Archives for: April 2013

Streetcars and Light Rail

That’s the future of American transport, according to the man Barack Obama has tapped — after almost a year and a half — to be transportation secretary:

America’s transportation system will continue to grind to a halt under President Obama’s pick for transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx. Currently mayor of Charlotte, N.C., Foxx strongly supports streetcars and other obsolete forms of transit.

Seriously, streetcars. A number of cities, with the federal government offering lavish subsidies, are trying to revive a 19th century technology as the solution to transportation. Of course, if no one rides it, such a system actually worsens traffic, increases greenhouse gas emissions and guzzles money. And, in fact, the model of this system — Portland’s Streetcar — is an albatross. It only rides 10,000 people a day, requires federal state and local subsidies and moves slower than people walk. That’s the model. That’s how a streetcar line is doing in a city that is very liberal, very green and just about optimized to take advantage of it. You can imagine what such a boondoggle would be like in fucking Charlotte.

What’s more, Foxx is supporting this boondoggle on top of existing boondoggles.

Transit advocates often point to Charlotte as an example of a successful lightrail line (more accurately described as a “low-capacity-rail line”). With success like this, I’d hate to see failure: the line cost more than twice the original projection; generates just $3 million in annual fares against more than $20 million in annual operations and maintenance costs; and collects of an average of just 77 cents per ride compared with nearly a dollar for other light-rail lines. Now Charlotte wants to extend the line even though a traffic analysis report predicts that the extension will dramatically increase traffic congestion in the corridor (see pp. 54-56).

Foxx, of course, says that the point of mass transit isn’t to make money or move people but to “develop” areas. But … that’s ain’t true either:

Rail advocates claim that Charlotte’s low-capacity-rail line helped revitalize neighborhoods along the line. However, a study by transportation expert David Hartgen concluded that most of the billions of dollars of development that was planned along the line was never built. Of the developments that were built, most would have taken place without the line, Hartgen found, though not necessarily in exactly the same locations.

I’m reminded of the economic justifications for publicly funded sports stadiums. Whenever one is built, a surprisingly small number of businesses and apartments cluster around and we’re told that it’s because of the stadium; that without the stadium, people would (I guess) be living in ditches and selling their organs for food. But almost every objective study has shown that stadia just affect where something is built, often in a minor way (i.e, moving something a block) and often because of additional subsidies for building near them. The stadium boom has almost run its course so light rail is the next urban boondoggle to shovel taxpayer money into the hands of politically powerful interests.

I don’t mean to pick on Foxx, specifically. His view is common and is the received wisdom among Democrats and Keynesians. It would be almost impossible for Obama to find a Transportation Secretary who didn’t believe in this manure. And local and state officials keep making the mistakes of taking temporary federal subsidies to start transportation projects only to leave their successors with a money-guzzling sinkhole once the subsidies are finished. But it is rare to see someone who, looking at a market that has already demonstrated its incompatibility with light rail wants to double down.

From such is Obama building his second term cabinet.

Post Scriptum: RTFLC has obtained an exclusive video of Foxx explaining his vision for public transportation.

I am sure that it is the conspiracy theorist in me.. (UPDATED)

That makes me feel that there definitely was an orchestrated high level cover-up operation, led from the WH of all places, which included the usual willing leftard sheeple in the LSM, to help them hide the disastrous happenings in Benghazi, and when we hear how the WH is actively threatening anyone with dire consequences should they choose to ignore that WH directive to keep quiet, it is all bunk. What the hey! These crooks currently running the country would never do anything like that. Can’t be true.

Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.

“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”

Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to the attack, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded, and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials incorrectly described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.

“It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

Yeah, well we were pointing out that the WH strategy from the start, and remember this happened close enough to the 2012 election that had the facts come out it would have mattered, was to silence anyone that had the facts. Even Snopes, which does its best to provide the scumbags in the WH with cover on this story, admits that they do not know why either theater commander was relieved, based on more cover-up from Panetta. Panetta had a vested interest in covering for this administration. But I digress.

The fact remains that the scumbags in the WH have been working overtime to keep the truth about Benghazi, regardless of if you believe it is trivial shit or actually horribly damning information about clandestine operations – operations that are far worse than any that the current administration and its party spend years excoriating the previous one about – like I suspect is the case, under wraps. That the people being called up by congress to testify are being threatened to “shut up, or else”, is exactly more of what I expected from these craven and despicable scumbags. They are trying to both provide the current “Community Organizer in Chief” and the candidate they hope follows him in 2016, Mrs. Rodham-Clinton, with cover from a botched incident that resulted in a US ambassador’s assassination.

I have a suspicion that once we do get the facts everyone that provided cover for them will pretend they didn’t do anything of the sort. Kind of like everyone on the left pretends these days that they were on Reagan’s side during the Cold War, and that they think he was courageous for standing up to the “Evil Empire”. Of course, those of us that lived through that period remember clearly how the left actively undermined any and all attempts to halt the evil red machine’s global attempts to spread the cancer of communism, making the US, and especially Reagan, the bad guy. I point out that we got a rear glimpse of their true feelings when the left’s mask and lies about how they were on the side against the “Evil Empire” was recently dropped when they put Thatcher to rest.

There is some serious rot here behind the Benghazi cover-up, but of course, the usual suspects will dismiss it as nothing but speculation, the facts be damned. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

UPDATE: If you had any doubt the WH was lying check this out:

A special operations member who witnessed the attack on the U.S. Mission unfold in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 last year, as well as debriefed those who took part in the response, spoke with Fox News’ Adam Housley on Monday night and revealed information that directly contradicts the administration’s insistence that there was not enough time nor resources to send to Benghazi to help State Department employees, contractors, and intel operatives who were under a terrorist attack. FNC kept their source’s identity hidden, as witnesses to the Benghazi attack have reportedly been intimidated by the administration into silence. The assault left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.

“I know for a fact that C110 was doing a training exercise not in the region of northern Africa but in Europe and they have the ability to react and respond,” the special ops member told FNC.

This operator was not the only one to make this case. Several other people have argued that help was available and that the commanders were sacked to keep them from testifying to that being the case. I am going out on a limb and betting the operation in Libya was something the WH was so desperate to keep under wraps that it blocked any help from going there so there would be no witnesses. Just look at the other shit they have done for proof these scumbags would allow others to die or try to profit from tragedy every given time.

The Tsarnaev Follies

The last week has had a number of interest revelations about the two men who bombed Boston and, apparently, intended to bomb New York as well. I’ve been accumulating these articles for a week and waiting for a common thread to emerge. And I think I’ve found it.

The first thing that emerges from the reporting is that Uncle Ruslan had it right the first time he spoke to the press: these guys were losers. The elder Tsarnaev was on welfare for a while and only got off because his wife was apparently working two jobs. He has some vague boxing ambitions but doesn’t seem to have put the effort in that athletic success requires. The younger one was in school but was a genial pothead at best. While it’s possible they had some training — certainly the bombs showed an unusual degree of sophistication — they bumbled around quite a bit. They lingered around Boston, had a single gun to take on the cops and the elder brother died when his younger panicked brother accidentally ran over him trying to flee the police. Indeed, this is common in terrorists:

In describing the “adversary,” the case studies far more commonly use words like incompetent, ineffective, unintelligent, idiotic, ignorant, inadequate, unorganized, misguided, muddled, amateurish, dopey, unrealistic, moronic, irrational, foolish, and gullible. Many of the cases suggest that there is little exaggeration in the 2010 film, Four Lions, the impressive dark comedy about a band of hapless home-grown British terrorists.

Amazingly, the Boston perpetrators apparently thought they could somehow get away with their deed even though they chose to set their bombs off at the most-photographed spot on the planet at the time. Moreover, although they were not prepared to die with their bombs, they do not seem to have had anything that could be considered a coherent plan of escape. This rather bizarre inability to think about the aftermath of the planned deed is quite typical in the case studies. (Also commonly found: an inability to explain how killing a few random people would advance their cause.)

We don’t see it this way because we usually hear about terrorist success stories: 9/11, Boston, 7/7, etc. We don’t hear much about terrorists blowing themselves up with poorly designed bombs, groups hugs or stumbles over errant sheep. So I think the critical question here is not how these guys became radicalized or how they became bitter or whether their mommy hugged them enough as babies. The question is how they were able to succeed where so many of their idiotic misguided brethren failed. Was it training? Was it luck?

The other thing to emerge is that this didn’t exactly come out of left field. We received multiple warnings from the Russians who had wiretapped his mother and heard some vague jihadist murmurings. The elder brother was, in fact, on a watch list but was later taken off.

So why didn’t we pay more attention to him? Well, there are watch lists and there are watch lists. Philip Bump:

The terror watch list, as it’s known, isn’t really a watch list. For one thing, it isn’t regularly watched. For another, it’s not one list. It’s more of a set of hierarchical, integrated databases which are checked under various circumstances, most notably when individuals want to travel. According to Reuters, after he was interviewed by the FBI in 2011, Tsarnaev was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, which is compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center. It’s a list that comprises over half a million names. “Because of its huge size,” Reuters reports, “U.S. investigators do not routinely monitor everyone registered there, said U.S. officials familiar with the database.”

In other words, there’s a sort of pyramid of terror investigation. At the bottom of the pyramid are hundreds of thousands of people who’ve come to the government’s attention for some reason. As the FBI and other agencies look into behavior and patterns, people can move up the pyramid — fewer people evincing more suspicious behavior — winnowing to a point once held by Osama bin Laden. Or, after a determined time, people can drop out of the pyramid entirely if they don’t behave in a way that raises suspicion. That’s the track Tsarnaev was on.

This is a problem we had on 9/11 and a problem we have had since. Our government is collecting astonishing amounts of information and considers the terrorist potential of hundreds of thousands of people. But it doesn’t really seem to have a good way — 12 years on from 9/11 — of figuring out which pieces of information are useful. Afterward, we can go back and say, “Ah, here, here and here. Why didn’t we see it?” But the ability of all that intelligence to predict terrorism seems limited at best.

(There are some other issues that I regard as meaningless, such as the judge advising Dzhokhar of his right not to testify against himself.)

I was contemplating all this last night and it finally came together. These guys were nobodies. One was a bum, the other was on his way to bumhood. They were flagged as potential risks but didn’t do anything to really grab the FBI’s attention. There are questions that still need to be asked: how did they learn to build the bomb and did the FBI miss anything important? Could this have been prevented with a better approach? All that will come out.

However, based on the current information, this seems to reinforce the reality that, in the end our citizens are our best line of defense. Our citizens have succeeded where other have failed. It was citizens who stopped United 93. It was citizens who stopped Richard Reid. It was citizens who stopped the undie bomber. It was citizens who stopped the Times Square Bomber. And it was citizens who snapped the pictures and gave the testimony that nailed these guys. Homeland Security will never design a system that can catch everyone, even if we didn’t care about civil liberties. No matter how intense a police state we create, dangerous people will slip through the cracks. Our last and best line of defense is 300 million people keeping their eyes open.

For the metrosexuals amongst us…

It now looks like you can now let your inner woman run loose, if you are one of those down under dudes with doubts about what what’s many or not:

If you’re a man and have ever wanted to dress in women’s lingerie a firm has come up with the perfect product for you.

HommeMystere are hoping their new range of lingerie for males, which includes thongs and padded bras, will change the landscape of men’s underwear.

The Australian firm said their under garments include ‘comfortable men’s panties that really do fit, bra straps that don’t fall off the shoulder, teddies that don’t ride up halfway through the night and quality soft fabrics that feel great for all day wear’.

Maybe I am just too old and set in my ways to see anything but a chance to make fun of some people in dire need of a kick in the ass, but then again, this stuff is what passes for modernity these days. WTF happened to the proud people of Crocodile Dundee that they are now dressing up in chick unmentionables? Hey I am no prude, but damn it, leave the hot lingerie for the womenz. As Seinfeld so aptly said about another topic close to this one: “Not that there is anything wrong with that”….

Others are also wondering about this…

Not sure how many people here have seen the price jump on standardized ammunition calibers and the accompanying shortages that make restocking 9mm and 10mm rounds a monumental exercise. Manufacturers in the US have been going balls to the walls to keep up with demand, as citizens, correctly feeling the heavy hand of those members of Leviathan that want to shit all over the 2nd amendment and disarm the sheeple, stock up on the ammunition. It’s that philosophy that heavy metals are needed to deal with the catastrophic consequences of the idiotic decisions our government is making. I am talking about buying gold, silver, and the ultimate heavy metal, lead, as a precautionary strategy to our reckless fiscal and social policies, which can’t be sustained on unicorn farts and liberal wishful thinking and are setting us on course for a societal implosion.

Many have pointed out that while the military has been gobbling up a lot of ammo, the real outlier is the ridiculous purchases by the DHS. Oh, big sis tells us they aren’t buying that many rounds or that they need those rounds for training. They even claim they are doing this because they want to save tax payers money, and these bulk purchases supposedly do just that. Of course, since it is these bulk purchases driving the scarcity and the price hikes, one can be forgiven for thinking that line is all bullshit. There is something else at work here. Queue the belief that there is an ulterior motive for the DHS purchases, and as the article points out, we got more of the same from the DHS:

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security denied Thursday that its large-scale ammunition purchases were an effort keep bullets out of the hands of private citizens.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, top DHS training officer Humberto Medina said he could “say categorically that was not a factor at all” in the purchases. He also noted that ammunition DHS purchased would be used for both operations and training purchases.

The Associated Press reported in February that DHS was planning to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next five years, a number that sparked fears of government stockpiling – which DHS previously denied to Whispers. Officials told lawmakers DHS actually was planning to buy only up to 750 million rounds.

But, the information that should immediately stand out to anyone with two firing neurons as odd and contradictory is the following:

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said it still looked like the government was unnecessarily amassing ammunition.

“The idea that you have to have excess rounds, year after year, flies in the face of common sense,” Issa said. Medina argued that DHS keeps a reserve of ammunition because of market fluctuations and because of past problems with vendors.

In fiscal year 2012, DHS purchased more than 103 million rounds of ammunition, to be used by about 70,000 DHS officers who are currently authorized to use weapons. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Thursday that “the math” didn’t make sense, pointing out that this means an average 1300-1600 rounds per DHS officer – some 1000 rounds more than the average for an officer in the Army.

That’s a lot of extra ammo. Granted that’s what an officer shoots in the Army, not the grunts, but I will bet that even the grunts don’t get to fire off even half that many rounds a year, period. WTF makes the DHS agents so much more special? Especially in a time of war.

Leviathan’s agents can deny all they want that this is not a big deal, but I am not buying it. The proof that this government has hated the SCOTUS’ Heller decision is ample. From the
DOJ’s cover up of a scandalous and bogus operation that is tantamount to an act of war against the sovereign Mexican state to the despicable attempted gun grabbing legislation that used the emotions caused by the tragic Newtown massacre to bamboozle citizens into letting Leviathan piss on our constitution, legislation I add that would have done absolutely nothing of an effective to prevent another Newtown-like tragedy but in the mind of reality challenged idiots, it has been obvious that the focus of these people is on disarming the law abiding citizenry. And the ammunition purchases by the DHS is just a lot more of that. It isn’t

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Hey Mr DJ: Bassist Desires Edition

Is it indeed true that the bassist only tries to look like he’s working as hard as the rest of the band? I don’t think so.

In fact, much of the music I enjoy the most has a notably strong bassline to it. I love the low tones, for some reason. To me, the bass guitar is a wondrous instrument.

This topic came to me a couple of weeks ago when Chi Cheng, the bass player from the Deftones, finally died years after being rendered comatose by a car accident. He was one of the greatest. I was going to play this list last week in his honor but, you know…

We should show some overdue respect to the bass-masters with:

1. Highlights of the most notable bass players

2. Songs made memorable by their awesome bass lines. Bass guitars are not the only acceptable instrument here. This may include music with a double bass or even hip hop or dubstep with a good bass rendered electronically.

3. Deftones. That is all.

Free Bass Bonus: Songs with bass solos.

This isn’t really a death thread, so you get your dedications.

First up is a tribute.

I’m pulling every song on this dedication list from what’s currently loaded on my smartphone. Such is how I love that sound that there is so much for the #2’s. I expect this to be the most cool groove-sounding playlist yet.

pfluffy: Psychotic Girl by The Black Keys (I’m sure I’ve probably done this one before two or three times, but I REALLY like it.)

Santino: Go by Pearl Jam

CM: Holland by The Black Angels

Mississippi Yankee: Have They Forgotten by The Living End (Only song here that uses an actual double bass, I believe)

InsipiD: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson (best song he ever did, IMO)

WVR: Crosseyed and Painless by Talking Heads

Biggie G: Too Close by Alex Clare

The Exemption

I think all of us — liberal, conservative and otherwise — can unite in saying “No Fucking Way“:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

Gee, politico, ya think so? One thing to note in the article: there seems to be a lot of confusion on Capital Hill about what, exactly, implementing the bill will entail for Congress. That is, Congress isn’t clear on what their own healthcare reform is going to mean to them. How do they expect the rest of us to keep up?

When this whole process started, I said that a keystone had to be that Congress got the same plan the rest of us did. Several Republicans made sure that got into Obamacare. We can’t back down now. If Congress exempts themselves from this, we really will end up with one system for the rich and power, and one system for the rest of us.

The Fisker Follies

Oops:

Newly obtained documents show the Obama administration was warned as early as 2010 that electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. was not meeting milestones set up for a half-billion dollar government loan, nearly a year before U.S. officials froze the loan after questions were raised about the company’s statements.

An Energy Department official said in a June 2010 email that Fisker’s bid to draw on the federal loan may be jeopardized for failure to meet goals established by the department.

Despite that warning, Fisker continued to receive money until June 2011, when the DOE halted further funding. The agency did so after Fisker presented new information that called into question whether key milestones — including the launch of the company’s signature, $100,000 Karma hybrid — had been achieved, according to a credit report prepared by the Energy Department.

Fisker was losing about half a million dollars for every car they made.

The loan programs have been justified as an attempt to prevent companies from falling into the “Valley of Death”: the time after they get their initial capital but can’t get further loans but haven’t quite become profitable. Supposedly, the government makes loans to companies in the Valley of Death to tide them over to the point where they become profitable and everything works out. But I called this a load of crap two years ago:

There’s a concept behind the “valley of death” that [Austin] Goolsbee knows well – creative destruction. In order for one startup business to succeed, many have to fail. We have to find out what doesn’t work before we can find out what does. And having the government hold people’s hands and make businesses “too small to fail” interferes with that process.

We need the Valley of Death. Government should not be tipping people into it with regulations that favor big business (CPSIA comes to mind) or ridiculous taxes. But business that succeed overcome the valley by crawling over the broken bodies of those that came before. Failure to fail is not an option.

The failure of Fisker automotive is not a bad thing. Lessons can be learned by what they did wrong and future companies might be better. What was a bad thing was the government ignoring the data in front of them to prop up a dying company in the vain hope that they would get them through the Valley of Death. What was a bad thing was this was almost certainly not informed by any business sensibility. This propping up was for political reasons, including the desperate desire to not have a highly visible failure on their hands.

We should not be surprised or outraged by the failure of Fisker or Solyndra or anyone else. Failing is what most start-ups do. What we should be outraged about is the Federal Government burning money in an attempt to support business friends and cover their asses.

Nananana! We Can’t Hear You!

Of all the political memes out there, the one that most annoys me is the idea that liberals are so much more reasonable than conservatives. We’re told that they think in terms of facts and evidence. They like to consider all points of view. They are “evidence-based”.

But the simple reality is that almost everyone is full of shit. And when their shit is challenged, they try to shoot the messenger, whether that messenger is liberal, conservative or crypto-monarchist. To wit:

Last week, the American Federation of Teachers released a blacklist of financial asset managers that fund organizations supporting education reform and/or switching from defined-benefit to defined-contribution pension systems, such as StudentsFirst, the Show-Me Institute and the Manhattan Institute. The report urges AFT affiliates to pressure pension fiduciaries not to invest their money with such asset managers. The AFT also makes a not-so-subtle threat to go after the donors to other think tanks and education reform groups:

This isn’t the first time AFT has done this. But the emphasis against education reform proponents is probably related to this:

Yesterday, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released their third edition of their report “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” The report provides a literature review of dozens of high-quality studies of school choice programs around the country, including studies from scholars at Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, the University of Arkansas, the Brookings Institution, and the Federal Reserve Bank. The studies examine the impact of school choice programs on the academic performance of participants and public school students, the fiscal impact on taxpayers, racial segregation, and civic values.

The report’s key findings included the following:

  • Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact.
  • Twenty-three empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools.
  • Six empirical studies have examined school choice’s fiscal impact on taxpayers. All six find that school choice saves money for taxpayers. No empirical study has found a negative fiscal impact.
  • Eight empirical studies have examined school choice and racial segregation in schools. Of these, seven find that school choice moves students from more segregated schools into less segregated schools. One finds no net effect on segregation from school choice. No empirical study has found that choice increases racial segregation.
  • Seven empirical studies have examined school choice’s impact on civic values and practices such as respect for the rights of others and civic knowledge. Of these, five find that school choice improves civic values and practices. Two find no visible impact from school choice. No empirical study has found that school choice has a negative impact on civic values and practices.
  • On the same day, a new study from researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution found that a school choice program boosted college enrollment among African-American participants by 24 percent.

    To be fair, some of the studies show only small gains. But that’s often the way science — not to mention social science — works. Studies have biases, errors or just bad luck in their sampling. There are always outlier studies and people who want to cite those outlier studies over the more numerous non-outliers. That the studies are consistently showing improvement is the important thing.

    These studies would not be happening — would not even be possible — without the ongoing uphill fight by such as the Manhattan Institute. And so the AFT is getting desperate to stop these successful experiments in education reform. They have to kill the messenger before the taxpayer hears the message. They have been aided by a liberal establishment that will happily ignore the message (notice that these studies are never mentioned when Jindal’s Louisiana plan is discussed). But the truth is slowly getting out. School choice works better than the current system (and no, it’s not perfect; I know that. It’s an improvement is all I’m saying.) Other reforms opposed by union are also showing results. And this has to be stopped.

    This is, of course, not unique to the education debate. Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society. This case hinges around the Bush-era policy — continued by Obama and supported by many liberal and so-called feminist organizations — of requiring NGO’s to denounce prostitution and oppose legalization in order to qualify for funds to combat the spread of AIDS. I’m not sure how the Court will rule; they have typically taken an “it’s my ball, I can go home now” attitude on these issues. But look closely. There is plenty of evidence that legalizing prostitution inhibits the spread of AIDS by giving sex workers legal backing for demanding condom use. In fact, in countries where prostitution is legal or quais-legal, non-street walkers often have lower STI rates than the general public.

    But that fact is inconvenient to the Baptist and Bootlegger coalition that opposes sex work decriminalization. It is inconvenient to the feminist organizations that oppose decriminalization, inconvenient to the Obama Administration, inconvenient to five Democrats (and four Republicans) who filed an amicus brief in support of the law, inconvenient to the feminists and liberals who signed the amicus brief for the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. It is critical that no one dispute the Pravda that fighting AIDS means outlawing prostitution.

    We can go on and on but you get the point. People will happily talk about “getting the facts” and “considering the evidence” when it supports them. The minute the facts turn against them, those facts have to be stomped down. Liberals aren’t exempt from this in the slightest. I have a whole tag on my own site detailing case after case where liberals massage the facts, ignore the facts, deny the facts, stomp down the facts. Why just today, the liberal blogs erupted over a poorly designed analysis that claimed that gun ownership increases homicide rates despite extremely obvious flaws.

    So yes, liberals like the facts … that is, until those facts shit their bed. Then the facts have to be ignored. Or better yet, never come to anyone’s attention.

    Shocker in Boston

    Are you sitting down? You may be amazed to learn that the two men who blew up a marathon and had an extended shootout with cops did not have licenses for guns! In fact, they were ineligible to have gun permits (one was too young; the other had a domestic abuse conviction). In fact, some of the weapons they used may have been illegal in Massachusetts!! As Thrill pointed on Twitter, their bombs probably weren’t licensed either.

    Just shocking.

    Also, I have it on good authority that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city – that ain’t legal either.