As you may be aware, Ted Cruz has named Carly Fiorina as his running mate should he get the nomination. It’s a pretty desperate move, and Fiorina is really not an ideal partner for him. But that got the question of who Donald Trump might select if he gets the nomination as is commonly expected.

What if he’s stuck with Ted Cruz?

It’s unlikely that Trump would choose Ted Cruz. There seems to be some genuine animus there. And beyond that, Ted Cruz would be a poor running mate on any ticket. Most politicians will do what they believe is best for them, but Cruz seems particularly inclined that what’s best for him is not to play along. For Trump in particular, Cruz doesn’t add much to the ticket that would really help Trump all of that much. Trump in particular wants people beside him that he would consider loyal, and that’s not Cruz. He would likely rather have a more submissive Chris Christie (words I never thought I would put together) than Ted Cruz.

The thing is, it may not entirely be up to Donald Trump.

Ahhh, but as you are reading in the papers, the Establishment is lining up behind Trump as we speak! That’s an overstatement, but it’s likely that after Indiana (if it goes Trump’s way) and before the nomination, most will. Not liking Cruz to begin with, they’d be hard-pressed to sign on to this idea.

The thing is, it may not entirely be up to them, either.

If and when Trump wins the nomination, it’s likely to be because he wins on the first round, with the votes of delegates who don’t support him but have to vote for him due to convention rules (and, in some cases, state laws). They are not bound to him for Vice President. Technically, the vice presidential selection doesn’t belong to the presidential nominee. This is a distinction without a difference because the party will almost always pick who the nominee wants. Trump, though, is an unusual nominee. Further, it’s entirely possible that Cruz will have more delegates loyal to him than Trump does to him. They get some pressure from the party, but they are not obligated to listen to it. And since the party itself doesn’t care that much for Trump, and are conflicted, it’s not clear that they’re going to go nuclear on Trump’s behalf in any event. And if Cruz has the delegates, there’s a pretty clear path here.

Now, theoretically, with that kind of delegate count, Cruz might be able to get them to change the rules and prevent Trump from getting the nomination altogether. This is theoretically possible, but I suspect they are not that loyal to Cruz, and unlike with the VP selection there may even be some legal recourse there. The Vice Presidental nomination, though, is pretty clear cut.

The main reason this wouldn’t happen is because Cruz probably doesn’t want to spend his political capital for so meager a prize. Not just a meager prize, but one that could actually hurt him more than help him apart from any political capital spent. If Trump were to choose him, he’d probably be more wise to decline than accept. Indications are that other higher-profile candidates (Rubio, Kasich, Haley) are poised to themselves decline.

Cruz’s calculations could be different, however, and mine could be wrong. It’s more likely than not that Cruz is going to run again in 2020. It’s often the case that the second strongest candidate in the previous round becomes the frontrunner in the next, but Cruz has a rougher road than most given the sheer animosity that the party has for him. Sneaking into the VP slot seems like it wouldn’t help, but it would keep his name out there and make it so that his failure to take Trump down isn’t the last thing people remember about him. He would become even more the “default” choice in an environment where party leadership can’t seem to decide much of anything. There’s something to be said for that.

Beyond that, he would be the first free agent Vice Presidential nominee ever. He wouldn’t owe Trump anything, and could expressly act in his own interest. He could use his platform to criticize his nominee in a way that Paul Ryan couldn’t and wouldn’t. Ordinarily that’s not such a big deal, but with Trump it could well be. If things go really south with Trump, as is not unlikely, Cruz could effectively distance himself him and become the standard-bearer for “real Republicans” by setting up a contrast. I’d have to evaluate the state laws, but Cruz could end up with more electoral college votes than Trump if he can pull faithless electors the same way he has convention delegates.

And though extremely, extremely unlikely, he could actually end up the presidential nominee! Though it would be unheard of, this is the year of unheard of things. There is a non-zero chance that in the middle of October, Trump pulls a Ross Perot and leaves the race. He may rather quit than lose, and if he quits he can claim that Crooked Hillary was going to steal the election and live out his life as a martyr. Alternately, Hillary Clinton may be able to tap into the something that he simply can’t get out of.

It’s difficult to say what, precisely, would happen if a nominee did pull out of an election at a late date. The court rulings are mixed, except insofar as they almost always seem to align with what the Democrats want. My guess is that most states would allow Trump’s name to be replaced. By whom? The vice presidential nominee would have the strongest claim. Even in states that wouldn’t allow the GOP to pull Trump’s name, at least Cruz’s name would be on the ballot.

Personally, I think that anyone who wants a future ought to distance themselves as far away from Trump as possible, and that includes being even a renegade VP pick. The party, however, appears poised to go in a different direction. Maybe Cruz, too. Though I doubt it will happen, I suspect Cruz has actually considered the matter. Right now, though, he may be more concerned with holding on to the delegates he has.

Category: Newsroom

honestsignKevin Drum explains why he never warmed up to Bernie Sanders, while Greg Sargent says lay off. Drum responds.

Henry Scanlon’s reasoning on why conservative women are so pretty seems rather specious. But the stereotype does comport with my experience, provided that we are gauging by conventional attractiveness. I have some theories, but none that I can really articulate.

Emmett Rensin’s followup to his original Vox piece on smug liberalism is worth a read. It’s still remarkable to me how many people read his original piece with the objection “Why do we have to be nice to bigots!” when that was very far from what he was saying.

Sheila Tone has written extensively on why she believes Lara Logan is a fraud, but she’s front-and-center on this story about bad folks raping and beating of female journalists abroad.

In the fight on copyright, Noah Berlatsky says that Google is just the champion that we need.

Hey men, marry a smart woman! Your lucidity will thank you for it.

Shaun Brown’s explanation for why men are attracted to crazy has a ring of truth to it.

James Ovenden on the hopes, fears, and weirdness of AI-driven sex.

One of the impressive things from my time as a phone jockey was how call centers really do take all comers.

Let’s see, no backbone and a sense of impending doom. I think the successor to the GOP has found its new mascot!

Weasel 1, Hadron Collider 0.

This reminded me of how surprised I was that they didn’t change the name of House Slithryn to House Snape or House Dumbledore or something.

Texas loves breakfast tacos. How much? More than 400x as much as the rest of the country.

In the online dating world, having an enhanced photo makes you more trustworthy to women, but less trustworthy to men.

Charles Krauthammer explains why doctors are quitting.

Category: Newsroom

T-Mobile is getting sued for their “No Contract” plans:

The lawsuit, filed by a T-Mobile customer on April 15 and seeking class-action status, alleges that the company’s no-contract plans are deceptive. T-Mobile says the plans don’t have hidden fees, but there’s an early termination catch the company isn’t being forthright about, according to the lawsuit. Customers who terminate their services have to pay for the phones they bought from T-Mobile outright, even if they agreed to pay for them in installments.

Customers who buy phones and corresponding no-contract plans through T-Mobile buy into two separate agreements: a month-to-month agreement to buy the phone service and another to purchase the actual device, which can be paid in installments. But when a customer ends their service, they’re billed for the full cost of the device.

This is why we can’t have nice things. Which sounds like I am immediately taking T-Mobile’s side, but not quite (even though mostly). I will grant that perhaps T-Mobile is not as upfront about this process as they should be. It seems pretty straightforward to me, but if it’s not, then maybe T-Mo has an obligation.

But dammit, it should be straightforward. Of course they’re not going to give you a phone. Nor did they lease it out to you, because once you’ve paid it off you get to keep the phone. Which means, among other things, you are free to recoup at least some of your losses by selling it. But it also means that you have to figure out what to do with. That’s the deal. They used to give you a huge discount on the phone in exchange for a contract. Now there is no contract, and no discount, but you have to cover your own device. You can do that by buying a device from them on an installment plan, or by making alternate arrangements.

Which he should have done! If he could. The good part about the no-contract shift is that it used to be if you made alternate arrangements you were practically leaving money on the table. This encourages people to spend responsibly and get a phone that you can afford. That’s undercut by the installment plans, but… sigh… is it really too much to ask?

I have my issues with the major carriers, namely the locked-down networks that make it so you can’t take these phones to competitors. I’d even like to see laws passed! But that nice new phone you got cost money, and somebody is going to make sure that is paid. It doesn’t take fine print to realize that.

Category: Elsewhere

AMC theaters were toying with the notion of allowing texting in theaters. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and so they ditched the idea pretty quickly.

Which I actually think might be a shame.

To be clear, I completely understand why people don’t want other people texting or fiddling with their phones during movies. I can definitely understand the visceral reaction that a lot of people had. Further, I myself have no particular desire to text in theaters. I wouldn’t mind, however, being able to get on IMDB and finding out who that actress is who looks so familiar. Three minutes on the smartphone can get me undistracted from the rest of the movie!

It’s not that, when I first heard the idea, that I had my heart set on it. I can also pretty easily imagine a constant beeping and buzzing being a distraction from the film. So i’m not entirely sure whether it’s an option that I would take advantage of or not. It is something I might want to try.

The original plan was not to roll it out in every theater, so consumers would have the option of going to a texting showing or a non-texting showing. Enforcement may be a problem, but the theater was willing to take that on. So why not give it a try and see what develops?

A lot of bad publicity is why not, apparently.

Category: Theater


Venezuelans may be surprised about their rolling blackouts, but maybe they should celebrate their new two day workweek and remember that, according to Linda Poon it was the result of their economic success.

It looks like the media has decided that hidden cameras are okay again.

A relatively straightforward (and helpful!) explanation of why the SpaceX barge landing was so significant.

Reading books about architecture isn’t something I would just go out and do, but woah brutalism!

I want to swim in this pool more than I have ever wanted to swim in any pool in my entire life. And I have a mild fear of heights!

The sex life of the college crowd is not as dramatic as we are lead to believe.

The University of Chicago has reformed their speech codes, much to the satisfaction of FIRE.

So, if it pans out, what do we do with the knowledge that a college education is a worthwhile investment for the kids of the wealthy but not the kids of the poor?

chickenIt’s a good thing that Ordinary Times is not housed in Estonia, on the whole I think there’s more to like about President Toomas Henrik than to dislike.

Europeans ponder the question of why Europe have a comparable tech industry. I’m just old enough to remember when phones were used by a certain kind of lefty as indicative of how Americans are not as great and innovative as we think we are.

My wife has some very, very strong opinions on Meaningful Use. I… can’t remember the last time she went on about something uninterrupted for half-an-hour.

TA Frank explains how the Democrats are becoming the party of the 1%.

Since he won a plurality, we pretty much have to name this elementary school after Donald Trump, right?

Rachel Cunliffe says that we shouldn’t celebrate Brazil President Dilma Rousseff’s fall from power because it is, in the end, a case of selective prosecution.

Whether a wealthy city or a poor one, California is an awful place to save money. Texahoma, on the other hand…

Category: Newsroom

Last week was the 16th anniversary of the suicide of my friend Walt. It hits me a little less and a little less each year. It used to give me nightmares. Now I find myself feeling glum towards the end of April and not even sure why until the day hits or the word “suicide” comes up. Which it usually does, because April also happens to be when the previous year’s suicide statistics are released.

Having gotten it out of my system, I’m not going to dwell on the events of April of 2000. Instead, I’m going to reflect on how the world has changed since then.

Most notably, I have no pictures of Walt. Not one. Since the nightmares stopped, I have to reconstruct his image in my mind completely from memory, which is a long time past.

This day in age, it’s just strange not to have any pictures of someone you know even moderately well. When I’m putting people’s pictures in my phone, I can go on to Facebook and download from a selection of them. That’s if I don’t have one myself, which I often do.

But having a picture of someone you are close you seems like something you can take for granted, because pictures are something you can take for granted. We don’t have to worry about having a camera on us because we have cameras on us at all times. Good cameras. Amazing cameras. On our phone. No film required, and not enough storage space to even worry about.

When Clancy was pregnant with Lain, I went ought and bought a video camera. We had a video camera when I was a kid and it was a big deal The one I bought is far better than that one, and I’ve used it maybe a dozen times. A regular camera? I have one of those, too, but it’s old and the camera on my phone is 1000x better.

Clancy and I have remarked how happy we are that Lain was born into a world where I could take a dozen pictures of her a day, never miss a moment, and will have a visual catalog of her growing up.

People going to school now will have dozens and dozens of pictures of just about anyone they ever knew, including those who pass before their time.

The closest thing I have to a picture of Walt is the below drawing. I drew it shortly after his death, as I was trying to come to terms with it. I’m not a great artist. But in the absence of a picture, I needed something. While I was thinking about it, I wanted to see if I could track down the digital copy of it that I have, and much to my delight (I think?), I found it.

Dark One

It’s an ethereal representation, obviously. The trenchcoat was his trademark and he wore it even in humid summers. He loved The Punisher. The wings’ presence are pretty easily understood. As is the gun’s. The cigarette was actually because he hated smoking and believed that anyone who did smoke clearly had no use for life. The empty face is because he had none left when they found his body.

Category: Ghostland

parkingchairMatt Shapiro’s piece on twitter journalism is worth a read. In the age of social media, you can find someone that will confirm just about any cardboard cut-out.

While Dan Scotto and I (and CK Macleod) resist it, Nate Silver reports that Trump’s arguments on the (un)fairness of the GOP primary is winning.

I’m increasingly thinking that a lot of the Title IX rape-handling policies instituted by universities aren’t going to survive court challenges.

Some people were up-in-arms about the guy who got into a lot of trouble for having the Trump flag/sign. But while I typically don’t like such ordinances, isn’t this a pretty clear-cut violation of a fair (if wrong-headed) ordinance?

Not that I am presently in the market, but this is kind of encouraging.

Emmett Rensin’s article on the smug style of liberalism was received by all quarters about as you would expect it to be. BSDI, but not in equal measure.

In one sense, it’s not clear that this is any different than “roughing it” by going camping. Wait… I’m not big on camping either. So really, it’s just kind of weird.

Harriet Tubman, American badass.

Oh, thank goodness. For a second there, I’d thought that the Republican primary had spiraled out of control.

RIP, Friends of Abe.

Let us join in the unity of our disdain for Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The average Millennial is not exactly what you would expect from reading the New York Times (or, for that matter, The Atlantic).

On the one hand, having tiers of citizenship may well make allowing more immigrants in easier. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like an enduring solution and is rife with problems. For whatever reason, I respond to this the same way some people respond to “regional visas” even though the arguments are kind of similar.

There is more encapsulated in this article about megacities than I think even the author may realize. It is, in essence, a latent confirmation of a vague paranoia about globalism, transnationalism, and those left behind.

As we all know, this is pretty much true. On the other hand, if we’re being honest, never is a Republican suburb more emphatic in its support of the environment as when it has an environmental impact report on the precarious state of Argentinian Garden Snake where that Section 8 housing is slated to go.

Category: Newsroom
Artwork by Zontal

Artwork by Zontal

Over There, have a post about complaints about The Whiteness of Westeros. If Hollywood diversity, or Game of Thrones, is your thing, feel free to check it out. You can comment about it here if you prefer. Over here I wanted to talk about something I glide over in that post.

Ross Douthat has a mini-tweetstorm about some of the less “realistic” aspects of Game of Thrones. The whole thing is below, but this is the one that sets the stage for most of what is to follow:

Ultimately, you just have to ignore the scale. Everything he says about the amazing homogeneity for a place of that scale is true. But that’s only the beginning of the problems that it presents.

Though he goes on to talk about the remarkable political stability of the dynasties on Westeros, that’s only a part of the dynastic problem. The bigger problem is that there is simply no way for one royal family to maintain control over a land more than twice as large as the US (including Alaska) without an army of dragons. As soon as the dragons died off, everything would have crumbled. Since the Targaryens didn’t intermarry much, they wouldn’t have even been able to count on that sort of loyalty. The Barratheons might have had a little more success, but most likely as soon as the Targaryens were gone they’d be looking at a formal confederacy (where the king is trying to stay in the good graces of the regions rather than the other way around) or perpetual war as they tried to hold on to multiple would-be kingdoms breaking off at once.

Many other aspects of the story also wouldn’t have worked, with trips taking days or weeks in Westeros that would have taken years across South America. There are so many things about the story that work with something roughly the size of Great Britain that don’t work with something the size of South America that by far the path of least resistence is to assume that the there was an error in translation.

The size serves next to no purpose story-wise other than feeding into Martin’s sense of gradiosity. The figure itself was derived by calculating the size of The Wall. It’s easier to simply imagine that the size of the wall was a miscalculation.

And here’s Ross’s tweetstorm:

Category: Theater

From a conversation on OT involving the daycare link I shared both there and here, Oscar and Kazzy disagreed with the notion that church-run childcare is tricky. The argument is that they should be treated like any other childcare institution, and given that they are (for the most part) in some states means that it’s Constitutionally permissable (and not an infringement on religious liberty) to do so.

I agree with the first part, though am skittish on the second. There is no doubt that with some possible basic exceptions there is not a Constitutional conflict. I don’t think that entirely lets us off the hook, however.

There are a lot of good reasons to have regulation when it comes to childcare. While excessive licensure may be an issue in some domains, it’s hard to imagine childcare without some sort of licensure regime. Parents don’t know what goes on after they drop their kids off, kids are not necessarily able to articulate what’s going on, and parents may not entirely believe them when they do. It’s not like a bad haircut either in terms of actual damage done or in the ability to hold people accountable (in the case of a barber, simply not going there again).

There are definitely limits to this, though. Not just in how rigorous the requirements should be, but where they should apply. Lain’s babysitter, for example, is completely unlicensed. It’s the daughter of one of my wife’s colleagues. She may have some basic training, but certainly hasn’t undergone any rigorous process or anything of the sort. But we leave our daughter with her because we know her family, trust her upbringing, and we’ll take that chance over someone with all of the appropriate paperwork that we do not know. We’ll obviously take the discount as well, though that’s obviously not the issue for us that it is for other people.

I don’t think that’s entirely dissimilar to a church. I think there can often be that same sort of intimate relationship where the common faith and social relationship can stand in replacement of the ordinary markers of trustworthiness. That a parent might reasonably trust their church to look after 15 kids while a private entity needs to cap it at 10 (or whatever). The existence of the regulation makes it so that parents who don’t have a church, or a colleague’s daughter, or whatever can have maybe a little degree of assurance that it’s not a bum outfit that is going to abuse their child. But with that option available, alternate arrangements for others also seems reasonable.

Which is not to say that I want to give churches a pass. Like I say, it’s tricky! Because you don’t want churches running reputable childcare centers out of business on the basis of the lower costs they can achieve through these exemptions. You don’t want someone to set up a center, hang a cross by the shingle, and do whatever they want. This is further complicated by the fact that governments tend to loathe trying to discern genuine faith and the genuine faithfulness of an institution. I can definitely understand why Kazzy in particular, who views things from the prospective of a provider, believes that it’s important for all providers to maintain certain standards of care with no exceptions.

It could also be the the exemptions I might carve out would be pretty worthless anyway. That’s something Kazzy would know a lot better than I do. But I’d be less inclined to support a “religious daycare” outfit that wasn’t actually connected to a place of worship or religious organization that exists apart from the center… though that would likely put me in more First Amendment hot water than what the states are doing. I also might look at churches that offer day care selectively to members of their faith. That may not be workable, either of all of them flat-out rely on outside families. So the end result might be that I end up supporting all of the same regulations as Kazzy and Oscar, if a bit more reluctantly.

Category: Statehouse


Category: Statehouse

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Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.

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