aliengynGynecological Gymnastics… from Outer Space.

A North Korean refugee wants to return to North Korea.

I do think that running for president does kinda sorta mean that you don’t get to have your name trademarked in quite the same way you did when you were a business brand.

This is a really bad idea.

Police chase, Kansas style! (It involves officers unloading on a combine being driven away by the assailant)

I thought we had a bad moving experience, but… could have been worse.

In Australia, the 11 year old totally wanted, so the 21 year old goes free.

Shell is pulling up its stakes and leaving the Alaskan Arctic.

Thanks to plenty of win and subsidies, Texas wind power producers were paying people to use their electricity.

R-Street criticizes a plan to charge solar customers for energy they’re not using. I could actually imagine it being a defensible policy, but the forces behind the policy certainly raise questions.

An East Tennessee police officer is suspended after refusing to shoot a skunk that needed to be shot (and tested for rabies).

If these policies had been in place at the outset, I’d likely still be smoking. {More}

“The phrase is ‘the death of the middle.’ We’re getting to a place where there’s going to be too much dramatic content. The best will always be bought and continue to rise in price. In the U.S., there are 62 buyers for drama. There is a lot of demand for the best, but that middle goes away or drowns. It’s the best or the cheap and cheerful.”

Scott Sumner writes of how the Chinese are apparently abandoning the city to return to the country, and how there may be no housing bubble there.

In Alternet, psychotherapist William Doherty questions his own historic assumptions and wonders if we approach divorce too selfishly.

Category: Newsroom
Category: Somewhere

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Inside Higher Ed has a piece on HBCU’s scheduling payout games, where they play on the road against vastly superior teams. They take a beating, but make a lot of money. I don’t like it when FBS teams schedule FCS ones, including Southern Tech, but I must confess I cringe a little extra when we schedule an HBCU. They are not only FCS, but are are not competitive even in that subdivision.

I honestly think it would be better if the HBCU’s kind of went their own way. There are two HBCU conferences and one (SWAC) of which already doesn’t abide by FCS rules and exempts itself from the playoff. The other (MEAC) participates in the playoffs but rarely make it far. If they played one another for some trophy, I’d watch that game.

The article presents it as being mostly about giving the big schools an opportunity to fine-tune their schemes and players before starting conference play, but that’s only part of it and I would argue that it’s the smaller part of it. Nor is it strictly a matter of wanting a guaranteed win. The biggest reason is that big schools pull in a ton of money per game, and so it’s more lucrative to play a 7th or 8th home game and rent a doormat for a six figure payout. FCS programs almost always play these games on the road. Lower-end FBS program (so-called G5 schools) will also often take buyout games, but they’re more expensive. It’s also common that they get a 2-for-1 game. Whenever either of these happen, though, the G5 school will then turn around and schedule an FCS team so that they get at least five or (usually) six home games a season.

While I would prefer see FBS vs FCS games end for the most part, it does benefit all involved. The programs need the money and want the exposure. And – though this doesn’t apply to HBCU’s) sometimes they win and it’s something that will be remembered for decades. Which brings us to…

North Texas vs Portland State

The North Texas Mean Green (an FBS/G5 program) lost to Portland State (FCS) 66-7, which is likely the largest margin by which an FBS has ever lost to an FCS program. Now, Portland State is a pretty outstanding team this year, having previously defeated Mike Leach’s Washington State (which last week defeated Oregon at Oregon). Even so, that’s a staggering loss and North Texas’s coach, Dan McCarney, was immediately fired.

McCarney was shafted by Iowa State some time back. Neither of the Cyclones’ subsequent coaches have matched the success McCarney had there. It seemed like a good hire on paper, and actually seemed to be when McCarney took the Mean Green to their first bowl game in quite a while. Things went downhill after that and nobody knows why. Their last hire, Todd Dodge, was a bit of a risky one (straight from the high school ranks to the college ones), but McCarney wasn’t. Perhaps it goes back to the original sin of firing Darrell Dickey, a coach who had outstanding success for a while (26 straight conference wins, three conference titles), had two losing seasons, and was fired in 2006. They’ve had one winning season since. The angry alumn who owned the naming rights to their playing field demanded it be renamed Darrell Dickey Field.

Portland State, meanwhile, may have the most successful coach around. He hasn’t just beaten two FBS opponents, but he did it at a school that has trouble getting 3,000 people to show up to its games and where former NFL Coach Jerry Glanville couldn’t even find any success. I’ve got my eye on him.


Also fired was Randy Edsall at Maryland. I have no strong opinions of that firing, though their chosen replacement is shocking.

Mike Locksley was hired by New Mexico with much publicity. On paper, it was a great hire and (as the school’s first black head coach) historic to boot. But now if you ask me “What is the worst coaching hire in recent college football history” I would probably say “Mike Locksley.” In just over two season, he incurred a sexual discrimination lawsuit, a sexual harassment accusation, got into a fight with an assistant coach, and got picked up on a DWI. Also, he went 2-26 at a school that won six or more games in seven of its last eight seasons. The program still hasn’t recovered.

Anyway, he is the interim head coach at Maryland now.

Southern Cal

Not fired (for now), but on leave is Southern Cal’s head coach Steve Sarkisian. After being hired away from Washington, Sarkesian has struggled at USC though not to the point that you would expect USC to take action until the end of the season (if then). However, a series of incidents suggest that he has an alcohol problem that has gotten the better of him. Thus making USC the fourth school to have an interim coach less than half way into the new season. (The first is Illinois, who fired their coach before the season began after allegations of player abuse.)

Central Florida and the Rivalry That Isn’t

The fifth may be Central Florida. Before the season started, head coach and interim athletics director George O’Leary allegedly told administration that he might want to move into the AD office full time. There is a lesson here, and that lesson is that a coach tells you that it’s time for him to stop coaching, you should listen. It’s the same lesson Florida learned when Urban Meyer needed to “retire.” Meyer is back, of course, but he clearly needed the break. Florida convinced him to stick around for an extra year and it was a remarkably unimpressive year. But UCF is not in the mood to listen, apparently.

The most recent game was against UConn. This is the notably one-way rivalry. UConn has declared UCF to be a rival and UCF says that sure they will take the trophy if they win they guess. Which, of course they didn’t.

Category: Theater


I… get the argument here, but no. You can paint it as a collective action problem, but you can’t really paint it as honorable or noble. Relatedly

A goat at a Tim Horton’s in Canada was arrested by the RCMP, who I am sure were very apologetic to the goat about the inconvenience.

Jay d’Brooklyn makes the uncomfortable argument that despite the outrage at the horrifying and evil nature of it, there’s not much we can do about Afghanistan’s boys.

The Governor of Alabama and his wife are getting a divorce.

Jesse Singal is not impressed with the UN report on cyberharassment.

Katy Perry is a pro.

In a piece about replacing John Boehner, Voteviewblog reveals something interesting: as southerners have switched parties, the ideological divide between southern and northern congresscritters has become larger in the GOP than in the Democratic Party.

I’m not a fan of Trump, but autographing protest signs is pretty cool. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has the political smarts of a walnut.

The Democratic Party’s says it has a 200 year history fighting for civil rights, but starts its history right after Woodrow Wilson.

What will the presidential candidates look like in 2025? USA Today is on it! Rand Paul seems to look more presidential with age. It seems to overestimate how much hair I suspect Ted Cruz will have.

I’ve been saying pretty regularly that the appropriate analogous Republican primary isn’t 2012, but 2008. It’s good to see the New York Times making the connection, right down to the hazard of Rubio being Romney. (Trump as Rudy, Jeb as McCain, Cruz as Huckabee, and Carson as Thompson.)

John B Judis looks at the Middle American Radical that’s propping Trump up.

German mayors are looking to build up for incoming refugees. Which is better than kicking people out of their homes, I guess, though the political tide in Germany may be turning as the number of refugees climbs to 1,500,000.

When it pays to be Syrian, migrants will become Syrian. The Danes are concerned.

Refugees are less than impressed and Nordic countries are squabbling among themselves over the issue. {More}

Category: Newsroom

Libertarianism doesn’t have a lot to say about the good life. It doesn’t tell me whether I should give to charity, whether I should save a drowning child, whether I should be a loving husband, or whether I should devote myself to uplifting intellectual pursuits instead of squandering my life watching TV and eating bonbons. Is an unexamined life still worth living? Libertarianism doesn’t say.

At least not much. I’m referring to libertarianism as one thing, but there are a lot of libertarianisms. I’ve never read Ayn Rand but those who claim to, and are critical of her, say that she advocates a life of selfishness or self-centeredness. Maybe that means, for her, the good life is looking our for number one? (Maybe this more charitable and better-informed account serves her better. I don’t know, but I trust its author.)

Rand’s not the only libertarian. As with Rand, I’ve never read Rawls, either. But my understanding is that his libertarianism rests on a notion of fairness: what would we have the world look like if we didn’t know beforehand what privileges we’d be born into? Others (Murali, if you’re reading, I’m thinking of you) can clarify how I misunderstand Rawls, but it seems to me he advocates something like a golden rule. In that sense, the good life is doing–or advocating for, or building society along the lines of–how you would be done by.

A better example, because I’ve actually read some of his stuff, is Jason Kuznicki. He has urged us, for instance, “to refuse to be ruled–and refuse to rule.” By that standard, maybe the good life is a studied and reflective humility. Even if I’m misrepresenting him, I think it’s a good lesson at any rate. A thousand flowers can bloom, as the cliché says. Or to paraphrase James Hanley (I forget the cite), a strongly libertarians society has more room for traditionalist Hutterites than a strongly Hutterite society would have for just about anyone else.

Still, libertarianism does its best work as a naysayer. It has a lot to say against the excessive uses of state power and about the costs of even the best intended programs. Liberals and conservatives and anyone else who wishes to use the state for any purpose had better heed libertarians’ critique against coercion and for expanding choices. Some fringe elements notwithstanding, most members of team liberal or team conservative value individual autonomy.

Even as a naysayer, libertarianism offers a clue to the good life. Its advocates seem to have a faith in human resilience if only the fetters of coercion be removed. Along the lines of what James Willard Hurst argued 50 years ago in a different context, many people await the “release of energy” that can move them to ever expanding choices, opportunities, and prosperity. There’s a good here, and the good is in removing impediments to finding the good.

But nagging questions remain. Prosperity and abundance count for a lot, but can there be too much? We’ll all die eventually anyway. The fear of death disturbs me even now.

And while still alive, how to deal with all the complexity life offers? Local communities and autonomous agents have a way of forming their own complex and sometimes restricting rules and obligations. While these can be chalked to the outcomes of market exchanges or daily micro-compromises and while a strongly libertarian society widens the opportunities for exit, they still impose ought’s and should’s on those who don’t choose exit or for whom exit is still too costly or who choose exit and find only other obligations or (maybe worse) themselves.

Liberty, by itself and however you define it, doesn’t have the answer.

Category: Statehouse

Not sure what else to add:

Category: Theater

And not just firearms safety training, but some discussions of the legalities of justification.

Cascadia does not have a training requirement, but I took some training anyway when I got mine, and the instructor spent an hour or so talking about legal justifications for the use of force in Cascadia.  It was probably the most useful hour of the class, followed closely by the hour we spent on how much time it takes to draw, aim & fire in a high stress situation.

By the way, unless Michigan has some pretty loose laws regarding justification, the woman in the linked article should at least face charges of discharging a firearm in public or public endangerment.

Category: Elsewhere


Contexts some really interesting data on sexuality and sexual fluidity of women. Here is one of the more interesting sections:

How Common Is It for Lesbians to Have Sex with Men?

As the graph below (drawing from Tables 1 and 2) shows, depending on the measure used, between two-thirds and four-fifths of lesbians have had sex with a man sometime in their lives. Eighty one percent report having had either oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or anal sex with a man, while 67% report having had a male intercourse partner sometime in their life. By either measure, the proportion of lesbians who have ever had sex with a man is drastically larger that the proportion of heterosexual women who have ever had sex with a woman.

However, if, we restrict our focus to the year before the survey, we get a very different picture. Only 22% of women who identify as lesbian have had sex with a man last year. If these are all women whose behavior is inconsistent with their identity, then it seems a sizable share—over a fifth; it is very different than the under 2% of heterosexual women who had sex with a woman in the last year. However, it is also possible that some sizable share of the 22% may be cases where women changed their identity and behavior in the last year, but identity was consistent with behavior at most all times. The data don’t allow us to tell which it is.

This is less than entirely surprising. Straight is the social default, both due to raw numbers and social norms. It makes a lot of sense that most lesbians would at least start off with guys before determining that it isn’t right for them. Even the 22% makes sense, and not just for people whose sexuality was determined in the past year. Given the low numbers of practicing homosexuals and practicing bisexuals, I would imagine that their “dry spells” can often be longer, and more lonely, and that while sex with a man may be unsatisfying it’s better than nothing. And while finding another lesbian may be difficult for those who live outside liberal hubs and large cities, finding a guy willing to have sex is probably less difficult.

The stats for bisexuals is also interesting, though less so to regular Hit Coffee readers who remember my rants about Goth-Pagan-Bisexuals. Essentially, bisexual women are considerably more likely to have sex with men than women. This makes sense in the context of the above – men being more available, generally speaking – as well as the GPB phenomenon. In a large number of social circles, claiming to be bisexual is a relatively costless affair. Lesbians, on the other hand, are at least ostensibly signalling a lack of interest in sex not only with half of the population, but the half of the population that is more likely to be available and interested.

So, there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I would be interested in seeing the results for men.

Category: Coffeehouse

callingbullCities are trying to figure out what to do about the prospect of snake people moving to the suburbs when they have kids.

GM didn’t kill streetcars. At least, not all by itself.

Raj Chetty’s “income mobility map” is really quite flawed. I pointed in out last year, and Uncle Steve is pointing it out now.

Hospitals are looking for slightly less unfriendly ways to get paid.

I wonder if we’ll have meticulously detailed digital replicas of all the cities, at some point in the future.

You can go too solar, it turns out.

I’d never heard of the MOVE bombing. Had you?

Romania may end bribery by legalizing bribery for physicians. Which is apparently sort of a thing in Hungary.

A sort of real life version of Wyatt’s Torch in Pennsylvania, albeit without the ideological symbolism.

This is definitely true for me: Once a superior product is available, I stop worrying about breaking what I have.

How mustard gas lead to chemotherapy.

According to math, aliens are likely to be about the size of bears.

Half of Democrats, and over a third of Republicans and independents, believe that hate speech should be a criminal offense.

Ramez Naam writes of the disruptive power of renewables.

A snake person quest, in cartoon form.

Immigration officials have a checklist of what to look for when trying to detect their equivalent of green card marriages. Some are saying it’s problematic.

Category: Newsroom

Over There a while back, Jon Rowe posted about his experience selling his car to a tow driver {followup} {followup} {followup}. The basic order of events was:

  1. In Pennsylvania, Rowe’s car broke down and he sold it to the towing company for a nominal sum.
  2. The towing company did not properly transfer ownership of the car to them. They instead put some New Jersey plates on it and left it for sale on the side of a road in the Garden State.
  3. New Jersey authorities considered the car abandoned. They tracked down the title to Rowe through Pennsylvania. They contacted Rowe about paying a fine.
  4. Rowe talked to the authorities in New Jersey, explained the situation, offered the bill of sale, and was told that was the end of it.
  5. Months later, is contacted by the New Jersey courts with a summons to appear and the threat of arrest for a failure to do so.

Through this, Rowe railed against the immutable bureaucracy. While he was able to navigate the system, this is exactly the sort of penny-ante thing that snowballs and lands people who aren’t lawyers in jail.

The response was, overwhelmingly, “Screw you, Jon.” Well, that’s not quite right. The criticisms fell into three categories:

  • Rowe is the villain here who got what he deserved. Rowe sold his car to someone he shouldn’t have and any and all negative consequences of doing so belong to him because he didn’t do due diligence.
  • Rowe is the villain here who got what he deserved. There were rules and he didn’t follow them. At first it was the assumption that Rowe himself was supposed to transfer the title and didn’t. That turned out not to be quite true, so then it was a fixation on the license plate. Rowe was supposed to turn it in and didn’t. There is reason to believe that the course of events would not have changed even if he had turned in license plate – because he would have been turning it in to the same people who failed to transfer the title – but that didn’t matter because Rowe had Failed The Bureaucracy and because he sold to the wrong person.
  • There is literally no way that this could have turned out differently than it did, given the previous two items. No way at all. There were repeated demands that Rowe outline precisely how it could have gone differently and saying that he couldn’t because this is how it had to happen. Even the part where New Jersey had told him not to worry about it, Rowe was talking to the wrong person and therefore was to blame and the bureaucracy cannot be expected to deal with that. You cannot possibly expect the bureaucracy to be able to accommodate user error.

All of which actually made Rowe’s points, and other points, more forcefully than Rowe did. Truth be told, I thought that some of Rowe’s criticisms of the bureaucracy were off-base. he criticized Pennsylvania for not cancelling the title of his car, but in all honesty I think that such cavalier canceling of title would do more harm than good. I think the system did work, as well as can be expected, right up until he was told by New Jersey officials that it had been taken care of and it had not been taken care of. I can even give them a pass for the whole “Respond or go to jail” thing because I do think that particular stick is probably necessary.

However, because that’s the stick, I do believe that it is incumbent on the system to make avoiding that as easy as possible. While various critics of Rowe did agree that the system could be streamlined and made easier, but treated doing so as an act of benevolence on the part of the state rather than an imperative to keep people from needlessly going to jail. And the assumption that because it is that way that it has to be, which simply isn’t the case. Several people reported having been in a similar circumstances but with bureaucracies that handled the situation differently. My father had a title-non-transfer issue and it was taken care of easily and without fuss. It’s not some tangential that such alternatives are possible, or something that the state might want to do because wouldn’t it be nice, but rather it’s something extremely important.

But at the end of the day, Do Not Fail The Bureaucracy was the order of the day. And though Jaybird was criticized for making the comparison, it really did seem to me to be the equivalent of “Don’t talk back to the officer or you own the consequences.”

Leaving aside the fact that the same consequences would have occurred whether he had turned in the license plate or not, that’s a somewhat disturbing attitude. As was the pouring over the record finding a way to make sure that it was Rowe’s fault. And especially the bit about Rowe demonstrating classism by believing he’s too good for a Trenton jail.

And so Rowe’s point was made, emphatically, by his critics. So, too, was a stronger and more important point that Rowe wasn’t especially trying to make: People lose their minds when it comes to anything political.

The truth is that I probably could have posted complaints about the DMV Over There instead of over here and even though certain aspects of my recent difficulties were my fault, a good chunk of the response would have been sympathy for the inconvenience instead of blame for Failing The Bureaucracy. However, since Rowe approached it as a political matter, it was responded to as a political matter. And advocates took on the role of prosecutor. No holds barred. Though it’s less true than it used to be, you can still complain about the DMV, or Comcast, without people assuming that you’re being political and not responding politically. For now, anyway.

But once it does, everything does change. Perhaps the most recent example of that is Ahmed the Clock King. There are multiple angles from which to view the story

  1. The Ahmed story is indicative of anti-Muslim prejudice.
  2. The Ahmed story is indicative of how out of control zero tolerance policies and excessively anxious administrators have become.
  3. While it turned out to be unnecessary, the actions of officials were completely justified behind the veil of what was unknown.
  4. Ahmed is a bad kid who wanted to freak everyone out and therefore the response was entirely justified even knowing what we know now

At the outset large segment of the left (and not just the left) went straight to #1, and a smaller segment on the right went to #4. A lot of people initially landed on #2… only to graduate to #3 and #4. It was interesting to watch, and very much reminded me of the Rowe row, because it seemed to be an immediate response to the political implications of the whole thing. It’s hard to separate #2 from #1, and if #1 scores points for the left, then those talking from #3 and #4 are suddenly making more attractive arguments.

The end result of which is that a lot of people start latching on to some pretty flimsy arguments. As if it matters that Ahmed was using a very liberal definition of “made” when he said he made the clock. As if it matters that his family has a bit of an activist streak. It seems to me that even if it was a deliberate prank, it was kind of a lame prank and that the school and police were not only successfully baited but responded the way that they did remains the focal point of the story.

Unless you’re committed to ceding no political ground whatsoever unless you absolutely have to. In which case, all of that becomes important – like Rowe’s failure to turn in the license plate in a manner that almost certainly didn’t matter – because it’s all you have. Ahmed is the villain here. He has to be. He has to be.

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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