Friday, June 6, 2014

Odds and ends 6/6/2014

Last year, the Daily Beast reported on GOP donors Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer’s multiculturalism:

What do major Republican donors like Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer have in common with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? They are all in favor of immigration reform.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Singer is also behind the Republican push for same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Adelson is vetting Republican presidential candidates and, according to his close associate, Victor Chaltiel, “wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.”

Glenn Fairman writes at American Thinker:

Beneath the Humanist quest for man’s autonomy is a covert aversion to the enchanted quality of life—a seething passion that undergirds their rejection of the natural and embrace of the artificial. This is not to say that the liberal consciousness despises the natural world: for in fact, they are quite comfortable in its qualified deification. What they do detest is the idea of a sovereign sustaining Deity superior to and giving transcendent value to what is highest in nature.

If there was an objective morality, how would we know it? We need God to reveal His will to us.

Citi’s Peter D’Antonio spins the disastrous Q1 GDP revision:

“Although this was only the second negative print of the expansion, we do not believe it was a harbinger of a slowdown or problems in the economy. Instead, we think the weakness reflected weather distortions that hampered activity.”

(Note Paul Ashworth’s prediction of 3.5 percent growth in the second quarter.)

GDP doesn’t track with temperature. The winter of 1980 was just as cold, and the economy grew 1.3 percent.

Most economists are communicating D’Antonio’s sentiment. And most reiterate that Q1 GDP is old news since that quarter ended in March and we have two months of encouraging Q2 data.

“The economy likely will rebound sharply in the second quarter, and the data show that this in fact is already happening,” said D’Antonio. “So we are viewing the second pass at GDP as old news, even if the economy shrank in the quarter.”

The more accurate revision always gets less publicity than the initial estimate.

ZeroHedge provides this stunning graphic of economists’ expectations consistently beating the market.

I should have majored in Making Bad Predictions.

James Longstreet writes at the American Thinker:

Confiscatory monetary policies to take from some to ensure the bets of others. No longer a “free market” but a centrally planned affair. As in all central planning, some are chosen to benefit, others to be harmed.

The monies to be theoretically pushed out of deposits will likely continue to find their way to speculative endeavors. The velocity of money, or the rate that money “turns over” in the economy, will continue to plummet. The second law of Newton is in full play here. For every Central Bank “action” there will be, and continue to be, an “equal and opposite reaction.” String pushing is the favorite sport of the central planners, and they continue to expect different results from the same actions.

Disposable income will be stripped from savers to prop up the markets. The prudent will support the reckless. The ECB and other central banks will “guarantee” these programs with promises of ample forewarning of any policy change. The forewarning phone calls will likely be dispensed in an uneven fashion. You certainly want to be at the top of that phone tree. Meanwhile, ride those equity markets, don’t save or get caught with idle funds. Isnt this how the entire mess first began?

The New York Times seems to have missed the point that increasing fertility is a means to cultural stability. More illegitimate children would increase fertility, but wouldn’t stave off Japan’s decline. In the end, they default to “equality” for single moms.

In light of the dire predictions of population decline, the [Japanese] government might well rethink its discriminatory attitude toward births out of wedlock, which have been a critical factor contributing to the increase in fertility rates in other advanced economies. In France, for instance, out-of-wedlock births rose from about one-tenth of all births to over half in the last three decades.

While the Japanese government need not promote such births, it should at least adjust its policies so that all women with children are treated the same whether they have been married or not.

“Who really needs [the family] anymore?” Daniel Greenfield poses in a depressing piece. Flesh-and-blood people do. Automatons of the totalitarian state, not so much.

The Air Force thinks it has “fixed” the sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base.

Fully 65% of the MTIs said the brass puts more authority in claims made by raw recruits with weeks in basic training over the word of MTIs who, in many cases, have been in the Air Force for twenty years or more.

In response to a scandal in 2011 involving MTI’s who had unauthorized sexual contact with female recruits, the Air Force took several steps. Complaint boxes are now placed prominently in the recruits barracks, and there is a special ‘hot line’ that recruits can call confidentially to report on the conduct of their MTI. In addition, more female MTIs are being trained, and there are new restrictions which require that all interaction between recruits and MTIs take place in public. Each new flight of recruits is also met by an officer who explains their rights to file complaints against their trainer.

In addition to the new restrictions facing the MTIs themselves, there are now requirements that MTIs report their fellow instructors if they get wind of misconduct. In several of the ‘sex with recruits,’ courts martial, witnesses said MTIs were aware of the activities of other instructors, but did nothing.

Fewer than 35% of the MTIs surveyed by the Rand Corporation said they believe the recruits respect their authority, which makes it very difficult for a military basic training instructor to do his or her job.

One MTI told the survey, according to the Air Force Times, that the result has been softer recruits, who are not being properly trained for rigorous and demanding service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“I really hope I’m not around to see the next war,” he said in a chilling statement.

A victimhood mentality looks good politically. It’s not a valuable asset on the battlefield. Then again, we don’t fight battles anymore, we fight PR campaigns. Thank General David Petraeus for that.

Julian Castro is letting his true colors shine, giving San Antonio the middle finger on his way to Washington, D.C.:

Mayor Julian Castro and other members of City Council stress that they are committed to narrowing roadways to create a system of bicycle lanes across the city, and a visibly frustrated Castro said the city will ‘not ask permission’ from taxpayers before they reduce vehicle lanes from major streets, 1200 WOAI news reports.

“The policy of the City of San Antonio is that we are going to build a strong bike network,” Castro said. “We will not ask permission before taking this action, just like we don’t ask permission before we repair roads.”

The comments came as City Council grudgingly approved a measure to remove six miles of bike lanes on South Flores Street, because residents had complained that the bike lanes would slow traffic and cause traffic congestion.

San Antonio is one of the fattest cities in the country. Part of the problem is genetic, as Hispanics have a 70 percent higher rate of diabetes than whites. It doesn’t help the city’s image that the obese Charles Barkley taunts San Antonio’s “fat women” every opportunity he gets. Sure, it would be nice if people were more active and fitter to improve the city’s image. But San Antonio is a thriving city because of its economic freedom and ease of travel. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without clogging the streets with bicycles.

Matt Purple of the American Spectator looks at the common bond between conservatives and nationalist reactionaries abroad:

To be “anti-politics” as the Tea Party and UKIP are is to oppose this all-consuming view of politics; to believe that there ought to be a healthy space in one’s life where ambitious politicians and regulators can’t reach, whether that means telling Washington to back off the health care market or Brussels to let Italy regulate its own pizza ovens. It’s sad that this is derided in many quarters as “far right” and “revolutionary,” and encouraging that so many are now standing up for it.

I’d like to see where the CEDA finalists are in 20 years compared to the Spelling Bee finalists. If one of the former gets through medical school, can you blame his patients for going to another doctor?

Mike Krieger writes at ZeroHedge:

I strongly believe that it is just as important to show compassion for the least fortunate within society as it is to fight against the incredibly corrupt establishment. Failing to do so makes you no better than they are.

Krieger cites a couple in Daytona Beach who were fined by the police for ministering to the poor and the homeless. The state doesn’t like citizens’ encroachment on its principalities.

Selfless fellowship of friends and neighbors are the answer to sociopaths like Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger.

The former roommate of Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger said today he had a “bad feeling” while living with Rodger and should have taken the “opportunity to help” his troubled roommate.

“I felt that this was someone who needed help and he had put himself in a position where he couldn’t help himself and that puts it on the community to help those who can’t help each other,” Chris Rugg, a junior who is a film major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told ABC News.

“I had my opportunity living him when I knew things were up that I could have called in and it was my opportunity to help and I didn’t,” Rugg said.

I’m reading Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism by Stanley Kurtz. This line in Chapter 5 reminds me of the Brendan Eich affair:

When your ultimate goal is the overthrow of the capitalist ruling class, intimidating businessmen is not a problem. On the contrary, it moves the battle beyond conventional legal reform and toward radical consciousness—which is [Heather] Booth’s explicit goal. Most Americans are put off by Alinskyite tactics, implicitly feeling them to be violations of the underlying rules of fairness and civility on which society depends.

What a quaint line. It may have been partially true in 2010, the date of the book’s publication. I doubt Kurtz could have written it today.

The persecution taking place is the precise meaning of “radical consciousness.” The courts aren’t driving this issue. They’re reacting. They ratify the prevailing Kulturkampf in evolving jurisprudence.

The Texas Republican Party shows some spine in rejecting the Log Cabin Republicans:

“Those groups have been associated with promoting the legalization of gay marriage, and that is not the current position of the Texas Republican Party.”

Not yet.

Headline: “Suicide Bomber Is Identified as a Florida Man.” Those Florida men!

An American who blew himself up in an attack in Syria on Sunday has been identified by law enforcement officials as Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a man in his early 20s who grew up in Florida and traveled to Syria late last year.

Ross Douthat assesses “misogyny” in the movies:

Now one can critique the “lonely gunslinger” trope on all sorts of ideological levels, but it’s very hard to see the kind of masculine ideal embodied by Shane and Will Kane as looming large, in any meaningful way, in the fantasy lives of contemporary misogynists. Whereas what clearly does loom large is a much more contemporary fixation: The male hero as lothario/ruthlessly effective killer predates the 1960s (every eras has had its outlaws, its fascinating anti-heroes, its Casanovas), but it comes in much more strongly in American culture with James Bond and Hugh Hefner and Howard Roark, and then with the ’roidal action heroes and Bruckheimer fantasias of the 1980s. If you’re seeking a full-throttle of “celebration of violence,” the place to turn is “Bonnie and Clyde” or “The Wild Bunch,” not the work of Marion Mitchell Morrison. If you want “sexual entitlement, throbbing misogyny, and … fake self-confidence” layered on top, I recommend “Top Gun,” not the filmography of John Ford.

The Spurs might be the exception that proves the rule. Robert D. Putnam’s research shows diversity decreases trust. J. A. Adande writes:

Trust is such a sacred commodity in the NBA. It’s even more elusive than talent. The Indiana Pacers had players, but they didn’t have trust. It’s one reason the Miami Heat, not the Pacers, are facing the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Diversity can be a valuable asset in its own right. This ESPNW story by Alyssa Roenigk alerted me to an interesting study by the Kellogg School of Management that found diversity led to better problem-solving. In the study, diverse groups outperformed more homogeneous groups not because of an influx of new ideas, but because diversity triggered more careful information processing that is absent in homogeneous groups.

From the report:

The mere presence of diversity in a group creates awkwardness, and the need to diffuse this tension leads to better group problem solving, says Katherine Phillips, an associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. She and her coauthors, Katie A. Liljenquist, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University, and Margaret A. Neale, a professor at Stanford University, demonstrate that while homogeneous groups feel more confident in their performance and group interactions, it is the diverse groups that are more successful in completing their tasks.

But that study merely looked at the impact of adding people from different social groups, not different countries. How do people speaking different languages cross those barriers to find trust?


By the way, read part 2 of Bill Simmons’ epic recap of Tim Duncan’s career heading into the 2013 NBA Finals.

Sally Kohn knows something Supreme Court chief Justice John Roberts doesn’t.

“In its ruling in Windsor v. United States, the Supreme Court paved the way for states and the federal government to legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.” –Sally Kohn

“The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States, in the exercise of their ‘historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,’ may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.” –John Roberts

Roberts doesn’t follow liberals’ reductive logic. Associate justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion establishes the jurisprudence for mandated same-sex marriage. Associate justice Antonin Scalia picked up on it right away:

The penultimate sentence of the majority’s opinion is a naked declaration that “[t]his opinion and its holding are confined” to those couples “joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State.” I have heard such “bald, unreasoned disclaimer[s]” before. When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with “whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.” Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it “demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,” ante, at 23—with an accompanying citation of Lawrence. It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.

Vladimir Putin trolls Hillary Clinton:

After being asked about Clinton’s recent tough rhetoric on Russia’s foreign policy, Putin said, “It’s better not to argue with women.” He later characterized Clinton’s comments as a sign of weakness, which is maybe “not the worst quality for a woman,” he added.

Putin was responding to Clinton’s criticism of Russian foreign policy in Eastern Europe, especially her comparison of Putin’s Crimea annexation to Adolf Hitler’s European aggression ahead of World War II.

“When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak,” Putin said in the interview with France’s Europe1 and TF1.

Chess master Putin knows. He’s pretty good at pushing borders just far enough.

“There can be no reconciliation between the observant and the delusional.” –Vox

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