Monday, 21 April 2014

Rants

Indiana University gets Mau-Mau-ed

Help, Help, I’m Being Oppressed!  Dept
The Atlantic:
On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University.., the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, [the] teams of African-Americans attacked its premise.  The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.
IOW, we’re not going to talk about what we agreed to talk about, we’re going to talk about what we want to talk about.  Because: Racism!
In the final round, [Ameena] Ruffin and [Korey] Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis.  Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like ‘‘nigga authenticity’’ and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format.  At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor.  ‘‘Fuck the time!’’ he yelled.
Shut Up!, he explained.  Demonstrating (yet again!) that there’s nothing new under the sun:
They sat back and waited for you to come rolling in with your certified angry militants, your guaranteed frustrated ghetto youth, looking like a bunch of wild men.  Then you had your test confrontation.  If you were outrageous enough, if you could shake up the bureaucrats so bad that their eyes froze into iceballs and their mouths twisted up into smiles of sheer physical panic, into shit-eating grins, so to speak--then they knew you were the real goods.  They knew you were the right studs to give the poverty grants and community organizing jobs to.  Otherwise they wouldn’t know... - Tom Wolfe, Mau-Mauing the Flack Catchers, 1970(!) (review) (quote found here)
...and that there’s (at least) one born every minute:
...Ruffin and ... Johnson [thus] became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament...
Of course they did.

Demonstrating that: In any confrontation between white liberals and black grievance hustlers, the liberals will surrender.  Count on it.

Elsewhere:
Power Line:  The War On Standards Comes To College Debate
Vox Day:  The End of Debate
Ed Driscoll (who misses the point):  Punks, Meet the Godfather

Related:

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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rants

Barn door, horse gone

Too late, baby, its too late  Dept
Hillicon Valley blog rewrites a White House press release:
Tech execs to confront Obama on spying

Executives from the nation’s biggest technology companies will meet with President Obama on Tuesday to discuss the revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The meeting will include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and AT&T
(S’cuse me... AT&T?:  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!)
... and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

Several Silicon Valley giants including Google, Facebook and Yahoo are lobbying Congress to restrict the NSA’s powers and make the agency more transparent.  They warn that the surveillance is undermining trust in their services and hurting both their bottom lines and the U.S. economy...
Dear Techies:
Guys, your attempt at damage control comes too late.  Nothing that’s come out of the NSA since Edward Snowden began leaking has been believable (everything they say turns out to be lies), and we know that promises by the Pinocchio-In-Chief can’t be trusted.  ‘‘Period.’’

And we also know that the government will force you to lie to us about secret surveillance... and then to lie about lying about it.

So you’ll have a meeting, the government will lie to you, and you will turn around and lie to the us.

Trouble is, we now know better.  (And Snowden is still out there.)

And if Americans can’t believe you, why should Johnny Foreigner?

So guess what:  You fucked up, you trusted them.

(But maybe you can wrangle a few more H1-Bs for all your trouble.)


UPDATE
(131218 11:55)Whatta buncha maroons!

The Daily Mail:
Obama ‘hijacks’ tech executive meeting to make 'PR pitch’ on Obamacare website fix instead of dealing with NSA surveillance
• ‘We didn’t really care for a PR pitch’ about Obamacare, said one executive
• The White House telegraphed in advance that the president wanted to talk up his efforts to fix healthcare.gov, but no one in the room was interested
• Tech executives gathered in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the NSA’s overreach in seizing their digital records
• A federal judge ruled Monday that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees against unreasonable searches



Related:

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Friday, 15 November 2013

Rants

Unconstitutional? So what?


Eugene Kontrovich:

...Here, Obama is apparently suspending the enforcement of a law for a year – simply to head off actual legislation not to his liking...

[But]... the fix goes far beyond ‘‘non-enforcement’’ because it requires insurers to certain new action to enjoy the delay.  This is thus not simply a delay, but a new law.

The ‘‘fix’’ amounts to new legislation – but enacted without Congress.  The President has no constitutional authority to rewrite statutes, especially in ways that impose new obligations on people, and that is what the fix seems to entail.

Yeah, so who’s going to do anything about it...?

The Democrats?  Too busy running for cover, and besides, Obama’s their guy.
The RINOs?  Gotta help bail out their buddies across the aisle.
The conservatives?  ‘‘R-a-a-a-a-cist!’’  Also ‘‘wreckers and looters.’’
The press?  Not a chance; he’s a Democrat:
On NPR this morning, they were debating whether this change was incredible or merely really good.  The subject of legality never came up.
Oh, and George Bush was Really, Really Bad.
The Supreme Court?  Justice Roberts?  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
The Justice Department?  Eric Holder?  Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho!
Mr. Average Citizen?  ‘‘Shut up, there’s no standing for you!’’ (see Supreme Court, above).
The insurance industry?  ‘‘Nice business you got there.  Wouldn’t want it to be another AIG, would you?’’
The states?  ‘‘Hey, nobody here but us chickens!’’
The voters?  ‘‘We got our Obamaphones!’’

Welcome to Chicago-style government by decree.

And isn’t it a tragedy that, in our entire rotten government-political establishment, there’s not one honest man?

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Thursday, 07 November 2013

Rants

Bring on the mandarins!


Francis Fukuyama finds our federal bureaucracy wanting:

I find it amazing how far much of the US federal bureaucracy has fallen from the standard of a professional, impersonal, merit-based Weberian organization since the first efforts to do this were made under the 1883 Pendleton Act.  For example, in recent years fully half of all new entrants into the federal civil service have been veterans, and of these, a large number are disabled veterans.  There is nothing wrong with hiring disabled veterans, but this Congressionally-mandated veterans preference was not designed with the aim of producing the highest possible quality government.  It is akin to the mandates imposed on federal procurement for small-, women-owned, or minority business contracting...
(We interrupt this quotation to remove two sentences.  Reason why, below.

Meanwhile, continuing...)
Recruitment and promotion tend to value experience over capacity, and therefore reinforce a status-quo bias among federal employees.  What we end up with is a screwed-up set of incentives for federal workers that does not reward innovation, risk-taking, or high levels of qualification.
Problem stated.  And now, his solution, in those two sentences:
What the contemporary civil service fails to do is to attract smart, highly qualified young people out of elite universities in the manner of the classic French, German, or British services.  In fact, the government is very good at putting a large number of obstacles in front of any ambitious young person who might want to sign up, like voluminous disclosure rules in the current employment regulations.
So:  One of our public intellectuals wants to fix failure in government by replacing the bureaucracy’s protected-class incompetents with ‘‘elite university’’ mandarins.  (You know, like in France!)

How... unsurprising.


Via: Glenn Reynolds, who notes:
...The fact [is] that the civil service has been colonized by a single political party, and that career officials who are supposed to be nonpartisan have been acting as partisan political operatives...  I don’t think that Fukuyama’s proposed reforms would do anything about this problem.
Indeed.  More likely exacerbate it.

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Rants

Attorneys General: Keeping us safe, whether we need it or not

Government by Yapping Pomeranians[1]  Dept

CNN:
Urban Outfitters halts prescription-themed products
You know, products like this coffee mug:
Labeled with ‘‘Dr. Harold Feelgood’s’’ prescription to ‘‘Joe Espresso’’ for one mug of coffee... ‘‘repeat until awake and alert.’’

That’s after UO got a threatening letter
...sent by the attorneys general of 22 states and Guam that also urged Urban Outfitters to cease sales of glasses, coasters, mugs, drink holders and other prescription-related products.
Demonstrating that the ‘‘attorneys general of 22 states and Guam’’ have way too much time on their hands and are obviously overdue for significant budget cuts.

Oh, and somebody named Marsha Ford, the president of something called the American Association of Poison Control Centers, also sent a letter; which gets today’s Michael Bloomberg award...
Products such as these minimize the dangers of medicine abuse and misuse and are very dangerous.
F’in busybodies...

And for caving, Urban Outfitters == a bunch of wimps.

Via: Ace

-----
[1] see below

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Monday, 11 February 2013

Rants

Meaningless noise...

What we have here is a failure to communicate  Dept

National Public Radio ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos sets up the situation:
On Saturday, Jan. 19, ESPN’s Howard Bryant appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon to talk about sports.  The broadcast was taped live.  Simon asked about Lance Armstrong’s famous interview with Oprah Winfrey, and Bryant referred back to a tweet he read:
I mean, I think the big problem that I had with listening to Lance over the last couple of days was how controlled – how much he was trying to control this confession.  That someone had put out a very funny tweet in my timeline that other day that said, ‘‘With this much remorse he could be the next spokesperson for the NRA.’’  I mean, it was really that controlling.  And I’m listening to this, and I’m thinking: He’s not sorry at all about this.
Simon didn’t respond to the NRA comment, but kept the conversation focused on sports.

Listener Charles Brown... [did].  Before the audio or transcript had been posted online, Brown wrote on the show’s site, ‘‘I am looking forward to seeing the transcript of this segment, featuring Howard Bryant’s tone-deaf comparison between the remorse, or lack thereof, on the part of Lance Armstrong, and ‘the NRA.’ ’’

The transcript Brown eagerly awaited eventually arrived, but the reference to the gun association wasn’t there – either in the audio file or written transcript.  The response by Bryant now existed in both as the following:
I mean, I think the big problem that I had with listening to Lance over the last couple of days was how controlled - how much he was trying to control this confession.  And I’m listening to this, and I’m thinking: He’s not sorry at all about this.
Brown contacted our office suspicious of a conspiracy.  ‘‘There is no explanation for the post-broadcast edit.  Is this instance a representative one, for NPR editing and posting policy(ies)?’’
Bryant’s remark is yet another example of the kultursmog that pervades the MSM.  He calls it ‘‘very funny’’ (it’s not, it’s lame).  Nor does it add anything to the discussion about Lance Armstrong.  What it does is borrow somebody else’s snark[1] to signal that Bryant has proper, PC-approved feelings and that he stands firmly against the target of today’s ten-minute hate.[2]

MSM-ers (and progressive leftists, but I repeat myself) do this sort of thing all the time, often without even thinking about it.  For them, it’s as habitual (and content-free) as ‘‘how do you do?’’  The important thing to remember is that, when it comes to such remarks, they eventually pay no attention to what’s being said: For them it’s just meaningless noise.

Back in the day, had I been prepping the segment for broadcast, I would have grabbed my splicing block and grease pencil and made the exact excision that the NPR editors did (on the grounds of wasted time, if no other).  But that would have been before the item aired.  What happened on the 18th was different: Apparently the initial feed of the Simon-Bryant interview aired live, or at least ‘‘live-meaning-unedited.’’  But then someone with second thoughts clipped the sentence for later transmissions.[3]

Now NPR has a policy about changes to stuff once it has been broadcast. NPRs Stuart Seidel:
Only the last feed of each show is archived and transcribed.  As a result, there are times when a listener may have heard something on a first or second feed of a show and then find that the transcript does not reflect what was aired on an early feed.

We correct errors as quickly as possible when we learn of them. Significant errors are noted on the air in ensuing feeds of a show.  When appropriate, corrections posted online note whether the error occurred in an early or final feed of a show.
...but (back to the ombudsman) in this case...
The edit in the Bryant segment was not seen as the correction of a mistake, and therefore no note was added to the transcript online that a change had been made.
So here we have... well, something.

My take is that the NPR people can’t (or won’t) see there is a problem, because they can’t see the problem.  Ombudsman, again:
...The editors were still right to excise [Bryant’s] unsupported, unexplored, non-sports comment, as clever as it might have been.
Agreed.  But what Bryant said is not just ‘‘unsupported, unexplored, [and] non-sports.’’  He also took a political position, against the National Rifle Association and, by extension, in favor of ‘‘doing something’’ about ‘‘gun violence.’’  To some folks, that might be important.  Maybe even controversial.

But the NPR-ites don’t notice, because (to them) all that Bryant did in the excised segment was mouth the usual leftist platitudes.  Again: As meaningless and content-free as ‘‘how do you do?.’’

That makes the edited and un-edited quotes identical.  And if they’re identical, then substituting one for the other is no correction, so what’s the problem?

Meanwhile, we rubes out here in the hinterland discover that the NRA snark has mysteriously disappeared from the ‘‘official transcript’’ on the web (and, as it turns out, the ‘‘late feeds to flyover country’’ as well), and see their suspicions of media bias (and duplicity) confirmed.  The situation not being improved by Ombudsman Schumacher-Matos characterizing listener Brown’s questions as ‘‘suspicious of a conspiracy,’’ and preemptively labeling others who might share Brown’s concerns as ‘‘conspiracy theorists.’’[4]

I find it simply amazing that an organization that prides itself in its exquisite sensitivities- to race, national origin, economic condition, background, social status, exploitation, victimhood...- can be so absolutely, unbelievably tone-deaf to the concerns of a large portion of its constituency.

One might even suspect it’s intentional.


(Via: Insty)
-----
[1]  He’s not even clever- or courageous- enough to make up his own: ‘‘I didn’t say it, some Twit[terer] did!’’
[2]  Impossible to envision: ‘‘With this much remorse he could be the next spokesperson for Hillary Clinton.’’
[3]  FTFA:
Weekend Edition... is a two-hour program, but it is fed over seven hours [between 5AM ET and 12 Noon ET] to various stations in different time zones... Over that time, a story is often edited and changed.  What visitors to NPR.org find is the final version.
[4]
...In the interest of historical accuracy and scholarship, I did wonder whether online transcripts and audio files could have some sort of a routine date-time stamp for when they were broadcast by NPR. ...  It wouldn't satisfy conspiracy theorists, and wouldn't tell you whether you actually heard that version on your local radio station at that time.

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Sunday, 08 July 2012

Rants

Mitch McConnell feels sad and misunderstood...

Republican FAIL   Dept
National Review: ...What’s your message to conservatives and tea-party activists who are suspicious of Republican leaders and their commitment to repeal [Obamacare]?

McConnell:  Boy, I don’t know how they could be suspicious on this issue.  Every single Republican in the House and Senate voted against Obamacare.  I must have made 125 speeches about it on the floor.  If there is any area where I don’t think conservatives of any stripe should be concerned, it would be this one.  We’ve been clear and unambiguous about Obamacare from the beginning to the end — all of it.
Well ya’see, Mitch, it’s because you and your Republican buddies in Congress-especially you guys in the Senate- have established quite a  reputation...


...not to mention that earlier in this same interview you said:
...we’re looking at all of the angles.  But our goal is to repeal it and replace it.
So already you’re doing it wrong.  And we’re supposed to trust you?

Elsewhere:
Randy Barnett (via Sebastian):
...if there are two things you cannot count on to protect liberty more than the Supreme Court, it is Congress and the Republican Party.
Bill Quick:  The Fourth Turning: Civil War

Via DrewM at Ace (and hey, Mitch, you should check out the comments.  You might learn something.)

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Rants

Dear Speaker Boehner...

Republican Fail (cont’d.)  Dept
While you’re waiting for all those contributions to roll in...
National Repulican Congressional Committee 'Pledge for Support for Speaker John Boehner'
...why don’t you get someone to look up Reichsfluchsteuer for you?

And then fuck you[1] and the horse you rode in on.


Elsewhere:

LATER:
Bill Quick:
You thought Jonah Goldberg was kidding about Liberal Fascism, didn’t you?
(Hey, it ain’t only liberals.)

RELATED
(120523 22:00):
Doug Ross:
...if we had any House leadership at all, Kathleen Sebelius would be called in front of Congress and the responsible HHS managers charged with illegal campaign contributions to Obama’s reelection effort.

But John Boehner is an intellectual and leadership lightweight...

(Reason and Zero Hedge via.Insty.)
-----
[1] The relevant exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS:  ...we saw a couple of senators, Senator Schumer and Senator Casey, yesterday introduce legislation about one of the Facebook founders, Eduardo Saverin, who's renounced his citizenship.  They say -- and they want to pass legislation that says anyone who renounces their citizenship should still pay all the taxes they owe and, if they don't, they can’t come back here.  Do you support that legislation?

BOEHNER:  Well, there’s already a law on the books, George, but this is outrageous.  This is absolutely outrageous.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  What’s outrageous?

BOEHNER:   That some -- that somebody would renounce their citizenship to avoid paying taxes.  Again, it’s already against the law.

STEPHANOPOULOS:  So you don't think you need this new legislation?

BOEHNER:  No, I'm not sure it’s necessary.  But...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS:  Would you support it if it is?

BOEHNER:  If it's necessary, sure, I would support it.
Tells you all you need to know, dunnit...?

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Rants

Lamar Smith leads another assault on liberty

It’s Lamar Smith, again!  Dept.
Radley Balko:
The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday [October 6] that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they’re carried out.  The new law, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA...
"Cornellian,” commenting at Volokh:
...This statute would make it a criminal offense to have this conversation in the United States:
Friend 1:  Hey, let’s go to Amsterdam and smoke weed where it’s legal!
Friend 2:  Great idea! I’m in! (agreement)
Friend 1:  Lemme check airfare on Expedia. (overt act)
"LaSuthenboy,” commenting at PJ Tattler:
This is exactly the kind of crap that gives the left fodder for going after the right, exactly the kind of behavior that drives people away from conservatism; minding other people’s business...  This busybody BS from Republicans feeds the growth of the busybody left.

It is perfectly rational and sane to make illegal the plotting of illegal activities over the border.  But, to specifically include activities legal over the border is just another grab for power for the government.  Right or Left, the ultimate goal is to eventually have laws governing everything you do or think, down to the hours you sleep and your breaths per minute.

Lamar Smith and every representative that was party to this needs to be held by the scruff of the neck and chased around in circles with a hickory stick until he can’t sit down for a week while having the first amendment read to them over and over….with a bullhorn.
We’ve noticed Lamar Smith before.  He’s the guy who wanted to apply civil forfeiture to copyright enforcement (so the RIAA could confiscate your computer).  And who thought it would be a good idea to require anyone operating a WIFI access point maintain two years worth of user records in the name of "aiding police investigations.”

So we know what Smith is about, and it’s not about individual liberty.  It’s probably too much to ask the Republicans to read Smith out of the party; what’s less understandable is whythehell supposedly freedom-loving Texans keep re-electing him.


Naming names:

H.R.313, the "Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011.”
Sponsor:  Lamar Smith [R-TX]
Co-Sponsor:  Adam B. Schiff [D-CA]

Unlike most legislation, the effect of this two-page bill would seem easily understandable by anybody (except possibly its sponsor[1]): It adds this paragraph to Section 406 of the (existing) Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 846):
Whoever, within the United States, conspires with one or more persons, or aids or abets one or more persons, regardless of where such other persons are located, to engage in conduct at any place outside the United States that would constitute a violation of this title if committed within the United States, shall be subject to the same penalties that would apply to such conduct if it were to occur within the United States.
Simple, direct, obvious... right?  No exception for legal conduct, and no excuses for voting for it, either.

Vote:  October 6, 2011: Order to report as amended, passed 20-7
Republicans voting yes:
Sandy Adams [FL]
Mark Amodei [NV]
Steve Chabot [OH]
J. Randy Forbes [VA]
Trent Franks [AZ]
Elton Gallegly [CA]
Bob Goodlatte [VA]
Trey Gowdy [SC]
Tim Griffin [AR]
Darrel Issa [CA]
Steve King [IA]
Tom Marino [PA]
Ben Quayle [AZ]
Dennis Ross [FL]
James Sensenbrenner [WI]
Lamar Smith [TX]

Republicans not voting:
Jason Chaffetz [UT]
Howard Coble [NC]
Louie Gohmert [TX]
Jim Jordan [OH]
Daniel Lungren [CA]
Mike Pence [IN]
Ted Poe [TX]

No Republicans voted "No”.

In fact, there’s even less than no excuse:  Before the order to report was voted, Robert C. Scott [D-VA] offered an amendment that would have fixed the problem:
Page 2, line 16, after "that" insert "is a criminal offense in the place where the conduct occurrs and".
The committee REJECTED Scott’s amendment, 11-3.

So Mr. Scott tried again, this time eliminating prosecution for de minimis offenses:
...insert "punishable by a term of inprisonment greater than 20 years" after "violation of this title"
That one was voted down 11-12

So: Every Republican who voted for this bill had been made aware that there was a problem, and chose to ignore it.  Lamar and his Gang of 15 (Republicans, plus 4 Democrats) have a bunch of explaining to do.

Elsewhere:

[1] Related (added 111030 20:15):
Techdirt:  Smith Was Against Massive Regulatory Compliance The Day Before He’s For It
Kinda makes you wonder if he even understands the legislation he’s introducing.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rants

More mush, this time from the candidates


From Mitt Romney, the expected:

"I don’t know on which issue I’m not conservative,” he told Sean Hannity in a radio interview...  "I think my record is as conservative as you’ll find..”

Romney did identify one way in which he differs from some of his GOP rivals: "I may not be as incendiary or outlandish in rhetoric.
To which Smitty replies
Shag your rhetoric, mister: it’s your results that have people wondering...
And from Rick Perry, the disappointing:
My Tax and Spending Reform Plan

ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley must be quickly repealed…
Why only "section 404,” Mr. Candidate?  What’s so special about the rest of SarBox that it deserves to survive?
and, if necessary, replaced
No.  Right there, you accept defeat.

NONE of these laws were ever "necessary.”  By allowing that possibility, you imply that as President you’d be just fine with the usual beltway-driven tinkering and no-results cleverness instead of achieving what we need now: the outright obliteration of the federal programs and regulations that are eating our economy alive.


Related:
"MReed53:”  Romney: The Bill of Particulars
As for what "I don’t know on which issue I’m not conservative,” let me count the ways...

Previously:
Romney and Smitty links via (and my remarks cross-posted at) Daily Pundit.

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