Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Reynolds’

Drop Out Jeb

January 19, 2016

That is the advice Glenn Reynolds gave to Jeb Bush in his column in USA Today last week.

Jeb Bush’s campaign is going nowhere, and that’s bad news for Jeb, but it’s good news for America. Now he just needs to perform one final service by dropping out. As a first step, he could follow Rand Paul out the door and skip Thursday night’s debate.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote in these pages that Jeb shouldn’t run.

I wrote: “There’s nothing really wrong with Jeb Bush. By all accounts he was a good governor in Florida. He seems like a nice guy. And I have no doubt that he’d make a better president than, say, Barack Obama, though at this point in Obama’s term that’s setting the bar pretty low. Even the National Journal, which called Obama’s past year ‘pretty awful,’ might agree.”

I continued: “But nice guy or not, he’s old blood. Leaving aside the matter of the Bush name — though neither his 2016 opponents nor his 2016 supporters will — he last ran for political office back in 2002. He’s fresh only insofar as he’s George W. Bush’syounger brother. Meanwhile, the GOP has a lot of actual fresh blood out there.”

Since then, Jeb’s campaign has never really gotten off the ground. Despite raising vast sums of money — and enriching various consultants in the process — Jeb hasn’t had a message that resonates with the American people. He has come across as entitled, expecting the nomination to just be handed to him because of his last name (Who does he think he is? Hillary?) and unwilling to make the sale.

I don’t know why Jeb Bush decided to run for the presidency this year. It has been more than a decade since his last political campaign and he is obviously out of practice and out of touch. I have never heard or read of anyone who is actually excited about the idea of Jeb Bush being the next president, except perhaps for a few big donors that make up what is called the Republican establishment. Bush himself doesn’t seem to know just why he is running.

But it is the last four paragraphs of Glenn Reynold’s column that I think are worth remembering.

 

But there’s another bright spot. Jeb’s trump card was supposed to be the money. He raised a lot of money, and he has spent a lot of money. But it didn’t help. And that undercuts all the money-in-politics talk we’ve been hearing for years.

Concerns about the impact of money on politics assume that if you buy enough ads, you can elect anybody. If that were true, Jeb would be the front-runner. Instead, he’s running way behind other candidates who, in different ways, have done a better job of addressing voters’ concerns.

It turns out that addressing voters’ concerns is more important than slick TV spots. And that means the only campaign finance “reform” we need is for candidates (and donors) to quit tossing money at consultants and instead to speak to the American people about what the American people care about.

If nothing else comes from Jeb’s candidacy, that’s a valuable lesson indeed. Let’s hope that we learn it.

 

If anyone wants to know the reason that Donald Trump is currently the front runner in the Republican while Bernie Sanders is running a remarkably successful insurgent campaign against Hilary Clinton, they need to understand that Trump and Sanders are, in different ways with different audiences addressing real concerns that many Americans really have about the future of their country in a way that more mainstream candidates have not been able to match. I get the impression that the members of our political establishment have begun to believe that they rule by some divine right rather than at the sufferance of the people. I don’t have much liking for Donald Trump and still less for Bernie Sanders, but they are providing a badly needed shakeup in both parties.

 

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The Sun is Acting Strangely

November 14, 2013
History of sunspot number observations showing...

History of sunspot number observations showing the recent elevated activity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Glenn Reynolds linked to this story at Slashdot.com about the puzzling behavior of the Sun. I wrote something about the worrisome lack of solar activity since the last cycle almost two years ago and it does not look as if things are getting any better. The Sun ought to be approaching the maximum point of its eleven year cycle but so far this maximum has not amounted to vary much.

 

“Robert Lee Hotz reports in the WSJ that current solar activity is stranger than it has been in a century or more. The sun is producing barely half the number of sunspots as expected, and its magnetic poles are oddly out of sync. Based on historical records, astronomers say the sun this fall ought to be nearing the explosive climax of its approximate 11-year cycle of activity—the so-called solar maximum. But this peak is ‘a total punk,’ says Jonathan Cirtain. ‘I would say it is the weakest in 200 years,’ adds David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Researchers are puzzled. They can’t tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun’s brightness or the wavelengths of its light. To complicate the riddle, the sun also is undergoing one of its oddest magnetic reversals on record, with the sun’s magnetic poles out of sync for the past year so the sun technically has two South Poles. Several solar scientists speculate that the sun may be returning to a more relaxed state after an era of unusually high activity that started in the 1940s (PDF). ‘More than half of solar physicists would say we are returning to a norm,’ says Mark Miesch. ‘We might be in for a longer state of suppressed activity.’ If so, the decline in magnetic activity could ease global warming, the scientists say. But such a subtle change in the sun—lowering its luminosity by about 0.1%—wouldn’t be enough to outweigh the build-up of greenhouse gases and soot that most researchers consider the main cause of rising world temperatures over the past century or so. ‘Given our current understanding of how the sun varies and how climate responds, were the sun to enter a new Maunder Minimum, it would not mean a new Little Ice Age,’ says Judith Lean. ‘It would simply slow down the current warming by a modest amount.'”

 

I’m worried. We could be in for another Little Ice Age, which really wouldn’t be much fun at all. Wouldn’t be ironic, though, if all the carbon dioxide we are emitting was the only thing keeping the glaciers from moving south again? I think I read a science fiction book about that once.

 

 

 

Summing it Up

June 24, 2013

Glenn Reynolds makes the point I tried to make at the end of this post better than I could possibly make it myself.

The problem is, it’s hard to trust the people who are supposed to use that data to protect us to do so, when they abandoned their own in Benghazi. And it’s hard to trust them not to use that data to oppress us, when they’ve already abused their powers that way in other connections. Which is why abuse of power is itself a kind of treason: It weakens the fabric of the nation like nothing else, by undermining the trust that is essential for the system to work.

If it turns out the actions of the IRS did indeed sway the election in Obama’s favor, then that would go a long way in completely eroding that essential trust. To put it another way, the main difference between a banana republic where everyone is corrupt and looking to evade the laws, and a system that works reasonably efficiently is that people trust the system to work more or less honestly and to their benefit. If you lose that essential trust, you end up with a country like modern Greece where everybody is trying to work the system.

 

Waiting Period for Laws

January 28, 2013

In his New York Post column, Glenn Harlan Reynolds suggests a waiting period for laws.

After every tragedy, legislation gets rushed through that’s typically just a bunch of stuff that various folks had long wanted all along, but couldn’t pass before. Then it’s hustled through as a “solution” to the tragedy, even though close inspection usually reveals that the changes wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy, and don’t even have much to do with it.

The goal, thus, is to prevent close inspection through a combination of heavy-handed legislative techniques and bullying rhetoric: If you don’t want to pass our bill without reading it, you must hate the children.

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of lousy legislation this way — the Patriot Act, for example, about which I wrote a column something like this one back in 2001. We’ve gotten it because politicians like to manipulate voters and avoid scrutiny.

But why let them?

I’d like to propose a “waiting period” for legislation. No bill should be voted on without hearings, debate and a final text that’s available online for at least a week. (A month would be better. How many bills really couldn’t wait a month?)

And if the bill is advertised as addressing a “tragedy” or named after a dead child, this period should double.

After all, people want waiting periods for guns. Yet, statistically, the percentage of guns involved in crimes is much lower than the percentage of politicians involved in crimes.

Seriously, legislation is supposed to be a deliberative process. When they don’t want to deliberate, it’s because they’re hiding something. And they’re hiding it because they don’t want you to know about it.

The founding fathers did not intend for laws to be passed easily or quickly, for them gridlock was a good thing. There are a couple of other reforms I would suggest. One might be that if the Supreme Court rules that a law is unconstitutional, than every legislator who voted for it be subject to a heavy fine. Repeat offenders would be forced to resign and barred from public office for life. No bill named after a dead child should be permitted and all such laws currently on the books should be automatically repealed. I would also suggest that no bill under consideration be permitted to have irrelevant riders attached to it. A rider is an additional provision attached to a bill that it has no obvious or relevant connection to the main subject of the bill. A rider is often used to enact policies that could never pass on their own. Other democratic countries manage to limit or prohibit the practice of adding riders to bills, as did the Confederate constitution. I don’t see why we should not do likewise. Maybe there should also be a mandatory sunset provision for all laws passed. Term limits for everyone in office couldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

Apollo Moon Landing

July 20, 2011

It’s a good thing I check Instapundit everyday. I didn’t realize that today was the anniversary of the first moon landing until Glenn Reynolds reminded his readers. He put in a link to Apollo images from NASA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One giant leap.

There were indeed giants in those days. Lesser sons of great sires are we.


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