Friday, December 18, 2015

Speaking of Chicago.... appears that the gang members arrested after a horrible murder in Mississippi were members of gangs founded in Chicago.   Another account from Mississippi indicates that journalists were following leads assuming that those arrested were not Chicagoans, not Mississippians. 

I'd thought it was mostly just the Crips and Bloods practicing "evangelistic thuggery", and that mostly west of the Mississippi, but I guess I am wrong.  The question is whether the problem is the drug trade, or whether young men sent to the "safe south" by relatives in Chicago are bringing Chicago-style crime to their new home.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Picture of life in a one party town....

Courtesy Mr. Dilettante.   It's worth noting that Jane Byrne probably is the most responsible mayor they've had in the past half century, and she's famous mostly for living in Cabrini Green and preventing the Chicago Fire Department from murdering Dan Goodwin by washing him off the Hancock Center with fire hoses.

Why nobody ever got prosecuted for that one is beyond me--it's certainly attempted murder, and it illustrates how pervasive corruption is in the Windy City.  And prophetically, Goodwin, a.k.a. "Spider-man", was campaigning for improved firefighting techniques for skyscrapers.  Remembering 2001, he seems to have been rather prophetic.

Way too nice to Senator Markey

....was Dr. Judith Curry.  Now, watching the video, I will grant that she made a lot of good scientific points in responding to Sen. Markey, but given that Markey's position was more or less the basic logical error of "appeal to authority" or "appeal to popularity", I think she was far too gentle on him.  Here's how I would have responded:

Senator Markey, your question is a variant of the genetic fallacy called "appeal to authority", and as such it not only does not rise to the level of a compelling scientific argument, it also doesn't pass the basic logical tests that I was taught in elementary school as a way to recognize propaganda.  Now as a lawyer and Senator, you should be ashamed of yourself for using such an illogical line of thinking.

Speaking as someone who has learned a bit of the history of science myself, I would like to remind you that in 1884, Albert Michelson opened the Ryerson Physics laboratory by claiming that future discoveries in physics would be made in the sixth decimal place.  A couple of decades later, another Albert named "Einstein" shattered that idea.  Around the same time, the hypothesis of the luminiferous aether as a medium for light propagation was the consensus position, and before that, the consensus position was that fire had something to do with a substance called caloric. 

Obviously, scientific consensus has never defined truth and never will.  Now if you would like me to address the data and evidence, I shall be glad to do so, but I will require that you stop these illogical fantasies of a 97% consensus establishing truth.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

In honor?

...of President Obama having told Parisians that mass killings don't happen outside the United States, his claim that the recent atrocity in California might have been just workplace violence, and in honor of his opening of all combat roles to women before a single woman passed the Marine Combat Infantry Course, I figured that the detachment from reality of the President could be well described by this Jimi Hendrix classic. 

Either he's lost touch with reality, or maybe he needs to get himself to Sister Generose's building for something akin to narcissistic personality disorder, or maybe we were right back in 2008 when we warned that maybe, just maybe, we ought to take his associations with Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and a host of other radicals seriously. 

What color is the sun on your planet, Mr. President?  You're cordially invited back to reality.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Our war on ISIS?

According to Dick Morris, it appears that the reason that we haven't been bombing ISIS oil tankers is because the President wants to avoid environmental damage--as if a regional war doesn't amount to exactly that. 

Actually, it's worse than that.  Since the tankers are being driven into Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan for the oil to be refined, what we have is the Obama administration utterly failing to persuade the Turks and Iraqis to close the border to uncertified oil.  Here's a map of the approximate areas controlled by each group,   It wouldn't take that much effort to interrupt the flow of money to ISIS.

For reference, one would assume that preventing ISIS from getting its oil to market by closing borders would reduce the environmental impact even more.  This is a failure on the part of the President that makes his comments about mass shootings in Paris look positively intelligent in comparison. 

And given that we've only how given the OK to kill ISIS leaders, it's getting harder and harder to argue against the idea that we've actually been supporting them.  Certainly we've not been waging any serious war against them.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Why funding for Planned Parenthood matters

Lost in the debate over whether government funds ought to be given to Planned Parenthood is exactly what it achieves.  Proponents would argue that the large amount of prescriptions written for contraception, pap smears performed, and referrals for mammograms indicate that Planned Parenthood is not, indeed, all about abortion.

Let's look at the statistics, however.  Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute estimates approximately 1800 abortionists in 2008, 38% fewer than in 1995.  The same source notes that a 1st trimester abortion cost about $470 in 2009, and it's well known that not too many abortionists do second and third trimester infanticides.

So what we have, more or less, is revenue of about half a billion dollars (maybe twice that including 2nd and third trimester abortions) spread among close to 2000 abortionists; somewhere between $200k to $500k per abortionist.  After you subtract the costs for buildings, staff, and the like, that's  not much left for the average gynecologist's $250k salary.  Averaged for medicine in general, your doctor takes 10% or less of your medical bills--so the cash flow for abortion is in a really bad place. 

We would infer that the median abortionist would need a second job in order to make ends meet; after taxes, school debt, and the like, they often will not have the option to take a lower wage to be "charitable".   That runs into a problem; an awful lot of people, even those who aren't particularly pro-life, don't want to patronize doctors or even clinics or hospitals that provide abortions.   So doctors who perform abortions find their career options limited, especially outside of large metropolitan areas.

That problem is solved as Planned Parenthood gets subsidies to provide care to the poor, who do not have a choice in where they get care.  If we assume the three hundred thousand abortions committed annually by Planned Parenthood are paid at the ordinary rate, that's somewhere around a quarter billion dollars for 500 doctors--again, that doesn't pay the bills.  Have them do a lot of contraception, pap smears, and the like and add in another half billion dollars (plus state subsidies and the like), and the business proposition makes a lot more sense.

In other words, government subsidies are about the only thing that keeps abortion available outside of large metropolitan areas. 

The apparent state of climatology

Prominent among those attending this week's climate change summit is John Koskinen, head of the Internal Revenue Service.  Mr. Koskinen has even doubled down on his devotion to saving the planet by accumulating $5400 in limousine fees.

My friend Mr. Dilettante notes that he'll start believing in the majority theory when they start doing their meetings via Skype, and I tend to agree.  But that said, it seems that we have an even more basic criterion; we can start taking the global warming hypothesis seriously when attendees are actually drawn from the pool of people able to significantly contribute to the discussion.  My hunch is that Mr. Koskinen has even less expertise in climatology than he does on the ethics of tax collection--which is of course saying something.

Unless, of course, the point is his feedback on how to implement a carbon tax, that presumably without the consent of Congress.  Which is, really, probably the point; control of the energy supply.