led to massive increase in the number of beef cattle in America

Unable to sell the beef cattle, farmers continued to care for them and feed them and allocate pasture land to them because beef cattle are their heritage and being indigenous farmers they believe that beef cattle contain the souls of their ancestors.  Oh shit, who am I kidding?  If our utterly benighted chief executive were to ban trade in beef the number of cattle in America would collapse as farmers would have no incentive to breed them or keep them alive.  Except for a roaring trade in black market beef that enriched violent criminals.  Gee, just like banning drugs and alcohol did.

Which of course is what is happening in the Ivory ban His Ignoramusness just promulgaged.  This from my friend in the antiques business.

Obama's unilateral ban on the trade of ALL ivory is having a devastating impact on the antiques industry, not to mention vast swathes of the African economy, and will do nothing to save a single elephant. The Art and Antiques Dealers League of America has been working very hard with members of Congress to reign in the presidential overreach. Please read the email below and contact your congressman before the August recess.

Leftist Ideology is a terrible thing to inflict on a young, fatherless boy and here is the proof.

Treat Putin like the crime boss he is? Ok, but don't expect it to work

Michael Weiss lays the Malaysian Airlines outrage squarely at Putin's feet:

Last week, Putin's wholly owned guerrilla subsidiary in Ukraine blew 298 civilians out of the sky, looted the belongings of the victims, let their cadavers rot for days in the hot summer sun, then violently obstructed OSCE monitors from inspecting the carnage. Talk of a forensic "investigation" at this point is just that -- talk. Furthermore, according to U.S. intelligence, the Kremlin was evidently so pleased with this performance that it has dispatched more materiel to the culprits in eastern Ukraine. This new hardware includes rocket launchers, light arms, and tanks -- only adding to the sophisticated weapons already sent in to aid the rebel cause. There are "indications," U.S. officials say, that advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems -- such as vehicle-mounted Buk (or SA-11) missile launchers, which defense and aviation analysts agree were responsible for downing MH17 -- had been moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia and then back to the Motherland following the immolation of the airliner. The West has lately discovered something about Putin that Marina Litvinenko did eight years ago: his penchant for covering up his worst crimes.

"Without a doubt, the state over whose territory this happened bears the responsibility for this frightful tragedy," Putin said, neglecting to mention that he considers the relevant territory part of Novorossiya, his revanchist concept of Russia's "near abroad" brought even nearer. At a meeting of Russia's Security Council on July 22, the first words out of Putin's mouth after "Good morning, colleagues" were: "Today we will consider the fundamental issues of maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country" -- the same two fundamental issues he has so thoroughly trampled in his next-door neighbor by annexing Crimea and invading Luhansk and Donetsk.

He also laughably denies that he is master and patron of the anti-Kiev insurgency, even when faced with overwhelming evidence. It was further disclosed by U.S. intelligence that Russian, not Ukrainian, territory is being used to host the separatists' very own Fort Bragg. Satellite imagery released by the United States has located what the Washington Post has termed a "sprawling Russian military installation near the city of Rostov," which acts as both the training ground and munitions clearinghouse for the irredentists. If Russia had satellite footage showing the Pentagon instructing Quebecois on how to steer an Abrams tank at a U.S. military installation in northern Maine, I am sure Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia Today would be the first to let us know about it.


And he says that it's time to go after the crime boss and his cronies' offshore accounts and so on.  I have no doubt that le Putain has a lot of jack squirreled away around the world in anticipation of the day when the next Tsar decides that the ex-Tsar is a pain in his Tsarina so to speak and he must quickly decamp.  But it is actually very unlikely that this will influence le Putain's behavior because to show weakness in the face of such western pressure would hasten the day of his departure from power.  And since we've just taken his retirement fund away he will now fight twice as hard to avoid that eventuality.  Particularly since confiscating his jack would indicate to him that he has no safe place to flee to.

No, there's no easy way to bell the bear.  Never has been.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Our President and his vacant "progressive in the headlights look"

When reality doesn't comport with an ideologue's elaborate worldview they tend to suffer quite a bit of cognitive dissonance which manifests itself as repeated rebooting with all its attendant whirrs and clicks.

Krauthammer has a good theory for how ideological thinking is paralyzing "the Bar".

But I’d propose an alternate theory, less psychological than intellectual, that gives him more credit: Obama’s passivity stems from an idea. When Obama says Putin has placed himself on the wrong side of history in Ukraine, he actually believes it . He disdains realpolitik because he believes that, in the end, such primitive 19th-century notions as conquest are self-defeating. History sees to their defeat.

More Krauthammering here.


The communal mailbox: a metaphor for our Federal stupor state

The ugliest thing in an otherwise beautiful neighborhood is a communal letter box provided by our bankrupt postal service.

Wasn't it PJ O'Rourke who argued that the public toilet was the metaphor for anything state provided? Dirty , dangerous and best avoided ?

This ugly, poorly designed and shoddily manufactured tribute to decaying service works just as well.