Category Archives: Totty

Who doesn’t love pretty girls?

Rule Five (No) Crime Wave Friday

So far, at least, the legalization of recreational marijuana in our own Colorado hasn’t led to a crime wave.  Excerpt:

The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics released “Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” a report that analyzes data on marijuana-related topics including crime, impaired driving, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits, usage rates, effects on youth and more.

State lawmakers ordered the study in 2013 after Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which legalized the retail sale and possession of recreational marijuana for adults older than 21.

Jack K. Reed, a statistical analyst with the Office of Research and Statistics, authored the study. He called the findings a “baseline” because legal marijuana is relatively new and so is the data.

“It is difficult to draw conclusions about the potential effects of marijuana legalization and commercialization on public safety, public health or youth outcomes, and this may always be the case due to the lack of historical data,” Reed wrote in the report.

All kinds of things could affect future data, he said.

“The decreasing social stigma regarding marijuana use could lead individuals to be more likely to report use on surveys and also to health workers in emergency departments and poison control centers, making marijuana use appear to increase when perhaps it has not,” Reed wrote.

Here’s another thing that could affect future data:  The drying up of the profit margin for gangs and illegal dealers could result in a decrease of the crime rate.  So far, that remains to be seen, and the high rate of taxation for rec-weed keeps some incentive for a black market:

Data suggests that law enforcement and prosecutors are aggressively pursuing cases against black-market activity. The quantity of cases filed for serious marijuana-related crimes has remained consistent with pre-legalization levels; however, organized crime cases have generally increased since 2008.

Felony marijuana court case filings (conspiracy, manufacturing, distribution, and possession with intent to sell) declined from 2008 to 2014 but increased from 2015 through 2017.

Like most things, legalizing pot has been a mixed bag, practically speaking.  DUIs haven’t been affected much:

• Colorado State Patrol DUI cases overall were down 15 percent from 2014 to 2017.

• The percentage of Colorado State Patrol citations with marijuana-only impairment has stayed steady, at around 7 percent. The percentage of Colorado State Patrol citations with any marijuana nexus rose from 12 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2016 and then dropped to 15 percent in 2017.

Read the whole article, by all means.

This post-mortem of marijuana legalization is interesting, but my argument for legalization is based not on practical matters but on liberty.  It’s not the government’s responsibility to keep you form making bad decisions; it’s also not the government’s responsibility to shield you from the consequences of those bad decisions.  In most ways marijuana is no better or worse than alcohol.  When used responsibly and in moderation, it’s not a problem; when abused, it is.

But citizens, not politicians, should be making those decisions.  In Colorado, we’ve moved in that direction, and so far, most of the dire predictions of banners haven’t materialized.  But then, in almost any matter of public policy, very few of those dire predictions ever do.

Rule Five Get Woke Go Broke Friday

I saw this a while back but didn’t comment on it right away, but a conversation with a friend today got me thinking about the story some more; namely, it seems that Levi’s, of all companies, has jumped on the “OMG ASSAULT WEAPONS” bandwagon.  That won’t hurt them as badly as it would have forty years ago, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.  Excerpt:

American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday the launch of a new campaign aimed at preventing gun violence.

Company President and CEO Chip Bergh penned an op-ed for Fortune magazine saying business leaders have a responsibility to speak up on issues that threaten the American “fabric.”

“We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” he wrote. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”

Mr. Bergh said the company is stepping up its gun control activism in three areas: First, by creating the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants to boosting gun control groups; Second, by partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; And third, by doubling the company’s usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with the new Safer Tomorrow Fund.

The company will also pay employees for their political activism, for up to five hours a month.

I don’t like the trends of companies overtly virtue-signaling; if you’re in the business of making jeans, then just make jeans, and talk about nothing more than how great your damn jeans are.

And, once again, a would-be gun-grabber trots out the “gun violence” horseshit.  Now, to be fair, that term is also used by plenty of people who should know better, but the fact is that there is no such damn thing as gun violence.  There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people, and that’s all.  It’s beyond dumbassery to use a term like “gun violence” when nobody, anywhere, ever, refers to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “hammer violence.”  It’s only when firearms are involved do people’s brains fly right out.

Still.  One would think that antagonizing gun owners would be an ill-advised move for a company that makes blue jeans, a garment worn by plenty of working folks who like guns.  But I doubt this stance, tedious and stupid though it might be, will hurt the Levi’s brand sales much.  Why?

Because actual working folks shopping for tough, comfortable, durable working garments haven’t been buying Levi’s for years.  Starting about the time I graduated high school, Levi’s became the “style” jeans, mostly worn by townies.  The working jeans market these days belongs to Duluth Trading (my favorite brand), Carhartt, and Dickies.

That gives Levi’s some room to engage in dumb virtue-signaling.  So, fine, go for it; I don’t think it will change anything all that much.

Rule Five Federalism Friday

Here’s something I’ve been saying for years: Want to Fix the Senate? Repeal the 17th Amendment!  Excerpt:

Senate procedures are frequently criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Hurdles such as the 60-vote threshold to limit debate make it difficult to pass legislation. And until 2013, when Democrats had control of the chamber, 60 votes were required to invoke cloture on all nominations by the president, except Supreme Court nominees.

At the time, Democrats had a 54-seat majority, including two independents, and complained that Republicans were blocking nominees to various executive agencies. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led an effort to eliminate the filibuster and quickly confirm then-President Barack Obama’s executive and judicial appointments.

Last year, with a 52-seat majority, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans, using the precedent established in 2013 under Democratic control of the Senate, eliminated use of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The filibuster for legislation remains intact. 

As envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution, the Senate was to represent state interests in Congress. The House of Representatives was meant to be the part of the legislative branch closest to the people. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies that representation in the House is based on population of the states and its members are directly elected.

Here’s the real kicker:

Without question, the 17th Amendment has led to more growth in the federal government since it eliminates the state voices that would traditionally advocate for a balance of power between state and federal government. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, the direct election of senators has almost completely undermined federalism.

Today’s charges that the Senate is “undemocratic” and that representation should be based on population arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of what our government is supposed to be. The Framers were obviously skeptical of a monarchy, which could be tyrannical, and were skeptical of direct democracy, which they rightly viewed as mob rule.

It bugs me when people who should know better refer to “our democracy.”  The United States is not and never was a democracy; it’s a Constitutional Republic, and the Founders built into the Constitution specific safeguards to prevent the nation from foundering into direct democracy.  And the appointment of Senators by the legislatures of the several States was key in said prevention.

At present, Senators are just Representatives with longer terms in office.  At present, the government of Zimbabwe has direct representation in the Imperial City (through an embassy) but the government of Wyoming does not.

Much as I’d like to see the 17th repealed (and several others into the bargain) I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ll never see it happen.  It is in the nature of government to grow ever larger and more intrusive; the 17th Amendment is a symptom of that, not a cause.  The Founders did a pretty decent job of constraining the Imperial government, but those chains slip ever further now, day by day, while most of the citizenry welcomes ever-increasing Imperial power.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

Rule Five DNA Test Friday

Fauxcohantas Warren (D-MA):  I may be 1/1024th Native American!

Lindsay Graham (R-SC):  Hold my beer!  Excerpt:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is ready to show up Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying Tuesday he plans to take a DNA test to find out whether he has more Native American heritage than she does.

“I’m going to take a DNA test,” Graham told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday. “I’ve been told my grandmother was part Cherokee Indian. It may all just be talk.”

Graham said he would reveal the results on the show in a couple weeks.

“This is my Trump moment. This is reality TV,” Graham quipped.

Graham said he did not think much about his heritage until Warren released her DNA results concluding she may be between 1/1024 and 1/64 Native American.

“I’m dying to know,” Graham said. “I think I can beat her.”

I have to say, I’m really enjoying this new Lindsey Graham.  We all saw, live and on television, his “enough is e-goddamn-nough” moment during the Kavanaugh nomination hearings.  We’ve seen more of this new Senator Graham since.  It’s a big change from the old Senator Graham, and whether it was those aforementioned hearings or something else that led to his road-to-Damascus moment, the result is a big improvement.

But, back to Fauxcohantas Warren.

I don’t think there’s much doubt that Senator Warren is positioning herself for a run at the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.  GOP campaign managers and President Trump are no doubt chortling with glee at that prospect, although personally I think she has very little chance of getting the Dem nod.  I think one of the younger hotshots like Cory Booker or Kamala Harris is more likely.

President Trump probably isn’t too worried about running against either of them, either.  Both are considerably farther to the political Left than the American mainstream, symptomatic of a political world in which forty years ago President Trump’s positions would have been in the mainstream of moderate Democrats like Zell Miller.

It’s highly doubtful that the Democrats will listen to me, but their best chances to seize the Imperial Mansion in 2020 – sadly – may be to run daffy old Uncle Joe Biden.  Joe’s a bit of a nut and seems to be a little too handsy for this new #metoo world, but he’s also an experienced campaigner with lots of friends in Washington and elsewhere in the Democrat establishment.

Fauxcohantas Warren has succeeded in making herself a laughing-stock with this DNA business.  The best thing she could have done for her political future was to pretend she never said anything about it and hope for the whole thing to blow over – but there’s that pesky bit about her quota hiring at Harvard…

…So, maybe she saw the DNA test as one last Hail Mary to retaining some kind of relevancy outside of Massachusetts.  Who knows?