Link Roundup, 5/26/2016

From the Washington Post: File this under ‘Duh’ – Marijuana decriminalization is causing a decline in drug trafficking.

From Lucky Peach: A charming history of Pho.

From Motherboard: Uber’s China Problem.

From Gizmodo: Visualizing the scale of the Arctic heat wave.

From the AP: Measuring the cost of the government’s archaic technology.

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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76 comments on “Link Roundup, 5/26/2016
  1. 1mime says:

    Speaking of TX, ever wonder about all the lawsuits filed by TX against the federal government? Turns out that since Obama has been President, TX has sued the federal government over 39 times…….at a taxpayer cost of $5M…..which kind of suprised me….probably feel it’s less money for more political exposure than they could ever get from a marketing firm…….For the taxpayers, the benefit is not so good….only 8 wins (3 of which are only “partial”) out of 39…..

  2. 1mime says:

    Well, now we know who candidate Trump “really” thinks would be the most difficult opponent on the Dem side. I’m beginning to agree with him. Sanders called his bluff on the debate and Trump backed out………a pattern is emerging………

    • texan5142 says:

      Drump is a chicken shit, who knew.

      Have a good holiday 1mime.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Tex. Weather here has been awful….terrible flooding, within a few weeks of the last major flooding event. I haven’t heard of any deaths due to flash flooding in our major streets which is a credit to our law enforcement, but lots of homes being flooded again.

        Hope and expect weather elsewhere is much nicer at this time of year. Guess you’ll be grilling some nice fish filets and steaks, right?

      • texan5142 says:

        Yes, please stop by, all are welcome.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll hop on my Lear jet and buzz right on over, Tex! Sounds like you’re planning a real nice holiday bash……..Yeeha!

    • Creigh says:

      I thought that debating Trump was a horrible idea. If I was the nominee, I still wouldn’t debate Trump. Never argue with a fool, it’s just a waste of time.

      • 1mime says:

        I think Sanders would have done quite well, and Trump isn’t nearly well prepared enough to debate on the basis of issues, which Sanders would have hammered. Regardless, Trump bailed so we’ll never know unless Sanders wins the nom.

  3. Rob Ambrose says:

    Totally OT, but since Super PAC’s are not allowed to coordinate with candidates, is there any limits or restrictions? Like, are Super PAC’s allowed to spend funds on someone who probably doesn’t want their money spent on them?

    I wonder what would happen if some mischevious Liberal billionaire gave, say, $10 million to an explicitly racist white supremacist group and let them buy whatever ads they want. That would probably do more damage to Trump then anything HRC could do

    • 1mime says:

      From what I have read on the subject, the lines are blurred in practice. That’s why C.U. was such a significant decision because huge amounts of money move in politics under the sanction of the broad umbrella of this law…..and, many of them do so anonymously.

  4. Rob Ambrose says:

    Do these morons even have any idea what planet they’re on?

    The Bundy Bros are shocked – shocked! – that they are not allowed to have their guns while in jail.

    Of course, I’m sure before this, they were fully supportive of felons being denied the minor, unimportant rights (such as voting). But the 2nd amendment? That trumps all.

    And of course, I’m sure he doesn’t mean ALL ppl in jail should have guns. There are black folks there too, after all. He just means the “right kind” of ppl.

  5. objv says:

    The following is more applicable to the last topic discussed, but here we go:

    “Americans overestimate the percentage of Democrats who are black, union members or atheists. They overestimate the percentage of Republicans who are seniors, evangelicals or Southerners.”

    Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Thanks and gratitude to those who have served in the military.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Interesting article objv.

      I think it behooves all of us to check our own stereotyping behavior from time to time.

      Nothing is ever all one thing or never the other.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      OV, and along the same lines . . . Trump is supported by people one would least expect, and NOT supported by those often assumed to support him.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      From the article: “People who pay attention to political news have worse misperceptions in almost every case.”
      The term “media-created caricature” came to my mind before I scrolled down to the bottom of the article and saw the author had also chosen the word “caricature.”

    • vikinghou says:

      What’s most interesting is that, according to this piece, “people who pay attention to political news have worse misperceptions in almost every case.”

      This could be attributable to the partisan nature of cable news channels. Politics junkies like to watch the channels whose content validates their political views.

      • 1mime says:

        How do you define “political junkie”, Viking?

      • vikinghou says:

        Good question, 1mime.

        To me, political junkies are people who spend more time than they should consuming political media. To be honest, I’m probably a member of that group.

        My father is one too. Today we had a big argument about Obama’s appearance in Hiroshima. Dad insisted that Obama went there to apologize for the use of the atomic bomb (i.e., Fox News). I countered that he specifically avoided doing so (i.e., MSNBC, New York Times).

        I didn’t listen to Obama’s “entire” speech, so I suppose I can’t objectively have an opinion one way or another. All I know is what I read and watched.

      • 1mime says:

        Two points: You are correct; your father is wrong about Obama’s speech at Hiroshima. Here is a link with the entire speech that you can share with him.

        Second point: I consider myself a political junkie in that I spend a great deal of time reading and conversing on the subject. I do think it is important to read and view multiple sources, and, from different viewpoints. I admit to not wanting to watch FOX, but occasionally watch MSNBC – Maddow as she is better researched though clearly liberal. As important is taking the information one reads and sees and putting it through the thought mill….IOW, not accepting at face value much of anything that seems extreme. It is very difficult for me to avert my natural cynicism about the Republican Party, for example. It’s a fault which I admit, but which I believe is well deserved.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I interpreted his visit as a way of making peace with the Japanese people after all these years, as the first US president to take the time and effort to even set foot on that site, and I feel it was unnecessary for him to stress it was not an apology.

      • 1mime says:

        The truth is, Tutta, that people have such strong feelings about Obama that they will read into his visit whatever they want.

        You never hear anything like this about presidents visiting Germany, for instance.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Viking, I would say all of us would qualify. I don’t know lots of pol who spend more then 5 minutes a day commenting on political blog. It’s kinda my dark secret because none of my friends in real life would ever really guess I’m a closet political junkie lol.

        My anecdotal experience is that ppl talk politics far less in real life then on the internet.

    • 1mime says:

      In reading the details of the study, it didn’t survey the same questions for each party group. I wish it had. I agree about misperceptions, but it would have been a more valuable and valid comparison if there was an apples to apples comparison on same questions.

    • vikinghou says:

      Truly scary. And there are still people who don’t believe evolution and natural selection exist. This should be a teachable moment for such morons.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Alas, Viking, they probably believe these bugs were sent from god to punish us for homosexuality or something.

        Your point is a good one, though. The selective process is all around us.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Evolution is literally all around us.

        Everywhere we look, from the continents, to life, to the solar system, is always in constant change. The fact that these changes occur in unfathomably slow speeds which make then undectable in human lifespans is not a strike against them.

        How could evolution NOT happen, frankly? The proof is in the fact that every human looks different from their parents. The ONLY way this can happen is if a child’s genetic code is slighty different from its parents. Add up enough tiny changes over millions of years and they’re going to inevitably end up looking very different from the beginning of that time to the other.

        The only way evolution could NOT happen is if there was only one species on Earth and it was a clone species, with every offspring looking EXACTLY like it’s parents. This is quite obviously not the case.

      • fiftyohm says:

        It’s interesting RobA how obvious it seems to us now, but what a incredible intellectual leap it was for Darwin to figure it out at the time! That’s what is so amazing to me.

      • 1mime says:

        The “ancients” amaze me…..Modern civilization owes so much to those who bravely, independently with very limited resources (except tremendous intellect and great curiosity) engineered buildings and proved many other scientific theories. It’s staggering, really, to try to appreciate how much was achieved centuries ago with only the human mind, creativity and persistence.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Very true fifty. We have a massive pile of scientific evidence across multiple disciplines to support evolution today. It’s a pretty easy judgement to make.

        But a few hundred years ago when Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, it must have been a total reality distorting books. And frankly, I can forgive why there were so many ppl back then who simply didn’t have the ability to accept, so different was it from what they “knew” to be true.

        Today, however, with the unbelievable mountain of evidence, it’s a little harder to cut the same slack. And obviously, what ppl believe personally is none if anyone’s business. But when these groups try to push this into school curriculums, that’s a public health risk.

      • 1mime says:

        Going back to Tutta’s laments about media and technology influence in our lives, it is so much easier today to manipulate large swaths of population, especially as people have become so lazy in doing independent research.

        As Fifty has noted, healthy “skepticism” is a good thing.

      • 1mime says:

        Both consumers and medical professionals need to get on board with “don’t over-prescribe antibiotics” . Doctors too easily prescribe; patients are too impatient with recovery speed.

        We are an “instant” gratification nation – that’s for sure.

      • vikinghou says:

        True, 1mime.

        And the irony is that doctors prescribe antibiotics for maladies that aren’t caused by bacteria. Just to appease their patients’ demands to “do something.”

    • 1mime says:

      I saw that too, Fifty. Scary.

      • duncancairncross says:

        It’s interesting RobA how obvious it seems to us now, but what a incredible intellectual leap it was for Darwin to figure it out at the time! That’s what is so amazing to me.

        I found it amazing when I was at university
        Some world renowned double dome had spent most of his life developing a mathematical relationship
        Then a collection of scruffy students would be able to learn and make use of it after a couple of hours

        Some things are so obvious AFTER somebody has pointed them out

    • texan5142 says:

      Minnesota is on the right track I do believe.

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Do these morons even have any idea what planet they’re on?

    The Bundy Bros are shocked – shocked! – that they are not allowed to have their guns while in jail.

    Of course, I’m sure before this, they were fully supportive of felons being denied the minor, unimportant rights (such as voting). But the 2nd amendment? That trumps all.

    And of course, I’m sure he doesn’t mean ALL ppl in jail should have guns. There are black folks there too, after all. He just means the “right kind” of ppl.

  7. Rob Ambrose says:

    Trump fianlly firms up a policy on energy, and it should provide some decent soundbites.

    “Sweet, sweet, pure beautiful oil” (truly a wordsmith, this guy is)

    Also, his plan to cancel the Paris Climate Accord seems like a pretty obvious tool to bludgen with. Gallup has 64% of Americans “worried or greatly worried” about global warming.

    Trump’s problem is in his ecbi chamber gives him the impression that 90%+ of the population believes the things he does.

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Man, do I ever feel glad I’m not Orrin Hatch right now, whose job it is to defend the totally indefensible. That’s some pretty transparent bullshit there Big O, about how he’s actually doing Garland a favor by not holding hearings:

    “[H]olding the confirmation process amid the clamor and commotion of the current presidential election would thrust Judge Garland into a punishing political gauntlet that is below the dignity of a Supreme Court nominee,”

    Lol @ protecting someone from harm and damage that you yourself will be responsible for.

    That’s like “protecting” someone by telling them to stay in the house so they don’t get beaten with a baseball bat…..when YOURE the one with the bat doing the beating.

      • 1mime says:

        “Inadvertent”………that’s what Repubs call a major screw up. I’d have more respect for the man if he just said: “I can’t hold a hearing for any nominee from Obama because the Republican establishment will not allow it.”

        At least be honest.

      • flypusher says:

        Leonard Pitts nailed it in a column a few months back- these obstructions won’t even put it the work to craft a semi-believable lie, thus insulting our collective intelligence.

        There are multiple reasons that Drumpft hijacked their party. This example of blatant denial of reality and spinelessness shows why the GOP was so ripe for a hostile takeover.

  9. flypusher says:

    Update on a conversation we had a few posts back:

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  10. Re arctic warming, I can personally attest that Delhi is currently hotter than the devil’s armpit, i.e., even warmer than normal for this time of year. Ah, well. At least we’ve had a mild Spring. Then again, we all *know* how quickly it can snap back the other way:

    Dang! I hate it when that happens!

    But after a week in India, I am kinda hoping for a Bollywood remake. Those chopper pilots for sure would break out into song, and maybe change costumes a couple times whilst they augered in… 😉

    • goplifer says:

      Ok, posting footage from “Day After Tomorrow” is just spiteful.

      Enjoy Delhi. Would love to hear more about it.

      • n1cholas says:

        Yes, but, like, it snowed last winter and stuff, hence, global warming is just a massive hoax by scientists so they can continue to exploit…grant money.

      • flypusher says:

        Chris had a post a while back about how people going into politics, even if they are highly successful, are essentially taking a pay cut-they could be earning way, way more in the private sector. In a similar vein, if you are an aspiring con artist, and you actually have the smarts to land a tenure track position and write a grant that could grab a share of an even shrinking share of the research $ pie, most likely you’re smart enough to find a much faster and more lucrative con job. You’d be going into finance.

      • 1mime says:

        All too often, our exiting members of Congress end up in lucrative positions as lobbyists or with special interest groups. I’m not denying that the competent, special ones couldn’t earn more on the front end through private business employment, just that the back end offers a nice nest egg for those who position themselves accordingly.

        I have seen a couple of studies that break this phenomena down and it was pretty amazing. They simply never leave the “government loop”….

      • Chris, yeah, sorry about that. The wolf pack in the grounded tanker scene? Worst. CGI. Ever. 😉

        Delhi, on the other hand, was pretty amazing. The city is blessed with a burgeoning middle class, and all the economic dynamism that goes with it. Those jobs that left and aren’t coming back? Well, a lot of them seem to have found a new home in India. The upshot is that the suburbs of Delhi are booming, with high-rise condo developments going up everywhere. Downtown Delhi is in the throes of major gentrification. Construction is literally non-stop, day and night. And the city is *noticeably* cleaner than the last time I passed through (~15 years ago). The smelly diesel tuk-tuks of yesteryear are gone; they’re all CNG (and some electric) now. Kinda cool. Formerly, city air was redolent with the acrid stench of dung smoke from open fires; one detects only the faintest tang now. Delhi is slowly but surely becoming a modern metropolis, whilst retaining its distinctive cultural flair.

        Interestingly enough, it’s the very growth of the middle class in India that makes the country a viable market for my company’s products. We market pipeline facilities and and integrity management software (and services) that help pipeline operators avoid unscheduled product deliveries (and the occasional attendant, but unintended barbecue) in their rights-of-way. Indian pipeline companies are all government-run public utilities. The political clout of the Indian middle class has grown to the point that fatal pipeline accidents can no longer be quietly swept under the rug. The political fallout from recent Indian pipeline accidents is such that India is now adopting western-style pipeline safety regulations. Indian pipeline companies are hungry for the technology we offer.

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t you find it rather interesting, Tracy, that in a country that is thriving, so is their middle class? While here in America, our middle class is shrinking along with our manufacturing industry. Maybe Sanders has it just right………..

      • 1mime, sorry, but Sanders is a communist moron. E.O.S.

        Bear in mind that what I’ve labeled the Indian “middle class” is still earning what would be regarded as poverty-level wages here. There are no precious snowflakes in India demanding “safe spaces,” free college education, and 15 bucks an hour to flip burgers or brew lattes when they discover, surprise, surprise, that nobody has job openings for those with degrees in post-feminist LGBT-WTF studies of white patriarchal oppression in medieval Saxony; everybody over there is just hustling their rear end off. I don’t think India has *any* concept of participation trophies. Competition for university slots is *unbelievable*. But, hey, when you were eating bugs and dirt just a few years ago, using the street as your toilet and the gutter as your water source, the current state of play seems like a slice of heaven, and the future looks wide open. And really, *that’s* the most important difference between there and here.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, Tracy, that “innocent” remark kindled an outsized response. Everything is relative, right? Guess you’re selling in the right market given your feeling about the employee situation in America. Wish you great success in your venture. I would be surprised if the hourly wage earners you are describing belong to America’s middle class, never the less, I understand exactly what you are saying. Crystal clear.

    • johngalt says:

      Then Delhi has something in common with the Arctic, which is also hotter than the devil’s armpit.

    • Scientific Fatalist says:

      Well, you’re definitely in the wrong parts of India then. It’s mostly pleasant down here in Mysore. Go somewhere else :D. Did you know that the Brits went and invented “hill stations” to escape the heat and have a pleasant summer? …you might find the drive to many of these places inappropriately terrifying though

      • Actually, I’ve come to realization that Delhi traffic (which can only be described in post-apocalyptic terms, even for Houstonians) is in actuality far more *efficient* than US-style traffic. Traffic lanes? Who need ’em! Traffic lights? Thanks, but no thanks; roundabouts are far more sporting. The traffic flow is never fast, but it pretty much never stops. It’s kinda like blood flow in your circulatory system – completely unmanaged, yet remarkably effective. Still, I think it will be a while before Google self-driving cars could be turned loose in Delhi.

        Sadly, I didn’t make it to my host’s family hill station. I did once make the drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara – talk about some high pucker-factor moments! 😉

      • Scientific Fatalist says:

        Well, that’s what I think a truly libertarian solution to traffic control would end up looking like. There are plenty of rules in the rulebook, but they are enforced very inconsistently – and it gets worse as you go further from the big cities.

        I can hardly answer if that’s a good thing, however, even after growing up learning to drive in India, then driving in the States, and managing to teach Americans to drive in India along the way (that was hard, had to make them unlearn so much). When I’m in the States, I miss driving in India because everything is so boring and predictable and sterile. When I’m in India, I miss driving in the States because everything is so boring and predictable and sterile. I can say, however, that both places are equally alien and scary to people who aren’t well versed in the other. Americans find traffic in India scary – without exception, and predictably so. What’s more interesting is that plenty of people from the Indian side of my family have been terrified of traffic in the States, precisely because the idea that people won’t randomly cut across lanes and run into you at 70mph is so alien to them. So seeing someone change into a lane next to yours makes them want to instinctively back off immediately.

  11. flypusher says:

    On the topic of the legalized hippie lettuce, this interview I heard yesterday is very informative:

    I was very impressed by Hickenlooper, very, very impressed. He admitted that at the time the voters approved legal weed, he wished that he would have had a magic wand to reverse the outcome. But he very commendable attitude is a solid majority approved this and I’ll do my best to figure out how to make it work. There is far too little of that beautiful pragmatism in gov’t these days. My first impression is here is someone that I could enthusiastically vote FOR. I’ll be keeping an eye on him.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Think of how novel that is…”I don’t agree with this, but if this is what most of you want, I’m going to figure out a way to do it as best we can”.

      Versus…”I’m right and you all are wrong, so I’m going to do everything I can to stop it, and if I can’t stop it, i’m going to sabotage it so that it doesn’t work”

      I might suggest that one side of the aisle might have more of the latter attitude, but I suspect we have plenty of evidence of it coming from both sides

      • 1mime says:

        It’s called “principled”, Homer. I would say that the right side of the aisle is severely deficient in this virtue. Not even close.

  12. flypusher says:

    There is a fine little bistro just blocks from chez Fly that serves up a you-want-to-lick-the-bowl-it’s-so-good batch of pho. Along with pad Thai, a properly smoked brisket (which is a few miles further east!) and the really high end pizza, pho is the ambrosia of the gods!

    • goplifer says:

      I miss Houston

      • 1mime says:

        Surely just “some” parts of it….

      • fiftyohm says:

        Me too. I miss it every year – until I come home. Let’s just say that Canadian food, ( outside of Quebec anyway), leaves a bit to be desired.

      • Creigh says:

        But…Tim Horton!

      • johngalt says:

        Poutine? Canadian bacon?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tim’s is pretty crappy. Mrs. Ohm won’t go in one. Now, poutine can be a good thing, for sure. Sadly, though this haute cuisine is not as popular with Canadians as one might expect. Seems that while finding cheese acceptable, potatoes just fine, and brown gravy necessary for mostly everything, the combination of same is widely believed to possess mystical, and decidedly lethal qualities.

      • 1mime says:

        What do you miss most about Houston, Lifer? Was that a genuine lament, or a sarcastic comment?

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I remember as a teen, tasting pizza for the first time. In Southwest Missouri, in the 60s, pizza was an new exotic delicacy. If you could get it fresh and hot, with the cheese stringing out like in a Coca Cola commercial. Oh, yeah. And then playing with that strip of burnt tissue on the roof of your mouth for a couple of days. Ah, what memories.

    • johngalt says:

      Lab members took me to Les Givral a couple of weeks ago in Midtown Houston. A bahn mi to die for – crusty baguette, smeared with pate and filled with slow cooked pork, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, carrot. I’ve had plenty of bahn mi, but this was the best. It was an entire meal – for $2.75. A coworker had a beef-and-vermicelli bowl that was served in a vat for $5.95. They had pho too. Maybe next time.

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