Archive for the ‘Regulation’ Category

My Bumps, My Bumps, My AR-Stocky Humps

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Bump fire stocks (or just “bump stocks”) are replacement stocks for semiautomatic rifles that let the shooter simulate automatic by firing several shots without having to re-squeeze the trigger, are a hot topic in the news after Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used them as part of his deadly rampage.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of our press corps, I had actually heard of bump stocks before the shooting, and seen videos like this, before the shooting:

Usually the NRA’s reaction to any call for gun control is “See you in Hell first!” However, their reaction to a call for bump stock regulation was quite different:

“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”

So the NRA just signaled it’s willingness to sign on to a national gun control regulation. You better head out early, as the lines for the ski lodges of Gehenna are going to be out the door.

Of course, NRA support was contingent on getting national carry reciprocity in return, so watch congressional Democrats derail the deal, probably by tossing in the usual knee-jerk demands for for banning other “scary” gun part, higher capacity magazines, etc. Because NRA.

I’ve never fired a bump stock, and don’t know anyone who owns one. To get a better handle on this issue, I sent a few questions to old friend and master class shooter and trainer Karl Rehn about bump fire stocks.


1. My impression is that bump stocks are generally not well-regarded in the majority of the firearms community, and that they’re not allowed at the overwhelming majority of shooting ranges. Is that true? Do you allow bump stock firearms at any classes or events at KRTraining’s A-Zone range?

I’ve never had a student show up for a long gun class with a gun with a bump fire stock. They aren’t considered professional grade gear. You won’t find a SWAT team or a Navy SEAL or a professional shooting competitor using one.

I do not prohibit the use of bump stock equipped guns in my long gun classes. I’ve just never had anyone show up for a class wanting to use one. The drills we run in my long gun classes generally don’t involve firing more than 3 rounds at any target, and accuracy is part of the scoring for every drill.

2. Is it possible to rapid fire a bump stock equipped gun accurately, or is it a “spray and pray” weapon?

I haven’t used one. See answer #1. People serious about shooting quickly and accurately, or even just accurately, don’t use them.

3. What, if any, legitimate use cases are there for bump stock guns besides “having fun on your own land?”

It was originally invented as an aid for disabled shooters to operate a rifle more easily.

4. Besides the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Assault Weapons” ban, has the federal government ever attempted to regulate rifle stocks, or indeed anything beyond the receiver?

There has been considerable controversy and confusion associated with the ‘pistol brace’ which is sort of a stock that can be attached to pistols made from rifle lowers. See https://www.sigsauer.com/press-releases/atf-clarifies-ruling-pistol-stabilizing-braces/.

Will a bump stock ban have any impact on crime? Unlikely. If the shooter had not had the bump stock, could he have fired just as many rounds in the same time? Probably yes.


I would oppose a bump fire stock ban on general principles of federalism, and the fact that it won’t actually prevent any mass shootings, nor will they actually prevent new bump stocks, since bump stock designs are readily available for 3D printing.

That said, if you’re going to sacrifice any firearm component on the alter of appeasing mass hysteria, heavier regulations on bump fire stocks (which have always struck me as a quick and dirty hack) is probably the best option. Especially if we get national carry reciprocity in the bargain.

LinkSwarm for August 18, 2017

Friday, August 18th, 2017

The House IT scandal, another UK Islamic rape ring, jihad terror attacks, Charlottesville, Google: Another packed week of news, all big stories that deserve more time than I have to fully untangle. I especially don’t want to get dragged into the endless Charlottesville debate/recrimination/squirrel! morass, since that’s exactly where the leftwing activists and the MSM (but I repeat myself) want us to focus our attention, rather than the economy or Islamic terrorism.

Plus two Disney links, just because that’s the way the week shook out.

  • “Newcastle has joined a list of British cities where grooming gangs, made up of predominantly Pakistani Muslim men, systematically rape and abuse vulnerable, white girls. A nationwide pattern emerged after the first prosecutions in Rotherham, and then Rochdale, where a ‘culture of silence’ and political correctness led to inaction by authorities who feared being called ‘racist’.”
  • Barcelona jihad terror attacks kill 13.
  • But news reports go out of their way to avoid mentioning “Islam” or “Jihad.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • On the same subject:

  • Jihad stabbing attack in Finland? Obviously Finland needs stricter knife control…
  • “Imran Awan, a former IT aide for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was indicted Thursday on four counts including bank fraud and making false statements.”
  • The Feds also indicted Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi. “In addition to lying on multiple mortgage disclosures, as an affidavit alleged at the time of Imran’s arrest, the indictment claims Hina lied by claiming medical hardship in order to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars from a retirement program.”
  • “Feds Accuse Former Texas Police Chief of Working with Mexican Cartel.”

    McALLEN, Texas — Federal authorities arrested a former chief and current police sergeant for his role in allegedly helping Mexico’s Gulf Cartel move cocaine and marijuana through his jurisdiction. The Texas cop claimed that he needed money to pay for his upcoming bid for county constable after a failed attempt for the Hidalgo County Sheriff position.

    Current Progreso Police Sergeant Geovani Hernandez went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby who formally charged him with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine.

    The case against Hernandez began earlier this year when agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations received information from a confidential informant indicating that Sgt. Geovani Hernandez was working for the Gulf Cartel, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed. According to the documents, Hernandez bragged to an informant that he was a friend of former Gulf Cartel leader Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loza Salina and was able to travel to Reynosa without heat. The Texas cop told the informant that he needed money for his upcoming race for Hidalgo County Constable.

    Hernandez, like the majority of candidates running for office in the Rio Grande Valley, is a Democrat. The person he lost to in the 2012 Democratic, Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino, is in prison for money-laundering. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Participant at Charlottesville rally claims police actively pushed attendees into the arms of antifa to be attacked. Which would seem to be a misuse of police power even if the people being abused are white nationalist scumbag LARP Nazis.
  • Agreeing with the above version of events: Those well-known Nazi sympathizers, the ACLU:

    “I was there and brought concerns directly to the secretary of public safety and the head of the Virginia State Police about the way that the barricades in the park limiting access by the arriving demonstrators and the lack of any physical separation of the protesters and counter-protesters on the street were contributing to the potential of violence,” said Gastanaga. “They did not respond. In fact, law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place, so that they would have grounds to declare an emergency, declare an ‘unlawful assembly’ and clear the area.”

  • “The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear. The conflagration in Charlottesville is beginning to feel like a set-up, perhaps weeks or months in the planning.” Also this tidbit I’ve seen elsewhere: “The ‘founder’ of Unite The Right, Jason Kessler, was an activist with Occupy Wall Street and Obama supporter.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Charlottesville Deputy Mayor’s Troubling Twitter Feed: ‘I Hate Seeing White People.'”
  • “As for Antifa, it’s a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were,” Noam Chomsky told the Washington Examiner. “It’s a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant.” Noam Chomsky and I agreeing on something. And the moon became as blood… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Why Was This ‘Crowd Hire’ Company Recruiting $25 An Hour ‘Political Activists’ In Charlotte Last Week?”
  • Scott Adams: “How To Know You’re In a Mass Hysteria Bubble”:

    A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies.

    Snip.

    One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

    Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

  • German town of Bad Nenndorf discovers best way to defeat both Neo-Nazis and Antifa: Have a big party! (Hat tip: Will Shetterly.)
  • 7 Things You Need to Know About Antifa,” including the fact that 92% still live with their parents.
  • On this Althouse thread I joked that SJWs would soon start digging up the graves of Confederate soldiers to put their bones on trial for war crimes. Guess what?
  • Next up on the statue destruction spree: Well-known Confederate sympathizer Abraham Lincoln, whose statues have been the target of multiple incidents of vandalism.
  • The hard left is drawing up big plans for November 4. “It’s very likely nothing will come of this, that it’s just another left-wing wish-fulfillment pantomime of a type carried out by leftists every year – if not every six months – since the 60s.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Where this is all leading:

  • Google engineer James Damore explains why he was fired:

    I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

    My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s “ideological echo chamber.” My firing neatly confirms that point.

  • “James Damore was just fired for being insufficiently Googly.”

    He rejected Google’s internal mythology, and worse, he did so with basic math, in a company where mathiness is supposed to be part of the culture.

    He also rejected a piece of the general mythology so firmly that what he said was actively misreported — so blatantly that one has to conclude the reporters either can’t read the hard parts of the memo, didn’t bother to read the memo, or somehow managed to see things that weren’t there. (That last is my guess, based on the examples of Trump Trance we’ve seen over the last six months.)

  • “I’m An Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader And I’m Sick Of Our Approach To Diversity!”

    In the copious hiring I did at Google, 97% of the people I hired were men. I wrote reams of appeals to the hiring committee to make cases for cross-functional candidates who would be great assets to Google, even though a (typically) male dominated software engineering interview crew did not find these candidates up to snuff. I had a 90+% success rate changing the hiring decision for these candidates. Almost every one of these hires made an amazing difference to the company. 98+% of these candidates were men.

    It’s not like I wasn’t trying to hire women. But I was working with a candidate pool composed of 90% men. Try software engineers with experience in sensors, wireless and hardware stacks before angrily correcting my stats there. There was no way I was going to come out of that with a larger percentage of women hires than I did.

  • Slashdot commenter nails them for their endless social justice warrioring:

    Yes, there are some unproductive people in major corporations and the media who wish to push their left-leaning political agendas on the public at large.

    But we want no part of it.

    And you know what? It’s no different here at Slashdot.

    We come here to learn about new technologies, about new scientific and mathematical discoveries, and to discuss computing.

    We don’t want to waste our days arguing about genitalia, sexual preference, racism, and transgenderism.

    We just want this bullshit to end.

    We want those on the political left to stop trying to divide society into small groups based on arbitrary traits.

    Or at the very least, we want everybody else to ignore the divisions that the political left are trying to create.

  • Is a war between China and India brewing in the Himalayas? That would seem to be a bigger story than some century-old statues. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Liberals: “There should be fewer regulations on cool things I like!” Everyone else: “What about regulations on things other people like?” Liberals: “Fuck them!
  • Madness is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  • “Jury orders blogger to pay $8.4 million to ex-Army colonel she accused of rape.”
  • College girl gets her picture taken with the Vice President. Lunatics freak out.
  • If any Republican wrote that Adolf Hitler was “had in him the stuff of which legends are made,” the way John F. Kennedy wrote in his diary in 1945, his career would be over.
  • Ted Nugent believes he would be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if he weren’t such an outspoken supporter of gun rights. He’s probably right: How do you think is a bigger “Rock and Roll Legend”: Ted Nugent, or ABBA?
  • In case you’re wondering how big a joke that Southern Poverty Law Center “hate list” is, Bosch Fawstin, a critic of Islam who drew Mohammed and was targeted for assassination in Garland, is evidently a “hate group” all on his own:

  • “He tried to kill them with a forklift!” Alice in Wonderland, that is. Who is a man. And then it gets weird…
  • The rise and fall of Disney’s River Country, a small water park near Disney World in Orlando that’s been closed and allowed to decay for 15 years.
  • 10 Disney Princesses Re-imagined as Electoral Maps.”
  • LinkSwarm for July 21, 2017

    Friday, July 21st, 2017

    I’m getting to the point where my eyes automatically skip over stories with the words “Russia” or “Mueller” in the same way they skip over stories with the word “Kardashian.” So be advised the smattering of Russia news here is of the non-imaginary variety:

  • Hillary is even more unpopular than President Trump.
  • Liberals: “Democratic voters are fired up and ready to vote against Trump!” Polls: Eh, not so much.
  • To win back voters, Democrats need to be less annoying:

    No item in your life is too big or too small for this variety of liberal busybodying. On the one hand, the viral video you found amusing was actually a manifestation of the patriarchy. On the other hand, you actually have an irresponsibly large number of carbon-emitting children.

    All this scolding – this messaging that you should feel guilty about aspects of your life that you didn’t think were anyone else’s business – leads to a weird outcome when you go to vote in November.” The central premise is probably valid, but the piece itself is larded with lies and half-truths.

    True, but this piece comes with a very large caveat: In this course of describing why Social Justice Warriors annoy the living shit out of ordinary Americans, author Josh Berro (a registered Democrat) makes several sweeping assertions about the supposed popularity of tranny bathrooms, gay marriage and gun control that are simply false.

  • The real lessons of the Natalia Veselnitskaya affair. Including this:

    It’s clear that Natalia Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch on Donald Trump, Jr. She induced him to a meeting with the promise of information that could be used against Hillary Clinton, but delivered no such information. Instead, she used the meeting to lobby the son of the presumptive Republican nominee for president on the supposed evils of the Magnitsky Act.

    And this:

    Second, the pro-Russia element in Washington, D.C. is substantial and cuts across party and ideological lines. Dana Rohrabacher, dubbed Putin’s favorite congressman, is a conservative. Ron Dellums was among the most liberal members of Congress.

    Shame to hear that about Rohrabacher, who I did an interview with a long, long time ago.

  • The damage the Obama Administration did to the criminal justice system in America. “Under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Department of Justice pushed the states to pass new laws. The goal was to make it impossible to hold repeat offenders in jail before trial. Why? Because so many repeat offenders are black.”
  • Still more about the madness at Evergreen State College. “I was told that I couldn’t go into the room because I was white.”
  • Trump ends Obama’s asinine CIA-run guns for Syrian jihadis program (though we’re still arming the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces). Naturally the MSM is spinning this as “Putin wins!”, but as I’ve argued before, we never had any national interest in arming anti-Assad jihadis in the first place.
  • President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are evidently telling Qatar and Saudi Arabia to play nice.
  • Iran says we’re violating the agreement Obama never bothered to have the Senate ratify. See if they can spin their centrifuges until the world’s smallest violin tumbles out.
  • Russia can’t modernize it’s one aircraft carrier because doing so might take ten years.
  • Turkey leaks secret locations of U.S. troops in Syria. With friends like these, who needs enemies? Turkey is long overdue for a reassessment of it’s NATO membership anyway… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Speaking of Turkey, here’s the latest on their tiff with Germany. (Also via Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Poland on verge of passing a law forcing all their supreme court justices over a certain age, except those reappointed by the justice minister, to retire. The EU is complaining it’s a “blow to a independent judiciary,” while the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party is saying its getting rid of a lot of holdover communist judges.
  • “The USA (where there is a War On Drugs under way) has 30 times the overdose death rates per capita as Portugal (which legalized or decriminalized essentially all drugs 15 years ago).”
  • Even if Congressional Republicans still can’t repeal ObamaCare (in which case we need to replace them), the Trump Administration still has many options to chip away at it.
  • Sen. John McCain diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.
  • Kurt Schlichter says we must elect Kid Rock Senator, chiefly due to the conniptions it will induce in Never Trumpers like George Will and Bill Kristol.
  • Have Clinton donors lined up behind California Senator Kamala Harris as heir 2020 Presidential nominee? On the plus side, she would help shore up the Obama coalition among black voters. On the minus side, she does a much poorer job than Obama of hiding just far out on the left wing of the party she is. After all, this was a woman who preferred seeing Catholic hospitals serving the poor close unless they agreed to perform abortions.
  • The Washington Post is very, very upset that all their fake news isn’t moving their fake polls. “Maybe you shouldn’t have cried wolf all those other times. Or was this one another crying of wolf? You squandered your credibility, trying so hard to get Trump. You built up our skepticism and our capacity to flesh out the other side of any argument against Trump.”
  • “US Special Operators Are Moving Closer to the Fighting in Raqqa.” Evidence? “On July 17, 2017, pictures began to appear on social media of flat bed trucks carrying M1245A5 M-ATV mine protected vehicles. On July 20, 2017, additional images emerged of another convoy with more M1245s, as well as a number of up-armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers.” The M1245A5 M-ATV is evidently only used by U.S. special forces. Bulldozers were also crucial to the battle of Mosul.
  • Up yours, Islamic State: bar reopens in Qaraqosh, Iraq, southeast of Mosul, liberated nine months ago.
  • This week Palestinians are rioting over (rolls dice) metal detectors.
  • Texas Speaker Joe Straus has received a no confidence vote from his hometown Bexar County Republicans.
  • “Nearly four out of every five dollars that Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) reported last quarter came from donors outside of her home state.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The White House said Thursday it had withdrawn or removed from active consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were never finalized during the Obama administration as it works to shrink the federal government’s regulatory footprint.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The Juice is loose. Well, not really: O.J. Simpson will not be released on parole until at least October. While I believe Simpson did indeed get away with a double homicide, he was acquitted of that charge, and his current parole is in line with his time served on the robbery and kidnapping charges of which he was actually convicted. Now Simpson can get back to paying off his civil lawsuit judgment.
  • “Newsweek Settles with Journalist Smeared by Kurt Eichenwald.” So. Much. Stupidity. “Eichenwald inferred that the only possible means by which Trump could have come across the misattributed quote was purposeful collusion with the Russians, and that the Wikileaks documents themselves had been altered.” Although, to be absolutely fair to everyone’s favorite seizure-prone tentacle-porn fan, plaintiff Bill Moran did not exactly cover himself in glory either… (Hat tip: Lee Stranahan’s Twitter feed.)
  • Sting hardest hit.
  • The story behind the hundred most iconic movie props of all time. I would have gone with Stonehenge rather than the 11 knobs from This is Spinal Tap… (Hat tip: VA Viper.)
  • “DC Comics Reboots Snagglepuss as ‘Gay, Southern Gothic Playwright.'” Honestly, I have so little interest in the original character this actually strikes me as an improvement. (Imagine the outrage if they brought back Scrappy Doo as an “antifa” agitator. That’s right, there wouldn’t be any, because everybody hates Scrappy Doo.) Though one wonders just who the audience is for this reboot; I doubt many urban hipsters will make their way to a comic store for the irony value…
  • No, get all the way off my lawn, you stupid kids!
  • Texas 2017 Special Session Begins

    Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

    The Texas Special Session opened Tuesday, ushering in a 30 day flurry of legislative activity. Naturally the media is focusing on the bathroom bill, because liberals are incensed that an unpopular culture war victory imposed by Obama fiat could possibly be overturned. But a lot of other important items are on the agenda, most of which liberals will hate just as much.

    The uncontroversial portion of the session is sailing right through:

    Waiving rules and blocking Democrats, Republicans in the Texas Senate opened the special legislative session Tuesday by taking rapid action on two key bills, potentially allowing Gov. Greg Abbott to open the overtime session to a longer list of conservative priorities as early as Wednesday afternoon.

    Abbott said he will expand the special session’s agenda after the Senate approves two “sunset” bills allowing five state agencies, including the Texas Medical Board, to continue operating.

    To hasten action on the bills, Republicans voted along party lines to waive a rule requiring 24-hour notice of meetings so the Business and Commerce Committee could consider the sunset measures while the Senate was in a late-morning recess.

    For the first time in more than 30 years, senators also voted — again along party lines — to suspend a rule allowing one senator to “tag” legislation, requiring a 48-hour wait before a bill can be heard in committee.

    Here again are the 19 items after the must-pass Sunset legislation that Gov. Abbot has put on the agenda:

  • Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  • Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  • School finance reform commission
  • School choice for special needs students
  • Property tax reform
  • Caps on state and local spending
  • Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  • Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  • Speeding up local government permitting process
  • Municipal annexation reform
  • Texting while driving preemption
  • Bathroom bill
  • Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  • Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  • Pro-life insurance reform
  • Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
  • Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
  • Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  • Extending maternal mortality task force
  • Here is the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s issue guide for the special session.

    Raising Speed Limits to Make Roads Safer

    Monday, July 17th, 2017

    Here’s a piece on raising speed limits to make roads safer that will sound counterintuitive, at least to those who have never actually driven on an freeway:

    “We all speed, yet months and months usually pass between us seeing a crash,” Lt. Megge tells us when we call to discuss speed limits. “That tells me that most of us are adequate, safe, reasonable drivers. Speeding and traffic safety have a small correlation.”

    Over the past 12 years, Lt. Megge has increased the speed limit on nearly 400 of Michigan’s roadways. Each time, he or one of his officers hears from community groups who complain that people already drive too fast. But as Megge and his colleagues explain, their intent is not to reduce congestion, bow to the reality that everyone drives too fast, or even strike a balance between safety concerns and drivers’ desire to arrive at their destinations faster. Quite the opposite, Lt. Megge advocates for raising speed limits because he believes it makes roads safer.

    Every year, traffic engineers review the speed limit on thousands of stretches of road and highway. Most are reviewed by a member of the state’s Department of Transportation, often along with a member of the state police, as is the case in Michigan. In each case, the “survey team” has a clear approach: they want to set the speed limit so that 15% of drivers exceed it and 85% of drivers drive at or below the speed limit.

    This “nationally recognized method” of setting the speed limit as the 85th percentile speed is essentially traffic engineering 101. It’s also a bit perplexing to those unfamiliar with the concept. Shouldn’t everyone drive at or below the speed limit? And if a driver’s speed is dictated by the speed limit, how can you decide whether or not to change that limit based on the speed of traffic?

    The answer lies in realizing that the speed limit really is just a number on a sign, and it has very little influence on how fast people drive. “Over the years, I’ve done many follow up studies after we raise or lower a speed limit,” Megge tells us. “Almost every time, the 85th percentile speed doesn’t change, or if it does, it’s by about 2 or 3 mph.”

    As most honest drivers would probably concede, this means that if the speed limit on a highway decreases from 65 mph to 55 mph, most drivers will not drive 10 mph slower. But for the majority of drivers, the opposite is also true. If a survey team increases the speed limit by 10 mph, the speed of traffic will not shoot up 10 mph. It will stay around the same. Years of observing traffic has shown engineers that as long as a cop car is not in sight, most people simply drive at whatever speed they like.

    Luckily, there is some logic to the speed people choose other than the need for speed. The speed drivers choose is not based on laws or street signs, but the weather, number of intersections, presence of pedestrians and curves, and all the other information that factors into the principle, as Lt. Megge puts it, that “no one I know who gets into their car wants to crash.”

    So if drivers disregard speed limits, why bother trying to set the “right” speed limit at all?

    One reason is that a minority of drivers do follow the speed limit. “I’ve found that about 10% of drivers truly identify the speed limit sign and drive at or near that limit,” says Megge. Since these are the slowest share of drivers, they don’t affect the 85th percentile speed. But they do impact the average speed — by about 2 or 3 mph when a speed limit is changed, in Lt. Megge’s experience — and, more importantly, the variance in driving speeds.

    This is important because, as noted in a U.S. Department of Transportation report, “the potential for being involved in an accident is highest when traveling at speed much lower or much higher than the majority of motorists.” If every car sets its cruise control at the same speed, the odds of a fender bender happening is low. But when some cars drive 55 mph and others drive 85 mph, the odds of cars colliding increases dramatically. This is why getting slow drivers to stick to the right lane is so important to roadway safety; we generally focus on joyriders’ ability to cause accidents — and rightly so — but a car driving under the speed limit in the left (passing) lane of a highway is almost as dangerous.

    Speed traps and the Arab oil embargo also get mentioned.

    (Hat tip: The Corner.)

    Texas vs. California Update for July 11, 2017

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    Long time no Texas vs. California update. I’ve been busy.

  • California’s descent into socialism:

    In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.

  • Lots of comparisons between California and the rest of the nation. Like: “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits.” And “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
  • All across California, higher pensions equal fewer government services:

    Across California, many local governments have raised taxes while cutting services. Local officials desperate for union support have made irresponsible deals with public employee unions, creating staggering employee costs. Taxpayer money meant to provide essential services to the least well-off instead goes directly to higher salaries and benefits.

    In Santa Barbara County, the 2017-2018 budget calls for laying off nearly 70 employees while dipping into reserve funds. The biggest cuts are to the Department of Social Services, which works to aid low-income families and senior citizens. Meanwhile, $546 million of needed infrastructure improvements go unfunded as Santa Barbara County struggles to pay off $700 million in unfunded pension liabilities. County officials estimate that increasing pension costs may cause hundreds of future layoffs.

    Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County is far from alone. Tuolumne County is issuing layoffs in the face of rising labor and pension costs from previous agreements. In Kern County, a budget shortfall spurred by increased pension costs has led to public safety layoffs, teacher shortages, budget cuts, and the elimination of the Parks and Recreation department, even as Kern County’s unfunded pension liability surpasses $2 billion. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, nearly 300 teachers have been laid off after years of receiving pay raises that made them unaffordable, including a 10% raise in 2015.

    In Riverside County, non-union county employees took the blow for the county’s irresponsible pension deals, as all but one of the 32 employees the county laid off this June were non-union members. This came after contract negotiations granted union employees hundreds of millions of dollars in raises. The Riverside County DA said these raises caused public safety cuts. In addition, Riverside County imposed an extra 1% sales tax to pay for these benefits. Across California, citizens suffer as local governments give away their money while cutting their services.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • That Awkward Moment When Saudi Arabia Is More Pro-American Than California:

    Don’t think I’m going soft on the Saudis. I’ve just not seen a recent image from California where there were this many American flags and none of them were on fire.

    But let’s not forget that we are dealing with a corrupt, degenerate, autocratic state where there is no free speech, where universities are run by fanatics who indoctrinate students with radical ideology; where street thugs aligned with the ruling party freely commit acts of violence against opposing views, and whose ruling elite routinely violates the basic rights of Christians and other minorities. Also, Saudi Arabia is pretty bad too.

  • A piece on California banning public employees from traveling to Texas over various social justice warrior causes. I haven’t met anyone in Texas who doesn’t count that as a win/win situation.
  • The whole thing is an example of California’s Democrat-controlled government favoring virtue signaling over actual governance.

    Whether you agree or disagree with [religious liberty] laws, they don’t seem like any of our state’s business. California passes its share of laws that might offend any number of Nebraskans or North Carolinians, but we don’t see travel bans on official visits to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Federalism is a wonderful thing. Each state gets to pass laws that reflect the values of its voters.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • There was a big, biased piece in New Yorker about Texas politics. Instead of linking to it, I’m going to link to Cahnman’s takedown of it.
  • California pension funds are going broke because math is hard:

    Unlike water deficits, pension deficits compound. As a result, years of healthy investment earnings cannot close pension deficits. Ironically, Walker herself supplies the proof with these two sentences from her op-ed:

    • “[CalPERS’s] investment returns over the last 20 years have averaged 6.7 percent.”
    • “[CalPERS’s] funded ratio [today] is at about 63 percent.”

    Yet CalPERS’s funded ratio 20 years ago was 111 percent! Ie, despite averaging a wonderful 6.7 percent annual return for 20 years, CalPERS’s funded ratio fell 48 percentage points. That’s because pension liabilities compound at high rates.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Illinois at the brink: Parallel should give Californians pause….As in Illinois, the Democrats who control California politics use their power first and foremost to protect the interests of public employee unions — not the poor and powerless. This has created an entrenched pension-protection complex.”
  • Helping Californians move to Texas isn’t just an idea, it’s a business model:

    Paul Chabot was a hard working candidate for Congress in the Redlands area. He lost twice and decided that California was no longer a decent place to raise his family—so he moved to Texas. Now he is organizing conservatives and family people to move to Texas. There is an effort to re-populate that State of New Hampshire—indeed former San Diego Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian moved to the Granite State, along with thousands of other Americas.

    “So Chabot has found a new pursuit. Last week, he launched the website Conservative Move. It’s a business aimed at helping people leave blue states like California and move places where they might be a little more comfortable — like North Texas, where Chabot and his family moved in January.

    “The purpose of this organization is to help other families create an opportunity where we didn’t have much guidance,” Chabot says.

    After the election, Chabot searched for a community that appeared to uphold the values that he and his family held dear, like safe streets and good schools. Eventually, they decided on McKinney, Texas, a city about 40 miles north of Dallas with a population around 150,000.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Missed this for the last Texas vs. California update:

    On Tuesday, May 6th, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, who are more concerned with the needs of parents, kids and taxpayers than stoking the bureaucracy and complying with teacher union diktats, were elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Reformers are now the majority of the seven member governing body in America’s second largest city.

    Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needs a major shake-up, including a call for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, which includes a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and healthcare obligations. In December, LAUSD Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly told the school board that the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations in the future because it faces a cumulative deficit of $1.46 billion through the 2018-2019 school year. While that dollar amount has been disputed in some quarters, there’s no doubt that the district is facing a budgetary crisis. It’s also no secret that an abysmal graduation rate (pumped up with the help of fake “credit recovery” classes) and shrinking enrollment have taken a serious toll on LAUSD. Also, in 2015, only one in five 4th-grade students in Los Angeles performed at or above “proficient” in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    Needless to say, anything that bodes well for parents and taxpayers will rankle the teachers unions, and the LA school board race was certainly no exception. Not only did the young Turks (Melvoin is 31 and Gonez 28.), defeat the unions’ candidates, they raised more money – in Melvoin’s case far more – than their opponents. This was a rare occurrence, because historically teachers unions have greatly outspent their opponents to get their candidates elected, especially in high-profile elections. But this time the unions could not compete with the likes of philanthropist Eli Broad who donated $450,000 to the campaign and former LA Mayor Richard Riordan who contributed over $2 million. Additionally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated nearly $7 million since last September to CCSA Advocates (the political wing of the California Charter School Association), which spent almost $3 million on the board election.

    On the union side the United Teachers Los Angeles was the big spender, pitching in about $4.13 million, according to city filings. But much of this money came from the UTLA’s national partners. The American Federation of Teachers gave UTLA $1.2 million and National Education Association, $700,000.

  • More on the same subject. “Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needed a major shakeup, calling for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, including a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and health-care obligations.”
  • California teacher who was laid off shortly after winning her school’s Teacher of the Year award takes her union to court:

    Bhavini Bhakta never intended to become an activist, but after being laid off six times in the first eight years of her career as an elementary school teacher in the Pasadena suburbs, she decided to get involved in the education reform movement. She focused first on challenging seniority-based layoffs, which in turn led her into conflict with the California Teachers Association. Now she is a plaintiff in Bain v. CTA, a case which challenges the dues structure of unions as a violation of the First Amendment. The suit seeks to restore voting rights on union matters to agency fee payers, who pay full dues for representational activities but opt out of paying for lobbying and political activities.

    “The state union forcibly takes our money and uses it to misrepresent us. They’re not serving the teachers on the ground,” she said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re using my money for their own purposes.”

  • Tenure reform is the only big education reform under debate in California this year.
  • Back in May: ICE Nabs 188 In LA During 5-Day Operation. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Soros-Linked Groups Behind California Ban on Detaining Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California uses one credit card to pay off another. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California Democrats receive death threats for daring to point out that single-payer socialized medicine bill is pie-in-the-sky malarkey without a funding mechanism.
  • Let California try single payer…and deal with the consequences.
  • So how’s that minimum wage hike working out? At least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September.
  • San Francisco has a staggering $5.8 billion pension liability, and a series of retroactive benefit increases approved by voters over a dozen years is largely to blame.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California farmer facing a $2.8 million fine for plowing his own field. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • California voters pass legislative transparency measure. California’s Democratic legislators ignore it. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Committing felonies on the job is no reason to give up your cushy pension:

    Mark Peterson, the Contra Costa district attorney forced to resign as part of a felony perjury conviction, cut a sweet plea deal with state prosecutors allowing him to keep most of his pension.

    The deal will probably let him walk away with starting annual retirement payments of about $128,000 in addition to Social Security benefits. That’s because he pleaded no contest to only the most recent of 13 felony counts stemming from his illegal tapping of campaign funds for personal use.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California Democrats Want Data on Lobbyists’ Race, Sexual Orientation.” Social justice Warriors wanting to milk the graft cash cow? Get the popcorn!
  • San Francisco to pay illegal alien $190,000 for violating their own sanctuary city policy. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • Just how big is Houston? Take a look at these overlay maps.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrates the opening of Toyota’s American headquarters in Plano:

    Today we celebrate another milestone marking the incredible momentum of Texas’ continuing economic expansion. Toyota Motor North America joins Hulu, Jacobs Engineering, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kubota, Jamba Juice, Sabre and many other innovative industry leaders who have decided to go big in Texas.

    Our greatest natural resource in the Lone Star State is the hardworking people of Texas. And that work ethic draws global leaders like Toyota to Texas every day. With the second-largest workforce in the nation at more than 13 million strong, Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation. In fact, more Texans have jobs today than ever before, even as more people are moving here every year from states that overtax and overregulate.

  • Why Texas is so attractive for business relocation:

    During his latter years in office as Texas governor, Rick Perry made it a priority to lure businesses to the state, particularly from California. Two-and-a-half years into the term of Gov. Greg Abbott, the successor to Perry, the pace of corporate relocations to the Lone Star State shows no signs of slowing down.

    Much has been written about the state’s business-friendly environment. Most businesses in Texas that aren’t sole proprietorships or partnerships pay a 1 percent or lower “franchise tax,” in lieu of a traditional corporate income tax. In addition, the state’s governing bodies tend to favor minimal regulations and sponsor research and development initiatives.

    The state’s economy is healthy, evident by strong employment growth. The Texas Workforce Commission reports a net gain of 210,000 jobs across the state in 2016, and employers are projected to add another 225,000 jobs in 2017.

    Equally important to strong job growth is the quality of life that employees are promised upon relocating.

    According to Robert Allen, president of the Texas Economic Development Corp., the lifestyle element is perhaps the most common incentive for moving to Texas among executives and employees alike.

    “When we ask executives why they’re moving to Texas, what we hear is that providing a high quality of life for their workforces is number one on their lists,” says Allen.

    “Employees back that claim up. They’re able to buy larger houses, keep more of their incomes, send their kids to good schools and live in safe neighborhoods. This makes it easier for employees to take a leap of faith,” he adds.

    Texas has no personal income tax. Its education system currently ranks 21st based on a state-by-state study by wallethub.com, a credit scoring and reporting site. The study considers factors such as average SAT/ACT score, dropout rates, student-teacher ratios, graduation rate for low-income students and remote-learning opportunities within online public schools. The Huffington Post also notes that Texas has the fourth-highest graduation rate in the country, despite its ever-growing population and high percentage of non-native-English-speaking students.

    And according to a recent study from the NYU School of Law, while violent crime rates are rising in urban areas throughout the country, they’re holding steady in Texas. The state’s murder rate falls in the middle of the pack despite it being a national leader in population growth.

  • And Californians are still flocking to Texas.
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco homeless woes worsen despite funding boosts.”
  • “Federal judge blocks California ban on high-capacity magazines.” Note that’s not just a sale ban: “The law would have barred people from possessing magazines containing more than 10 bullets.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested Wednesday in connection with the use of a bike lock in the beating of three people during a rally for President Donald Trump last month, police said Thursday.” I guess that’s the “high road” liberals keep talking about… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Bonus: He was tracked down by 4Chan, who are supposedly working on a face database of Antifa members.
  • Student Agreed to Orgy, But Later Called It Sexual Assault, Lawsuit Claims. Judge says that University of California, Santa Barbara, may have denied accused male student due process.”
  • “San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee recently proposed legislation that would prohibit autonomous delivery robots – which includes those with a remote human operator – on public streets in the city.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Go Home, TABC, You’re Drunk (on Power)

    Sunday, July 9th, 2017

    Here’s something from the regulators behaving badly file:

    Leaders at the Texas Capitol love to bash what they call out-of-control bureaucrats at city halls and in Washington, D.C., but a recent case pitting the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission against Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods looks like state regulatory overreach on steroids.

    After an investigation of the state’s largest liquor retailer, the TABC sought to yank permits for all 164 of the company’s stores — which would effectively shut it down — or hit Spec’s with fines of up to $713 million, according to court documents filed last week. The agency also put the company’s expansion plans on ice by freezing Spec’s new permit applications during the three-year probe, records show.

    What did Spec’s, a family-run company based in Houston, do to deserve the business equivalent of the death penalty? That’s what a couple of Texas administrative law judges wondered last week.

    They poured out the TABC like stale beer in a blunt 151-page ruling. The judges said TABC failed to prove dozens of allegations, rebuked agency lawyers for failing to disclose evidence to their own witness (and the court) and called out the agency for “stacking” charges, a tactic commonly used to pressure defendants into a settlement.

    In the end, the multi-year prosecution and an eight-day March administrative law hearing — similar to a trial — turned up evidence that Spec’s may have paid a $778 invoice from a wine supplier a day or two late in 2011 under the complicated liquor “credit law” spelling out when payments for booze must be made.

    The article goes on to document a series of abuses, including using another company’s admission of guilt as evidence of Spec’s guilt.

    The Spec’s case is just the latest in a long series of abuses that caused previous TABC head Sherry Cook to step down and Governor Greg Abbott to state “It’s time to clean house from regulators not spending taxpayer money wisely.”

    Hopefully newly-appointed TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly can clean up the mess and get the agency back on track. Texas labyrinth alcoholic beverage laws are bad enough without adding abuse…

    You Want People To Die!

    Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

    More lazy holiday weekend video blogging, with Reason extending liberals go-to argument on changing a single thing about ObamaCare to its logical conclusion:

    LinkSwarm for June 23, 2017

    Friday, June 23rd, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! There’s so much news I’m going to punt “The Pelosi Question” to the weekend:

  • In case you hadn’t noticed, illinois is going bankrupt.
  • John Podesta to testify before the House Intelligence committee. Hopefully they’ll ask him about the allegations in Shattered that he and Robby Mook cooked up the entire “Russia hacked the election” fantasy within 24 hours of Hillary’s loss. And also about his and his brother’s documented financial ties to Russia.
  • Former state Department/CIA employee charged with espionage for China:

    A former State Department employee was arrested Thursday and charged with espionage for allegedly transmitting Top Secret and Secret documents to a Chinese government agent, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.

    Kevin Mallory, 60, of Leesburg is a self-employed consultant who speaks fluent Chinese. Court filings show that Mallory was an Army veteran who worked as a special agent for U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service from 1987 to 1990. Since then, Mallory has worked for various government agencies and defense contractors, maintaining a Top Secret security clearance. The Washington Post reports that Mallory was also an employee of the CIA.

  • A lot of hardcore Democrats are becoming increasingly uneasy about the way that Trump Derangement Syndrome has warped their party:

    We do know that Wednesday’s congressional attacker, James Hodgkinson, shared a conspiracy-tinged Change.org link on March 22, accompanied by the caption, “Trump is a traitor.” Once again, it has to be stressed that this information is woefully insufficient to conclude that the perpetrator was motivated by Russia-oriented conspiracy theories. Motivations are multifaceted, and often political beliefs “intersect” with mental distress, causing people to act violently. But the sharing of the link does indicate that Hodgkinson has been affected by the frenzied climate Democrats have stoked around the Russia issue.

    Once again, for extra emphasis: calling attention to the link Hodgkinson shared is not to say that Democrats are directly culpable for this shooting. That would be ridiculous. But the shared link does show that he was to some extent enmeshed in the conspiratorial paranoia that Democrats have knowingly fostered, at full-blast, for approaching an entire year. One ancillary consequence of fostering conspiratorial paranoia for a full year is that certain people with unstable mental predispositions may latch on and commit violent acts. But Democrats and liberals, in their self-assuredness, have been reticent to acknowledge this byproduct of their current political strategy. Proclaiming that the president engaged in treason — as many members of Congress and media figures have — is going to have an influence on the broader public, and included in that broader public are people who might be deranged and/or have violent inclinations.

    If you deny that the kind of overblown rhetoric that Democrats have specialized in over the past months — warning about traitorous subterfuge and foreign infiltration — can have any trickle-down effect on regular people, you’re deluding yourself.

  • It looks like Democrats are learning all the wrong lessons from Jon Ossoff’s loss:

    Democrats want a resistance. They want to impeach the President. They want full-blown socialism. They want to go further to the left than the tea party wanted to go right. A lot of activist Democrats are already interpreting Jon Ossoff’s loss as him not being aggressively anti-Trump enough.

    The Democrat base has moved way further left than where the American public is and at a time we seem to be in a pendulum swing back to the right, that could hurt them. As they start challenging Democrat incumbents with more liberal activists and start winning primaries in swing seats with radical progressives, they risk their ability to win.

    What makes this fun to watch is knowing they reject that idea and think the more radical and more militant the more likely their candidates will win. I cannot wait to watch their slate of moonbat crazy challengers.

  • All those “Ossoff’s loss was a moral victory” excuses? Vox says don’t believe it: “Don’t sugarcoat it — Ossoff’s loss is a big disappointment, and a bad sign, for Democrats. Democrats need to outperform Hillary Clinton to take back the House. Ossoff did worse than her.”
  • As bad as political violence is now, the 1960s and early 1970s were much worse.
  • Phil Montag, technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party, was caught on audio saying he was glad Rep> Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot and wishing he had died. Make that the ex-technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party. Good. Pink slips seem to be the only thing these people pay attention to. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • “A professor at a Connecticut college said he was forced to flee the state after he received death threats for appearing to endorse the idea that first responders to last week’s congressional shooting should have let the victims ‘f**king die’ instead of treating them.” Step right up, Trinity College Professor Johnny Eric Williams! You’re the next contestant on “Trump Derangement Syndrome Ruined My Life!”
  • And speaking of Democrats losing it, “Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused ex-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson of lying under oath when he said the DNC refused the help of the DHS in their hacking scandal.”
  • “This May was the Democratic National Committee’s worst May of fundraising since 2003. The DNC raised $4.29 million in May of this year, according to data recently released by the Federal Election Commission. It is the weakest take for national Democrats since May of 2003, when the party raised a paltry $2.7 million.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Did 5.7 million illegal aliens vote in 2008? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • President Trump follows through on his campaign promise to kill deferred action for illegal alien parents, AKA DAPA.
  • TPPF’s Chris Jacobs is not impressed with the Republican Senate ObamaCare replacement bill. TPPF’s Chip Roy said:

    Simply put, the bill doubles down on the fundamentally flawed architecture of Obamacare and if implemented, will neither increase the actual care available to the people nor drive down the cost of care or insurance. It maintains Obamacare’s subsidy regime, retains almost the entirety of the regulatory architecture driving up people’s premiums and deductibles, continues the previous Administration’s unconstitutional bailouts to insurers, and maintains the Medicaid expansion for five more years before slowly attempting to reform the program.

  • More on the same subject: “Top Ten Ways Senate Obamacare Bill Is #FakeRepeal.”
  • ObamaCare tweet:

  • Liberal lawyer Alan Dershowitz states that Presidnet Trump’s tape bluff is perfectly legal. “What President Trump did was no different from what prosecutors, defense attorneys, policemen, FBI agents and others do every day in an effort to elicit truthful testimony from mendacious witnesses.” Also: “We must declare an armistice against using our criminal justice system as a political weapon in what has become a zero-sum bloodsport.”
  • Saudi king replaces crown prince with his own son.
  • Saudis foil Iranian sabotage attack on their offshore oilfields.
  • “Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine.” Insert record scratch sound over derailment of the “Trump is Putin’s stooge” narrative here. Oh, also, New York Times: When you invade, occupy and annex territory, it’s not an “incursion,” it’s an “invasion.”
  • Helmut Kohl, the chancellor who oversaw German reunification, dead at age 87. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Remember all those “refugees” Angela Merkel invited in? “Up to three quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Trump Administration Begins to Dismantle Obama Campus Rape Tribunals.” Good.
  • “CENTCOM confirms Islamic State’s ‘Grand Mufti’ killed in airstrike…Turki al-Bin’ali was killed in a May 31 airstrike in Mayadin, Syria.”
  • Amazon buying Whole Foods ties into their overall strategy of high fixed costs and returns to scale.
  • Alternate view: Amazon buying Whole Foods is this cycle’s AOL/Time Warner merger.
  • East Lansing, Michigan punishes man for daring to express pro-Christian thoughtcrime on Facebook.
  • “The amount of labor that once bought 54 minutes of light now buys 52 years of light. The cost has fallen by a factor of 500,000 and the quality of that light has transformed from unstable and risky to clean, safe, and controllable.”
  • The year-by-year descent into airline hell. But: More people are flying than ever before, and airlines are actually profitable. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Man almost dies after getting swept away by a river while hiking, learns important survival lessons. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Harvard introduces segregated commencement ceremony for black students. next up: Their own water fountains.
  • “A mentally ill homeless woman in Florida is accused of vandalizing a policeman’s patrol car and smearing feces on a church where she left the walls defaced with nonsensical writings against ‘patriarchy.'”
  • F-35 puts on an impressive demonstration at the Paris Air Show. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • F-16 catches fire at Houston airport.
  • The meaning of Bill Cosby’s hung jury:

    The extraordinarily high prosecutorial burden of proof in any criminal trial is intentionally designed to heavily favor defendants, because we long ago embraced as a society Blackstone’s principle. Formulated in the seventeen-sixties by the English jurist William Blackstone, the presumption is that it is better to have ten guilty people go free than that one innocent person suffer. Hard as it is to stomach today, embracing that calculus means that we should even want ten rapists (not to mention terrorists and murderers) to go free in order to protect the one falsely accused. Unfortunately, Cosby is one of those to escape criminal punishment. And, to put a fine point on the over-all gendered impact of requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the inevitable effect of the heavy tilt toward defendants is that in sexual-assault trials, which involve mostly male defendants and mostly female accusers, men are favored over women.

    What works in Bill Cosby’s favor also works in Bill Clinton’s favor… (Hat tip: Christina Hoff Summers’ Twitter feed.)

  • 15 companies that made great games that still went bust. Spoiler: The phrase “bought by EA” appears a lot.
  • Colin Kaepernick seems to have decided that his career is indeed over. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Whipped cream fatality.
  • And that gives me the thinnest of possible justifications to post this classic:

  • LinkSwarm for June 16, 2017

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    Briefer than normal due to a packed schedule today:

  • Coalition forces continue to advance in the Islamic State capital of Raqqa.
  • Speaking of Raqqa, Russia is saying one of its airstrikes there may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Great news if true, but right now the report should be taken with several grains of salt.
  • Illinois bonds headed toward junk status.
  • “Mueller Hires Clinton Foundation Lawyer for Russia Probe.” Transparent this is not… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that in the last six years around 220,000 criminal aliens have been booked in Texas jails. DHS confirmed to DPS that at least 148,000 or 66% of those criminal aliens had entered the U.S. illegally.”
  • “Qatar’s financial system is running out of dollars.”
  • ObamaCare is failing. “Not one Republican voted for Obamacare. A Democratic Congress passed and a Democratic president signed the legislation over the loud objections of the GOP. Conservative activists and legal groups fought tooth and nail to prevent its roll-out, and when that failed, they repeatedly warned it was doomed to failure.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • And some ObamaCare premiums have increased by more than 100% in the last four years.
  • More of those peaceful Democrats: “FBI Investigates Package With ‘White Powdery Substance’ Sent to GOP Candidate in GA-6.”
  • This piece on the current state of the Democratic Party comes with caveats, namely: a.) Rolling Stone, b.) Obviously hostile to Republicans, Trump, etc., and c.) Lots of “Ra-ra isn’t Tom Perez great” flacking. But look beyond that and there’s a cold-eyed assessment of just how badly off Obama left the Democratic Party:

    The Democratic Party is in the worst shape of its modern history. The presidency of Barack Obama papered over the fact that the party was being hollowed out from below. Over Obama’s two terms, Democrats ceded 13 governorships to the GOP and stumbled from controlling six in 10 state legislatures to now barely one in three. Across federal and state government, Democrats have lost close to 1,000 seats. There are only six states where Democrats control both the legislature and the governor’s mansion.

    More troubling: Even amid the great upwelling of anti-Trump resistance, Democratic favorability ratings have continued to tumble since Election Day – to just 40 percent in a May Gallup poll. “Our negatives are almost as high as Trump’s, as far as party goes,” says Rep. Tim Ryan, a rugged Ohio Democrat serving Youngstown. Ryan led an unsuccessful 63-vote insurgency against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in November because, he says, “We weren’t winning.”

    There is no official accounting for this erosion of power and popularity. Unlike the GOP in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat, Democrats have not published post-mortems. But get party insiders talking – with anonymity exchanged for candor – and there’s little debate about how the party went sideways.

    Responsibility rests foremost at the feet of former President Barack Obama. As a candidate, Obama sidestepped the party’s next-in-line culture, riding into the White House on the strength of a then-revolutionary digital-and-grassroots machinery of his own creation. “Obama was almost like the anti-Democrat,” a former DNC chair tells Rolling Stone. “The president didn’t care about the Democratic Party.”

    Once in office, Obama had the weight of the world to bear. He staved off financial collapse and secured health insurance for an estimated 20 million Americans, leveraging the party’s infrastructure for these fights. “When you’re at the head of the DNC and you have the White House,” says Sen. Tim Kaine, who chaired the party from 2009 to 2011, “a lot of the job is about promoting the president’s agenda.” But Obama and his team neglected a far less heroic duty: the care and feeding of the national party, which Democrats had rebuilt during the Bush years with a “50-state strategy” that had empowered Obama with dominant Democratic majorities in Congress.

    The GOP took full advantage of the president’s disregard for party politics. The Tea Party vaulted Republicans to control of the U.S. House and statehouses across the country in 2010 – putting the party in the driver’s seat for the once-a-decade redrawing of legislative boundaries known as redistricting. The White House mounted no resistance. “The Obama team, David Axelrod, had no organized structural redistricting [game plan],” says a longtime Democratic strategist. “The Republicans just ran up the fucking score everywhere. They got two or three extra congressional seats in state after state after state, creating lasting struggles to get back to a majority.” Case in point: Democratic House candidates netted 1.3 million more votes than Republicans in 2012, but secured 33 fewer seats.

    The 50-state strategy devolved under Obama into a presidential-battleground strategy, leaving state parties starved for cash and leadership. “Obama didn’t put resources into local parties unless it was for his re-election effort,” says the former party chair. Making matters worse: Obama tapped ambitious Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – a favorite of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett – to run the DNC in 2011. “That congresswoman had no idea what she was doing,” adds the former chair.

    Wasserman Schultz went rogue. In a rift with the White House that spilled into a story on Politico, she was criticized for using the DNC as a vehicle for self-promotion, hoping the office would serve as a springboard into House leadership. The White House made overtures to oust Wasserman Schultz, but she dug in, promising an ugly fight that could tar the president as both anti-woman and anti-Semitic. (Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign in the aftermath of the Russian hack of the DNC, declined to participate in this story.)

    Obama dodged that fight, and instead fostered Organizing for Action, the grassroots group born of his campaigns. “They had a mirror organization that did just their politics, and it weakened the DNC,” says a source in House leadership. “It directed money elsewhere and was not in the interest of the long-term stability [of the party]. It was a selfish strategy.”

    The hobbled DNC’s chief remaining value was as a fundraising vehicle. For Obama, it “was like his ATM – and Clinton was the same,” says the former chair. Clinton pioneered a strategy that allowed her largest donors to give $10,000 to each of 32 state parties participating in her Victory Fund. But that money didn’t stay in the states. Instead, nearly every penny was hoovered up to the DNC for the benefit of Clinton’s election.

    Clinton today says she found the DNC to be a liability. In an onstage interview at a Recode tech conference in May, Clinton recalled, “I get the nomination. . . . I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. It was bankrupt. . . . I had to inject money into it – the DNC – to keep it going.” Clinton then raised eyebrows by indicting the DNC’s data, which the party had inherited from the Obama re-election campaign. “Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong,” Clinton said. (The DNC’s former data chief hit back, tweeting that Clinton’s broadside was “fucking bullshit,” but declined to be interviewed.)

    Under Obama, the party infrastructure was honed to elect a president. And being a presidential party is a powerful thing – until you lose the White House. The Clinton campaign lost significantly on its own merits, though the party is loath to admit it. The same candidate who was caught flat-footed by the rise of Obama in 2008 found herself stunned by the grassroots surge behind Sen. Bernie Sanders. “And she was really surprised by how strong Trump was – and part of it was she just sucked,” says the Democratic strategist, who criticizes Clinton despite being entrenched in her center-left, pro-trade wing of the party. “At a really fundamental level we gotta get people to acknowledge what a fucking piece of shit her campaign was.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • CNN’s Jim Acosta flat out lies about President Trump’s visit to wounded Representative Steve Scalise’s hospital room. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • More lying from CNN:

  • New York Times editorial about Rep. Scalise’s shooting is not just a lie, it’s actually libelous.
  • New bill aims to eliminate “structuring” civil asset forfeiture abuse. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • A profile of radical Islamist and left-wing media darling Linda Sarsour. “Her rise, and the celebration of her by progressives as one of their own, demonstrates how clearly and phenomenally Jews and Jewish concerns are being written out of the progressive movement.”
  • “DOJ Moves To Seize DiCaprio’s Picasso, Rights To ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ As Part Of 1MDB Case.” Or “Hollywood accounting meets a Malaysian dictator, and hilarity ensues!”
  • MLA votes against Israel boycott.
  • How Indians scam their way to Australian citizenship, and how a crackdown on the practice may crash Sydney and Melbourne property values. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • President Trump orders the federal government to stop working on the Y2K bug.
  • “Is this some kind of bust?” (Hat tip: Dwight, who also came up with the Police Squad! reference.)
  • “My Trip to a Marijuana Dispensary, the Happiest Place in Boulder.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • All the people Billy Martin brawled with.