I assume this has something to do with the ready availability of decent drink.

Honestly, all of nature is pretty much about sex. That doesn't mean that you're meant to have sex with it.

Statin fail

I've never seen the point in statins and never have taken them.  The causal link between cholesterol and heart disease is fuzzy at best.  Friends and family have had very unpleasant effects from statins.  The science has been too confused to satisfy my medical BS meter.

An Evening Out

I just spent last evening with a British immigrant who has just bought a home here in America, which -- along with his job -- he thinks will establish himself well enough here that he shall remain forever. "Good," I said, "and what are you going to do about Donald Trump?"

"Well, if I must leave again I suppose I shall," he said. "I could probably get you out too."

I answered, "I'm not going anywhere. This is my country, and that is the whole reason I own a rifle."

A third party to our discussion, an American from Omaha, jumped in enthusiastically at this point. He missed, in his enthusiasm, our British comrade wiping away tears.

They cannot see the danger from the left, though neither are even slight friends of Ms. Clinton. The danger from the right occupies all their thoughts, though it is perhaps rather less severe. I don't imagine Donald Trump would be trying to run out British émigrés, and I'm not sure how much I think he'll really turn on Hispanic or Muslim ones. I have a feeling it's all talk with him.

But how nice to see enthusiasm for the rifle. How nice to see even the romance of it. It is worth a few glorious tears. It is the final guarantee of liberty.

Meanwhile, in Russia.....

Cartoon violence.

Cool immigration map

Friday Night Spear Chucking

Take that, you nasty drone! Begone foul fiend!

Election polling

Michael Barone is one of the few poll analysts I can read with any patience.  It's going to be a long season.
I have noticed something else that may be significant in the some recent polls: The number of undecided voters seems to be increasing, rather than decreasing as it tends to do when nominees are determined.
This could result from cross-pressures. Majorities of voters have unfavorable feelings toward both candidates, and probably a record share, about 25 percent, has unfavorable feelings toward both. Apparently some voters are having trouble deciding which repellent candidate to vote for.
Bingo.  Well, not to exaggerate:  I'm not having trouble deciding, just trouble stomaching my decision.

$15 an Hour? How About "You're Fired"?

Carl's Jr. has a plan: automated machines to take your order, and a ten percent discount for using them.

Taco Bell had automated ordering kiosks at the 1996 Olympics. They were awesome, actually, because your order was never wrong. They were simple to operate touch-screens, and you could customize your orders to do all sorts of things without worrying about trying to explain what you wanted to a deaf 16-year-old. Since much of Taco Bell's menu is just different ways of putting together the same basic ingredients, the customization aspect worked very well.

I remember that I was very sad when they removed the kiosks after the Games were over. They represented a real improvement on the Taco Bell experience.

Automation is going to make most human labor obsolete.

Eric Blair, Call Your Office

A comment on why World War I games are too hot for the gaming industry, though WWII is one of its staples.

Well, except for flying games. Snoopy and the Red Baron is fun for everyone.

Divergent Interests

The invocation of Trump is just a means of making people excited about reading the article, which is ironic: the real critique is much more interesting than the lazy headline suggests.

This graphic gives a sense of it.

On the one hand, it's difficult to sympathize too much given that tenured academia is deeply insulated from competition compared to almost anyone, anywhere. On the other hand, competition for tenured positions has become very fierce in recent years. That seems to be what is driving this kind of thing.

There's another aspect, too, which is implied by the need to publish unlikely novel results before getting 'scooped.' If you're hanging your hopes on them, it's also necessary to defend their plausibility so you continue to be important as the discoverer of them. Thus, science becomes deformed not only because scientists are inclined no longer to carefully check unlikely results, but also because they have an interest in using anti-scientific strategies to defend implausible results long after they should be rejected. They might use rhetoric to try to silence criticism ("You're just opposed to my results because I'm [insert protected category]!"). Or, as the Michael Mann case suggests, they might even resort to legal strategies to defend highly questionable science.

After all, one's career is at stake. Or one's hope of ever having a career.

Ain't No Rest for the Triggered

Because this just belongs here.

Zimmerman Trolls the World

George Zimmerman is auctioning off the gun he shot Trayvon Martin with. Why, you ask?
Proceeds from the sale, Zimmerman wrote, will be used to “fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of [Zimmerman’s prosecuting attorney] Angela Correy’s [sic] persecution career and Hillary Clinton’s anti-firearm rhetoric.”
I imagine he'll get a fair amount of money for that piece of junk he was carrying, given how much people will enjoy pulling those particular chains.

Is this troll year in American politics? It must be troll year.


Harvard women's groups claim that gender-neutral rule should be altered to only ban activities by men's groups.
At Harvard University, women are protesting the school's recent move to ban single-sex "final clubs," because the school didn't limit the ban to male clubs...

The Harvard women say that women's groups should be exempted from the new rule, because it was adopted as a response to claims that men-only groups foster rape.

The Citadel: No Hijabs

Needless to say, the decision appears to be leading to a lawsuit.
The woman's family is now considering legal action, citing the fact the Citadel is a public university, said Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"We believe that it's a constitutional obligation for a public institution to offer religious accommodation to students," he said.

Hooper says precedents for religious accommodation in the U.S. military contradict the Citadel's decision.

"Our U.S. military allows hijabs, beards, turbans, yarmulkes," he said. "It makes you wonder why the Citadel thinks they're somehow better than our nation's military."
Not 'better than,' 'different from.' The US military has offered various accommodations. The Citadel never has.

Benghazi Again

F-16 pilots: "We were on standby." Turns out there was not the refueling issue that the administration has been claiming prevented sending them, either.

Brazil Says "Bye" To Socialist President

Brazil's Senate has voted to suspend its President from office. She is allegedly planning to step down given the vote.

It turns out this is actually business as usual in Brazil, where almost no Presidents finish their term in office. I have a certain jealousy for their capacity to remove corrupt officials, although not for the apparent surplus of corrupt officials they have to remove. Still, it's not as if we're lacking for them here. We just have less recourse.

What Are You Talking About?

This guy. I don't know what to say about him.
"All of the men, we're petrified to speak to women anymore.... There is nobody who respects women more than I do."
Yeah, that's not true. No part of that is true.

Texas Independence Resolution to Get a Vote

Mother Jones reports.
The Texas Nationalist Movement, once considered a quixotic fringe group, has added hundreds of members in the years since the election of Barack Obama. According to the Houston Chronicle's Dylan Baddour, at least 10 county GOP chapters are coming to the convention supporting independence resolutions. But this will be the first time in the state's 171-year history that they will actually vote on one. It's very unlikely to win. Then again, that's what people said about Donald Trump.

Badass Hebrews, Part II

OK, so Raven's got a point.

Choctaw Bingo

Speaking of badass Hebrews, if you missed it this week was Holocaust Memorial Day, Israel's version of Memorial Day, and now their celebration of national independence. If you know any badass Hebrews, wish them well.

All Right, Fine

I can see where this is going.
Attorneys for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are calling on the judge and the entire prosecution team in Mohammed’s military commission at Guantánamo Bay to step down from the long-running case over what a member of the defense team called “at least the appearance of collusion” that led to the government apparently secretly destroying information relevant to the premier post-9/11 tribunal.
These trials were always a stupid idea. All the Geneva Conventions required of us was a status hearing, and then we could shoot him as an unlawful combatant.

But fine. Rule him not guilty by reason of failure of the government to prove its case. Turn him loose in Georgia. It'll sort itself out.

Playboy's Guide for Voters

People keep sending me this, so I suppose I'll post it. Appropriate warnings: (a) It's from Playboy, so while there's no nudes there's plenty of profanity. (b) It may make some of you consider becoming Libertarians, though it reminds us that only the Republicans ever even talked about the problem of unconstrained immigration or the morality of abortion.

Can't Argue With That

Sanders: "Nominating Clinton would be ‘disaster’ for party, nation."

FBI Director: Yeah, "Security Inquiry" is Not A Thing

Today's good news:  Director Comey confirms that this is a criminal investigation.

Yesterday's bad news:  The Department of Justice's top employees have donated $75,000 to Hillary Clinton for this year's election.

That's quite an investment in her future.

An independent counsel would seem to be indicated as the only reasonable course of action.

A Periodic Table of Mathematicals

Interesting stuff in this article on 'exploring the mathematical universe.'

Taranto on the Race

One of the few things Hillary Clinton has going for her is that she’s inevitable. But for how long? She will win the Democratic presidential nomination barring the unlikely event that we still live in a country governed by the rule of law.

"Justice" in Obama's America

The Department of Same.
In a broader sense, the suit is symbolic of the federal government’s eight-year crusade to decimate any semblance of federalism and streamline progressive morality. The administration ignores state laws that conflict with federal policy when it approves and it sues states when it does not. States that pass law enforcement bills President Obama finds unsatisfactory will see the full force of the Justice Department come down on them. Those with drug legalization laws and immigration laws he does like, even if they conflict with federal law, have nothing to worry about.

Is It That They No Longer Know?

Or is it that they no longer believe in America as the Founders envisioned her?
The answer [to why the majority of Republican primary voters are no longer conservatives] lies in America's biggest -- and scariest -- problem: Most Americans no longer know what America stands for. For them, America has become just another country, a place located between Canada and Mexico.

But America was founded to be an idea, not another country. As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it: "Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy."
If it is just that they no longer know, then principles-based movements like the ones we've been seeing might fix the problem. The problem is a problem of education. Teach people what the principles were, and why they worked, and why losing them is related to grave tragedies. Then, they will be able to apply the principles themselves and we'll see a political shift toward proper political values.

But what if -- as I have come to suspect -- the problem isn't that they don't know but that they don't care? I suspect they've all heard of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. What they want is a Federal government that will solve their problems. That implies a Federal government with all kinds of powers to 'do stuff' that is completely untethered from the Constitution.

The idea of restoring the 10th Amendment, which I think is the only way for an America that has become so morally diverse to survive, that's not important if what you want is a Federal government that will solve whatever problems you have.

Trump voters aren't conservatives because they are progressives. Oh, they're not aesthetically aligned with the progressives who want transgender bathrooms and racial diversity. They're aesthetically quite opposed to all that. But that is a difference about what constitutes a beautiful America. On the question of whether or not the government should have whatever powers it needs to make America beautiful, they're completely on the left.

That's A Minor Issue

Hot Air nails the Brady campaign:
The “criminals” earnestly advise against going to certain states with heavy handed gun control laws because it will be so hard for them to obtain weapons and carry out their crimes. With no apparent sarcasm intended, they go on to list California, Connecticut, Maryland and New York as places to avoid. Wait… what?

It was only a couple of weeks ago when we covered the five cities which account for a two year spike in gun murders here in a country where crime rates are otherwise decreasing. Two of them were Los Angeles and Baltimore. And New York City isn’t that far behind.
It's as if criminals were getting their guns from black market sources that were never going to perform background checks anyway.

It's As If Strong Controls on Immigration Were Good

Vox explains that the reasons liberals want to move to Canada are the reasons they probably can't.
Canada uses a points system to figure out who qualifies for "Express Entry" — which is the pool employers can use to hire people, and from which the government accepts (some) skilled immigrants who don't yet have job offers. The points system is supposed to score how well you'll integrate in Canada (with factors like language and "adaptability") and how much you can contribute to the Canadian economy (via education, experience, employment, and age).

Crucially, if you don't already have a job offer in Canada, it also looks at whether you have enough money saved up to support yourself until you find one. This is where I washed out. I don't have $9,199 US ($12,184 Canadian) in cash savings — and that's the bare minimum to qualify for Express Entry.
Gee, if only we had some sort of system like that here.

Philosophically Curious George

A useful introduction to some basic problems.

Make Them Consider Buying A Ford?

Mark Levin is on point when he criticizes Trump's hypocrisy on free trade. But he loses me here:
Remember, a tariff is really just a tax, the cost of which is imposed on the American people. The higher the tariff, the higher the tax. Imagine what a 45 percent increase in the price of goods made, say, in Japan would do to a middle class family shopping for a Toyota or Honda.
Isn't this the whole point of tariffs -- to provide incentives to prefer domestic products? If I understand Levin, he thinks that the middle class family shopping for a Toyota or Honda is just going to pay the higher prices. That's the same sort of error that Congress makes when it assumes that raising taxes won't affect economic activity. Of course it will. In this case, the effect on economic activity is the whole point of the exercise.

Another Principled Argument

I have the same thing to say about it as before. Of course these are the right principles, but a politics of rational principles is the opposite of the direction in which our democracy is rushing.

So We Have That To Look Forward To

Hillary Clinton lays out some of her gun control agenda.
Her proposals include extending the instant background checks indefinitely by changing the amount of time the FBI has on extended checks. She also wants to place new regulations on sales at gun shows and for guns sold online, and she wants to expand the definition of domestic violence to include dating relationships, then use that expanded definition to ban individuals from owning guns.

Breitbart News previously reported that Clinton also wants to change our nation’s laws to allow shooting victims and their families to sue gun manufacturers... [t]his action alone would drive gun prices through the roof as gun manufacturers seek ways to raise money to cover court costs incurred via lawsuit after lawsuit when criminals misuse guns. It would eventually drive gun manufacturers into bankruptcy and, finally, into oblivion.
This is just a start. The most important thing for her will be getting a Supreme Court Justice who will overturn Heller, and rule instead that the 2nd Amendment only protects state-run militias and nothing else.

So, the future looks like an end to the gun manufacturing industry, an end to the legal right to keep and bear arms, and an unrestricted right for any ex-girlfriend to send the police to rob you of your arms.

Well, you should be careful whom you date anyway, I suppose: the most important quality in a potential mate is good moral character. Likewise, domestic violence really is a serious problem. Nevertheless, that's a tremendous weight to put on a wholly informal relationship, with no due process beyond her being willing to give a sworn statement against you.

A Female Junior Officer Writes on Military Gender Equality

She is targeting her remarks not at the less than one percent of military women who might enter combat roles -- the figure is her own estimate -- but at the 99% who will not. She has some interesting things to say. I think that, if her peers listened to her and adjusted themselves accordingly, much of this would be less contentious.

Opposition Leader in Venezuela Assassinated

The head of the UNT party was shot dead while traveling in one of Venezuela's western states. The UNT is a collection of labor unions that supported Hugo Chavez. It is not the only labor party in Venezuela, but one particularly tied to the communists.