Posted by TM Lutas on 11th May 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Sometimes it’s the dog that doesn’t bark that is interesting. The Benghazi attack talking points and their morphing from a discussion of Al Queda terrorism into a witch hunt against a dodgy film maker was designed to protect someone. The question is who? Who was worth embarrassing the US diplomatic and intelligence corps and discrediting us with the Libyan government who knew what was going on? The two popular figures are Barak Obama because, as President, he was in charge and Hillary Clinton because, as Secretary of state, she had responsibility over embassy security. But we all seem to be overlooking a third possibility. Vice President Biden was explicitly put on the ticket to give gravitas and experience to guide President Obama in sticky situations where he might not have experience. What if, 4 years into Obama’s presidency, Biden was still fulfilling that role and he took charge and completely blew it?
Obama would not want his continued reliance on Biden for urgent matters of national security to come out during his reelection campaign. Biden would be looking to bury the affair and dirty up his 2016 expected rival for the presidential nomination. Clinton would be the logical choice to spill the beans through anonymous leaks and cut outs. She hasn’t yet, which makes the theory less attractive but doesn’t knock it entirely out of consideration. She could have played out the scenario and not liked where it led for her own future regardless of whether it is true or not.
This is speculation but at least some of the media dogs chasing the story should have chased down this angle and asked the relevant questions. None seem to have done it.
Posted in National Security, Obama, Politics | 26 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 12th March 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
For a certain style of geek, the week is not complete without stopping by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dip into the mad science world of Girl Genius, a creation of Phil and Kaja Foglio. The series is a three time hugo award winner, twice winning an Eisner award, and three time winner of the Web Cartoonist choice awards. In other words, it’s very good.
But like many of their mad scientist creations, they’ve been let down by a minion, and their domain has expired. You can, however still reach it via IP number. But curses, the actual comic does not use relative addressing so you have to plug that in separately, like this to get Monday’s tasty bit of a world where mad science rules.
Posted in Internet | 5 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 11th March 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
North Korea’s official newspaper carried the announcement today. The armistice is no longer in force. We are once again in a state of active war with North Korea.
It is not just us, by withdrawing from the armistice, North Korea has reignited conflict with:
Since the armistice was signed by a North Korean general on behalf of China, somebody should probably ask China what its position is regarding the armistice and its obligations.
Posted in Korea, National Security, War and Peace | 14 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 3rd March 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
The Queen has fallen ill, gastroenteritis to be specific. She has been taken to King Edward VII hospital in London. This hospital bills itself as the leading private hospital in London.
Why is she not staying at an NHS hospital? Gastroenteritis is not particularly complicated or unusual and should be well within the capabilities of any decent hospital facility of the most rudimentary type.
The Queen of England’s main role is to provide an example, a symbol. She is doing so today with the choice of her hospital. But is anybody paying attention?
Posted in Britain, Medicine | 15 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 6th February 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Edit: Ugh, what was I thinking. I haven’t gotten a post this wrong this decade. I reread Heller, which I apparently desperately needed. Mea culpa. I’ll leave this up as penance, and a reminder that I can be a great fool.
Previous item in series here: I
If you start from zero on the gun debate, a curious fact emerges. The right to arms is recognized in federal and state law as a military right in the form of milita membership via the unorganized militia. Militas are generally limited to men and only up to age 45 or so. So why don’t gun controllers go after the right to bear arms of those who are not covered? Women’s gun rights are only protected under the penumbra of the 2nd amendment. So why have women’s right to bear arms not been put under any specific pressure by the gun control crowd? Common sense and a little thought explains why attempts to control guns like this simply aren’t done and modern case law on this point is rarer than 3rd amendment case law. The ladies need their weapons to defend against both stranger attack and to equalize matters when boyfriend turns to ex-boyfriend stalker. Those over 45 have similar issues.
Those excluded from militia statutes have, theoretically, less protection of their right to bear arms, yet in practice this weakness of protection is never exploited. How did a 2nd amendment penumbra manage to grow up as custom without ever having gone through the judicial process.
Perhaps there have been relevant cases that I missed. Please educate me in comments.
Edit: I should have made clear in the text, and I manifestly did not, that the right to bear arms is a basic human right held by just about everybody that precedes constitutions and laws and is not limited to military service. That pretty much was the point of Heller, that bearing arms is an individual right.
This makes the article something of an exercise in looking at it from the other side’s viewpoint and still finding the gun controller position incoherent. The problem of Miller’s ruling against sawed off shotguns still stands.
Posted in RKBA | 20 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 30th January 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
The US is ill served by having the gun lobby be the primary defender of the Constitution’s 2nd amendment. The first part of the text is, as the gun controllers correctly note, under analyzed:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The problem is that the gun controllers don’t seriously analyze it either. What is the militia is a question that has yet to be definitively answered. As clear from the statements of the Founders, the text of federal law, the collective wordings of the state constitutions and state laws, the militia is the whole of the people. Membership in the militia is pretty clear. But that doesn’t answer more than who is in the militia. It says nothing about what it is.
What does the militia do? It must do either exactly what the military does or some subset of what the military does. How do you describe what the military does? Well the military has a listing of job descriptions called Military Occupation Specialty Code (MOSC). You never hear either side of the gun control debate discuss which MOSC are covered under the penumbra of the 2nd amendment’s recognition that the security of a free state makes a well regulated militia necessary. The gun controllers get the vapors at the idea that the 2nd amendment even has penumbras while gun groups aren’t much interested in potential penumbras beyond the right to ammunition for those guns they want and other ancillary questions strictly related to the subject of pushing lead downrange.
I would suggest that seriously thinking about what a militia is and what it should be restricted from doing would leave a large body of activities that should be protected by the 2nd amendment but generally aren’t because of the outsized emphasis on the trigger puller protection portion of the text. What are the military missions that are appropriate for the US military that are inappropriate for the militia? That’s a reasonable question. Let’s start with a decidedly non-scary MOSC, quartermaster. The military will occasionally feed the hungry. Does the militia have that right? That seems fairly trivial but yes, they should be able to. But when cities try to stop the feeding of homeless in city parks, is it still trivial?
When you live in a land of very limited laws, such questions do not arise. Of course you can feed the hungry and nobody need think too hard under what bit of the Bill of Rights is usurpation prevented. We exited that territory a few new deals ago. It’s time to start going over the text without skipping parts.
Posted in RKBA | 19 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 20th January 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
I don’t think George Will meant to be cruel when he wrote his recent article “The Time Bomb in Obamacare?” but he was and it is a recurring conservative mistake. Will focused on the law and the constitution. He found a bomb and he imagines he is a good bomb squad officer by analyzing the bomb and figuring out how it is going to blow up. What he missed, and it is crucial, is the vital step of clearing away the civilians. That is a cruel oversight and hurts the conservative cause. You have to make sure that people understand that there is a bomb and which direction to run so they do not get blown up.
The immediate threat for ordinary people is not Obamacare’s constitutional status, but what it will do to ordinary american’s access to care. Institutions that are caught in the payment squeeze will triage because otherwise they go broke and close, which would maximize suffering. Triage means that the lack of funds will cause them to try to maximize who they can save and cut off who they can’t afford to save. If you are going to be triaged, you need to know and you need to make alternate arrangements to pay cash, figure out how to live without needed care, or get your affairs in order. The later people figure this out, the more pain, suffering, and death Obamacare is going to cause.
Nothing George Will said about the law is wrong. By focusing on the Constitution and the law to the exclusion of the upcoming suffering of the people he ended up reinforcing a pernicious stereotype, one conservatives would do well to lose. Ultimately, the conservative focus on the law and the Constitution has the effect of reducing suffering and increasing the happiness of the people. This approach would be greatly increased in effectiveness if conservatives would directly say so instead of assuming people already knew. A great many people do not know and the conservative brand is suffering for it.
Posted in Conservatism, Health Care, Obama, Predictions, Rhetoric | 33 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 2nd January 2013 (All posts by TM Lutas)
After the Newtown school massacre, a lot of people feel unsafe and want changes. They are right to do so. But the changes we make should actually make us safer, not just make us feel good. So like any full review, we need to start by describing what we already have.
The United States has the premier security system on the planet. It has the largest military, by far and has 50 state militaries in the national guard system. It has overlapping layers of federal, state, county, municipal and special purpose police (like the postal and railway police). It also has an amorphous, poorly documented, little discussed system called the unorganized militia. Naturally, the first thing to look at is the unorganized militia. Efforts to oversee and improve all the other parts are ongoing and permanent. We’re unlikely to squeeze major improvements out of those parts without major increases in expenses that we can’t really afford right now.
The unorganized militia right now, for virtually no taxpayer dollars spent. Its costs are self-funded via license fees and members buy their own weapons, ammunition, and training. It is “bring your own device” defense and gives us somewhere on the order of 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year according to the best guesses of the academics who study such things. That’s 2.5 million cases of robbery, rape, murder, and other mayhem that often don’t even make it to the FBI crime statistics because just the knowledge of an armed presence defused a situation and made potential criminals think better of what they were going to do.
Any effort to change the rules under which the unorganized militia arms itself or gets rid of the unorganized militia altogether has to keep an eye on the DGU numbers so they either go up or the other portions of the system pick up the slack as the militia DGU numbers go down. Anything else and we are becoming less safe. This is why conservatives are mad at Sen. Feinstein. The gun control bill she is threatening to introduce will, very predictably, reduce the number of militia DGU and cause more innocent americans to be victims.
cross posted FLIT-TM
Posted in Crime and Punishment, Political Philosophy, RKBA | 32 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 13th December 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 31st October 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
A snapshot taken today at the local phone bank in St. John, Indiana. The handsome fellow up front? My son. The guy in the back working hard? Greg Zoeller, the Indiana Attorney General. He came in, sat down, and started calling, a very down to earth fellow and a real mensch. Who knows who’s going to show up tomorrow?
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off
Posted by TM Lutas on 25th October 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Today I put up two Mourdock signs on my property (I live on a corner)
Posted in Elections, Politics | 13 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 15th October 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Christians are being offered one more round of a longstanding dirty deal, this time in Bahrain. If only they will be loyal thugs, enforcers, secret policemen, and tax men, the royals will protect them as long as is convenient to the monarchy. No choice available to them is a good one for local Christians but taking the deal means pain later instead of pain today so they are most likely to accept.
For anyone who seriously wants to address the complexities of the Middle East there must be a way to unwind such deals and put an end to them. They are fundamentally incompatible with a free society and a barrier to any reasonable transition path to a sustainable society in the Middle East.
Posted in Christianity, Islam, Middle East | 6 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 9th October 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Just in case the Harvard Crimson decides to nuke my comment on their “IncestFest” OpEd I thought I would share. I might just have been a bit testy.
Transgression without consequence is not transgressive. The name will stay along with the posing that it is hip, transgressive, and avant garde until incest actually resumes being transgressive in the part of America that Harvard students care about. When HR at major firms negatively flag Kirkland House residents as job candidates is when “IncestFest” will truly become transgressive. That will be about 5 minutes before it is quickly shut down.
The problem for you at that point is it will take some time for the stench to clear from your resumes boys and girls. Perhaps the faux cultural bravehearts might want to rethink “IncestFest” before things get to that.
It is not like the shareholders campaign would take that long to plan or that much money to execute. Anybody who’s read Saul Alinsky could set the plan up in an hour with time to spare. “Excuse me Mr. CEO, are the company’s recruiters at Harvard staying clear of anything to do with Harvard’s celebration of incest, the so called ‘IncestFest’?” HR, PR, and Marketing are already psychologically primed and preprogrammed to react harshly to the question.
The response rate on the fundraising letter in support of the campaign would be epic.
Posted in Society | 3 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 28th September 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
After reading Getting Used to Thinking with the Church Takes Practice it was a bit of a challenge to separate out the invective against conservatives from the quoted papal teachings. I applied my rule of thumb with success though and thought I’d share both the rule and the application.
The rule is simple. The Pope is not usually an idiot; he’s surrounded by some of the better thinkers on the planet who have been managing to keep Catholicism intellectually viable for centuries through an awful lot of tumult; the words they use are often not used the same way as people local to me do and it’s wise to get your definitions straight before flying off the handle. And then there’s all that Holy Spirit miracle stuff but if you’re not a Catholic yourself, I don’t expect you’re going to find that last bit persuasive.
32. Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development. Moreover, the human consequences of current tendencies towards a short-term economy — sometimes very short-term — need to be carefully evaluated. This requires further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals,as well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations.
36. Economic activity cannot solve all social problems through the simple application of commercial logic. This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.
37. Economic life undoubtedly requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value. But it also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics, and what is more, it needs works redolent of the spirit of gift. The economy in the global era seems to privilege the former logic, that of contractual exchange, but directly or indirectly it also demonstrates its need for the other two: political logic, and the logic of the unconditional gift.
39. Paul VI in Populorum Progressio called for the creation of a model of market economy capable of including within its range all peoples and not just the better off. He called for efforts to build a more human world for all, a world in which “all will be able to give and receive, without one group making progress at the expense of the other.” In this way he was applying on a global scale the insights and aspirations contained in Rerum Novarum, written when, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the idea was first proposed — somewhat ahead of its time — that the civil order, for its self-regulation, also needed intervention from the State for purposes of redistribution.
42. The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale; if badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis. It is necessary to correct the malfunctions, some of them serious, that cause new divisions between peoples and within peoples, and also to ensure that the redistribution of wealth does not come about through the redistribution or increase of poverty: a real danger if the present situation were to be badly managed. For a long time it was thought that poor peoples should remain at a fixed stage of development, and should be content to receive assistance from the philanthropy of developed peoples. Paul VI strongly opposed this mentality in Populorum Progressio. Today the material resources available for rescuing these peoples from poverty are potentially greater than before, but they have ended up largely in the hands of people from developed countries, who have benefited more from the liberalization that has occurred in the mobility of capital and labour. The world-wide diffusion of forms of prosperity should not therefore be held up by projects that are self-centred, protectionist or at the service of private interests. Indeed the involvement of emerging or developing countries allows us to manage the crisis better today. The transition inherent in the process of globalization presents great difficulties and dangers that can only be overcome if we are able to appropriate the underlying anthropological and ethical spirit that drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity. Unfortunately this spirit is often overwhelmed or suppressed by ethical and cultural considerations of an individualistic and utilitarian nature.
49. What is also needed, though, is a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them. The fate of those countries cannot be left in the hands of whoever is first to claim the spoils, or whoever is able to prevail over the rest.
Clearly, there’s a redistributionist streak here but within limits. As is proper for a religious leader the Pope isn’t outlining a five year plan and he’s certainly left himself plenty of wiggle in the specific definitions of what constitutes helpful, rather than counterproductive, redistribution. But is any of this compatible with capitalism, and even more specifically with modern conservative capitalist thought? I believe so.
In the law of the jungle, might makes right and the weak go to the wall. The rich can always buy might and use it to steal from the poor. When the law exists as a fair, even-handed tool that is there for all, it promotes redistribution at such a fundamental level that most people don’t even consider the redistributive effects of it, it’s bedrock foundational for the 1st world because you can’t get rich without it. Yet for a world church, this assumption of the availability of law would be a bad assumption. The rule of law is not everywhere the Catholic Church operates and the Church sees the problems that arise when the law is for the rich and not for the poor. In that sense, conservatives not only support redistribution, we often champion it. This is certainly not the only form of redistribution that conservatives are in favor of but for my part, I’ll be laying out my list in subsequent posts. For everybody else, I encourage you to do so in comments.
Posted in Economics & Finance, Religion | 28 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 27th September 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Well, it looks like Mark Shea’s had enough of me again and instituted another ban, sad. While he’s an able Catholic and quite often admirably proclaims the faith, he has political positions that cause him to occasionally go off the deep end. The most recent ban was his mocking of Romney for his Mexican pander by using tan in a can. Except when it emerged that Romney actually didn’t do it, Shea kept on after Romney because of his well established pander reputation. And that’s exactly the moment that Shea stopped being a Catholic apologist and transmogrified (temporarily) into disgusted, grumpy, political hack. I was banned fairly shortly afterwards.
But Shea does post interesting articles, even when he’s wrong, such as this discourse on the consequences of lying to get Bin Laden. Shea, unfortunately, is so upset with the CIA that he doesn’t notice that there wasn’t any direct lie involved. He also missed that the vaccination of North Waziristan is not being held hostage for honest administrators of vaccine but instead is held hostage for a cessation of drone attacks. Here’s the comment I’m currently unable to post.
There is a problem with the article. There are several lies operating here. The first is that the CIA operation was a sham vaccination. As I understand it, the vaccine was real enough. The procedure was irregular and tailored to the needs of the CIA but anybody getting stuck actually got vaccinated for polio. I believe that if you teach the administering nurse to pull back so that you get blood back flow into your sharp at the end of the administration and also dispose the sharps so that they are traceable back to the administering location, you have not lied. It’s the protocol of the program, period.
I would be interested in hearing how to conduct a blind clinical trial without lying under any definition of lying that would call the actual facts of the CIA program lying. I think you’d have a tough time doing science under that sort of a definition and since the Catholic Church is not anti-science, I suspect that the definition in use would be over-broad.
The second lie is that the Taliban are stopping vaccination due to to this CIA program. The vaccination would proceed if drone attacks ceased regardless of whether the CIA were to get information via the vaccination program. If you fear DNA samples being taken, keep the sharps and gloves and destroy them yourselves. The reality is that the Taliban are using the health of children as a propaganda weapon to strike at the US government and to the detriment of the lives of the children of North Waziristan.
Update: Forwarded a link to a related article to him mentioning that he’d banned me. He claims it was an accident. I neither know, nor particularly care how it happened. For whatever reason, it seems to have been undone and that’s the end of it.
Posted in Religion | 5 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 21st September 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Previous in the series:
I, II, III, IV, V, VI
In a time of prolonged 8%+ unemployment it may be a fond distant memory, or for younger workers a mere tale of better times past but it is possible to have 2% unemployment. And 2% unemployment is arguably the best possible thing out there for workers. 2% unemployment requires no dues payments. 2% unemployment means employers are willing to train new entrants and retrain old ones. 2% unemployment means any time a worker takes offense, he can walk off the job and get a new one within a short amount of time. 2% unemployment means that if you want to work more hours you can and if you want to work fewer, your employer has no leverage to make you work more. 2% unemployment means that you don’t have to accept poor treatment, unsafe working conditions, or incompetent bosses because you can walk and not suffer for it.
Objectively, a 2% unemployment rate is the gold standard for improvement in labor conditions. So why do todays unions not make that a focus of their activism? And what would a labor movement that did focus on it look like?
Posted in Economics & Finance, Politics, Unions, USA | 5 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 7th September 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Clint Eastwood claims his speech is Mission Accomplished and lists three goals he wanted to accomplish “That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job”. But on his first point he’s still got a long road to go with one of the big guns of the right-wing blogosphere, Instapundit. Prof. Glenn Reynolds, post speech, is still fairly busy blogging about raising Hollywood taxes as punishment for Hollywood’s massive and decades long support for the left. In fact he shows no sign of slacking off on his anti-Hollywood agenda pushing for a Hollywood tax increase, the one tax increase most likely to pass a GOP Congress as well as movie accounting reform, both issues that would hurt Eastwood’s professional colleagues and him personally in his career as a producer and director.
A tax increase message right now would muddle the GOP’s anti-tax credentials and not be good optics for the campaign. But raising the issue now sets a very different post-election battlefield. Democrats and their media allies will seek to put Republicans in a corner in order to force them to raise taxes. This is an old play, set many times in Washington DC. But Prof. Reynolds has set up a devastating attack line from the right. Any Republicans signing onto a grand tax compromise that doesn’t include Hollywood as a special subject is inevitably going to get asked “why are you protecting liberal Hollywood”? They will not have a credible answer. Even the most dense of GOP lawmakers will not step in the trap. Instead they will force the Democrats to explain why Hollywood doesn’t get to handle its fair share of the burden.
Eastwood may realize this and picked this time to shed his longtime dislike for directly getting into the political fray. But he and his allies are going to have to do a lot more to convince the rest of the conservative movement that Hollywood isn’t their enemy, and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 17th August 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Orthodoxy is not a religion that is widely understood in the West. So it’s actually the rare pundit that catches how offensive what this punk riot group was doing actually was. There’s a subtitled version of the video that helps. The video misses the positional problems. The picture screen, called an iconostasis is something like the old altar rails of Catholicism but with fairly elaborate rituals surrounding the structure. There are three doors, the center one is called the holy doors. As a lay person you’re not even supposed to walk in front of that door. It’s viewed as disrespectful, even sacrilegious. So the people in charge of order and discipline were a bit stuck because these girls were dancing in the sanctuary, in front of the iconostasis and extracting them actually meant that they had to break the rules too. Several times a Pussy Riot girl bowed and did a full prostration. One does these things towards the altar in Orthodoxy. Reversing this as the protesters did is viewed as idolatry. Who, exactly, are they bowing to? That’s the genesis of the “devil dancing” talk in their trial.
Putin may have been a target but he certainly wasn’t the target. Their attack had a much wider range of victims. This was an attack on Orthodoxy, an attack on symphonia, the concept of church and state in complementary roles and mutual respect, and also an attack on Putin.
The maximum sentence was seven years for the crime of hooliganism. The prosecutors asked for three. The judge set sentence at two.
In the US, the results might not have been very different except for the name of the crime on the charge sheet. Simple criminal trespass in Indiana where I live is punishable between 6 months and 3 years with a fine up to $10,000. As this wasn’t Pussy Riot’s first case of trespass and outrageous behavior, this is exactly the sort of case that would tilt towards the heavier end of the penalty range.
Posted in Christianity, Civil Society, Religion, Russia | 13 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 14th August 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
The recent discovery of a huge pumice island that is larger than the state of Israel has led to scientific excitement, but not just scientific excitement. The questions arise who owns these rocks, and can one live on one of these pumice islands?
Patri Friedman, call your office!
Posted in Political Philosophy, Science | 8 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 2nd August 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
There was an attack in Saudi Arabia using internally placed explosives up the lower GI tract. These explosives cannot be detected by pat downs, metal detectors, or millimeter wave machines. Much more powerful scanning machines would be required or a cavity search. But no follow up bombs have happened using this method. I’d always wondered why. Now things are becoming clear. Apparently there’s been something of a theological problem. It appears that butt bombs are not permitted due to Islam’s prohibition of sodomy. But that prohibition seems to be loosening.
It will take years for the theologians to digest this new complication but once it has been let loose, it is clearly foreseeable that some portion of islamic scholars will hold this position. The consequences for our travel security regime are rather scary. We’re going to have reached the end of the line because routine x-rays at each flight segment are just not going to happen. The accumulated radiation would cause too many cancers. And cavity searches are simply unreasonable. So where does that leave TSA’s current security strategy?
Like most of their terror innovations, I expect that this will take some time for them to organize. It looks like they’ve already put 4 years into it. It may take them another 4 before they’ve worked the theological problems out sufficient to recruit bombers. But then what?
Posted in Systems Analysis, Terrorism | 19 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 31st July 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Glenn Reynolds is rightly mocking the failure of the left wing narrative that shootings should result in new restrictions on guns. But there’s another narrative out there, one that should be calmly insisted on, that the Aurora shootings should be analyzed as a failure of Colorado’s commitment to its own state constitution whose Article 17 insists that the ordinary guy between 18 and 45 constitute a militia. All of us, the gun control side, the gun rights side, are not acting as if we take that seriously. And the gun rights side *should* be taking that seriously.
The next day after the 1983 Beirut truck bomb, US sentries in Beirut were no longer walking around with no round in the chamber and no magazines inserted as they had been when the truck zoomed through the sentry post on its way to mass murder. The rules of engagement for US forces in Beirut changed quickly.
The day after the Aurora Colorado killings, that movie chain was still barring CCL carriers from entering their premises with their legal firearms. Nobody seems to find it strange that we acted that way. Nobody seems to find it strange that we don’t have a legal framework that we can use to change the rules of engagement for the unorganized militia. We have to go through the legislature and make a new law every time. It is as if the narrative of the general population being a militia is something we only pay lip service to. This too is a failure in narrative, and a worrying one.
Posted in Civil Society, Political Philosophy, RKBA | 19 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 19th July 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Recently, President Obama opined that businesses depend on infrastructure built by the government. Roads, bridges, “you didn’t build that”. So the businessman writing the big check for taxes? His money sent to government doesn’t mean that he built it. Fair enough, but why is President Obama’s check privileged over the businessman’s check? The guy with the backhoe, the flagger, the asphalt plant, chances are that all of them are private industry. In all justice what makes it the government’s road?
Posted in Big Government, Obama, Rhetoric | 10 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 29th June 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
For the vast majority who did not pay attention over the past few years, they found out that Obamacare’s individual mandate was a tax with the release of the US Supreme Court decision. That’s just fine for a brick layer or a clerk. It isn’t their job to think about such distinctions. It is the job of those in government. So when did Nancy Pelosi find out? When did President Obama find out? Is the date they found out so late as to consider it a measure of political incompetence that should weigh down their re-election campaign?
Is anybody asking these people these questions?
Posted in Big Government, Health Care, Politics | 13 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 23rd June 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Just randomly found this sonnet and it touched my heart. Maybe it might touch yours too.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a totter’d weed of small worth held:
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv’d thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.
Posted in Arts & Letters | 4 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 18th May 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
Previous in the series:
I, II, III, IV, V
Embrace and extend is a proprietary software company strategy that was made famous by Microsoft’s use of the practice. The idea was to embrace an open standard, create the best implementation of that standard in part by adding proprietary extensions, and get everybody to use your version and become addicted to the proprietary goodness which was not released as an addition to the standard. Everybody buys your commercial software that includes the enhanced standard feature and you gain an extra dollop of lock-in profits for several product cycles.
The challenges of moving beyond current unionization efforts to a true workers movement is a bit like a photo negative of Microsoft’s strategy. What’s desired in this case isn’t to create something proprietary to extend a standard for advantage but to identify the jewels in the proprietary 1st generation unions, standardize and spread their benefits to all workers, and create efficient methods to achieve legitimate worker ends without the violence and without the contribution to crony capitalism that present day unions participate in.
Jewel #1 – Education
US vocational education is generally a mess. Union vocational education is generally considered a viable, quality system.
Jewel #2 – Benefits provider
According to the US tax code ( 501(c) 5 ) Unions have the ability to provide benefits consistent with their purpose. That makes them natural health insurance and pension providers that are financially distinct from the company. Union provided benefits are associational and allow increased worker mobility between firms covered by the same union which is both good for workers and good for capitalism.
Jewel #3 – Worker Protection
This one’s a very flawed jewel, but in a dysfunctional organization that has not yet gone broke, the union might be all that is between you and bearing the cost of changing jobs in a sticky economy when you’ve been done an injustice or have even been asked to do something dangerous or illegal.
Adaptation #1 – The open badging movement in education needs extension into the vocational education sphere. This isn’t really a technical challenge, that part is being handled by the technical crowd admirably. Instead the major unaddressed issues are social and organizational ones. People need to know about the badges both in HR departments and in the job seeking population. Badges need to be something that can give you an edge in finding a job. Badges need to be something that lets you find more good employees and filter out more duds. This is a major work in progress and nobody’s really cracked the code yet though there are a lot of entrepreneurial initiatives trying to work out the issues including big names like MIT and Harvard.
Adaptation #2 – Unions are a ready made association that can stay with workers throughout their working lives and provide benefits no matter what happens to a particular employer. This is a very valuable service, one that could use as many entrants into this market as possible in order to prevent membership gouging If you’re a Catholic, scout master, and bricklayer, picking your benefits among your three major associations gets you better possibilities if all of them are participating as benefits provider associations. This is going to require a sea change in legislation so that cross-state associations can provide benefits packages. President Bush proposed this early in his 2nd term and had his head handed to him. President Obama is obviously not interested. Would our next President do better? On the first day President Romney says he would work to replace Obamacare with a more common sense set of reforms. Would this qualify as part of the solution?
Adaptation #3 – Ultimately, this is the most difficult of adaptations because here is where threat and intimidation get applied in a form of street justice to handle situations that are ill suited to the formal justice system. If management behaves badly, unionized workers impose costs is generally how it works. But the ultimate expression of this tactic in current unions, the strike, is disruptive without being very effective. An entire industry has grown up around making it ineffective. Either formal justice needs to be radically reduced in costs to make these situations solvable by the courts or street justice needs to move into the 21st century so that it has lower dead weight loss, lower overhead, and higher effectiveness.
Posted in Big Government, Organizational Analysis, Uncategorized, Unions | 27 Comments »