19 March 2021

Not-Made-From-Premium-Cuts Link Sausage Platter

True sign that we're in a pandemic: Thirteen months ago, refusal to remove a mask at a bank would have resulted in an arrest. Now, refusal to wear a mask in a bank results in an arrest (for good reason, I might add; the actual risk from a single person in a bank who won't be completely clear on video cameras is substantially less than H'wood would have it — especially given the high probability in Texas that another customer is carrying… and that at least one customer or staff member is infectious).

  • It's not just over here that there are "problems" with showing the feet (or knees, or all too often brains) of clay that historical figures had. Over There, criticizing Churchill is just as problematic as he was. Here's hoping that more reexamination of Cecil Rhodes — yeah, the guy who endowed the scholarships, and was more extreme than the Rhodesian Secret Police — might be appropriate.
  • I'm shocked — shocked, I say — to find racism directed at high-school athletes in central Oklahoma. In the city immediately next to the base I was stationed at. Midwest City is not where real veterans live… and real veterans support the First and Fourteenth Amendments in the first place. It's most especially not where Black veterans live; there was nearly overt redlining in the 1980s, and on all evidence not much has changed. (And Norman, 40km away, wasn't any better.)

    When I was stationed there, some of us "out of town" carpetbaggers joked that OKC was a western suburb of Birmingham. If this was a mere "hot mic" issue, it wasn't the first time. Racial slurs don't just suddenly pop up for the first time in a broadcast booth; they're habitual, even if seldom spoken aloud for fear of criticism. That implies that management already knew… or was wilfully blind…

  • …just like the NCAA. What part of "disparate impact" do these maroons not understand? Or is it just that the athletic hierarchies are Special and don't have to follow rules, or act consistently with the educational missions of the colleges and universities with which they're affiliated? Is it too early in the morning for obvious rhetorical questions? Is my DIII background showing?
  • Which, now that I think about it, sounds an awful lot like how streaming-music artists get paid. Or, far more often, don't. One wonders what a similar look at the publishing industry would reveal — presuming that the underlying data hasn't been even more thoroughly fudged. Or about the viability and privacy of the revenue streams, and the implications for the future of streaming music (or video or text) as privacy awareness evolves. (Hint: I have no accounts that allow tracking of media, and use the text-based ones only for comments on certain websites — then log out and clear all cookies and other trackers after each comment.)
  • So this misguided loon thinks the Supreme Court should be packed with "economists" because economics isn't represented well enough. Tell that to anyone whose standing has been denied because there was no discernable injury to property. More to the point, what part of "profession" can this loon not spell when given the first seven letters? Oh, wait, is that seven letters in a command or free-market economy (and no, the correct answer doesn't begin "l-a-i-s-s-e-z" no matter what)? And does "economist" include the most-recent Secretary of the Treasury, who repeatedly demonstrated his inability to distinguish between M1 and M2, between GDP and GNP, and between investment and expenditure, in his (rare) Congressional appearances? Most critically, what leads anyone with the social awareness of a plantation owner (or diamond-mine owner) to believe that "economics" is, or should be, the place one looks to

    focus more broadly on the important implications of its decisions for society and to reduce the likelihood of ideologically motivated decisions that are harmful to the country

    when the last member of the Court with even an undergraduate degree in STEM earned his math — not natural science or engineering — degree 92 years ago? And whose nomination in the early 1970s has been followed by twenty nominees who didn't have even that much of a STEM background (but included several "economists")?

    If you really want an example of just how well those "schooled" in economics focus broadly on the important implications of their decisions for society, just look at how well all the economists and business-school graduates handled the pandemic last year. One wonders exactly what "applied microeconomics" cost-benefit analysis was done this time, and especially whether that analysis contemplated broad, important implications like the medical-burden component of consumer bankruptcy filings studied over time since the early 1990s. By "non-economist" Harvard law professors who've gotten themselves elected to the Senate, for example.

    I'm thoroughly in favor of more academic rigor, and especially of broader experience, on the Court. But "economics" needs to wait its turn behind science, and military service, and literary/linguistic analysis. There is, if anything, too much (mostly voodoo) economics in, and lurking behind, jurisprudence in the last century. And nothing is going to happen as long as law schools refuse to require a truly broad education for 1Ls, such as even a full year of acceptable-to-majors laboratory science and a full year of calculus — let alone face the "GPA and activities penalty" problem. (The less said about either the professoriate or partnership-level practitioners, the better; the narrowness isn't just there, it's rigorously enforced in a way that denies meaning to all undergraduate, indeed all outside-of-law-school, academic endeavors.)

    And lurking behind all of this is race, entitlement, and the original position — none of which, on the evidence of this loon's misguided screed, fall within the expertise (or even awareness) of "applied microeconomics." And that circles back to what the "profession" of law does (or is at least supposed to do) via the discovery process and the rules of evidence: Validate the inputs. The contrast with economic models that ignore input-validity problems, like the "academic rationale" for the HHI (which is based upon WWI-era consolidated production quantities of unfinished national-defense commodity materials, as reported by various governments with no auditing or other scrutiny whatsoever, and extended ipso facto to finished goods and services throughout the economy), is itself instructive. The tl;dr version: GIGO.