Archive for the ‘Discussions’ Category

Worthless argument by Grofman and Gaddie for Gill v Whitford

September 29, 2017

Gill v Whitford is the Wisconsin redistricting case where Democrats try to use the concept of an “efficiency gap” to demand States be gerrymandered in a pro-Democrat way.

The basic problem the Democrats face is that a large % of Democrats live in geographically compact areas where they’re a large majority of the total residents.  As such, non-gerrymandered districts, ones that are compact and honor natural (rivers, hills, forests, etc), physical (highways, railroad tracks, etc), and political (city limits, county lines, school districts & other social boundaries) boundaries, tend to result in districts where Democrats either have 70%+ of the vote, or else 45%-.  In response to this, the Democrats developed the “efficiency gap” (better called the “misery gap”, since the goal is to have 49.99% of voters stuck with a Representative they don’t like), basically an attempt to demand proportional representation rather than the first past the post way that Americans do our elections.

Chris Winkelman and Phillip Gordon do a wonderful job taking apart the idiocy (with a bonus reference to SNL’s hilarious “The Bubble” skit). However, Bernard Grofman and Ronald Keith Gaddie have filed an Amicus brief with an argument so bad I feel the need to take it apart.

They start with a doozy of a claim:

Modern, computer-driven redistricting now al- lows the political party in power to craft extremely sophisticated partisan gerrymanders. With vastly improved computer speed, memory, and storage, map drawers can design district lines so precisely that they simultaneously maximize their party’s gains and eliminate most competitive districts—ensuring that the party in power enjoys an electoral advantage that endures throughout the following decade, irrespective of voters’ subsequent choices.

There’s a very large problem with this.  The computer power and storage capacity available to us now, compared to the (less than) 300 million data points known as American voters, is not significantly better than the power and storage capacity available to a State government, Legislature, or political Party in 2000 – 2001.  Pretty much everything of value to a gerrymandering program will fit into ~1KB per individual, which means you can fit the entire country into less than 1/2 a terabyte.  So what people will be able to do in 2021, or were able to do in 2011, is not significantly better than what they could do in 2001.  But in 2006 and 2008, the voters’ subsequent choices changed, and as a result the Democrats took control, and kept control, of both the House and the Senate.

So this claim, fundamental to their thesis, is utter garbage.

Their thesis is this:

The Court should adopt a test for unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering that re- quires a showing of three specific elements: partisan asymmetry, lack of responsiveness, and causation.

All three a worthless.

1: Partisan Asymmetry


The first element, partisan asymmetry, is based on the idea that a citizen’s representational rights must not depend on the party with which he chooses to affiliate. Unlike a claim that the plaintiff is entitled to a specified number of seats, an asymmetry standard requires only that the parties and their supporters receive equal treatment—that they have like opportunity to translate their votes into representation. Thus, if Party A would garner, say, 60% of the seats when it wins 53% of the votes, Party B should also garner about 60% of the seats when it wins 53% of the votes. If it would not, partisan asymmetry is present.

You may very well have a Constitutional right to live how you want.  What you do not, can not, and should not have is a Constitutional right to live without consequences.  If a large number of Democrat voters are eager to live in places where 80% of their neighbors agree with them, that’s their choice.  But the proper result of that is that 37%+ of their votes are going to be “wasted” when voting for a Representative, because rational redistricting will put those city residents into districts made up of other like city residents.  It’s only a corrupt partisan gerrymander that would match up some of those city residents with suburban residents who are not so ideologically monochromatic.

But that’s what’s required in order to not have “partisan asymmetry” in districts, when there’s “partisan asymmetry” in how people chose to live.

2: Lack of Responsiveness

The second element, lack of responsiveness, screens out cases where the political process can provide a remedy.  It examines whether a map is responsive to shifts in voters’ allegiances, such that any disparate effect on voters is unlikely to persist throughout the decade following redistricting.

The problem with this fantasy is that it’s only provable in the negative, after the fact.  Did the incumbent Party lose a “safe seat”?  Guess it wasn’t safe.  While the authors provide this claim:

Based on historical data—how much voters’ preferences swung in prior elections—experts can identify the full range of realistically possible election outcomes (vote shares) and then determine how many legislative seats, if any, would change hands in response to a comparable change in voters’ choices.

The problem being that populations change, people change, circumstances change.  In an era where Donald Trump and David Brat hold elective office, no reasonable person can believe that “experts” can actually tell us what the election results will be next month, let alone 8 years later.

I found this line especially humorous:

There is consensus among social scientists that three discrete concepts are critical to detecting and measuring the extent of an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander

There is consensus among sane people that 80%+ of “social scientists” are Democrats or to the Left of Democrats.  The only thing their consensus about X “proves” is that the Left wants X.

The authors further go on to claim:

First, the newest, computer-driven redistricting now allows map drawers to make very precise refinements to district lines down to the census-block level. With this sophisticated new technology, map drawers can fashion maps that eliminate meaningful competition for most districts. See McGann et al., supra, at 87 (“[A]rmed with modern geographical information system software and an absence of judicial constraints, it is possible to engineer so much advantage that [a map can] satisfy both … goals” of “seat maximization and incumbent protection.”).

A: They’ve been gerrymandering down to the census block level for decades.

B: “Seat maximization” and “incumbent protection” are diametrically opposed goals.  You want “incumbent protection”?  Then you want your Party’s seats to have enough “extra voters” that even in a bad year your guy still wins.

You want “Seat maximization”?  Then you want your voters spread as thinly as possible, so that you’re winning nine districts 51 – 49, rather than seven districts 55 – 45.  The issue is not “what will those godlike computers let the evil gerrymanderers do?”  The issue is “which do you value more, SM or IP?”  If “gerrymandered victory margins are no longer so thin that they risk disappearing”, it’s not because of computers, it’s because the people doing the redistricting in 2011 had less appetite for risk than did the 2001 redistricters.


3: Causation

Causation means that the partisan asymmetry is a result of invidious discrimination, not neutral factors or chance…. That is, we must compare the map’s disparate effects against a neutral baseline.

Reality check: any time humans are doing redistricting, they’re going to be trying to get an advantage for their side.  So either this test always “fails” the redistricters, or the purpose of this is to let partisan judges find “bad faith” in gerrymanders they don’t like, and “good faith” in ones they do like.




The authors claim “The analytical tools for evaluating partisan asymmetry, lack of responsiveness, and causation have also dramatically improved since Bandemer, Vieth, and LULAC.”  They are wrong.  The test of partisan asymmetry is worthless so long as Democrat voters cluster, and Republican voters don’t.  It’s also worthless so long as the Voting Rights Act is interpreted to require “majority minority” districts that can elect Democrat “minority” candidates.

Moreover, new measures of asymmetry developed after LULAC rely on no “hypothetical” counterfactual at all. For example, the average-median difference is “a simple measure of asymmetry or skewness … [with] well-defined mathematical properties.” Wang, Three Practical Tests, supra, at 372. The average-median difference compares each party’s actual vote share in its median district to its average actual vote share across all districts. If the party’s median vote share is significantly lower than its average vote share, partisan asymmetry is at work.

Yes, because Democrat voters are clustered, and you expect the city districts to be more unbalanced than the non-city ones.

We continue to believe that experts can reliably assess the responsiveness and asymmetry of a newly enacted map by projecting the results of recent past statewide races onto the new district lines, especially in light of current extraordinarily high levels of partisan polarization.

Reality disagrees.  To quote from Winkelman and Gordon:

In the 2016 general election, there were 12 Democratic members of Congress who won election in districts where Trump won the vote. Similarly, there were 23 Republican members of Congress who won in districts where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.

And that’s the core problem with all this.  Candidates matter.  “Experts” do not.  You want to require districts with certain levels of compactness, etc?  Great!  I’m all for it.

But the rest of their program is pure BS.

A response to National Lawyers Guild, Penn Law Chapter

September 11, 2017

The National Lawyers Guild, Penn Law Chapter, got their panties in a wad over Professor Wax pointing out the obvious fact that not all cultures are created equal, and that bourgeois culture is superior to most.

I wrote the following reply.  Being the kind of Marxist thugs that try to destroy someone’s life for disagreeing with them, I’m sure they won’t post it. So here it is:

While we do not challenge Professor Wax’s right to express her views, we question whether it is appropriate for her to continue to teach a required first-year course.

If you are that bad at logic, you must be horrible lawyers.

Which is rather sad, since you are clearly also horrible people.

By attempting to get Professor Wax fired for her views, you are indeed “challeng[ing] Professor Wax’s right to express her views”. Which every single person with a functioning brain understands.

What every single person with a functioning brain ought to also understand is that your attempt to establish that only left-winger may teach, is going to end with Republicans destroying all government support for “education”, since there’s absolutely no reason for us to give money to thugs (you’re advocating firing someone for disagreeing with you. That’s the definition of a thug) to indoctrinate people in evil “values”.

How stupid DO you have to be not to realize that?

An Exchange Established By The State

November 9, 2014

I’ve looked through the ACA, to find every place it refers to Exchanges created “by the State”.  The phrase “by the State” is found on 63 pages of the Certified ACA:

Page 403 – 404 of the Certified ACA
Subject to the succeeding paragraphs of this subsection, during the period that begins on the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ends on the date on which the Secretary determines that an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully operational, as a condition for receiving any Federal payments under section 1903(a) for calendar quarters occurring during such period, a State shall not have in effect eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures under the State plan under this title or under any waiver of such plan that is in effect during that period, that are more restrictive than the eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures, respectively, under the plan or waiver that are in effect on the date of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This clearly defines “an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” as being different from the Federal Exchange it’s replacing

Page 2154 of the Certified ACA
With respect to each State, the Secretary, not later than April 1, 2015, shall review the benefits offered for children and the cost-sharing imposed with respect to such benefits by qualified health plans offered through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

This specifies that “qualified health plans offered through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” are subject to review by the Secretary to make sure that they meet the Federal standards.  This distinguishes from plans set up under a Federal Exchange, where one assumes the Secretary would not allow then into the Exchange unless they met the Federal standards.

All of the rest of the uses of “by the State” connected to “Exchanges” are in the section on CHIP.  In no place is there ever any equivalency created between “an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, and a Federal “Exchange”.

If we are to believe that Congress was using the offer of ACA subsidies to get States to set up their own Exchanges, I can see no grounds for saying “but they wouldn’t hold children hostage!”  Since, after all, they are holding hostage all the children of people who don’t qualify for CHIP.

More on ObamaCare / Halbig / King

November 9, 2014

Another nice post from Ziff Blog (here’s my response to the first post of his that I saw).  After some really good comentary, he posts the following questions:

  1. If the term “Exchange” is defined in the statute as “an American Health Benefit Exchange established under section 1311 of the [PPACA],” PPACA § 1562(b) (emphasis added), and if section 1311 only provides for state exchanges (with section 1321 providing for federal exchanges), then does the term “Exchange” standing alone, without modification, mean only state-established exchanges?
  2. Relatedly, if an Exchange is defined as something established under section 1311, how can the Secretary ever create an Exchange as that term is used in the rest of the PPACA?
  3.  If the term “Exchange” is meant to refer inclusively to federal- and state-established exchanges, then what is the effect of the “established under section 1311” language in section 1562(b)?
  4. If the PPACA sets up a two-tiered system for federal- and state-established exchanges, where are the provisions governing exchanges “established under section 1321” or “established by the Secretary under section 1321”? If they are absent, why are they absent?
  5.  If the term “Exchange” is meant to refer generically to federal- and state-established exchanges, with the phrase “Exchange established by the State” reserved solely for state-established exchanges, then why would the PPACA make federal-established exchanges subject to annual audits by the Secretary if the Secretary is the one operating the exchange?
  6. Is a regional exchange operated by a collective of states an “Exchange established by the State under section 1311”? What if one state “established” the Exchange but the other state simply permits the operation of the exchange within its borders, pursuant to section 1311(f)(1)?
  7. What is the difference between an Exchange, an “Exchange established pursuant to this title,” section 1303(a)(1)(D), an “Exchange established under this Act,” section 1312(d)(3)(D)(i), an “Exchange established under section 1311,” see, e.g., section 1331(e)(2), and an “Exchange established by the State under 1311,” section 1401(b)(2)(A)? The PPACA uses all of these differing phrases to refer to exchanges.
  8. Relatedly, could a state establish an exchange pursuant to a section other than section 1311? Could the Secretary establish an exchange pursuant to section 1311? If not, then why say “established by the State pursuant to section 1311”?

I’m going to skip the first three, because no answer to them affects my argument.

4: They are absent because the only difference between the two types of exchanges is the subsidies, and that’s fully taken care of by the language creating the subsidies.

5: IIRC, the audit language requires a number of reports about who’s getting insurance, etc.  Information needed by the IRS (when enforcing the Individual Mandate) regardless of where the insurance comes from, or whether or not the individual is getting subsidies.

6: I would say that because of the poor writing of the ACA, in neither of those cases would someone be eligible for a subsidy. I’ve changed my mind on this one.  Let’s go back to the text of the ACA:

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘coverage month’ means, with respect to an applicable taxpayer, any month if—

(i) as of the first day of such month the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent of the taxpayer is covered by a qualified health plan described in subsection (b)(2)(A) that was enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,

In this text “the State” refers to the Exchange, not to the taxpayer.  It is not the taxpayer’s State we’re worried about, but the State that set up the Exchange.  A regional Exchange is still an Exchange set up by the States, not by the Federal Government.  As it is an Exchange set up by the State the individual lives in, the individual would be eligible for subsidies. (The requirement is not set up only by the State, just set up by the State.)  The shared Exchange is an Exchange set up by the State that set it up, not by the Federal Government.  So, again, the person purchasing insurance on that Exchange is eligible for subsidies.

Nothing in the ACA says that the Exchange has to be set up by only the State, or by the State the individual lives in.  So neither is an impediment to a subsidy.

7: I don’t know, ask the people who wrote the ACA.  What I do know is that an Exchange established by the Federal Government is, by definition, not an Exchange established by a State.  And I know know that the ACA established that an Exchange set up by a Territory “shall be treated as a State for purposes of such part“.  No such language exists for the Federal Exchanges.

8: A: A State could have set up a health insurance Exchange 10 years ago (not under a different Section of the ACA, but simply based on its own inherent police powers, and power to regulate health insurance).  What would have stopped a State from doing that? B: I say no, the Halbig Court says Yes.. C: Because they wanted to limit subsidies to Exchanges that were 1: Not set up by the Federal Government and 2: Followed the rules of the ACA.  Which is the point of King and Halbig.

Now, I have three questions for Ziff (or any other anti-Halbig individual):
1: The ACA says that an Exchange set up by Washington DC shall be treated as an Exchange set up by a State.  It says that Exchanges set up by any of the Territories shall be treated the same way.  Is there a fifth type of Exchange?  Or is the only other type of Exchange one set up by the Federal Government?

2: Why was the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under section 1311” used in the ACA, when, under your interpretation, what was meant was “an Exchange”? I don’t have the reference to hand, but I know there’s a Supreme Court precedent to the point that we must assume that Congress put words into a statue for a reason, and an interpretation that makes words superfluous is inherently inferior to one that does not.  Does your argument not suffer from that fatal flaw?

3: Have you read the Halbig majority opinion? Have you put together a point by point refutation of it? If so, where is it?  If not, would it not behoove you to do so?  Wouldn’t that be a far more productive use of your time than arguing with a bunch of bloggers?

Because if you can’t take it down (and I don’t believe you can), you’d better resign yourself to losing in the Supreme Court.

Ad Age joins the anti-GamerGate harrassment

October 27, 2014

A response to some pathetic bullshit on Ad Age

“The now amorphous movement was formed by a group of gamers demanding better ethics in video game journalism (the bad journalism is the “gate” part) but was co-opted by a group hunting for any slight and quick to berate and threaten critics with anything from rape and murder to the exposure of private information.”

Thank you for demonstrating early in your article that you are yet another dishonest political hack.

The anti-GamerGate propaganda is that GamerGate has been “taken over” by all these bad things.  The reality is that vast majority of the doxing and personal attacks comes from the anti-GamerGaters.  If you’ve been following what’s happening, you know that, and are lying about it.  If you don’t know it, it’s because you haven’t been paying attention, and aren’t qualified to write an article on it.

Advise to brands: Your customers are watching you.  Do you side with the politically correct thugs who hate your customers, and routinely go out of their way to attack, and offend, your customers?  Then by all means, continue to associate with Gawker, and the other anti-gamer haters.

Do you value your customers?  Do you think your customers have the right to have their own hobbies without being attacked by totalitarian thugs who wish to force their “one true way” on everyone else?

Then whenever you see someone attacking GamerGate, run away from them as fast as you can.

Dishonesty watch: Leftist columnist claims anti-GamerGaters are like Israel

October 14, 2014

It’s amazing the lies one will tell when one thinks they’ve looked the other side out of the discussion:

For a few weeks now, the Internet—or one large and particularly nerdy corner of it, anyway—has been alight with furious debates about #Gamergate. The mercifully short version of this affair is this: a swath of predominantly male gaming enthusiasts, motivated by not much save for the crudest cut of misogyny, have decided to wage a campaign against women who are entering the gaming community, designing their own games, and otherwise contributing to the growth of the medium.

My response:  Not posting it there, since the only way they’ll let you comment is via Facebook:

This article is the most disgustingly dishonest garbage I’ve run across today.  #GamerGate is about gamers getting tired of an utterly corrupt “elite” which wishes to force their will on all Gamers.  It’s about the powerful using censorship and bullying to drown out any voices but their own  In short, it’s a LOT like what’s happening to Israel, but contra your claims, it is the anti-Gamers who are acting like Israels enemies.

My Comment on GamerGate

October 12, 2014

Response to this:

I found these quite interesting

  • They (gaming media) are outraged at being called corrupt
  • They (gaming media) are upset at the suggestion that the gaming media has some sort of organized conspiracy
  • They (general) believe gamers are inherently insular and want to shout down any attempts at reforming it.
  • They (general) believe gamers are entitled and thin-skinned, unable to show empathy or accept even mild criticism of their hobby.

I would like to think you are dishonestly presenting the anti-GG side, because if these are true, they are utterly damning.

1: The IndieCade and IGF imbroglios are prima facia cases of corruption.  You don’t get to judge products you have a financial interest in.  You don’t get to judge products represented by someone you have a romantic or sexual relationship with.  This can not actually be a surprise to anyone.  Any “game journalist” who hasn’t trashed the people involved is an accomplice to the corruption, and has no grounds to complain about being tarred with that brush.

2: I think the release of the GameJournosPros emails conclusively lays this one to rest.

Then there’s the other two.  The knock on the Puritans was “they were deathly afraid that someone, somewhere, was having fun.”  For these modern Puritans, the complaint is the same: “how dare you want to have fun playing games that we don’t like?”  “How dare you have a hobby that we don’t approve of?

You want to know what an indignant, whiny, entitled person looks like?  Check out the people who think they have the right to tell other people what hobbies those other people are allowed to have.  Check out the people who think that gaming companies should ignore their paying customers, and instead pay attention to whining SJWs and game “journalists” prancing about on their hobby horses.

What’s driving GamerGate?  Well, the fact that their opponents are utterly without a shred of legitmacy.

Halbig and King, a response to Ziff Blog

August 2, 2014

A left-wing blogger named David Ziff wrote some intelligent commentary on Halbig, and the poor quality of the left’s response.  However, he also wrote the following:

It’s not like we don’t have good textual and contextual arguments on the left! For one, read the Court of Appeals decision in King v. Burwell starting on page 15.

I made the following comment.  Here’s I’ll do it with formatting 🙂

If you’re resting your hopes on the King Court, you’re going to be very disappointed.  First, let’s consider this from the 4th Circuit Opinion:

Section 1321(c) provides that if a state fails to establish an Exchange by January 1, 2014, the Secretary “shall . . . establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.” (emphasis added). The defendants’ position is that the term “such Exchange” refers to a state Exchange that is set up and operated by HHS. In other words, the statute mandates the existence of state Exchanges, but directs HHS to establish such Exchanges when the states fail to do so themselves. In the absence of state action, the federal government is required to step in and create, by definition, “an American Health Benefit Exchange established under [§] 1311” on behalf of the state.

This is really pathetic.  The text says “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under [§]1311 of the [Act].”  “By”  Not “on behalf of”.

Second, there’s this, from Halbig (pages 18 – 20):

The dissent [and the 4th Circuit in King] attempts to supply this missing equivalency by pointing to section 1311(d)(1), which provides: “An Exchange shall be a governmental agency or nonprofit entity that is established by a State.” 42 U.S.C. § 18031(d)(1). According to the dissent, (d)(1) means that an Exchange established under section 1311 is, by definition, established by a state. Therefore, the dissent argues, because federal Exchanges are established under section 1311, they too, by definition, are established by a state.
The premise that (d)(1) is definitional, however, does not survive examination of (d)(1)’s context and the ACA’s structure. The other provisions of section 1311(d) are operational requirements, setting forth what Exchanges must (or, in some cases, may) do. See generally 42 U.S.C. § 18031(d)(2)-(7) (listing “[r]equirements”). Read in keeping with that theme, (d)(1) would simply require that an Exchange operate as either a governmental agency or nonprofit entity. But the dissent would have us construe (d)(1) differently. In its view, (d)(1) plays a definitional role unique among section 1311(d)’s otherwise operational provisions, creating a legal fiction that any Exchange is, by definition, established by a state, even when, as a matter of fact, it is not. That reading, however, would render (d)(1) the odd man out twice over: both within section 1311(d) and among the ACA’s other definitional provisions, which, unlike (d)(1), employ the (unmistakably definitional) formula of “The term ‘X’ means . . . .” See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. §§ 300gg-91, 18024; see also 26 U.S.C. § 4980H(c).
The dissent’s reading would also require us to overlook the fact that section 1311(d) would be a strange place for Congress to have buried such a legal fiction. Section 1311, after all, concerns Exchanges that are established by states in fact; the legal fiction the dissent urges would matter only to Exchanges established by the federal government. To accept the dissent’s construction would therefore transform (d)(1) into the proverbial elephant in the mousehole—the “ancillary provision[]” that “alter[s] the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme.” Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457, 468 (2001). The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress does not legislate in this manner, see id.; accord Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243, 267 (2006), and we see no evidence that it did so here. Indeed, we are particularly loath to accept the dissent’s construction given that there are far more natural locations to place this fiction, such as section 1321 or the provision defining the term “Exchange,” 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-91(d)(21).

Sorry, but the law was written as Gruber was claiming it was written back in 2012: The States would be forced to set up Exchanges by the threat that they would get no subsides.  The threat didn’t work, the gamble failed.  You want that changed?  Then you’re going to have to negotiate with Republicans, and give up a lot.  That’s what happens when you screw up.

Why I’m happy SCOTUSBlog didn’t get press credentials

June 30, 2014

While sitting at the SCOTUSBlog LiveBlog today, waiting for the opinions, I saw a link to Amy Howe’s “Plain English” review of McCullen v. Coakley. She closes with this:

The case is also interesting because of what it may signal for the challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, in which we are still waiting on the Court’s decision.  Although the precise issues before the Court are different, both involve the intersection of the First Amendment (the McCullen plaintiffs’ desire to counsel women who might be seeking abortion and the Hobby Lobby families’ firm opposition to providing their female employees with birth control) and women’s reproductive rights.

What a load of crap.  Hobby Lobby pays for 16 different types of birth control.  What they refuse to pay for is abortificants.  This sort of dishonest left-wing propagandizing (and if she really didn’t know those facts, and if no one else at SCOTUS Blog didn’t know those facts, that would be world class incompetence) is why I’m happy SCOTUSBlog got stiffed.  If we want to read a dishonest fmale pushing left wing propaganda about Court cases, we’ve already got Linda Greenhouse, we don’t need amy Howe and the rest of the SCOTUSBlog crew.

Comment on All Althouse’s Abortion Post

August 1, 2013

Ok, so let’s turn this around:

There’s this really rich woman, we’ll call here Opraheta, she’s a TV celebrity, and worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

She has a “harem” of men.  One of them gets her pregnant.  She decides to have an abortion.  The man who impregnated her doesn’t want her to get one.

Who should win?

How is this any different from Simon’s case?

He’s going to be on the hook for 18 years.  Opraheta will be on the hook for 18 years, nine months.  That’s a difference of 4%.  Big whoop!

“It’s her body, she can do what she wants”?  Fine, she did what she wanted, and she, with the help of that man, created another human being.  It’s no longer just her body.

Alternatively, “it’s his body and he can do what he wants.”  If Simon doesn’t want the kid, than he owes that child no more than Opraheta does.  So he should be able to her: I’ll pay for an abortion, but I won’t pay to support you and that child for 18 months.  If you don’t abort, you’re on your own.

You object to those options?  Then what you’re really pushing for is that men should be legally inferior to women.  And while you’re free to push for whatever you want, I can not see the slightest reason why your position deserves a shred more respect than the position that women should be legally inferior to men.

Visualize your reaction to a man arguing, with all seriousness, that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant, and of course never be allowed to vote.  That is your moral compatriot.  Because if it’s ok for a woman to screw around, get pregnant, and kill the baby if the baby is inconvenient to her, then it’s AT LEAST equally ok for a man to go out, screw around, and refuse to provide anything other than 1/2 the cost of the abortion if teh woman is willing to have one.

The essence of a catch 22

July 22, 2013

So, Ann Althouse had comments, and got rid of them.  Then she asked people what they thought of her decision.  She apparently didn’t like the answers she got, so she wrote:

Those who voted in the bottom 2 categories [hate the absence of comments]— more than the ones who voted in the top categories, the supportive answers — reinforce me in my decision to go it alone here.

Shorter Althouse: “I asked you what you thought of my decision.  Telling me you don’t like it makes me more invested in keeping to it.”

Some other thoughts:

The poll is radically unscientific. Those who have stopped reading because the comments are gone should not be here to take the poll. Everyone choosing the last option — “Without the comments, this blog means nothing to me” — is confessing to lying.

Wrong.  Some of those people could have stopped reading the blog, heard about the poll, and come back just to participate in the poll.  Others could be people who visit your blog to flip through and see if comments are back, but don’t bother reading anything other than on that issue.

Telling me what I write doesn’t matter except as a jumping off platform for commenters doesn’t work as an argument, directed at me, to bring back comments.

The pronouncements of people I can not respond to rarely interest me.  If you say something thoughtless, ignorant, or just logically suspect, can I respond, and point this out? No?  If you say something brilliant, can I cheer?  No?  Then what you’re saying, by virtual of that, immediately becomes less interesting to me.

Shorter Greg: Ann, you’ve become Eric Holder.  You’ve said you want conversation, but what you’ve instituted is a lecture.

The 345 people who voted to say that they “feel aggrieved” and see what I did as “wrong” also fail to speak appealingly to me.

Excuse me?  We’re not “speaking”, we’re picking among the words you’ve allowed us to have.  If you don’t like that answer, perhaps you should have offered a different one.  First you turn a discussion into a lecture, then you complain because you don’t like the words you put in our mouths?

I would have phrased it as “The lack of comments makes your blog less valuable to me.  If it continues that way, I will drift away over time, visiting less and less until one day I just stop coming at all.”  But that option wasn’t available, because you chose not to offer it.

See, that’s the kind of response that you can get when you have comments, rather than just a lecture.

Sorry, Professor Althouse, but you can either pick the allowed responses, or legitimately get offended at people’s responses.  Doing both is a failure of logic.

The facts of the Zimmerman case

July 20, 2013

Elizabeth Scalia, blogging as “The Anchoress”, made some sadly uninformed comments about the Zimmerman trial.  I wrote this, and decided to post here so I don’t have to write this up again.  All feedback of a factual nature, either positive or negative, is quite welcome:

I am very disappointed in you, Elizabeth. Because it appears you’ve decided to comment on the Zimmerman case without bothering to actually find out what happened in the Zimmerman case.

So let’s consider some facts you appear to have missed, and see if you can come to a more enlightened opinion:

1: A neighbor of Zimmerman’s was home alone with her infant, when someone tried to break in. 911 told her to grab a weapon and hide. She grabbed a screwdriver, and hid in her room with her baby. Someone jiggled the handle on her bedroom door, robbed her house, and escaped, all before the police arrived.

Zimmerman and his wife befriended the woman, helped her deal with her terror, and bought her a new deadbolt. Then Zimmerman started the Neighborhood Watch program for their area.

2: Relying on police reports about burglary suspects, Zimmerman made multiple calls to the police about teenaged boys engaging in suspicious behavior. The result of those calls was that a black male teenager who lived in the complex was caught with stolen goods from multiple houses in the neighborhood. In one little irony, the kid was convicted in Judge Nelson’s courtroom (and if you don’t know that Judge Nelson was the trier of this case, you’re not qualified to comment on the trial, and should be embarrassed in yourself if you have commented on it).

3: Trayvon Martin was suspended from school twice. Once because he was caught with stolen jewelry in his backpack, the second time (which was why he was in Sanford) because he was caught with a used marijuana pipe in his backpack. The school security officers followed their boss’s policy of rarely reporting criminals, in order to get their boss awards for “cutting the crime rate”. (This came out because of this case.) If they’d actually reported the crimes, instead of just suspending Martin, he probably would not have been in Sanford that night.

4: Trayvon Martin’s cell phone had, hidden in a password protected file, pictures of him with jewelry on his bed, texts about his street fighting, texts from his younger brother asking to be taught how to fight, texts about buying and selling guns, and pictures of naked underage females.

5: The toxicology report on Martin said that he had the active form of THC in hsi bloodstream the night he died.

In short, Trayvon Martin was a thug. He was a crook, and he was a drug user. If Zimmerman had not killed him, the only real question is “would Martin have killed someone else before he got himself killed?” Happily, that answer turns out to be no.

6: George Zimmerman called the cops to say he saw someone wandering around, looking into the windows of a house where he knew the person didn’t live, acting strange, almost as if he was drugged.

If you have a problem with him making that call, your problem is with the whole idea of the Neighborhood Watch, not with George Zimmerman. The behavior he reported SHOULD be reported, it doesn’t matter if the person doing it is white black old or young.

7: Zimmerman tried to keep this suspicious character in sight. Eventually the person disappeared from his view, even when he stopped his car and got out. The person on the other end of his non-emergency police call told Zimmerman they “don’t need him to do that” (try to follow on foot), so Zimmerman went back to his car.

None of the above facts are disputable. You could, I suppose, try to claim that Zimmerman lied in his call, and Martin wasn’t really looking into any windows. But you would have to make that claim with zero supporting evidence.

So, please, tell us where Zimmerman displayed “bad judgment” in any of the above.

8: Zimmerman says he walked around in the area around his car, trying to find a street sign so he could tell the police who were on their way exactly where he was. Neighbors who lived there testified during the trial that it was hard to see street signs in the area, and that the street name had recently changed. In any event, Zimmerman got off the phone with the police.

9: Four minutes after Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, Martin confronted Zimmerman less than 20 yards from where Zimmerman’s car was parked. (Time information taken from phone records entered at the trial. Location taken from where Martin’s dead body was found.) If Martin had been trying to go home, he would have been there, safe and sound. If I understand Jeantel (the girl who was on the phone with Martin), Martin DID get to his dad’s girlfriend’s place, and then turned around and went back. In any event, given the amount of time Martin had to get home, the ONLY reason for him to run into Zimmerman at the place where he did was because he chose to seek out Zimmerman.

10: Martin confronted Zimmerman, Zimmerman responded defensively (rather than going on the offense and saying “why are you looking into windows of other people’s homes?”). We got that from Jeantel’s testimony. Then she claimed the call ended.

11: Zimmerman was struck in the nose, his nose was damaged, and bleeding. The back of his head was damaged from being struck into a concrete sidewalk. The defense’s forensic expert testified that the damage done to Zimmerman was potentially life threatening, that the police should have sent Zimmerman to the ER, and that if Zimmerman had died from his injuries, the police would have been sued, and lost. The prosecution’s witness, John Good, testified that he heard the screaming, went outside, saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, pinning Zimmerman down, and striking down at Zimmerman (he could not testify that he heard the blows hit). Good told Martin to stop. When he didn’t, Good said he was calling 911. Martin’s attack continued.

12: The witness who claimed that Zimmerman was on top said she was sure that the bigger person was on top, and since the only images she’d seen of Martin were the pictures from when Martin was 12, she assumed Zimmerman was bigger. This was false, as the defense demonstrated when they had Zimmerman stand next to a life sized cutout of Martin.

13: Martin was killed by a single shot to the chest. His shirt was in contact with the gun, but the gun was shot from two inches away from Martin’s chest (as determined by the powder burns on Martin’s chest). The hole in the shirt and the hole in Martin’s chest lined up to show that Martin was leaning forward when he was shot.

In short: Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman, punched him in the face, tackled him to the ground, and spent 40 seconds beating on him, inflicting potentially deadly damage on him, and giving no indication that he was going to stop until he had killed, or at least crippled, Zimmerman. Zimmerman then got his gun out, and shot his attacker, killing him.

There can be no “duty to retreat” when you’re pinned to the ground. Every state in the nation allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself when you can’t retreat, and are in reasonable fear of death. Zimmerman could not retreat, and was in reasonable fear of death.If you still think Florida has “some laws that should probably be reviewed” because of this case, it’s because you are taking the utterly fringe position that self defense should never be allowed.

I hope you will take some time to get yourself actually informed on this issue before saying anything more. And I hope you will offer George Zimmerman the apology he so richly deserves after your ill-informed and utterly unjustified hostile comments about him.

What tribe are you part of? Another comment on Zimmerman

July 17, 2013

“Whether it is because of conservative tribalism, race, guns, or something else”

It’s amazing how ignorant you are, Arthur. And it’s kind of sad the way you are so eager to show your ignorance.

“conservative tribalism”: Zimmerman was a 2008 Obama volunteer

“race”: both Zimmerman and I are humans, so we share the same race.  I’m pretty sure Martin was human, too, which means all three of us shared the same race.  (You, I’m not so sure about.)  If you mean “race” the way you leftist bigots and racists use the term, Zimmerman appears to share a lot more ancestors with Trayvon than he does with me

“guns”: plenty of thugs with guns.  I’m generally quite happy to see them arrested, and convicted,  Hell, Trayvon had texts saying that he was interested in both buying and selling guns

It is funny, because you almost managed to swerve into a truth.  Because (I hope) Zimmerman and I DO belong to the same “tribe”, the tribe of people who work to make the world a better place.  The tribe of people who are willing to go out of their way to help other, to protect others.  The tribe of people who are willing to take a stand against the barbarians of the night.

The tribe of people who are willing to stand against the Trayvon Martin’s of the world.

Trayvon Martin was a thief, and a drug user, and thug, a street brawler who liked to fight.  He was on a straight path to a worthless life, and the only real question was would he get killed before, or after, he killed someone else.  And on a dark and rainy night, his ego and his thuggish nature lead him to attack a good and decent man, at best because that man’s attempts to protect his neighborhood hurt Martin’s ego, pride, or feelings.

Happily, that good and decent man was armed, so instead of being beaten to death, or until he was crippled for life, he was able to defend himself, and the young thug died instead.  Sadly, he’ll probably have nightmares for the rest of his life.  Also sadly, some leftist inspired PoS will probably murder him, for the “crime” of having committed self defense at a time when our Dear Leader Obama needed a patsy to stoke racial tensions, in order to eventually get his voters out to the polls.

If you gave a sh!t about the other young men on Trayvon’s path, you’d be out there screaming “don’t be like Trayvon.  Build a worthwhile life, don’t be a punk, don’t be a thug.”  But you don’t care.  all you want is some talking points so you can pretend to be morally superior.

30 days with a gun

June 16, 2013

Over at Ms. Magazine, a writer is trying an experiment:

Yes, I bought a handgun and will carry it everywhere I go over the next 30 days. I have four rules: Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.

Why? Following the Newtown massacre in December, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, told the country, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  I wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun? What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun. Finally, what happens when you don’t want that gun any more?

I decided to find out.

In it she whines about all the things she’s allowed to do.  I wrote the following response (it’s “in moderation”)

Wow, have you killed anybody yet?


So, despite deciding to be a completely irresponsible idiot, nothing bad has happened? the magic talisman of a gun hasn’t forced you to start a fight? It hasn’t forced you to grab it and shoot somebody?

Really? What a shock! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Do you really want to live in a society where the government has the power to force you not to “be an idiot”? You know, a government that banned people from majoring in English Literature, or Gender Studies, because of the almost complete lack of jobs for people in those fields? A government that stopped people from going to LA, or NY, to try to become actors, because the vast majority will fail, so it’s really idiotic to try?

You are, supposed, an adult. That means YOU are, and should be responsible for your choices, and your actions. Not the government. Not society. Not your parents. YOU.

If you’re not willing to handle that burden, you’re not an adult. So go find someone to take care of you, and turn in your driver’s license. Because a car’s a far more deadly weapon than a Glock.

After that, I had this thought (also waiting moderation):

Oh, BTW, once you’re done with this article, why don’t you find some 18 year old woman and get her to write “My month having sex with everyone I can”, where she goes out and has sex with as many different people as she can, following only those rules the law requires her to follow.  No condoms, no birth control, anal, oral, and vaginal sex.  then see how many different venereal diseases she has at the end of the month, whether or not she’s pregnant, and / or whether or not she’s caught something that will make her sterile for the rest of her life.
And then compare the negatives that result from her actions, with the complete non-negatives that come from yours.

Because there’s a lot more things in life more dangerous than carryign a gun.

No sympathy for “non-violent” drug offenders

December 12, 2012

By way of I found this article by John Tierney, the best writer at the NY Times.  Tierney is decrying the effects of mandatory sentencing on “non-violent offenders.”  I find myself entirely unmoved.

Let’s be clear here: I would be ecstatic to support ending the war on drugs, killing the FDA, and telling people: It’s your body, do whatever you want to it (just don’t expect us to pay for it).  But that’s not on the agenda.  What’s on the agenda is cutting the punishment of “non-violent offenders.”  And I’m opposed, because when it comes to drugs, there aren’t any “non-violent offenders.”

Those Mexican drug cartels that are murdering people and corrupting Mexican society?  They exist because, and only because, of those “non-violent offenders.”  Those teenage and twenty+ year old boys shooting each other (and the occasional innocent bystander) over “turf” for selling drugs?  Again, without the buyers pumping all that money into the system, those shootings wouldn’t be happening. So don’t tell me how sad it is that their life’s been “ruined”, because they are the ones ruining everyone else’s lives.

End the trade.  Make it all legal, sell heroine through drug stores, slash the prices so there’s nothing to fight over.  Great, got no problem with that.

But so long as those people are paying (and working, in the case of the “mules”) to destroy the US inner city, Mexico, Columbia, etc., they deserve the misery that mandatory sentencing brings them.

SEALs denied, and dead

October 30, 2012

The picture says it all.  We desperately need to get rid of this failure.

Why Akin must go

August 25, 2012

This started out as a comment over at Vodkapundit.  I’ve cleaned it up and posted it here (too), because I got positive feedback on it, and because I think it needs to be said.

Dear Akin supporter / defender / excuser.

I’m going to simply focus on why Akin’s words were completely out of line, and need to be condemned by everyone, and why he needs to get out of the race, now.

1: His words demonstrated extreme moral cowardice.
Akin opposes abortion in cases of rape. Unless you wish to claim that ZERO women each year get impregnated by rape, if you wish to hold Akin’s position you must be ready, willing, and able to answer the question “why should a women who’s been raped be forced to carry the child to term?” Saying “gosh, it doesn’t happen very often” is a worthless cop out. You still think she should have to carry to term when it DOES happen. If you can’t make that argument, drop your opposition to abortion in cases of rape.  Because if you really believe the number of such cases is too small for people to worry about them, then demonstrate taht fact by not worrying about them yourself.

2: His claim was and is total bullshit.
A woman who has already ovulated can be impregnated by rape just as easily as by consensual sex. Stress may very well make her less likely to ovulate. It’s not going to make the egg sudden break open once it’s already out.

3: “Legitimate rape” has got to be one of the stupidest ways around to phrase it.
If your issue is with women dishonestly claiming rape just to get an abortion, save it for when Roe and Casey are no longer the law of the land.
If you’re trying to differentiate between forcible rape, and date rape?  Don’t.  Just don’t.

4: His response proved that he’s not ready for prime time, and running for the Senate is Prime Time.
Look, if Akin’s didn’t realize this question was going to be asked, then he is not qualified to be running for office, because he’s a blithering idiot.

If he did realize such a question would be asked, but wasn’t willing to sit down and practice until he had a good answer ready to go, he’s too damn lazy of a campaigner to be playing with the big kids.

If he knew it was going to be asked, practiced his answer, and this was the answer he put together, then he’s way too f’ing incompetent to be representing the Republican Party at any level.

If he knew it was going to be asked, prepped for it, and then just flubbed his answer, then given the situation, he’s obviously not competent to campaign in the big leagues, and it’s clear that he only won the primary because of Democrat support.

I can not see ANY reason why a real Republican would want to get behind the Democrats’ favorite candidate. Dump him, and get someone better.

Finally, if your sole objection to the “rape exclusion” is that women will use it to get around anti-abortion laws, then act like you have a functional brain, and SAVE IT FOR WHEN ROE V WADE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED. Seriously? At a time when the Supreme Court has a near “abortion uber ales” policy, you want to turn off potential voters by arguing about the hardest cases? WTF?

Christ on a crutch! If we can get Roe / Casey overturned, then we can worry about throwing in rules that say you can only use the rape exception if you reported the rape within 24 hours of it happening. This isn’t brain surgery people.  But let’s get a President who will appoint Justices who will overturn Roe, and Senators who will vote confirm those Justices, first.

Cart.  Horse.  Some assembly required.

If you’re not willing to make the argument that “we don’t kill rapists, why should it be OK to kill an innocent child created by rape?” then just STFU about rape and abortion, OK?

Akin isn’t going down because the Democrats are twisting what he said, he’s going down because what he said was totally indefensible. Republicans aren’t jumping down his throat because of the Democrats hyperventilating, we’re jumping down his throat because he’s proved that he’s an incompetent ass, and he’s going to cost us a Senate race that was a gimme before he screwed up.

And we (I) hate and revile him because he is putting his personal desires / ego / whatever in front of the good of the country. He needs to get out of the race, and needs to do it now. If that hurts him, tough shit. Getting control of the Senate, defeating Obama, and repealing ObamaCare are all infinitely more important than he is.

Any “Republican” who disagrees with that set of priorities is a real RINO.

Obama’s spending and lying w/ numbers

July 25, 2012

Over at a place called “Pragmatic Capitalist”, they’ve got a “Chart of the Day” purporting to show that President Obama isn’t a big spender.  Like all the dishonest hack pushing that meme, they do this by blaming 2009 spending on Bush.  I left the following comment:

I’d spend time responding to you, but the fundamental dishonesty you show by assigning 2009 spending to Bush shows there’s no point.

Who signed the 2009 budget?  Obama.  Who passed the 2009 budget?  A Democrat controlled Congress.

Did you include the 2009 Democrat “stimulus” in with that 2009 “Bush spending”?

Did you include TARP in the Bush spending?  Did you add that one time only expenditure to the “Obama baseline”?  Did you subtract TARP repayments from Obama’s spending, or from Bush’s spending?

Did you add the Iraq military spending to Bush’s total?  Did you credit Obama with “cutting spending” for the (planned by Bush) decrease in military spending in Iraq?

Do you have the slightest shred of honor or decency, or are you just a left-wing propagandist?

Victims of Communism day

May 1, 2012

Today is Victims of Communism day.  While the Chinese Communists under Mao murdered more people than anyone else, today is the day to remember all the victims, not just those of Mao, Stalin, and Castro.

Republican Health Care plans

April 29, 2012

Thanks to BufordTJustice1 for the following information on Republican Health Care provision reform plans, in response to a Volokh commenter (troll?) claiming that “the Republicans have no plan”:

HR3400 sponsored by Tom Price detailed at the following URL:…

The formal HR3400 bill can be viewed at:…

Another GOP bill for health care reform is HR3962 by John Boehner which is 219 pages in length. The URL is:…

The Pledge to America also provides details of their ideas for alternative legislation. That has been available since September 23, 2010.

Also, John Boehner held a national Republican address on October 31, 2009 outlining GOP ideas for health care reform.

Mitt Romney has described his Medicare plan:………

Paul Ryan released a Medicare plan which was soon followed by a revised plan with Ron Wyden.…

Most recently, Paul Broun released his replacement plan.

You speak of making things worse? The new cost shifting will blow away the current cost shifting by an order of magnitude. Subsidies and tax credits alone will cost $777 billion for the first seven years. Many if not most of them will pay nothing (or almost nothing) for their premiums. Then there’s the Medicaid expansion, estimated to cost $408 billion (state and federal combined). Obamacare preserves and reinforces the old cost shifting, while adding $1.2 trillion in new cost shifting.

The mandate will do absolutely nothing of any appreciable amount to resolve the current cost shifting and will make it massively worse:

About $30.2 billion of the $43 billion cannot be remedied by the mandate and will continue on just like before. That leaves $12.8 billion which is 0.5% of the nation’s health care costs, leaving 99.5% of health care expenditures unchanged. Unless you believe the mandate will work perfectly (which it won’t), it will not even come close to resolving $12.8 billion, especially once the word gets out how easy it is to game the system (see below). The government will be lucky if a small fraction of the $12.8 billion is even remotely alleviated, reducing the effect of the mandate to a purely symbolic token. This amount in relation to the total costs is virtually invisible and will have no tangible effect on cost shifting.

Those few not exempt from the mandate, not eligible for Medicaid and would not receive any tax credits or subsidies that don’t want to buy insurance now will not change their minds and will continue to freeload. Not only will the fine be less than the cost of the premium, but why even pay the fine if there is no arrest, lien, audit or garnishment allowed by Obamacare? All the IRS can do is withhold a tax refund.

Already, 49% of the country doesn’t even pay federal income tax in the first place. Out of the 51% who do, how many are owed a refund? Out of those, how much are they owed (i.e. even less than the amount of the fine)? Even if they pay the fine, they are still not in the insurance pool to spread the cost around which totally defeats the purpose of the mandate and Obamacare itself.

By the way, any exchanges run by the federal government will result in nobody in those states receiving tax credits/subsidies to buy insurance. The hasty, sloppy and corrupt writing of the bill only allowed this support for exchanges run by the states. This will result in the employer mandate going down. Business will sue if they are fined for not providing health insurance to employees who are not even eligible to receive benefits by going on the exchanges.

Did you also know Medicare Advantage is being propped up artificially by a corrupt and possibly illegal expenditure of $8.5 billion to sustain it only past the election? After the election, the plug will be pulled, screwing over seniors all across the country.