Thursday, September 14, 2017

On reparations for slavery

I was listening to NPR last night, and after a very interesting bit about the case of 272 slaves sold by Jesuit priests in Maryland, another bit came up where Na-Tehisi Coates was arguing that there ought to be reparations for slavery.  In the radio bit, it was with regards to Harvard's endowment, but just for the sake of argument, let's indulge it nationwide.

And for the sake of argument, let's ignore the best arguments against it.  Let's assume that calculating what a person is owed is not subject to complex genealogies and even DNA tests.  Let's ignore the fact that most whites were not slaveowners, and many have ancestors who were still in Europe at the time of the Civil War and had no role in the practice whatsoever.  Ignore the fact that when it's been tried before, monetary payments end up in the original hands within a few years--this occurred in Malaysia, for example.  As Proverbs 20:21 notes, an inheritance quickly gained is not blessed in the end.  Finally, let's ignore the fact that we probably all lost a LOT with, for example, Ben Carson's ancestors picking cotton instead of practicing medicine. 

Rather, let's calculate a number.  In 1860, there were about four million slaves with an average "price" of about $1000.  For the country as a whole, GDP of $12 billion for about 30 million residents in 1860 indicates an average GDP/capita of about $400.  Hence, the ~ 4 million slaves freed by 1865 would have had a "book value" of ~ $4 billion and (assuming an average age of 25 years) an overall productivity in their lives of about ~$10 billion. 

Scaling the larger number for inflation, we get to something like $250 billion dollars in reparations that would be owed.  Add for slaves who never tasted freedom, and you're talking twice that.

Now let's contemplate what we are trying to fix with reparations.  I would presume that we'd be looking at economic deprivation and cultural impacts of slavery, no?  Well, it strikes me that about 25% of the annual trillion dollars in welfare spending goes to blacks, or, about.....$250 billion annually.

So in a sense, our nation is making those reparations payments not just once, but rather annually, and we've been doing this pretty much every year since the Great Society started.   And that brings to mind the question, again; "How's that working out for you?". 

We might note, of course, that some kind of restitution might also be wise vis-à-vis the old Jim Crow laws and such, but again; "How's that working out for us?".  I'd love to write a check for my family's share and say "I'm good", but it strikes me that in reality, I can do a lot better for my minority friends and neighbors without ever touching my checkbook.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Priestess Hilliary?

In her book, in which she of course blames just about everything but herself for her electoral loss, Hilliary Clinton notes that she will not offer "absolution" to women who failed to vote for her.  So not only did she want to be the leader of the free world, but apparently she also thinks she controls our spiritual destiny as well.

I'm not a huge fan of "Le Grand Orange", as Mr. D. calls him, but I dare say that our country dodged a bullet last November.  The question is what others might be coming our way as well.

Just what we needed!

Byron York notes that the new "Dream Act" being considered in Congress has looser requirements regarding criminality than other categories of immigration, looser even than President Obama's unconstitutional executive orders.  As if what this country needed is more criminals in our midst.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On those allegations of collusion with the Russians

On one hand, the gossips in the swamp are claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "going for the kill" in trying to obtain an indictment for obstruction of justice against President Trump. 

Really, though, if Mueller wants someone to indict for obstruction of justice, it would be the Democratic Party, which has steadfastly refused to allow the FBI to look at their server to determine whether it was actually hacked, and whether it was likely that the hackers were indeed Russian.  Another good possibility would be to indict the guy who failed to issue a subpoena for this critical piece of evidence, and instead went on a fishing expedition, along with his whole team, none of whom appear to have resigned in protest over this obvious failure to investigate clear leads.

There may be a lot of real wrongdoing on the parts of a lot of people in DC regarding this, but one thing is sure; Robert Mueller's investigation isn't going to find any of it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017


An audit of the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy finds that many ships had expired certification in "mobility seamanship" (ability to sail at sea safely), and many others had expired certification in cruise missile defense and surface warfare, many of which have had expired certifications since at least 2015.    This is probably not the entire problem that resulted in the collisions of two ships with merchant ships, but I'm surprised that no one appears to have raised Hell over this, especially given that the tragedies recently could have prevented by the men on watch, the men in the radar room, the men in the sonar room, and the men on the bridge.  The failures here appear to be (along with perhaps basic maintenance) things that most boaters learn in a basic navigation class--they're not things that ought to be forgotten readily.

The only explanation that makes sense, really, is that except for auditors, everybody in the organization probably hates the certification activities, and does not see them as necessary for the proper functioning of the organization.  Apparently many are being disabused of that notion at this point, sadly only after the taxpayers are out billions in repair costs and dozens of families have lost loved ones.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A finger on the scales...

....ably done by Mark Zandi of Moody's, and ably accepted without question by Yahoo finance.   How so?

Simple.  Zandi's estimate of a $105 billion loss due to the end of DACA (Obama's illegal, unconstitutional "Dream Act" for children brought illegally into the country) simply assumes that the children of illegal immigrants--largely farmers from Latin America--are just as productive, economically speaking, as the average immigrant--which includes a huge number of green card holders, H1B visa holders, and the like who have advanced degrees.

So while, for the sake of the "dreamers", I hope Zandi is right, statistics suggests he's put his finger on the scales of his estimates in a major way.  The kids of illegals simply are unlikely to have the same productivity as the kids of legal immigrants.

In related news, former President Obama has spoken against the repeal of his initiative not by arguing it's legal--he himself admitted it wasn't--but by arguing that it was cruel.  Well, yes, there is indeed going to be a lot of pain about this going forward, as a lot of people could end up, barring Congressional action, going home after a life spent here--some claiming to not even know the languages of their homelands.

But in the same way, it's cruel to the rest of us to have wage rates for the poor suppressed by a surplus of low skilled labor, and to have the rest of us providing schools and welfare for an additional group of poor people, and for us to be incarcerating those illegal immigrants who commit crimes--these data indicate that 90% of the 45000 immigrants in federal prison are here illegally.

I'm not holding out for a good deal regarding DACA at this point, sad to say.  It appears, really, that on the left, even the deportation of felons is frowned upon.  Why, exactly, we would need more felons in this country is beyond me, but I can come up with no other explanation for sanctuary cities. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Post-office bribery, part 2

Not only did Hilliary Clinton get a book advance which is probably ten times what its sales will justify, she's also asking more than $2000 a person to get prime seats on her book tour.  Sorry, but I can't see this as free markets, unless one expands that definition to "delayed payment for services rendered."

How to fix it?  Apart from decreeing that a politician shall be forbidden from receiving any payment for life from anyone whose business was impacted by that politician's decisions--a legal morass by any definition of the word--you can't.  What you can do, however, is reduce the amount of government funding and power so that the pool of bidders ("johns") for politicians' services becomes smaller.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Paging Dr. Williams and Dr. Sowell

Apparently pointing out the habits that lead to prosperity and long life is now not only politically incorrect, but also racist.  As apparently, Walter Williams, Barack Obama, and Thomas Sowell are being fitted for sheets, and Booker T. Washington is spinning in his grave.

Friday, August 25, 2017

There's some great evidence

A group of psychiatrists is writing a letter to Congress alleging, more or less, serious mental illness on the part of the President.  Which is interesting, given that according to standard psychiatric practice and ethics manuals, it's a serious breach of professional ethics to diagnose someone you've never met.

#deranged, I guess.  If you're a psychiatry student being taught by one of these guys, you may want to consider changing professors.  If you're a patient being treated by one of these guys, you might want to choose a new doctor to have one who follows basic medical ethics.

There's a great decision for you

Apparently, the Obama administration approved transgender soldiers despite having a study that demonstrated that the average transgender soldier would be, due to sex change surgeries, undeployable for 238 days.  Because obviously, having soldiers absent from their units for the better part of a year does nothing to unit cohesion, and it's not like the DoD has found that introducing new soldiers to experienced units tends to get people killed.

Except, ahem, that's exactly the case.  So even beyond issues of mental health, physical strength, and the discomfort of other soldiers, there is a monster issue that the former President chose to blithely ignore.   If you care about the transgendered, you need to be in favor of President Trump's move to reverse President Obama's move.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It takes a village idiot.... fund Planned Parenthood Infanticide, apparently.  A Denver seller of sex toys is devoting all profits to keep Planned Parenthood afloat.  Now we can, and should, be both amused and repulsed at a lot of aspects of this, starting with the fact that apparently pro-abortion people don't find satisfaction in their spouses/lovers and need these toys, but there is a strong underlying message that insiders of the infanticide business are starting to admit publicly; abortion alone can not keep the doors of abortuaries open. 

As I've noted before, but now, I'm going to extend the argument.  I previously argued that, outside of big cities and D1 university towns, the demand for abortions was unlikely to be high enough to support abortuaries without government funding--things like contraceptive funding and allocations for referrals for mammograms and such.  I dare suggest that even most abortuaries in big cities are financially on thin ice, as the case of Kermit Gosnell makes clear.  A good number of his crimes started with cost-cutting in terms of anesthesia and sanitation, after all.

So how does this work?  Again, if you look at the statistics, you're going to find that a huge portion of abortions are done on poor women, especially poor minority women (and their children of course).  Going out on a limb here, I'm going to guess that a huge portion of urban abortions are paid for out of government programs like Medicaid. 

In other words, if you take away government funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, and if you start doing meaningful health and sanitation inspections on abortuaries, you can reduce abortion to the pre-Roe level without banning abortion at all. 

Time to take a close look

According to this column, which is admittedly biased, Hilliary Clinton received a $14 million advance for her book "Hard Choices", but overall sales so far are only 280,000 copies, and the original hardcover price appears to have been $35.  So I'm calculating a maximum possible revenue, including the cut of the publisher and the bookseller, of only $9.8 million.  Realistically, the publisher's net is less than half of that, and Mrs. Clinton's cut should have been a maximum of $1 million.

In similar news, the advance provided to President Obama for his memoirs is said to be about $65 million.  Given a usual royalty of $1-2/book for this kind of work, that would mean that the publisher is expecting to sell a copy to most of those who voted for him.  Similarly, Bill Clinton's memoir earned him a $15 million advance, but sold only 2.25 million copies. 

Now I don't have a complete picture of what's going on--I couldn't find information on advances for books by George W. Bush, for example--but it strikes me that at least inasmuch as prominent politicians of the left are writing, they're getting compensated far in excess of what a smart businessman would give them--say by a factor of ten or more.

I'm guessing that if a smart detective looked around--say he had friends working at the publishers--he'd find that these huge advances given to liberals are not in fact business decisions, but bribes.   The question is what is being bought, and inquiring minds might like to know.

Update: I found a source that said that George W. Bush had gotten a $7 million advance on a book of his that sold about two million copies, which is firmly in the generous range, but not yet in the ludicrous range.  Somehow it seems that, whether by error or bias or bribe, Democrats are getting richer deals than are Republicans.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jerry Lewis, dormi, dormi, dormi

My family decided to honor the passing of Jerry Lewis by watching Rock-a-bye Baby last night, and somehow it seemed that this would be appropriate.  And yes, Gigi's voice is pretty good--in his non-Hollywood life, he was an operatic bass named Salvatore Baccaloni, and he's not faking an Italian accent, either.

Now we know

Until today, when Asian commentator Robert Lee was moved from calling a college football game in Virginia because of his name's similarity to the Confederate general, I had no idea why former Broncos Linebacker Thomas Jackson had retired from ESPN. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Another hate group?

Jim reports that in the mind of the SPLC, being against homosexual marriage mirage is enough to get your group classified as a "hate group".  OK, if that's so, then we would assume that we would then classify most Catholic, evangelical, fundamental, and conservative Lutheran and Presbyterian churches as "hate groups"--the SPLC's list is tens of thousands of groups short of the real total, if not hundreds of thousands. 

More importantly, they missed two very significant hate groups, the 2008 Obama and Clinton campaigns for President.  Come on, SPLC, if you can't be coherent in your definition of hate groups, at least be consistent.