PowerLine -> Six-year-old, “absolutely crushed” a game-winning homer at a local tee-ball game – Monday in Pictures: G-7 Photoshop Edition

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PowerLine -> Six-year-old, “absolutely crushed” a game-winning homer at a local tee-ball game – Monday in Pictures: G-7 Photoshop Edition


Daily Digest

  • Loose Ends (39)
  • A Climate Change Free Lunch?
  • Unsolved killlings, what do they tell us?
  • Monday in Pictures: G-7 Photoshop Edition
  • Senator Grassley requests (again)
Loose Ends (39)

Posted: 11 Jun 2018 02:45 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward) I see the story out today that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has capitulated to the identity politics mob and apologized for eating at—and Tweeting approvingly about the experience—Chick-fil-A. This, because Chick-fil-A’s CEO opposes same-sex marriage.

Judged by foot traffic, though, this is one culture war boycott the left is definitely losing. I’ve been through the Denver airport four times in recent weeks since Chick-fil-A opened an outlet in the middle of Terminal B, and every time I went by (which included non-peak meal times), the line for Chick-fil-A was so long that it threatened to block the flow of passengers. No other food outlet had comparable lines. Tells you something right there.

Eat mor chikin everybody.

 Apropos my item Saturday on transgender athletes, this from the great Babylon Bee (a worthy successor to the old Wittenburg Door) gets at the heart of the matter:

AUBURN, CA—Local 36-year-old man Nate Ripley, who identifies as a six-year-old, “absolutely crushed” a game-winning homer at a local tee-ball game and won the championship for his team Monday evening, reports confirmed.

Ripley reportedly walked up to the plate in the bottom of the 6th, pointed his bat toward the left-field wall looming 130 feet in the distance, and let her rip, sending the ball rocketing over the fence and into a parking lot as the fans cheered and his coach yelled out, “Attaboy, Nate! Good job, bud!”

His team, the Lil’ Padres, attempted to hoist him up on their shoulders in celebration of their great victory over the favored Tiny Tigers, but were unable to pick up the large 230-pound man.

Ripley’s feat comes at the end of a momentous tee-ball season, in which the self-identified six-year-old absolutely shattered every record set prior to that point. With a 1.000 batting average, 52 home runs, and an incredible showing at first base, second base, shortstop, third base, and pitcher, the man is being called an inspiration to other six-year-olds everywhere.

(Just to be clear: The Babylon Bee is a satire site. As was the great Wittenburg Door before it. Who says Christians can’t be funny?)

 As you’ve probably heard by now, last night at the Tony Awards, Robert DeNiro unloaded with the f-bomb on Trump—not once, but twice. For emphasis, one supposes. In case we didn’t get it that he hates Trump. The Hollywood audience responded with a standing ovation, thus contributing further to DeNiro’s effort to assure the re-election of Trump.

Why the intensity of Trump derangement among the Hollyweird set? I have a simple theory: look at how many Hollywood grandees the #MeToo movement has taken down (with more sure to come)—a movement whose intended target is Trump. But to quote what the great Captain Kirk says to Khan in the best of all the Star Trek movies, “Like a bad marksman you keep missing the target!”

P.S. De Niro better hope he doesn’t have any unfinished #MeToo business of his own.


A Climate Change Free Lunch?

Posted: 11 Jun 2018 12:45 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)One of the ideas floating around from time to time about how to deal with prospective catastrophic climate change from greenhouse gas emissions is “air capture,” which is exactly what it sounds like: extracting carbon dioxide from ambient air, and therefore reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. There have been some small-scale technological demonstration projects, but the technology has appeared difficult to scale up because of high cost and very high energy requirements to make it work, which would seem to place an inordinate claim on carbon-free energy sources such as wind, solar, and nuclear to work.

So there’s a lot of attention right now going to a new study that suggests carbon air capture can be done much more cheaply at large scales than previous estimates. The technical study (no paywall!) is hereThe Atlantic has a good article explaining it in lay terms, “Climate Change Can Be Stopped by Turning Air Into Gasoline,” while Nature magazine also offers a good summary article, “Sucking Carbon Dioxide from Air Is Cheaper Than Scientists Thought.”

Count me as mildly skeptical. One of the most typical phenomena in the entire energy domain of the last generation are news stories of potential “breakthrough” technologies that somehow we never hear another thing about again. Because the stories are usually hype, if not utter B.S. This is why I apply a rule to all energy journalism that is seldom followed: is the technology scalable, and at what cost compared to current energy sources? Very very few news stories provide this information, chiefly because the beat journalists are too ignorant and innumerate to ask. The technologies are either resource-limited (example: diesel from recycled fry oil from fast food restaurants—a perfectly reasonable idea, but, contrary to popular opinion, Americans don’t eat enough French fries to provide very much fuel), or simply have unrealistic cost (example: some bio-diesel technologies come in at around $12 a gallon, which obviously won’t cut it, or tidal energy, which is a very expensive way to generate electricity once the full costs of backup and supplementary power is factored in properly).

One reason to credit this new story slightly more is that it at least offers a cost range of $94 – $232 per ton of CO2 removed from the air. That’s still a rather high cost, but much lower than previous estimates of $600 a ton or more. It would supposedly translate to $1 to $2.50 per gallon of gasoline if it was paid for through a carbon levy of some kind on fossil fuel use. This price range still fails any true cost-benefit test that uses a realistic discount rate even assuming the more catastrophic climate damage estimates of the climatistas (more on this key point some other time). But the cost might come down if it was indeed scaled up, and would probably be much cheaper than the current cost-per-ton of current prescriptions and policies, like Germany’s energiewende.

The Atlantic story offers this key takeaway:

“If these costs are real, it is an important result,” said Ken Caldeira, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “This opens up the possibility that we could stabilize the climate for affordable amounts of money without changing the entire energy system or changing everyone’s behavior.”

But. . . but—that would take all of the fun out of climate change agitation! Which is why I predict the following: if this technology does indeed prove practical, scalable, and cost-effective, environmentalists will bitterly oppose it, for the simple reason that it would allow us to use our existing very abundant hydrocarbon energy sources, which are the real target of the climatistas.


Unsolved killings, what do they tell us?

Posted: 11 Jun 2018 10:19 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)The Washington Post has a long article about unsolved killings in American cities. It studied homicide data from 50 cities, encompassing 52,000 such crimes. In the process, it identified areas where killings are frequent but arrests are rare. These “areas of impunity” are located in poor neighborhoods where minorities (almost always African-Americans) reside.

The first thing that jumps out at me from the Post’s study is that in the 50 cities studied, the overall homicide arrest rate is only 49 percent. Only half of the homicides result in an arrest. We know the arrest rate is much lower for certain other crimes, especially drug crimes where neither the seller nor the buyer will even report the offense.

So much for any argument that arrest rates overstate the amount of recidivism in America. Sure, the police will occasionally arrest the wrong person. But in vastly more cases, the police won’t arrest anyone. Thus, those tragically high recidivism rates, based on arrests, that I quote on Power Line (sometimes as high as 70 percent after several years) actually understate recidivism.

The Post’s point is a different one. It suggests that the low arrest rate for homicides in poor areas — less than 33 percent — demonstrates law enforcement’s indifference to the murder of poor blacks. Officers would rather sit behind their desks than do real police work in rough neighborhoods, the Post tells us. And it quotes family members of victims who complain that police officers just don’t care. More evidence of racial bias by the police, we’re led to believe.

But wait! I thought police officers were eager to arrest young black males in the interest of “incarceration nation.” And the Justice Department found that the Baltimore police department spends too much time policing poor black neighborhoods. The police force has backed off with dire consequences. Baltimore is one of two cities (Chicago is the other) called out by the Post as especially poor at solving homicides in black neighborhoods.

If the police wanted to incarcerate black males, one would expect officers to be hyper-aggressive in solving homicides in black neighborhoods. Catch the killer and he likely spends decades, if not life, behind bars.

In reality, it’s more difficult to solve homicides in neighborhoods where crime is rampant. For one thing, the nature of the killings in these areas presents special challenges. Drive-by shootings and stranger-on-stranger killings are especially hard to solve, according to a criminologist quoted by the Post.

When gang violence is involved, as is so often the case in these neighborhoods, the difficulties are compounded because potential witnesses fear retaliation, the Post acknowledges. In Indianapolis, a local gang posted a YouTube video titled “Ain’t no tellin,” filmed at a cemetery. In it, gang members act out a scene in which a young man is bound, doused in gasoline, and set on fire — presumably for cooperating with police.

The Post acknowledges too that many of the unsolved crimes in poor black neighborhoods are related to “drug activity and distribution.” Yet, the leniency movement wants us to believe that felon drug distributors are non-violent offenders.

In reality, the possibility of homicide is inherent in drug trafficking. And aggressive policing of drug trafficking should reduce the number of homicides to solve. The reverse should also be true, as it’s proving to be in Baltimore.

The Post says that solving homicides in poor black neighborhoods is especially problematic because potential witnesses simply don’t trust the police. If one factored out the difficulties cited above, would arrest homicide rates still be lower in poor black neighborhoods due to distrust of the police?

I don’t know. It’s possible, especially given the steady drumbeat of claims by the media, “civil rights” groups, and the Obama administration that police officers are racist. When you demonize the police, you shouldn’t be surprised when people don’t trust officers.

The police can’t win the game its enemies on the left are playing. Aggressively police poor black neighborhoods and be accused of singling them out in order to arrest blacks. Be less aggressive and be accused of not caring about black lives.

The left doesn’t just want it both ways, it wants it every which way. What it doesn’t want is an honest discussion of the social pathology that underlies both the shocking homicide rates (the Post is too delicate to cite them in its article) and the relative inability of the police to solve the homicides.


Monday in Pictures: G-7 Photoshop Edition

Posted: 11 Jun 2018 08:25 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I really am starting to have that “deja vu all over again” feeling. It seems to me that President Trump is merely following good presidential precedent with his performance at the recent G-7 summit. Richard Nixon called Pierre Trudeau an “asshole.” President Reagan slammed Trudeau in one of the private sessions of the G-7 (in 1983, if memory serves correctly), because it was obvious that Trudeau was trying to channel his spirit animal, Olaf Palme. So Trump’s belittling of the eminently belittleable Justin Trudeau seems just fine.

And as for Trump’s proposal that the G-7 become one big completely free trade zone, with no tariffs or trade barriers on anything, why that’s as silly as Reagan’s “Zero Option” for intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe! We all know how that silly idea turned out.

Meanwhile, much is being made of the photo Chancellor Merkel’s office released, showing Trump seemingly cornered. It is plainly an attempt to embarrass Trump as if such a thing is possible. It looks like it could be a still from “Celebrity Intervention.” Turns out there’s a second photo from a different angle, immediately below, that conveys a different mood. I’m guessing what was really going on here was something like, “Please, how can we get up something like ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ after we’re all tossed from office?” Even Pretty Boy Justin looks happier. (Now I’m starting to understand his silly dances on that trip to Asia he took a while ago: it was his demo reel for ‘Canada’s Got Talent.’) But the Photoshop work with the original picture can’t wait until Saturday, so . . .


“No, Donald, you can’t build a wall in Risk.”




Senator Grassley requests (again)

Posted: 11 Jun 2018 08:14 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)I will try to omit continued professions of difficulty keeping up with the true scandals surrounding the fabricated scandal of Trump-Russia collusion, or of disbelief over the bureaucratic obstruction that amounts to defiance when oversight beckons. In the spirit of Ciceronian praeteritio and rhetorical disgust, I wonder how long the authorities at the Department of Justice can abuse the patience of the Senate with their continued resistance? We have grown inured by repetition, but please see Byron York’s Examiner column “A skeptical chairman Grassley really, really wants to see the Michael Flynn 302.” Byron reports:

On Feb. 15, 2017 — that would be 16 months ago — Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked the Justice Department to turn over the transcript of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn’s infamous call with the Russian ambassador, plus other documents related to the Flynn case.

The department refused.

* * * * *

Last month, Grassley, this time without Feinstein, repeated his demand for the Flynn transcript, and also for the FBI’s so-called 302 report, in which the agents who interviewed Flynn made extensive notes on what was said. Grassley also asked for any other notes or documents relating to the interview. And Grassley asked that the FBI make available agent Joe Pientka, one of the two agents (along with Peter Strzok) who conducted the Flynn interview.

Again, the Justice Department refused, and this time with more than a hint of impatience. In a May 29, 2018, letter to Grassley, assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd recounted details of the Flynn plea deal at length and delivered what boiled down to a simple message: Flynn pleaded guilty. You understand? He’s guilty. Now stop bugging us.

“Whatever Mr. Comey may have said and whatever Mr. Flynn’s demeanor,” wrote Boyd to Grassley, “the evidence in the public record proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr. Flynn knowingly made false statements about contacts with the Russian ambassador.” Referring to the Flynn case as a “pending criminal prosecution” — Flynn is currently awaiting sentencing — Boyd said turning over evidence to Congress could create “the reality or appearance of political interference.”

Senator Grassley has set forth the relevant facts and responded in the June 6 letter that occasions Byron’s column. I have embedded the letter below via Scribd. Consider my incredulity implied.

2018-06-06 CEG to DOJ (Response to Flynn Request) by Scott Johnson on Scribd


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