© Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Kevin McGehee
I carry no portfolio for Paul Ryan, but I can kind of see why he's holding on to the gavel until after the November elections.
“Paul is here until the end of election,” McCarthy said, disputing the notion that Ryan is too weak to remain speaker. The majority leader blamed Democrats for last week’s debacle on the farm bill.
“Democrats don’t want to work with us on anything, from the farm bill to taxes to opioids or anything else, so we had to do the farm bill all by ourselves,” McCarthy said.
The whisperers are arguing it isn't "tenable" for Ryan to remain Speaker, so he should step aside. However, unless he also resigns from Congress, his handing off the gavel would leave his succesor in the Speakership even weaker than Ryan is now.
But if he resigns from Congress now, it leaves his constituents in Wisconsin without representation in the House for six months. And with a full-time Congress (ugh), that's not a particularly responsible thing to do.
I wasn't real happy with his being pushed into the job to begin with; he didn't want it, but the caucus insisted. Now they're trying to whisper him out of Congress before his time.
And people in Washington wonder why nobody trusts them.
© Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Kevin McGehee
Dissent in a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court:
In dissent for the court’s liberals, Justice Ruth Bader called the decision “egregiously wrong” and likely to lead to “huge underenforcement of federal and state stautes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers.” Ginsburg said that the individual complaints can be very small in dollar terms, “scarcely of a size warranting the expense of seeking redress alone.”
But wait. Here's what the majority opinion says:
Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said the contracts are valid under the arbitration law. “As a matter of policy these questions are surely debatable. But as a matter of law the answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote.
Why do the Court's liberals hate the law?
This is why Trump won, and why Neil Gorsuch is on the Court instead of Merrick Garland: the American people are tired of law being made by an unaccountable robed shamanry rather than by their elected representatives. If the application of law in this matter is unsatisfactory to the American people, they need only elect a Congress willing to change the law as the Constitution provides.
Unfortunately, that would also mean electing Senators who would confirm hyperactivist nominees like Ginsburg. The larger implications may sufficiently overshadow the short-term consequences to make that unpalatable to the electorate. I wonder why.
© Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Kevin McGehee
You already know the difference between "ignorant" and "stupid," right? The difference is that ignorance is curable, while stupidity is not.
Turns out there's also a difference between "stupid" and "dumb." Dumbness is also incurable, but at least it isn't virulently contagious.
Many's the day I've found the internet to be stupid. I am happy to report that, today, it is merely dumb.
Tomorrow, of course, could be a very different story.
© Thursday, May 17, 2018 Kevin McGehee
Casey Cagle is not my first choice for Governor, but it's not because of his campaign's lousy choice of a color scheme. Is that supposed to remind me of dried blood?
Judging from the behavior of at least one of the non-first-tier candidates for Governor in next Tuesday's Georgia primary, Cagle is the front-runner. I have to admit he sure seems likely to win outright -- it takes at least 50% of the votes to win an election in Georgia; we have a lot of runoffs.
But if people vote for superficial reasons, I have to wonder if the campaign signs reproducing that color scheme (they look worse than the website) might contribute to a not-as-good-as-expected final tally?
© Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Kevin McGehee
Never brake-check a vehicle that weighs more than your house.
© Sunday, May 13, 2018 Kevin McGehee
(...to the tune of "Fight Song"...)
I did not see this coming. Nobody did. Who could? Well, now the science really is settled.
Don’t believe the latest study you read in the headlines, chances are, it could be wrong, according to a new report by the National Association of Scholars that delves into what it calls the “use and abuse of statistics in the sciences.”
The report broke down the issue of irreproducibility, or the problem that a lot of scientific research cannot be reproduced. The report took aim at unverifiable climate science, but also critiqued medical studies, behavioral research and other fields.
The 72-page report took the matter a step further in calling the issue a politicization of science.
“Not all irreproducible research is progressive advocacy; not all progressive advocacy is irreproducible; but the intersection between the two is very large. The intersection between the two is a map of much that is wrong with modern science,” the report states.
Totally settled. You wouldn't want to be a science denier, would you?
Years ago I served on a jury for a drunk driving trial. In voir dire, the defense asked whether anyone in the jury pool was a scientist. Apparently no one was, and the defense lawyer clearly wasn't a rocket scientist if he thought the only people who understood how science worked were people who get paid to... science.
So the defense was built on a study that claimed to find that absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream could result in illegal blood-alcohol content (BAC) results even though the arrestee might not actually have been impaired at the time of his arrest. Presumably police are out there just pulling people in at random and giving them breathalyzer tests at the police station, without having seen any actual, you know, evidence of impaired driving. Or maybe this particular defendant ignored my longstanding advice to my fellow drivers, "If you're sober, drive like it." Who knows?
Anyway, the defense lawyer blew his own case out of the water when he told a jury that included yours truly that a single unreplicated research study that had never been refuted was by definition scientific fact -- a contention that I thought turned his voir dire question about scientists into evidence of bad faith, whereas if the study had been replicated and its results reproduced, he would certainly have told us so, and been more than happy to have scientists on the jury. We convicted his client in time to beat the afternoon rush hour.
To explain my position to my fellow jurors once we were in the deliberation room, I reminded them of a then-recent media hubbub about research purporting to show success at creating so-called "cold fusion."
Many scientists tried to replicate the experiment with the few details available. Hopes faded due to the large number of negative replications, the withdrawal of many reported positive replications, the discovery of flaws and sources of experimental error in the original experiment, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts.
It used to be that irreproducible research was fodder for satire. These days it's a multimillion-dollar industry with a profound influence over Western politics.
I think there's reason to believe the planet has been warming for the last 11,000 years or so, though now we're in a decades-long pause. Warming is what happens during what paleoclimatologists call an "interglacial" -- until said interglacial ends. Which is also something that happens.
I'm not buying that humanity is even a significant contributor to any current warming, let alone the chief contributor. That claim comes from people who were claiming to have won that argument (and accusing skeptics of being bought off by the fossil-fuel industry) before it even started -- in my opinion, clear evidence of bad faith.
Lawyers shouldn't science, and scientists shouldn't politic.
© Friday, May 11, 2018 Kevin McGehee
I've consistently argued in favor of free will, as opposed to determinism or predestination, and thanks to this post by Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, I have occasion for another argument. Driscoll quotes:
Instead of acknowledging that identity politics is not a mere synonym for justice — and it certainly isn’t, given that identity politics insists that people be identified by their racial, ethnic, or sexual group rather than as free-thinking individuals...
That's where denying free will inevitably leads: to the complete lack of human agency. The past is not merely prologue, it is the whole show; you and I are the product of our genes and we cannot break any cycle into which we were born -- and even if we do, we didn't really, because we only did it to try to fool other people.
The more that the self-proclaimed moral elite disavow religion, the more they preach fire and brimstone on those of us who don't share their certainty on political issues.
The exercise of free will may be why Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden, but it's the denial of free will that's turning the Earth to desolation.
© Thursday, May 10, 2018 Kevin McGehee
You may recall this from two months ago:
A friend and fellow blogger has offered a small but generous encouragement to find a way to open comments here.
Well, it's occurred to me that the WordPress site which formerly hosted my archives, is still there, hosting my contact form. Maybe -- on particular occasions when feedback seems warranted -- I could use it to host comments?
So here's what I'm going to try: in the copyright line below, after my name, is a link to a post at the WordPress site. There won't be any content there, just a comment form. To post a comment, or to read what, if any, have been posted, just click.
I may end up only using this at the end of each month to solicit comments about that month's posts; it's certain I won't do it on every post. A lot depends on how much extra work it makes for me. And you know as well as I do, that's what really matters around here.
But for now, I'm going to say something that will shock and amaze you: OPEN THREAD!
Update, Saturday: I didn't plan on appending a comment link to every post since this one, it just worked out that way. It has given me a chance to try out some different workflows, but none I've tried so far are really satisfactory. Meanwhile, I'll try to do more pointless pap for a while, lest anyone think this site is trying to be intellectually challenging...
Update, May 22: The comment period having expired on those posts on which I had open comments, with no comment traffic on any but this one, I'm declaring the experiment ended. I may still go ahead and open comments on an end-of-month post as mentioned above, but if nothing comes of it, well...
© Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Kevin McGehee : 4 Comments
The first time Mrs. McG and I visited Riverton, Wyoming, she observed to me that the way people talk there reminded her of how my late mother -- born and raised in western Montana -- spoke.
Mom's accent wasn't "cowboy" like you hear when watching rodeo on TV. In fact, I think she had less of a drawl than I, who grew up in Sacramento, already had before Mrs. McG and I moved to Georgia (I blame it on growing up around descendants of California Okies, but who knows?).
Anyway, rummaging randomly on the internet, I happened on this blog post about the 2017 movie Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. The author, who lives in Wyoming and is closely familiar with the Wind River Indian Reservation, compliments the movie on getting a great many details right when so many previous Wyoming-set movies get almost everything wrong. In particular, he approves the hero's accent:
Very unusually, the regional accent is correctly delivered, which it almost never is.
The main protagonist speaks with the correct Rocky Mountain region accent, the first time I've ever seen this portrayed in film. A subtle accent which is somewhat like the flat Midwestern accent, it is different and tends to have a muttering quality to it. For some really odd reason, most films set in modern Wyoming tend to use a weird exaggerated drawling accent that doesn't exist here at all, and which sound amazingly bizarre to our local ears. Speech as portrayed in accent form by something like The Laramie Project just don't occur here at all, but the speech delivered by Cory Lambert in the film is spot on.
I've previously noted that -- as I hear it -- the rodeo cowboy accent, spoken by those from places ranging from Washington state to Oklahoma, has hints of a Midwestern accent along with a bit of drawl, but admittedly the kids riding broncs and bulls these days, as well as the announcers describing the action, may be getting some Hollywood influence. I hope and pray it's only the accent.
Anyway, if you're curious about the authentic Rocky Mountain accent and haven't seen Wind River, rent it.
Update: The movie's streaming on Netflix, so I played back some of Renner's dialog for another listen, and what it reminded me of, more than anything, was Mal Reynolds on "Firefly." Now, Nathan Fillion grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, which isn't particularly close to the Rocky Mountains. Renner, on the other hand, is from Modesto, California, about an hour, hour-and-a-half's drive from where I grew up, and thus even further from the Rockies.
© Monday, May 7, 2018 Kevin McGehee