Spieckerman Speaks

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thoughts Too Unconventional for Polite Company

Scalia comments on Fisher/University of Texas Affirmative Action case
Irrespective of how one feels about race being included as a college admissions criteria, Justice Scalia's riff ("lesser schools,” “less-advanced school... slower-track school,” etc.) was utterly deplorable. This from a man who wrote a book about how to conduct effective debate and frame winning arguments before the High Court? Smh. Scalia implies that all those African American scientists and engineers who went to the "classes that are not too fast for them" were taught some special, inferior version of their specialty. If that's the case, we either have a bunch of ill-equipped engineers and scientists out there or, due to their "sub-par" educations, many or most should be unemployed. I don't believe that there are stats to that effect.

I hate to find myself in agreement with Rev. Al Charlatan, but when he called for Scalia to recuse himself from the Fisher case, he was right.

Trump Reality
Two weeks ago, I got in a conversation with a 24 year old low income white guy from rural Mississippi. He, not I, brought up the Presidential race. Then he proceeded to almost recite the Trump campaign narrative verbatim. Then, a few days ago, I overheard a 27 year old African American guy who was in jail this time a year ago and is now working diligently to get a job on speakerphone with his friend. He told his friend that he wants Trump to win because he's not a politician, will make sure “those immigrants come in the right way" and “not take the low income jobs from us.” That Trump's cool because "at least he's shown his cards. They're not all good cards. But there are some good ones in there."

A two person focus group does not quantitative research study make. But, wow.

One of Trump’s assets is that, like Bill Clinton, he’s almost shameless. Embarrassments or deficiencies that would cause most candidates to pull back, become defensive and lose momentum are completely cast aside by both men. They just keep on. Like a Markov Chain, it’s as if neither Trump nor Clinton even remembers transgressions or errors, they push ahead. When forced to deal with them, Trump, like Bill Clinton, is more likely to double-down on the “mistake” or do a jujitsu move.

Another similarity between Trump and Clinton is that both had numerous episodes that pundits insisted would finally “bring them down.” It never happened to Clinton and, so far, hasn’t to Trump. To date, Trump seems politically what a lobster is biologically – virtually immortal. So who is the predator that could kill Trump? I just don’t see one. And The Donald hasn’t even started spending real money yet!

Guns and terrorism
We have almost as many guns in the U.S. as we do people. To meaningfully diminish the number of guns – the Left’s dream - would require an invasive police state that would shock its conscience. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies simply lack the manpower to prevent Paris/San Bernardino-like horrors. They need reinforcements. So let’s turn America’s preponderance of guns and prodigious population of gun owners into a strategic advantage. I think we need an aggressive, sustained program to train and “deputize” citizens in the use of firearms to combat mass shooters. We should literally build an army of armed and well trained citizens across America to counter the growing terrorist threat. If the NRA was smart, it would push this idea in concert with law enforcement and military veterans’ organizations. The exact opposite of what we’re coming to increasingly see as recklessly dangerous “gun free zones.”

Climate Change Agreement
President Obama is being lauded for his commitment to curbing “climate change.” But what's the value of doggedly pursuing an at best dubious, at worst, destructive, policy when there are so many other higher priority items that have been either shunted aside or maladroitly addressed by this administration? This is akin to that monster Woodrow Wilson's obsession with the League of Nations (after dragging the U.S. into WWI for utterly no reason, needlessly slaughtering tens-of-thousands of our young men).

For instance, if President Obama would aggressively pursue a clean coal Manhattan Project - rapidly scaling the non-burning coal energy extraction technology being developed under Dr. Fan at The Ohio State University – it would  strengthen American security by dramatically reducing world demand for oil. This would significantly attenuate the massive flows of petrodollars to Arab states/Hamas/Hezbollah/Daesh/Iran. Simultaneously, it would reduce not just carbon emissions – whose deleterious impact is in question – but indisputably dangerous particulate pollution. All while bolstering, instead of hobbling, the U.S. economy.

African American poverty is also a higher priority that we can really do something about in the intermediate term, unlike "climate change."

The media fails to note that the same apocalyptic models cited by "climate change" zealots show that the claimed changes in climate will dramatically improve third world food production for the next several decades, ending starvation for millions. I bet those people would consider that an improved environment.

More fundamentally, how did it come to be that the precise climate we're currently experiencing is ideal? That any deviation will be cataclysmic? Isn't that a bit ridiculous? There is so much noise in the inputs to climate models (or any large scale system models) that attempting to project long term implications is almost futile.

Balance. Unfortunately, it's almost totally missing from the climate change debate and the policies put forward that will purportedly address it. Far too many anti-free market, statist ideologues and scientists (many of whom have no qualifications to opine on climate) use the patina of "arresting climate change" to undermine western economies, punish consumers and expand central government control.

A truly rational approach is a real "all of the above" energy policy. A robust economy, which requires reasonably priced energy, is essential to funding the massive investments required in renewable energy. By all means, reduce carbon as best we can, just in case there is validity to the theory that it will damage our planet in coming centuries. So long as it doesn't impair the lives and livelihoods of people living over the next 100 years!


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