A More Basic Question


Paul Mirengoff has a post over at PowerLine with A Question for Joe Biden. Biden showed some backbone during the last debate by refusing to apologize for his position on forced school bussing of children across communities for the purpose of achieving racial balance in school. During the Obama administration, HUD promulgated regulations aimed at  “affirmatively furthering fair housing.” AFFH has the goal of moving whole families across town to new neighborhoods to racial balance neighborhood populations. The Trump administration has reinterpreted those regulations, effectively putting them on hold.

Here’s Miregoff’s question for Biden—

I’d like to hear Biden say whether he supports the idea of the federal government conditioning grants to localities on their willingness to require that a certain amount of housing in mostly White neighborhoods be occupied by African-Americans. If Biden says he does this, and I think he almost has to, I’d like to hear him explain why it’s a good idea whereas busing was a bad one.

One possible answer would be that the goal of racial balance is good and that having minority children spread through the community eliminates the need for such bandaids as forced school busing.

I have a more basic question. Is racial balance for its own sake always a good goal? The last census data is almost a decade old, but it’s what we’ve got for now. It showed that blacks make up about 12.6 percent of the U.S. population and that Hispanics make up around 16.3 percent. Should NBA teams be forced to staff their benches with more Hispanics than Blacks? Or should the Lakers have different quotas from the Celtics because of the different balances in their cities? Or should we force families to move from LA to Boston in the name of balance?

Or should we let NBA teams hire on the basis of merit? If we allow a meritocracy in sports, why not in other businesses? Why not elsewhere?

The problem of sorting for merit is that half the population is below average. As a result, any system that sorts for merit tends to disproportionally reward top performers. As a rule of thumb, roughly the square root of any population will do half the work. (This may also be stated as 20 percent of the customers drink 80 percent of the beer.) That rule implies that in a country the size of America about 18,000 people would control half the wealth—and that about a dozen would have control of ten percent of the wealth. That’s not too far off from what we see in the Real World.

So here’s a yet more basic question, if we want to allow the best to rise to the top and given that the Marxist experiments of the 20th century all ended disastrously, what can we do to provide humanely for those among us who aren’t successful?

My Face, Unshocked


I’ve let the Google story broken by Project Veritas percolated through the Interwebz for a day before commenting. I wanted to see how some of the usual suspects reacted. There’s only been one real surprise so far, and that was how long it took YouTube, a sister company to Google, to send the Project Veritas video down the memory hole. (BTW, if you haven’t seen the video, it’s available here. Go watch it, and come back. I’ll wait …)

Today’s TKPOTD deals with an effort back in 2015 to silence me. As part of that effort, my business and personal Twitter accounts were shut down. Twitter claimed that it was because of “targeted abuse” but could not cite a single example. I believe I was being punished for not following their approved narrative. However, I was one of the earliest victims of Twitter’s “safety” system, and my permanent suspension was only temporary. When the false criminal charge failed for lack of evidence, Twitter seemed to realize their potential liability. My business account was reinstated, but the lessons learned from that failure were used to refine their tactics.

Facebook, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, … the list goes on. They all seem to have the same sort of definition of fairness, one that wouldn’t survive the old Fairness Doctrine I worked under as a broadcaster in the ’60s and ’70s. These companies’ users aren’t customers. The users are the product being sold to advertisers, and as product, they are something to be moulded and controlled.

So why am I still on Twitter if I view it as an unfair platform and untrustworthy business partner? I can use it to promote blog posts at no real cost to me. Beyond that, it has no real appeal. I got on Gab when it was brand new, and I’ve made a small investment in the company because it really seems dedicated to free speech.

Except for Maps and Scholar, I’ll pretty much given up on Google. DuckDuckGo has been my default search engine for over a year. I’ll still link to YouTube content, put if I wanted to post a video, I’d use BitChute. I’ve deleted my Pinterest account. I no longer post to Facebook.

And I’m not the only person who has grown tired of online services who despise me.

Twenty years ago, as the Internet Bubble was bursting, Google survived because it was a robust company infrastructure with a viable business model. Coincidentally twenty years ago, Venezuela was one of the wealthiest countries in the Western Hemisphere with thriving petroleum industry. While I’m saddened, I’m not shocked by what Marxism has done to Venezuela. If I’m still around in 2039, I suspect that I’ll feel more schadenfreude than sadness for what a post-modern, neo-Marxist business model is likely to do for Google. Or Twitter. Or the rest of ’em. I certainly don’t expect to have use my shocked face.

Fauxcahontas to Head B-Card Debate


A random drawing has placed Elizabeth Warren as the only candidate polling among the top five on the first evening of the upcoming Democrat debates. Corrie Booker, Robert O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, Bill de Blasio, and Jay Inslee are scheduled to join her.

The A-Card debate the following night includes Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Marianne Williamson, Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and John Hickenlooper.

New Voters


When a governing elite begins to lose the support of an electorate, one solution that can be applied is to fire the poorly performing voters and replace them. If that can’t be done, then another possible solution can be to hire scab voters to swell the roles and vote as the elites wish. The Washington Free Beacon reports that the House is planning to vote on an immigration amnesty bill that would put around 2.5 million illegal immigrants (read, potential registered Democrats) on the path to citizenship by giving them green cards. The bill has essentially no chance of passing in the Senate, and if it did, it certainly couldn’t be passed over a presidential veto. The vote is another virtue-signaling waste of time by a House that has accomplished next to nothing.

Even if the rest of these illegal immigrants who aren’t already voting in our elections could be added to the roles, if might not change the end results of our elections. You see, they’re concentrated in blue districts in blue states. While their votes might insure great margins of victory for Democrats in local and congressional elections, they unlikely to tip the red state/blue state balance in the Electoral College.

Now, I’m not complaining about the House wasting time. Given the present makeup of the House of Representatives, the country is better off with them doing nothing.

Congress, the Supreme Court, and Impeachment


President Trump has remarked that if the House were to pass articles of impeachment against him that did not properly charge him with a crime (Orange Man Bad isn’t even a misdemeanor), he might go to the Supreme Court seeking to have the impeachment quashed. Various pundits and academics have tut-tut-ed and stated that the President doesn’t understand how impeachment works. Do they?

Alan Dershowitz has a piece over at The Hill suggesting that the President may not be too far off base.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Recall that when a president has been impeached by the House, the Supreme Court’s chief justice presides at his Senate trial and the senators take a special oath. This special oath requires each senator to swear or affirm that “in all things pertaining to the trial … [to] do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law” (italics added).

If the House were to impeach for a non-crime, the president’s lawyer could make a motion to the chief justice to dismiss the case, just as a lawyer for an ordinary defendant can make a motion to dismiss an indictment that did not charge a crime. The chief justice would be asked to enforce the senatorial oath by dismissing an impeachment that violated the words of the Constitution. There is no assurance that the chief justice would rule on such a motion, but it is certainly possible.

No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election. Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting. But they did and, in the process, weakened the “political question” doctrine. The case for applying the explicit constitutional criteria governing impeachment is far more compelling than was the case for stopping the Florida recount.

So no one should express partisan certainty regarding President Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court might well decide that impeaching a president without evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

Read the whole thing.