Taking Stock

So let’s take stock of where were at in the Biden administration so far:

  • Our shelves are getting kinda bare. “But Merg – you couldn’t find toilet paper during the last year of Drumpf’s regime”. Yep – for free market reasons that actually made sense. Try again.
  • The borders are in effect open.
  • We have a de facto hostage crisis
  • The Taliban in back in control in Afghanistan
  • Fuel costs aren’t just rising, they’re skyrocketing.
  • Public education is getting even worse.
  • The social divides that erupted in violence during the Obama regime have escalated.
  • Indeed, inflation is back for the first time since my freshman year of college.
  • The executive branch, which as been too poiwerful for a long time, is starting to act on that fact.
  • After a year of government acting like a scolding “Karen” of a neighbor and “two weeks to flatten the curve”, not only has Covid gone nowhere, but the economic effects of lockdowns are getting worse.
  • The workforce – one of the four key pillars of the economy, along with land, capital and management – has been “unintentionally” distorted far out of whack, with dire consequences.
  • China is ratting its sabers as never before.

What am I missing?

Not Exactly Omaha Beach

The Feds released the specifics on the suspects charged with “armed insurrection” on January 6.

Some knives, none of which were used. Some baseball bats and clubs and various chemical irritants.

Five guns – only two of which were found on the Capitol grounds, one of which was a government issued piece in the hands of a DEA agent with all the necessary paperwork, none of which were fired.

Byron York (with occasional emphasis by me)::

Some of the weapons were obviously brought with the intention of being in a fight. Others were clearly improvised on the spur of the moment; in one case, the deadly or dangerous weapon used was a desk drawer. In another, it was a traffic barrier. In yet another, it was a helmet. That doesn’t mean those objects could not be dangerous; one could beat a person to death with a desk drawer. But it does suggest the rioter did not arrive at the Capitol bent on armed insurrection.

In addition, the overall numbers are relatively small. Eighty-two people charged with weapons-related offenses, out of how many? That is about 12% of the 670 or so currently charged. And 670 is smaller than the total number of rioters on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Does that amount to an “armed insurrection”? Especially when just five people have been charged with possessing firearms, the weapon of choice for modern armed insurrectionists, and one of them didn’t arrive until after it was all over, and none of them fired the weapons, even in the intensity of the physical struggle that day?

And that is the problem with the “armed insurrection” talking point. By any current American standard of civil disorder, what happened on Jan. 6 was a riot. There were some instigators, and there were many more followers. A small number were anticipating a fight, probably with antifa. And as the day went on, some people lost their heads and did things they should regret for a very long time. But a look at the Justice Department prosecutions simply does not make the case that it was an “armed insurrection.”

If this – five guns out of 600+ people charged – is an “armed insurrection”, then the rioters who came to the Midway in May 2020 were Operation Barbarossa.

How Times Change

About this time seven years ago, I was writing the series of blog posts that eventually become my book Trulbert.

The book described a fictional breakdown of society after a financial cataclysm. I did it as satire because, honestly, it seemed like a more effective approach to the subject; Kurt Schlichter is going to put his kids through medical school with the proceeds from his fiction about a second Civil War, and he’s far from alone. And sometime humor is the best journalism.

Which isn’t to say Trulbert was “the best journalism”, but sometimes the indirect approach is the best one.

I’ve pondered doing a follow-up.

And I’m having a really, really hard time getting to “satirical” again. And I think it ties into the G.K. Chesterton quote – “when everything is absurd, satire is impossible”.

The Brandon Administration, and the times it rules over, are impossible to satirize.

I’m trying to figure out the angle for the next book.

A children’s story?

A musical?

I got nothing.

Shortage?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’ve been following the debate on whether vaccine mandates will cause staffing shortages. Had a few tests done at the hospital this morning. Quietly asked the RN about the vaccine. She hasn’t gotten it, does not intend to. She’s with an “agency” which means she’s not part of the giant conglomerate health care provider and isn’t bound by their rules. She’s seen stuff, read stuff, she affirmed – strictly off the record and between her and me – that I’m not the only one with serious doubts. We’re not crazy no matter what they tell us.

I received excellent care from a non-corporate nurse, for which I am grateful and also amused. The regulation says any employer with more than 100 nurses must . . . oh, we’ve only got 90. Our sister (but completely independent) companies also have 90, each. And each nurse only works 29 hours for each company. They’re exempt. No vaccine. But excellent patient care. And the giant conglomerate can proudly announce their in-house staff is fully vaccinated with no staffing shortage.

Potemkin compliance all the way down. You watch, they’ll be ‘independent contractors’ next.

Joe Doakes

People underestimate the cost of widespread ignoring of laws because they are widely considered to be wrong, stupid, corrosive of freedom and the like.

It doesn’t end well. And it’s not the peoples fault.

Campaign Advice

To: All Republican Candidates for Everything, Everywhere
From: Mitch Berg, Obstreporous Peasant
Re: Your 2022 Plans

Dear GOPers,

There are a lot of good things to run on against Democrats in this cycle:

  • Crime
  • The collapse of education
  • Crime
  • The economy
  • Crime

But if you’re not running on the, not merely “erosion”, but the affirmative assault on freedom by the government, you don’t deserve to win, and this nation deserves what awaits.

To wit:

Your mission is – or should be – clear.

That is all.

Via The Back Door

Buried in the “Infrastructure’ bill is, well, a curious bit of “infrastructure” indeed:

Within a few years, you may have to convince your own car you’re fit to drive every time you get behind the wheel. The Biden administration’s massive infrastructure bill, which the House is expected to take up later this month, includes a provision directing the Secretary of Transportation to develop regulations that will require new cars to contain “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology.”

The law would give regulators two to three years to develop rules mandating technology that would “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired” as well as “passively and accurately detect whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver of a motor vehicle” exceeds legal limits. Automakers would have a further three years to comply, though the bill provides leeway for delay if the technology isn’t up to snuff yet—because the tech the bill is requiring is still in development.

Classifying “spying on people via their cars” as “infrastructure” is, if you think about it, disturbingly honest

Darn Those Science-Denying Trumpkins!

Vaccine mandates are on the hit list…

…of Black Lives Matter:

At a protest Monday in front of New York restaurant Carmine’s, Chivona Newsome, also a co-founder of the group, said of the vaccine mandates, “What is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up black people, from snatching them off the train, off the bus?”

She further issued the threat that BLM was “putting this city on notice that your mandate will not be another racist social distance practice” and that “Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising .” She said vaccine verification “is not a free passport to racism.”

The catalyst for those remarks was an incident at Carmine’s last week wherein three black women from Texas were charged for assaulting a hostess at the restaurant, allegedly over a vaccine verification dispute and, as a lawyer for the women subsequently claimed, because the hostess, who is of Asian descent, used a racial slur.

And it doesn’t just seem to be just BLM:

Morning Consult found that Biden’s approval dropped a striking 12 points among black voters since September 8th, the day before the White House announced a comprehensive new COVID-19 mitigation plan that included a new OSHA rule, which, when drafted, will demand workplaces with 100 or more employees either require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID or submit to rigorous testing for the virus.

“President Joe Biden’s sweeping federal rules to mandate vaccines hasn’t hurt him with the overall electorate, but it appears to have spurred a weakening of his standing with one of the most reliable pieces of the Democratic Party’s coalition: Black voters,” Morning Consult noted.

Now – getting everyone to connect the dots from “unequal and racially-tone-deaf enforcement of arbitrary Covid regulations” to “unequal and racially tone-deaf policy” in general? That’s the challenge.

RIP, Property Rights?

A Massachusetts case on its way to the SCOTUS – and hoping to be the roughly 1% of cases granted a review – will have an immense impact on private property rights.

At issue in Desrosiers v. Baker is the legality of several COVID-19 lockdown orders issued throughout 2020 by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. The lockdown orders, which were some of the most draconian in the nation, generally banned all private assemblies that did not have a political or religious purpose after 9:30 p.m., no matter the size or location.

The orders imposed significantly stricter restrictions on assembly in “private residences” than on assembly in public settings. The orders encouraged “the public’s unselfish compliance,” and were enforceable variously by misdemeanor criminal penalties, civil fines, and court injunction. These penalties also applied to hosts who failed to cooperate with government requests for “lists of attendees at social gatherings.”

The Massachusetts lockdown orders even included a quasi-adultery ban, in effect at all hours, on assembly involving close physical contact by the un-cohabiting, instead of by the unmarried. Under the orders, “participants who [were] not members of the same household” had to keep six feet of distance from each other at all times. The orders warned that a “gathering shall violate this provision where, no matter the number of participants present, conditions or activities at the gathering are such that it is not reasonably possible for all participants to maintain this degree of separation.”

I’m not sure what I’m more worried about – a Roberts-led majority deciding there’s a prudential reason to allow government extraordinary powers in a state of emergency, or the near-violent reaction of Big Karen to having their power, and their reason for existence, struck down.

OK, definitely more worried about “a”.

I accept “B” as a foregone conclusion.

Checked And Balanced

A state district judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of parents Who were seeking an order requiring the governor to issue a state wide mask mandate and to reinstate the state of emergency.

Thankfully, the judge shot the request down:

“While this court is gravely concerned about the public health consequences of the failure of school districts to implement the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the use of masks for children, teachers, and staff in K-12 public schools,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “the judiciary cannot order a co-equal branch of government to exercise its discretionary, political judgment to implement a specific educational policy.”

In other words…

… (Mitch takes a deep breath)…

…the parents wanted a member of the judicial branch to compel the head of the executive branch do seize all of the authority of the legislative branch.

Sure, we have a public health crisis. We have an even bigger crisis in civics education in this state.

Do You Remember…

…20 years ago, right after 9/11, when some on the left said the overreaction to the terror attacks 20 years ago tomorrow would actually give the terrorists the win they wanted?

I can’t have been the only one thinking Joe Biden’s speech yesterday must have made Mohammed Atta smile in whatever part of the Great Beyond he’s in now.

The nuts and bolts of the speech, to the extent there were any? The “president” wants to use OSHA to enforce a vaccine mandate on companies with more than 100 employees – as if forcing a medication on employees (and the forced sharing of medical records, and the inevitable shielding of employers from liability when those records are inevitably. misused) is the same as safety shields in ripsaws. We’ll await future presidents using the same precedent to force inoculations against smoking, obesity, and, eventually and inevitably, barring some outbreak of sanity, ideas.

Also – not a single mention of natural immuinity. 50 mllion Americans are known to have been infected and recovered (myself included); that natural immunity is at least as effective as any pharmaceutical – but is being pointedly ignored.

It’s hard to honestly say what was the most concerning part of our “chief of state’s” speech yesterday. I’m not the only one to whom it sounded like a desperate muddle of authoritarian knee-jerks.

His little shot at the governors who are pushing back at his misbegotten authority – how he’s going to use the power of the Federal Government and the Presidency to show them who’s boss?

It sounds like he wants to crush the idea and practice of federalism; like separation of powers is the problem.

Much of it was peoples reactions to the “President”. For example, this weasel:

People on the left have a frightening propensity to see government as a “Parent”, rather than the custodian elected by the “Free Association of Equals” in the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, if you can’t get timeless wisdom from Joy Reid and Steve Schmidt of “The Lincoln Project”, where can you get it?

The scapegoating of the unvaccinated – who, notwithstanding the left’s propaganda machcine, are largely the young, the poor, and Black males from 20-40 years old – was perhaps the most chilling thing about the, er, “speech”.

Thing is, a real leader – I’m looking at you, Ron DeSantis – could get a lot of mileage out of something that’s been pushed to the sidelines throughout this pandemic – the truth. John Hayward has a draft of a part of the speech that could have been:

20 years after 9/11, we have government by decree, an out of control bureaucracy that governs more or less as it wishes unless and until someone musters the numbers or. money to try to clip it, a plutocrat sector that buys its own boutique version of freedom, and a population that’s being conditioned to accept a dystopian shredding of freedom as “the new normal”.

Adventures In Variantland

I haven’t written here recently (sorry, Mitch!), mostly because I did a fair amount of traveling in August. I attended my high school reunion in the wilds of Wisconsin, then a week later headed east to a family wedding in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio (highly recommended, by the way).

In the course of my travels, I spent time in six different states — Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Given that the howling over the dread Delta Variant has been in full effect for much of the summer, I was particularly interested in what I would see in my travels. Were people paying attention to the renewed demands for masking and social distancing? Were the entreaties of the Powers That Be having any effect?

Not a chance.

My high school reunion had over 100 attendees, a good result for a class with 144 surviving members. Classmates returned to my Wisconsin home town from California, Washington state, Colorado, Maryland, and New York, among other places. One classmate arrived masked, but took his mask off about 15 minutes into the festivities. The venue was a local brewery with a beer hall and the entire event was indoors. My masked classmate was the only person I saw wearing a mask all weekend, outside of some of the staff at the hotel. Social distancing? Not much of that, either — as you would expect at a high school reunion, it was hugs galore.

The following week was the family wedding; we took a convoluted path so we could pick up our college-age daughter, who attends school in Missouri. We stopped in Waterloo, Iowa, for lunch — not a mask in sight. We got gas in Hannibal, Missouri — no masks at all. Our overnight hotel was in downstate Illinois — again, no masks or social distancing in sight, and a full buffet breakfast available. We stopped for lunch in Indiana — again, no masks anywhere. We gassed up again on the Indiana/Ohio border, in a town that looked like nothing had changed since 1978. No masks. We reached our destination — no masks at the hotel. We had an out-of-town guest reception — saw every face in the place.

The wedding the following day was wonderful — joyous, raucous, with an open bar and food trucks from Columbus for the meal. There were probably 250 people in attendance; not a soul was wearing a mask. It was an outdoor event, but if social distancing was a factor, no one seemed to realize it. Nothing changed on the return trip. No mask? No problem!

Over this past weekend, we attended the Great Minnesota Grease Together. Everyone had to mask up on the shuttle buses, but once we were at the fair, mask wearing was about 1%, even in the queues for a Sweet Martha bucket before leaving the fairgrounds.

We are reminded daily the Delta Variant is still in full swing, an implacable foe, with future variants lined up like planes in a holding pattern at O’Hare; Mu is coming next, and all the other letters of the Greek alphabet are getting ready to ravage the countryside, so many that we’re likely to run out of letters eventually. Presumably another naming convention waits in the wings — perhaps future variants can be named after Kentucky Derby winners (the “Seattle Slew Variant” perhaps), assuming we can independently verify that neither the horses nor their jockeys ever used Ivermectin. As anyone with a television or a smart phone knows, the hectoring and self-congratulatory moral tutelage continue unabated, all of it fact-checked, verified, or otherwise given the J.D. Power award and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

But you know what? Even after a summer of harangues and a phalanx of Tik-Tok Cassandras, people are doing as they please, at least here in flyover land. 

Yes, yes, everything I’m presenting here is anecdotal, but current behaviors are easy to observe and if a skeptic made a similar sojourn, the skeptic would see the same things. There will remain a cohort of those who follow every word and every directive from Drs. Fauci, Osterholm and their colleagues. Most readers of this feature likely see social media posts featuring our bien pensant  betters dutifully wearing their masks and keeping a yardstick or two between them as they struggle to take a selfie. And that’s fine — let your freak flags fly!

In the end, though, it’s highly likely the Safety Dance is over, unless our betters are willing to force compliance. What’s been happening in Australia has given me pause, but mandates and lockdowns will be difficult to enforce. And our betters know it.

Open Letter To All You “Punch A Nazi” Morons

I’ve been a big fan of XKCD, the blazingly smart and cunningly simple web-comic, for a long, long time.

10 years? 15? Hard to say.

Which isn’t to say I agree with everything.

Like this bit here:

The word “Tantamount” is three syllables that serve as a front for enough horrible logic to fill all of Weimar Germany to a depth of eight feet. Because only in the world of cartoony quips is waving a flag, or even parroting Nazi (or Communist, for that matter) rhetoric “incitement” per the SCOTUS.

As longtime friend of this blog Sean Sorrentino put it:

Advocacy of force or criminal activity does not receive First Amendment protections if (1) the advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless actionand(2) is likely to incite or produce such action.

“Hey, we should round up all the Jews and put them in concentration camps.”

Not Incitement.

“There’s a Jew, grab him!”

Incitement.

Distasteful? Sure.

Deserving of censure? Absolutely.

Almost always, in our society, the hallmark of people who’ll never have the power to do much of anything, much less the sweeping assaults they’re talking of? Doy.

And of course, the whole “Punch a Nazi” and “Bash the Fash” conceits, combined with definition of “Naziism” and “Fascism” broad enough to cover, say, every single Republican, are the sort of mass dehumanization that leads us directly to…

…to what?

I don’t want to keep seeing the same hands, here.

Ideas

Big Left – via its wholly owned subsidiaries, Big Government and Big Media – have gotten much exercised about “misinformation” lately. As distinct from “disinformation” – someone actively telling you something that is untrue – “misinformation” is someone telling you anything they disagree with.

Rightly or wrongly.

This campaign has taken many forms – a Scarlet Letter-style whisper campaign on public media, active censorship by private-sector tech companies acting in concert with Big Left.

But what’s next?

Don’t think Big Left isn’t getting ideas:

You Called?

There was one time since Ronald Reagan left the stage that I felt like this nation had a genuine chance to succeed – with “success” defined as “being the nation that the founding fathers envisioned it being”. That was during the Tea Party.

Kids, ask your parents.

The Tea Party was organic. It was a mass movement that almost entirely led with its its ideals – from leaving its demonstration sites cleaner than we found them, to focusing on its principles more than any mass movement (worth following) I can recall in my lifetime. Fiscal responsibility, federalism, checks and balances, civil liberties, equality, a tamed bureacracy – what wasn’t to like?

Naturally, this was a threat, both to the Democrat party (whom the Tea Party shellacked in the 2010 midterms) but the GOP establishment; both, with their handmaidens and drinking buddies in the media, combined to undercut the movement via the most defamatory attack PR campaign not waged on behalf of a Clinton that I can recall.

Which led to Trump, for better or worse, as millions of workadaddy, hugamommy people figured playing nice wasn’t going to work (notwithstanding the Tea Party having led one of the great electoral tsunamis in history in 2010 and 2012).

The Tea Party has lurked in the shadows, or in some cases been appropriated by hucksters.

It’s time for that to change.

Six months into Joe Biden’s presidency, the opposition to his sweeping agenda is practically nonexistent. This week, in direct violation of his oath of office, President Biden extended a moratorium on evictions despite acknowledging beforehand that doing so would be illegal. Meanwhile, his party is trying to push through a multi-trillion-dollar package that will radically transform the relationship between citizens and government from birth through retirement. This is a five-alarm fire for conservatism and Republicans should be fighting Biden with every tool at their disposal. Instead, Republicans have remained largely silent about his unconstitutional power grab and, far from resisting his spending spree, are greasing the wheels for it by agreeing to pass one of his top priorities — an unnecessary infrastructure bill that is effectively an appendage of the larger social-welfare package…Historically, the path of least resistance was always for Republicans to come to Washington and rubber stamp more spending. At the height of the Tea Party’s power, there was a period during which Republicans were more afraid of voting to increase spending than they were of voting to cut spending. That was an important development that effectively put the brakes on Obama’s legislative agenda after 2010.

It was a brief period – but it showed it could be done.

And that’s what we need to shoot for:

Today, the U.S. is at a scary point in its history. The last time the nation racked up so much debt, it was in response to the short-term crisis of World War II. Yet once that crisis ended, so did the elevated spending.

I’m more than ready to get back to it.

Consequences

I’m as close as you can get to a First Amendment absolutist.

As a small L libertarian, I’m also big on due process and the restraint of excessive police power.

With all of that said?

I can’t be the only one who wouldn’t of minded seeing this jagoff “bump his head“ getting into the police car.

Cognitive Dissonance

City of Anaheim “respects free speech”…

but

“We support free speech, but…” = “We don’t support free speech”.  

Points will be docked from the first member of the local prog peanut gallery who says “I thought you Republicans supported property rights – why not allow the vendor to decide what to do with their own property?”

This is the city getting a business – possibly sympathetic, possibly not – to do its censoring for it.   Just like the Administration is doing with Facebook and Twitter.   

But go ahead.  Suggest it.  

Going About It Wrong

Cubans, actually suffering the oppression that a few million “progressive” snowflakes fantasized they were suffering during the Trump term, are thinking, again, about risking it all to come to America:

And our administration will have none of that:

 Note to Cubans:   it’s a rookie flub.  As long as Biden Harris is in office, you need to come via the southern border.

Problem solved. 

Question:  Mayorkas didn’t put this out via a mean tweet.  So why am I feeling ashamed to be an American, right about now? 

Never Waste A Crisis

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats seized on a flu virus to panic the public into accepting restrictions on civil liberties including ‘fortifying’ the election to defeat Bad Orange Man. Now they want storm troopers to go door-to-door, forcing people to take a counter-measure that doesn’t prevent you from catching the virus and won’t prevent you from spreading it to other people. It’s solely intended to reduce the severity of symptoms in breakthrough cases (which we no longer count as “Covid” cases, since May). And why is it any of the government’s business how severe my flu symptoms are?

Because they saved your life and now they own you. No, literally, that’s the justification. ““The federal government has spent trillions of dollars to try and keep Americans alive during this pandemic,” Becerra said on CNN’s “New Day.” “So it is absolutely the government’s business . . . .”

The arrogance is breathtaking. An earlier generation of Americans would have risen up and exterminated such would-be tyrants for their insolence. Push hard enough and maybe this one will, too?

Joe Doakes

There are seriously times where I wonder how this nation doesn’t break into somewhere between two and six different independent countries.

This year isn’t changing anything.

Smack

Justices Alito and Gorsuch pimp-slaps the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with a rolled-up copy of the First Amendment.

FIllmore County, with the MPCA at their backs, wanted to force a group of Amish families in Fillmore County to either put in septic tanks or be evicted from their homes:

Fillmore County in 2013 started requiring homes to have modern septic systems to dispose of “gray water” from dishwashing, laundry and such. The Amish sought an exemption, saying their religion prohibits that technology. They offered instead to use earthen basins filled with wood chips to filter water as it drains, which are allowed in some states including Montana and Wyoming. But the county went as far as seeking a court order to force 23 families from their homes if they refused to comply, Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the Minnesota courts “plainly misinterpreted and misapplied” the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which was also at issue in the Philadelphia case.

The act “prohibits governments from infringing sincerely held religious beliefs and practices except as a last resort,” Gorsuch wrote, urging the Minnesota court and local authorities to swiftly resolve the dispute.

“In this country, neither the Amish nor anyone else should have to choose between their farms and their faith,” he said.

Trump’s judicial legacy is looking more and more to far outweigh all stress he caused.

You Were Warned. Fat Lotta Good It Did.

Politicized “Science” in Public Health is to “Science” as Scientology is to “Science”. .

Case in point: Vaping was a godsend for millions of smokers who wanted to quit smoking tobacco, but couldn’t.

Big Left, riding a wave of prohibitionism driven by (pick one) (or two, or all of them, I don’t know, it may be entirely appropriate):

  • Self-righteous dudgeon, or
  • A pathological hatred of people enjoying themselves, or
  • The aesthetics of putting something in one’s mouth for fun, or
  • A need to control everyone’s behavior

…drove a wave of rules and statutes that treated vape like cigarettes.

And the “unintended” consequences?

Well, what do you think?

When San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a 2018 ballot measure banning the sale of flavored tobacco products — including menthol cigarettes and flavored vape liquids — public health advocates celebrated. After all, tobacco use poses a significant threat to public health and health equity, and flavors are particularly attractive to youth.

But according to a new study from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), that law may have had the opposite effect. Analyses found that, after the ban’s implementation, high school students’ odds of smoking conventional cigarettes doubled in San Francisco’s school district relative to trends in districts without the ban, even when adjusting for individual demographics and other tobacco policies.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics on May 24, is believed to be the first to assess how complete flavor bans affect youth smoking habits.

“These findings suggest a need for caution,” said Abigail Friedman, the study’s author and an assistant professor of health policy at YSPH. “While neither smoking cigarettes nor vaping nicotine are safe per se, the bulk of current evidence indicates substantially greater harms from smoking, which is responsible for nearly one in five adult deaths annually. Even if it is well-intentioned, a law that increases youth smoking could pose a threat to public health.”

In other words: to “safeguard” people from addiction to a chemical that’s about as dangerous as caffeine, they drove people from a delivery system with minimal, largely edge-case dangers, to one that literally involves drawing concentrated air pollution into the lungs.

It’s almost too obvious to be a Berg’s Law: when you mix science and politics, you don’t get scientific politics; you get politicized science.

For Your Own Good

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Canigilia v. Strom is an extreme case, but if traditional Fourth Amendment precedent holds, Red Flag laws will also be held unconstitutional.

Joe Doakes

Forty years ago, the Second Amendment was on the brink of oblivion. A grassroots movement and a whole bunch of good lawyering and litigating fixed that, hopefully for good.

Hopefully we can do the same thing for the Fourth.

And if we’re going to save this Republic, the Tenth.

Un-Minnesotan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Amateurs at work in the Southeast.  What a disgrace.  

You know that a group of hacker/terrorists shut down an oil pipeline.  As a result, there’s a shortage of fuel in North Carolina.  Their Governor issued an Emergency Order addressing the crisis to ensure everybody had enough fuel. 

How did he do it?  Ban all unnecessary travel?  Impose a state-wide curfew?  Confiscate personally owned vehicles?  Impose a $1,000 per gallon tax to prevent hoarding?  

No.  He lifted the load limits on fuel trucks bringing gas into the state.  Trucks can run heavier and haul more fuel during the emergency.  

He didn’t punish his citizens at all – what on Earth was he thinking?  Can you imagine Governor Walz missing an opportunity like that?  Unbelievable.  

Joe Doakes

Depriving “Big Karen” of the prerogative to chant “we’re all in this together”, with “this” meaning “some petty hardship foisted on us all, involving a set of rules of which I, Big Karen, am the custodian?”

Can I imagine Walz doing it?

What’s that, Joe? A rhetorical question?