Blog Archives

You Never Know Someone

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, one of my favorite comics writers was Gerard Jones. At the time, he was writing some really fun – and sometimes really different – stuff in the trio of Green Lantern-related books. He did some Batman work, which I could take or leave, and he worked on a Justice League comic (at first with a co-writer and later solo) that was pretty funny. He was clearly liberal, but he was a lot more intelligent than most lightweight armchair libs writing comics, and even went against the liberal line at times. Mostly, his work was just smarter than the usual by-the-numbers crap that was and still is being published.

His work seemed to take a dip around 1993, though, and in a few years he didn’t seem to be writing much for comics anymore, if at all. I believe part of that had to do with clashes with editorial, which was undergoing changes at the time. I saw his name again in the local newspaper’s comics page around 2000 – he was writing a Pokemon strip.

He wrote a few non-fiction books in the 2000s, but I didn’t keep up with those. I heard very little about him after that until today, when I discovered he was arrested about a week ago for possessing kiddie porn and uploading it to YouTube.

I’ve long learned to separate the art from the artist. And he hasn’t been proven guilty yet. But there are limits. I doubt I’ll ever really enjoy his work again.

The Bathroom Agenda

… would be a great name for a shoegazer band with ironically emo music.

As usual, the Left is a bit short-sighted in pushing their latest cause, this time allowing transgender people to use the bathroom they identify with. The current laws requiring a person to use the bathroom that matches their biological sex are described as “fueled by pure fear and intolerance of, and ignorance about, what it means to be transgender.” They also claim a “survey of 93 transgender adults in DC found that 68% had been verbally attacked in a public restroom, while 9% had been physically assaulted.”

Let’s take all this at face value. Assume for the sake of argument that most opponents of transgender bathroom access are dimwitted, hateful, violent bigots who will attack transgender people. So whenever a perv gets caught in a ladies room dressed like a woman doing who-knows-what and claims to be transgender as a defense, all the dimwitted violent bigots are going to take it out on transgenders.

Another argument I’ve heard in favor of TG potties is “transgenders have been using their preferred bathrooms for years anyway without being caught.” So why call attention to it, unless one is seeking attention and validation rather that just wanting to pee peacefully? Why risk TGs getting beat up because pervs use transgenderism as a cover?

This brings to mind an idea I had a couple of years ago. To paraphrase myself… if transgender men are listed as women when they die, that would help achieve statistical Age Of Death Parity among men and women. But maybe this is exactly what progressives want. If women (or “women”) can be numerically shown to be dying younger and more often, progressives can agitate for more government favors.

Perhaps Bathroom Equality is just a smokescreen of sorts to keep from flushing out the true motive here. Or maybe I’m just too paranoid.

Speed Kills

When super speed s outlawed, only outlaws will travel at super speed

When super-speed is outlawed, only outlaws will travel at super-speed

Clearly, we need legislation against the use of super-speed. Because career criminals always obey laws.

Unsettling Law

Is this a frivolous challenge to the Affordable Care Act? Ofer Raban says it is –

…one provision of the ACA provides that “Each State shall…establish an American Health Benefit Exchange” — thereby implying that states must establish such exchanges. It is not surprising, therefore, that the provision extending health insurance subsidies for low income households speaks of insurance purchased on exchanges “established by the state[s].”

However, other provisions of the ACA declare that it is up to the states whether to establish a health care exchange and that if a state chooses not to establish one, the federal government would establish a federally operated substitute.

Raban states that “relentless Republican opposition” resulted in only 16 states establishing exchanges on their own, while the other 34 states went with a federal exchange. He continues –

The frivolous claim in the case is simple: Since the language in the subsidies provision refers to insurance purchased on exchanges “established by the state[s],” the government is precluded — so goes the claim — from giving those subsidies to those who purchased their insurance on the federally operated exchanges that came to substitute for those state-exchanges that were never established.

This statutory interpretation makes no sense. As one federal judge put it: This “literal reading of the [statute] renders the entire Congressional scheme nonsensical.” The ACA stretches over 900 pages, and contains hundreds of provisions which, as often happens, are not always perfectly consistent. (I already mentioned the provision that seems to require state-established exchanges, and the other that makes it optional.) When faced with such inconsistencies, judges are supposed to effectuate statutes in a sensible manner. But the main argument in the case does not appeal to any good sense. Instead, it appeals to a theory of legal interpretation that abjures good sense in favor of textual literalism: This is the text, they say, and that is all that matters — even if the ensuing result is an “odd” one.

Raban calls this “interpretative fundamentalism” and writes that the Supreme Court “recently read the Federal Bankruptcy Code in a nonliteral way, after determining that the literal reading ‘would produce senseless results that we do not think Congress intended.'”

It is not the job of judges to engage in guesswork about what legislators “intended.” It’s their job to examine the law as written. If a literal reading of a law seems nonsensical, then it’s because the law as written is nonsensical. Raban admitted as much himself in mentioning the the conflicting provisions.

Trying to “effectuate statutes” to arrive at a “sensible” conclusion instead of an “odd” one undermines equality before the law. Not only is the law not applied equally – different results for different people – but each and every judge will have a different idea of how to apply it. What one judge deems good sense, another might consider unfair or harmful.

Also note this passage – “These subsidies are the heart of the ACA: Without them, millions of people would not be able to afford health insurance and would be exempt from purchasing it. And this, in turn, would deprive insurers of the broad-based participation that makes it financially feasible to forbid them to deny coverage or charge higher premiums of sick or high-risk individuals.” Insurers are no longer allowed to decide who they do or don’t want to do business with, and citizens are no longer allowed to decide which commercial transactions they do or don’t want to engage in. Welcome to 2015, comrades.

This is not some HuffPo blogger or one of the Vox guys. The credit at the end of the column read “Ofer Raban teaches constitutional and criminal law at the University of Oregon School of Law.”

Burying The Truth?

…or just dropping it in an unmarked grave somewhere?

A man living as a woman who suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm was buried as “Geoffrey” not “Jennifer.”

Okay, whatever. I don’t care what name a person wants on their headstone. I don’t think it’s a big deal how the family chooses to lay to rest one of its members, since the deceased isn’t really going to be worried about it at that point. But again, I really don’t care how anyone outside of my own family handles funerals.

But now California has passed the Respect After Death Act –

It requires any official responsible for completing a transgender person’s death certificate to ensure it represents the deceased person’s gender expression, as documented in other government-issued documents, or evidenced by gender confirmation medical procedures.

Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, a cosponsor of the bill, said this was a “common-sense bill that will help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing.”

This is where the failure to think ahead comes in. Will the deaths of transgenders make note of their transgender status? If not, more deaths will be statistically attributed to women. For one, suicide rates are abnormally high among transgender people. After this law, will the numbers read as suicides among women increasing? Will fewer women die from breast cancer, statistically speaking? How will this affect statistics and subsequent medical research?

Then again, this might be a Blow For Equality in disguise. Men generally die younger than women… if transgender men are listed as women when they die, that would help achieve statistical Age Of Death Parity among men and women.

Bu maybe this is exactly what progressives want. If women can be numerically shown to be dying younger and more often, feminists can agitate for more government favors.

The Respect After Death Act

Transgender study looks at ‘exceptionally high’ suicide-attempt rate

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I find it amusing somehow that the article was posted under Yahoo’s “Parenting” section.

Captain! What You Say?

Well I’m aware that the guy must do his work
But the piledriver man drove me berserk.

– Captain Sensible, Wot?

So Captain Capitalism writes about this piece on the Huffington Post –

Minnesota raised its minimum wage by 75 cents to $8 last week — the first increase in the state since 2009.

An owner of the café claimed the 35-cent fee was a way of “thumbing my nose at the law change,” according to CBS-affiliate WCCO.

“Shame on your protest over over a small increase in pay required by law,” wrote Facebook user Terry Edgar in a one-star review. “Hopefully customers will not continue to patronize your cheapskate establishment.”

By Wednesday evening, the café’s most recent Facebook post, a photo of huevos rancheros slathered in cilantro salsa, had 94 comments, most of them berating the restaurant’s owners for refusing to pay its employees a living wage.

I’m just going to quote Cappy summing it up in his own inimitable way…

Now you,
me,
and anybody with half a f*cking brain knows that this is merely a play on words

That no matter how they break down the bill ALL OF THE EXPENSES HAVE TO BE PAID BY THE CUSTOMER!

It’s always been that way.
It will always be that way.
And if it stops being that way, then the company goes bankrupt because it’s NO LONGER PROFITABLE.

And that’s what so many people just don’t get. Go read the “galactical stupidity” (as CC aptly put it) of the comments. The vast amount of ignorance on display is breathtaking. Not just ignorance, but willful, smug ignorance. They don’t get it, and they don’t want to get it.

You can’t talk to a leftist Progressive Democrat like you would to anyone else. No matter what you say, they can’t or won’t to understand it.

What you say: “Hey, if the minimum wage is raised, then businesses have to pay more in costs, and then have to charge customers more money to cover those costs.”

What they hear: “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”

They’re invulnerable to matching up cause and effect. Consider this comment from the above-linked CBS article –

“You’re essentially blaming customers for the increase when you charge for it the way you do,” one customer wrote on Facebook.

How did the minimum wage increase come about? People voted for politicians who would enact it. Which people voted this way? The same people that eat in restaurants affected by the wage hike. They vote for the piledriver man to work on the street, then complain about the noise.

They are on the way to destruction. And taking us with them.

The Wages Of Dumb

I’ve decided not to surf the internet anymore and just steal from let Vodkapundit bring me my news. It’s the best source for stories about pantless intoxicated female schoolteachers. On her first day of work, no less.

Also of note is his his semi-regular commentary on the latest babytalk by juicevoxer Matt Yglesias. And by “commentary” I mean “smart-ass comment on how ridiculous Yggy’s article is.” Such as Yggy’s” case for a maximum wage.” He uses professional basketball as an example of how such a cap works, noting that the NBA has a salary cap and because of that, players are less motivated to sign with a team for money than for things like “teammate and title chances.” But here’s the kicker –

The most important lesson, however, is what the maximum salary doesn’t do — lead the stars to Go Galt and take their talents to the retirement community.

For starters, the top stars get paid a lot of money! But more than that, it turns out that to be successful at high-level professional basketball requires a certain level of passion for the sport and competitive instinct. Players want to win games and outshine their rivals on the biggest stages. Stars not only play for sub-market wages professionally, but they often play for free for their national team in the Olympics. Top performers like money, but they also take pride in a job well done.

This is followed by a recap of tax rates from World War II on, and the results of changes implemented during Reagan’s administration. Although there’s a comparison of the pre-Reagan and post-Reagan economies (yet nothing about the actual Reagan years), no mention is made of a cutoff point in the post-Ronnie years. Do we stop counting at 2000? Or do we include the dot-com bubble bursting and the endless post-2008 recession?

But don’t think about concrete numbers. What matters here is the feelings involved –

A related issue is raised by Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony Atikinson, Thomas Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez who find that lower tax rates have shifted incentives for executives at big companies such that effort is now “diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment.” In other words, in a high-tax regime executives compete to run the biggest, best company for pride and glory whereas in a low-tax regime they compete to take home the biggest paycheck.

Because execs want to play for free every four years in the Executive Olympics. And have more pride and glory to distribute among their workforce.

I also get a kick out of caption beneath the last photo – “happy German factory worker.” Potemkin on the Rhine.

I could go into more problems with this piece, but it’s all ultimately irrelevant. Regardless of arguments for or against such a super-tax, it really comes down to two points –

Point one is that given the problems that come with a minimum wage, is a maximum wage really a good idea?

The second point comes down to property rights. If the NBA owners freely agree to cap their salaries, that’s their business. Imposing a tax by legislation is a different story. This was best summed up in the 80s by the legendary sage Bobby Brown –

I made this money, you didn’t
Right, Ted?
We outta here

Questions With No Answers

Some stuff I’ve been pondering….

Can someone point me to an explanation of Neoreaction? One that is geared toward the layman and not 30 pages long? I’m not very inclined to buy into it, but I would at least like to know what it is I’m not buying into so I can explain why I’m not buying into it.

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I recently asked two questions regarding the Hobby Lobby case. Since no one answered, I’m asking again. First, how much does birth control cost out-of-pocket? Is it really that expensive? It would seem to be rather affordable given how many women use it, and that mass production lowers costs. But I’ve never bought it, so I can’t say for sure. Second, I’ve seen comments claiming women often need birth control for medical reasons other than actual contraception. Do abortifacients provide any kind of medical benefit the way, say, birth control pills do?

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Proponents of population control are saying most people are nothing more than consumers, and will deplete the world’s resources. So why do they push for a welfare state, which is primarily a population of consumers who don’t produce?

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Have any of the very rich politicians or entertainers who complain loudly about income inequality ever just issued some poorer people a check?

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Will the Falco Tribute Band destroy civilization… or save it?

 

Title is from here. Mickey explains it’s historical significance. Although you should watch the original first or this one won’t make much sense to you.

Two-Edged Sword

Via Ed Driscoll – E.J. Dionne says it’s time for Progressives to reclaim the Constitution

It’s odd to see Dionne calling for this, since self-styled “Progressives” have been the ones railing against the Constitution for decades, pushing for a “Living Constitution” that can be molded like Jello into whatever shape they want, or for ignoring it completely. Even his plea for “reclamation” comes across more like stuffing it in a vault so no one can see it and challenge whatever they say it means this week. The entire article sounds like a feint to continue doing what they’ve been doing – whatever they want, Constitutional or not.

Regarding such… Driscoll also quotes my close personal friend and breakfast lifestyle director Thomas Friedman, who infamously wrote –

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

Let’s take Friedman’s assertion at face value, and assume China’s leaders are all Pretty Nice Guys, which for all I know, they very well might well be. But what happens when these people are inevitably – if for no other reason that aging – gone? Will the next group of leaders be so charitable? What the tinplate El Jefe groupies like Friedman don’t seem to grasp is that the Constitution wasn’t written for reasonably enlightened leaders. It was written for the lowest common denominator, designed to function even when the worst people are in charge. Warren Meyer explained it over at Coyote Blog –

Over the past fifty years, a powerful driving force for statism in this country has come from technocrats, mainly on the left, who felt that the country would be better off if a few smart people (ie them) made the important decisions and imposed them on the public at large, who were too dumb to make quality decision for themselves.  People aren’t smart enough,they felt, to make medication risk trade-off decision for themselves, so the FDA was created to tell them what procedures and compounds they could and could not have access to.  People couldn’t be trusted to teach their kids the right things, so technocrats in the left defended government-run schools and fought school choice at every juncture…I am reminded of all this because the technocrats that built our regulatory state are starting to see the danger of what they created.  A public school system was great as long as it was teaching the right things and its indoctrinational excesses were in a leftish direction.  Now, however, we can see the panic.  The left is freaked that some red state school districts may start teaching creationism or intelligent design.  And you can hear the lament – how did we let Bush and these conservative idiots take control of the beautiful machine we built?  My answer is that you shouldn’t have built the machine in the first place – it always falls into the wrong hands.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday Golf Outing

Some more in the style of Hal Gurnee’s Network Time Killers

– A woman gave birth to twins… six months apart. Doctor blames it on an “incompetent cervix.”

That’s the best turn of phrase I’ve heard all day. All week, even. It definitely deserves to attain idiom status somehow. I’m thinking – to take the easy route – that it would be a great name for a  progressive-acoustic feminist wannabe-ironic hipster band.

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A raging AngerSad has erupted over the Hobby Lobby court decision on the Byrne Robotics board. I have a couple question about the decision myself. First, how much does birth control cost out-of-pocket? Is it really that expensive? Considering how prevalent birth control seems to be, it would seem to be rather affordable, given how many women use it, and that mass production lowers costs . But I’ve never bought it, so I can’t say for sure. Second, I’ve seen comments claiming women often need birth control for medical reasons other than actual contraception (which HL still provides). Hobby Lobby only refuses to provide 4 out of 20 birth control methods. The 4 types they won’t cover are abortifacients. Do abortifacients provide any kind of medical benefit the way, say, birth control pills do?

I’m not even going to get into all the issues about the government telling a privately-owned company what it can and can’t pay for, or how HL employees are free to work where the employers will pay for all forms of birth control, etc.

Getting back to the B.R. thread…. a commenter wrote “A single-payer system would have many problems, but it seems to work pretty well for Congress and our veterans.” Hasn’t said system and said veterans been much in the news of late? The commenter does link to a poll claiming most veterans are satisfied with the care they get, but I’m not inclined to trust the Veterans Affairs site’s reporting. As for Congress… drawing on the combined taxes of the entire country to support the health care of 535 people should work spectacularly well. It’s scaling it up to paying for 318 million people that’s the problem.

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Digging down into the internet vaults…. The Comics Curmudgeon examines(!) Rex Morgan M.D. (guest-starring LBJ. Or a lookalike from the same place Hal Gurnee found the Kenny Rogers clone) –

02_flirttown

02_twosome

 

FORE!

I don’t know if they went golfing, but it sounds like someone scored a hole-in-one…

02_whacking

I don’t want to know if there were penalty strokes.

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Somehow I’ve ended up featuring Kenny Rogers twice in relatively rapid succession. I’ve got nothing against Kenny – “Coward of the County” and “The Gambler” are good tunes – but let’s spin another track from that same era and see how many people run screaming.

The guys look like they’re going to, uh, play golf when the ladies suddenly show up.