Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hilary's Worst Nightmare? Not Trump: Sanders.

In explaining his decision to run for President, Trump described himself as Hilary's worst nightmare.  Trump hasn't been reading the news.  According to CNN, Bernie Sanders would beat Trump by an even larger margin than Hillary Clinton.

Hillary's worst nightmare is a real liberal, capable of getting liberal votes instead of merely getting "Defeat the Republicans" votes.

To emphasize: Bernie Sanders had better polling against Trump than Hillary Clinton.  Among registered voters surveyed for the CNN poll,  Clinton would beat Trump 56% to 40%, whereas Sanders would defeat Trump 59% to 38%.

As for Trump, his "I'm not Hillary Clinton" candidacy doesn't seem to have done him much good among voters, even if he's got the highest name recognition in the un-thinned Republican field.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Iced Tea Report: Hungry's on Memorial Fails the Iced Tea Refill Test


If you can spot what's wrong with this glass of iced tea, you're doing better than the staff of Hungry's CafĂ© & Bistro on Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas.  (Reviews on Yelp)

Normally poor iced tea performance is balanced by something going right with the food, but the food came so slowly I am aware only that we avoided cannibalism, and can't really report with authority on how anything tasted because we'd gone feral.

Usually I stop at the Hungry's on Rice Blvd., where I'm sure the tea is larger and I've been able to persuade servers to keep it full.

Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cop Killers

A "Black Lives Matter" activist named Sandra Bland died recently in the jail of Waller County, Texas.  Sandra Bland, 28, was about to begin a new job at Texas A&M University before she was killed in custody.  Pulled over ostensibly for failure to signal a lane change, she was arrested rather than cited.  To defend itself from criticism of the arrest, the department released a video showing her arrest by an officer who later asserted the unarmed woman had "assaulted" him.  Although the video contains obvious signs of editing, the department denies that the video was ever edited.

Speaking with her mother about her new job, Bland had said, "My purpose is to go back to Texas and stop all social injustice in the South."

Well, Waller County had an answer for that, didn't it?

Instead of protecting the citizens, police in the United States have a developed a reputation for using force to coerce citizens into complying with a variety of ridiculous demands (why did Sandra need to exit her vehicle to receive a citation for failure to signal a lane change?), or skipping the demands and moving straight to the killing.  The police killing of Caroline Small emphasizes the ability of police to kill unarmed civilians with impunity even if they aren't men trying to purchase an unloaded air rifle at Walmart, or for allegedly shoplifting.  Maybe – at least in New York, when the officer is a rookie – there's at least an apology for killing a civilian for deciding to take the stairs.  The culture of killing American civilians is an epidemic among U.S. law enforcement.  Suicide by cop just doesn't work in places like the United Kingdom:  they don't kill people.  While acknowledging that the United States has a greater population (~319 million) than the United Kingdom (~64 million), the rate of police killings of civilians is vastly different than the population difference:  despite that U.S. data on police killings is incomplete because reporting to the F.B.I. is purely voluntary, the U.S. death toll from justifiable killings by police was more than 400 individuals, while British police discharged their weapons in the line of duty a grand total of three (3) times, with zero fatalities.  British shootings of civilians by police is extremely controversial even in the case of a known gangster.  In the U.S., the hypermilitarized "police" now occupying our cities seem virtually expected to kill.  For some real perspective:  U.S. police killed more people this March than U.K. police have killed since 1900.  Last year, the death toll was 1,100 killed in the U.S. compared to twenty-six (26) in the U.S.  This isn't some multiple based on population difference, it's a cultural problem in U.S. "police" forces.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FIFA Bans Whistleblower (who's 70 and has cancer)

FIFA previously halted ethics proceedings against one of its officials who'd been caught using his FIFA office to benefit from corruption;  the 70-year-olf had been diagnosed with colon cancer and guaranteed FIFA he'd never officiate again.  However, the ex-official turned state's evidence, resulting in prosecutions that included multiple extradition requests from Switzerland, so FIFA retaliated with the gratuitous step of imposing a lifelong ban against his officiating in national or international soccer events.

Priorities.

American General Notices Putin's Thugocracy A Threat

At least someone's noticing Putin's innocent-faced invasion of its neighbor illustrates the harm he's willing to cause when convenient.  In order to conceal the scope of the wars Putin conducts in secret, he's declared "peacetime" troop deaths a state secret.  Well, of course.  People might notice they're actually at war.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cop Whistleblower Retaliation in Missouri

The problem that those entrusted with responsibility will fail to exercise the diligence they're paid to exercise, but will instead act in their own interest to do things that are more convenient to themselves personally, is so well-known that the management literature has developed a term of art to describe it:  the agency problem.  The agency problem confronts voters whose legislators enact undesirable laws at the behest of monied special interests just as it confronts citizens whose police decide to use their badges and guns for some purpose other than to protect and serve.

Or … choose simply to protect and serve only their buddies with badges and guns.  In one case, a Missouri police officer who answered honest questions about the in-custody death of a college student (accused of a misdemeanor) was effectively punished by his superiors for stepping out of line.  Allowing police to be held accountable to the public isn't in the interest of the self-interested police.  Read about the case here.

The problem isn't police only.  The problem is the agency problem and its solutions are applicable to shareholders who want Boards who protect shareholders instead of looting the firm to enrich themselves, to protect voters who want legislators to pass laws that comport with public concepts of justice and reason, and to protect members of the public who don't want to fear violence from police who are protected from the consequence of any misconduct they choose to commit.  The agency problem is the problem of business just as it is the problem of democracy.

Faithful agents mean the difference between justice and oppression, fair returns and fraud losses, free elections and a mislead public.

The agency problem matters.