Liberals hunting down their apostates

There has been a lot of this going on.  Jonathon Chait is suffering from it acutely, though we have not discussed his case so much yet.  I’d like to sometime soon.

No sooner than the Slate CEO pay article appears, Danny Vinik on TNR denounces it:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117441/liberals-want-raise-taxes-rich-help-poor

The ostensible harms of income inequality are expressed better by Vinik here; there’s some thought income inequality correlates to lower economic growth.

You know, maybe there is a correlation, broadly.  Thing is, SFW.  Correlations are not causality, and CEO pay would have nothing to do with it for reasons of mechanics that we (which is to say, “I”) explained here.  IE, CEO stock option grants are magic transactions where corporate boards create monetary value out of thin air, for which there are several immediate beneficiaries and no losers.

There’s no plausible explanation that can be offered by anyone to explain how this transaction retards broader economic growth that would be otherwise benefitting the middle class. None.

None. None. None.

Indeed, there’s an obvious argument to be made that if you overtax these transactions, companies will stop doing them.  At that point, it’s not that the wealth goes to the worker.  It’s that it doesn’t get created at all.  Further, there’s no piece for the government to get as taxes, those taxes going to social programs that do benefit the lower and middle classes.

There’s a certain level of purposeful obtuseness that has to be maintained for a guy to overlook the mechanics and not get this.

Fawning Idolatry: more Chris Colabello

Here’s where we are with the Twins, and what’s changed:

  • Colabello made the roster probably with the expectation he would be a platoon righty, and a 6 hitter in the order.  A part time role, maybe say 350 at bats over the season.  Well he had good games right off the bat, and they never got around to using whatever platoon lineups they had cooked up.  Colabello has played in every game and now he’s the full time cleanup hitter.  He’s been effective.  This could change, but there aren’t obvious candidates to replace him.
  • It’s foolish maybe to speculate on Colabello’s future stardom, but he has by now been exposed as a bona fide major league hitter.  There’s not much reason he can’t get to 100 rbi’s this year if he stays productive as the cleanup hitter. 
  • A comparable for Colabello is Kevin Millar, who also came out of indy ball and got a late start in the majors.  Millar had a nice career nonetheless.  http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/millake01.shtml
  • We were all despondent a week ago, because the starting pitching hasn’t been great, but Twins are 8-7 now, Nolasco and Gibson having come around.  You know how many decent starting pitchers it takes to have a decent ballclub?  Two.  So I think there’s some reasonable hope now that the Twins can win 75 – 81 games this season.
  • I don’t see much hope for Mike Pelfrey.  His stuff isn’t good.  I’m having visions of http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bergmse01.shtml

Income inequality: I’ll have some finite pie. Or not.

High CEO pay isn’t harmful.

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_edgy_optimist/2014/04/top_ceo_pay_income_inequality_isn_t_as_harmful_as_we_think.html

The article discusses generally how impossible it’s been to actually prove that executive pay exacerbates income inequality.  And Biden economist Jared Bernstein and other insiders are in the position of having to subtley acknowledge that, there being no good studies with relationships that correlate.

How could there be?  I mean, as a matter of statistics maybe yes, high CEO pay increases the gini.  But the implicit assertion of the income inequality monger is that CEO’s are taking money that could as a matter of corporate discretion be directed to worker salaries or to lower product prices.

Well that’s not true because that’s not how it works in almost all cases.  You look at Ellison, his pay isn’t taken from a corporate pot that could be used somewhere else if it wasn’t going to him.  In reality he gets a million or two or five or whatever in W2 cash pay.  The rest is a stock grant, and that stock is deemed into existence by the board of directors at bonus time.

There’s 3 big winners in a transaction like this.  Ellison, who gets paid.  The company, who gets to invent money (stock) into existence to make that payment.  And the government, who simultaneously gets to take 20 – 40% of the transaction as an income tax.

The public at large is not an obvious winner here, but nor are they a loser.  Change the tax rules to disincentive that sort of pay, and maybe it ceases to happen.  But that money doesn’t then get redirected to the worker or get reflected as lower on the shelf prices.

The pedant weighs in: Zingy vs. Cracked

On the FB, I am not all that melodramatic.  I’ve had an account since what, 2009?  I would be very surprised if I’ve ever made a remark about politics on FB in that time.  I do like to get my Onion feed and my Cracked magazine feed there. 

The Onion is the best observer of irony out there, nuff said.

I was talking to my sister-in-laws significant other recently, and he alluded to something I think I was aware of:  Cracked Magazine’s listicles have an odd respectability.  I certainly read them, and it’s not all stupid jokes certainly.  Their editors like ironic pieces, and I think I would say that some weighty counterintuitive observations come with that content.  Thing is, they are publishing a lot of reader submissions.  It’s interesting.

Anywho, item 1 in this list on dropped guns going off is not as right as it could be, not quite right, or worse.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19781_6-stupid-gun-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies.html

The trope of the dropped gun firing / discharging comes from the fact that dropped loaded revolvers used to consistently fire.

Colt’s six-shooter and its contemporaries ostensibly had six shot capacity, but it you load it fully you have one chamber aligned with the barrel, with the firing pin resting on the cartridges primer.  You fumble that revolver and drop it on the floor, it’s likely to go off even if the hammer doesn’t take a direct blow.

So what you do is load five rather than six, with the empty chamber being the one aligned to the barrel.  That’s the ‘safe position’ for a six shooter, as there is no mechanical safety.  Empty chamber under the hammer at rest is what allows the person to holster the gun and walk around with it circumstances and environment permitting.  There a piece of folk wisdom that instructs how to load six-shooters so that the empty chamber aligns to the barrel.  This method is variously called “load 1 skip 1 load 4” or “5 beans in the wheel”.

Double action revolvers came by the turn of the 20th century, and I believe both Colt and Smith and Wesson had by then invented a hammer block that prevented the dropped revolver from firing.  This was never retrofitted to the peacemaker design.

Semi-auto’s like the 1911 were designed with elaborate grip safeties that also eliminated some potentialities for discharge when dropped.

So yeah, we’re a long way from the six-shooter era, and if the screen writer employs that trope in something other than a western they do stand a chance of getting it wrong.  But loaded guns do go off when dropped, even modern ones.  The writer muffed that one a bit.

Some brownies would be nice

To review, we can’t have Sunday beer and we can’t have medical marijuana because Minnesota is a culturally backwards place akin to Mississippi where fundie prudes have a deathgrip hold over retrograde conservative politicians in state office.

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/04/11/teamsters-lobby-against-proposed-sunday-growlers-sales

So this is absurd eh.  Yes, we got gay marriage.  But the lesson is, when there’s progressive causes / movements with broad popular support, the public can’t have any of it if key Democrat constituencies don’t assertively sign off as well.  This is what I would call another sort of disgusting partisan gridlock.

Anyway, one place where the rubber meets the road…my 67 yr old mother is recovering from a hip replacement, and she’s in a lot of pain.  A variant of oxycontin is the most effective pain reliever, but her physicians are parceling out prescriptions in dribs and drabs.

That is its own bailiwick… patients having to endure more physical pain than necessary because the physicians are cowed to comply with purely administrative rules that come about because of the drug war….  IE, it’s got nothing to do with medicine itself.

What came about that was unusual to me….my cousin is a smart, prosperous, 30 something urbanite, and a prog.  And she suggested to my mother that she try some weed for pain relief.  And offered to get her some.

My mother declined I think only because her smoking days are over.  Some brownies might be nice.

That’s where we are in the culture, at least a few miles ahead of DFL office holders.