Politics


    Super Bowl 50 was played on February 7, 2016 at Levi Stadium between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Here are a few stats from that game:

 

    Carolina generated 315 yards of offense compared to just 194 for Denver.

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    Carolina possessed the ball for 32:47 minutes versus 27:13 for Denver.

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    Carolina gained more first downs, ran more plays, had more drives and made more yards per play.

    But, at the end of the game, the score was Denver 24 : Carolina 10.

 

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    Carolina fans were upset, disappointed, maybe even chagrined, but none of them argued that Denver wasn’t really the winner or questioned Denver’s legitimacy as the Super Bowl Champion.

 

    Why? Because everyone knew the rules of the game going in. Yards of offense, time of possession and everything else do not matter. What matters is who scores the most points by the end of the game.

 

    This same logic applies to the current election. Both parties, and all the American people, knew the rules going into this election. It doesn’t matter who has the most popular votes, what matters is who wins the most electoral college votes, because we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy and for some very good reasons (and here).

 

    If you didn’t vote for Trump, it is OK to be disheartened and worried. I did not vote for him either, and I am very concerned about where four years of Trump may take us. Fight the implementation of his policies, work to change the electoral college if you think we should be closer to a democracy, BUT . . . when you say things like “no, he was not elected by the people, he lost the popular vote so you can’t truthfully say ‘we the people elected him,'” you are just showing everyone that you do not understand the rules of the game. We the people did elect Donald Trump exactly as “we the people” has been understood since 1787.

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Look, we did something.

Look, we did something.

From Charles C. Mann’s fascinating book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (p. 235, emphasis added):

Spread at its greatest extent over seven hundred miles of the coastline, Chimor was an ambitious state that grew maize and cotton by irrigating almost fifty thousand acres around the Moche River (all of modern Peru only reached that figure in 1960).  A destructive El Niño episode about 1100 A.D. made irrigation impossible for a while.  In response, the government forced gangs of captive laborers to build a fifty-three-mile, masonry-lined canal to channel water from the Chicama River, in the next valley to the north, to farmland in the Moche Valley.  The canal was a flop: some parts ran uphill, apparently because of incompetent engineering, and the rest lost nine-tenths of its water to evaporation and seepage.  Some archeologists believe that the canal was never meant to function.  It was a PR exercise, they say, a Potemkin demonstration by the Chimor government that it was actively fighting El Niño.

Whenever I hear a politician or government official say: “This may not be an ideal solution, but we must do something about [you name it].” I think of the ancient Peruvians and their up-hill canal — and about ways to hide my wallet.

The NYTimes has discovered a new constitutional principle: “selective incorpodumbassicity.” This means that the stupidity of some voters is incorporated, using a fabricated interpretation of the 14th Amendment, to rewrite the 2nd Amendment so that legitimate gun ownership, by responsible law-abiding citizens, is treated exactly the same way as if you robbed a bank.

In Dr. Munger’s response to this NY Times editorial.

The The good kind:

A new technique being used to drill through a type of rock known as shale has led to a surge in domestic natural gas production over the last three years and enabled the United States to overtake Russia recently as the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas.

. . .

Thanks to a breakthrough in drilling technology, involving the use of three-dimensional seismic imaging and hydraulic fracturing of shale rock, huge amounts of natural gas are being produced in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana and other states. Instead of declining, domestic natural gas production is booming to record-high levels (see chart).

If estimates hold up, energy experts say the shale gas that underlies large parts of the United States will be able meet our country’s needs for the next 100 years. The Department of Energy expects shale gas to account for 50% of natural gas production by 2020 if not sooner.

What’s more, the same drilling techniques for shale gas are now being used in several European countries, including France and Poland, to extract their own supplies. Both China and India have huge shale-gas resources. Geologists say shale gas is so plentiful in some parts of the world that it could meet global needs for several centuries.

And, the bad kind (of which Joe Biden appears to be the No. 1 producer):

But these exciting energy developments may not last if natural gas companies are burdened by excessive regulation and heavy taxes. Environmental groups are lobbying Congress to shift regulation of hydraulic fracturing from state governments to the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming that the process poses a risk to groundwater supplies.

But the fact is, hydraulic fracturing is done about 1,000 feet below underground aquifers and separated from the water supply by thick rock.

The White House also wants to add $37 billion in taxes on U.S. oil and natural gas companies, rehashing a proposal to Congress that failed the first time around. History shows that once drilling costs jump due to higher taxes, investment starts to dry up.

(Via Carpe Diem)

It is not often that I am impressed with a politician.  On both sides of the aisle at all levels of government, they strive to convince us that we can indeed get something for nothing if we just give them all the power.  So New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent budget speech filled me with warm-fuzzies.

It has lots of shrink government, anti-tax rhetoric to make me happy.  And one has to love a politician willing to call out the public empoyees unions.

[M]ake no mistake about it, pensions and benefits are the major driver of our spending increases at all levels of government—state, county, municipal and school board. Also, don’t believe our citizens don’t know it and demand, finally, from their government real action and meaningful reform. The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word, which, coincidentally, is my nine year old son’s favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do—“unfair.”

Let’s tell our citizens the truth—today—right now—about what failing to do strong reforms costs them.

One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 towards his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him?  $3.3 million in pension payments over his life and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits — a total of $3.8m on a $120,000 investment.   Is that fair?

A retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing, yes nothing, for full family medical, dental and vision coverage over her entire career. What will we pay her?  $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it “fair” for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess?

But Christie impressed me most with the specific details and lack of double-speak.  He didn’t point to nebluous efficiency savings that will somehow emerge from who knows where, and he didn’t make vague promises about reducing the budget that actually mean not growing the budget by quite as much.  Instead, he set out a specific plan for actual spending cuts.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.  I hope he actually gets it done.

retarded : adjective : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development

— Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary

So, Rahm Emanuel call a group of White House aides and liberal operatives “retarded” when they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul.  Sounds pretty accurate to me.  Only someone who was “slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development” would think that it was a good idea to attack members of one’s own party on the morning after a colossal slap down.

Now, Sara Palin goes all Jesse Jackson on his ass and insists that Emanuel resign.  What happened to all Palin’s threats of “less politically correct twitters“?

Just one more reminder that Democrats and Republicans are different sides of the same coin.  Both want to spend our money and control our lives.  They just have different plans of attack.

I bet most persons with intellectual disabilities couldn’t care less how Emanual describes the idiots* he has working for him.  Maybe that’s a lesson for the rest of us.

(* Oops, I probably shouldn’t use that word either — idiot : noun : a mentally retarded person having a mental age not exceeding three years and requiring complete custodial care.)

We need to stand up to the special interests, bring Republicans and Democrats together, and pass the farm bill immediately.

Barak Obama

This quote has already been posted by much greater bloggers than I (here, here and here, for example), but it is just such a great example of double-speak. I couldn’t pass it up.

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