Saturday, October 25, 2014

What do you do when law enforcement takes sides in a political dispute?

The John Doe investigations in Wisconsin were a criminal travesty conducted by Dems with the express goal of intimidating conservative groups. This is the same thing as the IRS scandal except with battering rams and flash bang grenades.

It's not a free country if you're conservative.  Tragic. McCarthyite. And the press? Crickets. Except George Will. At the link.

Pot prohibonists lie without consequence

They fabricate cannabis deaths to protect the tens of billions riding on prohibition. It's tragic when establishment rags like Bezos' Washington Post don't exercise more editorial quality control.

Skink that you skinker

So I was walking one day when I was confronted by a skink.  You know, the little lizards - this one happened to be black.  The skink was boldly standing athwart the bike path, fully two inches in height and four long.  I raised an eyebrow, he raised his eye...fold, I raised my other eyebrow, he raised his.  Then realizing that we looked like bug eyed fools we lowered them.

I said "let me pass my good Spink!"
"Nay, none shall pass unless they defeat me in mortal combat. And it's Skink, not Spink". "
"You must be kidding."
"No, I swear, it's Skink, I'm a Skink"
"I know you're a Skink, I meant you must be kidding that you, a two by four inch Skink is going to stop me, a two by six foot man"
"You're not six foot"
"Am to"
"Are not"
"OK, five foot ten. Two inches, big deal"
"It is if you're a Skink"
"Ah, good point.  So what about it?"
"What about what?"
"Are you going to let me pass"

So anyway this Skink - who I'll call 'Little John' - and I went back and forth in this manner for quite some time as bikes whizzed by us - any one of which would have smashed this lingering little lizard had I not been there to divert them.  But give the Skink his due:  he had guts - about two cubic centimeters worth as a matter of fact - so instead of finding a tiny stave so that we could do battle on even terms I relented and walked into the grass and around him. He exulted:
"What ho craven knave! Hast thou been bested by a mere Skink?"
"You stink, Skink"

And to this very day I detour around badass Little John Skink's patch of bikepath.

'Cause I don't want no trouble.

Much more than State Farm, your family is always there

So there's a lot of talk about the postmodern 'family' replacing the actual blood and soil and DNA family.  Mixed families, ersaztz families, zero calorie families, you name it.  Jonah Goldberg reminds us that Families have been around a long time as the ultimate bulwark against chaos:

The whole point of certain institutions is that they are insurance policies against the unknown future (picture G. Gordon Liddy talking about gold, only replace it with “the family”). The phrase “you can always count on family” may not be literally true, but it is more true than “you can always count on your old college roommate.” When times are great, the demands of family (or religion, or good manners, or thriftiness, or a thousand other institutions, customs, and habits of the heart that we can throw under the bulwark of “tradition”) might often seem like too much unnecessary baggage to carry around. But when things hit the fan, family is there in a way that other people aren’t. Not because those other people are bad, but because your family is your family.

But it’s important to keep in mind that the family – or the Bill of Rights, or good manners, whatever – isn’t a catastrophic insurance policy. The value of these institutions is best understood during a time of crisis, but the influence of these institutions is constant, even in times of calm luxury. The fact that these institutions exist forecloses certain options and avenues for reformers who yearn for a blanker social slate.

The family, like marriage, is an institution that predates our Constitution and the very concept of democracy, never mind modernity. That is not to say that it hasn’t evolved and changed or that conservatives should never, ever contemplate further changes and greater evolution. It is simply to say that we should do so carefully, reservedly, humbly, in full knowledge that tomorrow may look as little like today as yesterday did.

I was partners with some Pakistanis.  They have very strong family ties to the extent that the Eldest son is expected to marry but stay at home and care for his parents.  My rich partner lived on the third floor of his parents house with his wife and kids.  He was married to his first cousin.  Family ties are so strong in Pakistan in part because the state and civil institutions are so weak.  You need a strong extended family to protect you against the outside.  We're safe right now in the west but you never know when the kimchi is going to hit the fan and even more than guns or gold, family is a last refuge. Invest in it.

And another reason I like Jonah Goldberg is because he quotes Chesterton and is that cool or what?:

“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’”

– G.K. Chesterton, The Thing

So what's wrong with fair trade? Aside from all the middlemen, monopsony and hostility to innovation and expansion, that is.

I've been seeing "Fair Trade" and "Ethical" coffee, chocolate and so on popping up in my Mom's church and on the web at other Christian organizations.  And being a real rat bastard contrarian it rubbed me the wrong way.  Particularly the words 'fair' and 'ethical'.  I've always held that anytime someone comes to you talking fair you know you're getting the snow job and if they add in ethical you'd better get the snow blower out before you get buried. But not wanting to prejudge I decided to
go to the (very trendy, very left wing) Guardian of London and see what the case for Fair Trade was.  Only to find that the Kumbaya left isn't particularly fond of this particular scam.  Their key points:

1. By guaranteeing a minimum price, Fairtrade encourages market oversupply, which depresses global commodity prices. This locks Fairtrade farmers into greater Fairtrade dependency and further impoverishes farmers outside the Fairtrade umbrella. Economist Tyler Cowen describes this as the "parallel exploitation coffee sector".

2. Fairtrade Coffee farms are limited to twelve acres and are not allowed to employ any full-time workers. This means that during harvest season migrant workers must be employed on short-term contracts. These rural poor are therefore expressly excluded from the stability of long-term employment by Fairtrade rules. And the size limit means farms never get to scale so the farmers remain poor and subsistence. Imagine how poor American farmers would be if they were limited to twelve acres vs. the 400 plus they average now.

Economist Paul Collier argues that Fairtrade effectively ensures that people "get charity as long as they stay producing the crops that have locked them into poverty". Fairtrade reduces the incentive to diversify crop production and encourages the utilisation of resources on marginal land that could be better employed for other produce. The organisation also appears wedded to an image of a notional anti-modernist rural idyll. Farm units must remain small and family run, while modern farming techniques (mechanisation, economies of scale, pesticides, genetic modification etc) are sidelined or even actively discouraged

3. Fairtrade is a middle income country product. Mexico is the biggest producer of Fairtrade coffee with about 23% market share. Indeed, as of 2002, 181 of the 300 Fairtrade coffee producers were located in South America and the Caribbean. As Marc Sidwell points out, while Mexico has 51 Fairtrade producers, Burundi has none, Ethiopia four and Rwanda just 10 – meaning that "Fairtrade pays to support relatively wealthy Mexican coffee farmers at the expense of poorer nations".

4. Almost all the incremental money goes to rich middlemen (Surprise, surprise!). The vast majority of the money from Fairtrade sales remains in the west – with only about 5% of the Fairtrade sale price actually making it back to the farmers. As Philip Oppenheim says, "any intelligent person will ask why I should pay 80p more for my bananas when only 5p will end up with the producer". Fundamental to the failure of wealth transfer are issues such as the fact that while 90% of the world's cocoa is produced in the developing world, only 4% of the chocolate is produced there. Developing countries remain locked in the primary sector commodities market, while the west cashes in on their value-added conversion.
5. Fairtrade is run by political organizations for political reasons.  Their incentives are not to minimize the cost of distribution but maximize the political effects.  The result is a high cost distribution model. Which of course hurt the farmers and consumers who use it. Colleen Berndt of George Mason University details how Fairtrade membership can also be high. The costs take in not just certification and annual inspections, but also the wider compliance with Fairtrade organisational structures. In Guatemala, an executive at Fedecocagua, the country's biggest Fairtrade co-operative, admitted that "after paying for the co-operative's employees and programmes, nothing remained of the Fairtrade premiums to be passed on to the individual farmers".

You see this expensive politicization when you examine the accounts of the independent charity Fairtrade Foundation, which licenses the use of the Fairtrade mark in the UK. In 2008, of a total income of £7.2m, the largest expenditure was on "public education and awareness" at more than £2.1m. Fairtrade is an expensive brand to maintain because it relies solely on consumer awareness campaigns, and these costs eat into the Fairtrade premiums that farmers can receive.
6. Fairtrade doesn't raise farmers out of poverty, it locks them into a genteel poverty preferred by the NGO-chiks that run the operation. Rich western liberals in essence say: "you stay poor and cute and photogenic and all and we'll throw you a few nickles here and there so we get to be 'charitable' and 'authentic'. Ultimately, Daniel Jaffee concludes [see footnote – Ed] that "Fairtrade ... does not bring the majority of participants out of poverty". He suggests the small increase in farmers' wages is at the expense of further entrenching the agrarian status quo, disadvantaging migrant workers and those outside the Fairtrade organisation. Steve Daily, of WorldWrite charity, condemns the movement for having horizons that are far too low, and for not focusing enough on actual agricultural reform. Berndt concludes that Fairtrade coffee can provide a useful short-term hedge against commodity volatility, but that in the long run it "represents at best a Band-Aid to the problems that coffee producing nations face".
After reading just how much informed lefty economists hated Fairtrade I concluded that it must be a GOOD THING or these mango chewing kumbaya yadda yadda-ers wouldn't hate it.  So I went over to my favorite thoughtful libertarian economics blog - Marginal Revolution and damned if they didn't say the same things.  They summed it all up by describing Fairtrade (and all the 'ethical' blather around it) as:  "A Marketing Gimmick"

Anyway, it's probably something that people who say they care about the poor should stay away from.  Although I would have to say that about many NGO's and most lefty proposals to 'save' this or 'rescue' that.  As I said before:  Fair and Ethical are in practice two of the most unfair and unethical concepts in the world today.  Consider.  Beware.  Try not to look stupid.

How colleges cornered the market on aptitude testing and rooked us out of trillions.

A lot of jobs that in 1970 were available to high school graduates who could pass an aptitude test are now only available to college graduates And you still need to pass the aptitude test but now it's  to get into college because practically speaking only colleges can legally administer aptitude tests.

You won't be surprised to discover that this system which emerged after business aptitude tests were banned by the Supremes due to "disparate racial impact" has the very same disparate racial impact plus a gender one to boot. Except now to get to the same place tens of millions must spend 125 to 250k an 4 to 5 years of their lives. Which is another 125 to 250k foregone.

I wonder how much of the juvenilization of American life is due to all these kids being forced to defer adulthood until well into their twenties? And then being too pounded by government debt to live like adults thereafter? And I wonder how much of the world leading college inflation is due to this state sponsored aptitude certification cartel?

Another ghost from the oh so progressive sixties and seventies. God bless our glorious Federal stupor state. Tragic details here.

Food has replaced sex as the great tabu

Which is odd since study after huge longitudinal study (not to mention common sense) show that humans thrive on a wide variety of diets, none of which can be characterized as ideal.

Unfortunately some humans also thrive on power and the coercion of others which has been shown to be destructive. Modern liberals are the new Puritans. And their comstockery has breached it's coastal fever swamp quarantines and is spreading inland.

There is no logical or philosophical limit to statist coercion once you buy in to the notion that the state's job is to make people "better". More Cotton Blathering here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

It is increasingly becoming parental Malpractice to send your to government schools

Keep em home so they won't be exposed to incompetent soviet style apoaratchiks.

One reason Dems fight Voter ID laws: lots of non citizens vote

And 80% vote Dem. According to Wapo, AL Franken, the Dem supermajority and the monumentally stupid party line cram down of Obamacare almost certainly all happened because of this kind of voter Fraud in MN.

Puts the 2000 kerfuffle in a little different light too.

Answering the important questions: chess piece survival rates.

Just in case you are considering a career as a chess piece.


Two new credible accusations of Federal abuse of power from yesterday

Hat tip Instapundit

SPYING: CIA Apparently ‘Impersonated’ Senate Staffers To Gain Access To Documents On Shared Drives.

SO IS THE IRS JUST ROTTEN ALL THE WAY THROUGH? Whistleblowers: IRS Officials Behind ‘Fraudulent’ Multi-Billion Dollar Corporate Tax Giveaways. “In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, IRS commissioner John A. Koskinen, and IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, Jane J. Kim, an attorney in the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel in New York, accused IRS executives of “deliberately” facilitating multi-billion dollar tax giveaways. The letter, dated October 19, will add further pressure on the agency, which is under fire for allegedly targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The police as enemy is now a mainstream conservative idea

Despite the many depredations of the police state, conservatives have long been reluctant to acknowledge that the police were in fact part and parcel of that oppressive machine.  Conservatives have traditionally been supporters of 'law and order' and 'cracking down'.  But they are increasingly coming to the realization that in a land where everything is against the law, the police are the enemy.  Indeed, they must be the enemy.  Here's a key signpost on that journey to reality from Kevin Williamson in National Review.  Meet the New Serfs:  You.

The United States a free country?  Not really.  At least for most of us.

They said fraud, I didn't.

From Instapundit:

MARGIN OF FRAUD: “For whatever reason, when statewide races are decided by less than 1 point, Democrats win almost three-quarters of the time. When the margin opens to 1-2 points, that advantage dissipates, and the Democrats win only half the races.”

Mega solar flares coming to a vulnerable electrical network near you

Dang. Hat tip Instapundit

MONSTER SOLAR FLARE: First of many? “AR 2192 has been pointing away from Earth, so its outbursts to date have not affected the planet much. But that could change soon; the sunspot is now rotating around toward Earth

Quote on the illusion of technocracy

From Ben Domanench:

We tend to believe modernity is proof against plague. But the fatal conceit of technocracy is the assumption that dynamic systems like human society are fundamentally controllable. Some people even take that to the next level of assuming that things which piggyback on these humans, like pathogens, are similarly controllable. Just roll out the next political operative – he did a heckuva job lobbying, after all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Buzz off Nannie staters - there is no best diet

In addition the Stanford study of the long lived found that people who live a long time don't worry about their health or have special health regimens or diets. And:

Drinking alcohol increases longevity.

Being chubby in middle age is life extending.

Vitamin supplements don't do anything.

People who believe in one true diet are religious bigots and should get a life.

Ok, I made that last one up. But they are..

Calm down because we're not even half done yet. Despite all evidence to the contrary and our best efforts we're winning.

It was Bismarck some 115 years ago who acidly observed that "God protects idiots, children and the United States of America".  And today Conrad Black argues that despite a decade of inept and feckless leadership, the world's correlation of forces is aligning in the United State's favor and I agree. You should read his column - it's a rare optimistic take - though dripping with the same caustic cynicism that characterized the Iron Chancellor's remarks. But I think it also is an example of one of the most pernicious delusions of our ruling classes - whether right or left, interventionist or isolationist, kumbaya or bombaya.  To wit the fantasy that somehow through the judicious application of 'policy and politics' the United States and its allies can organize and tame the world.  A world that has never been more crowded, complex or richer.  This attitude has so many flaws that I'm surprised it hasn't undergone total existential collapse by now.  They include:

1. The US Constitutional form of government which guarantees division, conflict and lashing out followed by pouty isolation.  The only times the US has been able to pursue a consistent foreign policy is when there is a single existential threat or there are no serious threats.  A complicated, multi-threat world is very difficult for our political system to cope with.  We don't have the  concentration of power and authority in one person that a parliamentary system has.  Nor can a continentak scale empire that is ever more diverse have the social consensus of a Jaoan or a Denmark. Never have, never will yet everyone expects us to behave that way.

2. The natural resilience of people defending their families and homes-China edition.  Our foreign policy geniuses panicked in the face of both the rise of China and ISIS yet both of these threats provoked healthy immune reactions from those threatened by them.  China's heavy handed, clod dish bullying has conjured into being a huge coalition almost without active US leadership.  Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Burma, India, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia,  and the Philippines have a huge interest in containing Chinese hegemony and are taking matters into their own hands.

3. The natural resilience of people defending their families and homes - Middle East Edition. Likewise the Kurds, Alawites, Shia and others have an existential interest in seeing off the twenty to thirty thousand bloodthirsty but largely untrained, undisciplined, poorly armed neo Mahdist rabble thrashing around the Syria and Iraqi Sunni heartland.  And since they are fighting for their homes and lives they constitute (as the panicked west learned in Khobani) a particularly tough nut to crack for such a modest and shoddy military enterprise.

4. The impact of the incredible creativity of the US economy and society.  At the end of the day the US wins not because of our political leadership but in spite of it.  The biggest changed reality in the world today is the looming self sufficiency of the US in oil and export leadership in natural gas.  The oil and gas industries use of massive computing and robotics to literally double the world's recoverable reserves of oil and gas has fundamentally changed the world's correlation of forces even more in the West's favor.  And along with a little Saudi supply liberality this creativity has cut Iranian and Russian adventurism down considerably.  Neither country's regime can long abide low oil prices and Russia in particular is vulnerable to seeing its financially and geopolitically lucrative European gas contracts rendered void by massive North American exports to Europe.and Japan.

The fantasy of all statists is that they are in control of events both foreign and domestic.  More often they are like huge toddlers stomping around a China shop.  Sometimes they break things for which they blame others and sometimes they don't for which they take credit.  But up until recently the political 'leaders' of Europe and the United States have been careful not to seriously undermine the economic and social power that is the true source of our long term success. Tragically leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have become so enamored with their own significance that they are busily ripping at the sinews and wiring of the greatest civilization that has ever existed.  When the historians look back on this era they will be astounded at how much domestic destruction our so called 'leaders' countenanced in exchange for what will be considered nothing but a mess of political pottage.

But for as long as it holds against the statist wreckers our society will somehow reign supreme in spite of the selfish and arrogant prats that purport to 'rule' us.  We're just too damn good to do otherwise.  So calm down.  Have a 'schmoke and a pancake' and let the outlanders flail and rage at man's most brilliant creation:  Western Civilization.

Do dems simply want it worse? Voter fraud once again.

Time and time again we find voter fraud being actively promoted by democrat supporting groups.  Here (below) in Colorado it's Greenpeace and a Super Pac group called Work for Progress.  In Chicago, the legislature monkeyed with early voting for just this election to help them win the governorship.  Here's another Chicago one.  And here's a public University in New York actively politicking for Dems.  And these were just ones I found in five minutes.  As with the IRS harassment and evidence destruction and the active Dem politicking and evidence destruction in the FEC, HHS, EPA and others, it seems the Dems will do a lot more to win.  Of course government is more important to the left, many of them seem to derive their meaning in life from coercing others.

When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: “That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.” She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.
The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing. He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. “I mean it is putting the votes to good use,” she responds. “So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome.”
Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler, along with several county election clerks, have raised warning flags that a new state law that automatically mails a ballot to everyone is an engraved invitation to commit fraud. “Sending ballots to people who did not even ask for them or have moved out of state is asking for trouble” he told me. For example, little can stop someone who collects discarded ballots from trash cans, fills out the ballots, and mails them in. Election workers are supposed to compare signatures on registration records with signed ballots. But if a person has a “witness” who signs the ballot on the witness line, then the signatures do not have to match and the vote is counted.
Secretary of State Gessler had futile arguments with Democratic state legislators last year who insisted on ramming a bill through that mandated Colorado become the only state in the nation with both all-mail balloting and same-day registration.

Barack Obama: Sexual Assaulter

He kisses woman without her consent in order to put her boyfriend in his place.  This contravenes the new Sexual Assault regulations his administration has foisted on colleges.  But I guess rules are for the little people. Althouse has the key point:

Did Obama get true verbalized consent before he kissed her? No. He did not. People are focusing on Obama's interplay with a man who said "Don't touch my girlfriend" as Obama was voting in Chicago, demonstrating howto vote.

But let's talk about the woman. Obama orders her to kiss him: "You're gonna kiss me. Give him something to talk about. Now, he's really jealous." As you see in the video, he makes that declarative statement and immediately grabs her and kisses and hugs her.

Why is that acceptable? He's using her in an effort to regain dignity and to humiliate the man who humiliated him. It might all be dismissed as play humiliation and play counter-humiliation. But the woman's body was used as an object of that play, a means of communication between men.

Entitled prat.

AEI discovers that people that take government jobs with lifetime employment are risk averse.

In other news it has been discovered that dogs bite men and also have fleas. Raise the career risk reward relationship and you'll get a different mix of people.  Better yet automate a bunch of it away. But don't waste time trying to please the suppliers. Spend time building a market for ed services that will send the right signals to market participants to serve customers better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Well the truth is that most claimed science or economic findings are false...

...because false positives become endemic in any research that leverages huge datasets and effectively infinite processing power.  This tendency to throw every variable against every other variable to manufacture 'theory' is pernicious in the extreme.  It leads to false positive hell.  These 'cats say it's even worse than that because since in financial economics the data is standard and available to all any novel finding is likely a false positive so the statistical test for significance should be a T value exceeding 3.0 rather than the traditional 2.0.  I think a lot of biomedical research should face the same standard. Psychological and social research probably needs an even higher standard because most of it is absolute ideological (and I'll let you guess which one) goal driven crap.  Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein:  yeah, I'm lookin' at you - your days of blowing questionable statistical claims out your keisters and getting the gun toters to do your bidding are numbered.  Nudge that school boys.

The more our glorious stupor state has funded research the more dreckish it has become. Free money from bureaucracy corrupts everything it touches.  Everything.  Because free money has no valid human agent behind it demanding a return for the investment - you know, what we call in the private sector 'results'.  Read the whole damned thing. Here.

Welcome to the capital strike - extreme example but true

My God, my God why have you forsaken us?

B.B. writes:

In “National Income and the Price Level,” Martin Bailey discussed the issues of the liquidity trap and secular stagnation.

He observed that at a zero real interest rate, it would be profitable to level the Rocky Mountains and fill in the Gulf of Mexico. The land created would have a rate of return over zero. Also, replacing all steel with stainless steel would pay off.

The examples get to the problem. If someone wanted to level a mountain and fill in the Gulf, it would take a decade to get EPA approval, if it ever came. At negative real interest rates, there are plenty of profitable investments. Maybe in the medical sector, or energy, or finance, or banking, or education, or transportation….where government approval can block the investment for a decade. Secular stagnation is feasible in a world of heavy regulations and taxes, regardless of technological opportunities or the productivity of capital. Keystone Pipeline, anyone?

In a regulated state, easy Fed policy might boost the stock market and lower bond yields without boosting investment much at all. Sound familiar?

- See more at:

Schaumburg is in Cook county. The voting machine was rigged to vote for only Dems. Situation normal.

But we keep hearing that there's no voter fraud from the press lapdogs. Yip yip yip they yelp to the Dem  tune. Travesty at the link.

The new clerisy and why we can't escape it

Probably the most important book on the right since Goldberg Liberal Fascism. And Kotkin isn't even a conservative.  This is an article that summarizes his thesis.  The Cliff  notes version if you will. Makes for depressing reading I'm afraid.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#gamergate is democracy in action which is why the left hates it so much

Any time an identifiably non-leftist group gets together to protest state or establishment abuses it's immediately deemed 'racist' by the bien pensants that lord over such things.  If there are too many 'people of color' in the movement then it's deemed 'sexist'.  If too many women, then it's deemed 'homophobic'.  If too many gays:  it's deemed anti-trans.  To many trans, it's deemed anti-alien.  Anything that upsets the left establishment in this country must be dismissed.  It can't be addressed or even thought about.  Because to think would undermine the very foundations of left ascendance in this country:  empty minds.  Can't have that, not practical, won't work, because they would have to make arguments and that would require thinking.

More mocking Ezra Klein and the rest of the 'explanatory fraud' set here. They really are the kings of bullshit, gang.

If they pull this off the world changes. Completely.

Golf and other outdoor leisure activities become doubly huge and indoor malls die.  Hot weather ceases to be a distraction and snowy, icy places without hills decline.  Fascinating imagining the butterfly effect on this one:

HMM: MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete. “Why heat or cool a building when you could heat or cool a person?”

It turns out that Math is Hard for Harvard lawyers

We have a massive 'sex assault' witch hunt going on on our college campuses that has been driven by the Obama administration and a 'game changing' report published on Campus Sexual Assault last January.  In it the Ivy League Geniuses make two fundamental statements.  First that one in five women are sexually assaulted on a college campus.  The second is that only twelve percent of all sexual assaults on college campuses are reported.  The problem is that both of these numbers can't be true.  Math is HARD.  Particularly for Ivy League lawyers.  Particularly for the one of the "smartest lawyers at Harvard ever" because Our President has been repeating this obviously statistically inept but electorally useful claim over and over. And our Ivy League press has been lapping it up.  Particularly Ezra "Vox me baby, Vox me baby all night long" Klein who runs Vox which is supposedly dedicated to 'explanatory' journalism:  explaining 'what it all means'.  But of course if you can't do arithmetic it's pretty freaking hard to explain anything. From Carpe Diem:

In a January 2014 report titled “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” (which led to the creation of the “Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault” headed by Biden), the White House made the following two statements:
White House Statement 1. Sexual assault is a particular problem on college campuses:1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college.
White House Statement 2. Reporting rates for campus sexual assault are also very low: on average only 12% of student victims report the assault to law enforcement.
There’s a huge, irreconcilable statistical problem here. Using actual reported crime statistics on sexual offenses at almost any US college and applying the White House claim that only 12% of campus sexual assaults actually get reported, we have to conclude that nowhere near 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college. Alternatively, if the “1 in 5 women” claim is true, the percentage of sexual assaults that don’t get reported to the campus police would have to be much lower than 12%. In other words, the claims that the White House uses don’t work together and they therefore both can’t be simultaneously correct.

Assuming that only 12% of campus sexual assaults at OSU are reported.
osuAssuming that 1 in 5 women at OSU are assaulted over 4 years.
Maroons, we are governed by Maroons.  Well actually they're Crimsons but I liked Bugs Bunny's formulation better. Go U of C!

Want to be a Cyborg?

Join the crowd.  Good summary of interesting developments including the first real breakthrough in enabling those paralyzed by spinal cord injuries to regain the use of their limbs.  Awesome stuff.  Includes the typical fol de rol about 'runaway cyborgs', 'grey goo' and even the pathetic mewling of nanny socialists about how we shouldn't do anything fun in technology because someone, somewhere hasn't eaten their peas.  Whiners.  Worth a gander.  Here.

Nigeria shows that you can beat Ebola

Of course Nigeria has competent leadership when compared to our great Federal Stupor State.  But if an impoverished third world kleptocracy can stop the disease in its tracks, there's hope that even a grossly obese, catastrophically led and totally politicized mob of stupor staters can blunder their way to safety.

We'll survive this but our government's reputation won't.

Oh how the mighty have fallen: Obama speaks at a campaign event and people leave

Another way to put it is:  "Oh how the shallow have dried up" - probably more accurate actually.

From hero to zero in six years.  But he's still got his golf game going for him.

In other news 64 percent of those polled said they considered the US to be "out of control"

What a drip.

Only one third of college students think it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus.

How did our colleges become the most intolerant left wing monoculture in our nation? The same way that German universities upon which our system was modeled on became a Nazi monoculture long before Hitler gained power.

University power relations are inherently  corporatist. This is how an entire category can be singled out for special punitive treatment and stripped of the rights that all others in the community have. In pre 1933 German universities they were called Jews. In Obama America they are called male students.

Saddest of all is the impact on students. Longtime civil libertarian Nat Hentoff notes a2010 survey of 24,000 college students, which found that barely a third thought it “safe to hold unpopular views on campus.” Recent years have seen the rise of such things as speech codes and the introduction of “trigger warnings” to alert students about what might be objectionable ideas or phrases, even in American classics.

Meritocratic  feudalism rules and you had better tug your forelock while aping the Tenured Lord who holds your fate in his clammy little hands.

Price transparency and ease of discovery is a good thing for consumers

Which is why our "caring", "charitable" sectors obfuscate so hard. Even persuading the Feds to ban price lists for Medicare providers. I'm starting to think that the more "greedy" an institution is characterized  the more honest it's likely to be simply because it likely faces lots of scrutiny whereas the "boni" get little because after all everyone "knows" that they're good. Like the 4X looters of higher education. Watch the boni try to put Keith Smith in jail. Hattip Carpe Diem.

Good things happen when healthcare buyers and sellers are in the same room? Dr. Keith Smith, founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, says that it is the “ethical and moral obligation of the healthcare services seller to provide the prospective buyer a price in advance of the provision of the service.” By posting prices and increasing transparency, The Surgery Center of Oklahoma have decreased prices to such a level that care is now accessible to his community. Dr. Smith notes that “Price-revealing actions have allowed people to purchase care they previously assumed was otherwise unaffordable, people who had neglected their health entirely, based on a lack of visible pricing.”

From the all animals are equal but some are more equal than others department

Why do Socialists always look so silly?

Socialist hypocrisy? The Freedom Socialist Party (owner of the website domain name routinely advocates that employers be forced to pay workers a minimum wage of either $15 an hour or $20 an hour. Yet when it comes to hiring a “graphic designer / web content manager” for its Seattle office, the organization is only willing to pay $13 an hour.

Ezra Klein's Vox is not so much a new breed of fact based journalism as an attempt by the left to corral the reality that all the new information represents in a Marxist analytical framework

How else to explain his willingness to accept persecution of young men as the necessary price for the enlightenment of the proletariat?

Either that or his fuck buddy is hard core feminist and she's cut him off until he toes the line.

I actually like the second explanation because in it at least Mr. Klein is human and not just a left wing ideological category.  More brutal Vox downs at the link.

The death of the liberal arts is not so much murder as a suicide

Who in their right minds would pay $250,000 to study the Founding Fathers or Plato or Shakespeare when they are dismissed as nothing but 'dead white males'?

Of course who in their right minds would pay that kind of money for left wing agitprop when you can get it free on the Internet 24x7?

I mean unless a lot if cute chick's are in the program...

Judging from all the ad hominems this piece is hitting it's target in academe. Check it out yourself at the link.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Criminal prosecutors are endemic to our stupor state

The case of the Sierra Pacific shakedown.