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Global Shield, 1985

 

This video below shows a MITO (minimal interval takeoff) of B-52G and KC-135 aircraft at the launch of “Global Shield” in 1985. (I was the navigator in, as I recall, the second B-52 to depart in this video.) Although not coincident with Earth Day, this annual exercise truly was global as bombers and supporting tankers launched synchronously from every Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. Our intended audience was the Soviets and the exercise was intended to demonstrate the credibility of the bomber component of the strategic triad.

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The False Allure of Libertarian Paternalism

 
Prof. Richard Thayler.

One of the great academic debates of our time revolves around how people make choices. On the one side, neoclassical theory assumes that individuals generally act in sensible ways in order to advance their individual self-interest. They are motivated to control aggression and monopoly, and to let private parties in competitive markets strike what bargains they like. In recent years, this neoclassical approach has come under attack from the field of behavioral economics. Its proponents argue that the neoclassical model of behavior, premised on the fact that human beings are rational decision-makers, does not sufficiently account for the many false heuristics and biases that lead people astray as they make decisions.

The two most prominent leaders in this movement are Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics, and the Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, who have advanced—most notably in their book Nudge–what they problematically call Libertarian Paternalism. This involves using both public and private institutions to “nudge” people to improve their lives without forcing them to do so, supposedly preserving their personal liberty. Resting on the foundational scholarship of Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky, Thaler and Sunstein deny that individuals are as rational as neoclassical theory holds: People often operate under the influence of systematic cognitive biases that prevent them from making sound decisions. In order to nudge people in the right direction, Thaler and Sunstein propose that the legal system set its “default” rules to induce them, without coercion, to act in ways that better advance their own welfare. In some cases, the switch is as simple as a move from “opting in” to “opting out.” People are permitted to reverse the default position if they prefer, so that their freedom of choice is thereby preserved.

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YAF at Brandeis: Christina Hoff Sommers

 

Thanks to Young America’s Foundation (formerly Young Americans for Freedom) our conservative club was able to host Christina Hoff Sommers last Tuesday. We had advertised her around campus thus: “Politically involved? Feminist? Engage in the campus dialogue.” Ironically, other than a graduate student, I was the only female club member to show up. But I enjoyed getting the VIP treatment — sitting in the front seats and being able to hang out with Sommers before and after the event.

The assistant dean (she’s great) started off by talking about how fortunate we were to have these forums for free speech and making it very clear that no disruptive behavior would be tolerated within the room. Then we got to hear from Sommers.

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From Commodity to Transformation: How Selling Coffee Points the Way to the Future of Healthcare Delivery and Why it is So Hard to Get Right

 

In his 2006 book The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary, Joseph A. Michelli outlines how Starbucks takes a service (preparing coffee) and turns into an experience, a transformation that has not been without struggles and has proven difficult to maintain over time.

In the book, Michelli outlines the hierarchy of sales, showing that the highest margins are from those sales based on experience, using coffee as an example:

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Jessica Valenti Made the Case for School Choice

 

Second grade. This is happening a second-grade classroom somewhere:

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Can Government Cook Up Another Silicon Valley?

 
Apple campus, Cupertino, CA. | Shutterstock.com

Silicon Valley doesn’t seem too popular these days in Washington. Yet government planners in just about every place that has a government would love to replicate Silicon Valley. Since 2011, California has grown twice as fast as the rest of the nation, helped by white-hot 6% annual growth in the San Jose area — home to the actual Silicon Valley, according to JPMorgan. But what’s the secret sauce? What’s the right recipe? No one seems to know, exactly. But policymakers seem to have settled on what economist Ian Hathaway calls the More of Everything theory (which I would like to believe is a Seinfeld reference). It works like this, Hathaway explains in a blog post:

More of Everything thinking goes something like this: if we just get more of everything, we can create a vibrant startup community . . . more capital, more innovation centers, more accelerators, more incubators, more university programs, more startup events . . . more, more, more. It follows linear systems thinking whereby an increase in critical inputs (resources like capital and talent) results in an increase in desired outputs (startups, value creation), and by how much.

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“Keep My Hand From Striking” and Other Exercises of Self-Control

 

“…and he that ruleth his spirit, better than he that taketh a city.” — Proverbs 16:32

Self-control is an overlooked virtue it seems, especially in an indulgent culture. It seems it also comes in the positive and negative forms. First, the negative. Self-control as resistance to one’s own worst impulses. (Note: names changed to protect the guilty and less-than-innocent)

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Massive Protests Force Armenia’s Prime Minister to Resign

 

Armenia, like many countries of the former Soviet Union, has had a history of soft authoritarianism. For 10 years up to April 9, the country’s president, Serzh Sargsyan, had ruled pretty much without opposition. His election in 2008 had caused protests that were suppressed, leaving 10 dead. A few protests in the intervening years changed little.

Facing term limits for the presidency, Sargsyan in 2015 pushed through a constitutional change that would place much more power in the Parliament and remove it from the presidency. On April 9, 2018, a new president, Armen Sargsyan (no relation) became president. Three days later, Serzh Sargsyan was elected prime minister by his own party, which had won the Parliament.

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Van Driver Kills 9 in Toronto

 

Once again, a rental van plowed through pedestrians on a sidewalk, this time in Toronto. Nine people have been reported killed and 16 reported injured in the Monday attack. Police have the suspect in custody and have identified him as 25-year-old Alek Minassian. The latest from CBS News:

U.S. law enforcement sources told CBS News that the incident appears to be a deliberate act. Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said it was too soon to say whether the crash was a case of international terrorism. He said Canada has not changed its terrorism alert level and he has no information that would suggest a need to do so.

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There Is Such a Thing as White (and Asian) Privilege and the Left Advances It

 

First of all, I want to let everyone know that I am not using white privilege as a cudgel to slur white people or people of any color who disagree with me. I like many classical liberals think that white privilege is incredibly overblown and I see it being used as a way to avoid arguments instead of addressing them with reason and goodwill.

For example, I mentioned that some facts written by Thomas Sowell in one of his books suggested that there was very little discrimination in terms of wages between black Americans and white Americans to a lefty journalist. She responded that the book was, and I quote, “white history.” Rather than look up the facts she called stuff that she disagreed with as white in order to dismiss it.

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“Though Hell Should Bar the Way” a Vastly Entertaining Book

 

David Drake has been writing the Royal Cinnabar Navy (RCN) series of space opera novels for 20 years. “Though Hell Should Bar the Way,” by David Drake, is the series’ 12th novel. In it, Drake resets the series without replacing the main characters, injecting fresh life into an enjoyable space opera series.

In ways the novel is the standard RNC tale. Capt. Daniel Leary, hero of the RCN, and his partner, librarian (and spy) Adele Mundy, are sent to the back of the beyond to serve Cinnabar’s interests in an undercover activity. The pair face intrigues from political rivals within Cinnabar and Cinnabar’s chief interstellar rival, the totalitarian Alliance of Free Stars. Space and land battles result. Cinnabar’s enemies are defeated.

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The Dangers of Playing It Safe

 

I had a rough week last week. No no, scratch that. I had a perfectly awful week last week. To be even more descriptive, last week was the perfect storm of Murphy’s Law and Keystone Cop management. Murphy’s Law, you remember, says that, “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” The Keystone Cop approach to management means that Murphy was an optimist.

Briefly summarizing the incident; several hours into my work day, my truck developed a substantial antifreeze leak. I alerted the dispatcher, who promptly ignored the problem and kept sending me on loads (perfectly in keeping with an established attitude that is undaunted by reality and unmoved by contradictory facts). The truck overheated on the highway resulting in very costly repairs, lost freight revenue, and a glorious night spent parked on a pile of dirt with no facilities available. The crowning glory was that after the truck was dead, I kept getting these incessant phone calls from the same dispatcher who refused my request for maintenance wanting to know when I was going to deliver various loads. I believe this is what they call doubling down on stupid.

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Wisdom and the Book of Job

 

What follows are some thoughts from a recently completed re-reading of the Book of Job.

To set the stage: Job tells the story of a righteous man who endures incredible suffering, all under the sovereign oversight of Almighty God. The narrative follows a series of long poetic dialogs between Job and the friends who have come to mourn with him and comfort him, all concerning the nature of man and his relationship to God. Job’s friends argue that Job must have sinned greatly to have merited such punishment from God. Job counters that he has lived a just life, and that the miseries visited upon him are unjust. Ultimately, Job is vindicated and restored by God, but in the telling, it is made clear to Job that he is not owed an answer or justification by God. Rather Job comes to recognize that the Lord’s power and authority are beyond human accountability.

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Quote of the Day: Line Up, Everyone!

 

“All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height.” — Casey Stengel

Truth be told, my dad watched a lot of sports when we were growing up, but I don’t recall him electing to watch nearly as many baseball games as football games. That may just be the fuzzy memory of youth, of course – a detail that at the time wasn’t important to note. He did watch baseball mostly so that he could have sports happening somewhere in the vicinity while he read. Baseball was, in his opinion, perfect for reading.

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Government Workers Threaten Strikes, Demand More Pay

 

Public teachers striking? Someone has to say it: Who do these public servants, these government employees, think they are to make demands of the public and our elected representatives? The way politicians fawn over this set of government employees is topped only by British MPs prostrating themselves before the temple of the National Health Service.

Let’s be clear. Teachers are not nobler than nurses or nurses’ aides. Teachers do not matter more than plumbers or mechanics. Teachers matter less to our civilization then sewer workers and police. And educrats, hiding behind classroom teachers, are leaders in social decay and loss of real learning. While police have job protection similar to teachers, none of the other professions or trades cited do, and none of the others are able to demand wage increases without fear of job loss.

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Putting a Face on Law Enforcement

 

As we drove home on Friday from Gainesville, we heard the news that two cops had been killed in Trenton, FL. It turns out that Trenton is in Gilchrist County and wasn’t far from where we were driving.

The two cops were dining in a Chinese restaurant in Trenton on a lunch break. Their names were Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, married and father of two, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, who had a girlfriend. The shooter walked into the restaurant and killed them both, then killed himself inside his car.

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National Review Online’s Editorial on Ireland’s Abortion Referendum

 

Normally I do not welcome outside interference in any country’s internal political matters. But in the age of Soros, interfering NGOs, Hollywood celebrities and entertainment figures, sell-out politicians who pretended to be pro-life a few years ago and are now pro choice, and with a totally pro-abortion media running the news stories in Ireland — I am having to be more open to outside help.

National Review Online posted an editorial which I assume Michael Brendan Dougherty and some local Irish conservatives (that’ll be a short list) had some input. It was a great read and a testimony to NRO’s commitment to fighting abortion. Over the last few years I have been fiercely critical of NRO, not just on Trump but on many other conservative topics. Today that criticism halts and I salute them. I want to thank the editors for their piece.

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Does This Pose Make Me Look Guilty?

 
Replace the book he’s holding with a mug shot sign.

So … the James Comey Book Tour has had its first week. An extremely rocky voyage so far. It seems to this observer that it is about to hit an iceberg, a la the Titanic.

Just today, we have Kim Strassel at the WSJ [paywall] with 11 questions (her column had space restrictions for adding more) that an honest interviewer would ask the former head of the FBI. We have Jim Geraghty at NR [link] echoing Mike Wallace about the catty gossipiness and pointing out the yuge blanks that need filling about Hillary, McCabe, and Lynch. At The Hill … Jonathan Turley appropriately titles his article … FBI A House Of Lies In Comey Era.

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More Than 1,800 Resignations, Terminations Since Trump Inaugurated

 

Since the day Donald Trump took office, more than 1,800 resignations and terminations have occurred at media outlets (such as Vanity Fair), universities (including Harvard), at governmental agencies, and elected officials holding positions of power.

The mayor of Seattle resigned after his fifth accusation of child molestation. Oodles of people at USA Gymnastics have resigned. (No surprise there, but why didn’t this happen to these people, and I use that word loosely, a decade ago?) Eric Schmidt is gone but not forgotten. Cecile Richards resigned at Planned Parenthood, after presiding over at least 3.5 million abortions.

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“I’m Not Politically Incorrect. You’re Just Brainwashed and Stupid.”

 

Been thinking about posting this for a while now and DC’s post from yesterday has kicked me into gear. So here we go. Was thinking the other day about these silly gender wars (and such) and “said” to myself something like this: “I cannot, will not be made to believe that there are more than two sexes. Guess I’m just politically incorrect.”

Immediately, however, another thought popped into my ‘noggin. “No you are not.”

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