Monthly Archives: January 2015

Jots with dots 1/30/15

Good call: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2015/01/30/mitt-romney-2016-presidential-race/22577601/ Zingy likes Rand.

Conservative outrage du jour: rule of large numbers – http://hotair.com/archives/2015/01/30/taxpayers-paid-225k-private-jet-bill-for-hillary-during-senate-years/ It doesn’t actually strike me as an exorbitant amount, especially over 6 years. But I’m not low info, I know what stuff costs.

Tepid and more: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/01/29/debate-over-access-to-body-camera-footage-arrives-at-capitol/ 1 – I think it’s curious the voice of whatever Democrat that speaks for BLM is not prominent in this discussion. It’s all about the police, and the barriers civilians will have to overcome to look at the video data. 2 – Video IS data. It is a PITA storing it in vast amounts but it’s possible and vast amounts of even otherwise mundane data is real useful for studying. I think 500 hrs of a police officer’s encounters might be real instructive to a researcher / demographer. It’s not obvious, I don’t think, that the police should have the privilege of erasing their mundane video data after 90 days.

Government is just the things we do together and if you don’t like it you should just go live in Somalia chortle chortle…: Democrats move to ban hockey equipment, or its Kevlar equivalent say. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/01/29/body_armor_bill_rep_mike_honda_wants_to_ban_civilian_ownership_of_type_iii.html I am not a black helicopter guy. As an obtuse philosopher I’m just not sure it’s correct that government criminalize your ability to somewhat immunize yourself from their bullets.

Government is just the things we do together and if you don’t like it you should just go live in Somalia chortle chortle…: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2015/01/st_paul_outlaws_backyard_bow_and_arrow_practice.php

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Jots with dots 1/29/15

Chait – I don’t disagree with him either. Noteworthy, among a few other things, is how it requires someone to take on the role of liberal apostate to make the critique and have it be a serious public discussion. Same as Maher, the basic observation has been being made quite articulately for over a generation. But by conservatives, who were dismissed as … racists, basically… rather than have their intrinsically non-racial observation taken seriously. The whole episode should also put to the lie this notion that conservatives are oversensitive. Over some time their complaints about the discourse have been substantive and fairly indistinguishable from Chait’s.

There’s some chuckling about how Chait thinks PC went into remission over twenty years. Ya know, the feminism, the racial / privilege dialectics…. I encountered this, what I thought were pretty exotic bodies of intellectual thought, when I was in college in the early 90’s. And purveyed by kind of stereotypical activists, lesbian professors, erstwhile peace activists, ex-hippies…I am saying, people that are not mainstream and taken serious generally. Then in the ensuing Clinton and Bush years it went underground completely, or it did to me, but I was not on campus. These days I am a bit floored at the prominence of fairly complex academic arguments on gender, racial, wealth privilege that that go on public discourse.

More:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/01/28/jonathan_chait_s_anti_political_correctness_essay_unpacked.html

http://gawker.com/punch-drunk-jonathan-chait-takes-on-the-entire-internet-1682078451

http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/27/language-policing-doesnt-pervert-liberalism-it-is-liberalism/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/01/27/the-primitive-roots-of-political-correctness/

http://theweek.com/articles/536299/whats-wrong-political-correctness-few-observations-from-amansplainer

I was right about the Strib’s comment threads. Technical outage, not trolls. http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2015/01/its-time-for-internet-comments-to-disappear/#comments

In a holistic sense, I kinda agree. http://hotair.com/archives/2015/01/28/ag-nominee-loretta-lynch-people-have-a-right-to-work-in-america-regardless-of-how-they-came-here/ There are some concepts that exceed the notional supremacy of the ‘United States’. Freedom to work would be one of them.

Great News – Per Loretta Lynch its an open question whether the next Republican President can decline to enforce tax law: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397454/ag-nominee-wont-say-whether-future-presidents-can-decline-enforce-tax-laws-ryan

529s – Their use as an as estate tax shelter by very high wealth people is not the crux of the biscuit here. To the extent it’s true that the walkback was driven by appall from the Democrat’s constituency of gold collar professionals… and I think this is accurate… ya know, that’s where the money is on the whole, the ‘affluent’ top couple deciles of working professionals. These people outnumber the true high wealth people by multiples or orders of magnitude.

I have a habit of indiscreetly throwing around salary figures here but it’s to practically illustrate phenomena like this. You got a high achieving urban Democrat family, physician and accountant, lawyer and pr professional, corporate operational executive and architect… whatever. They may have an annual agi of$400, $500, $600k… more. They might be deluded but they don’t think they’re ‘rich rich’, and they exist in enough numbers and have enough sway to enforce a boundary on the acceptable limits of taxation and thwart the broader ambitions of the American progressive project.

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/27/7920749/what-is-middle-class

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397411/another-lesson-529-fiasco-obama-has-trouble-taxing-kinda-rich-patrick-brennan

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397366/529-backdown-ramesh-ponnuru

Jots with dots 1/28/15

It’s a bug, Bob – http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2015/01/its-time-for-internet-comments-to-disappear/ There ought to be credulity, for technical, legal, and commercial reasons, that the absence of the Star Tribune’s commenting threads is because CenturyLink made an editorial decision to filter them out of their ISP traffic. Architecturally I can’t think of many reasons at all that CenturyLink would have ability to impact the Strib’s comment threads. If CenturyLink is the Strib’s internet host, figure maybe that the ‘blocking’ is not an editorial decision but the unintended consequence of a software change that disabled the commenting application engine on the host server, that done to address malware / backdoor security considerations. I really doubt it’s a reaction to trolls. That’s an absurd conclusion to jump to until that time at which it’s not absurd, but we’re not there yet.

Eric Black has a rejectable premise. http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2015/01/do-republicans-really-care-about-people-you It’s the linkage that’s bogus, IE, caring about the lower or middle classes must = caring about wealth and / or income inequality. Wise Democrats ought to understand that, yes, Republicans do care about people like ‘you’. It’s just that they view the redistributive argument attached to it as dubious. Particularly since there’s nothing to be done about ‘wealth inequality’ that isn’t totally at odds with American commercial tradition. I mean really, if it was actually a solvable problem, a tax code that addresses it would have been passed when there was complete Democrat control of congress over 2009-11. What’s the Republican solution? More holistic and nebulous I’d say, which is a weakness. But it’s deregulate, tax more efficiently so that we can have a vibrant economy where the price of labor increases.

Related: Gold collar Democrats to Pres. Obama: We use 529’s, and don’t want them raided to pay for community college for the poor kids. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102355633

Inevitable pushback: Amanda Marcotte on Jonathan Chait. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/jonathan-chait-pc-thought-police-irony Kevin Williamson is amused http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397324/liberals-seek-pc-exemption-kevin-d-williamson

Liberals are more civil than conservatives: Dropkick Murphys rilly rilly hate Scott Walker. Just ask them http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/26/a-band-told-scott-walker-we-literally-hate-you-here-are-the-other-times-musicians-told-politicians-to-stop-using-their-songs/ I tell ya, these union people and even these poseur union people, those not actually in unions but claiming a love for them… they are as obstinate and recalcitrant as… and here’s an analogy for ya… NRA members. Amirite, amirite?

Government is just the things we do together and if you don’t like it you should just go live in Somalia chortle chortle…: I was looking at the legislature site to see if there were any controversial gun bills to come. Not all that much, though guns at the capital may get worked on. I did see this: a bill to legalize scopes on blackpowder muzzleloaders when deer hunting. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF0302&session=ls89&version=list&session_number=0&session_year=2015 Which is to say, currently scopes are illegal on muzzleloaders used for deer hunting, you can apparently be ticketed for that. Wha-hut? Ok, on reflection I guess I can see an etymology. Deer hunting used to be harder than it is now, because there weren’t as many deer. So if you were going to have a muzzleloading season and offer some privileges with that, like either sex permits, you may have limited the technology to those Frontier ways, Grandad’s old Hawken rifle and open sights. The scope ban would have had zero impact to manage the deer herd though, so there’s no reason to not take it off the books now.

CSI: Western Wisconsin: cue the banjo music http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_27397542/suspected-st-croix-county-cockfight-operation-busted-police

Jots with dots 1/27/15

Chait Stains: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html

Liberal speech codes are giving Chait some anxiety. Pull quotes:

“Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.”

“But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression.”

“While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.”

If the tea party or the Kochs are the ‘far right’, then it’s fair to say the PC left is quite a bit more undemocratic than either. Other thing is, I don’t see that well-reasoned, contemplative voices have a lot of cache in “liberalism” either. They are being shouted down. Other thing is, assertions of bigotry are often lying smears.

So what’s the serious American political spectrum?

PC left — labor – liberals – squishy Dems – center — squishy republicans –Libertarians –tea partiers — Religious right

I actually am quite capable of sneering at the fundies but I just don’t think they are that malevolent / threatening these days.

Demographics http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/289846801.html Figure though, if Minnesota is to become desolate and peopleless, it’s because of the weather. Global warming is going to nip the weather problem in the bud.

I’m not for it: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/289819271.html Not sure any DFLers are either. Seems awful steep. And very regressive by the way, it will wreak havoc on the states newly managed gini coefficient. But hey, having screwed it up, that’s justification for another top rate tax hike eh? Give that keeps on giving.

You can wonder whether Republicans are sincere : http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120855/republicans-blame-obama-income-inequality-ignoring-recession But I don’t think it’s unfair to ‘blame’ him at all. On taxes he’s strictly played between the 40 yard lines and QE benefits rich people and institutions first, makes assets inflate.

Jots with dots 1/26/15

The nature of rumors and the dangers of jumping to conclusions are illustrated here. Don’t believe everything you see on Twitter. Re the Willernie some walkbacks are in order, though they end up being kind of trivial.

You read the charges on Scribd and it’s not obvious there was a preceding altercation at the bar between the barkeep and the perp. Rather, it looks kinda random. Which is to say the perp is profoundly mentally ill, was drunk, left the house with his rifle and headed for the nearest intersection looking to shoot at things / people. And made some effort to do it, as he stopped at the fire station first to find a cutter to grind off the trigger guard lock on his deer rifle.

Yeah, and not a handgun, but a pedestrian Savage .30-06 deer rifle… which is enormously powerful, quite a bit more powerful than an AR, for instance. Assuming the perp left the house to shoot at road signs and yes, passing cars, he would have done less damage with a run of the mill handgun, and might not have actually have hit anything before being interceded. That’s a pointless alternate reality though, the whole thing is just too freaky for words.

Intuitive or Counterintuitive It hasn’t been all mindless obstruction here in the Obama years, and I recall the conservatives making the principled point over 2009-12 that extended unemployment benefits would exacerbate unemployment problems on the whole, preventing the market from getting to equilibrium, providing basis for workers to make counterproductive choices about work…

Conservatives are dumb, liberals cried. Obstruction, liberals cried.

Some evidence is in.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397174/study-2014s-employment-boom-almost-entirely-due-expiration-unemployment-benefits-obama

So yeah, like the ‘is it irony’ game we play here, we can wonder if it’s intuitive or counterintuitive. What I do know is, it’s ironic how you’re moved to take job offers when unemployment runs out. And that’s probably a good thing.

Conservative outrage dujour: Rebekah Erler http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/289648641.html Discussed her over the last summer re the Juicy Lucy Sitdown. Rush is wrong as far as it goes, she’s not one of liberalism’s shock troops, not a fake. Conservatives are being obnoxious. I have been thinking about what bugs me about her beseeching the President though. It’s that she has no insight for the age continuum, ie, that there’s going to be financial hardships when you are forming a new family / household, there’s going to be job instability when you are young and the low man on the professional totem pole. Also what bugs me, that liberalism would seek to solve with wealth transfers these mostly pedestrian financial problems faced by young families. I know that child care expense is a drag, but they’ll get through it without help. Figure, they’re going to be a $150k/yr family in the next 10 years. The whole kids are expensive and jobs suck in your 20’s and 30’s phenomena is self-correcting, and time is what corrects it. You don’t need a permanent redistributive engine to distort it all.

You got unanimity, basically. Everyone knows he shouldn’t take that job, and says as much http://minnesotabrown.com/2015/01/public-lobbying-group-hired-tomassoni-now-reeling.html But the guy rilly rilly wants his $45k, won’t back down amidst overwhelming public disapproval. Stones baby.

Bad weekend for 46 year old dudes living the dream

In 3’s as they would say about celebrities. These guys aren’t celebrities, just guys noteworthy for their quality and the timing of their young deaths.

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/27934808/driver-with-alcohol-in-system-claims-life-of-hospital-er-manager-tony-sundholm

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/27935129/report-greg-riebe-suddenly-dropped-dead-during-excelsior-bay-pond-hockey-tournament

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/clip/11068399/popular-high-school-teacher-killed

The DWI fatality… what can you say. People lament some drunken vehicular carnage, but we’re past outrage. Nothing will change and it’s not obvious that it should.

The sales consultant… there’s a picture of him playing hockey, in which he looks in fine enough shape to play a little hockey. I’m mindful these days that when people say heart attack, they can either be talking about an infarction caused by a blockage, or an infarction caused by a heart valve splitting in half, dissecting. In any given example, it’s not like you get the autopsy details as a member of the public. But it would seem like the one you have no chance coming back from is the valve dissection. So, it’s giving me anxiety is what I’m saying. I’m not a physician though and am probably just hypochondriacal as well as probably grossly misinformed. I am 46 though. I played league broomball last year and probably would have played this year had I not had a leg incision that wasn’t closed by the opener. There’s a lot of huffing and puffing at 46, almost no matter how good a shape you are in. It’s probably unwise to some extent.

Teacher / barkeeper. Jeez…. I’m self-conscious here of the outrage I can gin up within myself from the news. It’s evoked from stuff like this. The Walter Mitty fantasy is to be a part of the mob that overruns the jail to string this guy up, then goes to burn his parents’ house down. Now, do understand the literary context here casual readers. It’s a Walter Mitty fantasy, not an expression of intent, etc.

The newspapers are so behind Twitter and the TV stations on this, at least in terms of what they will report. The skinny is, the perp was an underage drinker the barkeep escorted out at one point. Perp was affronted (..he’s obviously mentally ill). Perp waited in the parking lot till after close to shoot the barkeep. Ya wonder how it could have gone different. Maybe if you have a bouncer on staff to handle that stuff with more formality, but ya know, it’s Willernie, you don’t think you need a Patrick Swayze Roadhouse bouncer at a Willernie bar. Maybe if it would have been a colder night perp would have just gone home.

Washington County has so many of these odd little hamlets… Willernie, Pine Springs… and the numerous ones on the St. Croix. As townships they could be bigger, and govern more space. But way back these little villages on waterfronts wanted to set zoning ordinances at basically the neighborhood level… so they all seceded from whatever they were a part of. I didn’t grow up in Willernie, but I grew up in Lake Elmo, so I went through Willernie enough. Willernie is cute.

Perp‘s family has a lawyer, and he’s made the statement that perp is ‘a good kid’. From my detached perspective here, I can assert with certitude that’s not true. Lawyer also says perp is a ‘part time firefighter’. Weird spin here, that lawyer would seek to wrap the perp in the good things we assume of firefighters. I mean, the path is laid out such that spinning the public won’t help, probably. Perp will get what, 18 – 23 years and be released when he’s 40 or so. Lawyers only job here is to see that the perp is not over-punished, as that’s also an injustice. So why make statements?

BTW, being a part time firefighter at the suburban township level speaks to something good about the people that do it, but its less than this lawyer would suggest. It’s volunteer firefighting with a little bit of hourly remuneration.

Ironic or not ironic: That Fox9 report ends with an observation by the reporter that the perp Garcia is related to Sgt. Garcia from #Pointergate. The reporter I think used the word ‘coincidence’. Hey you know what maybe makes it ironic? The predisposition for stalking.

I was moved to revisit what the handgun laws in MN are for those between 18 – 21. Basically, can’t purchase at a retail gun counter / dealer, which is congruent with the federal law. Can make a private purchase from a non-dealer AKA ‘gunshow loophole.’