The lunacy that is the NPVIC

Lately there is a move by certain states with certain types of legislatures (stupid ones, but also blue ones, so that explains a lot) to circumvent the Electoral College by passing a law that states that their state electors will be appointed based on the total national popular vote for president — not by an internal process that uses the results of the state’s total popular vote for president exclusively.

This idiocy is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).  It is supposed to go into effect only if states representing 270 votes in the Electoral College sign on to the pact.  Sadly, this is far too close to happening for comfort right now.

One might think that this is all well and good (it is neither), but the NPVIC — along with being a really crappy idea promulgated by progressives who still haven’t gotten over the fact that Donald Trump won the Electoral College in 2016 without winning the national popular vote, despite the fact that the national popular vote has NEVER been considered in determining the winner of the presidential race — is probably unconstitutional for at least a couple of originalist reasons.

Let’s first take a look at why the NPVIC is being pushed at this time.

It is likely impossible to amend the Constitution to abolish or amend the Electoral College in the time left between now and the 2020 presidential election, if it is even possible to do so at all, because small states with few electoral votes are unlikely to amend the Constitution in such a way that it reduces their influence.*  Consider if the Senate were to become a proportionately-elected body like the House.  The great Compromise that gave small states equal status in one of the two houses of the national Congress would immediately self-destruct, and the Senate would become a body (like the House) dominated by the five or six largest states, while the rest lose any voice on matters that the majority deem to be important.  Overnight the Congress would shift blue, thanks to states like California, New York, and Illinois.

It is even more unlikely that the Electoral College could successfully be amended since it is a core, sine qua non provision of the Constitution.  Without the equal-representation Senate and the Electoral College, there would not have been a Constitution to tack a Bill of Rights onto, because the small states would have walked out of the Convention and we’d still be living under the Articles of Confederation.  Maybe.  The world would certainly look a lot different, that’s for sure.

So the amendment process being effectively out of the question, how does one subvert the intent of the Framers for the states to elect the federal President?  It is clear that the national popular vote did not figure in their plans, because if it had, we would not have an Electoral College.  But we do have an Electoral College, and it’s a very simple thing that allows states wide discretion in just how they appoint their electors.  Article II Section 1 provides,

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

We’ll ignore the rest of the description of the Electoral College because it goes into a ton of detail about how the Electors are supposed to vote, and how their votes are to be counted and certified, etc., some of which was superseded by the 12th Amendment after the gigantic hooroar over the election of 1800.  You can go look that up yourself.  At any rate, the only part that is important at the moment is what is excerpted above.  And now we get to the Constitutional reasons why the NPVIC is facially invalid.

As we have said, the Electoral College was devised to even out the small state-large state disparity such that the large states couldn’t overwhelm the small states by simple popular vote in the Presidential contest. Awarding the state’s electoral votes based on the national popular vote winner clearly violates the Framers’ intent to “buffer” the popular vote with the mechanism of the College.  Therefore the NPVIC is unconstitutional simply because it attempts to thwart the clear meaning and intent of the Framers’ Constitution in creating the Electoral College in the first place.

To take a more complex look at the issue, it could also be argued that NPVIC is Constitutionally invalid because each state’s electors should (as they have been by tradition) be chosen based on the actual popular vote of the people of that state,in vacuo” without any influence from external forces or events. Now, the state legislature can choose whatever method suits it** — winner takes all, electors assigned by proportion of the state’s vote tally by candidate, or by propitiation of sheep guts like the Romans did*** — and by a strict reading of Article II, as citizens of a given state, we are bound to accept that method as chosen by our state legislators and codified by law.

However, allowing other states to dictate how your state’s electors are allotted absolutely flies in the face of what the Framers intended, i.e., Federalism in which each state corporately and independently makes its own choice.

I don’t allow anyone in the voting booth with me to tell me how to vote, so why should states allow what happens in other states influence how they choose their electors?  To do so is nothing less than madness.

Far from a conspiracy to subvert original intent like the NPVIC, it’s high time that the states the NPVIC would most adversely affect start working on a Constitutional amendment to lock in stone how states may choose their electors, rather than leaving that process to state-level chicanery and corruption.  My suggestion is “winner take all”, which was the standard for most states for quite a long time.  There’s nothing like old traditions when you’re trying to save your country from socialism.


* Note, however, that some small states have, incomprehensibly (other than that they are blue states), signed on to the NPVIC.  They include Colorado, Connecticut, Hawai’i, and (naturally, even though it is not a state and appoints no electors) the District of Columbia.  12 states plus DC have currently signed on to this suicide, er, NPVIC pact.

** And note carefully that the Constitution is completely silent on the method.  It does not mandate that states hold popular elections to determine how it selects its electors.  But because electors have been selected in that manner since the beginning of the Constitutional period and the election of 1788, the case can be made that this is the traditional and proper manner of doing so, and to do otherwise would deprive the state’s citizens of their franchise.

*** Although the citizenry of the state would be well within their rights to immediately overthrow any legislature that did the latter.

The proggies just don’t get it

and neither do the enemies of the United States, but that’s always been the case.

What prompted the current iteration of this observation was an Amazon review that is currently the first review you see for the first volume of Richard Fox’s Ember War series, entitled naturally, The Ember War.  It’s by a reviewer yclept “Hazelcatada”, and it’s entitled “Mediocre Writing and Offensive Racism“, which should tell you all you need to know about this person.  Because I like to ensure that such things remain visible even if the person decides later to disappear their ravings, here is the entire review:

I was aware, from the reviews, when I purchased this book that it would be a mediocre read and it lived up to that expectation. Fairly Buck Rogers type action and wooden dialogue. I was even willing to accept the eye-roll inducing characterization of the Chinese as bad guys. What finally pushed me over the line was the islamophobic characterizations of Muslims and the, quite literal, descriptions of American soldiers as knights in shining armor. It’s obvious this author is stuck in a dated mind set and attempted to make up for his lack of talent as a science fiction writer with a 50’s era machismo and a troubling modern era racism. My biggest regret is that, by my purchase, I helped financially support this book.

Christ, do you even science fiction?

OK, so…privileged, woke snowflake knows book is going to be “mediocre” before she buys it (and yes, with that handle, I’m presuming her gender, so fuck off).  I don’t know about her, but if I “know” a book is going to be mediocre before I buy it, I’m really unlikely to buy it (and it’s not hard to figure out that a book is mediocre — there are a lot of “tells” you can pick up from an Amazon listing without even doing a “Look Inside” for books that have that feature — but she flat out admits she read other reviews and formed that prejudicial opinion from them).  So why did she buy it in the first place?  Because she wanted to give it a one-star review, and wanted to be sure she had that “verified purchaser” tag on her review?

Well, I borrowed the book on Kindle Unlimited last night and read the whole thing before I turned out the light and went to sleep.  FYI, minor spoilers ahead, but nothing that should really ruin anyone’s read of the book; I tried not to be terribly specific.

In my opinion, the author wrote a pretty rippingly-good tale about a bot swarm invasion and what one human was able to put into motion, thanks to help from an alliance of the swarm’s past victims, to prevent it from being a total wipeout of humanity.  To get to that point, he had to explain why the Chinese were put into the position of being bad guys, and he did, and there was nothing “eye-roll inducing” about it.  Frankly he wasn’t saying anything a lot of folks aren’t already saying about the Chinese hegemonic push into the South China Sea.

And “islamophobic characterizations of Muslims”, well, to be honest, he discusses this in any kind of detail exactly once and it’s in the context of something anyone who has half a brain figures is going to happen within the next couple of decades at the latest.  I did think the description of American armored soldiers that mentioned a particular feature of their “shining armor” decoration was a little over the top, but so far as I recall (and as noted, I read it last night), the book is not “islamophobic”, nor is it racist, while it does paint a pretty good picture of what a lot of folks think needs to happen to Islamics who can’t assimilate into the larger world order.*

So far as a “dated mind set” goes, no, it’s not a dated mindset at all.  It’s quite current among a very large number of Americans, most of whom voted for Donald Trump, which I assume Hazelcatada did not — she sounds like a Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders supporter to me.  Mr. Fox actually does have writing talent, regardless of her ad hominem attack on him, and he’s hardly got “50’s era machismo” — for what it’s worth, any real man has got plain old everyday machismo in any era — or “a troubling modern era racism” — none of his characters ever approach anything from a truly racist standpoint; one pilot becomes violent about three Chinese prisoners because of circumstances, not because she is racist, and then turns right around and asks those three Chinese prisoners to join in the next attack because they need all the pilots they can find.  And again, as I already stated before, Fox (through his MacGuffin) explains why it was necessary for the Chinese to be the great enemy, and does so convincingly enough for me to suspend disbelief.

A true reading of history (and as my reader is hopefully aware, I have a degree in history) tells us a couple of things that make The Ember War simply a logical extension of both historical and current events.

First, the Second Islamic Invasion of Europe is already underway and its agents are deeply imbedded into most of Europe’s polities, other than those countries that have specifically said they will not allow their borders to be violated willy-nilly by so-called refugees from the Middle East.  The latter countries are Hungary, and to a lesser extent, Poland.  The Germans, fully aware of their dwindling birthrate and unable to come up with a better way to support their cradle-to-grave welfare state, hit some years back on the idea of letting Islamics immigrate to make up the difference; and this idea spread to much of the rest of the EU.  The result is a huge and growing crime rate, young women being raped on the streets by gangs of Islamic men, calls for the use of Sharia law in the courts and in the ghettos where Islamic immigrants congregate (which are often, in Paris in particular, no-go zones for the police), and will eventually result in the Islamification of Europe if the Europeans don’t do something about it — soon.  Normally I couldn’t care less about Europe, but the fact is that when Europe gets the flu, the US generally starts coughing, and twice in the last century we sent millions of antibodies (er, troops) over to Europe to snuff out the European Stupid Disease.  That we might have to do it again in this century because of the current and continuing “soft” Islamic invasion — the result of another manifestation of European Stupid Disease — would not surprise me.  Naturally it would surprise progressives, who cannot imagine Islam to be anything but a fuzzy-bunny religion of peace, when it is both demonstrably and textually nothing of the sort.

Second, the Chinese drive for hegemony is also already underway, not just in the South China Sea, but anywhere in the world where the “Belt and Road Initiative” has taken root, and is nothing less than a continuation of the historical Chinese conceit that they are the center of the universe** and should rule all of it.  The Chinese are a proud people (at least their elites are) and remember a day when the Emperor of China was the supreme ruler of half of Asia.  That they are today calling themselves Communists is immaterial; their current Supreme Leader is nothing less than the Son of Heaven wearing a Western business suit.  But the Chinese have internal problems at least partly due to liberalizations and faux capitalism introduced by previous Supreme Leaders, and partly due to the Islamic awakening that has taken place in the distant province of Xinjiang, which is more like a -stan than it is Chinese.  It has proven difficult for the Chinese to put down dissent and unrest in Xinjiang, so naturally it is going about doing so in its patented heavy-handed way.  Nothing really new there that a Chinese peasant couldn’t have told you a thousand years ago.  Then of course there is the Tibetan adventure which takes up a good deal of Chinese blood and treasure, the North Korean client who has got to be quite the headache for Chairman Xi.  So what do you do when you’ve got problems at home?  Of course, you export the revolution, and that’s precisely what China has done by attempting to (and doing a pretty good job of) exerting its hegemony over parts of the South China Sea that are in dispute with other countries, like Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc.  This is something the Obama Administration cowardly let happen and on which the Trump Administration reversed course, by sending show-the-flag, freedom of navigation missions through the area on a regular basis to remind the Chinese that they’re not really the boss.

So in two areas, Mr. Fox (remember him?  This is about his book) has done his homework and has projected a future in which the Islamic Invasion of Europe has succeeded in at least one European country, and the Chinese have extended their hegemony as far south as Australia.  Comes now Mr. Fox’s MacGuffin, which provides the reason why, in his future history, Americans sent the Islamics packing back to the sandbox and why the subsequent Atlantic Union has found itself such bitter adversaries with the Chinese.  These are not inherently racist, Islamophobic, or macho themes — they simply proceed logically from the background both historical and fictional that Mr. Fox has set up, and they are 100% believable if one can successfully suspend disbelief for the MacGuffin.

The bottom line is there is really nothing in Hazelcatada’s “review” of The Ember War that bears any particular congruence with the actual plot of or characterizations found in that novel.  The review is a hit piece that is clearly intended to wound the sales of Mr. Fox’s book and series (in which it apparently has not succeeded).  Hazelcatada has written precisely four reviews for Amazon products since November 2011 — two of which are for books, and in neither case does she like the author, so apparently she comes only to bury authors, not to praise them — and apparently has never reviewed any science fiction book either before or after she reviewed The Ember War in November 2018.  It is impossible to say whether she actually reads science fiction on a regular basis or not; ditto on whether or not any of it is military science fiction, most of which uses a lot of the same tropes and which should not come as a surprise when she finds them used in The Ember War.  I submit that, based solely on this flip analysis, Hazelcatada is not actually a science fiction fan, nor does she regularly read military science fiction. Which calls into question why she bothered first of all to read the book, and then bothered further to write a negative review of it, unless there was some odd external impetus to do so.  Hazelcatada is of course welcome to log in and comment here and rebut any of this, but I doubt she can do so convincingly.

And I still don’t understand why a one-star review with five comments is the first review you see for this book.  There are at this moment 641 reviews of the book, and 12 are one-star.  90% of the reviews are 4 and 5 star.  The average review for the book is 4.4 stars.

So it would seem that this crap one-star review should be off the page somewhere and not front and center as it currently is.  The Ember War is a good read, and sets the stage well for the series, the second book of which I intend to purchase tonight.  And it certainly doesn’t deserve to be one-starred by some little triggered proggie cunt who probably should have followed her first instinct and not bothered with it to begin with.


* Hell, I’m writing stories where Islamics get a choice of leaving the planet for an isolated colony world, assimilating into human society as Reform Muslims with a properly-redacted Koran, or dying.  But that’s after radical Islamics, e.g., Al Qaeda or ISIS, set off a container nuke in a large port city in the US.  Appeasement doesn’t work, and in reality we’re lucky they haven’t actually managed to do something like that yet.

** There is a reason why the first character in the word “China” is the character for “center”.  The old “Middle Kingdom” moniker comes directly from that, and unfortunately obscures the true meaning of the name: 中国, “Zhongguó”, which means literally, “central country”.  When the name of your country literally means you are the center of everything, you get arrogant like the Persians, who also still think they are the destined rulers of mankind just because they had an empire 2,500 years ago.

People simply do not say “fuck you” enough.

Comes now Jack Baruth at Hagerty with a rebuttal to another Hagerty contributor (!) who says, “You don’t need that half-ton pickup truck.”  Where “don’t need” is actually “shouldn’t be allowed to own”, because half-ton pickup trucks are destroying the world or some shit.

Baruth in turn makes a (half)* ton of great points, including that the McClaren Senna is a much worse gas hog than his Silverado 6.2 fully loaded and towing a race car trailer.  (Admittedly I don’t believe many of us own a McClaren Senna, but that’s not the point.)

Sadly, his article is just another example exposing how a small group of the Perennially Indignant seek to force the vast bulk of American citizens to bend to their will.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the subject is — something that none of the rest of us find unusual or particularly dangerous becomes the cause du jour for regulation and banning.  Guns are only one part of this breakdown of the concept of liberty.  The Brits have proven that once you ban guns, knives are next.  Hell, they’ll probably ban hammers after they finish putting GPS trackers in knives.  (H/T:  Tamara Keel, on Facebook yesterday.  And yes, that moron is a sitting MP.)

Other whinging ninnies have managed to get whole cities to put consumption taxes on sugary drinks and other food items they find repulsive, despite the fact that people simply go outside the tax zone to obtain them and businesses inside the city limits suffer as a result.  Yes, I’m talking about you, Philadelphia.

Still other do-gooder microcephalics with no more understanding of economics than AOC with her alleged degree in same pass $15 minimum wage laws in their jurisdictions, and then, shockingly, complain when their favorite restaurants and stores close because the owners can’t afford to pay that kind of wages.

But getting back to pickup trucks, shoot, we’re already seeing de-facto attempts to ban large vehicles from city centers, what with heavily-traveled city streets being made even harder to navigate with unused bike lanes and idiotic mass-transit choices like Indianapolis’s highly-touted, over-priced, and frankly damned dangerous** Red Line bus route that is currently a-building.  The last federal administration bent over backwards to raise gasoline efficiency ratings so high that Ford started building trucks with lightweight aluminum bodies that seem to catch fire at the drop of a hat, and tried to restrict the fracking industry that — under the current administration — has brought the price of a gallon of gas down to something reasonable for the first time in four decades and made auto manufacturers throw up their hands and stop building high-gas-mileage sedans because nobody wants them anymore.

And face it, what are you going to pull that 30-foot Airstream with?  You’re not going to do it with a Prius.

The fact is that nobody has the authority to tell Mr. Baruth, or me, or any other American that they can’t own a pickup truck.  Even if Congress passed such a law, you’d have to ask whether that actually falls under the aegis of one of the Constitution’s enumerated powers.  I don’t think it does, much as I don’t think most of what the Federal Government does in these fading years of the American Republic passes enumerated powers muster.  But let’s see what Jack Baruth has to say about that:

Does your neighbor own a King Ranch with a squeaky-clean bed and a completely useless lift kit? Well, thank your deity of choice that you live in a place where you don’t have the right to regulate his enthusiasms and he, in turn, does not have the right to regulate yours, lest you find yourself discomfited by what he considers to be necessary, tasteful, or appropriate.

Fuckin’ A, brother.  Fuckin’ A.


* Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.

** It will be just as dangerous as the old interurban rail was, particularly considering that there are a fuckload more private vehicles on the streets today and that cell-phone-wielding pedestrians cross streets in a manner more resembling Brownian motion than any sort of organized, disciplined “cross only at the crosswalk and only when you have the WALK light, and GODDAMNIT PUT THAT FUCKING CELL PHONE DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION” way.

My definition of “free speech” is a little different.

A post at Instapundit by Robert Shibley of FIRE suggesting that FIRE supports the right of students to demand unlawful action as much as it supports the rights of others to their lawful free speech really irked me this morning, and I had to comment generally on why I don’t support organizations like FIRE.  It was too good to just leave there, so:

Look. I was a student once; I was even in the student government at my university. I was also a full-time university staff member for three years, which gave me an entirely different perspective.

What I learned was that students who pull these sort of stunts are stupid little sh*ts with unformed, malleable brains that have been filled full of progressive mush by their teachers — mostly in high school and before, but also in a lot of cases by freshman lecturers as well. Their opinions on matters like faculty tenure are not credible and should always be ignored. If they subsequently act out by occupying the college president’s office or creating other disruptions to the educational process, they should be suspended, and in extreme cases, expelled.

Contrariwise, the students who act like adults and who are really there for an education — which in my experience comprise the vast majority — should not be made to suffer because some of their classmates choose to act like spoiled little children.

Statements like the one in the OP are why I don’t support organizations like FIRE. Freedom of speech is one thing, but there is no point in allowing trouble to fester to the point where you have to “defend faculty or students whose college targets them as a result”. Colleges shouldn’t be targeting anyone for any reason — they should be exercising and enforcing discipline and removing those who would disrupt the educational process for those who are truly there to learn. That in the main they will not do so, and that there is a need for an organization like FIRE to exist at all, simply points up the fact that the existing educational establishment is broken beyond repair, and must eventually be destroyed root and branch. (And they’re doing a great job of accomplishing that all on their own.)

I am one of the lucky few who graduated years ago with a liberal arts degree and nevertheless was able to find a lasting career in a completely different field. Today, when asked, I advise young people of my acquaintance to consider vocational school or an apprenticeship. The universities are intellectually bankrupt and the people who pay to attend them end up financially bankrupt. Get trained and do something useful with your life instead of sitting in an ivory tower for four years and coming out with few job prospects and a tower of loans you can’t pay off.

Sorry, but I’m calling BS on this entire article.

An article here purports to suggest that you sleep better if you sleep naked.

OK, let’s face it.  Some of us have met in meatspace, so if you’re squeamish, don’t even bother to uncover the following sentence:  I normally sleep in the buff, and have done most of my life. My wife sleeps in PJs and socks, regardless of the temperature, although she does save the flannel for winter.

#1 is bullshit.  My wife falls asleep at the drop of a hat; I struggle every night, regardless of my clothed or unclothed state.

#2 is also bullshit.  Arguable bullshit, but my wife always seems comfortable, and again, regardless of clothing mode, I’m not.  Though I will agree that I am more comfortable in the mode suggested by the blacked-out sentence, above.

#3 must be noise in the data, or they’re asking the wrong people.  I mean, we also sleep with separate covers, because two days after we started sharing the same bed, I said, “You have got to stop stealing the covers.”  And we have slept with separate blankets ever since, nearly 19 years now, without any harm whatsoever to our relationship.  Indeed, it probably made it better, because we didn’t spend half the night fighting over the covers.

#4 and #5:  Bullshit.

#6:  No data.  But based on available evidence, probably bullshit.

#7:  Bullshit.  Neither of us lose weight, although we could try harder at that.  Like, by eating less, exercising more, etc.

#8:  Bullshit.  She looks younger, I look older.

#9:  Snort.  Bullshit.

Look, sex is great.  I’m not running down sex.  But if all you’ve got is sex, don’t kid yourself — you’re not going to have any kind of real, lasting relationship if the whole relationship is based on how you look and how long you last and whether or not you sleep nekkid.  And at our age, sex isn’t the first thing either of us think about when we hit the sack, anyway — we’re tired when we go to bed.

But it’s a women’s website, so I guess they have to write something titillating to get the clicks.

You cannot be for green and clean energy unless you support nuclear power.

There is an interesting article in City Journal about the nuclear option that the left is desperately ignoring these days. No, not a nuclear option in the Senate to kill the filibuster altogether. A nuclear option to replace coal power plants with clean nuclear power that isn’t dependent on wind or sunlight and can be relied on round-the-clock and in any season.

Unfortunately I ran across a sentence I had to take issue with.

“But then came the 1979 accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island plant and the core meltdown at the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl in 1986. Both, understandably, led to calls for stricter regulations.”

Not so fast. My problem is with the interjection, “understandably.” Despite the fact that the Three Mile Island accident was certain serious and not to be treated lightly, “its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public” (NRC “Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident”, last reviewed/updated June 2018 – publicly available on the NRC website).

Chernobyl was a type of reactor that nobody (except apparently the Soviets) was building anymore, precisely because of the chance that something like the Chernobyl meltdown might happen. The only operating reactor in the US that was even close to that design was the Hanford N unit, the last operating reactor at Hanford, which was eventually decommissioned in 1987 (a year after the Chernobyl accident). And I remember experts at the time explaining how Hanford likely couldn’t do what Chernobyl did, anyway, because despite facial similarities, it was designed quite differently (for one thing, it operated 300 degrees cooler than Chernobyl, and it possessed a dedicated cooling system, which Chernobyl did not). This is borne out by a GAO report (“Comparison of DOE’s Hanford N-Reactor With the Chernobyl Reactor”, GAO/RCED-86213BR, publicly available on the GAO website).

The only reason those accidents led to calls for stricter regulations was because the anti-nuclear movement (financed by the Soviet Union) was punching above its weight class, and politicians of the “we must do something about this immediately, immediately, immediately!” stripe were able to get such regulations put in place without much public scrutiny of the frankly minimal problems caused by Three Mile Island and the fact that an accident like Chernobyl was impossible at any operating American nuclear plant (with the possible exception of Hanford-N, but see the GAO report previously mentioned) at the time.

I don’t have a problem with the rest of the article, which is about what idiots Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are for demanding the shutdown of Indian Point Units #2 and #3 in favor of some vaporware promises of replacement with “renewable energy” (likely two large natural gas power plants which will add to New York State’s CO2 emissions, whereas Indian Point produced zero CO2). Given that Indian Point currently produces 11% of the electrical power used in New York State, and a quarter of the electricity used by New York City and Westchester County, I wish them luck with that.  But they’re sure as hell not going to generate that kind of power with supposedly-carbon-neutral solar or wind power.  And the price of power is just going to go up and up and up in New York State.  This isn’t really about clean green energy, is it, Mr. Cuomo?  Because I’ll bet an honest investigation would find that there have been plenty of “incentives”* thrown around in Albany by special interests to get the Indian Point units shut down well before the end of their working life.

And OBTW — where is New York State going to get all that natural gas?  Cuomo has banned fracking and pipelines from Pennsylvania to bring in fracked natural gas.  Follow the money…I’ll bet it leads to some interesting places.

My sister and her husband really need to start thinking seriously about getting the hell out of New York.


* And by “incentives”, I mean, “bribes”.

Sometimes the fact checkers are right.

I keep seeing the meme displaying the photo of the Democratic Congresswomen dressed in white at the SOTU juxtaposed over a photo of a parade of the KKK at the 1924 Democratic National Convention, noting that “The Democratic Party created the KKK”. Facebook is now running a PolitiFact fact check with a slightly different* meme stating that no, in fact, the Democratic Party did not create the KKK. And people on the right are pointing and laughing at PolitiFact. (Even I admit to having laughed a bit and made a few choice remarks.)

But hang on a minute, fellow travelers of the Right.

Since it is historical fact that the original KKK was formed by six former Confederate soldiers in Pulaski, TN, PolitiFact is *technically* correct.

One could argue that the Democratic Party had a hand in its creation by being a major part of the circumstances that ultimately led to that creation, though. (By which I mean, secession and the Civil War.) And I have absolutely no doubt that Klan elements have had some measure of control over the Democratic Party ever since. On the other hand, the Republican Party is not necessarily clean-handed in this regard — there was a time in Indiana when the GOP was in control of the state and at the same time was heavily infested with Klansmen. I speak of course of the 1920’s and the D.C. Stevenson Klan. Indiana Democrats actually came out *against* the Klan at their 1923 state convention.

And then there are arguments that the Klan of the early 1900’s was not the same Klan that Forrest ordered shut down. And that the Klan of the 1920’s was not the same Klan as the one in the early 1900’s. And that the Klan of today isn’t really related to the Klan of the 1920’s. There’s plenty of historical evidence out there to argue the point, but most people would rather argue what they think they know rather than do that icky research.

But the bald statement “The Democratic Party created the KKK” without any other qualification is demonstrably false. Six pissed-off butternut veterans created the KKK, for what they considered to be good reason, and it went on from there until Nathan Bedford Forrest, its Grand Wizard, ordered it to disband in 1869. Subsequent iterations of the Klan more likely drove the political parties as opposed to the parties driving the Klan (and we can see that clearly in the historyof the D.C. Stevenson Indiana Klan of the 1920’s).

Either way you slice it, the Klan is bad medicine, and the Democratic Party needs to accept the fact that the Klan has *usually* been associated with it. But the GOP has had its dalliances with the Klan as well. So neither party’s hands are completely clean of this matter. Maybe both sides should simply denounce it and move on.

Besides, there are plenty of other things about the Democratic Party to point and laugh about. Let’s not get stuck on one thing, shall we?


* I realized as I was moving this over to the blog from Facebook that the image I’d seen and the image that FB was fact-checking were not exactly the same meme, but said essentially the same thing.  So just for the record…

Just a note

If you have Liberty Mutual automobile insurance, please stay the hell away from me and my wife with your car.

My wife will have been without her car for nearly a month when it finally gets out of the body shop, thanks to Liberty Mutual slow-rolling her claim against one of their clients (who admitted fault).  The shop was only able to order parts TODAY because the claim wasn’t approved until late yesterday, and it’s been 2-1/2 weeks since the accident.  Plus, LM lied about not receiving photos from the body shop a week ago so they could process the claim.

We have State Farm (I have been a State Farm customer continuously since the mid-1980s) and you can say what you like about State Farm, but I have never seen State Farm slow-roll a claim like this…and I’ve never seen any other insurance company do it, either.  Some kid rear-ended my wife at a red light a few years ago and we had the vehicle in the body shop and repaired by the end of the following week.  I don’t recall what insurance company the kid used but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Liberty Mutual.  (Actually I think it might have been Farmer’s, but I’ve slept since then.)

Bottom line:  Liberty Mutual Bad.

I don’t think it was a cave.

Rather, I suspect it was a rearward advance to a previously-prepared position.  (Some would call that “a retreat”; I would call it “a trap”, but we’ll see where events lead us.)


Pelosi may think she won something, but if she won anything, the victory was Pyrrhic.  Her numbers are in the tank.  She didn’t get the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, and she’s got another deadline looming in less than three weeks.  Trump may very well throw up his hands at the end of that period and tell the American public, “Well, I tried, but Pelosi is intransigent and isn’t interested in protecting American lives and property from an invasion over our southern border.”  Americans in general (other than the nutbag millennial progressives who were mind-raped by our universities over the past 20 years or so) are looking at the facts:

  • Trump is enunciating clearly that there is a national security problem at the border, and the “caravans” are only adding fuel to his fire
  • Trump stayed in Washington over the Christmas holiday trying to get some negotiations going
  • Pelosi and crew took off for the Caribbean and spent their Christmas on the beach
  • Dueling “fuck yous”: Pelosi cancels Trump’s invitation to SOTU, Trump cancels Pelosi’s boondoggle holiday junket
  • Trump continues to point to national security; Pelosi continues to stonewall on The Wall

Americans in general are seeing this chain of events and starting to think (if they didn’t know it already) there is something terribly wrong with the left wing of American politics.  They may not be rabid Trump supporters (they may indeed hate his guts), but they’re not happy about the fact that reasonable accommodations are not being made by the Democrats, who instead of taking Trump seriously are haring off to warmer climes and pursuing their own agendas that haven’t a chance in hell of succeeding as long as the GOP holds the Senate.

What I find most interesting is reports that some House Democrats are beginning to show signs of unrest over Pelosi’s stonewalling.  Not all Democrats are Pelosi and Hoyer and the egregious AOC.  Some still have enough brains to understand that their constituencies back home are not happy about the border situation and want something done, even if it’s not a $5 billion wall.  (The poll I saw reported over the weekend said that 80% of respondents want the border situation addressed, and not in a bullshit, handwaving way.)  Trump was even ready to hand Democrats a legal DACA solution AND fund payroll for the government workers who had missed a paycheck — and the leadership rebuffed him, showing that they actually don’t give a damn about the kids who were brought here by their illegal immigrant parents, other than using them as political props.  But there were defectors who crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on these measures, suggesting that Pelosi’s grip on the Speaker’s gavel isn’t as firm as she thinks it is.  (Which should have been obvious anyway.)

The consensus on Saturday seemed to be that Trump had blinked and Pelosi had won.

I don’t think so.

GOPers need to keep their powder dry and see how the next three weeks play out.  If Trump continues to appear to be the good-faith negotiator and Pelosi et al. continue to stonewall, you have to wonder how much longer the rank and file Dems will continue to march in lockstep.  Members of the House have a problem — they get re-elected every two years.  Memories have a lot less time to fade.  And if they keep blocking a partial but significant fix* to a serious problem down on the border, more and more Members are going to start to think it’s time for real negotiations and compromises.

I keep saying it but people don’t listen:  Trump is a businessman, not a politician.  The art of deal-making is the art of compromise.  Trump keeps saying he wants a $5 billion Wall, but in truth, if it can be proven that spending less money to shore up existing wall sections, build out the wall sections that have already been authorized in past years, add additional high-tech protection in areas with less physical protection, and maybe even add more Border Patrol personnel is all we really need to do, Trump will likely accept that if the Dems are prepared to make some concessions from their side — like admitting there is a problem in the first place.

The more the Dems refuse to negotiate and compromise in good faith, the more they expose their real agenda to patriotic Americans.  The question is, how much longer will patriotic Americans stand for this bullshit?

PS:  I hope you’ll note that instead of immediately jumping all over this and getting upset that Trump had surrendered (like a lot of conservatives reflexively did), I waited until Monday and thought about the situation and its possible ramifications over the weekend.  As with the Covington affair, people need to stop shooting from the fucking hip, get the facts, and apply some critical thinking before they just go off and say something the Internet will never let them live down.  Get off Facebook and spend some time in the clean world.  It will do wonders for your ability to see things as they really are.

EDIT 1/29 TO ADD:  I’ve seen other people say that if he’s going to declare an emergency and build the wall with DoD funds, he should just have gone ahead and not give the Dems three weeks of breathing space.  But face it — Trump has to bend over backwards to make it clear that he’s not the obstacle, the Dems are.  Thus he stayed in DC over Christmas and said he was ready to negotiate at any time, while Pelosi and crew scarpered.  He could as easily have headed to Florida and held meetings via Skype if Pelosi wanted to talk.  Staying at the White House simply emphasized his readiness to talk and her unwillingness to budge (to the extent that she told her people to go ahead and leave town for Christmas).  It was an exercise in gamesmanship of appearances, and I think Trump won.

Likewise, the dueling “fuck you’s” were an unforced error on Pelosi’s part and a masterstroke by Trump.  Pelosi’s only possible reason for withdrawing the SOTU invitation was to deny Trump his national stage at a point where he could have used it to win the shutdown.  It was shallow and catty and mean, but that’s Pelosi.  On the other hand, Trump cancelling Pelosi’s junket at the last possible moment simply pointed up how unserious Pelosi was about the shutdown — for her, it was business as usual, despite the fact that the shutdown was close to a month old.  Trump shut that shit down hard, and you have to wonder if it had anything to do with how smoothly they came to agreement to reopen for three weeks and negotiate.

Not that I expect anything to come out of the negotiations.  It’s long been a tenet of diplomacy that the less you want a negotiation or a treaty to succeed, the more people you rope into the process.  There are seventeen people on that committee.  That’s at least twelve or thirteen too many.  Too many opinions means there will not be a serious agreement or understanding produced by the time the committee’s brief ends.  My guess is as good as anyone’s at this point, but I think we’ll be back to shutdown city after the end of the three-week hiatus.


* The Wall is not a panacea and never has been (and I’m sure DJT knows it), but it’s a start.  Certain pundits have pointed out that drug traffic coming across the border is a result of American demand for drugs; without demand, there’s no cross-border trade.  On the other hand, the War on Drugs always has been and always will be a failure.  MS-13 is definitely a problem, but it’s a problem that can be dealt with if law enforcement is serious about it; for one thing, just start killing the fuckers when you find them instead of trying to arrest them.  I’ve said the same about drug dealers and drug cookers for years.  Cockroach?  Kill it.  If your chances of dying when you get caught rise significantly, you might think twice about being stupid.  No amount of money is worth bleeding out against a wall somewhere.  Want to get serious about dealing with these problems?  Make it a death sentence, to be executed immediately, to belong to a gang and/or deal in or manufacture illegal drugs.  If you have to, commission special magistrates to travel with the police to make sure it’s all legal.  Do I give a damn if that sounds like kangaroo courts or Judge Dredd?  No.  Get caught with a coven of MS-13 or with illegal drugs on your person, or red-handed cooking meth, you fucking deserve to die; you’re irredeemable as a human being because you hold the lives of other human beings so cheaply.  “I’m only filling an existing demand” isn’t an excuse.

Well, hello, little buddy, how did you get way up here?

Didn’t seem to get a lot of play for some reason, but the Newark airport went into a brief ground stop yesterday because of a drone flying at 3500 feet in its approach path (or near enough that one pilot reported missing it by 30 feet).  This more or less on the metaphorical heels of London’s Gatwick Airport being closed for two days back in December (and a military presence in respond to that being withdrawn only a few days ago) because of drones encroaching on its airspace.

It seems to me that if a drone is capable of flying to 3500 feet, it ought to be required to have a transponder and be registered with the FAA. I’ve really never understood the pushback on that sort of thing from drone owners, given that I’m an amateur radio operator and fully accept the fact that I have to have a federal license issued by the FCC (after successfully passing a test, too — three tests, in my case, since I’m an Extra-class licensee) to pursue my Very Expensive Hobby. Private pilots need licenses to fly at that sort of altitude, so I don’t see how drone operators with beefy drones capable of flying way up there get a pass. (And let me make it clear that I’m not calling for the little toy drones that will barely get up to a hundred feet to require transponders and registration.)

That said, I’m not naive — just as I fully understand that unlicensed jerks are able to buy amateur radio equipment and encroach on the licensed Amateur bands, I fully understand that someone acting with malice aforethought would simply disable their drone’s transponder, but drones without transponders would be subject to shootdown if they got into restricted airspace. (So would drones with transponders, but at least they could, notionally, be traced back to a federal licensee.) Maybe commercial aircraft ought to have laser turrets mounted that could automatically target drones that are violating their airspace and take them out. (Nah, I’m dreaming now. Think of the people on the ground.)

And I’m also all for freedom and telling the government to go hang, but all it will take is one drone taking out a fully-laden passenger aircraft when it is most vulnerable (takeoff or landing), and that will be the end of anyone flying drones legally in the US other than law enforcement and the military, and maybe certain heavily-restricted corporations with special usage licenses. You know this in your hearts, drone owners.  The thing about a drone that makes it attractive to a certain segment of the population (otherwise known as “terrorists”) is that you don’t even need to attach a bomb to it — just ramming it into a wing will cause a lot of damage all by itself:

“It punctures a hole right through the leading edge,” Poormon says. The drone went deep into the wing, hitting and denting a spar, a vital structural element. “All the weight of the aircraft is suspended on the spars,” Poormon says. “If you damage the spar enough on that side, you would not, um, survive. The aircraft would crash.”

In the present case, hopefully the dumbass who was flying the drone will be stupid enough to post flight video somewhere. Equally hopefully it was just a dumbass flying a private drone for kicks and giggles, and not a terrorist flying a drone with malice aforethought. In either case the authorities had better be taking this shit seriously.

Edit to add:  I have a friend who has a fairly sophisticated drone who says “It was a UFO, pilots report UFOs as drones so the tower will believe them.”  He apparently meant this in all seriousness, as he also said that to get a drone to 3500 feet would probably expend the battery and recovery would have to be by parachute.  The only reason I would argue the latter point is because the drones that were apparently sighted at Gatwick were said to be “industrial” drones, and I suspect such drones aren’t just your uncle’s quadcopter.  (See any number of drone-shot videos of radio/TV tower climbers, for instance.)  My friend’s drone is software-limited to 400 feet (although he acknowledges the software could be hacked to overcome that) and he says it continuously updates its database of no-fly zones and won’t penetrate those zones.  Of course he didn’t note that the no-fly zone database could also be hacked, but I will charitably accept that he knows that and just didn’t write it.

I’d also make the point that the operator of a drone flown to 3500 feet with the intent to crash into an aircraft doesn’t need to worry about how his drone is going to get back to the ground.  And that you don’t have to be at 3500 feet to take out a landing or ascending jet.  In fact, I’d think being way up there would limit the ability to acquire your target; a plane has a lot more options at that level than it would at, say, a couple hundred feet and locked in on final approach.

The plain fact is, I dunno.  I just think it’s ridiculous not to license and register drones that can fly any higher than what might be considered “hobbyist” altitudes, and to be honest, I think any drone outside of the strictly “toy” class ought to be licensed and registered.

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