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The Timing of Elections Matters (Ferguson Edition)


Yet another example of how institutional choices matter.

Watch your Mouth in North Augusta, SC


Via WSPA:  SC mom arrested for using ‘F-word’ in grocery store in front of her kids Wolf, age 22, moved to South Carolina with her family 3 weeks ago but a night at a grocery store has her wanting to move back to Ohio. "He was like, ‘You’re under arrest’…right in front of kids, in […]

Fighting over Mosul Dam


Via the BBC:  Iraq crisis: Military claims control of Mosul dam Iraqi military spokesman Lt-Gen Qassim Atta told state TV the dam – Iraq’s largest – had been "fully cleansed". Troops had been backed by a joint air patrol, he added, without specifying if there had been any US air strikes. However, journalists in the […]

Today in Circular Reasoning

American Flag Bible

Back to the Ten Commandments and Alabama politics.

Camo Covered Cops


Mark Steyn, commenting on images of camo-wearing police in Ferguson: A soldier wears green camo in Vietnam to blend in. A policeman wears green camo in Ferguson to stand out – to let you guys know: We’re here, we’re severe, get used to it. [...] So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s […]

A Disturbing Map (Militarization of the Police Edition)


Via the  NYT:  Mapping the Spread of the Military’s Surplus Gear.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Party Banned


Via the BBC:  Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing Dissolving the Freedom and justice Party (FJP) was expected. The political wing of the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement can no longer compete in the next parliamentary elections, expected to be held before the end of this year. Its members can run either as individual candidates […]

Santos Sworn in


Via the BBC from last week:   Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sworn in. Santos was re-elected to a second term back in June and is the second Colombian president to be re-elected (after the constitution was reformed to allow Santos’ predecessor, Álvaro Uribe, to run for and win a second term). The main issue confronting […]

The Scourge that is in-Person Voter Fraud


The numbers are shocking!

Italian Senate Reform?


Institutional reform does take place in other democracies.

An Amazing Video (King and the Dreamers Edition)


Legality and justice are not always in synch.

Today in Republican Outreach on Race and Ethnicity… (with a Helping of PR for AL, too)



Competitive House Districts: A Rarity


Our non-competitive political system.

Immigration Legislation: Veto Players in Action


The current immigration debate is yet another great example of how our system works (so to speak).

Line of the Day (Immigration Reform Edition)


“Having spent the summer howling about a catastrophe at the border, Republicans are now congratulating themselves for refusing to solve it.”—the NYT editorial board. In fairness, that sentence should read “some Republicans” (or, perhaps, the Tea Party faction), although in further fairness it does seem as if that faction is the one driving the party […]

The Things One Learns (Austrian Economic and Praxeology Edition)


Fun with praxeology.

Cantor Leaving Early


Via the Richmond Times-Dispatch:  Cantor to resign from Congress Aug. 18 Cantor said he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4. By having a special election in November, the winner would take office immediately, rather than in January with the […]

One Thing the Current Border Crisis is not…


…is an example of how unsecure the border is.  Indeed, catching the migrants in question coming into the country at the border has not been a problem, what with them turning themselves in and all. As such, this points to a simple fact:  doing a better job of securing the borders is not the main […]

Some Facts for the Immigration Crisis Discussion


NBC Bay Area has a pretty good run down of the situation here:  Kids Crossing the Border: What to Know About the Immigration Crisis. A key fact that is useful in trying to determine whether the simplistic narrative that is all about Obama administration policies on immigration or not is the following: Migrant children aren’t […]

That Word Does not Mean…


Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) earlier this week on the floor of the House in regards to the ongoing crisis of under-age immigrants at our southern border: Madam Speaker, the World English Dictionary defines “invasion.” Among the definitions is: invading with Armed Forces; but it is: any encroachment or intrusion; the onset or advent of something […]

Some Observations about Common Core


Just some things to consider about Common Core standards.

Delay in Legal Marijuana Sales in Uruguay


Via the BBC:  Uruguay legal cannabis sale delayed to next year, says president Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has said the start of legal cannabis sales will be delayed until next year due to "practical difficulties". Sales in state-owned pharmacies were due to begin as early as November. Under the new law the following will be […]

Tally me Banana?


Via the BBC:  Cocaine valued at £25m found in banana delivery Cocaine with an estimated street value of £25m has been found hidden in a consignment of bananas from Colombia. Scotland Yard said 150kg of the drug was found packed into plastic bananas following an "intelligence-led" operation. Day-o, indeed.

Chart of the Day


The following chart rather dramatically illustrates why talk that our military is being cut back to much is simply not the case.  (It also show why one of the classic blunders is getting involved in a land war in Asia):   Source:  The Business Insider.

Huh?! (Temperature on Mars Edition)


“I won’t get into the debate about climate change but I’ll simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There’s no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”–Kentucky state […]

Presidents and Prime Ministers


More on instiutional design.

Institutional Design and Governance


A piece at Foreign Policy provides a chance to give some thought to institutions.

Ingraham’s Immigration Policy Prescriptions


Discussions about immigration policy are, unfortunately, very much like Groundhog Day.

A Quote on Primaries


Apropos of my previous post, I just came across this while working on the index of A Different Democracy:  American Government in a 31-Country Comparison: “Primaries mean that the ability of party leadership to shape a party in a particular direction in terms of philosophy or party choice is quite limited.  Rather, the process is […]

A Quick Note on Voters (MS Primary Edition)


Parties do not own voters, and the job of campaigns is to attract voters.

“Redskin” as Slang and Slur


An interesting read via The Atlantic:    When Slang Becomes a Slur. UPDATE (James Joyner): An excerpt: Whatever the connotations of “redskin” now, the question facing the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board was whether it was disparaging when the team first registered it as a trademark in 1967. [...] That may not have been so terribly […]

Another Capo Caught


Via the BBC:  Mexican Tijuana cartel boss Sanchez Arellano ‘captured’ The Mexican army says it has captured the leader of the once-powerful Tijuana cartel, Luis Fernando Sanchez Arellano. In the 1990s, the cartel controlled much of the drugs flow from the northern Mexican city of Tijuana to the United States. But it was dealt a […]

No Female Priests for you (Mormon Edition)


Via the BBC:  Mormons oust Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly over women priests The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has excommunicated a prominent backer of ordination of women priests, her advocacy group has said. Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was notified of the ruling on Monday, a day after a trial by judges […]

The Queen Plays the Game of Thrones


Via the BBC: Queen and Prince Philip visit Game of Thrones film set. The trip is part of a three day visit to Northern Ireland. I find this photo quite amusing:

Solar Power in Germany


Via the Local:  Germany produces half of energy with solar Analysis from the Fraunhofer ISE research institute showed solar panels in Germany generated a record 24.24 GW of electricity between 1pm and 2pm on Friday, June 6th. And on Monday June 9th, which was a national holiday, solar power production peaked at 23.1 GW, which […]

The Basic Thing about the Bergdahl Swap that Bothers me

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl


Significant Drug Gang Arrest in Colombia


Via the BBC,  Colombia: Rastrojos members held in Barranquilla raid: Colombian police have arrested 46 members of the Rastrojos criminal gang in northern Atlantico department. They are accused of extortion from shop owners and selling illegal drugs in the coastal city of Barranquilla. President Juan Manuel Santos described the operation as "the biggest blow against […]

Colombia’s Presidential Elections


Looking back at the first round and forward to the second.

Colombia’s Presidential Elections, First Round 2014


A Photo Essay.

Homeland Security Gone Wild?


Ok, I can’t help but think that this is a a rather ridiculous case of over-militarization of the police. Via WSFA:  Troy police given armored personnel carrier The city of Troy’s SWAT team has a brand new tool in its arsenal to help them react to emergency situations, and it’s the only one in the […]

Hashtags and Scorn


Look, I agree that the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls will not, in fact, lead to said girls being brought back (see a discussion of this by Megan MacKenzie at The Duck of Minvera). But, I am not sure why it is necessary to be either a jerk about it, a grump about it, or a mocker over […]

Bad News for Democracy


Via AL.com:  Where are the candidates? No contests in 20 of 35 Alabama Senate districts on June 3 All 35 seats in the Alabama Senate are up for grabs this election year. But candidates are sparse. There are no contested races in 20 of the 35 districts in the June 3 primary, now less than […]

The Anti-Federalist Impulse

Federalist Papers

Many who speak with great passion about the Constitution rather frequently make anti-Federalist arguments.

In the Land of Cognitive Dissonance…

Cliven Bundy

ATVs for liberty!

New President in Panama


Via the BBC:  Outsider Juan Carlos Varela wins Panama election Opposition leader Juan Carlos Varela has won the presidential election in Panama with almost 40% of the votes. Mr Varela, who is currently the vice-president, had distanced himself from outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli. I must confess, it is a bit odd to call the Vice […]

More on Moore


The line “don’t know much about history” comes to mind.

The Government-Liberty Connection: Hobbes


An ongoing set of considerations on the relationship between liberty and government.

The Government-Liberty Connection: Looking to the Founding Documents


The “Founders” founded a government and the “Framers” were framing the basic structure thereof. This should be obvious.

On the Connection of Law to Liberty: An Observation


To draw an admittedly imperfect parallel, I would note that the Law of Gravity impedes my perfect freedom, thank goodness.  Freedom from the strictures of the gravitational pull of the Earth would be liberating, no doubt, but then how many other things would I be unable to do without its yoke?

The Basics of Federal Land Ownership in Two Maps


How did the west become part of the US?

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