Doofus Of The Day #1,017

The expression “Hoist with his own petard” comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and describes something not uncommon in medieval and Renaissance Europe.  A petard was an explosive device, usually a wooden keg or metal container packed with gunpowder.  A soldier, probably escorted by a raiding party, ran up to a castle door or drawbridge, placed the petard against it, and lit the fuse;  then he and his escort ran like hell before the device exploded, hopefully demolishing the door or drawbridge and opening the way for an assault.  Of course, medieval gunpowder and fuses weren’t always the most reliable.  Sometimes

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California’s public sector unions, money, and politics

The California Political Review calculates the money taken in every year by public sector unions in that state, and shows how it gives those unions a powerful say in the running of the state. In the wake of the Janus ruling, it is useful to estimate just how much money California’s government unions collect and spend each year. Because government unions publicly disclose less than what the law requires of public corporations or private sector unions, only estimates are possible. . . . In summary, subject to the limitations in the available data and what appear to be reasonable assumptions,

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The battle for the Internet in the third world

The Economist notes that US internet giants are squaring up to their Chinese counterparts, not so much in the USA and China as in the third world.  It calls the struggle “The most titanic commercial battle in the world“. Facing off are the towering giants of American and Chinese tech, led by the FAANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google’s parent, Alphabet) on one side and the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) on the other. These are some of the planet’s biggest firms, with a combined stockmarket capitalisation of more than $4trn. At play are some of its most promising

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Daniel Greenfield on “The Second Civil War”

Daniel Greenfield is a well-known commentator, blogger and author.  In a speech to the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach last January, he outlined what he sees as the Second Civil War in the USA – and it’s happening already.  In the light of the fuss about the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, I thought it might be worthwhile to remind ourselves of the roots of the opposition to his appointment. If you prefer, you’ll find a transcript of his speech here.  Food for thought, indeed. Peter

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Illinois: corruption, regulatory capture, unions, and pension promises

We’ve discussed Illinois’ catastrophic pension situation in these pages on several occasions.  Wirepoints has now conducted an in-depth study of the situation, and points out that the narrative being portrayed by the state government, unions and the mainstream media there is simply not correct.  The problem is that unions have been promised largesse by the state that simply can’t be afforded. One graphic perfectly captures the absurdity of Illinois pensions over the past three decades. In 1987, pension promises made to active workers and retirees in the state’s five state-run pension plans totaled just $18 billion. By 2016, they had ballooned

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On America’s birthday, blinkered vision endangers her

I’m sure many readers have seen the alarm expressed by commentators on both sides of the political divide about our present political situation.  Both the far left and the far right of US politics appear to have been seized by extremists, who are promoting views that can only lead to a headlong clash with each other.  Those in the center, wishing to keep America united and work out our differences in a rational, reasonable, civilized manner, are increasingly being either radicalized or marginalized. What’s worse, many of the screeds offered by both sides are so partisan, so biased, that even

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Will SCOTUS rein in activist judges in lower courts?

One of the most interesting aspects of this week’s travel ban decision in the Supreme Court is Justice Thomas’ carefully-reasoned opinion on the lower-level court injunction that led to the decision.  His views are provided in pp. 46-56 of the judgment (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. I write separately to address the remedy that the plaintiffs sought and obtained in this case. The District Court imposed an injunction that barred the Government from enforcing the President’s Proclamation against anyone, not just the plaintiffs. Injunctions that prohibit the Executive Branch

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NIMBY in California???

I’m laughing my fundament off at the outraged reaction of California liberals and progressives to the news that the US Navy has identified two possibly very large illegal alien detention facilities in that state. Sites identified by the Navy include: Abandoned airfields near Mobile and Orange Beach, Alabama that could house up to 25,000 migrants. the former Naval Weapons Station Concord near San Francisco that could house an estimated 47,000. A site at Camp Pendleton California that could house up to 47,000. A potential site at the Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Arizona that needs further study of potential

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