We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, December 28. 2015
Children as young as four ‘encouraging each other to consider a sex change’
Stations of Home Alone: Where the Wilderness Meets Civilization
The Most Notable Medical Findings of 2015
Victims and Microaggressions: Why 2015 Was The Year Students Lost Their Minds
College president says inclusivity more important than diversity, tuition costs
Anglican Priest Smears the Virgin Mary
Three Global Warming Stories The Media Don't Want You To See
What's Marriage Got to Do With Poverty?
Power Line’s Chart of the Week: The Achievement of Capitalism
Sorry, Socialists, But Capitalism Is Killing Absolute Poverty
Get Ready: Why 2016 Politics Will Be Totally Nuts
Berlin, Germany: “I Am Muslim What Are You?” Muslims Beat Christians for Christmas Fun
Czech President: Wave of Migrants Entering Europe Is “Organized Invasion”
French see their children add to ISIS ranks in Syria
On the rampage in Calais: Shocking footage shows hundreds of migrants stealing from lorries and threatening motorists as
Why Do They Join the Jihad?
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O'Rourke has always been half a dick but in his dotage he has forgotten where he's left his better half.
Do You Believe in Stereotypes?
Schneiderman is making a facile argument. Virtually no one doubts that people differ in ability, but it's just as clear that stereotypes can have a pernicious effect on society and individuals. Take this, for instance:
If an individual possessing certain characteristics commits a crime, the police do well to limit their search for people who possess the same characteristics.
A crime is committed by a black male. However, stopping every black male on the streets will result in stopping hundreds or thousands of people who are innocent of the crime, and create unnecessary tension and distrust between the public and police.
With the exception of stereotypes that involve political affiliation, stereotypes are not imposed on groups of people in order to diminish or demean them.
Good stereotypes, like good jokes, contain an germ of truth.
Your example about stopping all black men is silly. No thinking person would suggest stopping all black men if the police only knew the suspect was black, but if, for example, the suspect was dressed in a distinctive fashion, then it makes sense to focus attention on black men who are similarly dressed.
I agree that non political stereotypes are also used to diminish or demean people.
My priority scale is this: a stereotype often is more useful than a wild guess, but it's never as good as finding out something real about a specific individual.
mudbug: Your example about stopping all black men is silly. No thinking person would suggest stopping all black men if the police only knew the suspect was black, but if, for example, the suspect was dressed in a distinctive fashion, then it makes sense to focus attention on black men who are similarly dressed.
Perhaps the answer is in your phrase "no thinking person", which implies not relying on stereotypes.
So, instead of being your usual absolutist self, you tell me: is the black homicide rate eight times greater than the white rate or not? And what does this mean for a policeman who is actually, oh, trying to do his job in a particular neighborhood and keep other black people from being killed?
Assistant Village Idiot: is the black homicide rate eight times greater than the white rate or not?
It is. However, the vast majority of blacks are not murderers, so stopping people based on their race is unlikely to find the suspect, while alienating the population.
Agreed, stopping every black male seems excessive, but what else would you suggest? Stopping blacks and whites equally would be really stupid.
Sorry, Socialists, But Capitalism Is Killing Absolute Poverty
Certainly, free markets are the engine of growth, but allowing sectors of society (meaning people) to starve is not a tenable, long-term economic model; hence, the most advanced economies are mixed economies.
Citation needed. I expect people to adapt and learn, not act like idle children when time passes them by.
When I got my first real job, I had an adding machine and a dumb-terminal to a mainframe computer on my desk. Since then, I've had to learn many new skills along the way.
What I didn't do is expect to make a living doing exactly the same thing for the next 45 years - and go on the dole if that didn't work out.
NJSoldier: Citation needed.
Citation for what?
Free markets are the engine of growth?
Allowing people to starve is not a viable long-term economic model?
The most advanced economies are mixed?
Good grief...Zack is back with a basket full of strawmenszes.
You seem to have a pretty low opinion of people to think they would let people starve.
mudbug: You seem to have a pretty low opinion of people to think they would let people starve.
History is full of examples (do you really need citations?), however, developed countries now provide systematic support for the poor, disabled, and elderly.
mudbug: Not in the US.
The history of the U.S. is somewhat spotty. The low population density and large areas of arable land meant that life expectancy increased during the early years of the Republic. But life expectancy dropped by the mid-nineteenth century due to increased urbanization, before rising again. The twentieth century saw much higher food production, but industrialization meant hunger whenever there was an economic downturn. The Great Depression saw a great deal of hunger, plus the problem of idled workers, even though there was a substantial effort made to help the poor. This problem was alleviated by the Great Stimulus of WWII, where even marginal workers were put back to work. Today, of course, the U.S. has an elaborate welfare system, as do all other advanced economies.
If a kid couldn't throw a ball, wrestle, or tackle in my neighborhood, we would often encourage him to wear a dress and play with his sister's dolls. Most took it as constructive criticism and decided to try harder at male endeavours.
"My Basic Income" — just giving every German 1,000 euros a month.
Given that a country will provide basic support for the poor, disabled, and elderly, the problem with the welfare model is the complex of regulations and paperwork to make it work. It also provides a disincentive. The effective tax rate on a mother who leaves welfare may be over 100%, when she and her children lose social benefits.
The advantage of a guaranteed income is, therefore, two-fold. There is no need to administer a vast bureaucracy to determine eligibility and root out cheaters. And if someone decides to get a job, they get to keep their newly generated income, minus taxes.
Welfare is unconstitutional and giving a guaranteed income would be as well. Free the people on welfare, allow them the basic dignity of living a life worth living. These people are hooked on drugs and alcohol simply because they have this unearned money and too much free time. It should be a basic human right that no one should be enslaved by a welfare system that the Democrats put in place simply to create a dedicated voting block. End it, don't mend it. No welfare at the federal level. No more 'free stuff'! Set my people free!
GoneWithTheWind: Welfare is unconstitutional and giving a guaranteed income would be as well.
Public assistance for the poor is as old as the Republic.
Yes, public relief was available at the founding, but only on the local and state level. It also largely involved the idea of a publicly subsidized "Poor House" or "Poor Farm" that would be available to anyone who needed it. The argument is that there is no specific enumerated power in the Constitution authorizing the Federal Government to operate a public relief program, but the public use portion of the Takings Clause clause of the Fifth Amendment requires that any property seized by the Federal government be put to public use, and that giving someone cash becomes a private benefit.
Another, to my mind less persuasive, argument is that by setting up programs as entitlements you are compelling the government to spend money without going through the appropriations process.
Call it welfare, public assistance or relief it is both unconstitutional for the federal government and harmful to the recipients.
Here is a suggestion that would benefit the recipients and would pass the constitutional test: State run workfare. Anyone could go to the workfare office and be 'hired' immediately and paid the minimum wage (minus taxes and SS) for 8 hours a day up to 40 hours a week. The work could be tailored to any disabilities the applicant had. In every state and every community there are needs for public works and clean up that would benefit everyone and the pure joy and satisfaction a former welfare bum would have by simply working for a wage cannot be measured. We are denying welfare recipients what we would not deny our own children; the skills and ability to take care of themselves and the opportunity to do exactly that. End all forms of welfare/wealth transfer and replace with a single system administered at the community level where anyone in need can work for a living. Imagine the massive improvement in self esteem. Imagine the benefit to the community.
Well, I'm all for eliminating bureaucracy and in theory it sounds like the scheme has promise.
But here's the rub.
What about those that can't handle their money? What of the person that squanders his check on gambling or drugs on day one and then can't feed himself, or his family, or pay the rent until the next check arrives?
We are a compassionate society. We don't let people starve. I suspect this would ultimately lead to a return of all welfare programs with monthly cash payment remaining as pocket money for the recipient. How long governments will be able to print money to fund such plans is problematic.
feeblemind: What about those that can't handle their money? What of the person that squanders his check on gambling or drugs on day one and then can't feed himself, or his family, or pay the rent until the next check arrives?
Something like that happens now with disability and Social Security checks. Some people splurge, then do without until the next check comes. You could allocate the funds weekly, but there is no panacea. Having drug and alcohol treatment available would obviously be a help in this regard.
feeblemind: How long governments will be able to print money to fund such plans is problematic.
The point is that once you decide to have a welfare system — which all modern economies have — the money is already being spent. The standard payment would eliminate the bureaucracy, and remove the disincentives. Sure, some would stop working who might otherwise have worked. But others would work who otherwise wouldn't have, and then progress through the workforce rather than being shut out by years of inactivity.
Anglican Priest Smears the Virgin Mary
The Anglican/Episcopalian Church continues its death spiral (a self-inflicted wound, in my view).
In the West that is, not in Africa - where a robust, conservative, take-no-prisoners form of Anglicanism seems to be going gang-busters.
Quite an irony!
The stop and frisk program saved lives, a lot of lives, black lives. It would seem to me that if you oppose stop and frisk you do not think that black lives matter.
I do admit that I have a problem with stop and frisk. I do believe it is not constitutional. However I think there is a better way and one that would be constitutional. In every city that has gangs the police know who the gang members are. When a crime is committed by a gang member the police and justice system should hold the entire gang responsible. It would be naive to think that they do not all collude and conspire to commit these crimes. Their very rules prove that they do and these crimes are connected to their gang activity. So when a crime, a shooting, a home breakin is committed by one gang member put out a warrant for every member of that gang by name (not a John Doe warrant) and hunt them down and arrest them and bring them to trial. Do it every time. It is absolutely stupid that we allow gangs to roam the streets committing violent crimes when we know who they are and what they are doing.
Sounds like a RICO approach. One problem with attacking gangs is that in at least some instances,gangs are part of the political machine.Chicago Magazine: Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance:
To what extent do street gangs influence—and corrupt—Chicago politics today? And what are the consequences for ordinary citizens? To find out, Chicago conducted more than 100 interviews with current and former elected officials and candidates, gang leaders, senior police officials, rank-and-file cops, investigators, and prosecutors. We also talked to community activists, campaign operatives, and criminologists. We limited our scope to the city (though alliances certainly exist in some gang-infested suburbs) and focused exclusively on Democrats, since they are the dominant governing party in Chicago and in the statehouse. Moreover, we looked at the political influence of street gangs only, not of traditional organized crime—a worthy subject for another day.Who would have thought that Chicago, of all places, would have such an example of corrupt politics? This is entirely unexpected.
While they typically deny it, many public officials—mostly, but not limited to, aldermen, state legislators, and elected judges—routinely seek political support from influential street gangs. Meetings like the ones Baskin organized, for instance, are hardly an anomaly. Gangs can provide a decisive advantage at election time by performing the kinds of chores patronage armies once did.
In some cases, the partnerships extend beyond the elections in troubling—and possibly criminal—ways, greased by the steady and largely secret flow of money from gang leaders to certain politicians and vice versa. The gangs funnel their largess through opaque businesses, or front companies, and through under-the-table payments. In turn, grateful politicians use their payrolls or campaign funds to hire gang members, pull strings for them to get jobs or contracts, or offer other favors (see “Gangs and Politicians: Prisoner Shuffle”).
Most alarming, both law enforcement and gang sources say, is that some politicians ignore the gangs’ criminal activities. Some go so far as to protect gangs from the police, tipping them off to impending raids or to surveillance activities—in effect, creating safe havens in their political districts. And often they chafe at backing tough measures to stem gang activities, advocating instead for superficial solutions that may garner good press but have little impact.
One irony about the objections of progs/libs/lefties to stop-and-frisk policies is that the main purpose of stop and frisk is to capture illegal guns. You would have thought that progs/libs/lefties would sign on to any procedure that would result in police officers confiscating illegal guns.
Why Do They Join the Jihad?
Because it's the baddest gang in the global 'hood. You get to use all kinds of heavy weapons, kill all kinds of people and blow up things with abandon and you get docile, subservient chicks for free.
Compare that with moping round in your home country, unemployed, constantly scorned for being male, endlessly bombarded with "transgender issues" and gay this and that - even if you join the military!
Do You Believe in Stereotypes?
You know, I used to think the term stereotypes were Marantz, McIntosh, etc.
Elites and media really hate Donald Trump’s voters
Trump has tapped into something that he doesn't know how to control. I'm convinced that it was a total vanity candidacy but when he caught fire expressing what the average citizen is thinking, he couldn't put the fire out. So he keeps getting more outrageous hoping to trigger a huge backlash so he can quit and say he tried, but it isn't happening.
Stereotypes: The author seems to say that we use them until we know something about the person we've just met. As far as identifying those suspected of crime by race, the police would have a much harder time finding a white criminal if they were not told his race, just as would be so were he black. The clothing etc is not a subject of stereotyping.
Public assistance for widows and orphans is as old as our Republic, but not public assistance for the able-bodied and healthy who choose not to work or whose drinking/drug abuse makes them unemployable. Without welfare, parents would be more likely to make their kids study and do homework and attend schools as the parents would know what the alternative is: starve. The present system doesn't work because it encourages lifelong dependence upon politicians and public money and the politicians buy the votes with the welfare.
A great many "scientific" studies are junk because while they are accepted as valid, careful examination reveals flawed methodology, incorrect use of statistical analysis and outright fraud. Notice that the social "sciences" are the ones in which the fraud is the most frequent. Why? For one thing, reviewers, editors and those seeking to replicate are likely as ignorant of mathematics as those who produce the studies. For more, consider how difficult it is to produce a paper which disproves any of the important ideological or political truisms of any group.
Happy New Year!