Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Senator Caroline?

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Ross Douthat:

Caroline Kennedy is no doubt more prepared – in terms of her base of knowledge about national politics, her comfort with the ways of Washington, etc. – to be a United States Senator than Sarah Palin was to be Vice President. But if you consider where the two women started and stack their subsequent accomplishments against one another, Palin’s Alaskan career is roughly six times more impressive than Kennedy’s years as a high-minded Manhattan socialite and custodian of her family’s good name.

Yeah but.

But … what?

The prospect of this appointment makes such a pathetic joke of democracy, much less the concept of meritocracy, that you wonder which governor should be more embarrassed:  the chief executive crook of Illinois running an all-but-open auction for a Senate appointment, or a weak, unelected caretaker governor of New York bidding for the favor of New York’s party and cultural elites in the hope that perhaps he’ll be allowed to “stay on”?

UPDATE: Similarish thoughts here, via here.

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Posted in Narcissus Rex, Sisyphus | 3 Comments »

Is comparing apples and oranges better than good analysis?

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Apparently, Instapundit thinks so:

IS SELLING PEOPLE PORN worse than robbing them? Apparently, the Justice Department thinks so. Perhaps things will be better in this regard under the Obama Administration.

I sure hope not.  After the revolution I expect to still see Glenn online the 46 times a day I check his site.  This is notwithstanding the fact that, despite his considerable talent — and, of course, galactic power over the blogosphere and the personal lives of each and every one of us — he seems to be a sucker for awful comparisons.

A fruit is a fruit.

A fruit is a fruit.

This one is just ridiculous, based entirely on a Reason essay jumping off on the fortuitous juxtaposition  in a newspaper of two different sentences meted out to two different defendants with two different records by two different sovereigns in two different court systems by two different judges at the behest of two different prosecutors enforcing two different pieces of legislation aimed at addressing two different social policies.

Forget all that.  The rotten, crooked cop — who I would argue appears, without respect to any other sentence meted out to any other convict, to have been given a very light sentence — was not punished severely as the pornography seller with a record.

That proves… something!  Bush!  Religious zealot!  Go away!  Shoo!  Shoe!

It’s troubling enough that when it comes to his point of view about the social and policy utility of pornography, Glenn Reynolds throws his considerable analytical skills overboard to make a rhetorical point.  Of at least as much concern is his suggestion that this is a matter solely of political execution:  Not that a Democratic congress, which we have now, will agree with Glenn and weaken or revoke the laws against pornography — which it has been free to do for years — but that a Democratic President should, he suggests, instruct the prosecutors he appoints not to enforce those laws… or at least not without reference to how the local constabulary may be punished by state prosecutors for the sundry crimes its members may commit.

I’ve said this many times in these pixels:  This is not the way to argue in favor of a different policy.  It’s only a way of suggesting that you don’t really have such good arguments.

Posted in O Mores!, Oppression | Leave a Comment »

Facebook debate on Iraq

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Ron Dean Esmay makes the one point about Iraq, the presidency and GWB and history that everyone’s all too willing to forget http://bit.ly/9R2A.via Twitter 2:01pm

Brian Gocial at 3:12pm December 14
I certainly hope you’re right that in the long-term invading Iraq will turn out to have good consequences. But I think the only way “history will not be kind to many of the so-called ‘progressives'” is if the United States Constitution is no longer the governing law of our country.
Judith Weiss at 3:27pm December 14
The people most likely to play games with the Constitution are Dems. For example, Obama wants to use the Supreme Court to redistribute income, which is not its job.
Timbo Jones at 4:29pm December 14
True, the Supreme Court is not supposed to do such things…which is why I guess the Bush administration doesn’t bother with such things when conducting unconstitutional acts.
Rhoads Hollowell at 4:46pm December 14
I am sorry, Ron, but the Project For a New American Century was an evil group from the start, and the end does not justify the means, even in this case.
Ron Coleman at 5:01pm December 14
Brian, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion on that matter!

Which were the objectionable means you have in mind, Rhoads? Humor me.

Rhoads Hollowell at 5:07pm December 14
attacking a sovereign country just because you think it would be a good idea, and then making up the justification so you could do so.
Ron Coleman at 5:15pm December 14
Well, I suppose if I accept all your false premises as true, I’d agree with you. Yeah, definitely evil.
Rhoads Hollowell at 5:17pm December 14
And if you believed in the concept of the rule of law, you would accept my premises as true. There was only one reason that the war in Iraq could ever have been judged as legal: that we did indeed find WMD. We did not. Therefore it was not legal under international law. My source for this is Dean Slaughter of the WWS, a source I think is reliable.
Ron Coleman at 5:34pm December 14
I must admit this is the first time I ever heard it suggested that legality of an act is to be determined based on ex post evaluation of whether certain facts assumed to be true ex ante are in fact true, regardless of what a reasonable person would have believed ex ante.

I knew it that this was the basis — along with taking causalities — for Democrats to decide whether or not they supported the war when it was going badly, but not whether it was legal in the first place.

There is a vast degree of opinion regarding the war’s legality:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_the_Iraq_War

As a general rule almost every opinion on the matter promulgated by an institution, person or other entity came to a conclusion that could be predicted based on that source’s political inclinations regarding the matter.

That doesn’t mean you’re wrong or that it doesn’t matter. It means the question is more complex than you suggest.

Brian Gocial at 6:55pm December 14
Preemptive war, manipulating intelligence, illegal wiretapping, torture, rendition, signing statements, executive secrecy, indefinite imprisonment w/o due process … there is nothing complex about the unconstitutionality of these “means.”
Stephen Ban at 9:59pm December 14
and yet, no further terrorist acts on US soil, and ample evidence that many have been thwarted. It’s a fascinating choice… “unlawful” (your words) and alive vs. self-righteous and dead… complex world out there, isn’t it?
Ron Coleman at 10:50pm December 14
Not only that, Stephen. “International law” is pretty much of interest to those on the outside looking in. Every single country in a position to project power on any level ignores international law when it is in its interest do so, including all the weak sisters of Western Europe. And not only decades ago, but whenever it works for tghem.

Brian, you are mistaking political sloganeering for reality.

Brian Gocial at 8:33am December 15
Ron,

I only wish these serious issues were political sloganeering rather than reality …

But back to the point of your original post, history will be the judge of who is correct. Until then, we’ll each live in the reality of our own choosing.

Ron Coleman at 12:59pm December 15
Well, mentally anyway. Reality chooses us!
Pretty good stuff, and lots of anger still boiling. Still, it seems that great minds think alike:

History will one day credit Bush with patience, multilateralism and conviction. But right now, history is still being made. And there is a war to be continued and to be won.

Can you guess who said it?  No peeking!

Posted in Oppression, Orient, Past is prologue, Politics and Poker, Stragety | 1 Comment »

Now that’s a contract I’d like to draft

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Hitting the wall.

Hitting the wall.

On an hourly basis, that is.  Jimmie does the heavy lifting:

No wonder our car makers can’t get their heads above water. They have a legal document, just for dealing with employees, that weighs 22 pounds and is nine inches thick. Have you read anything that was nine inches tall? I’ll help you out. This hardback copy of War and Peace is only 2.7 inches thick.

How on earth can we justify keeping this going?

Posted in Gelt, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

I’m from Jersey

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Bloggers for Bounty

Bloggers for Bounty

As we wrote last week, with a touch of political snark (excised for today in the spirit of the thing):

A quarter of a million people in New Jersey depend on the generosity of their fellow citizens to meet their dietary needs. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey reports that requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent. Its warehouse shelves, typically stocked with food, are bare, and for the first time in its 25-year history, the Food Bank is developing a rationing mechanism.

For that reason I’m participating in this campaign among bloggers in my state to encourage support of New Jersey food banks, sponsored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. It’s a non-partisan effort. Today, December 15, we’re getting over 100 New Jersey-based bloggers to post in support of the Food Bank. This has been coordinated by Deb Smith of Jersey Bites, and includes the following distinguished blogs: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Heart and spirit, Social networking | 2 Comments »

…. and I can barely afford it.

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Um, by the way, why do you supposed there are so many hungry people in New Jersey that we’re all going to help?

Could it have to do with … this?  Hat tip to Inv. A. Desoda (via Dean’s World).

Posted in Gelt, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

Have a judiciously jolly time.

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 14, 2008

Above the Law reproduces “A Lawyerly Holiday Party Invite.”

This invitation may vary depending on the laws of your state.

Posted in Jocularity, Lex scripta, Oppression | Leave a Comment »

East of eatin’

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 12, 2008

Bloggers for Bounty

Bloggers for Bounty

It would be best if New Jersey, where I live, had taxation, social and economic policies that encouraged economic growth instead of discouraging it, but it doesn’t.  And it is ironic that those most vulnerable to bad economic policy routinely vote into office the people most responsible for the policies that contribute to their misery time and time again.  That doesn’t mean, however, that if people, our neighbors, are going hungry in what is still an environment of historically, and absolutely, phenomenal bounty, we should as humans and citizens stand by and watch.

New Jersey is called the Garden State because it once had a lot farms, of course.  Recent estimates are that it still has 4.7 times more agriculture than you think.  And please do not confuse me with the facts on this point!  Not surprisingly, however, there are a lot of people in my home state who don’t have enough to eat.

A quarter of a million people in New Jersey depend on the generosity of their fellow citizens to meet their dietary needs.  The Community Food Bank of New Jersey reports that requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent.   Its warehouse shelves, typically stocked with food, are bare, and for the first time in its 25-year history, the Food Bank is developing a rationing mechanism.

For that reason I’m participating in this campaign among bloggers in my state to encourage support of New Jersey food banks, sponsored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.  It’s a non-partisan effort. This  Monday, December 15, we’re trying to get 100 New Jersey-based bloggers to post in support of the Food Bank.  This has been coordinated by Deb Smith of Jersey Bites, and she, incidentally, is still looking for participant bloggers.

With the number of families across the country counting on churches and food banks to feed their families increasing at astronomical rates this year, the Food Bank needs our help now more than ever. So, help.

Posted in Gelt, Heart and spirit, Social networking, Suburbia | 1 Comment »

Double-dip blogging

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 11, 2008

This item from  LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® has turned out to be such a hit that, on a not-so-bloggy day for me, I thought it would be appropriate to point LOS readers to my original, tax-deductible blog and suggest they look at it. And read it.

The post does have everything:  Scientology, the free market, intellectual property, the Internet, “e-meters,” suntan lotion, an anti-religion-crusading blogger, and best of all — nothing about the Governor of Illinois!

Yeah, nothing!

Posted in Blogophilia, Narcissus Rex | 3 Comments »

Don’t blame the Netroots for democracy

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 10, 2008

Pajamas Media columnist M.P.  MacConnell writes, regarding the   “How the Netroots Brought Down Obama’s Spymaster.”  (Via Glenn.)  Get this:

Regardless of political affiliation, the “Netroots” (a term used to describe those whose political activism is primarily manifested online) are a mob, and as is normally the case in mob attacks, there are ringleaders. In this particular instance it was Glenn Greenwald, an attorney and contributing writer for Salon.com, who took it upon himself to lead those self-appointed champions of liberty in their quest to speed John Brennan’s downfall. Greenwald, who has no background in intelligence, law-enforcement, diplomacy, or international relations, felt himself to be in a position of supreme moral authority in questioning the fitness of Brennan – a 25 year veteran of government, intelligence, and counter-terrorism service – to assume the role President-elect Obama seemed to have him earmarked for.

I wasn’t too impressed, and wrote the following in the comments:

What an odd article. It starts out — well, I don’t know how it starts out; is there a missing topic sentence? — but at the beginning the complaint is, “Bad new media!” Then a quote from William Safire about money and megaphones. Does this mean that non-expert writers have had an effect on political and government decision-making prior to the advent of the Internet? Why, I think it does! In fact, while [Glenn] Greenwald is merely a lawyer, and not an expert on intelligence or the like, he is no worse credentialed than Horace Greeley, Carl Bernstein or Rush Limbaugh: Lay people with opinions, agendas and sometimes information that can affect public policy. The Internet has nothing to do with this.

Having said that, the remaining four-fifths of the article is a defense, on the merits, of Brennan. It may very well be a great defense of Brennan — I’m only a lawyer, not an intelligence expert! But it’s a non-sequitur as regards the first paragraphs, the title and the concluding paragraph.

Guess what, M.P.:  Political decisions, or decisions by politicians regardless of merit, need to be supported, defended and sustained in political environments such as the media, online or off. If you haven’t gotten used to that, or if you don’t like it, why on earth do you write for Pajamas Media?

Posted in Blogophilia, Politics and Poker, Social networking | Leave a Comment »