March 2016 Archives
So writes David Lightman about the rubes in St. Louis.
Clinton was paid $675,000 for three Goldman Sachs speeches behind closed doors in the years after she left her job as secretary of state in 2013. She demanded transcripts be kept, and so far refuses to release them publicly.
Andrew Williams, Goldman Sachs spokesman, explained, "Clinton spoke at conferences that we hosted for clients. We host literally hundreds of conferences around the world and continually search for fascinating speakers." Such speeches are commonplace, he said, and singling out Clinton's talk is "misleading."
I think most people can "fathom" why the Clintons get paid more than the value of an average American house for a 30-minute speech: it's a bribe. It's buying the favor of some of the most powerful people in the world. That isn't hard to understand.
(HT: Ed Driscoll.)
It's hard to think of a stronger endorsement for Trump than the numerous Wall Streeters who don't like him.
"I can't find connective tissue between the financial sector and Trump," said one senior industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being seen publicly questioning Trump. ...
"Wall Street works in close collaboration between policymakers and markets, and Trump is a disrupter," said Peter Kenny, a 20-year Wall Street veteran. "Just because he's a billionaire does not mean that he is part of the team."
What's more, the short snippet about Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank strikes me as complimentary.
Trump had personally guaranteed $40 million of Deutsche's $640 million construction loan for the project. When a payment came due in November 2008, the billionaire asked for an extension. Deutsche refused, and Trump sued for $3 billion, condemning the bank's "predatory lending practices."
Deutsche countersued and did not hold back in asking that Trump's suit be thrown out. "Trump is no stranger to an overdue debt," the company said in one filing. "This suit is classic Trump."
Trump and Deutsche Bank, which declined to comment for this article, finally reached an agreement in August 2010 that extended the loan for five years. It has since been paid off.
Eventually both sides patched things up. Trump and his daughter Ivanka are building a $200 million luxury hotel at the Old Post Office Pavilion in the District. Trump has said he is investing $42 million of his own money into the project.
There is just one loan: $170 million from Deutsche Bank.
I wonder if Trump will be able to mend fences with the Republican elites and general voters who don't like him now?
I agree with law professor Glenn Reynolds: it's bad that American is entirely dominated by lawyers. Put some non-lawyers on the Supreme Court.
But law is supposed to govern everyone's actions, and everyone is supposed to understand it. ("Ignorance of the law," as we are often told, "is no excuse.") But when the Supreme Court is composed of narrowly specialized former judges from elite schools, the likelihood that the law will be comprehensible to ordinary people and non-lawyers seems pretty small. (In addition, a recent book by my University of Tennessee colleague Ben Barton makes a pretty strong case that lawyer-judges systematically favor the sort of legal complexity that, shockingly, makes lawyers rich. He, too, recommends non-lawyer judges, which, as he notes, are common in other nations and were common in colonial America.)
The Supreme Court is one-third of the federal government, and the other two branches, Congress and the presidency, are already dominated by lawyers. But there are hundreds of millions of Americans who aren't lawyers, and surely some of them are smart enough to decide important questions, given that the Constitution and laws are aimed at all of us. Shouldn't we open the court up to a little diversity?
Victor Davis Hanson suggests college exit exam similar to the SAT and ACT. Sounds like a good idea, as long as they aren't run by the government.
Lawyers with degrees can only practice after passing bar exams. Doctors cannot practice medicine upon the completion of M.D. degrees unless they are board certified. Why can't undergraduate degrees likewise be certified? One can certainly imagine the ensuing hysteria.
What would happen if some students from less prestigious state schools graduated from college with higher exit-test scores than the majority of Harvard and Yale graduates? What if students still did not test any higher in analytics and vocabulary after thousands of dollars and several years of lectures and classroom hours?
Would schools then cut back on "studies" courses, the number of administrators, or lavish recreational facilities to help ensure that students first and foremost mastered a classical body of common knowledge? Would administrators be forced to acknowledge that their campuses had price-gouged students but imparted to them little in return?
And why not extend truth-in-lending disclosures to education loans?
The average pay associated with a particular major should be posted. Surely an 18-year-old student should have as much information about borrowing for an education as she does about going into far less debt for a car loan.
Said 18-time world Go champion Lee Sedol after his second loss to Google's AlphaGo software.
At first, Fan Hui thought the move was rather odd. But then he saw its beauty.
"It's not a human move. I've never seen a human play this move," he says. "So beautiful." It's a word he keeps repeating. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
The average human will never understand this move. But Fan Hui has the benefit of watching AlphaGo up close for the past several months--playing the machine time and again. And the proof of the move's value lies in the eventual win for AlphaGo. Over two games, it has beaten the very best by playing in ways that no human would.
Get ready for artificial intelligences that make beautiful "moves" in every area of life that are incomprehensible to humans, and yet better than anything we can do.
Michael Barone continues, "I suspected that Southern blacks tend to be more socially connected, especially through churches, than Northern blacks."
I thought of all these things, too! And so many more things. Smart things. So many smart things that I don't have time to write them all down! But when I see someone else come along behind me and write down something that I've already thought of, it prompts me to point out to everyone that I had that thought first. Just for the sake of historical accuracy.
Or maybe, "as unicornal as a chimera"?
"Chimerical" usually hits me as "an organism containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes such as fusion of early embryos, grafting, or mutation", because that's the essential property of a mythical chimera: "a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail".
But, of course, mythicalness is also an essential property of the chimera, but it's a property that isn't specific to the chimera.
(Yes, I am channeling Althouse this morning.)
The Republican elites are making plans to prevent the nomination of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, they completely misdiagnose the illness in the party.
Other governors voiced exasperation not only at the prospect of a Trump nomination but also at the political culture that gave rise to his candidacy.
"We've got this Enquirer magazine mentality," Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah said in an interview. "We are subject to this reality-TV voyeurism that is taking place. Fast-food headlines, no substance, all flash. The Twitter atmosphere out there, snarky comments on email, Snapchat. Everything is superficial. . . . We've got to wake up, America."
To these governors, the problem is the voters, the media, the culture... never themselves. It's impossible for them to recognize that Trump's rise was fueled by the persistent refusal of the Republican elite to listen to the will of the members of their party. This willful blindness is why Trump is running so strong.
Kurt Schlichter writes that Republican elites have no one but themselves to blame for Trump's rise.
Think of this as, in large part, the struggle between the haves and have nots of globalization. Amnesty was a great idea for bubble people who think illegal immigration satisfies some sort of libertarian ideal, or who only experience its impact by being able to hire a cheaper nanny. It's a pretty great idea for the illegals too. But leave your nice neighborhood and go where a high school grad who was born here can't get a job as a roofer since any general contractor who doesn't hire illegals is going to go broke because his competition will. Tell somebody whose daughter is shot dead in front of him by an illegal who got arrested five times but never got deported that it's an act of love.
If we had built the damn wall we promised our base back then, we probably wouldn't have that damn Trump now.
Free trade is great, in a macro sense. It sure helps enrich the donor class. But go tell the guy who lost his $25 an hour job because NAFTA let Carrier move its air conditioning plant to Mexico about Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." What's he free to choose? Long-term unemployment? Making a fake Social Security disability claim? Or taking a job greeting at Wal-Mart for $8 an hour?
Immigration and free trade are generally good, but they impose real costs and our base is getting handed the bill. These folks have been asking us for help, and what was our response? Shut up, stupid racists. Well, they finally found someone who is taking their side. His name is Donald Trump, and we made him possible. Hell, we made him inevitable.
Seems right to me.
Why is NOAA creating misleading graphs that show the earth has warmed since 1979, without showing data from the late 1950s that indicates the world was just as warm in 1957 as it is now?
I combined the two graphs at the same scale below, and put a horizontal red reference line in, which shows that the earth's atmosphere has not warmed at all since the late 1950's.
The omission of this data from the NOAA report, is just their latest attempt to defraud the public. NOAA's best data shows no warming for 60 years. But it gets worse. The graph in the NOAA report shows about 0.5C warming from 1979 to 2010, but their original published data shows no warming during that period.
Allahpundit writes that thanks to early voting, Cruz has no chance to win Florida, making it a likely win for Trump no matter what Rubio does.
You can see what sort of dynamic is shaping up here and why Trump stands to benefit most from it. A private poll taken yesterday of Florida had the race Trump 35, Rubio 30, Cruz 16. It seems safe to assume, after last night's results, that some Rubio voters will conclude that Cruz is the only game in town now if you want to beat Trump. Their votes will shift -- but others will stay put due to Rubio's stronger-than-usual support in his own backyard. And don't forget: Thanks to early voting, many votes in Florida have already been banked for Rubio (and for Trump, of course). Even if his fans choose to desert him and vote strategically for Cruz, there may be five or six percent already on the books that are committed to Rubio and can't be changed. What's shaping up here, in other words, is a dynamic where Cruz wins a bigger share of the vote in Florida than everyone expects but not so much that he manages to consolidate all of Rubio's support, especially once you factor early voting in, thus producing ... a narrow Trump victory, possibly along the lines of Trump 37, Rubio 29, Cruz 25. In a state that awards its delegates proportionally, that would be no big deal. Trump would finish with an extra 10 delegates or whatever. But Florida is winner-take-all; if the vote goes the way I'm imagining, with conservatives stalemated between Cruz and Rubio, Trump gets 99 delegates for his trouble. That alone is eight percent of the total he needs to clinch the nomination. It'd be a disaster for anti-Trumpers.
Scott Adams makes a strong point: if you're losing, you need to take chances if you want to win. You can afford to play it safe when you're in the lead.
Do you want more risk?
Generally speaking, you want to avoid risk when things are going well and accept risk when things are totally broken. If you think the country is doing well, and will continue to do so, Hillary Clinton is an excellent choice on the left, as is Marco Rubio on the right. They will keep things mostly the same.
But if you think government is rigged against your interests, and unlikely to improve on its own, you want a bloodless revolution. And the candidate you hire for the revolution is likely to have rough edges.
Still, I think I prefer Tex Cruz, the less erratic antiestablishmentarian. I disavow all of Trump's racist, xenophobic, crazy remarks.
These World War 2 posters designed to warn service members against unprotected sex with strange women are amazing for so many reasons!
Many more at the link.
Here's a glowing review of Trump's management style and his experience turning around the Mar-a-Lago property.
Trump's gamble on Mar-a-Lago paid off. What was once a white elephant generates $15.6 million a year in revenue, according to Trump's financial disclosures released by federal election officials.
Based on sales of other Palm Beach property fronting on both sides of the 3.75-square-mile island, Mar-a-Lago is now estimated to be worth $300 million.
Unless he is campaigning, every weekend during the season, Trump flies down on his Boeing 757-200 with Melania, who speaks six languages, and his children who live in New York to spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, where he likes the prime dry aged strip steak and the meatloaf labeled as his mother's recipe.
Just before she retired in 2006, Norma Foerderer, Trump's vice president and top aide for 26 years, gave me her only in depth interview about Donald.
Foerderer said there are two Donald Trumps: the 'outrageous' one that utters brash comments on television and the real one that only she and other insiders know.
'I mean Donald can be totally outrageous, but outrageous in a wonderful way that gets him coverage,' Foerderer told me, presaging the caricature of himself Trump creates running for president.
'That persona sells his licensed products and his condominiums. You know Donald's never been shy, and justifiably so, in talking about how wonderful his buildings or his golf clubs are.'
The private Trump, on the other hand, is 'the dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man,' Foerderer said. That caring side inspires loyalty and is one of his secrets to his success.
Barring indictment for Hillary or shenanigans at the Republican convention, it looks like 2016 will be Trump vs. Hillary.
Trump isn't my favorite, but I'm not panicking about his nomination. I'm pretty tired of the Republican elites who have squandered the past 16 years. Let's shake things up! Trump: safer than a civil war or Constitutional convention.