The CFPB Slap Fight

There is a bizarre power struggle going on with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former director has resigned and we currently have two acting directors claiming to be the head of the CFPB. One is the former deputy director, Leandra English. The other is a Trump appointee Mike Mulvaney. National Review breaks it down:

What has happened is this: The director of the bureau, Richard Cordray, has resigned. President Donald Trump has named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, acting director until a permanent director can be confirmed by the Senate. But Cordray’s deputy, Leandra English, has attempted to block that appointment, offering a very novel interpretation of the bureaucratic rule holding that the deputy director operates as acting director in the event the director becomes unavailable. She is arguing that the director’s resignation makes him “unavailable” and hence makes her acting director. But a resignation doesn’t make a director unavailable — it makes him no longer the director.

Only the most gullible liberals are taking English’s oddball legal argument seriously. English is being represented in the matter by private counsel, the bureau’s own general counsel having concluded that the Trump administration has the better case, with “better case” here meaning “plain statutory authority.” The CFPB is established in law as an “executive agency” and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 explicitly empowers the president to name an acting director when there is a vacancy in a position requiring presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. The law is not ambiguous on the point.

A federal judge has now ruled in Mulvaney’s favor. Needless to say, the Democrats are taking English’s side and proclaiming that … something … in the law that created the CFPB enables English to proclaim herself Defender of the Faith. Ultimately, this fight is not necessarily about who heads the CFPB but about who the agency is accountable to. The Republicans want it to be accountable to the President. The Democrats want it to be accountable to no one. This is why the Court of Appeals declared the structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional. Because federal law does not allow for regulatory agencies to declare themselves as independent fiefdoms.

You can probably tell I’m with Trump on this. Having a federal agency beyond executive control is not only unconstitutional, it’s a terrible idea. This is illustrated perfectly by the terror Democrats have of what it will do under a Trump appointee’s control. We have enough problems with federal agencies acting like feudal lords, issuing regulations and laws without any approval of Congress. Having one that can appoint its own leadership is a bit too far. Trump’s Acting Director should stand (although Trump should submit a nominee to Congress immediately). Presidents have long had the power to appoint acting heads of departments following resignations. There is no reason for the CFPB to be different.

This nonsense and the hand-over-heart tear-streaked cries of support of Democrats for English illustrates all that is wrong with the “Resistance”. Trump is going to appoint a CFPB head at some point. So this Acting Director stuff is just temporary at best. It’s provoking a needless, silly and ultimately futile fight for no reason other than to virtue signal. It’s inside-the-Beltway crap and will, frankly, only strengthen Trump’s hand with the general public. I understand why the Democrats are choosing this fight — they want the CFPB to be independent. But it’s a stupid, pointless and damaging fight to pick. If you want the CFPB to reflect liberal values, then maybe nominate someone for President who is not so personally, ethically and politically challenged that she can’t beat an incontinent hamster.

In other words, elections have consequences. This is one of them.

NBC Takes Out The Trash, Oh, And Our President Is Still A Dope

Wow, Matt Lauer, an NBC staple for 25 years, was unceremoniously fired yesterday over the offence de jour of late, not respecting sexual boundaries;

Matt Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, sources told Page Six.

An NBC insider said Lauer’s alleged victim complained to HR on Monday: “This happened so quickly. She didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that.”

Another source tells us that the decision to fire Lauer was made late Tuesday night by NBC News chairman Andy Lack.

Lauer’s firing comes amid rumors that several news outlets were working on stories about his alleged sexual misconduct.

The carnage of late is staggering; Roger Ailes, Bill Oreilly, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Louis CK, Mark Halprin, John Lassiter. They say that with great power comes great responsibility, but apparently it also comes with an over eager sex drive and a total disregard for sexual propriety. On the flip side, me thinks that there also exists a gaggle of men who equally felt discomfited at a butt cheek pinch (or bicep grab) from a female higher up, but dismissed it because either, well, that’s what men do-shake it off, or because it would seem pretty girly to complain about such a thing to HR.

But I am troubled by a few things here; the mob mentality that now seems to permeate our social discourse, and the lack of circumspection when it comes to political figures.

I have no love for Lauer, a typical progressive shill just like 99.9% of all MSM personalities, but I wonder what happened to due process here, and how quickly the mob said ,”off with his head”, and the NBC suits complied. I mention this from a position of ,”I don’t have all the facts”, and freely admit that. Maybe, after this solo revelation, several other NBC co workers came forward with equally disturbing statements, maybe after calling him in he admitted everything, maybe the local authorities are ready to drop a criminal complaint on his ass and NBC was taking preemptive measures. But the article says the victim reported it on Monday, and he was fired on Tuesday, no ,”We are suspending Lauer pending our own due diligence”, nope, it was as simple as ,”She said this, we believe her, and that is that”.

The other interesting point is that with the media, it is all about ratings, but with politics, it is all about votes. A sad state of affairs, TV personalities must have character, must exhibit qualities the average man must emulate, must be honorable, respected, and wholesome. Politicians, OTOH, its all about ,”What he can do for me?”. Conyers, Franken, Moore (and Trump for that matter) still alive and kicking. We don’t care (or don’t care enough)that they are pigs, he is our pig and will due our bidding.

Getting shamed in the court of public opinion, bad enough, but getting fired at a gig you had for 25 years (Oreilly can relate), that is really bad, and done at supersonic speed. I hope Lauer has a good lawyer. If allegations can be proven and fall within criminal boundaries, bring it, but there will be innocent fall out over this current push to clean house and get rid of the perverts (and they made fun of Pence when he said he never is alone with any female not his wife). I hope any man, Lauer included (maybe a stretch) who falls victim to the avalanche of the sexual protocol police, and is innocent, sues the holy hell out of not only his accuser, but his employer if fired. Yes, deviants, need to be identified and ostracized, but knee jerk indignation (another awful shooting, more gun control is needed, there, now I feel better) without due process is nobody’s friend.

Swiftly Moving Toward Insanity

One of the things I despise about our modern political era is that everything — and I mean everything — has to be politicized. I’ve lost track of the number of things I’m supposed to be boycotting or buying in defiance of a boycott. I get bored to tears by the entirely unoriginal political rantings of celebrities. We can’t even go the store without being asked to save the whales.

But probably the worst part of this is the tendency to castigate those who refuse to engage in this bullshit. I blogged last year about Jimmy Fallon being criticized for a softball interview with Trump. And the latest target is Taylor Swift, whose refusal to get political apparently makes her a fascism enabler. This reached peak insanity with an unsigned editorial from The Guardian:

In the year since Donald Trump was elected, the entertainment world has been largely united in its disdain for his presidency. But a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the “alt-right”.

Yes. Because no other celebrities use social media or talk about themselves or are concerned with the bottom line. And that some obscure Alt-Right idiots have declared Swift to be their “Aryan Goddess” means … something.

By focusing only on her own, extremely profitable, business, Swift appears at first glance to be an apolitical pop star, keen to attract people of all leanings. She began her career in country, a genre whose fans have historically identified as Republican (early on, she wrote that “Republicans do it better”, though after Barack Obama’s victory she said she was “so glad this was my first election”). But these days, even heartland country singers are mocking the president. Her silence seems to be more wilful: a product of her inward gaze, perhaps, or her pettiness and refusal to concede to critics. Swift seems not simply a product of the age of Trump, but a musical envoy for the president’s values.

Let me just say that I’m really glad the UK has socialized medicine. Because I would hate to think that anyone could contort themselves into such an excruciatingly idiotic position and be unable to get the healthcare necessary to recover from it. I’m no fan of Swift but this is balls-out insane. Mining Swift’s music for clues that she’s actually a secret Trumpist? What’s next, finding secret fascist symbols in her dance moves?

If they wanted to argue that Swift and Trump are both reflections of a culture that is getting increasingly narcissistic … they’d kinda have a point, albeit an oblique and meaningless one. But by trying to tie this to some kind of political philosophy, they fall flat on their face. Why is Swift’s silence on politics self-centered, but self-aggrandizing celebrities jumping on the political bandwagon is not? We have an entire slate of late-night talk shows devoted to C-list celebrities talking politics and talking it stupidly. Every sitcom has to virtue signal by making a joke about Trump’s tweets (and bad ones at that). Hell, look at me. I blog and tweet. What the hell is that other than, “Look at me! Wheeee!”

Not everything is about politics and not everything is about Trump. Stop pretending that it is. For the sake of our mass sanity. As far as I’m concerned, Taylor Swift’s eschewing of politics is the best thing about her.

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2017

For ten years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

Read more… »

The Alabama Shit Show

I knew things were going to be bad when twice-defrocked theocrat Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the Senate. But I didn’t imagine it would be this bad. I’ve been tinkering with those post for days, but things keep happening. I’ll assume you’re mostly up to date, so I’ll just highlight a few thoughts.

First, while Moore is obviously innocent until proven guilty, I find the allegations against him both credible and disturbing. He has admitted to dating high school girls when he was in his 30’s. There are reports that his creepy behavior was well-known in the area. The original WaPo article interviewed at least 30 sources. And the two women who have accused of non-consensual acts both crossed me as truthful. Innocent until proven guilty is our standard for criminal proceedings. But for someone who is going to be a Senator, someone who is going to wield real political power, someone who could, at some point, hold the fate of the country in his hands, I think a higher standard is required. People should not vote for Moore. And if elected, he should step down.

Moore is still leading in the polls and I expect him to win. A lot of people are rallying to his side and some have said the allegations make them more likely to vote for him. I want to be clear: this is not because people approve of his behavior; it’s mostly because they think this a Democratic Party dirty trick. That hasn’t been helped by a slew of garbage fake stories about how the yearbook signature is both too good and not good enough, how the restaurant Beverly Young Nelson worked at didn’t exist, how the women were paid money. It’s included things like faking a letter of support from 53 pastors and an obviously robocall from a “Bernie Bernstein” claiming to be looking for dirt on Moore.

With that caveat, I have read people saying that a pedophile would be preferable to a Democrat. This is deeply deranged partisanship. It’s not like Doug Jones is a lunatic or something. He’s a law-and-order mainstream Democrat who supports gun rights and defense spending. His big claim to fame was prosecuting the Alabama church bombers. Yes, losing that seat will hurt the GOP’s agenda. On the other hand, holding it has done exactly zilch for their agenda. And if the GOP’s governing ability comes down to whether a deranged, creepy bible-thumping hypocrite like Moore is in power, the party is deeply lost.

Given the rash of sex abuse scandals that have erupted lately, I’ve seen a number of Democrats saying that they should have taken the allegations against Bill Clinton more seriously. I’m glad to hear that but their mea culpa is a decade late and a billion dollars short. It’s easy to be intellectually honest once you’ve got nothing to lose. If Hillary were President right now, they’d still defending Bill. Hell, they’ll probably go back to defending him again come, oh, December 13.

American politics is broken and our parties are broken. If our parties were functional, we would not have seen the Clinton-Trump fiasco of last year and we would not be seeing the Roy Moore fiasco of this year. All three disasters would have been nipped in the bud. But the leadership of both parties is now filled with people who think politics involves scoring points on Twitter and raising oodles of cash from special interests. The practical aspects of politics — building constituencies, recruiting good candidates, defusing opposition — has gone out the window.

I’d like to say the electing Moore is the apotheosis. But things can always get worse.

Bad Night for the GOP

I try not to read too much into off-year elections but last night’s was a debacle for the GOP. The Virginia governor’s race was a wipeout and, as of this morning, the state legislature may tip to the Democrats. At minimum, Virginia Democrats will now have veto power for the first time in over 25 years and had their biggest night in four decades. The New Jersey governorship and New York mayoral race went against the GOP. Other state legislative races and mayoral races went against the GOP. It was bad night for them, a clean sweep by the Democrats.

Trump’s popularity hasn’t changed that much since election day. He’s still got most of the GOP behind him and most of the Democrats against him. Moderates have shifted against him but he’s still polling in the high 30’s, lower than election day but not drastically so. I’ve noted before that Trump’s performance in 2016 was terrible. It was the worst performance in a post-incumbent election in American history (i.e., an election where a two-term incumbent President is retiring). Now we’re seeing what would have happened had his opponent not been almost equally despised. With a meh candidate, Virginia shifted almost five points to the Democrats, enough for the gubernatorial election to become a rout and the legislature to tip. The Democrats won young people by nearly 40 points, a huge shift from 2012 and even 2016. An advantage of even a tenth that size would have given Clinton the election.

Here’s another thing: the Democrats are not popular. Their approval rating is the lowest in their history. So this was not a stampede toward Democrats, much as they’d like it to be. This was a backlash against Trump without the tempering influence of Clinton hate.

The implications of this for the GOP have to be frightening. Without Clinton as a foil, Trump’s unpopularity could completely sink the party. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen solid conservatives like McCain and Flake leave the party. Now we’re seeing decent Republicans run out of office because people hate Trump so much.

If this keeps up, the Republicans will be dead in the cities, dead in the suburbs and only alive because of rural support. We will see a shriveled husk of a party devoid of conservatives, devoid of moderates and comprised entirely of Trumpist populism. This would be a party unable to stop the Democrats from going Full Metal Socialist. Their only accomplishment would be ranting on raving on Sean Hannity’s show, which is apparently now the apotheosis of political achievement for Republicans these days.

Trump is not going to change course in response to this election. His response to the election was to immediately stab Gillespie in the back and I’m sure he’ll stab every Republican if he feels the need. He’s not a Republican. He only used them to vault into office. If the Democrats take Congress, he’ll claim credit then happily sign off on single payer healthcare as long as it had his name on it (as shown by his spineless deal on DACA).

Yeah, it’s just one election. We’ll see what happens next year. And, come 2020, the Democrats are going to need an actual Presidential candidate, who might be a fiasco in his or her own right. But you can’t help but be alarmed by where this is going. In 2016, Warren Meyer said the Republicans had chained themselves to a suicide bomber. It may turn out that it just took a bit longer for the bomb to go off.

An Apotheosis of Garbage

In the wake of two horrifying mass shootings, Nicholas Kristoff has published a supposed guide to reduce shootings. He says it is the result of tons of research and represents a new strategy. But what it really is is a rehash of every bad anti-gun argument and junk science claim made over the last decade with a a few fancy graphs. It has little original insight and no original solutions.

We’ll start at the beginning. The first graphic puts out two facts: that the United States has more guns than any other country and that the United States has more murders than other developed countries.

I have addressed this argument before but it is worth rehashing. This comparison only works if you limit your analysis to guns. If you include all murder, no matter how they are committed, the connection completely falls apart.

Look at the statistics he cites. He has Sweden and Switzerland (countries that, incidentally, have high rates of gun ownership) at gun murder rates of 0.3 and 0.2 per 100,000. But while guns are used for about 60% of murders in the United States, they are only used in about 25% of murders in those countries. Would those gun murders vanish if we didn’t have guns? Or would people just murder with other means? You can’t tell from that data.

Here’s a comparison of the “gun murder rate” with the total murder rate.

US – 3.0 (4.9)
Italy – 0.7 (0.8)
Canada – 0.5 (1.7)
Sweden – 0.3 (1.2)
Germany – 0.2 (0.9)
Switzerland – 0.2 (0.7)
Australia – 0.1 (0.9)
England, Wales – 0.1 (0.9)
France – 0.1 (1.6)
Spain – 0.1 (0.7)
Japan – 0.0 (0.3)

Limiting his analysis to gun murders allows him to conveniently ignore 90% of the murders in France, 80% of the murders in Australia and the UK, two-thirds of the murders in Canada. The clear meaning of that graphic is that we had Japan’s gun laws, we’d have zero murders. I don’t see any evidence of that in the data.

His second section looks at the big decline in automobile deaths, which have resulted, at least in part, from laws passed mandating safety technology and cracking down on drunk driving. We’ll put aside the egregious comparison of something that is a Constitutional Right — the Right to Bear Arms — against something that is a privilege — the ability to drive on public roads. Here, he actually does have a point except … that gun murders have declined too. They’ve declined massively from the early 90’s peak, by at least 50%. And that has happened with gun laws becoming less restrictive.

His third point is that the gun death rates track gun ownership in states. This point was addressed in the links above. But notice a two-step he’s done here. In the first graphic, he was comparing murder rates. In the second, it’s death rates, which include suicides. Why does he do this? Mainly because including suicides would have blown up his point since supposedly idyllic Japan has an astronomical suicide rate. But again, when you look at homicide or suicide by state regardless of method, they don’t track gun laws at all. Just like they don’t with countries. Guns change the method but not the madness.

His fourth section ranks states by how well their laws are rated by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and argues that states with good gun control have fewer gun deaths. But … again … Volokh looked at this and found no correlation between total violent death rate and gun laws. The connection only works if you limit it to deaths involving a gun. Moreover, if you restrict your analysis to just murder — remember in the fist graphic, when we were just concerned with murders? — the relation completely disintegrates. Maryland is rated A on their gun laws. They have 5th highest murder rate in the country. Illinois has a B. They rank #4. Maine has an F for gun laws and has one of the lowest murder rates in the country.

His next point is actually legitimate. He points out, correctly, that mass shooting are a tiny part of our nation’s problem of violence. But then he says America is “moving in the wrong direction” because our gun law are getting less restrictive. But if America is “moving in the wrong direction”, why has gun violence dropped so dramatically in that period of time? Why has the loosening of our gun laws overlapped with the most dramatic drop in violent crime in our history?

He then cites two studies from Bloomberg Center for Gun Policy and Research. One showed Connecticut’s gun registration law cut murders 40%. I’ve talked about this study before. The study is highly dubious, taking one law in one state and comparing the result to “synthetic Connecticut” to show … something. This synthetic state method, by the way, is gaining popularity in gun control circles, primarily because it allows you to prove whatever you want just by changing what states you use for your controls. The other study looks at gun laws in Missouri and says gun violence rose after the laws were eased. While that’s accurate, it elides the fact that gun violence was rising before the law was passed and other states did not see similar increases. These studies are why I call that group the Bloomberg Center for Cherry-Picking. And both of these carefully cultivated studies are undercut by the massive overwhelming national trend of looser gun laws and less violence.

His last few points are semi-reasonable. He hits Congress for banning federal funding for research and says that proper training might cut gun violence. And while he’s right that majorities agree on some gun control measures, there isn’t a huge wave of support for them.

In a way, I’m grateful for this article appearing. It’s a nice distillation of every BS talking point, every garbage data manipulation, every deceptive claim that has characterized the gun control movement. It’s one-stop shopping for nonsense. If he’d only included ABC’s ridiculous “If I Only Had A Gun” segment, it would be perfect.

Texas Massacre

A few thoughts on yesterday morning’s awfulness in Sutherland Springs.

  • It is hard to overstate how devastating this is to that community. About 1 in 14 people who live in the town are dead this morning, murdered because they were going to church. There are no words for this kind of devastation.
  • I can not comprehend the kind of evil that goes into this kind of act. Murdering for money or out of anger or something is vile enough. But how evil do you have to be to just go into a church and start shooting people, including children?
  • A lot has been made of the fact that three of the five deadliest shootings in American history have taken place in the last few years. A few points on that: first, that only applies to since the mid-20th century. Before then, you will find many shooting massacres that were deadlier. We just called them “race riots” because that was a more convenient term than “white people murdering a bunch of black people because reasons”.
  • That having been said, I do wonder if these mass shooters are refining their methods. We know the Sandy Hook shooter was fascinated by earlier shootings. We are seeing a pattern: multiple guns, rapid-fire guns, tightly-packed crowds, places where there will be little to no armed resistance.
  • I don’t know if we can do anything about that. But maybe not giving these shooters the post-mortem fame they crave would help.
  • This shooting appears to have been made less deadly by the intervention of an armed citizen. While this is the first time that’s applied to this level of massacre, we have seen many shooting stopped by armed citizens either before anyone was killed or after minimal loss of life.
  • The angry Left-Wing response to “thoughts and prayers” seems badly misguided. In the face of incomprehensible tragedy, many people pray. That’s the way religion works.
  • And frankly, given that the immediate response to this sort of thing is a demand for gun control, I would argue that the Left is praying too. They’re just praying to a different god: the tin-plated one of government power.

Events are still unfolding. We’ll hear a lot about the shooter. But my only interest in him is in what we can learn to prevent future incidents. What I really want to hear about is the victims. They’re the ones we should be talking about, not the dirtbag who killed them.

Brazile Spills

When it comes to the Russia collusion thing, I find myself thinking two related thoughts:

  • There was definitely an effort by the Russians to at least cause disruption in our election. It’s worth investigating. And anyone who worked with the Russians should be run out of politics.
  • I seriously doubta few facebook memes and a Wikileaks e-mail trove that no one outside of Washington cared about decided this election. Or even had a big impact.
  • I think the attention on Russia’s influence is, to a significant extent, driven by the Democrats’ need to distract from their own incompetence. Indeed, accounts of the election night indicate that Clinton decided quickly to blame the loss on the Russians, rather than her own mismanagement.

That latter point just got a big jolt of support:

The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.

“What?” I screamed. “I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.”

That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign—and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.

In return for this bailout, the Clinton campaign basically took over the DNC’s finances and strategy. It’s normal for Presidential campaigns to joint fundraise with the Party to bypass campaign finance limits. And it’s normal for the Presidential nominee to fill the DNC with their own people. But this began in 2015, long before she was officially the nominee. And the Clinton campaign canted the DNC’s strategies to favor Clinton and, instead of sharing money with the state committed, funneled almost all the money the Democratic Party was raising into Clinton’s presidential campaign. In short, the Democratic Party spent over a year serving as nothing more than a vehicle to advance Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, the rest of the country be damned.

You should read the whole thing, which is from Donna Brazile, current interim DNC chair. Brazile, of course, has her own history here: she was fired by CNN for feeding primary debate questions to Clinton. And this crosses me an effort to throw Wasserman-Schulz and Clinton under the bus to conceal her own perfidy. Althouse wonders if campaign finance laws were broken, which is a very good question.

We periodically get these reminders that, as bad as Trump is, Hillary Clinton was no panacea. Right now, her cultish followers are screaming sexism and crying, “Well, the DNC didn’t actually force people to vote for Clinton so the election wasn’t rigged!” But the DNC canted the entire process toward her. And she deprived them of any resources they needed for the kind of national presence that might have sustained her momentum. And then she went out and, despite these advantages, lost to her hand-picked tangerine opponent.

I said at the very beginning of the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton was bad at politics and the Democrats were going to be reminded of this in the hardest way possible. This decision to route all the money to her campaign wasn’t just corrupt and unethical, it was stupid. The Republican Party has as national presence; the Democratic Party does not. And decisions like this are why that is so. Even if Clinton had won, her burning of the party to support her own ambitions would have deprived her of the coattails needed to get a compliant Congress. Instead of Trump rage-tweeting about Congress, we’d have Clinton throwing lamps in the Oval Office. I guess that’d be an improvement, but not much of one.

NYC Again

What’s amazing about yesterday’s truck attack in NYC is the lack of immediate panic over it. We used to be able to count on these things to dominate the news and call for legislation. But I’m not hearing a lot of that (other than Trump’s call to end visa lotteries). I don’t know if we’ve gotten used to it or smarter in our approach — probably the former. The latest reporting is that he was radicalized in the United States. It’s hard to imagine some set of laws that will prevent gullible idiots from fall the delusional rantings of maniacs.

In any case, it’s been a long time since New York got hit, partially from luck and partially because they’ve been smart and prepared. This is a horrifying tragedy but they are bearing it well, as they always have.