Link Roundup, 5/10/16

It should be quiet around here for a while. However, facing roughly 40 hours of airplane time over the next two weeks, I expect to be able to do some thinking/writing.

Here are a few links that caught my attention today. Hope to have more material in late May or June.

From Sports Illustrated: Who says Texans won’t pay for public education? McKinney launches $63m upgrade of high school football stadium.

From Gizmodo: London’s Museum of Science wants to build a replica of the world’s first robot.

From New York Magazine: You may have heard this before, but “The Democratic Party has slowly begun mimicking some of the characteristics of the GOP.

From Scientific American: Why Malthus is Still Wrong.

From The Atlantic: An update on the fires at Fort McMurray.

And I leave you with a charming twitter rant from Nate Silver:


Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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200 comments on “Link Roundup, 5/10/16
  1. 1mime says:

    The power of advanced degrees is shaping social and cultural views, per this PEW study.

    “…the most highly educated professionals are coming to form, if not a new class, at least a reliably liberal political grouping.” Why? They tend to embrace “a culture of critical discourse. Evidence and logic were valued; appeals to traditional sources of authority were not.”

    This is another reason the millennial and gen Xers are going to be so influential. They are very well educated and numerous. If they use their numbers and their educational training to help shape a more culturally and intellectually diverse country, this has to influence policy. Of course the changes may not be what one would want or expect (IOW, they may “hew” right or left of forever Independent), but they do have a unique opportunity to change the future.

    Most of those who classify themselves as Independents on this blog appear to fit the PEW (no pun intended!) model…smart, critical thinkers. Ideally, it’s the way we should all make our decisions.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This is why, Mime, although things look alarming everywhere we look (Trump, the GOP, the religous right etc) I’m still optimistic.

      Frankly, as bad as things tend to look right now, it’s almost entirely online. In real life, interacting with real ppl, the vast majority of millenials I know are smart, reasonable, critical thinkers who value science.

      Of course exceptions abound in all situations. But that said, from my viewpoint, the majority of the problems is not the millenials generation, but the Boomwrs , and to some extent , the Gen X’ers.

      In other words: those that will be gone first.

      I’m sure we’re in for a rough couple years, especially as it seems the toxic “Conservative” movement (which is in reality nothing of the sort, but rather an authoritarian movement). No true “small government” bloc would favor the government to decide which citizens can marry, make women’s reproductive decisions for them, ban entire religions, deport 12 million ppl, or employ bathroom genital inspectors) is ramping up to what is almost certainly a last gasp death surge.

      But after that, perhaps the nation can be rid of that scourge and move forward and TRULY become “great again”

      • 1mime says:

        I believe in the power of our millennial group, Rob. They can change our nation into a better place for all.

  2. flypusher says:

    I’ve been hearing coverage of the TX GOP convention, and Gov. Abbott’s speech was rather striking it what was said, and what was not said. He was in quite high dungeon mode, invoking the names of favorite bogey-people Obama and Hillary (“she’s going to take yer GUNS!!!!!!!) and the liberal nightmare that they would inflict on us all. Ted Cruz got plenty of mention too- that valiant fighter for true conservative red-blooded American values who fought the good fight but came up just sort. There were calls for GOP unity. What was not said? The name of the presumptive nominee, one Donald J. Trump. I for one am curious to see what lengths these people go to to avoid saying the name of Volde.., et Trump this summer.

    • johngalt says:

      But if you were expecting many of them to decline to support Tru…er, the presumptive GOP nominee, you would be disappointed. They truly believe anyone with an “R” next to their name is worthy of their vote, no matter how unworthy they are.

      • flypusher says:

        I don’t doubt that Abbott and his ilk will vote Trump, however reluctantly. They put party over country long ago.

      • 1mime says:

        Adelson has just endorsed Trump, so the big money is falling in line.

    • vikinghou says:

      Speaking of Cruz, check out this odious op-ed that he penned for the New York Times.

      Further proof that he is far scarier than Trump. I’m convinced his goal is to bring on the End Times.

      • 1mime says:

        I never had any doubt. In fact, as much as I respect Lifer’s opinions, any thought of supporting Cruz simply because he would “work within the constitutional framework” was concerning to me. Of course, the alternative (Drump) was more abhorrent to him but I remain convinced that Cruz is more dangerous for the nation whereas Drump is more dangerous for the GOP.

    • 1mime says:

      The TX Tea Parties are very aggressive. Lt. Gov. (TP) Dan Patrick has just inserted himself into the FT Worth ISD administrative policy guidelines regarding bathroom use. I heard (NPR) a discussion about this which surprised me. The FWISD had made the bathroom policy allowing students to go to the bathroom of their gender preference back in 2011, but given all the current hyperbole on the issue, parents have become riled up and are pressing principals and the school board to refuse transgender choice in this regard. The principals correspondingly asked the administration for specific guidelines on how to enforce existing policy (remember, it was created in 2011 but is just now becoming an issue because….) with which the administration complied and presented to the board for approval. Patrick made a personal visit to the district and the board meeting and made a big public scene over the issue, demanding the Superintendent’s resignation (he refused) and that the board rescind the policy.

      This is why this is becoming such a flash point. It is being exploited by politicians who use it to create fear, anger and turmoil. President Obama issued an E.O. yesterday that would direct any school that receives federal funds to allow transgender students to be able to use the bathroom of their choice or risk lawsuit and/or loss of federal funding. This whole bathroom thing is a crock of S**T and should never be used as a manipulative tool, but, that is the way the religious right operates…Full disclosure: I am totally cynical in my opinion on this issue. There are so many critically important issues that should be at the forefront in our children’s education and nation, yet this one is being promoted. It makes me angry that kids are pawns in politics because that is all this is about.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s how TX is reacting to the President’s EO on school bathroom policy. If it weren’t symbolic of how the religious right is influencing every aspect of public policy, it would be funny. It’s not.

      • Watched a little Fox Spews last night and cannot believe how much hate they are spewing at Obama/HRC. Wow! I’m afraid this is going to get loud with the idiots doing most of the shouting. Might have to tune out for a bit.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Tuning out is a good idea no matter what side you’re on. It helps keep things in perspective.

        Donald who?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        I dream of a quick witted Lib… open minded person who could guest on a Fox News show and say something like this. Looking at camera. “Folks at home, you know that we have had Trans people with us since forever. And you know they do not have a reputation for pestering people in the bathroom. So, as I set across from this guy whose brains must have fell out of his head over the weekend, you know this is an invented problem, don’t you? And don’t you get tired of being mad about some invented issue every week? Back to you Bubba.”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Liberals are too earnest for their own good? Do you think there is a basic difference in character?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I notice that when faced with opposition, liberals often get flustered, even when they’re right, whereas conservatives tend to be tougher, even when they’re wrong.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Here’s the thing with the ridiculous bathroom laws: even if you’re a small minded bigot, this is a bad law. Perhaps ESPECIALLY then.

        The reason is, it literally forces men into women’s bathrooms, which is supposedly what it’s designed to prevent.

        To wit, every single one of these trans men are legally obliged to use the women’s bathroom.

        This is what the RWNJ’s don’t seem to grasp. Trans ppl are not dudes in drag, or RuPaul looking cats.

        These are bearded, muscled, burly men by any objective standard (many of them even have reconstructed penises). And they now MUST use the bathroom with these guys wives and daughters, which I’m sure is incredibly uncomfortable for both.

        This law is not only bad from a moral and ethical standpoint, it’s even worse from an effectiveness POV.

        It’s like a law ostensibly designed to prevent murder by forcing ppl to murder. It’s that bizarre.

        Of course, if the true intent of the law ISNT to keep “men out of women’s bathrooms” and instead to humiliate trans ppl and use their perverted interpretation of the Bible as a club to beat trans folks with, then all of a sudden it makes much more sense.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt – “I notice that when faced with opposition, liberals often get flustered, even when they’re right, whereas conservatives tend to be tougher, even when they’re wrong.”

        I think you need to meet more liberals (and more conservatives).

      • duncancairncross says:

        “liberals often get flustered, even when they’re right, whereas conservatives tend to be tougher, even when they’re wrong.”

        I think this does happen –
        “liberals” tend to be people who live in a reality based universe – they are able to change their minds when reality conflicts
        When encountering somebody who is totally resistant to reality they “get flustered” they don’t understand how to react

        “conservatives” have to be completely immune to reality in order to hold views that have been debunked so many times – so they hunker down and “get tougher”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, HT. I will keep that in mind. Happy Weekend to you.

      • texan5142 says:

        Being ashamed of the human body is what this law is all about, that and xenophobia. Like voter fraud , make laws for a nonexistent problem.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        If anyone here thinks that Paul Ryan won’t cravenly surrender to Trump in some sort of false “Peace with Honor” arrangement here is a little reminder of how he is willing to compromise himself in the fruitless effort of saving a party of cultural/racial inclusion and responsible public policy… that clearly doesn’t exist.

        In my opinion, Trumpism might have been strangled in the grave if the GOP had primed their base of voters to embrace solutions instead of convenient scapegoats that are not the true source of their miseries.

        But instead they looked the other way when divisive and demagogic language was used against the other side (Obama specifically). “Obamacare is worst than slavery”, “Obama is not a native born citizen”, “My number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president…either he will have succeeded in that goal or he will have failed at that goal.”

        …etc.,etc. etc.

        There is a photo of Paul Ryan during a press conference, he has two people flanking him, his literal right hand man is Steve Scalise (Kevin McCarthy looks on, somewhat sadly).

        Scalise is a man we all know had controversial David Duke (or David Duke voters) sympathy issues before Donald Trump. He is still a figure with considerable power with House Republicans.

        So one should wonder what would keep the GOP leadership from embracing a likely morally bankrupt politician like Trump who seems to prefer to embrace voters with white supremacist leanings. They have done it before.

        All of which reminds me of a quote by great African-American author and thinker James Baldwin:

        (Stranger in the Village) “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster”.

    • 1mime says:

      BTW, heard on NPR that the Republican convention ballot on secession of TX failed by two votes…..two votes!….Don’t know how many voted “for” but next time maybe I’ll register up and help ’em out just to watch that process play out…..

  3. formdib says:

    “It was either really boring or incredibly frustrating,” he said. “It was a weird combination of the exact same thing over and over again and really frustrating single cases of a person demanding something we couldn’t provide.”

    I don’t pretend to be a computer scientist, but I’m pretty sure he just described work that could automated (the boring stuff) or filtered (the frustrating stuff). What this article doesn’t say but makes me think is that businesses are approaching chatbots like lower overhead call centers, and thus not really getting the full implication of how the automation should be solving problems, not merely replacing service workers.

    As we hop, skip, and trip into the future, businesses are gonna need to learn how to ask better questions, less they go the way of politics of crazy.

  4. Rob Ambrose says:

    Interesting that the global industry with the most skin in the game (the reinsurers) re:climate change are taking the threat deadly serious.

    But I’m sure these companies with access to the best data analysts in the world and hundreds of billions at stake are just in on the scam too, right?

    This conspiracy is getting huge. First it was “just” the thousands of unrelated and arms length scientists. Then every major government in the world. And now the capitalists are in on it.

    Good thing we’ve got Rush Limbaugh, Big Oil and a few brave US politicians here to stand for truth against such an onslaught.

    Where would we be without them?

    • flypusher says:

      Don’t forget the Pentagon. The military is in on the scam too.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        How so Fly? It wouldn’t shock me, but I hadn’t heard that one before.

        I know the US Navy is a firm believer in ACC, and has included it in long term threat assessments.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Ohhhhh nvm Fly, just reread your post. I thought you were saying the Pentagon was CC denier.

        Yeah, your right. I should have added them. NASA as well, those crazy buncha kooks.

        What do THEY know about science? What scientific achievements do they have that would give them credibility in this matter?

        Also: The Illuminati.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, now with business AND the Pentagon/NASA/world’s scientists all in sync that global warming is real and poses serious threats – the official position from the Republican Party is: “sure, climate change is always happening….just not the fault of man”…which is their way of not looking “dumb or denialist”….which, of course, works fine with their base…..

        Some time back when this info first came out that reinsurers were basing loss projections based upon global warming consequences, I shared that info with a family member who is in the commercial insurance business…..the result – sure, climate change exists….yadayada…but global warming is not caused by humans…..The veil dropped over his eyes and the light went out……..just tell me what the premiums will be and don’t tell me why they are going up…..

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        That may be a face saving dodve for them Mime but it’s just as bad as outright denial for the rest of us.

        By saying humans aren’t a primary driver of CC, they’re basically precluding any laws or policies designed to fix the problem.

        After all, what’s the point? If we’re not causing CC (we are) then nothing we do can stop it (it can. Or at least blunt it’s effects).

      • 1mime says:

        Exactly. What do we have to lose by addressing known problem areas? Call it whatever you like….but let’s fix what we can. I wish I felt that the CC debate had any semblance of principle, but, as I indicated to Fifty, I have become hopelessly cynical where this Republican Party is concerned.

      • Jmowa says:

        Actually, it is certain that there has been global warming, and very likely that our carbon and other emissions have been the main cause. One could make an argument (see Freeman Dyson) that we don’t understand climate science all that well and the warming might spontaneously stop from some unknown cause. Heck, the warming might be saving us from an ice age. However, that line of argument is “whistling in the wind.” Where alternate sources of energy are concerned, the fact that they are becoming economically competitive with fossil fuels renders climate change irrelevant: we should be going to alternate energy as fast as we can in any event. Let’s save petroleum and gas for burning when the ice age starts to materialize. BTW Tracy’s recommendation of Matt Ridley’s The Evolution of Everything (no italics on this blog?) is right on. In fact everything Ridley has written is great reading. In spite of Ridley being in the House of Lords I don’t think his stuff is necessarily very conservative. In fact, (I’ve been into the scotch) I think the entire distinction between liberal and conservative is bulls***. I’m sure Tracy would consider me a flaming liberal, but in financial matters I’m pretty conservative. Any of Ridley’s stuff is illuminating no matter where ones tribal affiliations lie on the political spectrum. Looking at old stuff from a day or so ago I found the link about generalized PONZI situations also very interesting. Well, so much from the Left Coast for now. About dinner time here, two hours behind most of you.

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking of el Pentagon – Politico had a piece about how Elon Musk has exposed the excessive cost of Pentagon contracts with ULA for space deliveries…Seems Musk was shut out of the bidding to participate in the space delivery program and sued under FOIA for contract details….That defense budget that never seems to be “big enough”? Are any of the Hawks watching where the tax dollars are going?

  5. 1mime says:

    Another friendly legal ruling that is certain to make the GOP ecstatic. An appeal is certain.
    If anyone thinks for one minute that the courts can’t legislate through rulings, think again. SCOTUS is critical but so are all courts…..I don’t want them to be partisan; rather, I want them to be impartial and rule on the merits of the issue.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Mime – The substance of the ruling as I understand it, is that disbursements from the federal government require the consent of the legislature. With what specifically in this ruling do you take issue?

      • 1mime says:

        I understand the issue differently, while clearly stipulating that I am not an attorney. My take is that Congress approved the program (not the legislature) but didn’t fund it and is claiming that funds are being utilized inappropriately from other sources within the ACA. Now, IF Congress approved the program but did not specifically fund this aspect of the program, the real question is does the ACA have the authority to internally shift funds to enable the approved program to function. That will likely be answered upon appeal.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Well, for clarity, the congress *is* the legislature. Next, defense for example, is a budget item. Money is spent on defense that is allocated to it by congressional approval. Now I fully understand that nobody bothered to read the goddam bill in this case before passing it, but this fact should nevertheless not provide it’s funding with extra-constitutional authority. This is the issue, and in fact, the judge even stayed her own ruling pending an inevitable appeal that hadn’t even been filed. You’re not using the term ‘partisan’ to describe that with which you do not agree, or anything from a judge appointed by a Republican, are you?

      • 1mime says:

        Surely you would not deny that there are partisan judicial rulings – especially as it relates to “this” law and “this” Republican Party? I do not know why this case was assigned to this judge, but the fact remains that she was appointed by a Republican President. If the case had been filed in a court with a judge who had been appointed by a Democratic President and they ruled in a similar manner, I would feel more confident about the purity of the decision. As you noted and the article confirms, she is allowing time for an appeal with the least possible disruption to the involved parties, which speaks well for her.

        I realize your primary concern is the legitimacy of my comment alleging “another friendly legal ruling”. Count me as very cynical in this regard. This judge clearly anticipates an appeal as her ruling will have a major impact on rates which would be passed along to people receiving subsidies. Big insurance companies “win” either way the ruling goes – the people? Not so. More uninsured will result with no help or alternative from this Republican Congress nor the red states which have refused to expand medicaid. Get ready to pay more personal taxes for that little line item on your county tax bill that reimburses non-profit hospitals for treating the uninsured. One way or the other, there is a cost – either people die or they are treated. That is the essence of my concern – more so than any posturing on Congress’ part on constitutional principle. I have little respect for the ethical basis for this Congress lawsuit. It is one of many.

        As for “Congress being the legislature….I don’t think I have every heard it referred to in this manner, but it is accurately our “federal legislature”, thus you have me on that point.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Of course there are partisan judges. On both sides.

        When it comes to “big insurance companies”, and the ACA, they are the pigs at the trough. And big pharma. And the providers. The beat goes on. We spend a larger percentage of GDP than *any other country* on healthcare. Where do you think the money goes? Did the ACA solve that? (Well, that’s another discussion…)

        My point here was that your comment was ‘partisan’ by its very nature, whilst at the same time, criticizing partisanship. Heck – I’m extremely skeptical too, but I take care to separate skepticism from partisanship. I’m skeptical of the ACA. Anyone with half a brain should be too. It’s so far from perfect, it’s a bad law, to my mind, regardless of some of the glaring inequities it addressed. It’s not ‘partisan’ to criticize it, (for god’s sake, it was passed by a bipartisan legislature!), and it’s inaccurate to call this ruling ‘partisan’ simply because it challenges some aspect of this ill-thought out law.

      • 1mime says:

        Those are fair criticisms, Fifty. Without being redundant, I abhor the crass denial of the needs of the working class by the Republican Party. Health care is a very serious, important part of every person’s life, which you’ll appreciate even more as you age. I agree that the ACA is terribly flawed but it did allow an expansion of health care to millions. The grandstanding of the Republican Party about how they are going to eliminate it and replace it is shameless. Further, it has never been backed up by a serious proposal. I am not wedded to the ACA per se; I am wedded to health care for all people as a basic right. There is no excuse except greed that our health care delivery is so overpriced. That must change. Don’t get me started on our pharmaceutical and big insurance industries. As one who interfaces frequently with the medical profession for my husband’s many health problems, I can attest to the fact that the quality of care is failing. Doctors are besieged and they can’t spend time with patients. Many can’t wait to leave medicine. It’s a damn shame.

        As for being partisan, I fully admit that I am. I am also cynical. I don’t trust the Republican Party leadership, I don’t agree with their policy positions on social issues, and I do not see the party growing more pragmatic, I see them doubling down on a very narrow, selfish agenda. But I do benefit from being challenged when I make partisan judgments about partisan issues (-: That’s fair.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh – and one more thing – there’s a huge difference between ‘cynicism’ and ‘skepticism’. One is ‘partisan’, and the other is not.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, my “partisan cynicism” is well deserved where this Republican Party is concerned. I make no apologies for that. A Republican like Lifer might arouse “skepticism” in me on issues where we differed; however, my fundamental respect and trust for his integrity would not lead me into cynicism because we started from a position of honesty. I wish I felt that way about more people in the current Republican leadership but I just don’t.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, more thinking on the ACA ruling that illustrates that there are “others” (who could be just as partisan as I but more knowledgeable on this issue) who are questioning the judge’s decision. The more serious implication per the article is the legal precedent that would be set by giving one branch of government “standing” to sue another, setting up a situation that could embroil the various divisions of government in a never-ending cycle of litigation. There may be a lot more at stake here than the appropriations process.

  6. Stephen says:

    A friend of mine, son was on the Sanford police force when the Martin shooting happen. He was told by his son that Zimmerman and he had worked together before that time at a car rental place. Said Zimmerman had trouble following orders and respecting authority. He was fired for insubordination. And Zimmerman got preferential treatment during the initial investigation and had hung out with police officers previously.

    According to newspaper accounts Zimmerman had wanted badly to become a cop. For some reason he could not get in. I suspect because psychologically he was unfit and screened out.

    My question is why we cannot do the same for gun ownership. If Zimmerman did not have a gun Martin would never have been shot. And I doubt Zimmerman would of followed him without that false sense of power and invulnerability it gave him.

    • flypusher says:

      Take the source with a bit of salt, but a while back on the Diane Rhem show, Zimmerman came up in the conversation, and a caller said that Zimmerman had been rejected because of his answer to the question “Why do you want to be a police officer?” He allegedly wrote: “to hunt down the bad guys.” If true, that speaks volumes, and it’s certainly consistent with his actions and overall display of poor character.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, I respect your views but the reading I did on the Zimmerman/Martin case did not support that Martin was the perpetrator; rather, that Martin was defending himself. Zimmerman called in the “sighting”, was told law enforcement was enroute and to stay in his car, which he didn’t. There were so many points at which this could have been handled differently and wasn’t.

        We differ on our views of this matter which is still playing out through one episode after another for Z.

      • flypusher says:

        “..that Martin was defending himself.”

        You can call it a tragedy of errors. I don’t doubt that Martin did see Zimmerman as a threat. But it looks like fighting was not his only option. It is a pity that he can’t tell his side of the story, but it doesn’t look like Zimmerman cornered him or drew the gun until after the fight started. Avoidance is always your 1st and smartest line of defense. AFAIK Martin had that option. I’m not giving Zimmerman a pass, but this is not a situation where one person in 100% in the wrong, and the other did nothing to escalate. I’d give Zimmerman 80% blame.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        The thing about Martin is that he was 17, the stupid age, the age we can feel grown up but don’t have frontal cortex well enough developed to know when we’re in trouble.

        Zimmerman was the so-called adult in the situation. Unfortunately, his frontal cortex seems to be lacking development, too. Or maybe he just has a mean streak.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Man, you’ve got to be seriously unfit mentally to be ineligible to be a cop in Florida, considering the type of slack jawed yokel cops that routinely make the news all over the South.

      To be fair, there’s shitty cops everywhere. Seems a little more common down there tho

  7. Turtles Run says:

    Well just when you think you have seen it all. George Zimmerman the man, person thing that shot a Florida teen is not auctioning off the firearm used in this crime.

    The auction will be today on the website He describes the weapon as “…..a piece of American History”.

    Words escape me on how to describe my disgust at Zimmerman and the people that would even consider buying this weapon.

    • flypusher says:

      Zimmerman is not a good person, but he became a 2nd Amendment proxy, and unfortunately some people indulged in some biased journalism (the edited 911 call, the 12 year old picture of Martin) so George has his fans who see him as a victim. An actual responsible gun owner who had to shoot in self-defense would have expressed regret for the necessity of using deadly force, then would totally STFU about it from then on.

      • johngalt says:

        A semi-related question: why on earth are 911 calls made public? You have desperate people in dangerous situations, whether from violence, medical emergencies or accidents. This just seems like a way to embarrass people at their most panicky and vulnerable for the sake of entertainment. Sure, they should be available for legal proceedings, but why is the evening news give access to them?

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, JG, but in this case, there was allegation of editing of the 911 call. IOW, a law enforcement agency dealing with a sensitive event might “use” the tape to make them look better. IMO, unless the tape is needed in a criminal situation, it should be privileged and kept from the media. Rape victims, abusive events, depressed people considering suicide – these are deeply personal and can cause great harm to people who are already in a very difficult situation.

  8. flypusher says:

    Question for the class, who is scummier, the buyer or the seller:

    To me it’s a toss-up. Side note- Huffpo, the 12 year old pic of Martin is not honest.

    • 1mime says:

      Zimmerman is a real POS. I never believed his “story”. And, as you indicated, some other POS will step up and purchase his gun. There are sick people out there.

      Can’t comment on Trayvon’s photo as not sure if more age-appropriate photos exist…If they do, the most current should have been used, but that is a rather small point in comparison to Z’s gun sale….Everything he does reinforces my belief that he lied.

      • flypusher says:

        The picture is indeed a small point, but any sort if deception will weaken your case. Honesty is the best policy. My take is that both parties made poor decisions, which resulted in Martin’s death. But Zimmerman’s words and actions afterwards are disgusting. Even a totally clean shoot is regrettable and shouldn’t be celebrated. As yes calling this gun a piece of history that’s a valuable collector’s item is celebrating this.

      • 1mime says:

        Trayvon’s errors (walking at night in a hoodlie in the rain while Black) pale in comparison to Z’s….who was laying in wait without authority, itching for action. I will always believe the responsibility for this death is on Z’s shoulders.

      • flypusher says:

        That’s not the the story 1mime. The evidence does support Zimmerman’s claim that Martin was beating on him pretty badly. Based on what I’ve heard of the testimony, it looks like Martin was aware of being followed and considered Zimmerman a threat. His big mistake was attacking Zimmerman rather than trying to evade him.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        But it’s Zimmerman who was the threat. He’s the one who followed Martin. If I’m walking down the street and am accosted by anotger citizen with a gun, my fight or flight instinct is going on full. Depending on my risk calculations, I’m either booting it, or I’m beating on Zimmerman. Either one is justified in that scenario.

        I can guarantee you if a black man with a gun followed an unarmed white man, and the white man ended up dead, that black man is likely getting strapped into a gurney with an IV drip.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        * and not the good kind of IV drip.

      • flypusher says:

        Zimmerman started it, I have no doubt about that. He unnecessarily put himself in a position where he had to use his gun, and he is responsible for that bad decision. But it is a disservice to the truth to portray Martin with 0% responsibility. He had a choice too, and he made the wrong one.

      • 1mime says:

        I never stated Martin had zero responsibility, only that Zimmerman started it and that if he had followed orders from law enforcement, this may have played out very differently. Rob is correct – if it had been a White kid walking at night in a hoodlie and a Black self-appointed “watcher” handled himself in exactly the same scenario – there would have been two deaths that night. Zimmerman’s life before and after this very poor decision has been indicative of a disturbed individual….who, as Stephen noted, should never have been permitted for a gun in the first place. Sadly, it’s now history and since Martin isn’t able to speak for himself, we’ll never truly know everything that went down that night. I remain unconvinced of Z’s story.

      • flypusher says:

        “Depending on my risk calculations, I’m either booting it, or I’m beating on Zimmerman. Either one is justified in that scenario.”

        IIRC, I don’t think Martin knew that Zimmerman was armed. It also didn’t seem like Martin was cornered either, rather that he noticed that this guy was following him, had the option to flee or attack, and chose attack. Martin was getting the better of the fight and that’s when Zimmerman pulled the gun.

      • flypusher says:

        “…Zimmerman started it and that if he had followed orders from law enforcement, this may have played out very differently. ”

        I couldn’t agree more, and the content of Zimmerman’s character is pretty obvious. I wish they could have busted him for negligent homicide.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        What was Martin’s bad choice?

        And frankly, even if he made poor choices afterwards,considering he shouldn’t even have been in a position to make any in the first place without Zimmerman’s initial confrontation, I don’t see how he bears any significant responsibility.

        Its Similar to the “fruit if the poison tree” doctrine in common law which states if an officer breaks the law with an illegal search, everything found afterwards is ibadmissible in court, even if the search turned up legit criminal evidence.

        In this case, The initial choice by Zimmerman to accost another citizen minding his own business places all of the responsibility squarely on Zimmerman for the subsequent events, even if Martin made bad choices within that brief window.

        Without Zimmerman’s misguided attempt to be a hero and catch “thugs”, Martin wod never have even been in a position to MAKE any choices.

      • duncancairncross says:

        On the Zimmerman thing
        Do you not have a “stand your ground law”?

        If I was a law abiding citizen and somebody started following me why should I run away?
        would that not show that I was guilty of something?

        Surely the “American” thing to do would be to confront my stalker??

        That is what all of the films and TV shows tell us
        In fact they tell us to grab the stalker

      • 1mime says:

        If you were a Black male teen walking at night and saw someone following you and ran out of fear, there’s a good chance in the U.S. you could get shot – in the back – just for running, We have a real problem in America with race. Zimmerman is a pitiful excuse of a human being and his poor judgement cost a young, unarmed man his life. Your experience in NZ is probably very different.

      • 1mime says:

        Another thing to your point about “stand your ground” laws – I wonder if there is a list by race of those who have used this defense. I agree with Fly – a bad law, ripe for abuse. A competent attorney should be able to use the same principle in their defense. People should have a right to protect themselves but never use a law like this to justify murder, because that’s what it was – in my opinion.

      • flypusher says:

        Duncan, some states have it, some don’t. FL does, but I think in this case it didn’t apply. I think such laws are dangerous and ripe for abuse.

        It’s also been pointed out that if Martin had also had a gun, and had shot first because he felt threatened, these NRA types probably wouldn’t have made him into a poster child for their cause the way they did with Zimmerman.

      • 1mime says:

        Since it’s Friday, here’s my positive contribution on the gun legislation front. It appears that there are still sensible laws and policies that can be enacted that will reduce deaths from gun violence…..

  9. 1mime says:

    It must be campaign season…..Pres. Obama and others have been pleading with Congress to take up the opiate/heroin problem. He specifically requested a little over $1B in emergency funding to help states deal with the serious growing problem. This week, Congress began to act…only problem is: the emperor has no clothes! IOW, they passed bills without funding them….saying funding would come when they deal with the 2017 budget….

    Wha? So, these agencies are supposed to put the staffing and other resources on a TBD payment plan? Til 2017? But, they took action, didn’t they? Did it “feel good” to pass all those bills? Was everybody looking? I wonder how good the state agencies are gonna feel to have the mandates without the funding…..oh, it’s coming…….but….if we don’t win…forgetaboutit….somebody else’s problem…….But the legislation? Stick a fork in it!

    “Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., praised the bipartisan action but said it must be fully funded to do any good. Democrats offered an amendment Wednesday to provide $600 million in emergency funding, but it was blocked by Republicans who said the money will come later when Congress passes its 2017 spending bills for federal agencies.”

  10. flypusher says:

    Heidi Cruz and her most excellent sense of historical perspective:

    • texan5142 says:

      Looking in her eyes I see the abyss.

    • Tom says:

      Seriously though, what is with Republicans’ obsession with comparing things to slavery?

      • 1mime says:

        Methinks the lady/man doth protest too much……………Show me the love, conservatives! Live the message! Walk in the shoes of the less fortunate, and not just when you’re running for office.

      • flypusher says:

        “Seriously though, what is with Republicans’ obsession with comparing things to slavery?”

        If you’re feeling generous, you could say that in their own indirect, unintentional way, they are acknowledging that slavery was a very, very bad thing.

      • 1mime says:

        “…slavery was a bad, bad thing….”

        At least for the last 25 years…..

      • texan5142 says:

        Seriously, she does not strike me as a deep thinker.

      • texan5142 says:

        “I want to tell the American people who Ted is, a person who, when I’m really busy running around the house the other day to pack, when he had a lot more on his plate, sat down and packed my suitcase for me.”
        – Heidi Cruz

        What that tells me is that Ted got tired of your absent minded dawdling around and thought to himself, I better pack for her or we will never leave the house on time.

      • 1mime says:


      • texan5142 says:

        I should add that I have been married for 28 years, I know what I am talking about.

      • 1mime says:

        Slavery or packing your wife’s suitcase (-;

      • johngalt says:

        Pack for my wife? Are you kidding? If Cruz is willing to wander into that particular minefield then he is nowhere near as sharp as people claim he is.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s the dimples, JG….works every time ….

      • texan5142 says:

        I have never packed for my wife, but when she is packing I am giving her crap about packing a weeks worth of stuff/shit for an overnight stay.

      • 1mime says:

        I packed one time for my husband when we were younger and still traveling. I forgot his socks and his T-shirts. Worked like a charm….never had to do it again (-;

      • johngalt says:

        1mime, my dad had a system like that for tasks he didn’t enjoy, largely yard work. He called it “planned incompetence”: make a total hash of something and you’re rarely asked to do it again. You have to put up with some short-term yelling, but it’s worth it long-term.

      • 1mime says:

        You must have taken after your mom, JG (-; while I can relate to your dad! Men can be so much trouble!!! Planned incompetence, indeed!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        They think being taxed at more then 10% is slavery.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Is the departure of genuine sanity and all sense of fair play in the Republican party accelerating?

        “Pat McCrory: Congress should ‘revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act’ to allow segregated bathrooms”


        Republicans like Pat McrCory want to further demolish important and vital civil rights legislation that effects millions of minorities just so they can indulge in transphobia for the delusional purpose of protecting “the children” from an imagined bathroom threat?

        How many black people or people of color would endorse or sign up for this?

        And how can someone claim that because people vocally protest your idiocy you have the nerve to call them bullies? Since when did defending a targeted and scapegoated community amount to being a bully?

        Transgendered people have in the past (and regretfully to this day) face rampant job discrimination, ridicule, physical assault and murder on a fairly regular basis.

        I am not transgendered, so I can’t speak as a member of that respective community. But I can clearly see their humanity and potential to contribute positively to society like anyone else.

        Apparently many Republicans have other ideas.

        In the age of Trumpism and resurgent white nationalism, I have seen women, muslims, journalists, blacks, latinos, immigrants, the transgendered, gays, scientists, artists, environmental activists, government employees, teachers and even some of the young who are college educated targeted by…

        conservative media
        think tanks
        and lastly voters

        Who the heck is left of the populace that can be still be viewed as authentic Americans in the American Right’s eyes?

        I am one of those weird guys who thinks that opposing these bathroom laws is the opposite of bullying.

        If that means this position earns me a potential place in a President Trump Corp. manufactured oven (along with the rest of the other undesirables) in the near future…
        so be it.

        Do social conservatives ever stop to think what the hell they are doing?

        Can’t they see the wrongfulness of their proposals and the blind legal alleys they are taking the country… where only greater injustice awaits?

    • 1mime says:

      Geezum……….It’s a family disease. So, Heidi thinks slavery took only 25 years to resolve…..guess the rarefied air of Goldman Sachs kind of reduces things to their simplest form….whatever could she be thinking of?!

    • Stephen says:

      We had slavery for more than 25 years. But the ignorance goes deeper. Slavery still exsist. I do not think she is stupid as much as being naive living a very protected life.

      • 1mime says:

        I guess the kindest thing I could say about Heidi Cruz’ remark is that she is ignorant. Come on….she is probably a very nice woman, and is “well” educated (Harvard Business School), but this is the problem so many religious fundamentalists have: they do not live in the real world. In her WS world, slavery probably “doesn’t” exist…..because everyone at GS is going to be cut from pretty much the same cloth….However, when you are speaking as the wife of a candidate for POTUS, you should give more thought to what you say on contentious, important issues such as slavery. At the very least, don’t say anything.

      • objv says:

        Does the same apply for the person actually running for POTUS. I suppose the fake southern accent only adds to the charm.

      • 1mime says:

        Fake sure is working for the Don…….

  11. 1mime says:

    This Gallup poll offers a wealth of information on “how” Millennials think and want to live their lives. I agree with the sentiment of each finding…..finding it refreshingly healthy for quality of life. This brave new world is ever evolving and will be led by young people who look at their jobs, personal lives and issues in a brand new way. Collectively this generation bring enough numbers to help shape major policy shifts. The one thing that I do have concern about is their lack of patience and pragmatism with the “process” within which we all interact. That is both good – challenging the status quo – and dangerous – in that they view the world through fairly narrow lens. Regardless, they, as a group, offer interesting challenges to the world as it is and could be.

  12. The Shermer article is interesting, Ridley’s book, “The Evolution of Everything” is much more so. ( I don’t doubt the erudite denizens of this space will find it an engaging read.

    I also don’t doubt that my left-ish pen pals will fail to see the link between Malthusian thought and the egalitarian underpinnings of socialism/communism. In the Malthusian/socialist worldview, existence is, at best, a zero sum game – there’s only so much pie to go around. If you are a Hobbesian bastard, you play win-as-much-as-you-can, and stop at nothing to hog the pie. If you are a high minded social justice sort, you play centrally-planned-redistribute-the-pie-as-much-as-you-can. But either way, it never occurs to you to think about the manifold joys of capitalism, and the freedom of association that goes along with it. You don’t play win-win; you don’t play let’s-grow-the-pie-as-much-as-we-can. And so you end up with M. Sanger (Founder, er, of Planned Parenthood) and eugenics, and the abortion industry. You end up with Obamacare. You end up with climate alarmism and Kyoto protocols and economic mass self-flagellation. You end up with Common Core. You end up with Mao’s cultural revolution. You end up with the Nazi’s final solution to the Jewish “problem.” (Only so much lebensraum to go around! Right? Check!) And hot off the press, you end up with the socialist worker’s paradise that is Venezuela. (Rock on, Chavistas! How do you like your Che Guevara T-shirts now, suckas? Hey, Bernie, you dumbass, can you say Ve-ne-zue-la?)

    And most of all, you end up with yet another egalitarian FarmVille-utopia where all the animals are equal, except that, inevitably, due to some arcane law of thermodynamics, some of the animals are more equal than others. (That’s right Hillary, er, Pig, I’m talking about you.)

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Hey Tracy – Leftist penpal here. You put a lot on that plate. Too much I think. You mixed it all up and I don’t like my peas touching my mashed potatoes.

      But Venezuela. I’ll not defend Chavez but it seems Venezuela’s present problem is much like several oil producing states. Like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and others. In fact, it seems like a Southern State we all know. Things were OK as long as the oil was flowing.

      I have an idea for a tee shirt. It pictures Cheney with a beret. Really, I’m trademarking it now.

      • Sorry I got my chocolate in your peanut butter! Heck yeah, put me down for a Cheney-beret T-shirt! Check back with me on the the Texas-Venuzuela comparo when Houston’s electricity is out 70% of the time, the work week is down to 16 hours, and HEB’s shelves are bare. 😉

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Well,I didn’t mean to compare Texas that close to Venezuela or for that matter Russia or Saudi Arabia. But you surely have a point. Venezuela has been mismanaged and is in bad shape.

        And I’m sure that the economy of Texas won’t get that bad. Surely the quality Texan politicians will manage their way out of such a rough spot. Maybe just get a great deal maker to make better deals.

        And if not, that silly sharing socialism deal we have set up with a central government will help out with unemployment insurance, retraining and such.

        As for the tee, I’m thinking – Che Che Cheney.

      • 1mime says:

        That was sooo good, unarmed!

      • 1mime says:

        Ha! PLZ – give Cheney the beret, but plz plz don’t give him a gun….the man can’t handle it….he’s so much safer to have sitting in the Sit Room sending the grunts out with guns (that they point at the enemy, uh hum)….even if they don’t come back….

    • flypusher says:

      ” And so you end up with M. Sanger (Founder, er, of Planned Parenthood) and eugenics, and the abortion industry.”

      Bit of typical cherry-picking there, Tracy. The right wing sure dumps on Sanger a lot for eugenics, as if she was the one who invented it. Fact is, lots of people, left and right, latched on to that particular idea back in those days. But we saw how it worked, and rightly concluded that it was a bad idea. But what Sanger most fervently championed was a very good idea- that women ought to have control over when and if they had children. If women are to truly be free, this is essential. Her good work was pushing to get contraception legal, which is the best way to accomplish this. I don’t defend her embrace of thing like eugenics, but I’m damn glad that contraception is legal, and she deserves credit and praise for that.

    • Griffin says:

      I don’t know why but the “voice” I have in my head for reading your posts is always shouting.

    • johngalt says:

      That’s quite a train of thought, Tracy. Guess you sort of lost control of it as it hurtled down the mountain.

      • flypusher says:

        Anyone who’s trotting out that dogma about concern over the damage done to the environment by humans is just part of this vast Commie conspiracy to undermine capitalism and America and motherhood and apple pie, etc, is IMO off the deep end, not worth talking to, and needs to be bypassed. Many of the righties fear that the extreme left will get to implement solutions to this problem, but instead of working on conservative solutions they just deny that there is a problem. By doing so they make it more likely that the lefties dominate the policy.

      • texan5142 says:

        Reads like a stroke.

      • 1mime says:

        Uh, Fly, don’t forget that we’re gonna take all their guns, too (-;

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – and make them ghey marry

      • Crogged says:

        For the brevity impaired, “Malthus ipso facto mumble jumble Affordable Care Act”. For my friends to the left, “Oliver Cromwell, dadadada, Trump.”

      • objv says:

        Aww, JG, Tracy’s train of thought ended getting to the right place.

    • flypusher says:

      “; you don’t play let’s-grow-the-pie-as-much-as-we-can. ”

      Wrong. Our game is don’t-trash-the-kitchen-in-the-process-of-growing-the-pie.

      Kind of funny (as in peculiar) that you invoke all these heavy handed gov’t control measures as the lefty dream to deal with global population growth, but all the people here to the left of you are talking about educating girls and giving them control over their lives. That’s only sinister if you’ve a fan of the old school patriarchy.

      • Stephen says:

        The main reason that population growth is declining is because girls are getting educated and have more control and choice. All good. But we need to make it easier for women to have a few children along the way without lost. Other wise those societies that treat women like property and breeding animals will overwhelm the rest of us and be the future. I am pragmatic, along with having a heart, which puts me in the position of supporting a strong safety net.

  13. flypusher says:

    About the beast, I suspect such stories are going to become more common, given the changing weather patterns, more people and development in these areas, and all that very bad forest “management” that’s allowed so much fuel to build up. Probably building in a high risk fire zone will be treated like building on a beach/ flood plan/ hurricane zone/ earthquake region (if it isn’t changing already)- there will be additional building codes and you will pay more for insurance.

  14. 1mime says:

    He’s (maybe) baaack!

    “Ted Cruz opened the door to restarting his presidential campaign if he sees a viable path to victory after tonight’s GOP primary in Nebraska. “The reason we suspended our campaign was that with the Indiana loss, I felt there was no path to victory,” Cruz said on Glenn Beck’s radio show. “If that changes, we will certainly respond accordingly.” The Hill

    • flypusher says:

      So it begins, the Zombie Ted Cruz campaign.

      • 1mime says:

        Exit polls in W.Va state: Polls are closing in West Virginia’s presidential primaries, where presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is projected to win, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton and a third of Democrats say in exit polls they’ll back Trump in November. CNN

        ONE-THIRD of Democrats! Trump!!! I know this is WVA, but jeez!

      • Creigh says:

        One third of Democrats — this is WVA, home of Joe Manchin.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        The American South… Ahhhhh!

        Recently I have been thinking about Trayvon Martin in Florida, Walter Scott in South Carolina, Sandra Bland in Texas. Thinking about how they died, and the justification for the lethal force or their treatment (when in police custody)… for crimes (or perceived crimes).

        I came to the conclusion (rather quickly) that nothing they did warranted them receiving their premature walking papers from this mortal coil.

        And then I read sh*t like this.

        “Why a South Carolina man got bail after he shot, buried and ‘slow-cooked’ two people”

        Here’s some highlights(lowlights I guess):

        “Early in the morning on March 5, James Edward Loftis found himself facing two men in his South Carolina home. The men were demanding cab fare for the ride Loftis had just received.”

        “I’ll get your money,” he told them, according to his own account given to police and recorded in an arrest warrant soon after.”

        “Instead, the warrant said, Loftis retrieved a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, returned to the living room and fired off eight shots, striking both men.”

        “He then went to get gas, cleaned his home with bleach and burned the two bodies, along with his clothes and towels, in the backyard, according to the document.”

        “On Monday, his lawyer argued that Loftis acted in self-defense and buried and burned the bodies in a state of panic, according to the Post and Courier. A prosecutor said the prosecution was moving forward in its case against Loftis.”

        “Nonetheless, a judge in the case granted bail to the 39-year-old, who faces murder charges for fatally shooting the cab driver, 46-year-old Guma Oz Dubar, and the other man, 32-year-old James Cody Newland.”

        “He’s a human being,” defense attorney Stephen Harris said, according to the Post and Courier. “He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.”

        “Berkeley County Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said the prosecution would continue pursuing the case, given Loftis’s inconsistent accounts of whether the men forced their way into the home or whether he let them in – a crucial part of his defense, according to the Post and Courier, because of South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law, which grants protection to homeowners who use deadly force against intruders.”

        “On Monday, Alfaro, the deputy solicitor, depicted Loftis’s actions in gruesome detail.”

        “They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site,” he said.

        Is it too much to ask South Carolina that when a white person barbecues two people (like some twisted version of a Memorial day cookout with Jeffery Dahmer as the chef) they don’t get bail? Like ever?

        And is it too much to ask South Carolina that when an unarmed black person flees police because of fear of a warrant for not paying child support they don’t get 8 slugs to the back?

        Is it too much to ask South Carolina that when a suspected mass murderer (with the intentions of sparking a race war) kills 9 wonderful people in their own church gets apprehended… that the police don’t get the suspect a tasty meal from Burger King?

        Thank you for your time everyone.

        Now, I have to get back to reading stories of how the Trump campaign selected a white nationalist leader as a delegate in California.

        Yes people… California.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: Those so-called “Democrats” are an interesting phenomenon in a state that, in stark contrast to so many others, has been trending hard towards Republicans in recent years.

        While we’re on the subject though, credit where credit is due to HRC for going into the heart of Coal Country and telling its people that their jobs are gone and they’re not coming back. Time to wake up and breathe the fresh air coming from our solar-powered air conditioners.

      • Tom says:

        Many of the Democrats in West Virginia are people who registered to vote as Democrats a long time ago, have since started voting Republican (remember: West Virginia went for Dukakis in 1988; its “red state” status is relatively recent) and haven’t switched their registration. Some likely maintain Democratic voter registration simply to influence local Democratic primaries (which are still tantamount to election in some places.)

        In other words, these aren’t what most people would consider Democrats. It’s not exactly the same but it’s kinda similar to Lifer, only in reverse.

      • johngalt says:

        West Virginia is the poster child for the dying bits of our economy. Their largest (only) industry is digging the dirtiest possible energy source out of the ground. It is 49th in median income and 50th in life expectancy. Its best university is ranked #175 by U.S. News; it is the only one even ranked on their “National Universities” list. Of course they’re raging for change. For them, virtually anything would seem better than the continuity offered by Clinton.

      • 1mime says:

        There are many areas other than coal which are in decline – manufacturing changes and outsourcing have created cities that are barely hanging on. We all know who they are, the question is, how does America manage this turn of events? We’ve all touched upon this problem and the real challenge due to fundamental changes in our economy and society. No one seems to be focused on anticipating and planning for the reality that certain jobs are no longer going to exist – for whatever reason. Just like Mosler stated with regard to how America prioritizes care for our elderly and infirm, there are many people who want to work but can’t find work with their skill set. These are real problems and how our country faces them, “if” our country faces them, will have a great impact on all our future. Because, one day, each of us will be old, could be infirm, and could lose our jobs through no fault of our own. Think about it. This is real.

      • johngalt says:

        Magpie, I don’t disagree with you about the problems with policing in the South and that racial disparities exist there, because they certainly do. But in your diatribe, spare a thought for John Crawford, Jr. (shot by police in a Columbus, OH, Walmart), Tamir Rice (shot by police in a park in Cleveland), Eric Garner (choked to death by the NYPD), Brendon Glenn (shot by police in LA), and the list could go on and on.

        Each of these deaths was preventable and in focusing on the South we lose sight of larger issues that extend beyond this region.

      • 1mime says:

        This guy quits one day, but, wait, wait! Don’t tell me! He didn’t really mean it….if he gets a strong win in NE, and he can see a path to victory, then he’ll reconsider….Oops, NE didn’t work out, but, wait, wait! There’s “always” Texas….where the Tea Parties love, love, love da Cruz……..

  15. texan5142 says:

    I was just reading about the new stadium in Texas…that is just nucking futs..that is all.

    • texan5142 says:

      Hell, I could not believe the football stadium at the high school in Pearland the last time I was there. Shitty roads, trash all over the place, etc., etc. but got money for a palace of a stadium.

      • texan5142 says:

        Lets not forget the Taj Mahal of an agricultural center at the school also.

    • fiftyohm says:

      No, Tex – Here’s more: I second your emotion heartily. Nuking futs, for certain.

    • johngalt says:

      Just for fun, I did some math. The starting salary for a first-year teacher in McKinney ISD is $50,200. With benefits, that probably means a total compensation of roughly $65,000. For the $63 million they’re blowing on a temple to concussions, they could hire 100 new teachers and pay them for 10 years. Or they could hire 50 new teachers, pay them for a decade, and buy every student in the district (24,000) a new Macbook Air.

      How whacked are your priorities if this is your choice?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Really! An Apple product. Ugh! 😉

      • 1mime says:

        How whacked are parents who encourage their sons to play football rather than try a different, safer sport? BTW, have you seen the movie, “Concussion”? Will Smith plays the Nigerian doc who self-funded the research on pro football concussions. It’s very well done. Despite a plethora of degrees, Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, is derided and threatened by the sports industry. It’s worth your time and certainly hews to the contradiction between contact sports and American glorification. In the book, “Friday Night Lights”, which served as the template for the TV series, this little TX town could barely survive financially, but they built the “mother” of all stadiums on their own nickel. More hero gratification and escapism with kids as the sacrificial lambs.

      • johngalt says:

        Fifty – Really? Windows?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yeah. There’s just something about the Apple cult thing that just rubs me the wrong way. And the high prices. And the fact that all our electronics hardware and software, (embedded stuff), development was done pretty much by necessity on Windows. My business partner sort of ‘swings both ways’, but he’s a geek. And my iPhone1 was a horrid PoS. So, that’s about it.

        Oh yeah – and I can’t stand hipsters. (Heh-heh)

      • flypusher says:

        I like Apple products because those are the first computers I learned how to use (that’s Rice U’s fault!). But I also have to have some proficiency with PCs, since all the microscope software is written for that system.

        And yes, that much $ for a HS football stadium is beyond obscene, and I say this as a football fan.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s because you value education more than football….however big a fb fan you are! The frustrating point of this is the school district goes out to the voters with a bond issue which promises certain expenditures – then, these projects morph into something that the voters wouldn’t have approved but no longer can control with their vote – bait and switch at its finest. Somehow, this always seems to be more of a problem with capital expenditures not on the academic side….low expectations there, but blinders for sports arenas.

      • johngalt says:

        While nobody would possibly call me a hipster, I am a bit of an Apple fan, as have been using their computers continuously since I got my first Apple IIe in 1981. I’m not always the earliest adopter, so I didn’t get the first iPhone, but they have evolved into pretty remarkable pieces of equipment. I find them to be very elegantly designed with an interface so intuitive that toddlers have no trouble figuring it out.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Open source, That’s my preference.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’ve been a fan of Macs since the late 80s and have always had one at home. When I was still working I had to use PCs and found that the Windows interface kept getting in the way of what I was trying to accomplish. Too often Windows thought it knew better than I how to get something done. Plus, PCs needed constant TLC from the IT department.

  16. flypusher says:

    Surprise, surprise, Trump’s an MRA:

    Good, good give in to your hatred, let the mysogyny flow through you……..

  17. Stephen says:

    A good book to read on population is “The Empty Cradle” by ” Phillip Longman. The book points out how falling birthrates threaten world prosperity and agrees with the article ” Why Malthus is Still Wrong” that the solution is to raise living standards for people particularly Women.

    Man is not simply an animal but with creativity and cooperation simply invent ways to bypass limits. As tuttabellamia pointed out we have plenty of food on the planet due to newly invented technology. Just our politics get in the way of distributing it to those who are in need. Part of the problem is our capitalistic system still has some rough edges that need to be polished off. It generates great weatth but we still have not gotten the distribution part right. And this is not a new realization as Adam Smith wrote about it in “The Wealth of Nations”.

    I kind of like FDR’s way to solve things. Try a bunch of things , discarding what does not work and retain what does. But like most people here that does not for me include trying out Trump.

    • Stephen, I agree that raising living standards is the best way forward. My problem is the math. The articles I see say something along the line that we would need six planets to support everyone in the western life style. Well, we don’t have six planets. And I like my life style. Maybe my sources are poor. I will read the book. Btw… I also agree with your comments on distribution.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Sure, but that’s using today’s technology.

        If they ran the math for how many ppl we could support in 1850 using the tech available at THAT time, it would have been way less then 7 billion.

        Not saying we should get complacent, but it’s been the pattern of most of human evolution that we bump up against some natural or man made barrier, and using innovation and technology, we overcome it.

        Is it possible that THIS barrier is an impermeable one? Sure. But if you bet against humanity in the countless existential problems weve already faced, you’d be awfully far behind right now.

        It’d be like betting the Generals over the Harlem Globetrotters. It COULD happen, in theory. But it hasn’t yet.

      • stephen says:

        There are a lot of resources to exploit in our solar system. But we may not need them. Technology is evolving to do more with less. Here is an example of something currently being developed along that line.

      • johngalt says:

        The world population will stabilize somewhere around 9-10 billion in a decade or two. Efficiently used, there are plenty of resources to sustain that population at a pretty high life style indefinitely.

        The single most important way we can help that process along is to educate girls. In every culture in which education of girls has been made a priority, fertility rates fall and poverty declines.

      • flypusher says:

        No coincidence that there’s a big overlap in places that oppress women, and biggest GodForsakenHellHoles.

      • 1mime says:

        JG got it right: educate women. They seem to be better at reaching agreement….not so much ego floating around. My hope is more women will eventually serve in Congress and on corporate boards….IOW, positions of leadership where they are empowered to actually make change instead of working for change in the background.

    • antimule says:

      And here’s a good explanation to read on why overpopulation is an ultimate ponzi scheme:

    • flypusher says:

      The simple way to a stable and sustainable population, as has already been noted, and education, full human being status, and control of reproduction for women. Despite this sim

      • flypusher says:

        Despite this simplisticity, and the sheer justice if it, there are so many who are against it.

  18. The Malthusian article is a perfect example of what’s wrong in the debate about population. I think the planet is over populated. That doesn’t mean I want “draconian measures to restrict particular populations’ family size, including forced sterilizations”. And I don’t think “those in power knew best what was good for the vulnerable and weak” or that “human beings are no different than a herd of deer when it comes to reproduction”. Those are all straw man arguments.

    I do think that Earth’s resources are finite and that population cannot grow forever without it causing grief and that, perhaps, some of our current problems, like global warming, are caused by over population. One farmer can now feed many people. This did not use to be the case. Future automation will produce more surplus labor. Universal Basic Income is great but the math must work.

    A shrinking population will cause some serious economic issues. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that will need adjusted once the population begins to shrink. Current economic ideas all seem to be based on growing our way out of whatever hardship we are in. There’s a limit to that. But we’re never allowed to talk about it because “Malthusian” thinking is wrong.

    The latest data I’ve seen shows that population is beginning to peak (birthrates already have). So eventually, it looks like this problem will be solved but for now it would be nice to see some policies that help like birth control being easily available to all who want it and elimination of tax breaks for having kids. That’s all we’re saying. No one wants to take your bullets away.

    • Tom says:

      A lot of people forget, but a big reason that Social Security (and retirement in general) was implemented in the first place was so that older workers would leave the job market and thus open up employment opportunities for younger workers.

      The shift to a more service-based economy (many of which jobs can be performed well past what we think of as a “retirement age”) also helps with that. I seem to notice a lot of people who collect a retirement check while they’re still working.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It is demonstrably true that we currently have more then enough resources to support the current global population. The issue is global distribution of said resources.

      As immense as the problem of global poverty seems, I think it’s still more feasible to attack the problem from that end (global redistribution) then from the other end (reduction of human population).

      • 1mime says:

        I still maintain that key to family planning is birth control. People will usually make the sensible choice about personal matters like having children. Make birth control (pre/post/abortion if necessary) readily available. Do what we can and should to control population on a voluntary basis. Food distribution seems simple when you compare it to the fight over family planning. And, it shouldn’t be that hard.

    • 1mime says:

      Social Security is a Ponzi scheme……….From respected polls, SS appears to be of high importance to the majority of Americans. Consider that seniors of my age, 72, didn’t have the savings vehicles that exist now – mostly it consisted of FICA deductions and savings. With fewer workers to support SS, either a new funding method will be needed – if the majority want to continue this program – or, changes will have to be made for people in the “pipeline”…IOW, those younger people who have had the opportunity through 401Ks, IRAs, cafeteria deductions. Aging is going to propose some real moral and ethical challenges for government in addition to obvious funding issues.

      • Stephen says:

        From the National Academy of Social Insurance security/economy-share

        “Social Security as a Share of the Economy

        Because more people will receive benefits, Social Security will grow faster than the total economy, or gross domestic product (GDP). How much faster will it grow as a share of the economy?

        Social Security benefits amounted to 4.9 percent of GDP in 2014. By 2035, when the youngest baby boomers will have turned age 70, Social Security benefits in current law are projected to be 6.0 percent of GDP. That is an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the current cost of the program.

        How does that 1.1 percentage point increase compare with past changes in national spending when the baby boomers were children? Public spending for education grew about twice as much as the projected increase in Social Security. Public education spending – by local, state and federal governments – grew from 2.5 percent of GDP in 1950, just before boomers began to enter kindergarten, to 5.3 percent of GDP by 1975. This was an increase of 2.8 percentage points.”

        Kind of destroys the arguments to cut or eliminate Social Security. It is just a matter of priority. Do we take care of our kids and oldsters or cut taxes for the most wealthy.

      • moslerfan says:

        What we need to ask ourselves with respect to taking care of old people is whether we have the real resources (labor, housing, medical resources) needed to take care of them, and whether we as a society want to devote those resources to that purpose. If the answer to both of those questions is yes, money is not an issue.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, Mosler! That should be the basis for any entitlement program – and in poll after poll, people have shown support for a social safety net. What it should “look like” may be debatable, but I agree that once priorities are set funding will need to follow….There is also an opportunity to grandfather those over a certain age and transition (again by proximity to eligible age) to a different plan. People who are already in retirement shouldn’t live in fear (as many do who unfortunately have no other significant savings other than SS) of drastic changes in their retirement revenue stream….It’s been suggested that raising the income cap subject to SS taxation is one means, and there have been other ideas as well. The problem with getting down in the weeds on this issue is that no one receiving SS trusts the process to be fair.

  19. tuttabellamia says:

    Lifer, even if you disappear for a while, I doubt it will become quiet around here. Your blog will simply be:


    • objv says:

      When the cat’s away, the mice will play. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, that depends on who the temporary manager is, and how draconian his or her measures are. I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a troll.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Maybe we should do like Mr. Putin and throw in the towel.

    • 1mime says:

      Aw, Tutta, I was thinking Lifer might just stipulate that he had temporarily “outsourced” his blog….but he says it’s not that kind of blog so guess we should prepare for the “quiet” he has promised and lots of link round ups when he has time on his travels to read and post. We’ll not be able to escape politics anyway given the 2016 election that is saturating our lives.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I think you would be a good manager pro tempore.

      • 1mime says:

        (-; That’s a lovely thought but my life is too unpredictable….there are many here who could fill that temp job better than me…..Lifer will figure it out.

      • objv says:

        Tutt and Mime, I don’t know if a DemLifer would work holding down the fort here. Wouldn’t it be best to find someone that shares Chris’ political worldview? Do you happen to know if Kabuzz, Cap or BigWilly would be available?

      • 1mime says:

        I didn’t apply for the job, ob, nor did Lifer offer it. Tutta just kidding around….However, I probably share more of Lifer’s views than those you mentioned.

      • objv says:

        Desperate times call for desperate measures.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I was kidding as well. Tutt knows that the thought of any of the people I mentioned taking over the blog (even temporarily) would make Lifer’s blood run cold. 🙂

      • Jmowa says:

        I have been lurking on Lifer’s blog here for some months, noticing not only that his posts are interesting and illuminating, but that trolls are discouraged and that there is a great deal of intelligent commentary back and forth; commentary that adds fun and enlightenment to Lifer’s posts. While Lifer is travelling I would hope that simply a quick link or two when WiFi is available would keep the commentary going. It could stray a bit from the immediate link.

        Incidentally, I would hope that Lifer would hang in here even if the Trump is nominated. He could note that the Republican Party is no longer the GOP, so could keep his blog name and rejoin the party when it again becomes the GOP.

        Ordinarily I’m not much into politics, but this election seems much more important than most, so I and other lurkers would greatly appreciate it. Now that I have an Avatar identity I might even post myself and try to be good humored when my ignorance is pointed out.

        How about all of you I’ve noted below stepping up and continuing the discussion. Deepest apologies to anyone I’ve missed here. Sincerely, Jmowa

        This is to all of you below in no particular order:

        1mime, texan5142, flypusher, Stephen, JeffAtWolfcreek, Rob Ambrose,
        johngalt, antimule, Tom, objv, tuttabellamia, Creigh, Pseudoperson Randomian,
        rulezero, Ryan Ashfyre, AND last (but not least) Tracy Thorleifson

      • flypusher says:

        The link round ups are just fine to keep things going for the immediate future. Chris makes some good picks and we add plenty of our own. We won’t lack for things to talk about.

        Jmowa, welcome to the commenter ranks. I always lurk first at any online forum. I want to get the feel the a place before I decide to join in. There are some places where I’ve decided not to comment after sampling the behavior, although I’ll still check in periodically to see what people are saying.

      • Jmowa says:

        Thanks for your encouragement, flypusher.

      • 1mime says:

        One neat aspect of Lifer’s issue with the Republican Party’s endorsement of Trump and his possible resignation, is seeing the breadth of his following…so many new commentators speaking out for the first time….welcome all to Lifer’s Big Tent! It’s a nice place and most interesting dialogue.

      • Jmowa, welcome aboard! As much as I rag on Chris, I greatly respect his intellect, and the *tremendous* amount of dedication required to maintain this sort of venue. I, for one, hope he sticks with it. As for Chris’ Trump-encholy, I can personally attest that it helps to think of Trump simply as a flying monkey explosively expelled from the betwixt the derriere cheeks of the collective national psyche. In the grand scheme of things, Trump is no more than an unpleasant odor that will gradually dissipate of its own accord.

        I suspect Chris is finally coming to terms with what most here take for granted – despite his putative party affiliation, Chris long ago strayed from RINO land into DIABN territory. IMHO, he ought simply to re-brand as “DemConvert,” or some such, and have a big ol’ “coming out” party, as it were. Chris’ subsequent posts will be no less interesting or intellectually stimulating, and we’ll all continue to have grand fun with our rhetorical jousts. And, as an added bonus, the intellectual honesty quotient will tick up just a bit. 🙂

        P.S. – It is probably worth noting that altering the blog title may negatively impact Chris’ long-running association with the Hearst-run Houston Barnacle. The Barnacle loves nothing more than being able to lay claim to a “GOP” blog (that is, in fact, anything but).

      • 1mime says:

        I guess I’m feeling ornery today, Tracy, but just to nitpick at your comments about Lifer’s “presumed” conversion to a progressive, liberal political philosophy……I don’t ever see that happening. It’s funny, though, that the fact that Lifer sees value in the Democratic positions on social policy while hewing to a pretty clear conservative posture on fiscal matters, makes him “unfit” to call himself a Republican. If anything, Lifer epitomizes the essence of the “Independent” – one who carefully assesses both sides and makes decisions pragmatically…..Or, he may link up to a new, yet to be formed moderate (read that “reasonable”) conservative group….His choice, and I’ll bet it will be a good one. I used to try to vote from the center – for the candidate vs the party – until the Republican Party went so far off the rails that doing so became impossible. Like most here, I hope for a return to sanity for the GOP but it seems they just can’t read the tea leaves…which, as Fifty noted, can be “subtle”….or not….as Trump voters indicate.

  20. Creigh says:

    Regarding the D’s mimicking the R’s characteristics, I still don’t see this. The Rs have a huge fracture between their business wing and their cultural wing. As David Brin says, this is not blue vs. red, it’s blue vs gray. I don’t see how Rs straddle that divide.

    Now, it’s true that as the Republican Party fractures and weakens and the “common enemy” factor declines, some of the tensions within the Democratic Party will become more apparent. But the fundamental fracture the Rs have been papering over doesn’t seem to exist on the D side.

    • Tom says:

      Eh, the 2016 Democratic primary is making the tensions within the party apparent.

      Hillary Clinton isn’t really even a “moderate,” never mind a DINO, but listen to Sanders supporters calling her the same thing as a Republican.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I’m more interested in the cultural aspects of it. I happen to be quite individualistic and phenomena such as “Social Justice Warriors” and “Political Correctness” bother me.

        It’s almost as though it’s a religion. There is a philosophy – sort of, there is an orthodoxy, there are influencers, there is a flock, members who deviate from the orthodoxy with contradictory speech/ideas are punished via being shamed/driven out/doxxed/harrassed, while the “upstanding” are protected no matter the situation, while any scientific data/news that even remotely hints that their orthodoxy holds is blown waay out of proportion and/or misrepresented while anything that contradicts is suppressed.

        I wonder if that’ll turn into the Democratic crazy constituency – and if the welfare state left just happened to be able to join forces. I wonder how those factions play. Because as far as policy goes, Clinton and Sanders aren’t that far apart – on paper, but Clinton’s …uh, rapid malleability on policy positions makes some people question her commitment to her promises. Except, of course, when it comes to foreign policy where Clinton is pretty interventionist, militarily.

        OK, that might be overwrought, and still too simplistic.

        Oh, well. There are several view points on this. Vox ran an entire article on this a while back and I haven’t even mentioned the technocrats, the African American bloc, or the alarmist greens or left libertarians…

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Of course there are tensions. Thats always the case with a big tent, and it’s a good thing, not a bad one.

        The other day, Bernie said this:

        “I think we are the best positioned to win in the general. But if not, I will do everything in my power to make sure no Republican gets into the WH in this election,”

        That, to me, suggests a situation that is fundamently different from the GOP, where the only living presidents from the party won’t endorse,when the speaker of the house won’t endorse.

        The difference is, the tensions on the dem side are natural and healthy. The ones on the GOP side are debilitating and toxic.

      • 1mime says:

        Pseudo, I agree that Clinton and Sanders policy positions are “generally” the same (except as you noted for Clinton’s more hawkish foreign policy). The key difference in my view is how they plan to pursue their policy objectives. Ex: minimum wage – Sanders wants a blanket $15/hr wage imposed; Clinton will allow a gradual and regional approach to the $15/h wage starting more modestly with $12/hr. Same with “free” college….To me, Clinton’s approach is more nuanced and cautious, and more cognizant of real legislative challenges. I think many people share the view that Sanders’ approach is too absolute and thus more likely to be unachievable.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        I’m not really sure what to think, honestly. Sanders has always had more “extreme” positions but he does have a very long legislative history – I’m certain he definitely understands how it works and he does have a long history of working with whoever agrees with him – and for smaller steps in the right direction. He’s worked with Ron Paul before and he’s voted with Rand Paul on civil liberty and GOP on fed audit, and he got a sort of microsinglepayer by getting in funsing for communuty health centers in the ACA. They’ll both have plenty of allies in policy. Neither of them will have much Republican support, except maybe in matters of Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy, and maybe Sanders’ personal privacy tendencies from libertarians.

        The question is, do you treat campaign promises as a legislative goal, purely, or as a initial bargaining offer, or as a bit of both.

        This spectrum has Trump on one end, some of whose proposals are utterly impossible and sometimes bizarre and Clinton on the other end…

      • 1mime says:

        Every time I’ve heard Sanders speak to this point – what he will expect from Clinton if she is the nominee – he’s vague. I hope he can get past the bitterness that campaigns bring and, if he is not the nominee, use the convention process to promote his highest priorities. He and Clinton will doubtless have a conversation with stipulations per Bernies “we’ll see” responses. He’s still trying to win so it’s contradictory for him to discuss what he would expect if she wins.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @Rob Ambrose

        The “healthiness” of it is exactly what I’m questioning. The Dems seem to be feeding their own share of fire and brimstone preachers…

  21. tuttabellamia says:

    Regarding the article about overpopulation . . . I’m not an expert on the subject, but from what I can tell, there is no such thing as an actual food shortage, but simply a “poor” distribution of the food supply, with certain groups of people taking for granted their overabundance of food to the point that a lot of it gets thrown in the trash, and others literally dying of hunger, due to political upheaval and other reasons.

    • 1mime says:

      I’ve been reading Colin McCann’s “Transatlantic” where Frederick Douglass visited Ireland (and later England) to spread his message that slavery was wrong. While there, Ireland was entering one of several famines and it was noted that the poor starved while food was banked in warehouses for export and sale. I suspect that those who could refuse food for starving families (especially the children) would have no compunction about letting the food “rot” before sharing it. Says a lot about the ugly side of capitalism….

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Capitalism is like a gun Mime.

        An incredibly useful and powerful tool, but one which should be constrained with sane, sensible laws that regulate it’s use, for the protection of all.

  22. Tom says:

    Yeah. General election polls right now are a bit silly — just like pointing to Clinton’s “favorables,” which are weighed down by her favorability rating with Democrats, which will almost certainly improve once the primary is over.

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