Rule 5 Blogging: Sea Duty

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Alyssa Milano in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week, American sailors, at sea! Click any photo to enlarge.

ARABIAN GULF (July 10, 2013) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Kimberly O’Donnell, from Silverdale, Wash., operates advanced recovery controls at arresting gear engine four aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan R. McDonald/Released)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Sea Duty’ »

From Around the Blogroll

People seem puzzled that, other than Fox, the mainstream media, other than Fox, are barely, if at all, mentioning the Gruber story, but really, it’s simple: to them, the story that the Obama Administration had nothing but contempt for the intelligence of the American people, and of voters, is not news, not news in the slightest. Given that the voters actually elected Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States, and then, after witnessing his job performance for the first term, re-elected him, it’s difficult to disagree with the assessment that the voters are stupid. The 2014 election had decent results only because the less intelligent people stayed home.

The most Pyrrhic of victories

Our good friend Jason Scott of the Delaware Liberal is just aghast that Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) has stated that he will support the Senate bill by hopefully-outgoing Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to get the Keystone XL pipeline project approved. Stan Merriman added this comment:

This support by Carper is an outrage. As a recent transplant here from Houston, we were painfully close to Cancer Alley where the refineries are that will process that sludge. This is harmful to the already harmed Houston environment, harmful to the landowners along the pipeline’s east Texas route and an environmental disaster. I’ve written Sen. Carper on this, not expecting he’ll reverse his support but I owe it to my Houston friends to try.

Mr Merriman posted another article stating that President Obama’s deal on carbon emissions with China is a BFD, which I assume stands for big f(ornicating) deal, and that opposition to it constitutes treason, so I feel that it’s somewhat safe to say that he is pretty intense on this subject. :)

It is my guess, at this point, that the Keystone XL pipeline will not be built. Even if approved, the left can be counted upon to file lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit to try to stop it, most certainly delaying it for years upon years. I believe that the left have already won on this issue. And what have they won? Nothing, nothing at all, other than to prevent the pipeline construction jobs from being created, because the oil that Keystone was supposed to pump to Gulf Coast refineries is still going to be used! From The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Refiners Don’t Care if Keystone Gets Built
Railroads and Rival Pipeline Firms Are Making the Keystone Pipeline Less Necessary.
By Ben Lefebvre | Updated Sept. 5, 2013 5:28 p.m. ET

U.S. companies that refine oil increasingly doubt that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion will ever be built, and now they don’t particularly care.

Railroads are carrying soaring amounts of crude from Canada down to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, reducing the need for the TransCanada Corp. project, which is still awaiting approval from the U.S. government after two years of delays.

Meanwhile, a rival pipeline company, Enbridge Inc., is expanding existing pipes to carry Canadian crude south—and it doesn’t need federal permission because it’s using existing pipeline rights of way. In addition, so much oil is sloshing around the U.S. from its own wells that refiners don’t need lots more heavy crude from the north to keep busy.

Much more at the original. But we have previously noted another Journal article on the expanded use of railroads to ship crude oil. The oil is still getting shipped, the oil is still getting refined, and the oil is still getting used. Delaying and (probably) stopping the Keystone XL pipeline has not stopped any of that, because, the protests of the left notwithstanding, the country needs to use petroleum to power our modern civilization.

As for the Keystone pipeline construction jobs that won’t be created? Well, they’re probably a net wash, if not actually fewer jobs lost than were created when new rail terminals for handling the increased crude oil flow were started, and there are probably more jobs with the railroads for handling the increased rail traffic, and more jobs created as new oil tanker cars have to be built.

Of course, rail transportation requires more handling, and involves more workers, along with the diesel fuel to power the locomotives which pull the oil trains, and that means greater costs involved for transporting the oil, costs which are passed down to the end consumer, which means that the good, hard-working people that our friends at the Delaware Liberal tell us they support have to spend more for the fuel they use, making them poorer in real terms. The left tell us that they want to increase the minimum wage, but they continually support policies which eat away at people’s wages, policies which make them poorer. We’ve said it many times before: if liberals actually understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore.

Of course, while rail transportation is very safe, accidents do happen, and people get killed. Pipelines can also leak or break, but they have normally not involved anyone being killed. Pipelines are generally safer, and can be made safer still, but nothing is completely risk-free.

So, the left have wasted all of this time and effort to stop the dreaded Keystone XL pipeline, and have probably succeeded, but the oil they wanted to stop will still be used, and the oil that they wanted to stop will still be moved, albeit less safely, and the oil that they wanted to stop will still be needed, and bought, by consumers, though more expensively. I wonder: how Pyrrhic do they like their victories?

A Conspiracy Theory?

From The Washington Post:

Loser? Maybe not. (Timothy D. Easley/AP)

Wait, is the Kentucky Senate race over or not?
By Chris Cillizza, October 21, 2014

Just when you — and national Democrats, who stopped advertising in the state last week — thought the Kentucky Senate race was over, it’s pulling you back in! That’s because of the new Bluegrass Poll, sponsored by a conglomerate of Kentucky media outlets, that shows the race as a statistical dead heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) at 47 percent and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) at 46 percent.That poll led to tweets like this one from Joe Sonka, a liberal blogger who writes about Kentucky politics.

So, am I history’s greatest monster, as Sonka suggests? And just what is really going on in Kentucky?

And a little bit further down:

Doing that yields this conclusion: McConnell is ahead — probably by somewhere between three and five points. (The Real Clear Politics polling average gives McConnell a 4.4 percentage point edge.)  McConnell has led Grimes in 14 of the last 15 polls conducted in the race.  Even the Bluegrass Poll that is providing Kentucky Democrats such joy shows the race moving in the wrong direction; three weeks ago, Grimes led McConnell by two in the survey. (That early October poll is the only one to show the Democrat ahead since early June.)

Kentucky isn’t a blowout today, and it won’t be two weeks from today, either.  There is a scenario by which Grimes wins, but it is not the most likely scenario. (Of the three major election models that aim to predict outcomes, the best chance Grimes has is a 22 percent probability of winning in the FiveThirtyEight model.) If national Democrats believed Kentucky was one of their best chances of winning a Republican seat, they would not have stopped advertising in the state — and started advertising in South Dakota and, especially, the pricier Georgia. The Bluegrass Poll doesn’t change that fact.

There’s more at the link. Mr Cillizza said, “Kentucky isn’t a blowout today, and it won’t be two weeks from today, either.” Uhhh, yes, it was; Senator McConnell defeated Mrs Grimes by a landslide margin, 56.2% to 40.7%, and he carried some eastern Kentucky counties that he hadn’t carried in his five previous Senate races. And other than the sacrificial lamb candidate, Lois Combs Weinberg1 in 2002, Mrs Grimes lost by a bigger margin than and of Mr McConnell’s previous opponents.

But Kentucky’s Democrats still can’t believe it; a Facebook friend of mine forwarded this post to me:

Living Blue in Kentucky

Friends I’m still upset with the results of last Tuesday’s Senate election. No doubt mistakes were made but I still believe we got hosed and royally. I was happy when Alison had a 1 point lead with 3 weeks remaining and then the media playing the clip over and over with her refusing to say she voted for the President. And then Mitch McConnell mole making this commercial which sealed the deal for the Mitch McConnell! What is your opinion of Chuck Todd?

If you are on Facebook and read the posting, the true blue Kentucky Democrats are blaming Chuck Todd for Mrs Grimes’ loss. I’d say that Mrs Grimes’ policies and rotten campaign are the reasons she lost, not one reporter’s (very apt) comment.

Let’s tell the truth here: the pre-election polling in 2014 was terrible. Republicans supposedly in close races won by large margins, while there were several Democrats who were expected to win handily who wound up in very close races. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) was expected to win narrowly; she lost. Michelle Nunn was supposedly slightly leading or very narrowly trailing in the Georgia Senate race, with a run-off election anticipated; the Republican candidate, David Perdue, won outright, defeating Miss Nunn by 8 percentage points. Were I a conspiracy theorist, I’d suspect that the pollsters were deliberately overstating Democratic strength, just to encourage Democrats to get out and vote.2

There are plenty of stories out there — here’s one — in which we’ve been told that, despite the very off-target publicly published polls, the candidates’ internal polling was pretty close to the eventual results. Those stories are almost all about how the winning Republican candidates’ internal pollsters indicated victories, but when I note that the Democrats pulled funding from Mrs Grimes after the published polls showed her very close to Senator McConnell, I have to think that they, too, knew that her candidacy was simply a lost cause.

Well, your Editor won’t subscribe to his suggested conspiracy theory just yet, but there are really only two options: either the suggested conspiracy theory really is true, or a whole bunch of supposedly scientific polling procedures and companies were really, really bad. Regardless, this points out what we have always said at The First Street Journal: the only poll that actually counts for anything is the one held on election day!

  1. Mrs Weinberg is the daughter of former Governor Bert T Combs (D-KY).
  2. There probably are some conspiracy theorists who are claiming fraud, but the Bluegrass State is pretty heavily controlled by the moderate Democrats who hold so many of the local offices. And Secretary of State Grimes is the Chairman of the State Board of Elections.

What’s left

Interestingly enough, the far-left site Daily Kos is a good place to find information about the election results, and what few races remain undecided:

  • Arizona 2nd District: Republican Martha McSally has unseated Democratic Rep. Ron Barber. McSally currently leads Barber by 133 votes, with only about 200 to 250 ballots remaining countywide. There will be an automatic recount.
  • California 7th District: Democratic Rep. Ami Bera currently trails Republican Doug Ose by 530 votes
  • California 16th District: Democratic Rep. Jim Costa is down 741 ballots to Republican Johnny Tacherra
  • California 26th District: Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley is up 1,030 votes on Republican Jeff Gorell
  • New York 25th District: Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter leads Republican Republican Mark Assini by 582 votes

The Louisiana Senate race will be decided in a run-off election on December 6th.

The good news? Every one of those remaining seats is currently held by a Democrat, which means that every Republican victory is a net gain.

Number 53

From Fox News:

GOP adds another Senate seat as Sullivan wins Alaska
Published November 12, 2014

Republican candidate Dan Sullivan defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race Wednesday.

The win gives the GOP eight Senate pickups in the midterm elections. The party is also seeking a ninth seat in Louisiana’s runoff in December.

Sullivan ran a confident campaign, ignoring the debate schedule Begich established and setting his own terms.

He pledged to fight federal overreach, talked about energy independence and at seemingly every opportunity, sought to tie Begich to President Barack Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who are unpopular in Alaska.

Begich complained that Sullivan offered little in the way of proposals for what he would do as senator.

Earlier Tuesday, election workers began counting absentee ballots and early indications were Sullivan maintained an 8,100 vote advantage over Begich. It proved to be true later that night.

This was pretty much expected, but Alaska is a huge state with a lot of rural, off-the-grid voters, and getting election results out of the state can sometimes take a long time.

Now all on which we have to wait is the December 6th run-off election in Louisiana.

Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer!

From The New York Times, via The Pirate’s Cove:

Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty
By Coral Davenport | August 26, 2014

A coal-fired power plant in Kentucky. Coal-heavy states could be economic losers in any climate-change protocol that targets such plants, which are among the largest greenhouse gas emitters. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

More at the link. But I’m guessing that Alison Lundergan Grimes didn’t like that photo and caption in the middle of her (miserably failed) Senate campaign!

As for your Editor, why he just loves the notion that climate change is just too important for the United States to do something radical like follow our own Constitution. Our esteemed President, why he just plain knows better than those wicked Republicans, and, by God, he’s going to try to just impose this by executive fiat. When the President said that he didn’t do a good enough job selling his ideas and persuading the other side, he apparently meant that he didn’t really need to sell anything or persuade anybody; he’d just do stuff on his own.

The sad part is that there are probably 40% of the people who would support him on this.

Back in 1998, President Clinton had negotiators at the Kyoto meetings, which resulted in the Kyoto Protocols. The Senate was unanimous, voting 95-0, for a sense of the Senate resolution asking the President not to sign the Kyoto agreement without significant changes. President Clinton sent Vice President Gore to Kyoto anyway, to sign the Accords, but declined to submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification, where he knew it would be defeated. President Bush withdrew the United States’ signature from Kyoto, something for which we criticized him on the old site, stating that if he wanted to withdraw from Kyoto he should have submitted it to the Senate for a ratification vote, in which it would certainly have been rejected.

Sometimes Presidents want to do things which are unpopular. In 1977, President Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaty, which returned the canal to Panama at the end of 1999. It was met with harsh criticism in the United States, but President Carter had the courage to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification, and he worked hard to sell it. The Senate ratified that treaty, something which required bipartisan support.

Well, if President Obama is going to commit the United States to economically difficult requirements, requirements which would make our people poorer, he damned well ought to submit it to the normal ratification process. He won’t, which means that the Congress will have to refuse to fund anything having anything to do with that agreement.

We’ve seen this story before

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Failing Ivanpah Solar Plant Wants Federal Grant To Repay Federal Loan
By William Teach | November 9, 2014 – 8:00 am

Unsurprisingly, the “world’s largest solar plant” is struggling, so they want a bailout from US taxpayers to help repay the loan provided on the taxpayers back:

(Fox News) After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.

“This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us – the taxpayer for their pet project,” said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. “It’s actually rather obscene.”

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

The loan itself was at a lower than market rate, and, apparently, Google and NRG have no cash themselves. Despite that almost $11 billion in net revenue Google generated in 2013.

But since [Ivanpah was unveiled in February] the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it’s supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised.

It’s failing to generate the promised power? Only 1/4 of what was promised? The hell you say! Here’s a good reminder of the way the different methods shake out.

More at the original.

[wikichart align="left" ticker="NRG" showannotations="true" livequote="true" rollingdate="5 years" width="300" height="245"]But, why shouldn’t Google1 and NRG2 ask the government to give them that grant? After all, the worst thing that the government could say would be, “No,” in which case the companies are no worse off than they were before. And, given the silliness of our federal government, who knows, President Obama might have said, “Yes,” and then had some Democratic congressman sneak the grant into a huge appropriations bill, where it wouldn’t get spotted until it had already been passed. After all, no less than a former Speaker of the House once said that we had to pass a bill to see what was in it.

[wikichart align="right" ticker="GOOG" showannotations="true" livequote="true" rollingdate="5 years" width="300" height="245"]This is where the newly-elected Republican majority has to step in and say not just “No,” but “Hell, no!” The companies indicate that they expect Ivanpah to start to produce energy at quantities much closer to what was promised, which means that they are claiming that the plant will be profitable, while Google and NRG are already profitable as a whole. They received below-market loans to get the place going in the first place, a significant government benefit not available to most companies. And if solar-generated electricity is ever going to be a viable source of a significant percentage of our electricity, it needs to be commercially viable, and able to stand on its own; to have the government arrange subsidized loans, and then wind up giving a grant to pay off part of those loans, is not the path to commercial viability, but simply takes money from the taxpayers to increase profits for a few people.

More, simply making such requests ought to come at a greater cost to companies: making such a request of the federal should generate an immediate, and thorough, audit of all of the requesting company’s books, with the results of that audit being made public, and the promise of prosecution for the company’s officers if wrongdoing is discovered or information concealed. That would stop any company which wasn’t in a precarious situation from making such requests. Of course, if a company was in such a precarious situation already, it would be foolish to prop it up anyway. :)

Your Editor is not a populist by any means; neither is he a corporatist.3 Rather, The First Street Journal holds that government and business ought to be separate as far as possible, with the government neither favoring nor disfavoring any individual legal companies, and that businesses and corporations should be free to succeed, or fail, on their own.

  1. Morningstar currently rates GOOG as a buy at 4.3: 5.0 = buy; 3.0 = hold; 1.0 = sell.
  2. Morningstar currently rates NRG as a buy at 4.3: 5.0 = buy; 3.0 = hold; 1.0 = sell.
  3. Salon has an article stating that the term corporatist ought to be retired, because it has too many, conflicting meanings.

The self-delusion of President Obama

From The Wall Street Journal:

Obama Takes Blame for Party’s Midterm Rout
President Says Administration Has Sometimes Struggled to Sell Its Ideas
By Colleen McCain Nelson | Nov. 9, 2014 10:34 a.m. ET

President Barack Obama, shown in a Nov. 7 photo with congres- sional leaders, takes responsibility for his party’s poor midterm election performance. Click to enlarge. Associated Press photo.

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama took responsibility for his party’s poor performance in the midterm elections and said in a new interview that his administration has struggled at times to sell its ideas and to persuade the other side.

In the aftermath of a Republican romp that saw the GOP take control of the Senate and tighten its grip on the House, the president told CBS that “the buck stops right here at my desk.”

“So whenever, as the head of the party, it doesn’t do well, I’ve got to take responsibility for it,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

In the past, Mr. Obama has been largely reticent to identify specific shortcomings in his administration, but he said in the interview that he must constantly remind himself and his team that good ideas alone aren’t enough.

More at the original. But perhaps, just perhaps, the President and his minions were not successful in “sell(ing) its ideas and to persuad(ing) the other side” because its ideas were not good ones in the first place. The President had large Democratic majorities in Congress during his first two years,1 during which the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were passed. The ARRA, commonly known as the stimulus bill, was supposed to hold unemployment to a maximum of 8% during the recession; unemployment officially topped out at 10%, after the recession was technically over.2 The official unemployment rate has come down significantly, but only due to the definitions used: if the same percentage of the civilian non-institutionalized population “participated” in the labor force in October of 2014 as did so in January of 2009, when the President assumed office, the official unemployment rate would be 9.8%.3 The “official” U-6 unemployment rate4 is 11.5%, but the professional media never report that!

Of course, statistics are for geeks and policy wonks. The Washington Post noted, on September 25, 2014, that polls indicated that a whopping 72% of Americans believe we are still in a recession,5 and that’s up from 57% in March, and 54% in July of 2013.

If President Obama and his Administration have been unable to sell their ideas as good ones, it is for one very simple reason: when put into actual practice, they didn’t work. The left would have us believe that the majority of Americans are liberals; that’s untrue, but it’s not completely false, in that there is majority support for some of their positions. The right would have us believe that the majority of Americans are conservative; that, too, is untrue, but not completely so, in that there is majority support for some conservative positions. What Americans really are is practical: they like what works, and don’t care for things that don’t work. The Democrats keep trying to tell us that President Obama’s policies have really worked, Stan Merriman of the Delaware Liberal telling us that the Democrats have “the best Presidential record in modern history,” a claim he has made before, but somehow the public don’t see it that way; an economy which keeps discouraging people from even looking for work and stagnant wages for those people who do have jobs seems to have more of an impact on people than a policy wonk’s statistical arguments. For Mr Merriman to claim, as an example, that it’s good news that “Your retirement funds in the stock market. All time high,” kind of rings hollow to those who don’t have jobs, or who are stuck in jobs where promotions are unavailable and raises a thing of the distant past, or who think that they cannot contribute to their 401(k) plans because they can’t afford to cut 5% or so out of their paychecks.6

Had President Obama’s policies actually worked, there would have been no TEA Party movement in 2010; had the Democrats’ policies actually worked, the Republicans would (probably) never have won control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections and the Senate five days ago. But this President, a brilliant, Harvard-educated man, so too myopic — or too egotistical — to see it.

  1. Including several months in which the Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate; there is no filibuster in the House.
  2. Technically, the recession was over after June of 2009, when the economy began to expand.
  3. The participation rate in January of 2009 was 65.7%; in October of 2014 it was 62.8%. Using that participation rate, we would have a labor force of 163,368,000 rather than the current 156,288,000. The current number of employed, 147,283,000 ÷ 163,368,000 = 0.9015, or 90.2% employed, or 9.8% unemployed.
  4. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines U-6 as “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.” Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.
  5. The wonksters at the Post said that the public were wrong about that, but that is a technical argument.
  6. Some of Mr Merriman’s claims are outright lies, hidden in statistics. He claimed that “For you spending hawks, our federal spending is increasing way below 2% per year……lowest since Eisenhower. Way lower than Reagan or “W”‘s + 8% per year,” but President Obama’s own FY2015 budget proposal called for an increase in total federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product from 21.1% (projected) for FY2014 to 21.4% for FY2015. Those percentages are higher than anything ever spent under President Reagan or either President Bush, or any President since FY1946, which included World War II spending. See page 163, table S-1.

From Around the Blogroll

It just couldn’t be that the Democrats are about as inspiring as a pile of cow manure:

Millennials aren’t apathetic: Their vote is suppressed
Voter ID laws target students and the young — it’s an active campaign to keep twentysomethings from the polls
Aaron R. Hanlon

“Voter apathy”—particularly among young people—is a post-midterm election cliché that says more about the audiences the punditry write for than the election results themselves. Following from the already overdetermined master narrative about the entitled millennial, “voter apathy” tells the center-left, median-age white professional exactly what she wants to hear: It’s not your fault we’re stuck with this loathsome legislature; it’s those coddled millennials who couldn’t be bothered to vote.

Millennials, I’ll admit, bear significant responsibility for this impression, not only because our voting turnout is indeed poor, but because our response to poor turnout only reinforces the stereotypes. Mathew Segal and Johanna Berkson’s recent Salon piece, a classic example of the genre of millennial backtalk, argues that poor turnout is the politicians’ fault, because they failed to “inspire” with “bold ideas on some of the most important issues to millennials today.” Segal and Berkson may be right, but perhaps blaming low millennial turnout on the failure of politicians to cater to millennials wasn’t the best rhetorical choice.

So instead of rearticulating the old clichés about voter apathy—a topic that, at best, is more complicated than either “kids these days…” or “old folks just don’t speak to us”—we should consider the impact of voter suppression on young people.

The midterm election results were predictable in large part because of the widespread effort of states to pass “voter ID” laws that target women, minorities and, of course, young voters, all of whom are more likely to vote for Democrats. The 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision lifted requirements for states with a recent history of race-based voter suppression to get Justice Department approval for voting law changes, which opened the doors for states like Texas and North Carolina (among others) to pass measures that restrict voter registration efforts, voting hours and forms of identification required to vote. In Texas, for example, a concealed handgun license is acceptable ID for voting, but a student ID is not. North Carolina does not accept student IDs either.

More at the original. But the notion that “millennials” lack photographic identification is ludicrous: 67% of them have driver’s licenses, and every state in the union has its Department of Motor Vehicles capable of issuing non-driver’s license photo IDs. Combine that with the “motor voter” law, and anyone in the county who can legally register to vote can do so, at a place which has the equipment to provide a photo ID at the same time. If some people, regardless of age, are simply to lazy to register to vote, then I’m perfectly fine with them not being able to vote; that is on them, and no one else.

Of course, mentioning driver’s licensing also means mentioning cars!

And now, to the blogroll!