From Around the Blogroll

It’s over.

Wisconsin steals Kentucky’s perfect ending in Final Four, 71-64
by Jerry Tipton | | April 4, 2015 | Updated 7:10 AM April 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — A team stayed undefeated in the Final Four Saturday night. Sadly, for Kentucky, that team was Wisconsin.

Kentucky guard Devin Booker in the locker room following the Wildcats’ loss to Wisconsin in the national semi-finals.

The Badgers, a veteran team with unshakable resolve, had a 34-0 record this season when holding a lead with five or fewer minutes remaining in a game (117-3 in such situations since Feb. 3, 2011).

A clutch three-pointer by Sam Dekker put Wisconsin in such a situation against Kentucky with 1:41 left. The Badgers again closed the deal, beating previously undefeated Kentucky 71-64. With the victory, which avenged a national semifinal loss to Kentucky last season, Wisconsin will play Duke in the NCAA Tournament championship game Monday night.

In the immediate grip of defeat, Kentucky saw the loss as ruining a historic season of achievement.

“It really means nothing,” Tyler Ulis said of Kentucky’s final 38-1 record. “… It takes everything away. All the winning, to me, means nothing.”

Assistant Coach John Robic had a simple explanation for such an all-is-lost reaction.

“It’s the pain,” he said.

Read more here. And now, on to the blogroll!

The unreality-based community

I don’t usually follow Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, but she normally has a lot of good stuff; I spotted this one due to a link from Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

No Insurance Available for Jewish Kindergartens in Belgium

Europe nearly “exterminated” all of its Jews, and chose instead to import tens of millions of Muslims. As country after country caves and cowers to Islamic supremacist demands, violence and hatred, the Jews, the most despised of people under Islam, are fleeing in droves — and those who stay must deal with situations like this.

Europe will reap what she has sown. The rampant violence and hate Muslims in Europe display towards Jews is never covered by the mainstream media. Instead, we are subjected to the non-stop fiction of of “islamophobia” and the mythical victimhood narrative employed by Islamic supremacists and their media quislings.

Christians, of course, will suffer the same cruel fate, and the same scourge that ushered in Europe’s Dark Ages will usher in the Modern Dark Age.

Advertisement on the bus says: “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. STOP THE HATE” Click to enlarge

Meanwhile, our ads calling attention to Islamic Jew-hatred are the problem.

“No Insurance Available for Jewish Kindergartens in Belgium!,” by Hana Levi Julian, Arutz Sheva, April 1, 2015 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

A Belgian insurance company has refused to insure a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels.

The company claimed the risk of a terror attack on the European Jewish Association-run institution was too high.

EJA General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin called on all European governments and heads of European Union institutions to provide security to all Jewish institutions that would satisfy insurance companies, and establish an alternative insurance mechanism that would secure any institution that might fall victim to anti-Semitic attacks.

See more here.

The left claim that being concerned about Muslims and their potential for terrorism and Islamic fascism is “Islamophobia;” I call their willing blindness Islamodementia.

But businessmen, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of thinking with their hearts; they use cold, hard facts in assessing their decisions, because if they don’t, they are very likely to fail in business. And when businessmen in much-more-liberal-Europe won’t sell insurance to a Jewish kindergarten, because the risk of a terrorist attack is too high, you know that that was the result of a cold assessment of the risks.

The insurance companies have said what so many on the left — meaning: much of democratic Europe and far too large a segment of the United States — are unwilling to admit: terrorism is on the rise, it is led by Islamic extremism, and it is more frequently aimed at Jews.

The left managed to co-opt the name “the reality-based community” for themselves a few years ago, but they are, in fact, totally unrealistic: they would rather cling to their soft-hearted and soft-headed notions of peace and tolerance and multi-culturalism (as long as such tolerance does not extend to white heterosexual Christian or Jewish men) than to look at the actual facts, to look at a reality which is unpleasant, and which is intellectually devastating, to their positions.

Kane is unable

The woes of the Democrats’ one time “It Girl” are mounting! From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

AG Kane quashed subpoenas in casino investigation, sources say
Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers | Last updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 1:08 AM | Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 8:36 PM

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane quashed key subpoenas in a move that aides said undermined an investigation of a former state gaming official with ties to Louis DeNaples, a politically connected Scranton-area millionaire, The Inquirer has learned.

Just months after taking office in 2013, according to people familiar with the matter, Kane revoked subpoenas already delivered to former casino owner DeNaples and William Conaboy, another political power player in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kane’s home turf.

Though one of her most senior aides had approved questioning the two men, Kane told colleagues that the prosecutor running the case was being “too aggressive” and was placing an unfair burden on DeNaples and Conaboy, a person familiar with the case said.

Five months after the subpoenas were withdrawn, public records show, DeNaples, through his Pocono Gardens Realty business, contributed $25,000 to Kane’s campaign fund – a contribution she ended up returning later that year.

Read more here.

Glamor photo of Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) from The New York Times. Click to enlarge.

The First Street Journal has run several stories about the silliness of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, (D-PA), who squashed a sting and an investigation into bribery by some members of the Pennsylvania state legislature because, surprise! everyone caught has been a Democrat, an action so egregious that even the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer complained. And Attorney General Kane has had her share of legal troubles; such things tend to happen to unethical people. The state Supreme Court rejected her challenge to a grand jury’s recommendation that she face criminal charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and other crimes for the alleged leak of information to a newspaper in a bid to embarrass a critic. Mrs Kane’s challenge was based not on objection to the charges themselves, but a technicality, her claim that Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman lacked the legal authority to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate grand jury leaks; the Court rejected that claim. Lanny Davis, the lawyer who always seems to represent Democratic politicians who run afoul of the law, said:

We have faith in the judicial system and that the district attorney of Montgomery County will look at the evidence and the law and find that Attorney General Kane is innocent of any violations of the law.

Uh huh.

Mrs Kane has stated previously that she will not resign if indicted, and it is true that she is legally innocent until proven guilty. But we will smile once she is proven guilty, and is forced to resign in disgrace.

California’s death row is filled up

I have written previously on the inefficiency of capital punishment, and Kevin McFadden writes that America’s largest death row has run out of room.

California anticipates twenty new death row prisoners this year. The state’s death row has cells for 715 prisoners, and 708 of them are filled; another 23 are being housed at other facilities due to extenuating circumstances. A federal judge ruled last year that California’s death penalty is unconstitutional, but even before that, the last prisoner actually executed was Clarence Ray Allen, in 2006. Since then, 49 death row inmates died from something other than execution. Since capital punishment was reinstated in the Pyrite State in 1978, 850 prisoners have been sentenced to death, but only 13 have been executed. That’s 13 men over 37 years, or an average of one execution every 2 years and ten months. At that rate, to actually execute all 731 men and 20 women sentenced to death in California will take until April of 4142. Even if California could duplicate Texas’ rate of executions (523 in 33 years), it would take until October of 2062 to execute everyone on death row in California.  And with 20 new condemned prisoners arriving every year, and Texas’ rate of executing 15.8 prisoners per year, the Golden State’s death row would still expand, not contract.

So, what’s California to do?  Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) has requested $3.2 million to expand death row at San Quentin by 97 cells.  But, with roughly 20 new death row prisoners arriving every year, in five years those 97 cells will be filled.  If the state gets past the federal judge’s ruling, and returns to its current execution rate, one, or maybe two, condemned men would be sent to their eternal reward; what the state really needs is for more of the prisoners to simply kick the bucket naturally.

This makes no sense at all.  Why spend all of the extra money that holding prisoners on death row costs, plus the costs of the seemingly endless appeals process, when the state isn’t going to execute anyone in the first place?  Any fiscal conservative ought to be appalled.  Even if executions are resumed, they won’t be resumed at a rate which would empty out death rows across the country.

For a fiscal conservative, the only sensible answer is to simply commute all capital sentences to life without parole: it’s less expensive in both the short and long run.



We told you so: If liberals understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals

I’ve said many times previously that if liberals actually understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals any more. The professor is simply approaching it from the other side, and telling us that liberals should be ignorant of economics.

Liberal Professor: If You Understand Economics, You’re Likely to be a Bad Person
by  • 

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Click to enlarge.

According to Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, if you have an understandings of Economics, you are likely a bad person.

That was her finding in an article she published this week, titled “ARE ECONOMICS MAJORS ANTI-SOCIAL?” The first word in the piece was simply, “Yep.”

Dr. Wade writes that if you have taken classes on Economics, you “are less likely to share, less generous to the needy, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.”

She largely bases her belief on a study from 2010. In the study, students were asked if they would like to contribute money to a liberal political group or a group that is pushing for lower tuition, possibly by asking for more subsidies from taxpayers.

There’s more at the link.

The methodology from Dr Wade’s article:

Students at their institution — University of Washington — were asked at registration each semester if they’d like to donate to WashPIRG (a left-leaning public interest group) and ATN (a non-partisan group that lobbies to reduce tuition rates). Bauman and Elaina crunched the data along with students’ chosen majors and classes. They found that econ majors were less likely to donate to either cause (the selection hypothesis) and that non-econ majors who had taken econ classes were less likely to donate than non-majors who hadn’t (the indoctrination hypothesis).

The flaw in the methodology is obvious: Dr Wade noted that the two choices were “a left-leaning public interest group” and a group which pursues a goal which could be seen as more liberal than conservative. If economics majors are more conservative than the student body as a whole, then the two options for donation selected would naturally be less appealing to economics students.   The study was biased from the beginning!

What should we make of these findings?

Sociologist Amitai Etzioni takes a stab at an answer. He argues that neoclassical economics isn’t a problem in itself. Instead, the problem may be that there are no “balancing” classes, ones that present a different kind of economics. In other part of the academy, he argues — specifying social philosophy, political science, and sociology– there is a great variety of approaches are advanced, thereby leaving students with a consolidated debasing exposure and a cacophony of conflicting pro-social views.”

Really? I have never been associated with Occidental College, where Dr Wade teaches, but I would be very surprised if a student could get a degree in economics from Occidental without taking some non-economics courses.  However, “social philosophy, political science and sociology” are disciplines which have far less measurable results than economics.1

But the real failure of that is Dr Wade’s statement that there are no balancing classes which present a “different kind of economics.” She appears to believe that there is a different kind of economics which actually works; all of our experience tells us that that is untrue. Capitalism is the only economic system we have ever known which has lifted more than a tiny minority above the subsistence level. And in his attempt to somehow find an alternative to the harsh realities of capitalism — people can, and do, fail under capitalism — Karl Marx formulated an “economics” which produced only dictatorship and failure.

It was interesting to follow the link Dr Wade gave us.  Dr Etzioni wrote:

Neoclassical economics has been criticized for being unrealistic, generating poor predictions, and engendering flawed public policies. This article examines a fourth charge: that teaching the subject has a morals-debasing effect. The charge holds that neoclassical economics’ focus on self-interest, pleasure, and, hence, consumer goods—what critics refer to as its hedonism and materialism—renders those influenced by its teachings less moral and more antisocial. This issue has been particularly relevant in recent years, when a societal focus on individualism and deregulation are said to have contributed to the near-global financial and economic crisis that has led hundreds of millions of people—across the world—to lose their jobs, homes, and lifelong savings.

One of the first experiments to test the “debasement” hypothesis is one conducted by Marwell and Ames (1981). In this study, the social scientists designed a prisoner’s dilemma–type game where participants were given an allotment of tokens to divide between a return-generating private account and a public fund. If every player invested all of their tokens in the public fund, they would all end up with a greater return than if they had all put their money into their respective private accounts. However, if a player defected and invested in the private account while the other players invested in the public fund, s/he would gain an even larger return. In this way, the game was designed to promote free-riding: the socially optimal behavior would be to contribute to the public fund, but, with respect to economic theory, the dominant strategy would be to defect.

Marwell and Ames found that most subjects divided their tokens nearly equally between the public and private accounts. Economics students, by contrast, invested only 20% of their tokens in the public fund, on average. This tendency toward free-riding was accompanied by a divergence between the moral views of the economists and noneconomists. While three-quarters of noneconomists reported that a “fair” investment of tokens would necessitate putting at least half of their tokens in the public fund (with 25% reporting that only putting all of the tokens in the public fund would qualify), over one-third of economists didn’t answer the question or gave “complex, uncodable responses” (Marwell and Ames 2001:309). The remaining economics students were much more likely than their noneconomist peers to say that “little or no contribution was ‘fair,’” or to indicate that notions of fairness did not influence their decisions (Marwell and Ames 2001:309).

Note the loaded terms: contributing to the public fund was “socially optimal,” while investing in the private fund was “free-riding.” Right there, at the beginning, the “study” was biased, because it defined the behavior in biased terms.

Dr Wade again:

Being exposed to a variety of views, including ones that question the premises of neoclassical economics, may be one way to make economists more honest and kind. And doing so isn’t just about sticking one to econ, it’s an issue of grave seriousness, as the criminal and immoral behavior of our financial leaders is exactly what triggered a Great Recession once… and could again.

Here Dr Wade — a sociologist, not an economist — tells us her goal: to make “economists more honest and kind.” But the problem isn’t that economists aren’t honest and kind, but that economics itself, while brutally honest,2 is not kind at all. Economics is about production, about maximizing the productivity of the individual, normally through the specialization of skills, and the transformation of that labor into something which can be exchanged for the necessities and luxuries of life. And some people are simply not very good at doing that. The best with which the professor can counter are studies with politically slanted options and biased definitions.3

Economics is the study of what works, and what does not work, and those things are measured by real numbers, by quantifiable results.  That’s why conservatives are more likely to understand economics, and that’s why understanding economics makes a person more conservative. It’s obvious that Dr Wade considers conservatives to be “anti-social” and “less likely to share, less generous to the needy, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal,” but those are biased definitions in themselves; she is attempting to state that being conservative is immoral in itself. Her’s is exactly the position which has led so many naïfs to socialism: in their desire to make the economic world more equitable, they wind up trampling on people’s rights. The freedom to choose, to the left, is restricted to one thing, and one thing only.

  1. I was a student at the University of Kentucky when the attempts at quantification in the social sciences were really getting off the ground, and I have to say that I was less than impressed with the results; too much of it depended not upon objective measurements, but of attempting to quantify subjective answers on survey questionnaires from people who had a wide range of beliefs and ideas and intensities of feeling.
  2. Brutally honest does not mean that economists cannot make mistakes in their numbers, or use inaccurate data; it means that numbers are numbers, period, and numbers, if accurately measured, have no biases.
  3. This is one of the problems I find in the attempts to quantify the social sciences: so many of the measuring criteria reflect the biases of the researchers.

Once again, conservatives were right!

But the left will say that welfare isn’t being abused!

Here’s What Happened When Maine Forced People to Actually Work for Welfare

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine decided last year that he had to do something about the rampant, out of control welfare abuse in his state, specifically concerning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

So late last year, LePage began enforcing new requirements stating that in order for non-disabled residents to receive SNAP benefits that they would be required to work at least twenty hours per week, volunteer or attend  vocational training.

Guess what happened as a result? Out of the 12,000 non-disabled welfare recipients without children who were on the rolls last year, only 2,680 remain as of now, according to David Sorensen, spokesman for the Department of Health and Services.1

That’s a staggering 9,000-plus welfare leeches who lost their benefits simply due to an unwillingness to better themselves — proving that a staggering number of people receive welfare only because it provides for their needs without their actually having to work.

More at the original.

Apparently, there really were jobs out there for the able-bodied welfare recipients to take. Given that our economy has been basically importing Mexicans to do jobs that good American citizens wouldn’t do, I’d guess that if every state did what Maine did, we’d find a whole lot of welfare recipients across the country would be able to find jobs, and we’d reduce the influx of illegal immigrants at the same time, because there would be fewer jobs for them to take.

  1. This link was not in the original, but added by the Editor.

Karmic Justice!

From The American Thinker:

Exec who mocked Chick-Fil-A now on food stamps
By Ethel C. Fenig | March 28, 2015

My, what a difference two and a half years and a nasty, self righteous video by a nasty, self righteous man make.  In the summer of 2012, an individual who could only accept diversity, pluralism and multi culturalism as long as it agreed with his politically correct notions, posted a video of himself harassing a Chick-Fil-A order taker on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. That was the day those who actually believed in diversity, pluralism and multi culturalism chose to support the fast food chain against those who disagreed with the founder who opposed gay marriage.  The founder didn’t say he would fire gay people or those who were involved in this type of union, merely he didn’t agree with it.  Hot air ensued. . . . .

Adam Smith– no, not the famed free market historic economist – was not as accepting.

Smith decided to go through the drive-thru at his local Chick-Fil-A, where he ordered a free water — the fast food chain offers customers free water — and videotaped himself telling the drive-thru attendant how much he despised Chick-Fil-A.

“Chick-Fil-A is a hateful corporation,” Smith said, in part, to the drive-thru attendant. “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible values. You deserve better.”

Smith then posted the video on his personal YouTube channel, but when he got back to work, he received a major shock.

“I got into work and the receptionist, the first thing, big eyes, ‘Adam, what did you do?’ … she said, ‘The voicemail is completely full, and it’s full of bomb threats,’” Smith said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ “20/20.”

Smith was fired that same day. He said at the time he was earning $200,000 annually and had over $1 million in stock options.

“It was taken when I lost my employment,” he said.  (snip)

Looking back at the video now, Smith said he was emotional.

“I don’t regret the stand I took, but I regret… the way I talked to her,” he told “20/20.”

Or maybe what he regrets is posting his idiocy on YouTube. There’s more on the original.

Think about what happened: a Chief Financial Officer of a medical device company in Arizona, with a salary of over $200,000 per year, and over a million dollars worth of stock options, not only was dumb enough to berate a drive-though window employee and film it, but then drove home — that took some time — uploaded it onto his computer, and then posted it on YouTube. This wasn’t just some dumb fast reaction, but a considered course of action; he has time to think about what he was doing, and did it anyway.

In other words, Mr Smith was fired for more than just the video — though that would certainly have been enough — but because he exhibited such poor judgement that no company ought to employ him as a chief financial officer. And now, he’s unemployed, making less than the (probably) minimum wage employee he berated, and on food stamps. I do have to wonder just how he qualifies for food stamps if he had over a million dollars in stock options, though perhaps he lost those along with his job.

I do have sympathy for his wife and four children.

Rule 5 Blogging: Basic training!

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 Megan Fox 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.

Today, we go back to the beginning, to the basic training that every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine must pass.

Marine Corps Basic Training

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Basic training!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

Keep in mind Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown has initiated a controversial prison “reform” program in California. In his first three years in office, Brown authorized the release of 1,400 criminals who had been sentenced to life in prison. Under Brown’s “reform,” California officials are releasing “non-violent” offenders from prison, which is why Robert L. Ranson was set free in June 2013:

He was considered a non-violent offender because his most recent prison term was for possession of a firearm by a felon. Ranson had previously served time for two carjackings and an assault with a firearm, prison officials said.

Robert L Ranson

Carjacking, assault, possession of a firearm by a felon — yeah, let’s just turn that guy loose. What could possibly go wrong?

A man on probation as a “non-violent offender” under California’s prison realignment program has been charged with kidnapping, raping, and torturing a 16-year-old girl in South Los Angeles, and detectives suspect he may be connected to three other recent murders. Robert L. Ranson, 30, was arrested in late March [2014] after the girl escaped from a U-Haul van in an alley near Imperial Highway and New Hampshire Ave., according to police and booking records. The girl was covered in gasoline and said her attacker, later identified as Ranson, had tied her hands and taped her mouth, and was trying to light her on fire when she ran away, naked.

Now they’re going to let sex offenders live near schools.

No way that policy could lead to trouble.

Will the last sane person leaving California please turn out the lights?

While I’m certain that it would be dismissed, the victims of crimes by the released “non-violent” offenders should sue Governor Jerry Brown and the California state legislature for the program which released these thugs. Put them on notice, and make them defend themselves. Sue them not only in their official capacities, but personally as well, sue them into penury.

The girl who was terrorized and raped and just barely escaped before being set on fire to be burned to death? The families of the three other recent murder victims the police think were committed by Mr Ranson? Why shouldn’t they have some justice over the decision by Governor Brown and his lackeys, why shouldn’t officials be held accountable for decisions that have such terrible consequences? Anyone with any common sense at all would have known that a man with Mr Ranson’s record was not someone who could be released without endangering the community, but Governor Brown and his minions did it anyway.

And now, the rest of the blogroll!

The left have been reduced to this!

Jason Scott, the proprietor of the Delaware Liberal, somehow thought that this was an important criticism of Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign

Ted Cruz has a burning flag/Al Jazeera logo
Filed in National by on March 23, 2015 • 0 Comments
Ted Cruz has a burning flag/Al Jazeera logo

UPSO notes that “Ted Cruz’s new logo looks like a mix between the Al Jazeera logo and a burning flag. Weird.” (Thanks, UPSO!)

For Mr Scott, that somehow constitutes highly sophisticated and intellectual commentary, that a logo symbol somehow takes a similar, but not identical, shape to someone else’s logo.

Of course, one would think that a liberal, a Democrat, a progressive, like Mr Scott would see this as a sign of the inclusiveness Mr Cruz brings to his campaign, but, alas! the proprietor of the Delaware Liberal lacks the capacity for deep thought and introspection.

And while The First Street Journal did not endorse Senator Cruz, or at least we haven’t thus far, we are amused by the lengths to which the left have already gone in attacking him.