Sobering Thoughts

Comments on politics, the culture, economics, and sports by Paul Tuns. I am editor-in-chief of "The Interim," Canada's life and family newspaper, and author of "Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal" (2004) and "The Dauphin: The Truth about Justin Trudeau" (2015). I am some combination of conservative/libertarian, standing athwart history yelling "bullshit!" You can follow me on Twitter (@ptuns).

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Planned Parenthood's efforts to mislead America is working
Townhall: "New Survey: 55 Percent Say They Were Unaware Planned Parenthood Performed Abortions." Daniel Doherty asks: "If more people actually knew what went on in many of Planned Parenthood’s clinics (they clearly don’t, according to the survey above) would they still support and vote for candidates who stand with them?"

Only one in three Americans like Obamacare
Townhall: "Poll: Obamacare Support Slumps to 35 Percent." And Guy Benson spends most of the article discussing why more than four in ten Americans do not realize that Obamacare is the law of the land.

Inequality is not an issue
Scott Winship on the public's view of the issue of inequality:
A very visible group of academic, policy, and media elites is convinced that rising inequality is the problem of our time, and many of them struggle to understand why the issue has not inspired an outcry from the broad middle class and poor ... There is little evidence that Americans are particularly bothered by inequality; therefore, it is unsurprising that they do not want government to reduce it.

Gay athlete had an eight-year engagement that didn't end in marriage
The Daily Mail: "'I had no idea he was gay': Jason Collins' former fiancee of EIGHT YEARS said she is shocked at NBA star's announcement."

I knew it -- money can buy happiness
Economists (and partners) Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have a new paper: "Subjective well-being and income: Is there any evidence of satiation?" (pdf). The abstract says:
Many scholars have argued that once “basic needs” have been met, higher income is no longer associated with higher in subjective well-being. We assess the validity of this claim in comparisons of both rich and poor countries, and also of rich and poor people within a country. Analyzing multiple datasets, multiple definitions of “basic needs” and multiple questions about well-being, we find no support for this claim. The relationship between well-being and income is roughly linear-log and does not diminish as incomes rise. If there is a satiation point, we are yet to reach it.
The Washington Post has very good coverage of the Wolfers/Stevenson paper.

Power plant relocation/Save-the-Liberal-MPP costs escalate
The Toronto Star reports:
The “bottom line” costs of scrapping an Oakville power plant and moving it to Napanee were $310 million — almost 8 times higher than the $40 million the government long claimed, Ontario Power Authority chief executive Colin Andersen said Tuesday.
The bombshell announcement came as Andersen testified under oath before a legislative committee investigating the cancelled plant and another in Mississauga before the 2011 election.
Of course, this is not the first time the government misled Ontario taxpayers and voters about the cost of relocating a power plant; as the Star reminds readers:
Auditor general Jim McCarter released a reported saying the costs to cancel the Mississauga plant and move it to Sarnia are $275 million — 45 per cent higher than the government claimed.Jim McCarter released a reported saying the costs to cancel the Mississauga plant and move it to Sarnia are $275 million — 45 per cent higher than the government claimed.

Celebrating diversity
Alex Tabarrok is happy that consumers have more choice in apples: "individual consumers have low-cost access to more apple varieties than ever before." And in the comments section, I liked this: "Never thought I’d see a discussion about 'Patent' and 'Apple' that wasn’t talking about phones or computers."

The cost of taxation
From the Fraser Institute's Compliance and Administrative Costs of Taxation in Canada, 2013 (pdf) report:
In 2011, between $19.2 billion and $24.8 billion was spent complying with the personal and business tax system in Canada. An additional $6.6 billion was collectively spent by governments across the country administering the tax system.

Monday, April 29, 2013
I thought what people did in the privacy of their bedrooms wasn't anyone else's business
Jason Collins, a basketball player, has come out of the closet. He writes in the current Sports Illustrated:
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
So instead of being forgotten as a below-average, journeyman center, now Collins will be remembered as the first openly game athlete in North American team sports. The Washington Examiner reports that going public with his sexuality has earned Collins the praise of President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton (Collins was a "classmate and friend" of Chelsea Clinton at Stanford, so Clinton "knew" him before he turned pro). Ben Shapiro questioned Collins' heroism -- being gay qualifies? -- and was pilloried. Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated said Collins was able to come out publicly because attitudes have changed but failed to mention how much of a push there has been in organized sports, the sports media, and even among advertisers for gay athletes to be public about their sexuality -- the Los Angeles Times admitting as much in their headline today: "Openly gay athlete Jason Collins is what 'we've all been waiting for'." As Wesley Morris wrote last week in Grantland:
We've been primed not for a coming-out but for the comingest of outs — not by some journeyperson but by Colin Kaepernick and RG3 and Blake Griffin and Bryce Harper and an Upton brother; please, God, all together. We want the closet door to blast open and for entire squads to come pouring out. We don't want a single honest admission. We want it to start raining men.
And this is all part of an agenda. As Brian Phillips, another Grantland writer said today, the goal is for Collins to be a trailblazer, so future homosexuals can be public about their sexuality and eventually those who taunt from the sidelines will stop: "And that’s how the world changes: one embarrassed moron at a time."

University as indirect corporate subsidey
Kathy Shaidle at PJ Media:
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, college is a waste of time and money, because unless you want a “straight” job, you don’t need a B.A.
And I question that “need.” It’s just lazy H.R. nonsense.
A few years ago I ticked off a Fraser Institute type when I said that universities exist mostly because too many private companies are too lazy to find the right employees for their business and have effectively outsourced a large portion of their winnowing process to institutionalized education -- or as Shaidle calls it, "lazy H.R. nonsense." I get that, but I wish universities would bill companies for the service.

Writing one's will to give effectively
Bryan Caplan wants to give to deserving charities -- actually deserving poor recipients -- and tries writing a near fool-proof will to that end.

Catholic bishops and politics
George Neumayr's article critical of the U.S. bishops for their stance on immigration reform has been removed from the Crisis magazine website but saved by a blogger, Angel Queen. Here is the key point, and it applies not only to the bishops' position on immigration but their misbegotten forays into politics in general:
Bishops have neither the authority nor the expertise to descend into the details of policy like that. By doing so, they just weaken the perception of their authority where it does exist. The Church in America appears to be gravitating back to the “Seamless Garment,” the attempt by clericalists in the 1980s to lump half-baked liberal opinions on trendy topics in with the Church’s official teachings. Out of that confusion came a stream of inane statements on subjects the bishops knew little to nothing about. This had the effect of making all the Church’s pronouncements look like feeble opining.
A glimpse of the garbled message to which Seamless Garment-style clericalism leads could be seen in Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s recent remarks after the Boston bombings. “The individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death. Over a million abortions a year is one indication of how human life has been devalued. Violent entertainment, films and video games have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others,” he said. “The inability of the Congress to enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture.”
So a million-plus abortions a year is “one indication” of a violent culture and another is the failure of a specific piece of gun-control legislation backed by the USCCB to pass. Can’t the bishops see how this dilutes the Church’s teachings? Can’t they see that in their desperate craving for political relevance they make the Church’s most important contribution to politics, the transmission of natural-law orthodoxy, irrelevant?
Clericalism ends up dogmatizing personal opinions and relativizing dogmas, making the Church just one more forgettable voice in the din of public life.
Bishops can speak out on moral issues, but they must limit themselves to those that are clearly black-and-white according to Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching is clear on abortion -- it is always wrong -- and Catholics cannot disagree on this (and some other issues), but there is no Catholic teaching on immigration or gun control. You'd think that bishops would know that.
(Via Vdare, via Five Feet of Fury)

Fast foods you can't get in the U.S.
From the Cheese Burger Crown Crust Pizza (Pizza Hut in the Middle East) to Green Tea Blizzard (Thailand's Dairy Queen), there are some interesting items that are not available in the United States. There are two items from Japan and one is not totally disgusting.

Double consonants
Mary Norris has a short article on doubling consonants at The New Yorker. If you like those kinds of language pieces, you'll enjoy this one.

Three and out
3. The Toronto Blue Jays were swept by the New York Yankees in a four-game series in the Bronx. The Yanks have beat the Jays in six of the seven times these two teams have met so far in this young season, but their last five wins have been decided by two runs or less. Take out the Yankees games and the Jays are still sub-500, but instead of the woeful 9-17, they'd be 8-11. As for the 15-9 Yankees, take out their Jays games and instead of being in a wild card position and second in the AL East, they'd be a mediocre 9-8.
2. If the playoffs were held today the Boston Red Sox would have a #1 seed in the American League and the Kansas City Royals a #3 seed, but otherwise the playoff teams are not necessarily a huge surprise: Texas Rangers, Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles. It is still early, but pre-season favourite Detroit Tigers (no prognosticator had them anything but first in the AL Central) is 13-10 after a three-game winning streak. The Los Angeles Angels are 9-15 and looking up at three other teams in the AL West. In the National League, there would be more upsets: the Atlanta Braves (no surprise) would be joined by fellow division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card. Pre-season near-consensus favourites such as the Washington Nationals (13-12), Cincinnati Reds (14-12), San Francisco Giants (13-12), and Los Angeles Dodgers (12-12) are all bobbing around 500. Again, lots of time. Baseball Prospectus still likes the Dodgers with their Playoff Odds at 67.8% over the D-backs (56.8%) and Giants (35.8%). BP has similar love for the Reds (68.7%) compared to the Cards (42.5%) and Pirates (38.1%) and while the Braves are now favoured in the NL East, the Nats still have a better than 50% shot of making the playoffs. In the AL West, the Rangers are favoured and the A's and Angels have about a one-third chance of making the playoffs. There is still a lot of baseball to be played and streakiness, luck, and strength of schedule all play out-sized factors at this point. Or as Jonathan Bernhardt says at Sports On Earth regarding the Giants: "I also wouldn't bank on [Matt] Cain having an ERA north of 6.50 for much longer, unless his woes are injury-related ..."
1. Writing at NRO, Harold Hutchinson makes an unconvincing case for kicking spitball pitcher Gaylord Perry out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His case comes down to his admittedly unproven argument that Perry getting away with cheating on the mound in the 1970s led to the steroid scandal of the 1990s and 2000s. Or as he put it, "corruption often starts out small." The argument is silly. Furthermore, if Organized Baseball tolerated Perry's cheating -- just as it tolerated performance enhancing drugs more recently -- why should the Hall of Fame punish players for activities that MLB couldn't be bothered to punish during his career; in other words, why punish Perry for Bowie Kuhn's inaction? Or why punish Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for Bud Selig's inaction? But Hutchinson's argument is worse than that: he wants to punish Perry for the actions of Clemens and Bonds. That makes no sense.

Review of Janet Morana's Recall Abortion
Pauline Kosalka has a review of Janet Morana's Recall Abortion: Ending the Abortion Industry’s Exploitation of Women, in the April Interim. The recall of the title is a play on words: 1) Morana is a founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign that seeks to educate the public through the shared testimony of women who regret their abortion and 2) the idea that if abortion were a product, it would be recalled for being unsafe: "Her premise is that abortion should be subject to the same standards as other procedures and products that were taken off the market after they caused much less injury and death than abortion." This is one of the better books about abortion in recent years and I highly recommend it.

California's debt, entitlements crisis, and lottery
At, R.J. Moeller writes about the Power Ball lottery coming to the Golden State:
The state of California is currently more than $20 billion in debt for making promises it could not keep and spending money it did not have. It has an unemployment rate of over 9 percent. It taxes its citizens at higher rates than any place outside of Western Europe. Major cities in CA–my Los Angeles, for example–proudly tout their status as “sanctuary cities” and encourage more illegal immigrants to come and partake in state and federal entitlements. Speaking of entitlements, these collectively comprise the biggest expenditure of a state budget whose excesses are the primary cause of California’s impending fiscal calamity.
In 2012 California was also rated the worst state to do business in.
But who needs balanced budgets, small business growth, innovative entrepreneurial activity, or the rule of law when you have . . . the lottery! Huzzah!
Did you happen to catch the disgusting tag-line at the end of the commercial above?
“Believe in something bigger”
If you need something to believe in, what’s bigger than the size and scope of California’s debt and deficits? I mean, besides the amount of cultural and moral decay encouraged by something like a state-funded gambling Ponzi scheme that specifically markets its “games” to low-income citizens (who are the same folks receiving the lion’s share of the entitlements causing the aforementioned debt and deficits)?

GOP needs to activate white voters again
It appears Peter Brimelow was right if the Associated Press analysis by William Frey of the Brookings Institute reported in this Daily Caller article is correct: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would have won the presidency if the white and black turnout rates had stayed at their 2004 levels, according to a new analysis of 2012 election."

Breitbart notes: "Drudge Dismantles Christie With Four Links."

Is queuing fairer than market pricing?
That is the contention of Michael Sandel (queues are fairer than markets) and Jason Brennan of Bleeding Heart Libertarians responds with a good post making an important and under-appreciated point ("We should expand our time horizon, and care about the prospects of the poor intergenerationally, and not just intragenerationally") and offering an illustrative example:
When I was 20, I contributed hardly anything, but I had plenty of time to stand in line for “free” tickets to Shakespeare in the park. I certainly contribute much more now at 33 than I did at 20, but I don’t have time to stand in line for such tickets. Distributing via queuing punishes my 33-year-old self for taking on the burden of a job, and rewards my 20-year-old self for not doing so.

Obama doesn't care about governing
Breitbart reports:
According to a new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI), President Barack Obama has spent over twice as many hours on vacation and golf (976 hours) as he has in economic meetings of any kind (474.4 hours).
GAI’s findings may actually understate Obama’s recreational hours.
Last year, Obama told CBS News that playing golf is “the only time that for six hours, I'm outside." But instead of six hours, GAI counted a round of golf as taking just four hours. Likewise, for presidential vacation hours, researchers attributed just six hours of any day of vacation to leisure activity.
“Like most people, presidents still do work while on vacation,” said GAI President Peter Schweizer. “So we really went out of our way to fairly and accurately reflect how the president spends his time.”
The study applied a similarly generous assessment to Obama’s time spent in economic meetings by counting anything on the official White House calendar even remotely related to the economy as an economic meeting. For example, “Obama meets with Cabinet secretaries” and “Obama has lunch with four CEOs” counted as economic meetings.
These stats confirms Bob Woodward's argument in The Price of Politics, namely that Obama doesn't care or doesn't understand economic issues.

Sunday, April 28, 2013
Hinderaker on the Democratic M.O.
Powerline's John Hinderaker with one of the best observations/analyses of Democratic politics I've seen in a long time:
People who don’t regularly communicate with the Democratic Party have no idea what a cesspool of hatred that organization is. It has one means, and one means only, of rallying its supporters to contribute money and to vote: that is to personalize every issue, and to demonize every opponent with smears that would make an honest man or woman blush.
Hinderaker has a little self back-patting in noting that Republicans don't campaign this way because the GOP is high-minded in thinking that politics is about public policy; for the most part he's right and debating policy rather than personalizing issues goes a long way to explaining the success of the Left.

Perhaps the nerdiest thing ever. And I love it.
The economy of Mordor. (HT: Marginal Revolution)

Palin on the White House Correspondents Dinner
Breitbart reports:
Former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who has fiercely fought crony capitalism and the permanent political class, absolutely blistered the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, tweeting that the dinner was "pathetic" and that "DC assclowns" were throwing "themselves a #nerdprom" while "the rest of America is out there working our assess off."

The welfare state-family pendulum?
I doubt that Mary Eberstadt is correct:
In sum, statism has been an engine of family destruction—and vice versa. All of which leads to a contrarian thought: Might the dark ages of the welfare state end in a family renaissance?
If the welfare states of the West finally do implode, it’s hard to think of any institution but the family that could step into that vacuum. When politics forces the truth that taking care of one’s own is less ruinous than having the state do it, it’s just possible that personal choices could come to reflect that fact.
Or the family has been wrecked to such a degree it can't be fixed.

No Swiss army knife at camp
They Daily Caller reports: "A fifth-grader in Cupertino, California was suspended and threatened with expulsion for bringing a small Swiss Army knife on a school-sponsored, science-oriented camping trip." The times they are a-changin' -- there was a time when Swiss army knives were a staple of overnight camp.

Local protestant pastors oppose Zombie Walk
Sun News reports on a controversy from St. Thomas, Ont.:
The event, set for Aug. 31, is the first one of its kind in the city - touted as a fun, alcohol-free activity for young people to dress up as zombies and limp and grunt through town.
But that's not how Pastor Peter Cusick, of St. Thomas Pentecostal Assembly, or Pastor Beth Fellinger, of storefront Downtown Destination Church, see it.
"Some of the events I've looked at on YouTube are actually pretty repulsive," said Cusick. "I want this community to be known for its love and family orientation, and its wholesome activities ...
I'm siding with the zombies.
(HT: Blazing Cat Fur)

Saturday, April 27, 2013
Why Psy?
Breitbart reports that Pys has been invited by CBS News to join them at the White House Correspondents Dinner. John Nolte's snark is appreciated: "Because nothing qualifies you as a member of the media/Hollywood/DC elite faster than being a one-hit wonder who openly called for the death of American troops serving in Iraq." My original thought when I saw this news that the correspondents dinner is for journalists so why is this joker even going, but that's not really true; the White House Correspondents Diner is a giant media/Hollywood/politician circle jerk and that's about it. What's pathetic is that CBS is so desperate for attention that they are bringing Psy as their guest to grab a few cheap headlines to remind Americans that their network still exists.

UN: viewed favourably by Americans, but not viewed as an ally
According to a new Rasmussen poll, 51% of voters have a favourable (somewhat or very) view of the United Nations -- and 42% view it unfavourably -- but only 30% view the organization as an ally. Those numbers should be much lower, but this is probably progress considering how little attention their foibles and idiocies get in the media.

There is no European austerity
ZeroHedge's Tyler Durden has a good post entitled, "Europe's Fauxterity In Three Simple Charts."

Where's Douglas Kmiec?
At PJ Media, J. Christian Adams notes that Doud Kmiec, a pro-life apologist, was an Obama apologist in 2008, bringing (back) Catholic voters into the Democratic fold and being rewarded with an ambassadorship. This week Barack Obama addressed Planned Parenthood. Adams asks: "Will Kmiec admit he made a mistake, not so much with his own embarrassing endorsement on Easter, but in his follow-up work to lure believers to vote for a man that has done more to harm unborn innocents than any president in history?" I'm betting probably not.

Why the Conservative ads will be more effective than the Liberal ads: re Trudeau
Advertising works when large target audiences repeatedly see the ads. Tory ads will be seen, but the Liberal ads won't be.

Friday, April 26, 2013
Four and down (Draft day 2 edition)
4. My big takeaway was my prediction: don't expect many trades. Many pundits were saying to expect 10-12 trades because it was a weak draft. But if it is weak draft, why would teams trade up? Not surprisingly (to me, at least) there were only five trades. My second big takeaway: lots of offensive and defensive linemen were taken and only five players at the "skill positions" (QB, WR, RB, TE -- and, in fact, no running backs were taken). As a fan of line play, this is good. Line play is under-appreciated by fans, but smart coaches pay attention to it. As do smart general managers.
3. As would be expected, Grantland's Bill Barnwell has the best analysis of the first round. He is at his best analyzing the five deals that did occur. Just read it. Chase Stuart at Football Perspectives also analyzes the draft day trades.
2. Fox Sports has a slide show of day 1 winners and losers; Fox likes the day the St. Louis Rams had which is an understandable sentiment although at odds with some of Barnwell's analysis.'s Chris Burke grades all the day 1 picks.
1. Best description of the NFL draft: "news bounded by the happening of nothing." That's from an article I didn't like by Jeb Lund at Sports On Earth who complains that the televised draft is all about ESPN. Terrible column but still a great line. And I say that as someone who watch the draft for three-and-a-half hours last night, both on television and online (Twitter and about a half dozen sports websites).

George Jones, RIP
George Jones was one of my maternal grandmother's favourite singers, which meant that I heard of lot of him before I became something of a country fan. He has passed away at the age of 81. Here is the Country Music Hall of Fame bio of Jones and Five Feet of Fury has several videos. I don't think that "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is one of the top five or ten greatest country songs of all-time although it always makes the top of such lists; Kathy Shaidle has a short bit on the song at PJ Media.

Least surprising news since I learned the Boston terrorists were Muslims
The Boston Herald: "Welfare officials: Terror suspects, families got food stamps, other aid."

Overlawyered now officially affiliated with Cato
Walter Olson: "I’m delighted to announce that Overlawyered, a freestanding blog since I founded it in 1999, has now affiliated itself with the Cato Institute, at whose Center for Constitutional Studies I’m a senior fellow." And all the pluses and minuses that comes with.

Inviting disaster
The government goes trawling for new welfare recipients. The Daily Caller reports:
The Department of Agriculture, via the Mexican government, assures potentially ineligible immigrants that they can still apply for food stamps on behalf of their eligible children without giving information about their immigration status, according to documents released Thursday by Judicial Watch.
A USDA Spanish language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy, according to Judicial Watch, reads that if potentially ineligible immigrants want to obtain benefits for their children they “need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.”

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is upset with the Tories for suggesting that Justin Trudeau's background as a teacher isn't a qualification for prime minister. Teachers are so thin-skinned. Of course there is also a partisan angle to this story: Paul Taillefer, the CTF's president, was the Liberal candidate in Timmins-James Bay in 2008.
This is my favourite part of the story: "The Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators is also irked by the Trudeau ads, says the feminine style and imagery used is meant to reinforce a stereotype about the sexual orientation of drama educators."

Vegan nudie bars
There is a vegan strip club in Portland: "Casa Diablo prides itself on serving 100% vegan fare, and employing 100% vegan strippers." I'm not sold on this formula: "hummus + boobs = fun." Interesting fact that I wouldn't have guessed: Portland has the most strip clubs per capita.
(HT: Tyler Cowen)

Thursday, April 25, 2013
This is what I call gun safety
Breitbart reports:
Nothing argues for gun rights quite like a man breaking into your house with a baseball bat. In Midland, Texas, a would-be robber attempted to break into a neighbor’s home. Samuel Pompa, 32, was wielding a baseball bat. His would-be victim, 19, had a shotgun.
Pompa lost.

Why Bloomberg is dangerous
David Harsanyi has a great column on New York City nanny mayor Mike Bloomberg:
Bloomberg is an authoritarian. He's not an authoritarian in the way Josef Stalin or Pol Pot was authoritarian, but every instinct tells you he's a man who would use any power given to him to govern every aspect of public and private life whenever necessary -- or, more precisely, whenever he finds it necessary, which is frequently.

Four and down (Draft day edition)
4. At, S.M. Silva makes the case for getting rid of the draft. The NFL draft. I hate pro sports drafts because they violate the labour mobility rights of workers. It is silly for employers to dictate these terms: if you want to work in this profession, you are required to work with this organization or leave the country. Imagine if hospitals and schools from all over North America required nursing school and teacher's college graduates to work for the employer not of their choosing, often involving moving cities, if they want to work. It's terrible and unjust. Silva addresses the "restriction on the free movement of labor" and more. At Sports on Earth, Patrick Hruby makes the case in terms of economic fairness (to labour and owners) and competitive fairness.
3. Grantland's Bill Barnwell had a great column a few days back asking "Do NFL teams actually have any idea what they're doing at the draft?" It is a must-read, and his conclusion is sort of yes and no. He also links to two very good pieces on this topic: Richard Thaler and Cade Massey's "The Loser's Curse: Decision Making & Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft," (35-page PDF) and Chase Stewart's much more succinct "Are certain teams better at drafting than others?" Here's how Barnwell summarizes this paper and article: "Smart folks have looked into this topic and raised their own doubts. Wharton professor Cade Massey published a study suggesting that there's no difference in the drafting ability of teams after you take a long-term view and account for the expectations of the picks they have. Football Perspective's Chase Stuart wrote a piece on Monday that found virtually no relationship from year to year in a team's ability to produce drafts that would exceed expectations. Stuart notably pointed out how legendary drafts from given teams would tend to be surrounded by disappointing ones."
2. Gregg Easterbrook mocks the mock drafts. Mock drafts are about bringing traffic to websites and puffing up the reputations of football hacks despite the fact they lack analytical vigour. When some mock draft authors have 5-10 mock drafts, the odds of "predicting" a "correct" pick for a team increases infinitely, but that won't stop the author from being promoted as getting "25 of 32 picks right" -- without the acknowledgement that they had most of those picks wrong in most mock drafts. Mock drafts are bullshit and Easterbrook's mocking of them is well-deserved, and fun.
1. Need to make the draft fun for spectators, because really, it isn't. Most draft punditry is bullshit. To Mike Mayock, every college player taken in the first round is going to be a star and every player in the first four rounds have great attributes. Bullshit. But you have to fill the 10 minutes between picks with something. So watching the draft isn't really all that exciting. But betting on it is. Grantland's Bill Barnwell has the lines and commentary.

CNN lacking credibility
Breitbart reports on a Huffington Post/YouGov poll:
When asked how believable the news was on CNN during coverage of the Boston bombings, only 38% said it was "very" or "somewhat believable." MSNBC fared even worse at 35%. Fox News, however, beat all five of its cable and broadcast competitors with a 50% ranking. CBS came in second with 48%, NBC and ABC respectively earned 46% and 45%.
In the categories of "not very" or "not at all" believable," CNN was at the very bottom by a pretty large margin. While the other five networks were all huddled between 13% and 16%, CNN was all by itself at 21%.

Government paying federal employees not to work
Nathan Mehrens, general counsel for Americans for Limited Government, writes in the Washington Examiner:
Around $156 million, that's how much taxpayers spent in 2011 on federal employees who did no federal work at all.
These aren't people who fail to perform the work assigned to them, but rather employees who are not assigned any federal work at all.
Under the law, a federal agency can pay its employees who act as union stewards on a full-time basis to work for an outside entity, the public employee union.
This practice, known as "official time," is nothing more than a subsidy to the public employee unions who benefit from these taxpayer-funded employees.
Of course, this practice is wrong. As Mehrens says:
If a union, or any other entity, wants to have employees perform a service, it should be willing to pay for that service. Taxpayers should not be forced to shoulder the personnel costs of the very public employee unions which spend their time advocating larger, more costly government.
(HT: Betsy's Page)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Expediting the suicide
Breitbart reports:
Republicans anxious about the political implications of providing a "path to citizenship" for 11 million illegal immigrants console themselves that they will have at least 13 years to broaden the party's appeal to Hispanics. It is true that most illegal immigrants will not be eligible to become citizens for at least 13 years. The Schumer-Rubio bill, however, creates an expedited citizenship process for millions of illegal immigrants. These immigrants are eligible for citizenship in just 5 years.
On the plus side for Republicans, the GOP version of Barack Obama, Marco Rubio, is also committing political suicide; the conservative base of the party isn't going to elect this guy as their standard-bearer in 2016.

Obama cancels PP appearance
The Washington Times reports: "President Obama has canceled plans to deliver a keynote address at Planned Parenthood’s annual fundraising dinner Thursday night, citing a desire to spend more time with family of the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas." Sure he does. I think if it weren't for the Gosnell trial, Obama wouldn't be making this political decision. He will, however, still be addressing PP Friday morning.

The miseducation of Lauren Hill (paying taxes edition)
The Daily Caller reports on Lauren Hill, who faces jail time over her not paying taxes: "In a statement she posted on her website, Hill admitted that she intentionally failed to pay taxes, but said she was justified because of her hard work and selflessness." DC reports her entire message:
“Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance,” Hill said.
“I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period,” she continued. “Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution. My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.”
If only private charity could replace one's obligation to pay taxes ...

No degrees of separation
Jonah Goldberg has an excellent column on the smear against conservatives that the right-wing is behind domestic terrorism, explaining:
As the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein recently noted, among the myriad reasons conservatives take offense at this idiotic knee-jerk slander is that the term “right-wing” is routinely used to describe both terrorists and mainstream Republicans such as Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.
As Goldberg notes, the attempt to connect mainstream Republican politicians and the extreme right in the public's mind is hardly a new phenomenon:
Harry Truman recognized that when he ran for president against the liberal Republican Thomas Dewey in 1948. Truman charged that Dewey was the front man for the same sort of “powerful reactionary forces” that orchestrated the rise of Hitler in Germany.
When a communist assassinated President Kennedy, somehow the American Right got the blame. Lyndon Johnson translated that myth into a campaign of slander against Barry Goldwater, casting him as a crypto-Nazi emissary of “hate.”
After the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton saw fit to insinuate that Rush Limbaugh and his imitators were partly to blame.
Such partisanship is hardly reserved for partisans. The late Daniel Schorr, then of CBS News, reported that Goldwater’s planned European vacation was really a rendezvous with the German right in “Hitler’s one-time stomping ground.”

Canada's state broadcaster operated without a license
The Waterloo Region Record reports on CBC's attempt to provide a local broadcast:
CBC Radio has taken its new local morning show off the air after broadcasting it without a licence.
Local news and programming launched March 11 out of Kitchener without approval from federal regulators.
“This was a regrettable oversight,” CBC spokesperson Angus McKinnon said in a statement posted on the station’s website.

Root causes watch: how can anyway feel excluded with our generous welfare state?
Small Dead Animals notes a great Iowahawk tweet.

A brief history of biting in sports
Luis Suarez is the latest. Mike Tyson is the most famous. But there is an inglorious history of biting in sports. Grantland has a video history and brief write-ups. I hope that it is true, as Grantland reports, that Tyson now follows Suarez on Twitter.

Obama's Thursday
From the Washington Examiner: "Obama will address Planned Parenthood on Thursday after attending the unveiling of George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas and a memorial service for victims of the plant explosion in West, Texas." Hanging out with George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and later Lena Dunham and Dr. Ruth.

The Gosnell cover-up continues
My editor's desk column for the May Interim is on why the media didn't cover the Kermit Gosnell case and how after a brief moment of navel-gazing, it returned to not covering this story.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The welfare state: in the long terms we're screwed
David Friedman explains the problem with replacing charity with government welfare:
Start with a society in which individuals are mostly reliant on themselves—if you don't find some way to earn an income you are likely to go hungry, or at least have to rely on charity and lead a much harder life than if you had a job. In that society, someone on charity will be seen as a failure, by himself and others, which is a strong reason to avoid being in that situation.
Add a reasonably generous welfare state. For a while, perhaps a generation or so, the old attitudes persist. As time passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that going on welfare is not evidence of failure, hence not something to be ashamed of. It may not pay as well as a job, but it leaves you a lot more leisure and a lot more control over your own life; if you want to go off to Prague or Barcelona for a week or two you are free to do so, provided you don't mind doing it on the cheap. As more and more people see welfare as a reasonable choice, attitudes change. Once the old attitudes are entirely gone, you have a society where anyone who prefers a life of leisure with a moderately restricted income takes it, leaving fewer and fewer people to pay the taxes to support that life.

Never let a good manufactured crisis go to waste
The Daily Caller reports: "The FAA implemented furloughs of its air traffic controllers on Sunday, citing the recent automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, which went into effect earlier this year. Republicans accuse the administration of cutting things that would inconvenience average Americans in order to portray the cuts as worse than they really are."

Two ways to look at this story
Breitbart reports on a survey that finds "reporter" is the worst job in America. I think it shows reporters are whiny. When your complaint is you don't get to travel or cover the Olympics, your job really isn't that bad. How many reporters would trade jobs with a coal miner? I bet they'd be as girly as Derek Zoolander.

This is funny and true
Fox News host says Canadians are "not great for television." Fox's Shep Smith is talking about how doing introductions in both official languages makes for brutally boring TV.

Taxes are the largest budget item for Canadian families
From the Fraser Institute's annual "Canadian Consumer Tax Index":
The average Canadian family now spends more of its income on taxes than it does on basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. In 2012, 42.7 percent of the average family’s income went to pay taxes while it spent 36.9 percent of its income on food, shelter, and clothing. In comparison, in 1961, the average family spent 56.5 percent of its iincome on basic necessities, while only 33.5 percent of the family’s income went to taxes.
Furthermore, the gap on what is spent on taxes (at all levels) and what is spent on basic needs, has grown since 2010 after a brief narrowing.

This morning's must-read
I tweeted:
@kshaidle's 'An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau' is fantastic
Shaidle's article on Trudeau at Taki Magazine is a must-read, not my tweet.

Not a parody
The College Fix reports:
Northwestern University is busy implementing an ambitious program for diversity on campus. University officials have created a “Social Inequalities and Diversities” requirement, which all students will have to complete before they graduate.
The goal of the requirement is multifaceted. The draft proposal states that once completed, students will be able to “expand their ability to think critically”, “recognize their own positionality in systems of inequality,” and “engage in self-reflection on power and privilege.”
The exact details of the requirement are not finalized, but there are two main components. One will involve students taking an already-existing class, which addresses diversity and inequality in some way.
The other component of the Social Inequalities and Diversities requirement will be a “co-curricular requirement.”
Investor's Business Daily editorializes: "Parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — more than $45,000 year for undergraduates at Northwestern — to school their kids in our finest institutions. Indoctrination into leftist politics should not be a part of the instruction."

The Wall Street Journal editorializes:
President Obama's sequester scare strategy has been a political flop, but his government keeps trying. The latest gambit is to force airline flight delays until enough travellers stuck on tarmacs browbeat enough Republicans to raise taxes again.
This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began furloughing each of its air-traffic controllers for one day out of every 10 to achieve roughly $600 million in savings this fiscal year. The White House dubiously claims that the furloughs are required by the sequester spending cuts enacted in 2011.
Capitol Hill Republicans say the White House is free to make other cuts instead. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster suggests the FAA first take a whack at the $500 million it's spending on consultants, or perhaps the $325 million it blows on supplies and travel.
In case there's any doubt about the President's ability to prioritize, at least two GOP Senators, Jerry Moran and Roy Blunt, have written bills to clarify Mr. Obama's authority to make sensible spending decisions. He's not interested ...

Monday, April 22, 2013
The Daily Caller reports:
The Democratic National Committee is being accused by Republicans of using the terrorism attack in Boston to improve its fundraising solicitation lists.
On Monday, the DNC set up a page for supporters to “Thank Boston’s First Responders,” referencing those who responded to the bombing of the Boston Marathon last week.
The site asks people who want to sign their name to a thank you note from the DNC to submit their name, email address and zip code.

Government overpays Earned Income Tax Credit
The Hill reports that Washington is overpaying the EITC:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) overpaid between $11.6 billion and $13.6 billion in tax credits designed to help low-income families in fiscal 2012 , the Treasury Department announced in a report released Monday.
The overpayments account for 21 percent to 25 percent of the tax credits issued under the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the IRS estimated ...
Though the fiscal 2012 overpayment was among the agency's lowest in a decade, since 2003, as much as $132.6 billion has been improperly distributed as part of the EITC.

To the Left, everything is connected (and an excuse to meddle)
The Daily Caller reports that UCLA is using Earth Day as cover to impose a comprehensive tobacco ban on campus:
“Implementing a tobacco-free policy beginning on Earth Day will underscore the benefits that this new policy will bring to the wellbeing of our entire community,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a letter to the campus community. “This is the right time to go tobacco-free.”

'Why are younger Americans driving less?'
Tyler Cowen links to several arguments and adds another that lead one commenter (Abe Forman) to suggest a "plausible" dissertation paper: "Internet Porn and the Substitution Effects on US Automobile Fatalities."

Fictional politicians can say what they want
Garett Jones notes that The Onion's Hillary Clinton and Shakespeare's Coriolanus can be brutally honest. The second half of the post changes directions a bit to note that "The voters' love of egalitarianism is expensive" (in terms of the types of politicians that can win).

Reliable energy priority over the environment
A Wall Street Journal headline: "Poll Suggests Energy Independence Trumps Environmental Concerns." We should be skeptical of the notion that countries should have energy independence -- people need to read more David Ricardo -- but the larger issue is that reliable and affordable energy is more probably more important to consumers than some nebulous idea of protecting the environment.
Here are the key elements in the story:
A new poll of American and Canadian residents suggests a majority in both countries–74% of Americans, 68% of Canadians–either support or “somewhat” support the controversial pipeline, which has been the target of intense opposition by environmentalist groups and key Democratic lawmakers ...
Pollster Nanos Research, of Ottawa, asked participants — 1,007 Americans and 1,013 Canadians — which was more important: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions or having North America free from oil imports. In the poll, 63% of Americans and 55% of Canadians said reducing the reliance on oil imports from outside North America was more crucial ...
Mr. [Nik] Nanos noted, though, that his research shows people on both sides of the border share a desire to see policymakers follow through on carbon-reducing policies. Asked independently, 78% of Americans and 73% of Canadians indicated reducing carbon output is “important” or “somewhat important.” But asked on an either-or basis, respondents opted for energy security.

Best. Headline. Ever.
From the Daily Mail: "Will Heidi Klum still be celebrating her 40th with a hat party now that her Germany's Next Top Models proteges have head lice?"

State-run schools: Close. Them. Down.
The Daily Mail on a directive at a British school: "Teachers have been told not to use red link to mark homework to avoid upsetting pupils." This is not government policy. But it reflects a line of thinking in the educational establishment that certainly goes beyond one headmaster.

The beginning of the end
(This post is now corrected. I originally said 40 years ago. It is, in fact, 50 years ago.)
It was 50 years ago that the undoing of Canada began with the election of Lester Pearson as prime minister. Most conservatives blame Pierre Trudeau for the political, economic, and social vandalizing of this country, but his predecessor got off to a great start. As Gods of the Copybook Headings has blogged:
Lester Pearson bequeath many gifts to his country: A foreign policy based on hazy sentimentality, an unsustainable socialized health care system, half a century of appeasement toward Quebec nationalism, the gutting of key Canadian traditions, the marginalization of the military and the replacement of our historic flag with the Liberal Party corporate logo. Yet it can be argued that his most disastrous influence was his dithering leadership of the Liberal Party caucus, and his plucking of Pierre Trudeau from relative obscurity. The former example convinced the latter leader that to rule Canada required an iron hand.
Historian Blair Neatby said Pearson "fundamentally altered Canadian identity." I wrote about this in the Ottawa Citizen two years ago. I said then: "Although he was in office for a mere five years and never commanded a majority, Pearson's tenure in office was perhaps the most transformative in Canadian history." He normalized having the state interfere in almost every imaginable sphere of human activity in Canada and set a trajectory in which no limits would be placed on government involvement. Today should be a day of national mourning.

Trudeau vs. Trudeau
Lorrie Goldstein in the Toronto Sun and Aaron Goldstein in The American Spectator Online both note that while Justin Trudeau wants to talk about the root causes of terrorism, his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, was tough on terrorists in his own midst in 1970 during the October Crisis with the Quebec Marxist FLQ group. The facts are what they are: Justin Trudeau is soft on terrorism in a foreign country in 2013 and Pierre Trudeau was tough on domestic terrorists in 1970. But does anyone really think that an in-his-prime Pierre Trudeau wouldn't be making the same left-wing liberal points about terrorism if he were a politician today? As Lorrie Goldstein said in his first column about Justin's "root causes" comment, "I’m not surprised a Liberal has Liberal views."

Sunday, April 21, 2013
Another view on GOP Hispanic outreach. Or as I like to call it, those f--king facts.
Peter Brimelow at vdare:
Everyone knows that the Republican Party needs to extend amnesty to 12-20 million illegal aliens in order to win the Hispanic vote. Right? But, to quote Josh Billings: “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
And it’s not just that Hispanics will never vote Republican anyway because they are poor and naturally like government redistribution, and because they have eyes and can see that Marco Rubio is a white Cuban, not a Mexican.
Both those things are true, of course, but the real reason the current Hispanic hysteria is wrong is that there simply aren’t that many Hispanic voters. Whites will continue to dominate the U.S. electorate for the foreseeable future.
And it’s whites — especially the white working class, above all in the North — who are up for grabs.
I link to this despite the fact I'm generally in favour of more immigration. My own view is that borders are stupid and unnecessary. People should be able to travel and move to wherever the hell they want and not answer to a bureaucrat. It is ridiculous that I can buy any amount of anything legal in Vancouver and bring it home with me to Toronto and not have to answer for my purchases but if I go to Buffalo for some shopping, my information is recorded by a government agent.
But we do live in a world with borders. I'd still like to make borders less relevant and all things being equal I'd prefer an open immigration policy to a closed one. However, things are never equal and that complicates immigration policy a bit, but my preference is still for less government and therefore few restrictions on immigration. I like free markets and that includes a free market in labour (and customers). But my view is a philosophical one and its a philosophy that the Republican Party if it cares for its future survival should not share. Agreeing to amnesty would be political suicide for the Republican Party. As for the Hispanics that are already citizens in the United States, Republican outreach to groups that do not agree with the GOP in fundamental questions is also political suicide. In order for the GOP to win some larger slice of pro-government voters they will have to abandon the principles that attract their (mostly white) base; so the party can risk their existing voters for the possibility of winning over new voters or they can make winning irrelevant by becoming even more like the Democrats. I see no upside for the Republican Party in accepting amnesty or pandering to Hispanic voters.
And the worst case scenario is the Republicans signing onto to amnesty to add 10-12 million pro-government voters and then pandering to those voters by promising them more government.

Bringing diversity to print media
The New York Times reports:
Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
Two contradictory thoughts: 1) two decades too late and 2) this might indicate newspapers aren't dead because you'd think Koch isn't going to invest in a dying business.

Paul Wells, tool
Paul Wells equates Small Dead Animals to a neo-Nazi website while implicitly admitting he got idea for a post at from SDA.

Future bright light for GOP
George Will on 33-year-old Justin Amash, the Michigan Congressman who might run for an open Senate seat in 2014:
He absorbed a libertarian understanding of opportunity from the example of his father, who began his very successful business career by buying stuff from small wholesalers and selling it door-to-door. Amash graduated magna cum laude with an economics degree from the University of Michigan, then earned a law degree there. “Some of my views,” he says mildly, “were a little bit different from my Republican peers.” He began reading Friedrich Hayek and other representatives of the Austrian school of economics, and less than four years after he left Ann Arbor, he was in Michigan’s Legislature, where in his one term he cast the only “no” vote on more than 70 bills.

Saturday, April 20, 2013
Should Boston have been shut-down?
Instapundit has thoughts and links. I can't help but to resort to a cliche from 2001: when we shut down our cities, the terrorists win. Business Week reports that estimates of the cost of the lockdown to the local economy run $250-$333 million.

Against mandatory locavorism
Henry I. Miller and Jayson Lusk make the case against subsidies for local farmers in the form of "coerced locavorism":
The desire to support local farmers is admirable. But sentiment should not keep us from thinking critically about the consequences of coerced locavorism —- that is, forcing municipal hospitals, schools, and other institutions to source an arbitrary percentage of their foods locally. But that is precisely what various cultural and political luminaries are suggesting we do.
As Miller and Lusk point out, "Local foods may well be tastier (if you live in the right spot at the right time of year), in which case few people would need coercion to purchase them."
They also note that locavorism is not as environmentally friendly as the preachers of the eat local mantra suggest.
But the real reason for eschewing the local food mania is that it is a crime against good eating: "if we are to live by the locavore’s mantra, and only consume what can be made locally, we had better resign ourselves to an expensive, narrow and boring diet."

'Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial'
The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Leon Kass about not only Kermit Gosnell, but Kass' background and the standard of human dignity in determining right and wrong. The article defies excerpting and worth reading in its entirety.

The meaning of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
The Wall Street Journal editorial says that what we know about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "deserves at least some reflection:"
As for the brothers, we will learn more about their motives, their training and whether they acted alone or as part of a network. What we have already learned is that they are immigrants from Chechnya, of the Muslim faith, and that 26-year old Tamerlan was uncomfortable in American society despite having lived here for about a decade.
The Associated Press reported that he was quoted in a Boston University student magazine in 2010 as saying, "I don't have a single American friend. I don't understand them." Mother Jones reported that a video attributed to a Tamerlan Tsarnaev extolled an extremist religious prophecy associated with al Qaeda. None of this is definitive but it might be illustrative.
If such alienation turned to jihad, it would not be the first time. The radicalization of young Muslims in the West, in particular children of the well-off, is by now a familiar story. The London bombers of 2005 were middle-class Pakistani immigrants from Birmingham. Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan.

Not fitting the narrative
The Daily Caller reports that when there was no information about who committed the Boston Marathon attacks former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod speculated that the Tea Party might be connected. But now that there is information about the suspects, he can't be bothered to correct his misinformed opinion or acknowledge the fact they are Muslims.

Friday, April 19, 2013
Gosnell: extreme and isolated but not as extreme and isolated as we'd like to think
Michelle Malkin on "the nightmarish consequence of medical and ideological malpractice" that is the Kermit Gosnell story:
Gosnell’s enablers also claim that his case is a grisly exception. But I repeat: Deadly indifference to protecting life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence — it’s at the core of it. In the past few years alone, Dr. Andrew Rutland of California and Dr. Steven Brigham in Maryland had their medical licenses revoked after their late-term-abortion mills were exposed. Like Gosnell, Rutland killed an Asian woman after administering a drug overdose during a late-term abortion procedure. Like Gosnell, Brigham stored the bodies of late-term fetuses in freezers.

Market Watch reports that Germany might be glancing a more skeptical eye toward the euro:
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble effectively torpedoed Europe’s plan for joint banking supervision over the weekend, raising further doubts about Germany’s commitment to the euro ...
“Banking union only makes sense ... if we also have rules for restructuring and resolving banks,” Schaueble said. “But if we want European institutions for that, we will need a treaty change.”
Calling for an EU treaty revision opens a political can of worms that at the very least entails considerable delay and often kills proposals altogether.
(HT: Gates of Vienna)

Three and out
3. New York Yankees lost 6-2 in 12 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks, to take two of three against the D-Backs in the Bronx in their first inter-league games of the 2013 season. It must be painful losing by four runs in extra innings. This is from memory and the usual tricks and biases come into play (remembering extremes, etc...) but it seems that manager Joe Girardi often keeps reliever David Phelps in the game too long; I thought to myself in the top of the 12th that the Yanks would lose when Phelps came out for a second inning. Of course, Francisco Cervelli had his second catcher's interference call against him in the 12th, which didn't help. Cool night for Zack Hample, a fan; he caught two homerun balls, the second time he's done that. Hample is the author of several good baseball books, but one that I haven't read is his How to Snag Major League Baseballs: More Than 100 Tested Tips That Really Work. Apparently, they really do work.
2. The Yankees will be without Derek Jeter until after the All Star game. GM Brian Cashman is master of the under-statement: "This is obviously a setback." While Jason Nix and Edwin Nunez have been adequate replacements (while others such as Vernon Wells and Travis Hefner over-perform, at least), the Yankees would obviously prefer to have Jeter at shortstop and in the lineup than what are really two useful bench players. But as the New York Post's Ken Davidoff says of Jete's injury, "Thursday’s setback was more devastating to him, personally, than it was to his team." Various milestones, remaining an everyday shortstop, and even Jeter's future with the Yankees are all now in question.
1. SB Nation's Grant Brisbee on extra-inning games that ended with plays at home plate.

Boston terrorists, media coverage
Matt Vadum tweets: "Muslim terrorists emerge in the Boston bombing saga & the media still shrug & make excuses for them. Sad but predictable."
Of course, Blazing Cat Fur is the go-to blog on this, with lots of links.

Don't let emotion be our guide on public policy
Gavin McInnes criticizes President Barack Obama because "he seems to think emotions should drive public policy." So there is a mania to do something about gun control because 30,000 gun deaths is a national tragedy requiring immediate, thought-free action. But as McInnes points out, lots of things cause 30,000 deaths annual: "Cars, prescription drugs, prostate cancer, and breast cancer." But emoting is an American strength and math isn't, so the media and politicians focus on a few dead bodies rather than hard numbers. Remember, as McInnes notes, "emotions lie." Emotion also follows fashion rather than facts. We are bored with car deaths so we don't talk about it, but it is every bit as important from a public policy point of view as guns. Ditto breast cancer and prostrate cancer, but only one of those get saturation coverage.
There is some excellent reporting and context in this article, including the fact that by a rough calculation, partial-birth abortion kills about 10,000 more people than do guns (or prostrate cancer) but there is still not outrage over the Kermit Gosnell House of Horrors. You want more context? 16 American deaths by terrorism since 9/11.
(HT: Five Feet of Fury)

Explaining the partisan stimulus spending gap
The Washington Examiner reports that Senator David Vitter (R, La.) is complaining that Democratic districts are getting more stimulus grants to fund transportation projects than are Republican districts. The Examiner reports:
President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill contained funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program grants. Democratic districts have received $356,109,553 from the program, compared to just $132,272,695 for Republican districts.
I have no doubt that the administration would send more money to Democratic districts than Republican districts -- just as the Conservatives in Canada sent more stimulus funds to their ridings than they did Liberal or NDP ridings -- because that's the way politics works. But even before looking at the map of where TIGER grants go, I guessed one reason Democratic districts would get more money is that Democrats are better represented in larger cities where there would be more need for transportation projects (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston) and where the costs for such projects are likely to be more expensive. So while a three to one ratio seems quite one-sided, in this case a perfectly good supply-demand rationale can explain most of the difference. Another possible rationale (although this is probably hoping for too much) is that Republicans wouldn't fight for the funds as much as Democrats because they viewed the stimulus as unnecessary spending and had little interest in having Washington pay for local transportation upgrades.

Gabby Giffords, the gun control slut
Instapundit notes that her anti-gun bullying and emotional blackmail hasn't worked.

Liberals cling, too
Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal:
Everyone clings to something. But when it comes to criticizing unseemly political dependencies, it's almost always liberals accusing them of clinging to positions and ideas that an enlightened society would have abandoned.
But what do liberals cling to? Recent events have revealed two things. Gun control and abortion.
They cling to abortion even when it brings the back-alley abortion to front-row clinic. James Taranto, also in the Wall Street Journal:
The advent of "safe, legal abortion" didn't interfere with Gosnell's back-alley career. The grand jury's account suggests that other abortionists treated him less as an outlaw than as a niche player in the abortion market. He earned a bad reputation in Philadelphia but received referrals from across the Eastern Seaboard. Many of the women dispatched to him were "well beyond" 24 weeks pregnant, the legal limit in Pennsylvania ...
According to the grand jury, Gosnell's method of "abortion" in these late-term cases was infanticide, plain and simple. He or an untrained staffer would induce labor, deliver the baby alive, and then perform the procedure they called by the chilling euphemism "snipping"—slashing the infant to death with scissors to the neck and spine. "Over the years, there were hundreds of 'snippings,' " the grand jury found. But bodies had been disposed of and files destroyed, so the evidence was sufficient to prosecute in only seven cases.
And despite the horrific nature of these crimes -- and they are crimes, both legally and morally speaking -- liberals are silent. They are silent because the abortion license must never, ever be questioned.

Goldberg on Obama
Jonah Goldberg notes that whatever President (and candidate) Barack Obama's personal popularity, he doesn't win on the issues:
Whether it stems from a grandiose overconfidence in his own powers of persuasion, or the lessons he took from his years as a community organizer, or his own messianic conviction that he is on the right side of everything, including history itself, the president has always operated under the theory that he can move the American people to his causes. And he can’t. He just can’t.
Yes, he got elected and reelected, and that’s saying something. But whatever personal popularity the man has doesn’t transfer to domestic policy.
You remember all the arm-twisting senior Democrats needed to do to get Obamacare passed?
This has to hurt: "Ironically, the only populist mass movement on domestic-policy issues Obama can claim credit for creating is the Tea Party, which I think we can all agree isn’t what he had in mind."

Cancelling politically unpopular power plants was like the space program, says Liberal MP saved by cancelled power plant
The Toronto Star reports on comments by Mississauga-Streetsville Liberal MPP Bob Delaney defending the ultimate price tag to cancel an unpopular power plant near his riding:
The parliamentary assistant to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli defended the $275 million decision to cancel Mississauga without knowing the cost to taxpayers.
“When the United States committed to go to the moon, they didn’t know how much it was going to cost; all they knew was that one way or the other they were going to get there,” Delaney told reporters.
Yeah, okay. Except going to the moon actually did something(s): it propelled a space program that was the source of national pride during the Cold War. Cancelling the power plants saved the jobs of a handful of Liberal politicians at an ultimate cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. So they are, like, exactly the same.

East and West Berlin still different
Tyler Cowen points to this photo.

The reports of Soros' death are greatly exaggerated
To be fair it was a report, not reports. The Daily Caller reports: "Thursday evening, Reuters accidentally published its obituary of the wealthy liberal business magnate and political financier George Soros, who is alive and well at 82."

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Muslims of Calgary exonerates self of anti-Semitism
And Calgary police agree. Blazing Cat Fur has details.

Four and down
4. Legendary sports broadcaster Pat Sommerall passed away earlier this week. The AP called him the "NFL's narrator for generations." AP adds: "Pat Summerall soothed American television audiences over four decades - his deep, resonant voice and simple, understated style served as the perfect complement to the boisterous enthusiasm of John Madden, his partner in a celebrated pairing that lasted half of the NFL player-turned-announcer's career." I love Frank Caliendo's joke about John Madden and Pat Summerall (from 1:15 through 2:00).
3. Speaking of Madden, reports: "'Madden 25' cover vote pits Barry Sanders vs. Adrian Peterson." Barry Sanders?
2. Quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson -- who works with individual players but is not employed by any team -- says that Tim Tebow was never given the chance to succeed and that the Denver Broncos and New York Jets might have even sabotaged the third-year QB's career. Yet Clarkson says that the Jets should start Mark Sanchez.
1. ESPN's Kevin Seifert does a good job explaining how the six-year, $69.7 million contract extension for Clay Matthews III will affect the Green Bay Packers. The short answer: very little now, a bit more later but not in ways that are likely to affect re-signing QB Aaron Rodgers. So fans of the Packers should be happy and should be so for a long time.

Apparently Branch Rickey would disagree with my column about him
Last week I wrote in the Ottawa Citizen that Branch Rickey deserves more credit than he gets for integrating baseball. Rob Neyers notes that in an interview from the 1960s (probably 1963), Rickey denies he should get any credit whatsoever for bringing Jackie Robinson to Major League Baseball, saying no American should get credit for giving another person a chance to succeed at what he does well.

Wynne, the gas plants, and future transit plans: they are connected and you should care
The beginning of this Waterloo Record editorial is something far too few Ontarians understand:
Like a ripped and ragged overcoat dragged from a swamp, the $275-million bill for the cancelled Mississauga power plant is a dirty, smelly mess. But try as she might to squirm free, Premier Kathleen Wynne must wear it.
Wynne prefers to style herself as Ontario’s spotless “new” premier. On Wednesday she continued selling her plans for billions of dollars worth of new roads and public transit. The public would pay for this with rivers of revenue, possibly in the form of new tolls and taxes, flowing to the government.
The spoiler for all this was Monday’s report from Auditor General Jim McCarter which revealed that killing the gas-fired power plant will cost the people of Ontario $275 million — 45 per cent more than the $190-million price tag the Liberals had cited. The public will rightly wonder whether a government that has bungled a project so badly and at such a cost should be trusted with a far greater venture that will demand even greater cash infusions from Ontarians.
This is why Wynne’s refusal to apologize for lowballing the cost of the cancelled power plant and her persistent attempts to divert public attention to her transit crusade are so unacceptable.
If the Ontario PCs were competent, they would connect these dots for Ontario voters.

Terrorism on American soil: why isn't there more
My first thought after the explosion in Boston was "why doesn't this occur more often?" There are many people on both the Left and the Right who are angry about something and there many people who hate America or elements of modern society. It is easy for anti-American foreigners to enter the United States. The United States is large and a largely open society, so there are plenty of targets and opportunities. Why aren't there many more terrorist attacks? Megan McArdle wondered the same thing and offers some answers. I largely agree with them but have thought up two others: it is a big step from hatred to homicidal hatred and, related but not the same, most people are cowards and don't have the courage of their convictions. While talk show hosts insist on labeling terrorists "cowards" I imagine that it isn't easy to plan and execute a terrorist attack; there must be the fear of something going wrong, getting caught by the civil authorities, or facing an eternal punishment in the afterlife. Another reason is that post-9/11, both police and the public are on the lookout for suspicious people and things; while the national security apparatus reportedly considers more than "5000 threats a day" -- threats being mere leads, with most amounting to nothing at all -- the increased policing of the suspicious has made us safer. (Whether or not it passes a cost-benefit analysis is another matter.) Be thankful that there are not nearly as many lunatics as there are schools, malls or marathons; for the (relative) sanity of the angry; and for cowardice.