Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An alternative view, ecologically

NPR has published something of a radical proposal from a philosopher (note: not a climatologist) who argues that we ought to be putting birth taxes and the like on people who decide to procreate.  (H/t Michelle Malkin)  Now while I understand the motivation, I think there is a lot we can do besides something so draconian, and something that....will imperil the lives of the aged.  After all, if there are no kids around (cue the "Vulgarians" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), good luck getting someone to feed us applesauce and Ensure, and clean our Garfield bedpans, no?

To wit, the philosopher claims that the "carbon impact" of a baby is 9441 tons of carbon dioxide, about 5.7 times the actual carbon emissions of an individual in 80 years of life, or about six tons of carbon being burned on behalf of every American man, woman, and child each year of their life.

While this is borne out by EIA numbers for coal, oil, and natural gas production, a look at my own family's consumption says we're simply not doing our share to destroy the earth.  Although we drive an evil SUV and an evil pickup, we don't drive that many miles, keep our house cooler than average, use little air conditioning, and the like. 

Along with plants sequestering carbon through a process called "photosynthesis", it seems that there's a lot that can be done to mitigate carbon emissions (if indeed they are a problem) without government coercion.  And so we have to ask the question; is this about the environment, or expanding the government--which incidentally is (Lake Baikal, Warsaw Pact Superfund zones, etc..) the worst environmental offender of all?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Disparate impact rehashed

An interesting Washington Post column about the efforts by the Department of Justice to end "implicit bias", linked by Powerline, ironically makes the point of critics if one reads it carefully.  That is, the DOJ is more or less rehashing the old 1960s doctrines of "disparate impact" by looking at overall incidence of arrests, etc., and not comparing those arrest rates with things like conviction rates.

In other words, it's a classic error of using the wrong measurement.  If blacks were being victimized, one would anticipate that their portion of arrests and deaths at the hands of police would greatly exceed their portion of convictions, but that is not the case--it's actually the opposite in terms of deaths at the hands of police. 

So what's going on?  Well, in the name of appealing to black voters, the Department of "Justice" is choosing to leave criminals at large in black communities.  With friends like Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch, blacks don't need enemies.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Another triumph of peer review

...is a study that purports to show that Latinos age more slowly than Caucasians.  Now given that a large portion of Latinos are, in fact, Caucasian or mixed-race including Caucasian blood, this is a very interesting way of trying to control an experiment.  When we compare significantly A vs. A, we find that A is different than A.

And apparently nobody called them on a basic violation of the law of non-contradiction, but somebody will probably get their Ph.D. and a professoriate out of it. 

(hint to the professors; you would either map out the "Latino" group by actual racial makeup, or attempt to separate Latinos of southern European descent from Caucasians of northern European descent, if you wanted to differentiate these groups)

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Now that's a neat trick

President Obama is claiming that he's got the better argument than either Hilliary Clinton or Donald Drumpf regarding the "Trans Pacific Partnership", which is an interesting argument for a very simple reason; nobody outside of the White House, along with the negotiators for other countries, knows what's in it, and that's by law passed by Congress.

Nice try, Mr. President, but when the details aren't out, good luck making your case.  Plus, when typical "free trade" agreements amount to thousands of pages (GATT is something like 22000 pages) and there are several volumes of codes for various items to be imported and exported (I've seen them, they are huge), it's not hard to make the case that there must be a better way.  Say we could list some items (e.g. military and aerospace) as restricted or prohibited, and tax the rest of them at a reasonable rate (say 10% or so) to pay for the Coast Guard, ICE, and Navy. 

And then give a massive tax cut--start with much higher dependent deductions--so that Americans can get back to work.  But I am expecting nothing so sensible as this from the President for a very simple reason; we're still part of NAFTA and GATT.

Monday, August 01, 2016

With grudging respect?

According to David Kupelian, one of the strategies currently being used by President Obama to keep things going his way for the forseeable future is to make sure that, whatever law and code actually say, senior managers in many departments of the federal government will continue to follow in his modus operandi. 

Now with due respect to WND, this is of course unproven, but having watched the immigration debate since the days of Reagan, I have to wonder whether Obama's goal was actually achieved during the Carter or Ford administrations, if not earlier.  Or do we need to wonder how much further this will go?  I'm not sure.  But if there is something to this, for all my disagreement with President Obama, a grudging hat tip to him for realizing how these things really work.  As we say in quality engineering, corporate culture eats company initiatives for lunch.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

At the Democratic National Convention

.....they're warming up for a gas of a night!  Can't think of a better way to applaud Hilliary's big speech.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Carolyn Mosby misses the point

....about how prosecutors were forced to abandon trials of officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.  She argues that the problem was "reluctance" and "an obvious bias" on the part of officers investigating, but the fact remains that four consecutive acquittals were issued in a world where prosecutors win about 90% of the cases they bring to court.

In other words, Mosby and her team took cases to court when they knew they didn't have the evidence to convict, and the officers involved are exactly right to sue her for filing false charges.   If indeed she knew (as she appears to have known) that the case was weak, but brought charges anyways, she should suffer the same fate as Mike Nifong.  Like Nifong, she withheld evidence as well from the defense.

What needs to happen?  Well, we can start with making it very clear that criminals need to be belted when transported, and then continue by putting cameras and accelerometers in the vehicles to measure how rough the ride really is.   Moreover, as defense attorney Ivan Bates noted, if the police investigation is suspected of downplaying the reality, the state attorney's office did indeed have the right to investigate as well-but did not.

And, if Carolyn Mosby indeed has played the Nifong, she needs to suffer the Nifong, too.  Putting six men and their families through Hell for her political ambitions deserves punishment.

Classic line

....from Donald Trump, calling on Russia to provide Hilliary Clinton's missing emails, and of course the Democrats don't get the joke.  It is as if their chosen comics, people like Sarah Silverman and Michael Moore, have given up the feather for a bludgeon decades ago.

Liberals, when your party's sense of humor makes Donald Trump's look subtle in comparison, you've got some big, big problems.  And when you fail to figure out that the Russians almost certainly do have those 30,000 + emails, and will use them when it suits their purposes, you're trying to make even bigger problems for the rest of us. 

The FDA takes a stand for healthy...

...cigars, believe it or not, according to the Mises Institute.  Now we can legitimately debate how much good FDA and other regulative agencies do, or what harm they do, but I would hope that we could at least agree that tobacco is neither a food nor a drug that would ordinarily be subject to the FDA's authority, and of course the whole point of lighting up a stogie is to do something unhealthful. 

What we have here, really, is regulators trying to put the kibosh on a lawful business without the consent of Congress, yet another clear violation of Article 1--I presume at the encouragement of the President. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Planned Parenthood update

A while back, I blogged about the odd case of prosecutors choosing to, among other things, indict investigators of Planned Parenthood for violations of Texas law prohibiting tampering with government records for possessing a fake California drivers' license.  Yesterday, a judge decided to dismiss all charges, but not for the reasons that one would guess.

The reason was that the grand jury's term had been extended, but Texas law does not allow grand juries much latitude in issuing indictments during a holdover period.  This is, of course, a protection against the very kind of "fishing expeditions" that seemed to be the case with the prosecutor's indictments in the first place, and issuing the indictments was thus a basic error by the prosecutor that was allowed by another basic error by the judge.

This is good news, and I hope that someone goes a step further and asks what was going on that the fishing expedition was allowed in the first place, and whether Texas law really prohibits investigative journalists from hiding their true identities, and whether Devon Anderson's office consistently prosecutes allegations of fake IDs to begin with.   To put it mildly, she should be asking others "is the AC working?  It's getting warm in here."  Not quite Mike Nifong, but worth a look.  And the Fox News article on the dismissal gives a hint that David Daleiden's attorneys may be thinking about the same thing.  Stay tuned; this could be an interesting ride.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Too close for comfort

Apparently an Iowa football player had something of a near-death experience as police approached him while he was distracted playing "Pok√©mon Go".   Apparently they thought he might be a man who had recently robbed a bank, and due to the headphones, the young man did not hear to comply with the police.

If any of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time--it's possible but not definite--it seems like a great chance to take a very good look at the footage and see what might be done to improve how the police apprehend criminals.  If I were the police chief, my request would be this:  "Ladies & Gentlemen, it looks like this young man dodged a bullet, and so did we.  Let's do what we can to make the next time less likely to be eventful." 

Glad you're OK, Faith, and have a great season, especially on November 12.  Make it your own personal "Weasel Stomping Day".

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You first, Secretary Kerry

Secretary of State John "Effing" Kerry has made the claim that air conditioning is as big a hazard as is ISIS....OK, Secretary, lead by example.  I want to see video of the crews you hire to remove the air conditioning from all your homes and where you work.  And while you're at it, why don't you downsize to a 2400 square foot home like the rest of us inhabit, sell the yacht, fly coach, and the like.

After all, if you really believed what you were saying, this is what you would do. Or do you not care that you're doing hundreds of times (thousands?) of times more damage to the environment than the average American?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

50 years past time

...but give the IOC credit; they appear to be finally laying down the law on performance enhancing drugs and the nations that use them to improve their standing in the Olympics; Russia's track and field team is banned from Rio. 

Well, at least a golf clap for them; the great reason, of course, that the Olympics have been a bastion for hyper-nationalist nonsense for a long, long time is that Olympic qualification is not a matter of being one of the best in the world, but rather being the best in your country.  Not surprisingly, countries used and manipulated the rules for their own purposes, and thus the floodgates were opened to enormous amounts of time, effort, and money to "win the medal count." 

Hang those incentives in front of nations and athletes, and we ought not be surprised that so many cheat.  Maybe, just maybe, the IOC needs to re-read de Coubertin's thoughts on the matter and change some things.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Black Lives Matter comes to Rochester?

Sort of.  There was a march--I was on the parade route at Dunkin' Donuts while it went by--and the first really interesting thing was that when I looked for a guy I'd met--about 6'4" and of robust girth, easy to spot--he wasn't there, but a young lady from my church was.  Sure enough, when I looked up the Facebook page of the local black Baptist church, they were telling members and attendees not to go.  So apparently there are at least two BLM movements in our city.  What the differences are, I'm not sure, but there is a rivalry.

What were they saying?  Well, about the worst it got was "no more racist cops", a sentiment with which I agree, but it's unclear to me how much racism goes on here--let's just say that some of the best patients at Mayo are non-whites who fly halfway around the world to get here.  If there were a large number of DWB citations or worse, City Hall would be hearing about it.

So what does BLM believe?  Well, with the obvious caveats that there about there being two such movements (just as Dr. King headed one, and Malcolm X headed another back in the 1960s) at least, and not every adherent believes everything, a few things of note are that the rights of LGTB.... seem to be about as important to them as the rights of blacks, that they're trying to end mass incarceration of blacks (really everyone), and they specifically note that they're committed to disrupting the "western prescribed nuclear family." 

In other words, it's exactly what one would predict if we assumed that the center of the black civil rights movement had migrated away from the church (at least the orthodox churches) and found itself in a secular, or at least UCC, position, which anyone watching Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over the past 35 years (e.g. myself) would have guessed.  

The biggest problem here is not that some marches talk about "dead pigs", though that is a nasty reality in places.  The far bigger deal is the question of their agenda, in particular by weakening nuclear families and getting criminals out of jail.   

Now don't get me wrong; I love my extended family and community, and benefit greatly from them.  But that said, extended family and community builds on the nuclear family and its economic and other provisions--so really, you cannot move to a "community" model a la Hilliary Clinton's It takes a Village if the nuclear family is broken, and quite frankly, the inner city demonstrates this in a horrific way, as Sen. Moynihan noted in 1965.

In the same way, extended family and community, not to mention protection of LGBTQ.... rights, depends greatly on whether anti-social and criminal elements can be rehabilitated or removed--and for the most part, that means churches rehabilitate and the state jails criminals. 

Which is to say that the "end point" for this branch of BLM is more or less the same liberal utopianism that has been tried, and has failed, since the mid 1800s, and really at the cost of tens of thousands of lives (among those born) and millions of lives among the pre-born.  And so the question for the BLM activist who believes this is simple:

How's it working out for you?  It's been tried in your community for over half a century.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Too close for comfort...

....is the Babylon Bee's joke that President Obama has nominated the Canaanite fertility "god" Molech to the Supreme Court because no other conveyed the deep desire to slaughter infants that is a hallmark of the Obama presidency.