Monthly Archives: April 2014

Quick hits

Donald Sterling: not a handsome devil, certainly not at this point.  This is what it’s come to with 80 year old billionaires?  To have a hot young girlfriend you have to accept you’ll be cuckolded, and the game then is to try and keep it discreet….so that you can have a hot young girlfriend that you have the privilege of supporting?  No thanks….

Donald Sterling’s girlfriend:  Not attractive, she looks like a space alien that’s had plastic surgery.  I’m mindful that when you travel in these rich circles you adopt their styles, which is high fashion groupie  trashy of a sort.  But it’s not attractive.  I’ll take “Midwest farmer’s daughter’ types any day.  I like Kate Upton a lot.  But who doesn’t, as my wife says.

Byron Smith – http://m.startribune.com/news/?id=257169671&c=y. He’s creepy.  Actually though Ms. Reporter, I don’t have any sense “Smith had become a symbol in the countrywide debate over so-called castle doctrine laws, raising questions about how far a homeowner can go to defend himself and his property.’

Benghazi – of course they lied their asses off.  Ya’ll can admit it now.

Clive Bundy breaks out the porch monkey stereotype / slur

That’s what that slur is, ladies and gentleman.

Anyway, Bundy Ranch was fun while it lasted as whatever it was…

Here’s the thing, or a thing.  You read his words, and it’s obvious as cornpone, common man wisdom of a sort.  Rugged old-timer saying how the country is going to hell is actually a pretty standard trope.  And within what are some very unenlightened observations about black people, Bundy is not actually being malevolent, racially or otherwise.

But that’s a nuance that I don’t expect to be appreciated, and I do not lament that it’s not.  Bundy is just too retrograde and anachronistic and ignorant for Bundy and Bundy Ranch to be a standard bearer for whatever we think it ought to say about limited government.

I’m mindful here that Bundy is merely expressing Paul Ryan’s version of sociology, but with phrases and wording that are now unacceptable against contemporary norms.  Inasmuch as Ryan’s words were actually acceptable themselves, this being a matter of some contention.

I am convinced this discussion of what class of people takes welfare and has babies out of wedlock is in fact completely useless.  It almost always devolves into ugliness, and there is not actually a policy question to be addressed there.   So Republicans might as well stop.  But they won’t, I’m sure.

Pardons and Commutations, more news

 This is moving along:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/204149-justice-outlines-expanded-clemency-guidelines

I’m a bit impatient.  I could figure out who to commute in about two hours.  Given access to the incarcerated database, the query is CRIME = NONVIOLENT AND TIMESERVED > 10 YEARS.  You get back a results list, and that’s who you commute Mr. President.  Done. 

But, there is a need for process I suppose…

I asked here a couple days ago how it could be that Ronald Rodgers, Director at the Office of Pardon Attorney, was an ambiguous decision at this time.  IE, why was he still the Director.  He hadn’t forwarded any guidance to approve commutations in several years, and the guidance he did forward was materially untruthful on at least one noteworthy occasion.    He had been revealed as not faithfully executing the mission of the office and seems to have gone further in actually acting with some malice both towards the incarcerated and the President.  And ain’t that quite something?  The Obama Administration and the Holder DOJ went 5 years not bothering to observe whether they had an actual civil servant running this bureau rather than the warden from Shawshank Redemption. 

Well the ambiguity is gone.  Rodgers ‘resigned’, IE, was told to resign or be fired. 

You read the stories and you see this guy Rodgers was a Bush appointee and you might say ‘well that explains a lot’.  Who knows, maybe it does.  Rodgers was ex-military and that carries a lot of weight I guess when Republican appointments get made.

Looking back, it certainly was an awful appointment.  If that’s not bad enough, it took five years apparently to ferret this guy out as a bad apple. 

That’s the Obama administration’s fault.  Now you can certainly say, gee, they have a lot of things going on, things take the time they take.  And this is true.  But Eric Holder is the one with oversight here, and he has bad raps for incompetence and self-aggrandizement that date back to the Clinton Administration.  These ‘bad raps’ were about pardons.  Holder was the bag man when Marc Rich bribed the Clinton Administration for a pardon.  Is that expressed too harshly?  I’d be interested to know why.

Cut to 2008 – 2013, and Holder still has ‘bad raps’.  For among other things, allowing DOJ to run ill conceived gunwalking operations, spying on journalists, and giving confusing testimony to congress about each.  Even in a journalism environment completely sycophantic to the Obama Administration, Holder has always been just 1 more screw up away from having to resign.

So you figure the one place he won’t be controversial is with pardons.  And he hasn’t been, he didn’t get aggressive there, didn’t stir things up, all was quiet.  The end result of which is that this guy Rodgers got 5 years to not carry out the mission of his office, and hundreds of people who are not a danger to society got to spend 5 more years in jail.

More Piketty

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/opinion/sunday/douthat-marx-rises-again.html?ref=rossdouthat&_r=0

We’re to take it as settled that income on capital grows faster than income on labor.

I can accept that.  I’m trying to figure out structurally why that is, and then why it should bother anyone.

Thing is, you can leverage capital and assets to goose your returns.  You can’t leverage your labor to goose your returns.

With capital, you can reinvest your returns immediately to beget more returns.  You can compound them.  With labor, you work your 8 hour day.  You can not compound that.

Then, capital is probably somewhat more inexpensive to maintain than labor.

So it’s the natural order, perhaps for benign reasons Piketty would affirm.  But apparently this is also in need of solving, maybe with a taxation regime that slows the ability of capital to grow.

The pardoning

If we’re to have a uber-lefty  President, as we do, you figure one of these days a bunch of pardons and commutations will get issued.  Some justice will get redistributed, with the figurative boot coming off the neck of several thousand non-violent people who were oversentenced.  The jails will get emptied out, by decree.

This will be a good thing, and I’m all for it.

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-plans-clemency-for-hundreds-of-drug-offenders–162714911.html

The President and the Attorney General’s paralysis here is atrocious.

How is it that this Ronald Rodgers problem is actually a problem?  Does he not report to anyone?  Fire him.  Ask him to resign Mr. Holder and President Obama.

How is it that the President and jay Carney are not asked about this publicly?

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.