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November 25, 2014

Nothing good ever happens after midnight

CNN: Ahead of the announcement about the decision, the Brown family had urged people not to react with violence and destruction. Their lawyer said the violence that took place on the streets of Ferguson overnight was "completely inappropriate."

But Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and Michael's stepfather, Louis Head, reacted much differently when, overcome with the emotions of the situation, this happened at, according to the New York Times, about 12:13 am.

The video is embedded at a new CNN article here with appropriate context.

Michael Brown's stepfather consoled the dead teen's distraught mother after Monday's controversial grand jury announcement, and then turned to the crowd of demonstrators, saying, "Burn this mother f---er down" and "Burn this bitch down," according to a New York Times video.

Just prior to that another man yelled, "That was somebody's son. Y'all murdered her f---in' son!"

In fairness, the pyromania began before midnight CST, but this couldn't have helped quell any "violence and destruction."

But jk thinks:

Help me out if I'm wrong (read "nod your head and agree with me") but why are "peaceful protesters" out at 11PM, Midnight, 1AM?

I'm not saying there were no peaceful protesters and I would not say for a second that they did not have every right to be out. But I would ask, firmly: what was the upside? Was some goal advanced?

I had this argument with a niece of mine. When Bush was president, they had these things they called peace protests (really, look it up on Google!) My niece would march in them and tell me that she was not throwing rocks at cops or torching cars. I pointed out that her presence was a great benefit to those who were.

My whole protect career consists of two Tea-Party rallies. Had they gotten out of hand, I would have left. Had the first one destroyed property, I would not have been at the second.

So yes, peaceful protesters -- you absolutely have a right -- but you are playing into the hands of those who will move you further from your goals of nonviolence and justice.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2014 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Partially because the verdict was scheduled for 9pm, I suppose. Not that any other time of day would have been better, save maybe 3 am?

I understand the one-sided perspective of Brown's friends and family who believe, because he was black and unarmed, his shooting death at the hands of the "po-lice" was, on its face, unjustifiable and therefore criminal. But I believe they ignore the many mistakes the late Mr. Brown made which, in totality, appear to amount to a case of "suicide by cop."

My sense is that if there is one mistake Officer Wilson made, it was to engage the suspect without backup.

This morning on CNN I watched a woman, whose name I did not notice but who professed and exhibited legal training, suggest that because of the circumstances of the shooter being an agent of government the judgment of a grand jury convened by that same government amounted to a one-sided trial adjudicated solely by defense counsel. I thought that charge had some merit and would be willing to explore it further - if half of Ferguson, MO were not on fire.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2014 5:24 PM

I bet they do

It's like they do not totally get this Capitalism thing. WSJ:

Venezuela Seeks Oil Price Up Back at $100 a Barrel
Ahead of OPEC Meeting, Foreign Minister Says His Country and Others Want a Fair Price

VIENNA--Venezuela wants oil prices to return to $100 a barrel, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday, ahead of an OPEC meeting.

Speaking to reporters, Rafael Ramirez, who will represent Venezuela at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries gathering on Thursday, said "the [oil] price has to be $100 per barrel, [that] is a fair price."

And Fender Stratocasters should be $700.

UPDATE: In completely, totally, unrelated news: US Imports from OPEC at 30-year low.

But johngalt thinks:

Minimum price for oil? Why not? Governments seem to believe they can mandate minimum prices for hourly labor.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2014 2:54 PM

November 24, 2014

All Hail Taranto!

He's back from vacation. Our ten day national nightmare is over!

Anyway, this isnít the first time a journalist has "fact-checked" a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. As we noted in 2009, CNN's Wolf Blitzer did the same thing back then. By amazing coincidence, that was also a sketch making fun of President Obama. -- James Taranto


Military campaigns should be constrained, to the extent practicable, to declared wars. And in this country, Congress declares war. Not the POTUS. To wit:


This joint resolution may be cited as the "Declaration of War against the Organization known as the Islamic State".

Thank you candidate, err, Senator Paul.

Iran moves foward

PowerLine notes that the expiration of the Obamanites latest deal making with Iran ends up not as a simple stalemate, which the Lamestream Media (Motto: "Live, from Obama's little finger!") will probably report as such.

It's a good article, if depressing: noting Iran will get $700 million in assets unfrozen. So, their economy will grow, and that bargaining chip is lost.

This is the point from Mirgenoff's article that I wished to present, as it provides a window to BHO's recent actions on illegal immigrants:

Obama will feel pressure to make additional concessions. Clearly, he wants a deal; otherwise he would have walked away in the face of Iranís intransigence. Obama wants a deal for his legacy. Two of the three major components of that legacy ó Obamacare and Obamnesty ó are subject to possible reversal. The third component ó pulling out of Iraq ó has exploded in his face

I am beginning to wonder if he's gone from a goal of Fundamentally Transforming the Country to a snide and cynical attempt at giving the fundamental finger to the country and all the things he despises about it (which is nearly everything, it seems).

Posted by nanobrewer at 5:25 PM | What do you think? [0 comments]

All Hail Insty!

Vicious. Partisan. Ad hominem. You're welcome.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | What do you think? [0 comments]

Meme, Answered.

Seen this piece of nonsense? President Lincoln asks "You know what else was an Executive Order that bypassed Congress and affected millions?" and answers "The Emancipation Proclamation, bitches."

This passes for wit and history among my lefty friends. One could respond that it was not an Executive Order; a lunatic like me could argue that our 16th president is not a model for Constitutional restraint; or, one could summon his inner 10-year old, boot up Photoshop® and:


UPDATE: The Wikipedia link.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [2 comments]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hmmm. I like all three of your given options there - after all, I am a firm believer in the principle of negotiating from strength.

Strictly speaking, the Emancipation Proclamation was not an Executive Order; it was an order to his military forces to recognize the freedom of all former slaves within the Confederate states. It made no changes within the United States remaining in the Union, created no new law, and changing no one's status within the Union, only within occupied territory, similar to the status of occupied Japan after World War Two. If San Fran Nan wanted a more applicable Lincoln reference, she might have gone with his suspension of habeus corpus - oh, but wait, that was later found to be an illegal abuse of power by the executive; the more applicable Lincoln reference actually works against the SCOAMF, doesn't it?

And yes, Honest Abe did certainly expand the role of the Federal government at the expense of the States, and the Constitution. "Before the Civil War, the states were all separate. People used to say 'United States are.' Wasn't until the war ended, people started saying 'The United States is.' Under Lincoln, we became one nation." That, from the mouth of no less a Constitutional scholar than Nicholas Cage himself.

And yes, the FDR comeback is a delight. There is no joy in this world quite like seeing a fool hoist upon his own canard.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 24, 2014 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words and ever-trenchant commentary. I just hope my biological brother, against whom I first deployed this, enjoys it just as much. Well, it is the holidays and all...

I was trying to remember the plot of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln -- was it not about SecState Seward's and the President's arm-twisting to get Congressional support for the proclamation? Anybody recall?

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 12:43 PM

November 22, 2014

Wherein jk Parts Company with Jonah Goldberg

Jonah -- proudly -- represents Burkean conservatism and I am grounded more in a Lockean, rights-based libertarianism. So we have parted on shading and nuance several times. But my history with, respect for, and appreciation for Goldberg has always provided the benefit of the doubt to his case.

But we have found a cross product of -1 on an important issue. Jonah finds mondo-scientist and hateful shirt-rocker Matt Taylor culpable in shirtgate -- not of misogyny, but of fashion violations and a class 3 abuse of casual Friday.

Many of my friends and colleagues on the anti-PC right have responded with understandable outrage. And it's true: Taylor's confession of wrongdoing did feel forced -- awfully North Korean.

Still, the feminists have a point. Although I like the shirt (which is now selling like hotcakes), I would never wear it to a nice restaurant, never mind on a globally broadcast TV interview. The reason I wouldn't wear it has very little to do with my fear of offending feminists. It's simply unsuitable professional attire. I'd ask critics of the feminist backlash, would you wear it on a job interview? How about to church or synagogue?

So the Burke-Locke split is just a small creek compared to the sartorial ocean that divides me and Mister Goldberg. I always wanted to explore things more deeply with blog friend Perry. He was a Wall-Streeter and his blog linked to the occasional "Ten Must-Do Men's Dressing Tips" of which I would follow . . . zero.

There is a huge split between East Coast and West US, more between urban and rural, and a monstrous divide between technical professions and New York Journalism. I don't know that I'd wear "the shirt" to a job interview but I have interviewed and hired many who were dressed equally casually. Nor would I refrain from hiring a candidate who showed up in that. I would shave points off only if it reinforced some other concerns.

I think a lot of people choose technical professions because they don't like to dress up. And on a higher plane, most want to be accepted for their achievements if not the content of their character -- certainly not the color of their shirt. Law and Investment Banking might be swell occupations, but to the tech worker they appear capricious with the attractive, well dressed and obsequious worker advancing faster than his or her better qualified rivals.

Doctor Taylor probably went into science to avoid being judged by his shirt. Jonah Goldberg makes a mistake to apply his standards outside his profession.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Sounds like a finalist for defining kerfuffle, but I'm happy the news cycle is slow. For what it's worth, I agree 100% with JK, right down to agreeing with Mr. Goldberg 99% of the time.

I've noticed this sartorial divide as well.... strengthens my resolve to never live east of Denver!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2014 12:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps I need modify my pronouncement of Friday last - "Only women, and gentrified easterners, notice clothes." I realize this suggests our blog friend Perry is gentrified but I'll guess he prefers that to "blue collar."

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2014 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm still doing the math. Brother nb agrees with Jonah 99% of the time; jk agrees with Jonah 99% of the time. Yet, jk & nb agree with each other about 90% of the time.

It's not quite the Riemann Hypothesis, but it does give one pause...

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 1:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just nobody, ever, say "97%" and I'm good.

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2014 2:37 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 5:03 PM

November 21, 2014

"Universally accepted"

While looking up the prescribed quarantine period for persons exposed to the Ebola virus I found this gem of an edit as the second sentence of the Ebola Virus Disease Wikipedia entry:

It is universally accepted that the Ebola virus scare was the brainchild of the pharmaceutical industry. (Witness the H1N1 panic that resulted in millions of unused vaccine doses.)

I checked the date of the latest edit and found it to be ... today.

It has since been edited again and that passage removed. Interwebs. Sheesh.

Cry Havoc -- and Let Loose the "Contact" Spoilers!

Party like it is 1999! JK has become the last person on the planet to see "Contact," discussed in post and comments this week.

I liked it plenty but do not plan to rank it up there with Serenity. Some of it may be the terminal 1990s-ish of it. At least it wasn't the 70s; the 90s were berry berry good to me. But the computers and President Clinton cameos jar one out of plotline immersion.

It gets three and a half stars right off the bat for location footage of the VLA -- I went to school for a year right down the road from the VLA in Socorro. Dialogue gives the location as Socorro, but I think the actual location is Magdalena.

Bonus points [seriously, we're ignoring potential spoilers in a 17-year old movie now, are we not?] for the ambiguity given to her experience. It reminded me of "Normal Again," one of my five favorite Buffy episodes. Buffy spends half the episode in a mental hospital with a kindly doctor telling her (living, happy and married) parents that she has constructed this fantastic world where she is a superhero. She spends the other half in Sunnydale fighting monsters.

I'd like to watch Contact again, but I only got a 24 hr. rental. But on first, I think they did the same admirable job of not taking sides.

There are many interesting questions asked. I think I see why it is loved and perhaps why in one case it is not. The production is good (I bet mind blowing in '97). I am on record as an anti-Sagan grouch but was not bugged by Saganism. The lovely bride thought it lacked for sympathetic characters. I think I could find twenty minutes to trim. But these are small beer in a ThreeSources review.

What did I miss?

Art Posted by John Kranz at 5:09 PM | What do you think? [2 comments]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'll take this:

1. An excellent story of a scientist struggling mightily against various nefarious sources (competing scientists, doubtful colleagues, speedbump bureaucrats...) that attempt to sway, thwart, divert, etc... many times over the frustrating banality of ignorance, with a sprinkling of greed and envy.

I found Ellie's character heroic, perhaps sympathetic... I could relate. I also found Foster appealing back then, which surely helped. It was a mystery and an adventure rolled into one, with a great script. No real villain to wrap your bile around: brilliant! The premature death of her father wasn't played up for sympathy but became integral to the story.

2. I also found the deist sub-theme probing and intelligent, with Joss posing some worthwhile questions to both Ellie's atheism and the storefront, instant-conversion of the others'. It also fed the story (well, a dramatic and fun diversion really), by allowing Joss to play spoiler and Drumlin (T.Skerrit) to show a conniving side - and the mass of agnostics to find a way to hang their risk-aversion hats on (and perhaps position themselves for payoff?).

3. The science sure seemed solid (which helped me relate to Ellie), and the hoopla - bad and good - around the discovery of ET intelligence felt just right.

4. The inclusion of historical figures: digitized Clinton, Leno, King, etc... touched me. Sorry if it seemed Passe to others after Forrest Gump.

5. I found the denouement terrific: I LOVE IT when aliens are portrayed in this fashion. As far from Star Trek as could be (and I like Trek). Bablyon 5 did this a time or two (looks like very similar time lines too: B5/S4 was in '97 and featured a similarly filmed confrontation with humans v. "first one" aliens in the conclusion to the Great Shadow War), and I've always preferred enigmatic aliens in books.

It really hit on all levels for me. It was at that time, my favorite all time SF movie. Clearly still in the top 5.

My favorite line: "so beautiful.... they should have sent a poet."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 23, 2014 12:08 AM
But jk thinks:

No arguments. (Well, I might classify Dr. Drumlin as villain -- he did not tie up Jodie Foster on the train tracks and twirl his mustache, but he shut down two of her projects and then claimed credit.)

Other than that, all your points are valid -- and I did like the movie. To show good faith, I'll add another plus: the scientists listening to the data streams as audio over trusting a scanner. Then the blind guy hearing the harmonic that inspired them to look at interleaved data. Cool.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 11:34 AM

Plain Old Quote of the Day

By the power of greyskull, this is ridiculous. This guy is supposed to be a lawyer. The question of his authority to do X is independent of what Congress does. The executive branch may not write laws. You could look it up. Letís imagine China pulls a Pearl Harbor and sinks the Seventh Fleet. On the merits, the U.S. should declare war. Those merits do not entitle the Gary, Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles to usurp Congress's authority and declare war unilaterally. -- Jonah Goldberg [Subscribe]
But johngalt thinks:

Help me out here. I'm not slow, per se, but I am literal-minded.

If Congress declares war and the Executive does not wage it, the states may not? Same for invasion by immigrants?

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2014 7:02 PM

Quote of the Week

Perhaps Emperor Obama has an effective plan. It's not a Constitutional plan, and it's not really even an American plan -- but it could be a strong plan for tyranny, based on new imported demography.

As we have seen, the Founders worried greatly about Caesarism, and they did their best to safeguard against it. But back in the 18th century, they couldn't be expected to foresee every possible subversion of their new Republic. Today, in the 21st century, it's our job to assess the new threat to our Constitution, and to make a new strategy to preserve and defend it.

- Breitbart columnist "Virgil" in A Republic, If We Can Keep It: The Founders vs. 'Emperor Obama'

November 20, 2014

And They Wonder Why Men Don't Do Punditry

Katie Pavlich and her hurtful shirt:

But nanobrewer thinks:

Took me 4-5 clicks to figure this out... and I think I've gotten part of it. I do like the AAS reply to the ShirtGate kerfuffle:

the AAS is committed to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 21, 2014 3:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Only women notice clothes.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2014 7:51 PM

November 19, 2014

Eppur si muove

Princeton's Galileo:

Hat-tip: Insty

But johngalt thinks:

Golum! He's clearly evil.

*end sarcasm*

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees; They need CO2, More, if you please!


REAL tree-huggers *heart* CO2!
Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The problem with your "eppur si muove" premise - that the warming since 1998 has been zero, rather than 0.3 C - is the relatively short interval, in geological terms. (But then, so is a century.)

Warmists dismiss this with heaping helpings of Kant/Heisenberg/uncertainty mumbo jumbo.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

I like this quite a bit -- it hits most of my favorite points against the alarmists.

If I could separate a couple parts per million from the good Doctor Sm&eacture;agol: anybody hear cotton to concerns of ocean acidification? A dark part of me wonders if, while we have waged war over "global warming," we might have missed a more serious and measurable issue.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2014 4:10 PM

Major Media Reports on the Gruber Videos!

Well, Jon Stewart did.

Happy that some of my friends will see a reference to this. But the allure of this man still eludes me. There are a couple good lines (video at the link) but the "comedy" drags on for minutes of angry, passive-aggressive rants. I watch the show 1/1000 as much as my friends and I tire of the same setups. De gustibus, I guess.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Do those same friends regularly heap opprobrium on Fox? A little bit of JS goes a long way; once every 8-9 months does me fine (that's about as often as I'm aware of him taking on the left).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 21, 2014 2:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, how'd you guess?

Now, I know we're the stoopid ones and all, but the divide is not MSNBC vs. FOX News -- the ratings make that clear. The real divide is FOX News vs. The Comedy Channel. A news organization with thousands of journalists, foreign offices, and a network of local affiliates -- against a guy who sings "Fuck You" songs.

Stewart's biggest schtick is bashing FOX. I've said a thousand times I'm not FOX's biggest fan. But Stewart intentionally conflates commentary, news, and the light entertainment news. Then he edits them to make them look as bad as possible and feeds to his crowd. They then know they are the smarterest people in the world, and that anything on FOX is wrong.

All's fair to a point. But when only FOX covers Benghazi, and now #GruberGate, he effectively brings the only non-lap dog to heel.

Like you, I suspect, I see him when a clip comes around of him bashing the Administration or figures on the left. (And this link doesn't count. He has been tough on his side but not here.) I cannot even enjoy it then. I don't like his style and I strongly oppose what he stands for. Fair and accurate journalism is difficult, discarding both in an attempt to make it funny (but still take me seriously) grates.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2014 10:24 AM

Quote of the Day

Air Force records show that Barack Obama charged the taxpayers $1,539,402.10 for his Labor Day travels for "fundraising, personal business, and politicking." As Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton put it, "This Labor Day back-and-forth shows President Obama seems to confuse Air Force One with Uber." -- Roger Kimball

Otequay of the Ayday

Capt. Quick was last seen leaving his mother's home on the way to his girlfriend and their newborn. He was not last seen assaulting a storeowner and taking products. Yet, we know nothing of 45-year-old Capt. Kevin Quick. Apparently, Quick's crime was being a white man in America and not considered a victim -- just someone who got what he deserved at the hands of society's victims, young black men, gang members who have been badly treated and denied social justice.

Allen West on black attackers charged in murder of white officer.

Correction: It Is Easy Being Green!

Don't believe everything you hear on live at the coffeehouse dot com. This story in the New York Times suggests that -- thanks to generous subsidies -- it can be quite easy Bein' Green.

"I have never seen anything that I have had to do in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk than these projects," [NRG's chief executive, David W. Crane] said in a recent interview. "It is just filling the desert with panels."

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that even some ThreeSourcers will be surprised by the cravenness.
The government support -- which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates -- largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG -- even Google.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Solyndra, a start-up that received $528 million in federal loans to develop cutting-edge solar technology before it went bankrupt, but nearly 90 percent of the $16 billion in clean-energy loans guaranteed by the federal government since 2009 went to subsidize these lower-risk power plants, which in many cases were backed by big companies with vast resources.

The NY Times includes this charming bit of understatement:
The windfall for the industry over the last three years raises questions of whether the Obama administration and state governments went too far in their support of solar and wind power projects, some of which would have been built anyway, according to the companies involved.

Ya Think? Just maybe? A hair too far?

Even if you are not surprised at the depths of cronyist depravity, I think you might want to bookmark this as an enumeration that you can share with friends. Considering the source, it is stunning.

But AndyN thinks:

...some of which would have been built anyway...

This may not technically be a lie, but I suspect that the percentage of these projects that would have been built with the owners own money, and without government price guarantees is vanishingly small. The people running those companies didn't get rich by being stupid.

Posted by: AndyN at November 19, 2014 12:54 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Or by producing a lot of energy, either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 19, 2014 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Energy companies would naturally have made some investments in new technology simply for the sake of innovation. But the key element behind "would have been done anyway" is "contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates."

"Subsidies and government support have been part of many key industries in U.S. history -- railroads, oil, gas and coal, aviation," said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman.

So has slavery, Mr. LaVera. So has slavery.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Advocates say these policies "create jobs" and "promote economic growth." Sure, it's a freakin' perpetual motion machine - just keep adding money and money will "come out."

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:57 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Old time TS'ers know my history with Green Energy (summary: a guarded optimism). That optimism been slipping b/c of just this type abuse, which I've been watching grow for over a decade. Yes, some of these projects would have been "built anyway" but far, far fewer.

It's a good time to review how Green Energy crazy programs have worked in other places:

Here's the Economist (summary: much more a fan of gov't programs than free market solutions) "The Cost del Sol"


Another report (Puffington Host, of all places!) notes: Spain's expensive green energy failure can serve as a lesson to Ontario. A recent study shows for every 'green job' created 2.2 real jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to the impacts on electricity pricing.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:28 PM

November 18, 2014

But johngalt thinks:

Why can't this be smoking gun proof that PPACA is a hoax and "catnip for conservatives" at the same time?

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll put a dollar in the jar.

Imagine, for one shining second, if an "architect" of a George Bush legislative achievement -- say, the 2003 tax cuts -- were to be found being similarly candid on YouTube about any efforts to game the system on CBO scoring.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, if a Republican candidate for President said, "47% of Americans will never vote for us because they collect too much in government cheese."

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 2:24 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hopefully, this will finally blow the lid off the idea that CBO estimates are to be believed. Ideally the head of CBO will be subjected to some "Lerner" style hearings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:11 PM

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