Interesting Items 02/25

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue:

  1. Smollett
  2. Rail
  3. AOC
  4. #RedforEd
  5. Renewables
  6. LA
  7. Michelle
  8. Opportunity
  9. Hormesis

  1. Smollett. Empire star Jussie Smollett claimed a hate crime assault on the streets of Chicago a few weeks ago.  And for a few weeks, the media treated the report as gospel, as a pair of MAGA-hat wearing thugs supposedly assaulted and beat up a gay black guy, poured bleach on him, and left him with a noose around his neck, all in the middle of the night when it was -25F outside.  This was just another of what is a seemingly endless string of hate crime hoaxes perpetrated by liberals.  Turns out that Smollett hired a pair of bodybuilders, wrote them a check to pay for their services, sent them to a store to purchase their supplies where they starred in the store video.  He even planned the attack to be on camera which was pointing the wrong direction.  Note to self:  don’t pay for your hoax with a check.  He previously sent a hate letter to his show, Empire, complete with cut out letters, smashed aspirin powder, and racial / sexual epithets in order to get a raise.  When the letter didn’t get the response he wanted, he wrote, directed, and produced the bogus hate crime show.  Chicago police who detailed 24+ detectives on the case were less than amused.  Smollett may very well spend a year or three in jail, not for the hoax part of the plan, but for the mail fraud before it went down.  The thing about hate crimes these days is that they are nearly universally hoaxes and similarly nearly universally perpetrated by the left.  Charles Barkley went on a glorious rant about this on Inside the NBA last week.  Barkley has a filter for his comments but is rarely in place.  The YouTube is presented for your consideration and amusement.

  1. Rail. For this one, we do need popcorn.  CA Governor Gavin Newsom cancelled Jerry Brown’s fabled high-speed rail project between SF and LA a few weeks ago, hoping to keep federal transportation money for the project.  Not so fast says the Trump Department of Transportation, who is cancelling $929 in federal funds awarded by the O’Bama administration.  It will also try to get $2.5 billion CA already received returned and is “actively exploring every legal option.”  Newsom blasted the demand as “clear political retribution”, not unlike his removal of CA National Guard troops from the Mexico border.  I guess he would know about political retribution as CA is one of 16 states that filed suit against Trump’s declaration of a National Emergency over the border wall.  Newsom’s problem is that it is not CA’s money.  It is federal money for a project he just cancelled.


  1. AOC. The democrat long knives are out for newly minted rock star Alexandra Ocasio – Cortez following her wanton destruction of the crony capitalism deal that attempted to land Amazon’s HQ2 in Queens.  All the sudden, we have stories about her and her boyfriend not living in the district, stories of her hiring her boyfriend in her congressional office (he has a e-mail addy), not paying top staffers well, and renting a flat in a very expensive portion of DC.  Nice to see her adapting to the Swamp quickly.


  1. #RedforEd. I have been wondering about the rolling teacher’s strikes over the last year or so.  Turns out the #RedforEd movement is an orchestrated movement by teachers’ unions aimed at flipping red and purple states in 2020.  Since 2018, they triggered strikes in WV, AZ, OK, KY, LA and Denver.  The media campaign was launched by a 24-year old political activist in his second year as a public-school teacher in AZ.  The political objectives behind the movement were described at the Socialism 2018 conference in Chicago in 2018.  They claim 2,000 leaders. They are highly focused to defeating Trump 2020, focusing on the key battleground states of MI, AZ, PA, WI, MN, CO and FL.  The movement put 50 – 75,000 protestors in Phoenix for a march last April, so they can turn out the troops.  Watch this one closely as it is a growing threat.


  1. Renewables. JoNova is one of my favorite climate wars bloggers.  She is in Oz and has been documenting the wanton destruction of the power grid in the name of climate change.  Last week she posted an article about Oz as the renewable energy superstar, installing unreliable (renewable) generation twice as fast per capita as anywhere else in the world.  The paper this is based upon goes on to claim that the net cost of replacing fossil fueled generation with renewables is zero.  It makes several other fantasy-based conclusions including:
  • Stabilization of the electrical grid is straightforward using off the shelf techniques currently in use in Oz
  • Oz will meet the entire Paris emissions reduction targets 5 years early
  • Net cost is zero as expensive fossil fuels are replaced by cheaper renewables
  • Much of the world can readily follow this path

Of course, the new cost is zero if you ignore the subsidies, extra transmission lines, larger generation footprint, rising electrical bills, blackouts, emergency demand management, damage from surging voltages, wasted capital expenditures, diesel backup, and the burden unreliable generation dumps on the entire grid.  Bottom line in Oz is that coal gave the nation 30 years of falling electrical prices and renewables wiped all those gains out.  While renewables save on fuel, it wastes infrastructure, land, labor and resources.


  1. LA. Nothing like freedom of speech in Los Angles, which unanimously passed a municipal ordinance requiring any contractor working for the city of Los Angles to disclose any ties with the National Rifle Association.  LA Mayor Garcetti is supposed to sign it.  The ordinance does not explicitly ban NRA-linked contractors form doing business in the city but does require them to disclose any contracts or sponsorships with the NRA.  This is a real-world example of a shadow ban, borrowed from social media and moved into real world politics.  The NRA has promised to sue if the ordinance is signed.  Even if it isn’t, the city council has sufficient votes to override any veto.


  1. Michelle. Looks like the O’Bama Machine wants back in.  And with O’Bama himself being unable to run again the vehicle for a second run at the WH appears to be Michelle O’Bama.  Who knows?  It might just work, as she is currently enjoying rock star level treatment by media and entertainment, so the propaganda wing of the democrat party is behind her.  Stand by to see how ValJar, Barak and the rest of the team undermine, trash and rear-end the rest of the democrat presidential field as they position Michelle for a presidential run.  She is not as awash in personal and professional corruption as Hillary is, does not carry that baggage, and as such would be easier to elect.  OTOH, I do wonder how much of the Angry Black Woman schtick we all will be able to stand and for how long.  But make no mistake, that the O’Bama Machine wants back into power, and there will be no limit to the people they are ready, willing and able to destroy to get back into power.  I’d say make popcorn, but the O’Bama Machine is simply too dangerous and destructive to be allowed anywhere near to real, actual political power to ignore.


  1. Opportunity. NASA launched a pair of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, to Mars in 2003.  The rovers landed in 2004 and started what was originally planned to be a pair of 90-day missions exploring the Martian surface.  Turns out they were built much better than that, providing years of exploration.  Spirit got stuck in a sand trap in 2009 with its last communication being March 2010.  Opportunity was luckier than that, lasting until spring 2018.  Both rovers were solar-powered, with onboard batteries, and relied on charged systems to stay alive, warm enough, and mobile.  Mars is a dusty place, with planet-wide dust storms hitting from time to time.  The last dust storm apparently did in Opportunity, depositing a layer of dust and sand on the solar arrays thick enough to prevent it from charging its batteries.  Mars also has dust devils, not unlike the desert southwest, that wind their way across the surface.  A dust devil hit on one of the rovers several years ago was enough to restore it to operation.  No such luck this time around.  Last week NASA JPL announced it was officially writing off Opportunity as no longer working.  It went silent July 2018 after 15 years.  There were over 600 unsuccessful attempts to reestablish communications.  Like most NASA probes that last longer than expected, this one was reprogrammed multiple times to work around failures, faults and other mechanical, electrical and programming glitches.  All in all, a rousing success.  Sad to see it end.

  1. Hormesis. Hormesis is the notion that a small amount of a substance is beneficial while larger doses are harmful.  We normally see this in biology, where vitamins are beneficial in small quantities, even life threatening when they are not regularly taken.  Vitamin D is one example.  But if we take them in large quantities, they are poisonous and ultimately deadly.  Vitamin A is an example of this, as Arctic explorers died after consuming polar bear livers which were stuffed full of Vitamin A.  Another example of hormesis is exposure to ionizing radiation, with low level exposure being beneficial while high levels of exposure deadly.  The Writer in Black blog discussed this last week in regard to government, which in small doses is necessary, but in gigantic doses is deadly.  A graph of this concept looks much like a mirror of the Laffer Curve, there is a region where the dose is beneficial, but there is a region in the curve where the dose is deadly.  Remember the Laffer Curve was presented by Reagan-supporting economist Charles Laffer in the early 1980s to illustrate the notion that there are levels of taxation that don’t bring in any more money.  At zero levels of taxation governments get no money.  At confiscatory levels of taxation, governments get no money either.  There is some small level of government necessary to maximize liberty for people living in it.  The blogger makes the case that we are on the wrong side of the curve, and government power / intervention / meddling is so large that we need to reduce it at all levels and defer discussion of the question “how small should government ultimately be?” for a later date.  Make governments smaller and individual liberty increases.

More later –

– AG


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