Monday, October 31, 2016

A lawyer's view of the reopened FBI case

I am not a lawyer, but childhood buddy 2cents is.  He sent a series of emails with interesting background on the case, from a lawyer's perspective.  With his permission, I am posting them here.
So, in a fit of irony, Hillary now is crying for full disclosure.  She claims wants Comey to publish the new emails.  Of course, the latest reports are that Clinton hack Loretta Lynch will not allow a warrant to issue as Comey requested, so he certainly cannot publish the emails.  In fact, I believe that is why Comey wrote to congress.  His people doing the Weiner investigation saw enough that it was obvious there was strong evidence that contravened the FBI's prior conclusion in the Clinton email/sever investigation.  They brought it to Comey and he followed protocol by going to Justice to get a warrant to review everything on the laptop. And Lynch would not give it to him.  He was so appalled at the obvious contravention of the rule of law by Lynch for political ends that he did the only thing he could and wrote the letter to Congress in order to let some sunlight disinfect the rot.  The action follows a long line of instances where public servants went public instead of letting people in power block the truth from coming out.

And by the way, there is one way other than having Justice get a warrant to allow the emails to be published.  That would be if their owner, Huma Abedin, allowed it.  Instead of demanding that Comey release the information that Clinton lackey Lynch is blocking, why doesn't Clinton ask her good buddy Huma to release them.  Heck, since they apparently had all kinds of confidential info on them so maybe publication isn't a good idea, she could merely consent to the FBI's review.  Then Lynch's block of the warrant would be irrelevant. 

If the cops had a warrant to search for a hand gun, and they opened a dresser drawer where one could hide a gun, and they saw a bag of drugs, they are perfectly within their rights to use the drugs they found as a basis for a new warrant. They can't look in a little drawer for a shot gun, but they can look in a drawer that would house a hand gun. In this case, they had a warrant to search the Weiner computer. They saw "DRUGS". In other words, in searching the computer for Weiner emails, they saw emails from Hillary that had obvious issues with respect to the email/server/secure emails even though they were looking for those "Weiner" emails. The point is that Comey KNEW that the emails they have already reviewed were in contravention to the FBI's previous conclusion that no laws were broken. He found "drugs". Any suggestion that he wrote the letter based upon the mere suggestion that there may be pertinent emails, is pure bull shit. The agents were complying with and outstanding warrant when they saw the emails. They perfectly appropriately stopped at that point and asked for a warrant to review everything -- and then the justice department (Lynch) refused to go to to court to ask for it. The point is that Comey has already seen enough to KNOW that Clinton committed a crime. When Justice (Lynch) refused to get a warrant, he basically said "screw you" and told Congress what he knew, though he couldn't go forward because Justice refused to get a warrant.

And to further the analogy, if the cops were executing a warrant on my house to look for a gun, I can ALWAYS give them permission to to search every drawer. The FBI can't just release the emails, because they probably have secret information in them. That's ok, much like if I gave permission, Huma can always give permission to the FBI to review her emails. Then they wouldn't need a warrant (or the help of their lawyers at Justice to go get one). The FBI could then tell everyone what they found. So all that needs to happen is for Huma to give them permission to look for "drugs". They wouldn't need a warrant. So maybe Hillary should stop yelling at the FBI to be forthcoming and tell Her girl Huma to be forthcoming. Everyone could find out what the FBI found in a hurry.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hitler finds out that the FBI reopened the Hillary email case

Is there nothing that this video cannot do?

"Didn't Huma get the memo to keep her Weiner wrapped?"  LOL.

Sunday, puppy sunday

Wolfgang laughed at this.

Dave Franklin and Al Dubin - The Anniversary Waltz

Today's Sunday Classical music is a little different.  Co-blogger ASM826 and Mrs. ASM826 got married on Halloween these (mumble) years ago*, which guarantees an anniversary date that is impossible to forget.  The 1941 Anniversary Waltz isn't exactly classical music, but it is a classic.  And hey, Mr. Emerson did say that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds - and hobgoblins are always appropriate for Halloween.

The Queen of the World and I would like to wish you both a happy anniversary.  Congratulations, you crazy kids!

* In this day and age, theirs is quite an accomplishment and an inspiration to the rest of us.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Now that is a Halloween costume!

Well played.

C'est magnifique, biatches!

The eloquence of grief

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth

You will not see a greater story of loss and, well, triumph of the spirit than this.  It is a terrible and glorious ode to a life fully lived.  The Great Questions are ever before us: What is it fully to be human, as God and we would wish?  What is it to live the Good Life?  What is it to leave that Good Life?

Fred Stobaugh answers these questions.

They were together for 75 years.  When she died, he wrote his first song.  For her, and him. And them.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;I feel it when I sorrow most;'Tis better to have loved and lost 
Than never to have loved at all.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam
Hat tip: American Digest.

Alan Jackson - Midnight in Montgomery

About the only thing you can know about ghosts is that if you met the ghost of Hank, Sr. at the site of his wreck, it'd be drunk ...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pearl Harbor vet gets World Series tickets

He went to a Series game at Wrigley Field if 1945, and now he has front row tickets to tonight's game:
Jim Schlegel, the 97-year-old veteran of Pearl Harbor whose daughter wanted him to see one more Chicago Cubs World Series game, is going to see one more Chicago Cubs World Series game.
With ticket prices in the tens of thousands on the secondary market, Helen Schlegel turned to a GoFundMe page earlier this week to raise the cash to buy the tickets for her dad, who was at the sixth and seven games of the World Series the last time the Cubs lost one.
She needn’t have bothered because social media is free and there’s always someone out there willing to be nice to an old vet
Like Marcus Lemonis, the star of a CNBC reality show on small business.
Bravo to Mr. Lemonis.  The funds raised in the GoFundMe campaign (over $12,000 so far) are going to the Purple Heart Foundation.


Hat tip: The Queen Of The World.

Google translate

Sometimes not the best.

So what was the real Federal deficit in 2016?

The Treasury Department says that the official deficit for Fiscal Year 2016 was $590 Billion.  The Treasury Department also says that Federal debt grew by $1.4 Trillion.  How to explain this?

Simples.  Just like the Fed.Gov lies about the inflation and unemployment rates, it lies about the deficit:
The answer is that Congress uses all kinds of accounting tricks to pretend that money it borrows isn’t part of the deficit...
From the Antiplanner’s point of view, the most important accounting trick is that some spending from borrowed money is regarded as “an investment,” and so isn’t counted in the deficit. This includes student loans and highway and transit spending. In 2016, Congress borrowed $70 billion to pay for highways and transit, yet that isn’t included in the $590 billion deficit.
Someone needs to explain to Congress the difference between consumption spending and investments. Investments are supposed to produce a return. Assuming they are repaid, student loans produce a return. But no one expects that highway or transit spending will ever return money to the Treasury.
I'm just so tired of every single "fact" told to me by the Establishment turning out to be a lie.  And this pretty well sums my feelings up:
Our entire federal government has become a giant Ponzi scheme, and the two parties fighting for control over who will get the last returns from that scheme before it collapses.
What a miserable, contemptible ruling class.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Unfortunate juxtoposition

The economy cools off

You learn a lot from earnings reports:
There’s a pattern shaping up in earnings reports. Things you and I might buy, sales are down and profits falling. Up? Military and Armaments companies that sell to the government. Up hard over the last year, but now flattened and threatening a fall on profit not materializing to support the run up, medical and insurance companies wanting to cash in on Obamacare Monopolies… 
Some specifics:
GM – everyone excited as profits are up! On falling sales… (Oh Dear… ) 
Apple – Failed to have sales growth and profit growth as expected. Talk of “is it a commodity now”?
Chipole – MAJOR miss with 95% or so drop in profits (lots of give aways to get volume back up, but not working)
Retail in General – falling sales… 
Arms Merchants – great profits on lots of sales (Saudi Deal anyone?…)
It’s an interesting pattern. “Friends of Government” and “Suppliers to Government” sales up. Tax payer buys, sales down.
Interesting.  If a Republican were in the White House, this would be covered 24x7 by the media.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This guy is too nice

The cost of illegal immigration

$1 Trillion:
On average, a nonelderly adult immigrant without a high school diploma entering the U.S. will create a net fiscal cost (benefits received will exceed taxes paid) in both the current generation and second generation. The average net present value of the fiscal cost of such an immigrant is estimated at $231,000, a cost that must be paid by U.S. taxpayers. 


Slightly more than 4 million adult immigrants without a high school diploma have entered the U.S. since 2000 and continue to reside here. According to the estimates in the National Academies report, the net present value of the future fiscal costs of those immigrants is $920 billion.
That means that Al Gore's "lock box" needs an additional trillion to pay for the costs.  And anyone who thinks there are only 4 million illegals in this country is smoking dope.

R.I.P. Steven Den Beste

He was one of the first blogs that I followed.  I've been around a lot of smart people in my life, but he set that bar high.  Very occasionally, his style inspired some of my posts.  It was quite a thrill when he stopped by and left a comment to this one.

Rest in peace, Steven.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wolfgang goes to a Halloween party with us

We all go as pirates.  Sort of like this.

It was the "Yappy Hour" at a local brew pub.  They meet every month, so we'll go back.  Err, not in costume.

UPDATE 25 October 2016 11:36: Here is the beast in full costume (such as it is):

Ghosts in Gettysburg

The Queen Of The World and I went to Gettysburg yesterday and took a horseback tour of the battlefield.  It's an outstanding way to see the site - it gives you more of a nineteenth century feel.

Our guide was outstanding and really helped visualize the battle.  Looking at just how far in front of the lines General Sickles pushed the III Corps was something that makes your stomach lurch when you see it.  I'd known the story, but in an intellectual way.  Seeing that 700 yard gap where he exposed his troops made clear just what an idiot he was.

It was also eye opening to visualize just how big Pickett's charge was, which covered maybe half a mile in width.  It was still a huge mistake, but the sheer scope of it was something that I'd only known intellectually.  I really recommend this ride, from National Riding Stables.    The horses are all rescued from kill pens (the last stop before the slaughterhouse).  I rode Gus, a former plow horse who had been cruelly abused but who is a gentle giant who cannot get too much love and affection.  He's also by far the largest horse I've ever been on, which made it easier to see the sights that were pointed out.  Gus wasn't particularly peppy, but that wasn't the point.

And then we went on to dinner at the Dobbins House in Gettysburg.  As a funny coincidence, reader Roy left a comment yesterday recommending the place which I only saw when we sat down to eat.  I can heartily second his recommendation - the food was excellent and the venue is fabulous.  It was built in 1776 and was a way station for the Underground Railroad, and has a nice (if small) museum.  It also has ghosts*, apparently - The Queen Of The World took this picture while we were eating.  The ghost can be seen right behind the young lady.

Highly, highly recommended.

* You might not believe in ghosts, but I'm told that I do.  And I'm actually OK with that.  It was a fun evening.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Join the Army, they said

Learn a skill, they said ...

Sarah Flower Adams - Nearer My God To Thee

So he [Jacob] came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it...
- Genesis 28:11-12

Sarah Flower Adams lived in England the first half of the nineteenth century, and wrote the poem based loosely on the Genesis verse.  Her sister Eliza Flower put it to music, although the version heard on the shores of the New World uses a different tune.  It rapidly became wildly popular on both sides of the Atlantic, most famously as the reported last song played on the Titanic as it sank.

But it was well known much earlier than 1912.  At the battle of Gettysburg during the American War of Southern Independence, the survivors of Pickett's Charge  staggered back to their lines to this tune played by a band in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Today the Queen Of The World and I head north to Gettysburg for a horseback tour of the battlefield.  This song will be much in mind today.

Nearer My God To Thee (Songwriter: Sarah Francis Adams (words), (music))
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God, to Thee, 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! 
There let the way appear steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee, etc.
Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee, etc.
Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee, etc.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Worst. Caturday. Ever.

Perfectly Timed Photos has some good pictures.

You found it!

Elusive though it is.

Bo Burnham - Country song (Pandering)

Russia just epically trolled the United States.  Donald Trump has made voter fraud an issue this year (for actually quite good reason).  Russia shoots; Russia scores:
Russia has reportedly tried to send its officials to monitor the U.S. presidential election in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.
The U.S. State Department immediately shot the idea down, telling the Russian diplomats 'thanks, but no thanks'.
Representatives from the Central Elections Commission allegedly spoke to the State Department about sending a group of monitors to oversee polling places on November 8, according to Russian media. 
The move has been deemed a 'PR stunt' by the State Department.
Gee, ya think?  Troll level: Galactic Overlord.

The comedian Bo Burnham has trolled the modern Pop Country industry with a side splitting song about how to get a #1 hit in today's Country Music industrial machine.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Celia Cruz and Ray Barreto - Ritmo en el corazón

Happy birthday, Celia!  They won a Grammy for this in 1990.

Some people just want to watch the world burn

So Hillary says that she will tax the rich?

Nazzo fast.

What is outdated in Friedman's analysis is that the middle class is no longer the beneficiary of government programs.  This in fact is the root cause of the Tea Party/Donald Trump phenomena.  As the payoff goes to hold together the Democratic Party's coalition of large business cronies and client voting blocs, the payout will have to increase and the taxes received from the "rich" will have to be less.

And so the economic situation is really much more hopeless than Friedman says.  And the political situation is much worse, as the discontent that is driving the Trumpening is a symptom of this dynamic which oppresses the middle class.  That will get worse.  If the establishment doesn't like Trump, just wait until Hillary dials this all up to 11.

Why the polls are unreliable

This makes a lot of sense:
There's no way to tell what people think. It's impossible for most Americans to form a judgment with which they feel comfortable, because they do not have sources of information they can trust. Fox News is in a civil war between the pro- and anti-Trump Republicans. The other networks are with Hillary. The major media outlets have lost credibility. Only 32% of Americans said they had "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence in the news media in a September Gallup Poll survey. That's the lowest level in history, and should be no surprise: the major media has to spin a new cover-up every couple of days, before it is finished putting the previous set of lies to bed. 
That's why Americans don't simply watch the nightly news and go to bed. They read the rumors on the Internet and circulate them to their friends. They create networks of people they trust in the hope of obtaining an accurate account of what is happening around them.
All that's left to add is that people don't trust pollsters, either.  Some unknown number of them distrust random phone callers that they won't participate in the poll.  This skews the sample by some unknown amount.

The normal rules of political campaigning don't seem to be in play this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Canned Heat - Election Blues

This political silly season got you down?  There's some great music for that.

I love me some Canned Heat.

Bad news for the EPA

Court rules that they have to evaluate how many coal mining and power plant jobs will be lost based on their regulations.  It seems that they haven't done this since 1977.

This will certainly get appealed, because the EPA will not be allowed to issue any regulations if job losses are considered.

When is an autopilot not an autopilot?

Behind the smokescreen of its new onboard hardware announcement, Tesla is quietly killing off its controversial Autopilot feature in its new cars. 
The money shot is buried in this announcement emitted today titled All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware
The blog post is a masterpiece of misdirection. It leads with boasts that, from now on, all Model S and Model X (and at some point in the future Model 3) vehicles rolling off the production lines will have eight cameras, 12 ultrasound detectors, a front-facing radar, and a more powerful computer. This tech is all ready to run self-driving software and turn Teslas into autonomous rides, we're told. 
But the statement then admits this:
Before activating the features enabled by the new hardware, we will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.
While this is occurring, Teslas with new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency breaking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.
It goes on add: "As these features are robustly validated we will enable them over-the-air."
Translation: It won't be an autopilot until we think we won't get sued or jailed.  OK, then.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chris Wallace nobly sacrifices his career on the altar of Journalism Past

Kudos to Wallace for being an old school journalist - asking tough questions of both sides (unlike the "journalists" who moderated the first two debates).  It is a magnificent gesture of a dead age, like the charge of the Light Brigade, or the Union charges at Fredericksburg.

I wonder what the over/under is on the length of his career after this.  My guess is that it's measured in days (maybe hours).  The rest of his so-called profession will crucify him for this, because he didn't change the strike zone based on which side was batting.

But it was a great display of what was best about Journalism, back when it was alive and thriving in this Republic.

Quote of the Day: Football Edition

Chris Lynch highlights the "karma is a bitch" that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is facing:
Tom Brady now needs just 5 more wins to become the NFL'a all-time leader in wins by a QB (including playoffs). Most likely this will come in week 12 in New York vs the Jets or week 13 in Foxboro vs the Rams. How can the Commissioner not honor that historic accomplishment? How can he not honor that accomplishment in person? But also how can he dare show his face in Foxboro?

In an interesting way Roger Goodell is now in the bizarre position  (given the fractious relationships involved) of hoping the New England Patriots go undefeated in the next 5 games so if he does have to go to a Patriots game at least it will be in New York (where he'll be safe).

As if 2016 couldn't get any stranger. Roger Goodell now rooting for the Patriots.
LOL.  And just a reminder, the Patriots didn't cheat (well, at least the way that the NFL said they did in DeflateGate).

Failure to anticipate consequences leads to unanticipated consequences

Liberal votes for all city spending ordinances, is shocked that her taxes go up:
How about, oh, I dunno, not voting for every feel-good lefty progtard tax that you find on a ballot?
“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.
“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”
Suicidally stupid bint thought she was voting to spend other peoples’ money. Which didn’t bother her at all. Until she discovered, to her horror, that good intentions were not enough, and that, mirabile dictu, she was the other people.
The "big picture" is not what she thinks.  We could start with the public school system which, rather than teach kids how to think instead does lefty feel-good indoctrination.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is it safe to use your credit card at the store?

I've posted before about skimmers, devices that thieves use to steam credit card numbers and debit card PINs.  The thief installs the skimmer on top of the store card swipe terminal.  The skimmer records the card information and PIN and then passes that to the real terminal for processing.  Brian Krebs has had an excellent series on skimmers; the photo below is from his latest post:

Things to look for: at the far right, the skimmer version (on the left) is a lot wider between the card swipe slot and the end of the unit.  On a non-skimmed terminal the picture showing the card being swiped pretty much fills up the entire width.

Another: The logo on the top of the non-skimmed terminal goes from about the top of the unit to the top of the screen.  The skimmed version has a lot more space there, because the skimmer has to be physically larger than the real terminal (to fit over it).

My advice: take a quick look at the terminals before you swipe.  If anything looks unusual, use a credit card (not your debit card).  The credit card company has financial coverage to protect you if your card is used fraudulently, but your bank may or may not cover fraudulent withdrawals using your debit card.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A public service announcement

To all of today's Special Snowflakes:

U.K. Court: GCHQ bulk data collection was illegal

"Bulk data collection" means "spying of course.  What's astonishing is that the spies lost the case:
A legal challenge against the British government's secret surveillance activities has won in court, with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal judging the collection of bulk personal data—conducted by GCHQ and MI5 between 1998 and 2015—to have been illegal. 
Responding to a claim brought by Privacy International, the 70-page judgment handed down this morning [PDF] found that the spooks' surveillance activities had been taking place without adequate safeguards or supervision for over a decade; and as such were in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
GCHQ is the U.K.'s version of the NSA.

And note the date that the spying started - 1998.  This was three years before 9/11.  So much for the argument that "we need to spy on everyone to catch the terrorists."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Seen at the Classic Car meetup

This guy has a real sense of humor.

Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa - Se la mia Morte Brami

One of the most innovative composers of the seventeenth century is also one of the notorious.  Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza was a Renaissance Man.  Given a religious education as a child (as a younger brother he was not going to inherit the family lands and titles), but his brother's death brought him back to Naples.  Falling hopelessly in love with his cousin Donna Maria d'Avalos, he married her.  All seemed to be perfect in the young Prince's life.

But it wasn't.  Donna Maria strayed, carrying on a two year love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria.  It seems that everyone knew about this except for Carlo - although you have to wonder if he wouldn't let himself know.  But everything comes to light in the end.

And so it was on this date in 1590.  Suspecting his wife, he made a show of going on a hunting trip.  Coming back suddenly and unexpectedly, he discovered the two lovers in flagrante.  He stabbed both of them to death and unceremoniously dumped their bodies in the public square.  He was brought to trial but charges were dismissed.  It was a different time.

His musical compositions were marked with a unique tonal quality, along with an almost painful emotionalism in the lyrics of his madrigals.  It's not clear whether he is more famous for this experimental musical style or for his infamous past.  It may be the combination of the two that attracts interest.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I wonder what the after Halloween specials will be?

Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss - Seven Spanish Angels

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles did this song.  This cover is from a tribute concert for Willie when he won the Gershwin Prize.

Seven Spanish Angels (Songwriters: Troy Seals, Eddie Setser)

He looked down into her brown eyes,
Said, " Say a prayer for me."
She threw her arms around him,
Whispered, "God will keep us free."
They could hear the riders comin,
He said, "This is my last fight.
If they take me back to Texas,
They won't take me back alive."

There were seven Spanish Angels,
At the alter of the Sun.
They were prayin' for the lovers,
In the valley of the gun.
When the battle stopped,
And the smoke cleared.
There was thunder from the throne.
And seven Spanish angels,
Took another angel home.

She reached down and picked the gun up,
That lay smokin in his hand.
She said, "Father please forgive me,
I can't make it without my man."
And she knew the gun was empty,
And she knew she couldn't win.
Her final prayer was answered,
When the rifles fired again.

Friday, October 14, 2016



Go read it, and send it to everyone that you know.  I'm so sick of all the G** da***d lies.  We're surrounded by them and swim in them all day, every day.  Peter is right - this isn't about Trump.  It's not even about this Republic.  It's about basic values, starting with speak the G** da***d truth.

If only they could find something that might fix this

The polls are worthless

Rick emails to point out an analysis of the "outlier" poll that has shown Trump consistently ahead of Clinton.  It uses a different methodology than the others, one that may control for the unique unknowns of this campaign better than the others.

Or not.  We'll see.  Personally, I think that all of the polls  are worthless, for two reasons:

1. We've known for months that there is a significant Bradley Effect in play in this election cycle.  When people think that their voting preferences will result in social consequences, they conceal their true choices from pollsters, throwing the polls off.  We see massive social consequences for Trump supporters in many areas - being labeled "racist" or "deplorable", having signs stolen from yards, etc.

We don't know - and cannot know - how big this Bradley Effect will be.  The Brexit campaign polls were off by almost 10% for exactly this reason.  If the effect is that large here, we're looking at a Trumpslide.  But the size of this is entirely unknown.

2. We don't know what voter turnout will be.  We see lots of enthusiasm among Trump supporters, with Trump rallies being measured in the tens of thousands.  We don't see that for Clinton.  On the other hand, Clinton likely has a well oiled Get Out The Vote effort, one that the Republican Party seems to be trying to deny to Trump.  How many Trump supporters turn out is unknown, and unknowable.

Both of these factors mean that the inputs to the polls (all the polls) are based on what's essentially conjecture.  Since the inputs are garbage, the outputs are garbage.  The numbers are worthless, because nobody knows the key factors that will determine the outcome.

But it's worse than this, actually.  The polls are worse than useless because almost all of them are being used to shape the public's perceptions of who is winning.  The pollsters - like the Media - are pushing one side; they've essentially weaponized the polls.

I plan to ignore all the polls because I simply don't trust the motivations of the pollsters, or the assumptions regarding respondent truthfulness or turnout.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Self-Driving cars?

It's not clear that car makers can deliver a working navigation/entertainment system:
Documents in a class-action lawsuit against Ford and its original MyFord Touch in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system reveal that the company's engineers and even its top executive were frustrated with the problematic technology. 

The documents from the 2013 lawsuit show Ford engineers believed the IVI, which was powered by the SYNC operating system launched in 2010, might be "unsaleable" and even described a later upgrade as a "polished turd," according to a report in the Detroit News, which was confirmed by Computerworld.
Keep polishing that techno-turd!  I mean, what could possibly go wrong with extending this to autonomous vehicles?
Even Henry Ford's great grandson  experienced significant problems with SYNC. In one incident, Edsel Ford was forced to wait on a roadside for the system to reset and could not continue to drive because he was unable to use the IVI's navigation system, the report stated.
Other than that, I mean.

Self-driving cars: cool idea, good luck with the execution.

Saving baseball from ESPN

The Czar of Muscovy casts his cold, dread eye on the disaster that is ESPN coverage of the Baseball pennant race:
ESPN is the worst; their utter disdain for the game of baseball positively drips. Announcers who never played the game stall for time by reading meaningless statistics about players they don’t know at all.
This is a pet peeve of mine, and underscored by the recent retirement of one of the greatest all time baseball announcers, Vin Scully.  The Czar is correct that the current broadcasters make baseball boring, in a way that it isn't when you are either (a) at the game or (b) have a decent announcer.  Being at the game is best, of course; the Czar describes this:
If you’re a smart enough person, you recognize that what happens between pitches is just as interesting as what happens during and after. Players and coaches read subtle signs from the batters, who adjust their positions carefully; batters spot these set ups and change their swing to counter them, and the whole thing is like 10-to-13-way chess. Secret signals go out from both benches, warning a fielder to expect a fly ball, and warning the batter not to swing at this next pitch.
There is always something happening on the field.  Players adjust their positions with each pitch, as the strike count changes.  Those in the know are nodding their heads - the fielder's positions very often clue you in on where the ball will be hit.

Alas, the new generation of baseball fans will never learn this from the sad sacks on ESPN.  So where can they turn?

If you have a young baseball fan (say, 11 or 12 years old) - or if you are one of my young Gentlemen Readers with a new Lady Friend who is bored with the game, Jerry Remy's Watching Baseball is the place to start.  It is a book on baseball tactics (not strategy, but play-by-play tactical analysis) that he developed as an all star player for the Red Sox and then honed as a long time color commentator for New England Sports Network.  He's broadcast thousands of games, and this comes out in his book.

Unusual for a baseball book, Remy breaks down the pitcher vs. hitter situation for each of the strike-ball scenarios: no balls or strikes, one ball and no strikes, all the way up to a full count.  Each is different - what the pitcher is trying to do and what the batter is looking for varies with each pitch, and Remy lays this process out in an easy to absorb manner.

I guess that at this point I should modify by earlier advice.  If you have an 11 or 12 year old boy who's mildly interested in the game, this will be something that he will read cover to cover.  If you are one of my young Gentlemen Readers, perhaps you should read and learn this.  Rather than giving it to your Lady Friend, you can take her to a game and whisper sweet baseball nothings in her ear when the count sone ball and two strikes.  But you know what a hopeless romantic I am.

Remy also covers what the fielders do which is as interesting (if not more so) than the pitcher vs. hitter mano a mano passa double.

It is an entirely different class of analysis that you'll get from ESPN.  Those of you in New England who occasionally tune into a Red Sox game will be nodding in agreement right about now.

So don't give up on our National Pastime just because the networks are so wretched.  Yes, ESPN fired Curt Schilling (what the heck did he ever know about pitching, anyway?).  But there's nothing that says that you can't turn the volume down to zero and give some real play-by-play analysis of your own.

That guy needs a stud finder

And a new TV.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The end of Progressivism?

This is very interesting:
Over the last year or so, though, it’s become increasingly clear to me that one of the great tides of American politics has turned and is flowing out to sea. For almost precisely two hundred years, this country’s political discourse has been shaped—more powerfully, perhaps, than by any other single force—by the loose bundle of ideas, interests, and values we can call American liberalism. That’s the tide that’s turning. The most important trends shaping the political landscape of our time, to my mind, are the descent of the liberal movement into its final decadence, and the first stirrings of the postliberal politics that is already emerging in its wake.
There's a lot of background here about where progressivism came from (Harvard, 'natch, but back in the 1820s) and the ground from which ground it grew (New England Congregationalism - the institutional church of the Puritans - along with Unitarians, a religious sect for the intellectuals of the day).  What's interesting is how closely this dovetails with what Moldbug posted quite some time ago:
The "ultracalvinist hypothesis" is the proposition that the present-day belief system commonly called "progressive," "multiculturalist," "universalist," "liberal," "politically correct," etc, is actually best considered as a sect of Christianity.

Specifically, ultracalvinism (which I have also described here and here) is the primary surviving descendant of the American mainline Protestant tradition, which has been the dominant belief system of the United States since its founding. It should be no surprise that it continues in this role, or that since the US's victory in the last planetary war it has spread worldwide.


The "calvinist" half of this word refers to the historical chain of descent from John Calvin and his religious dictatorship in Geneva, passing through the English Puritans to the New England Unitarians, abolitionists and Transcendentalists, Progressives and Prohibitionists, super-protestants, hippies and secular theologians, and down to our own dear progressive multiculturalists.

The "ultra" half refers to my perception that, at least compared to other Christian sects, the beliefs of this faith are relatively aggressive and unusual.


And when we look at the real-world beliefs of ultracalvinists, we see that ultracalvinism is anything but content-free. By my count, the ultracalvinist creed has four main points:

First, ultracalvinists believe in the universal brotherhood of man. As an Ideal (an undefined universal) this might be called Equality. ("All men and women are born equal.") If we wanted to attach an "ism" to this, we could call it fraternalism.

Second, ultracalvinists believe in the futility of violence. The corresponding ideal is of course Peace. ("Violence only causes more violence.") This is well-known as pacifism.

Third, ultracalvinists believe in the fair distribution of goods. The ideal is Social Justice, which is a fine name as long as we remember that it has nothing to do with justice in the dictionary sense of the word, that is, the accurate application of the law. ("From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.") To avoid hot-button words, we will ride on a name and call this belief Rawlsianism.

Fourth, ultracalvinists believe in the managed society. The ideal is Community, and a community by definition is led by benevolent experts, or public servants. ("Public servants should be professional and socially responsible.") After their counterparts east of the Himalaya, we can call this belief mandarism.
That's a pretty good description of progressivism.  But the Archdruid posits that this movement is running out of gas:
Let’s take current US immigration policy as an example. This limits the number of legal immigrants while tacitly allowing unlimited illegal immigration.  There are solid pragmatic reasons for questioning the appropriateness of that policy. The US today has the highest number of permanently unemployed people in its history, incomes and standards of living for the lower 80% of the population have been moving raggedly downward since the 1970s, and federal tax policies effectively subsidize the offshoring of jobs. That being the case, allowing in millions of illegal immigrants who have, for all practical purposes, no legal rights, and can be employed at sweatshop wages in substandard conditions, can only drive wages down further than they’ve already gone, furthering the impoverishment and immiseration of wage-earning Americans. 

These are valid issues, dealing with (among other things) serious humanitarian concerns for the welfare of wage-earning Americans, and they have nothing to do with racial issues—they would be just as compelling if the immigrants were coming from Canada.  Yet you can’t say any of this in the hearing of a modern American liberal. If you try, you can count on being shouted down and accused of being a racist. Why? I’d like to suggest that it’s because the affluent classes from which the leadership of the liberal movement is drawn, and which set the tone for the movement as a whole, benefit directly from the collapse in wages that has partly been caused by mass illegal immigration, since that decrease in wages has yielded lower prices for the goods and services they buy and higher profits for the companies for which many of them work, and whose stocks many of them own. 

That is to say, a movement that began its history with the insistence that values had a place in politics alongside interests has ended up using talk about values to silence discussion of the ways in which its members are pursuing their own interests. That’s not a strategy with a long shelf life, because it doesn’t take long for the other side to identify, and then exploit, the gap between rhetoric and reality.
If there's a single theme to the current election season, it's a revolt against hypocrisy:
The current US presidential election shows, perhaps better than anything else, just how far that decadence has gone. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is floundering in the face of Trump’s challenge because so few Americans still believe that the liberal shibboleths in her campaign rhetoric mean anything at all. Even among her supporters, enthusiasm is hard to find, and her campaign rallies have had embarrassingly sparse attendance. Increasingly frantic claims that only racists, fascists, and other deplorables support Trump convince no one but true believers, and make the concealment of interests behind shopworn values increasingly transparent.  Clinton may still win the election by one means or another, but the broader currents in American political life have clearly changed course. 

It’s possible to be more precise. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, in stark contrast to Clinton, have evoked extraordinarily passionate reactions from the voters, precisely because they’ve offered an alternative to a status quo pervaded by the rhetoric of a moribund liberalism. In the same way, in Britain—where the liberal movement followed a somewhat different trajectory but has ended up in the same place—the success of the Brexit campaign and the wild enthusiasm with which Labour Party voters have backed the supposedly unelectable Jeremy Corbyn show that the same process is well under way there. Having turned into the captive ideology of an affluent elite, liberalism has lost the loyalty of the downtrodden that once, with admittedly mixed motives, it set out to help. That’s a loss it’s unlikely to survive. [emphasis mine - Borepatch]
That last is the key condemnation of the movement.  It was always a philosophy for the intellectual "elite", but the last several decades have seen it used to entirely capture public policy - policy that has been exercised solely for the financial benefit of that "elite" and at the expense of what in a simpler day were called "the masses".

And the masses have woken up to the fact that they are being fleeced by the "elites".  The reaction from both groups is entirely predictable:
Over the decades ahead, in other words, we can expect the emergence of a postliberal politics in the United States, England, and quite possibly some other countries as well. The shape of the political landscape in the short term is fairly easy to guess.  Watch the way the professional politicians in the Republican Party have flocked to Hillary Clinton’s banner, and you can see the genesis of a party of the affluent demanding the prolongation of free trade, American intervention in the Middle East, and the rest of the waning bipartisan consensus that supports its interests. Listen to the roars of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—or better still, talk to the not inconsiderable number of Sanders supporters who will be voting for Trump this November—and you can sense the emergence of a populist party seeking the abandonment of that consensus in defense of its very different interests.
Read both of the linked posts, which do a better job explaining the current political dynamic than anything I've seen in ages.

Quote of the Day - Red Sox edition

Long time readers know that I am a Red Sox fan from way back.  Chris Lynch gets Quote Of The Day, describing how things have changed for Sox fans over the last few years:
I am saddened by the thought that there are children as old as three in New England who have never seen a Red Sox World Series win in their lifetimes.
That's pretty funny, right there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wikileaks, Vladimir Putin, and the American election

The Democrats claim that the Wikileaks emails can be traced back to Russia and Vladimir Putin's attempt to discredit the Democratic Party in order to influence the election.  I think that's partially true, but stops short of the mark.

Peter has a post up that delves deep into the emails and what it says about the current American political establishment:
What I've found stunning over the past couple of days is the clear, unmistakable evidence coming out of Wikileaks that the establishment does, indeed, regard the people - those who live with that daily reality - with contempt, disdain and derision.  We've always known this in theory, of course, but I've never before seen it admitted so plainly and with such bland assumptions of superiority. 
His is deeply thought out and lays out the landscape clearly.  You need to go RTWT and then come back, because I'm discussing what Mr. Putin's motives might be.

On the surface, it makes no sense at all for the Russians to leak these emails.  They are very, very damaging to Hillary Clinton, but there is no doubt that she would be a pushover to a leader like Putin (and the Chinese, and the Iranians, and so on).  We know this because we've seen this - her tenure as Secretary of State was a foreign policy disaster.  The United States is much weaker internationally now than before she stepped into that role, and there's no reason to think that she would be any more competent as President than as SecState.

So if Putin wants to weaken the United States (and allow Russia to fill some of that power vacuum), aren't the Wikileaks emails counter productive?

Tactically, perhaps.  But strategically, undermining the existing establishment political class will cause disruption like the world has never seen.  Remember, this is a global revolt against the elites - at least in the West.  Brexit was only the opening salvo - the Trump phenomenon here as well as movements like France's Front Nationale, Germany's Alliance fur Deutschland, and nationalist parties all over Europe are all a reflection of the discontent that Peter describes so well.

And now imagine a Hilary Clinton administration that wins by a narrow margin, with wide spread voting irregularities and a sense not just that the Democratic Party used dirty tricks against Trump, but the the Republican Party joined in as well - what claim to legitimacy can the new government claim?  What sort of follow on political movements (dare we say Revolutionary Cadres?) can we expect both here and in Europe?  How is the U.S. Government supposed to govern?

The punch line, of course, is that all Putin has done is to expose what the global Western political elites have been doing all along.  It's not Putin that's brought the West to the point of crisis - it's the Western political establishment itself.  To blame Putin for trying to exploit this situation is to blame a compass for point north.

And so, Hillary is quite right to complain that the Wikileaks disclosures are Russian attempts to influence the election.  Where she goes wrong is thinking that her complaints will change the attitude of the electorate, either before or after the election.

What a miserable, short sighted, venal, and corrupt excuse for an "elite".  That's the problem.  Expecting Hillary to be able to fix short sighted, venal, and corrupt is to expect a compass to point south.

So what about Trump?  Perhaps the fix is already in, driven as much by the GOP as by the Democrats.  They likely think that they will have the last laugh.  What they ignore are the chortles wafting on the breeze from the Kremlin.

Government about to regulate Internet Of Things security

This is a mess, and the mess is so bad that government intervention might actually help:
The European Commission is drafting new cybersecurity requirements to beef up security around so-called Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Web-connected security cameras, routers and digital video recorders (DVRs). News of the expected proposal comes as security firms are warning that a great many IoT devices are equipped with little or no security protections.
The problems with IoT security are legion: devices are very cheap and so profit margins are razor thin, leaving little desire to invest in good security.  The owners are non-technical and may not even care if the devices are compromised so long as they continue to work.  Things are likely to move to web-based control protocols, meaning that ISPs won't be able to help by blocking management protocols like Telnet and SSH.

This is a real mess, and looks like it will get a whole lot messier.

Monday, October 10, 2016

If everyone thinks you're a jerk, then maybe it's you ...

Paraphrasing Tolkien on the two candidates

Trump speaks foul but feels fair - his position on the issues is clearly stated and hasn't changed in a meaningful way.

Hillary speaks fair - she has that polished politician's way with words.  But the feeling of foulness simply doesn't stop.

This is a Change election, with the vast majority of the electorate convinced that the country is on the wrong path.  The establishments (of both parties) have been determined to serve up More Of The Same.  The howling that you hear is all about the "principle" of who is moral enough to occupy the Oval Office.

Remember, when they say it's all about the principle, it's all about the money.  The Donor Class is determined to get its Trade Agreements and Open Borders, and that money flows to a legion of establishment politicians and talking heads.  And so the shrieks rise to the heavens.

Trump is taking serious flak.  That means that he's over the target.

A brief history of the recent Republican Party

2010.  Republican Establishment says: OMG! Obamacare is horrible and will ruin the country!  Vote for us so that we can take control of the House of Representatives and stop him!

[GOP wins the House; nothing happens]

2012.  Republican Establishment says: OMG!  Obama is out of control!  But RomneyCare was awesome in Massachusetts, because reasons.  Vote for us so we can ... well, something!

[Nothing happens]

2014.  Republican Establishment says: OMG! Obamacare really stinks, and the IRS is attacking people, and things are really going to Hell in a hand basket.  Vote for us so that we can take control of the Senate and stop Obama!

[GOP wins Senate; nothing happens]

Last weekend.  Republican Establishment says: OMG!  Trump says mean things!  We can't vote for him.

What a pathetic bunch of sad sacks.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Various composers - Renaissance Music

The Queen Of The World and I went to the Renaissance Faire yesterday.  It's great fun, but the point is fun, not historical accuracy.  As you might expect, I notice the music.  All yesterday, I would mutter under my breath at the music being played.  And so, here's some true Renaissance music from various composers, from the Sixteenth century.  This is the sort of music that would have been familiar to Henry VIII (who was a composer in his own right - a true Renaissance Man).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Your Saturday Stinker

Seen by the Queen Of The World on the Book of Faces.  It's her fault.

John Michael Montgomery - Life's A Dance

Life is change, and the last two years have seen a lot of that for me.  But your choice is to dance to the music of change, or sit things out.  The Queen Of The World and I have been pretty busy up here seeing new places and meeting new people.  It's change, and change is sometimes hard.  But if you take the right partner with you, it's a dance.

This song is the title track from John Michael Montgomery's debut album.  The album went platinum, the first of several.

Life's A Dance (Songwriters: Allen Shamblin, Steve Seskin):
When I was fourteen I was falling fast
For a blue eyed girl in my homeroom class
Trying to find the courage to ask her out
Was like trying to get oil from a waterspout
What she would have said I can't say
I never did ask and she moved away
But I learned something from my blue eyed girl
Sink or swim you gotta give it a whirl

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

The longer I live the more I believe
You do have to give if you wanna recieve
There's a time to listen, a time to talk
And you might have to crawl even after you walk
Had sure things blow up in my face
Seen the longshot, win the race
Been knocked down by the slamming door
Picked myself up and came back for more

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go

Life's a dance
Life's a dance
Life's a dance
Take a chance on love
Life's a dance
You learn as you go