Or “Why Les Miles will never get another job like LSU ever again. Ever.”

The following was written by me earlier today, rendered useless by virtue of the outpouring of support for Les Miles leading to the administration deciding to keep him around. I could have avoided this had I not missed this FootballScoop article, which talked of a shifting tide.

Most of this post still holds in the alternate reality where that didn’t happen. But… sigh. Now I’m missing a big component of Monday’s post. Anyway, here is what I wrote:


It looks like Les Miles is out at LSU. Sports media is sputtering, but I’m not especially surprised by it. Miles’ record at LSU is exemplary, but there is a certain class of coach that administrations look for reasons to fire. It’s the opposite of a Halo effect. When you look at most of the seemingly inexplicable firings (Tuberville, Leach, Mangino, Pelini), the coaches fall into this category. They win, but they do it in an embarrassing way (Miles, Leach). They have unpleasant personalities (Mangino, Leach, maybe Miles). They give the sorts of press conferences that the press love, but make admins cringe.

The only exception to this is Tuberville, who was a coach’s coach but had a bad season at the wrong time.

The other thing I’m hearing about Miles is that he’s going to have his pick of jobs. I’m not sure this is true. I’m not sure that’s ever true of a coach that has been fired. Regardless of their accomplishments. It just doesn’t happen. Throw in LSU’s sloppy – if winning – play under Miles, and I don’t see him reaching an LSU place again. Of the aforementioned coaches.

  • Tommy Tuberville had a .680 winning percentage and a national championship under his belt. Unlike his (more successful) predecessor, there was little in the way of allegation of wrongdoing within the program. He was fired for having a bad season at a bad time. With that, and that until his weird departure from Texas Tech he was a no-drama kind of guy, helped lead him to the Texas Tech job in the first place. This is the best result of any from this group, but he sort of lucked into that one because of the Leach firing, prior to which he was hitting up the likes of South Florida for a job.
  • Mike Leach had the best winning percentage of any coach in Texas Tech history (at least any that was around for more than a season or two) in the very difficult Big 12 South division. He was ostensibly fired for mistreating a player, but subsequent documentation in a lawsuit revealed that they had been looking for a reason to fire him prior to that even while he was having his blockbuster 11-1 season. Even with all of that, he was in the wilderness for three seasons, rejected by the likes of Maryland. The job he got at Washington State is among the worst in the Power 5.
  • Mark Mangino had unprecedented success at Kansas. Like Leach, he was ostensibly fired for mistreating players, and a losing skid his final season, but once again subsequent documentation released indicated that they were looking for reasons to get rid of him when he was 6-1. He couldn’t even get an assistant job right away and landed as a coordinator at FCS Youngstown State. He has not been mentioned as a candidate for any head coaching job.
  • Bo Pelini never won fewer than nine wins in a single season, but fell victim to the very high level of expectations at Nebraska. He got a job at Youngstown State, where he is having limited success. Despite an amazing number of openings this season, he hasn’t been mentioned in connection with any of them.

There are other cases (Frank Solich from Nebraska, Mario Cristobal from Florida International). None of them got really good jobs. There is not much reason to expect that Les Miles will. He had an amazing winning percentage (.780), but he also took over a championship program. His teams play sloppy. He is something of a huckster. He’s not going to be toxic like Mangino, but like Solich he is up there in years and I just don’t see any all-star programs taking a chance on him. I suspect he is either done for good, or he’s going to be the kind of guy that’s going to be on the sidelines at UTSA or some school in his seventies.

Category: Elsewhere

cameronmordorEmily Yoffe has announced that her days of Prudence are at an end.

Bloggingheads is ten years old. Founders Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus reunite to talk about it.

When local newscasters try just a little too hard.

Alanis Morissette updates Ironic.

The Force is strong with this one. I used the Imperial Death March, along with the themes to Mario Bros and Zelda, to distract Lain when she was tiny.

A pilot says that Allegiant Air fired him for putting passenger safety first.

Noah Smith says minimum wages are great, except when they’re not.

Parliamentary Problems.

Catalonia takes steps towards independence.

It’s not just a retailers’ payday. Black Friday is a big moneymaker for plumbers.

Developing countries are told they will need to make some sacrifices to avert Climate Change. Samir Saran says India should decline.

The Montana Standard is unmasking its commenters. {More}

Refusing change is indeed not the way to Keep Austin Weird. Unsurprisingly, I oppose anti-group housing laws.

An international group of architects seek to build a new Colossus of Rhodes.

Tim Marshall writes of Russia’s unfortunate geography, and why it’s so concerned with its eastern neighbors.

Fortune looks at the prospects of knowledge workers being replaced by thinking machines.

A new study suggests that there may be many Earths to come.

Category: Newsroom

So Vox wrote a very Voxy piece on how to argue with wrongthink family members. The Democratic Party also joined in with a tweet pointing to yourrepublicanuncle.com.

Much merriment ensued on Twitter, at Washington Free Beacon, and elsewhere.


Over There, Roland Dodds chimes in:

If You Need a Thanksgiving Conversation Guide… you may be the family member everyone wants to avoid (and not your obnoxious uncle).

Is it really that difficult to talk about these issues with people who don’t share your perspective? Are urban young professionals so divorced from other segments of the broader community that they are unable of engaging in these discussions without assuming their family is a bunch of ignorant idiots? Have I asked enough rhetorical questions?

And Ethan Gach:

Category: Home

Or rather, the futility of hoping to ban something that is trivial to produce.  Remember The Liberator, the first functional 3D printed gun?  The State Department may have forced them to pull the CAD files off the web, but not before it was downloaded well over 100K times & lives on across the web.  That was a single shot gun & everyone was freaking out.

Now we have the PM522, a PepperBox .22 revolver that can fire 6 or 8 shots, depending on which cylinder you print.  It uses a roofing nail for a firing pin, and rubber bands for springs.

Short of trying to tightly control ammunition, I’m not sure how to stop such things from getting into undesirable hands.  And if ammunition suddenly did find itself tightly controlled, how long do you think it would take before someone figured out a good way to make ammunition at home*?


*Note: the three issues with making ammunition at home are primer, cases, and powder (casting bullets is so simple as to be child’s play).  Cases are typically reloaded from discarded cases, or from cases bought new & empty from dealers.  Making a case in your garage from raw materials is not impossible, but it is a bit more complex than casting bullets.

Modern smokeless powder is much more advanced that the black powder of yore.  Making black powder is pretty straight forward, but modern powder formulations require a pretty solid background in chemistry & lab work to avoid blowing yourself to hell & back.  Primers are even more problematic.  It’s not impossible, but it would take a Walter White to do it.

Category: Elsewhere

There is a scene in the first season of The West Wing where Jed Bartlet is discussing gun control with Vice President John Hoynes of Texas. Bartlet is trying to get Hoynes to sign on to prohibit concealed handgun carry. In what I’m sure was a QED argument in writer Aaron Sorkin’s head, Bartlet asked if guns are supposed to deter violence with their presence, why should they be concealed. One can imagine the “Boom!” in Sorkin’s mind as he expressed this. There may be a point there, but what it eludes is that largely the same people that object to concealed carry also object to open carry. From my own perspective, there are arguments for why guns should be visible and arguments for why they should be hidden, but if you’re arguing whatever is in front of you it becomes clear that the “carry” is the problem rather than the “open” or “closed.”


A week or two back, Jaybird sent me this link about HUD’s plans to ban smoking in its housing:

“What I do in my apartment should be my problem, long as I pay my rent,” said Gary Smith, 47, a cigarette in hand as he sat outside the door to a building in the Walt Whitman Houses in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

The impact of the prohibition would be felt most heavily by the New York City Housing Authority, which is known as Nycha and houses more than 400,000 people in about 178,000 apartments. Though it is the largest public housing agency in the country, it has lagged behind many of its smaller counterparts in adopting smoke-free policies.

Since the federal government began to press for smoking bans in public housing in 2009, more than 600 agencies encompassing over 200,000 households have voluntarily barred indoor smoking. In moving to require the prohibitions across the country, federal officials say they are acting to protect residents from secondhand smoke, which can travel through walls and under doors; to reduce the risk of fires; and to lower building maintenance costs.

This seems like the sort of thing that would rile me up, but… it doesn’t, for the most part. Mainly, because from what I’m reading this would mostly bring public housing in line with private housing. Which is to say that landlords – including the government – have their own incentives apart from social engineering to prohibit smoking in their apartments. Smoking represents a fire hazard. It smells, obviously, and can be difficult and costly to clean. If the places are furnished (which I suspect, though don’t know) they might be, you do get cigarette burns on the furniture. So all of these reasons make such a prohibition pretty valid.

The reason given is characteristically weak, however. A lot of the people who live here live alone, and with other smokers, and no distinctions are made. While smoke can escape into neighboring apartments, it’s less likely to be an issue if they smoke indoors than if you push them outside.

Which brings us to the other side of things. The Bartlet/Hoynes discussion. There are arguments for why we would want smokers to smoke indoors, and arguments for why we want to push them outside. Each offer their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Indoors is more likely to cause acute distress among people in whatever room it is occurring. But outdoors makes it harder to avoid. But if smoking is to be legal, it does need to be legal somewhere. This applies both to indoors/outdoors discussions and location more generally. And as we’ve banned smoking in public places, there has been the implicit agreement that they should be able to smoke in their own private places. Now, of course, that too is being questioned.

The new HUD regulation has opened up a flurry of advocacy over at Vox about smoking bans generally. Dylan Matthews says – with obvious lament – that we can’t ban all indoor smoking even though it would be more fair[1]. German Lopez endorses the idea anyway. This is ostensibly due to concerns over second-hand smoke, but it relies on shoddy data. And while at present there are no plans to include ecigarettes in the mandate, they’re discussing it despite there being little indication that the justification of the fear carries over and almost all movement on ecigarettes has been towards including them in smoking bans[2].

Doing so, of course, will push people outside and their smoking into more public areas. Except that we’re trying to move smoking out of public areas. Which pushes it back inside. But we don’t want people smoking inside. The government has the ability to influence people through HUD, but that’s unfair to people who rely on government housing. So in the sake of fairness we should consider making it uniform. If they can’t smoke here, why should they be able to smoke there? If they can’t smoke there, why should they be able to smoke in that other place?

The ostensible rationales for these policies are getting lost in the shuffle, in part due to the desire of uniformity. The only uniformity that can occur, is to allow smoking anywhere and to allow it nowhere. The first is unacceptable and most people know better than the explicitly advocate the latter. But to avoid the latter, we need to answer the basic question of where we should consider smoking to be permissible. It’s not clear that we have any place in mind.

[1] Taking us way out of any ostensible “landlord’s choice” rationale which I can be on board with. And if you’re paying attention, it should be clear that the second-hand smoking pretext has its limitations, and those limitations are being ignored.

[2] Admittedly, the statist in me is intrigued at using these regulations as an inducement for people to switch to vaping. To do so, of course, would mean accepting that people are going to consume nicotine in form that looks like smoking. I don’t think that’s likely.

Category: Statehouse

strawmenAt Unz.com, Chanda Chisala looks at intelligence and two different African-American populations.

Lauren Gurley writes about the urban bias of sociology and the left’s disinterest in rural American poverty.

Recently I linkied a liberal case against Birthright Citizenship. This week, the conservative case for Birthright Citizenship.

Under a new definition of planethood, the moon is a planet.

The Swedish central bank has a negative interest rate on deposits, leading people to stash their money at home.

Gabriel Rossman has some smart words about excessive statistical controls, where if you don’t like the effects of X, you simply control for X.

Adam Ozimek lays down his predictions for 2045.

Dr Farah Khan explains how she deals with racist patients and the frustration of being denied as an Indian and an American.

Reviewing a book, Jesse Singal looks at the black activists who helped launch the drug war. In the comment section of a related article, Freddie chimes in.

It appears attempts to hook ruralia up with broadband was evidently a spectacular failure.

Kris Hartley writes of the potential of rural industrialization in China.

Drone Assassin: A Feminist Success Story

I have historically thought their virtues were overrated, but I’m coming around on the idea of nonpartisan elections (at least at the state and local levels).

The hardship of being obscenely rich.

Brian Boyd writes of the Nietzchean nature of Gotham.

Category: Newsroom

It appears that Christopher Kimball is leaving Cook’s Illustrated and the America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country TV shows [NYT link, hat tip, Megan McArdle]. It appears to be some sort of contract dispute or perhaps disagreement about the company’s direction.

America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country are two of my favorite shows, and their recipes have always done well for me. Even with the one’s I didn’t like it was more because I didn’t like the dish, not that the recipe itself was bad or too hard to follow.

I’ll never be a great cook. I’ll never be the type of guy who can survey what’s in the pantry and just come up with a delicious dish with a handful of random ingredients on hand. But ATK and Cook’s Country taught me many of the basics I need to know and, among other things, have taught me how to make that green chili recipe I get homesick for every once in a while.

I hope whatever his future endeavors, Mr. Kimball is successful.

Category: Elsewhere

“The seven names will be put to a public vote at a still to-be-determined date, allowing the masses to bring UND into a new era. And I think we can all agree that as long as voters don’t choose “Fighting Hawks,” everything will be alright.” -Zack Barnett

Longtime readers may recall that I have commented on the University of North Dakota mascot situation on a few occasions and Linklusters. The basic story is that the North Dakota Sioux had to find a new mascot due to the NCAA regulations. There are two Sioux tribes in the region and one supported the nickname and imagery while the other opposed it. Boosters and the state dug in their heels, with the former bankrolling a flooding of imagery of the logo while the state passed a law preventing them from changing their name. The result is that the University of North Dakota missed out on their chance at joining the other Dakota schools in the Missouri Valley Conference, and for the last couple of years UND has had no mascot. They’ve just been North Dakota. The law preventing them from adopting a new nickname has lapsed, though, and now it’s time to pick something.

A little while back, James I Bowie at Slate looked at the North Dakota mascot situation and evaluated potential replacements. Bowie makes the following observation:

What, then, will be next for North Dakota? The university has established a “Nickname and Logo Process Recommendation Task Force,” which may in turn appoint yet another committee to help select a new name this year.

In my opinion, universities have often not done a good job of replacing Native American nicknames and logos. Fearful of controversy and hamstrung by committee decision-making processes, they have often selected names and marks that are bland, generic, uninspiring, and lacking in distinctiveness.
Birds are a typical choice. Of Division I schools that dropped Native American nicknames, 39 percent subsequently adopted bird mascots. By comparison, among other Division I schools, only 15 percent have bird mascots.

Colors are also popular in post–Native American nicknames. Fully half feature some reference to color, compared with just 7 percent of other schools’ nicknames.

Sometimes, birds and colors are combined, as in the case of the Miami RedHawks, Seattle Redhawks, Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, and Marquette Golden Eagles. UND would do well to avoid these clichés by selecting a name that is distinctive and memorable.

And what did the students at the University of North Dakota choose? The Hawks. The Fighting Hawks, to be precise.

Are you kidding me?

Have we lost the capacity to name teams? Between the dumb not-plural-noun names that have become more common in Basketball (Heat, Magic, Thunder), the eye-rolling names of Major League Soccer, and the replacement names at the college level, I am beginning to think so.

Fighting Hawks? There were a handful of options that the students voted on: Fighting Hawks, Green Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders, and Sundogs.

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

North Dakota Fighting Aliens
Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

It’s almost enough to make me suspect that they rigged the finalists so that people would choose a bland name, but even with these bad options the students chose the worst one. North Stars and Nodaks have a redundancy problem. Roughriders is the name of the CFL team to their north, but all-in-all isn’t a terrible name. Hawks? What the hell? Sundogs was the best one. Even the pre-Sioux name, the Flickertails, is better.

But there were limitless opportunities. They stopped being the Flickertails because they wanted something tougher, with North Dakota State being the Bison. They chose Sioux because Sioux hunt bison. They could have just gone with Hunters. Or Frontiersmen (and Frontierswomen). Or they could have chosen something similarly intimidating, like the Rhonos. Or something uniquely badass, like Otters[1]. Or be the Chargers with a dinosaur mascot. Or the Hellboys (and Hellgirls). The ties to North Dakota may be tenuous, but who cares! Cool!

Instead… Hawks. I fear for the future of my country.

Category: School


The National Front in France is allegedly gaining support among gays.

David Harsanyi wants you to know that you’re not actually a hero.

Matthew Walther is not a big fan of Paul Ryan’s anti-smoking sentiment, brought to light on account of his need to detoxify the Speaker’s office. I am somewhat sympathetic to Ryan’s plight – especially since he doesn’t have a DC residence, though it does actually kind of make me glad he didn’t run for president…

… because Obama’s seemingly reasonable regulatory regime for ecigarettes is looking worse and worse with each passing month. It’s far enough in the future that the next president will have a lot of influence over what’s going to happen. The decision looks more like a punt.

Is institutional racism (against minorities, to be clear) responsible for substance abuse deaths among whites?

The biology of morning sickness. (This is not a hint that Clancy is pregnant. Elizabeth Stroker Bruenig is, though!)


I’m not laughing at all about The Jeb Scenario. He’s still #3 on my poll position, and I think I might be too bearish. {More}

Also, the whole bit about Jeb helping a National Review reporter with tips on how to clean her room is kinda cool.

Some black voters may disagree, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes that Ben Carson is perpetuating black stereotypes by denying science. Not sure about that, but he does carry some black comic book character stereotypes (wherein black characters tend to fall into one of three categories, one of which is being incredibly successful and smart).

Orac looks Ben Carson and why intelligent people aren’t always skeptics. Somewhat related, from 2013, Tea Partiers know science.

Though I think there was a window of opportunity for him to run, Romney would not be wise to enter the fray now. He could possibly do his party a lot of good by endorsing Rubio, however.

Say what one will about the Tea Party, but no faction of the GOP has done more to recruit minority candidates.

I recently linkied about the extreme measures taken against students deemed troubled. On the other side of the ledger, take them out of regular classes may be good for everyone else, especially the smart kids.

Boom. Students who go to liberal arts colleges earn less.

Doran Larson makes the case for open prisons.

Category: Newsroom

A friend of mine (a very conservative Republican operative who has generally worked campaigns for especially conservative politicians) on Facebook made the following observation:

My own dad has been royally pissed off at me this week because I haven’t automatically gone nativist and started asking questions on social media. I feel as though our generation have been raised to value consistency more than our elders. If nothing else, from a fear of being castigated when our research and discussions in forming opinions take place in public online. They never had to deal with that level of scrutiny.

This is, obviously, in reference to the Syrian refugees issue. Leaving the particulars of the issue aside, do you agree?

I think I do. It certainly has played a role in my own discussing of the issues. This is especially true for relatively trivial things. Every change of party seems to result in some carping about, for instance, the extravagance of the inauguration ball with colors flipped. I think that sort of thing is going to be harder to do. Not that we won’t find a way to make things totally different from one president to the next, and one circumstance to the next. But all the same, it has pushed me to strive for more consistency than I probably would have otherwise.

Category: Elsewhere


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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