Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Cruising the Web

What awful news to wake up to this morning. It's such a cliche to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, but that is how we all feel. As with the Ariana Grande concert shooting attack at the French nightclub, Bataclan or the shooting at Pulse, the Orlando nightclub, I keep thinking about people happily preparing for a fun night out, maybe texting their friends their excitement at having scored tickets or discussing what they're going to wear to the concert and then to have this unbelievable horror.

While following the news on Twitter between classes yesterday, I saw a lot of people rushing out to score their political points about gun control or to counter those points. And then there was that horrible CBS vice president who thought it was worthwhile to tweet out that she didn't have sympathy for the victims because they were country music fans who "often are Republican." Who even thinks that way about people shot to death? I just can't imagine. I don't normally support firing people for what they say on Twitter, but I'm glad that CBS fired her.

But there were still such stories of personal courage and goodness of people who sacrificed their lives serving as human shields to save others, that my heart reels. Here are some more inspiring stories.

Just as after the hurricanes we heard such tales, I'm struck at how many truly good people there are in this world and I'm humble in doubting my own courage to sacrifice for others.
But the number of casualties could have been much higher had it not been for the brave few that helped first responders tend to the wounded.
From a firefighter who was shot while performing CPR on a wounded woman to a man who saved his friend from bleeding to death to the ex-marine that stole a truck to transport victims to the hospital - several civilians became overnight heroes.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4942928/Stories-heroism-emerge-amid-Las-Vegas-massacre.html#ixzz4uRMFyfwN
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I wish that our country could take at least a few days to grieve before people leap to try to take political advantage of such a tragedy. But I guess that is too much to expect. Let's find out what kind of guns this guy had and how he acquired them. Then, as Jazz Shaw challenges the Democrats calling for more gun control laws, which laws are they proposing that would have stopped this monster since automatic rifles have been illegal since 1986? If there are laws that could be enacted that would have prevented adaptation of a semi-automatic into a fully automatic weapon, then that should be something to be done. But let's get the information first before jumping to our partisan hobbyhorses.

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Shoshana Weissman and C. Jarrett Dieterle write about what makes Judge Don Willett, Trump's recent nominee to the 5th Circuit so special. Sure his tweeting is fun and helps him stand out among other less noticeable judges. But it is his judicial philosophy that is important. Many judges with a conservative judicial philosophy believe in deferring to the elected branches of government, but Willett is part of a new, more libertarian group that believe that judges need to apply their constitutional deference to actions of the government as well as in other cases. It shouldn't seem like such a remarkable concept, but it is important in these days of over-weaning governmental reach.
On the other hand, libertarian legal scholars such as Randy Barnett have suggested an alternative approach called “judicial engagement,” which encourages courts to more aggressively evaluate laws and regulations to determine whether or not they violate the Constitution. Willett’s jurisprudence underscores his belief that judicial duty means taking the Constitution and its limits seriously—and not putting a pro-government thumb on the scale. He demonstrated this most clearly in the 2015 case Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, in which the Texas Supreme Court struck down a requirement that eyebrow threaders complete hundreds of hours of coursework and pass exams, all of which were unrelated to eyebrow threading.

In his concurring opinion, Willett derided overly deferential judges and suggested an alternative: “In my view, Texas judges should instead conduct a genuine search for truth—as they do routinely in countless other constitutional areas—asking ‘What is government actually up to?’” In other words, if legislatures or regulators enact a law or rule, they must articulate coherent and persuasive reasons for why it is necessary. It is the job of courts to ensure that such reasons actually make sense and are permissible uses of government power.
Patel was a case concerning the over-regulation of certain industries that have been put in place as a reward to those already operating in that business to create barriers against competition. THe case involved the many hours of coursework required to become an eyebrow threader. The requirements weren't about customer safety but about keeping the number of eyebrow threaders low. We've seen this over-licensing trend across the country in professions such as being a florist, hairdresser, or undertaker. Many of these overly broad licensing requirements keep just the people we'd like to see get jobs and start their own small businesses out of work. But those who operate the schools that benefit for the hundreds of hours required for getting a license and those who already have a license have teamed up to keep competition low. For example, these are requirements in Nebraska that would be removed by a new law proposed there to lower barriers to employment.
LB343 removes barriers to employment or practice in 7 personal care fields, and one medical profession:
Cosmetologists and barbers: Reduces requirement of 2,100 classroom hours for licensure to 1,500, in line with most states.

Massage therapists: Reduces requirement of 1,000 classroom hours for licensure to 500, in line with most states.

Cosmeticians: Eliminates state registration requirements for cosmeticians.

Electrologists and estheticians: Retains current 600 classroom hour requirement for licensure, while removing an additional requirement for 600 credit hours.

Nail technicians: Reduces current 300 hour requirement set by licensing board to no more than 200 hours.

Audiologists: Eliminates duplicative requirement for licensed audiologists to receive a second license to dispense hearing aids.
Many of the groups opposing this legislation are among those that profit from these excessive regulations. One example is some cosmetology schools, who claim that requiring fewer hours may force a harmful change to curriculum. This bill does not alter the curriculum taught in cosmetology schools at all, however. Some opponents also argue that Nebraska’s 2,100 hours of cosmetology training produces a safer work environment. Independent research shows that all Nebraska’s students are getting with more hours is more student debt than other practitioners in other states.
If Judge Willett is going to strike down such barriers to employment that are just meant to protect others from competition, more power to him.

The Council of Graduate Schools has recently released its report on graduate school enrollment and degrees from 2016. Mark J. Perry at AEI highlights some of the interesting findings
from the report.

For the eighth year in a row, women earned a majority of doctoral degrees awarded at US universities in 2016. Of the 78,744 doctoral degrees awarded in 2016. women earned 40,407 of those degrees and 52.1% of the total, compared to 37,145 degrees awarded to men who earned 47.9% of the total (see top chart above). Women have now earned a majority of doctoral degrees in each academic year since 2009. Previously, women started earning a majority of associate’s degrees for the first time in 1978, a majority of master’s degrees in 1981, and a majority of bachelor’s degrees in 1982 according to the Department of Education. Therefore, 2009 marked the year when men officially became the “second sex” in higher education by earning a minority of college degrees at all college levels from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees.
Women are receiving more advanced degrees than men in more fields.
By field of study, women earning doctoral degrees in 2016 outnumbered men in 7 of the 11 graduate fields tracked by the CGS (see top chart above): Arts and Humanities (54% female), Biology (51.7%, and one of the STEM fields that we hear so much about in terms of female under-representation), Education (69.4%), Health Sciences (69.9)%, Public Administration (77.4%), Social and Behavioral Studies (60.2%) and Other fields (50.7%). Men still earned a majority of 2016 doctoral degrees in the fields of Business (54.1% male), Engineering (77.2%), Math and Computer Science (74.2%), and Physical and Earth Sciences (66.4%).
So with all the panic over women being underrepresented in STEM fields and business, how about men's underrepresentation in Biology, Education, Health Science, or Public Administration. Could it just be that men and women, on average, are making different choices in fields that they want to pursue?
The bottom chart above displays total enrollment in 2016 by gender and field for all graduate school programs in the US (certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees from Table B.13), showing that there is a significant gender gap in favor of women for students attending US graduate schools. Women represent 57.5% of all graduate students in the US, meaning that there are now 135 women enrolled in graduate school for every 100 men. In certain fields like Education (75% female), Health Sciences (77.7% female) and Public Administration (77.1%), women outnumber men by a factor of almost three or more. By field of study, women enrolled in graduate school outnumber men in the same 7 out of the 11 graduate fields of study noted above, with females being a minority share of graduate students in only Business (45.1% female), Engineering (24.7% female), Math and Computer Science (31.5% female), and Physical and Earth Sciences (37% female).
Will we start to hear people worrying about this gender disparity among men and women in certain fields or will all the attention be on the fields in which men outnumber women and no mention of all the fields in which women outnumber men? Mark J. Perry doubts it.
If there is any attention about gender differences in the CGS annual report, it will likely focus on the fact that women are a minority in 4 of the 11 fields of graduate study including engineering and computer science (a gender gap which some consider to be a “national crisis”), with calls for greater awareness of female under-representation in STEM graduate fields of study and careers (except for the STEM field of biology, where women have actually been over-represented for decades). But don’t expect any concern about the fact that men have increasingly become the second sex in higher education. The concern about gender imbalances will remain extremely selective, and will only focus on cases when women, not men, are underrepresented and in the minority.

To conclude, let me pose a few questions, paraphrasing George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams: If America’s diversity worshipers see any female under-representation as a problem and possibly even as proof of gender discrimination, what do they propose should be done about female over-representation in higher education at every level and in 7 out of 11 graduate fields? After all, to be logically consistent, aren’t female over-representation and female under-representation simply different sides of gender injustice? (emphasis in the original)

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John Stossel reports
on how the Americans with Disabilities Act has been used to shut down Berkeley's wonderful program of putting their professors' lectures up on the internet for free. This was great. I listened to quite a few of them from the history department there. They helped me prepare for my own classes or as a refresher course. But then, as Stossel reports, the federal government decided that this was too good a thing to keep its hands off of.
President Obama's eager regulators, in response to a complaint from activists, decided that Berkeley's videos violated the ADA. The Justice Department sent the school a threatening letter: "Berkeley is in violation of title II ... (T)he Attorney General may initiate a lawsuit."

What Berkeley had done wrong, said the government, was failing to caption the videos for the hearing impaired. The ADA makes it illegal to "deny" deaf people services available to others.

Equality is a noble goal, but closed captioning is expensive.
Berkeley couldn't afford the cost of close-captioning the 20,000 lectures, so they just stopped offering the lectures and removed the videos from its website.
So now, instead of some deaf people struggling to understand university lectures, no one gets to hear them.

Politicians mean well when they pass rules like the ADA, but every regulation has unintended consequences. Most are bad.
There is a happy ending to this.
In this case, fortunately, an angry entrepreneur came to the rescue. Jeremy Kauffman hates to see valuable things disappear, so right before Berkeley deleted its website, Kauffman copied the videos and posted them on his website, called LBRY (as in Library).

He says the Berkeley videos are just the start of what LBRY has planned. He wants the site to be YouTube — but without the content restrictions.

LBRY uses a new technology that operates like Bitcoin. It's "decentralized," meaning videos posted are stored on thousands of computers around the world. That makes it nearly impossible for governments — or even Kauffman himself — to remove them.

"LBRY is designed to be much more decentralized, much more controlled by users" and "absolutely freer," Kauffman explains in a video I posted this week.

He acknowledges that with no censorship, his invention may end up hosting videos of bad things — beheadings, child porn, who knows what else. But he argues that if he creates a system with censorship, "it allows us to keep the bad stuff out, which is great, but it also allows dictatorial regimes to keep content off. Do we want to make videos available to the people in Turkey, Iran and China? We say yes."

LBRY will let users flag videos depicting illegal actions. Those videos may no longer be shown on LBRY. However, other websites can show the illegal content using LBRY's technology, and Kauffman can't stop that.

Kauffman says he won't remove the Berkeley videos from his site even if he's sued because there aren't captions for deaf people.

"Is that a reason that content shouldn't be available to everyone?" asks Kauffman....

Thank goodness for the internet and for people like Kauffman, someone willing to spend his own money to keep information free.

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tfhr said...


The 1986 law prevents the manufacture of automatic rifles for the civilian market. Those already in existence are heavily regulated by a 1934 law.

The facts are still coming in and many erroneous reports will have to be corrected before a clear picture is possible. I don't expect to get much help to that end with our media.

mardony said...

Betsy courageously pontificates: “I wish that our country could take at least a few days to grieve before people leap to try to take political advantage of such a tragedy”. This is a predictable irrationality from a blog that politicizes everything.

Hasn’t the NRA taken “political advantage” of our democracy by buying politicians.

“Since 1998, the National Rifle Association has donated $3,534,294 to current members of Congress.”


tfhr said...

To nobody's surprise, Mardony checks in on a political funding angle, which is all this is to the left.

If the left cared about "gun violence" or even its victims, we'd see them do something about Chicago, where about 500 have been shot to death so far in 2017 including 57 last month alone.

What is the left doing about the city it has run into the ground for decades? What have Chicago's gun laws done and how would that have stopped Las Vegas? We know the answer but Mardony is in this for the fund raising.

mardony said...

Betsy’s Page asks a ludicrous question today, while riding its “partisan hobbyhorse”:

“...which laws are (the Democrats)proposing that would have stopped this monster since automatic rifles have been illegal since 1986? ...But let's get the information first before jumping to our partisan hobbyhorses.”.

From PolitiFact, here’s a historical answer to that ludicrous question:

“Congress Blocked Obama’s Call For New Gun Laws After Mass Shootings”


MountainMan said...

“Since 1998, the National Rifle Association has donated $3,534,294 to current members of Congress.”

As a comparison, as someone responded on Twitter: labor unions have donated over $700 million during the same time.

And if we did a little more research we’d probably find many other groups that would push the NRA down the list.

mardony said...

“According to the Gun Violence Archive, Sunday night was the 273rd mass shooting in 2017. There have been 11,572 gun deaths on U.S. soil in 9 months. There have been 23,365 injuries.”
(A mass shooting is defined as 4 or more persons injured or killed by the shooter or shooters)

MountainMan, how many deaths have the unions caused in the last nine months?


tfhr said...


Would Obama's "blocked" gun law have prevented him from shipping loads of weapons to drug cartels in Mexico with his brilliantly executed "Fast and Furious" operation? Would any law? You see, the problem with passing laws that will exist only to make you feel good is that they are ignored by criminals. It's against the law to murder people and it's against the law to arm drug cartels, who in turn will kill more people, and yet it happens anyway.

Since Rahm Emanuel became the mayor of Chicago, more than 4500 people have been murdered in that city. Do you really think the problem is politics? Is the NRA doing this? I think there might be something else at play in Chicago. What do you think? You can outlaw guns. You can outlaw murder. Both have been tried in Chicago and you can see how that works. You CAN fund raise on the issue and that's just what you and leftist politicians you admire are doing right now.

Whatever happens regarding Las Vegas, do you really think those efforts will change anything in Chicago? Why won't the left do anything about the unceasing slaughter in Chicago?

mardony said...

“Thank you! An honor to be the first candidate ever endorsed by the @NRA- prior to @GOPconvention! #Trump2016 #2A”
(Trump tweet, May 20, 2016)

tfhr said...

Maniac kills 59 and Mardony blames the NRA.

Over 500 dead in Chicago in 2017 so far and Mardony blames the NRA.

No wonder the left is impotent when it comes to stopping the slaughter in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, etc., but they sure can raise some campaign money with all of that bluster!

Meanwhile, the left screams that the real problem in the United States is murderous cops, despite the fact that so many just risked their lives on Sunday - and every other day they are on the job - to protect others.

Mardony puts on his pink pussy balaclava, sticks his fist in the air, and stomps around chanting, "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them?! NOW!!!"

Mardony still cannot figure out why the "message" didn't take hold in 2016.

mardony said...

“One of the things that we don’t want to do is try to create laws that won’t . . . stop these types of things from happening. I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over four thousand victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country.”
(Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House’s Charley McCarthy, at press briefing, 10/2)

“Since Rahm Emanuel became the mayor of Chicago, blah, blah, blah...”
(tfhr, Sarah’s Charley McCarthy and antediluvian doofus, defiling Betsy’s Page, 10/3)

MountainMan said...

"MountainMan, how many deaths have the unions caused in the last nine months?"

And how many of those mass shootings were by NRA members? I don't have the numbers but I would guess the number is pretty close to 0. A lot of these gun deaths are in blue cities - Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit - all run by Democrats for the last 50 years or more. And who helps elect these incompetent and corrupt Democrats who mis-govern these cities? The biggest contributors to the Democrat Party are the labor unions. In fact, 7 of the 10 biggest donors to political campaigns donate almost their entire contribution to Democrats. The NRA is currently down around number 90 or 100 on the contribution totals list.

tfhr said...

Mardony can see for himself that passing meaningless laws makes no difference, but that doesn't change a narrative that exists only to raise campaign cash.

With his characteristic eloquence and command of the facts ("blah, blah, blah..."), Mardony gives Rahm a pass made possible with undying party loyalty while completely ignoring the failure of Chicago to come to grips with the daily carnage. And for what? A pat on the head and an another opportunity to offer up smug indifference to the body count?!

That any objective person can see the facts on the ground in Chicago for what they are means that Mardony must resort to insults rather than an honest examination of the facts as they are, not as he wants them to be.

mardony said...

Roseanne Cash: Country Musicians, Stand Up to the NRA

"There is no other way to say this: The NRA funds domestic terrorism ... A shadow government exists in the world of gun sales, and the people who write gun regulations are the very people who profit from gun sales. The NRA would like to keep it that way."

Roseanne Cash, NYT op-ed, 10/3)


mark said...

I admire your ability to decry inserting politics into this massacre while injecting politics. While you acknowledged both sides doing it, you chose to specifically mentioned the CBS employee who was correctly fired for a disgraceful comment. You chose not to comment about the conservative media outlets that recklessly rushed to identify the shooter as a liberal.


Nor did you include Pat Robertson’s insane comment that the terrorist attack was due to liberals being mean to the orange man-child.

Nor did you mention the comment here accusing Mardony of “licking up the blood” of victims.

Too late for you to mention was the inane comment (today) by a repub senator blaming victims for not taking precautions or making themselves smaller targets.


Obviously, your choice to make, but it is certainly playing politics.

Personally, I’m fine with “playing politics” if that’s what you want to call it. I have no problem immediately calling out the stupidity, greed and cowardice behind our insane lack of common-sense gun laws. I suspect it’s more out of embarrassment for an indefensible position than any concern about sensitivity. Two weeks ago, conservatives complained that talking about climate change right after a hurricane is insensitive. Snowflakes!
You once wrote that you were open to limiting the number of bullets/magazines that could be purchased. You were immediately criticized by conservatives for not understanding/respecting the Constitution. One ignoramus claimed that any gun control was “fascism”.

It’s really not politics. It’s common sense. The NRA and politicians who have whored themselves out to the NRA have made it a political issue, and been able to dupe enough people into an immoral position.

tfhr said...


A "shadow government exists in the world of gun sales"? Sounds like she's referring to Obama's Fast and Furious gun transfer program for the drug cartels in Mexico.

tfhr said...


Sorry, I only just spotted your 6:34 comment for today. I thought you were still out trying to find an explanation for your erroneous claim that "thousands of military members rely on Obamacare".

Now you're here with guidance on "common sense" gun laws and some pretty whiney complaints about how Betsy's blog doesn't meet your high standards. Why don't you explain how you define a "common sense" gun law. Coming from the left, "common sense" has little meaning but I'm hoping you can put together a coherent attempt.

Oh yeah, when did 4chan become a "conservative media outlet"?! What other "conservative media outlets" were saying mean things about the murderer?

mark said...

It wasn't erroneous, tfhr. I've proven my claim and exposed your ignorance and apathy regarding the treatment of veterans.


tfhr said...

Are you truly that ignorant? Or are you just having a problem admitting that you didn't take the time to consider that there is a difference between military personnel and veterans?

ObamaCare was built on lies - you knew it then but you advocated for it anyway - but do you have to invent new lies to justify yourself? Maybe you should just admit that you didn't think that claim through before you made it.

If you had bothered to read the story you linked, you would see that it is about how Medicaid has been overwhelmed by patients forced into it by ObamaCare and that veterans that do not qualify for VA care are being jammed into the same overburdened mess as so many other ObamaCare victims. There is nothing in the article about active duty military personnel as you claimed.

The editorial then attempts to weave in concerns about pre-existing conditions into a failed argument while overlooking the simple fact that a pre-existing condition like PTSD or TBI would actually be a service related issue that would qualify a veteran as having a service related condition and as such, could get medical care at the VA.

And you're the guy talking in this thread about "common sense" laws regarding weapons and the Second Amendment but you can't even get through a paragraph about pre-existing conditions and service related disabilities!

As for veterans that do not qualify for VA health care - and the ones that do - maybe you should look closer at the shameful and expensive failure that government run program has been and take a clue from it when considering what it would mean if the entire country were made to depend on a single payer system! Instead, you want Medicaid and the VA for all!

mardony said...

tfhr ~
Thanks for fessing up. You befoul this blog thanks to the taxpayers’ dole you mooch off of. So glad our tax dollars subsidize this productive use of your time. Hillary mentioned deplorables. She needed a “detestable” category for you.

tfhr said...


It looks like MountainMan got the better of you - particularly when we look at the numbers you borrowed from that authoritative source, Esquire.

What portion of that total number of deaths is suicide? What percentage is an officer involved shooting? How many of those deaths and injuries are those suffered as an attacker in a self defense shooting? How does the Twitter feed that Esquire "sourced" define a "mass shooting"?

I ask these questions because you're too lazy and dishonest to do so and from experience with such claims in the past.

tfhr said...


Your 10:56 entry is incoherent.

What am I "fessing up" to?

I'm a taxpayer - are my tax dollars paying for my time at 11:04? How is that?

You've obviously lost the argument here if that's all you can throw at me to support whatever it is you believe.