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May 01, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (5-1-2014)

Michael Barone on All the Things Wrong with Thomas Piketty's Inequality Thesis

He starts with these.

But is his picture of current trends complete? The Manhattan Institute's Scott Winship points out that relying, as Piketty does, on tax returns for the U.S. statistics means omitting income from Social Security, food stamps, public housing, Medicare and Medicaid.

Tax returns count roommates and unmarried partners as separate units when they are part of a larger household.

They don't include employer-paid health insurance -- an increasing share of employee compensation in recent decades.

Including these factors, Winship notes, means that incomes below the top 10 percent have not stagnated but have risen significantly since the 1970s. Increasing inequality is compatible with increases in ordinary people's incomes.

Economist Tyler Cowen takes issue with another of Piketty's assumptions, that the rich can earn 4 to 5 percent on their wealth "automatically, with the mere passage of time, rather than as the result of strategic risk taking."

And here's why the 'moderate' MSM/Left's sudden Piketty-driven obsession with inequality may not amount to much politically:

Respondents were not particularly worried about income inequality, which President Obama identified in December as the "defining challenge of our time." Just five percent said that inequality was a major problem needing attention. And nearly all - 93 percent - of those who listed inequality as a problem said they were not at all or only slightly confident that the government could make real progress in addressing inequality in 2014.


Rich Owens: Oklahoma's Official Executioner

From a fascinating 1948 newspaper article on Rich Owens who executed condemned men for over three decades while serving as a guard at Oklahoma's McAlester State Penitentiary. In his life he killed 75 men: 65 by electrocution, one by the gallows, two with a knife, six with a gun and one with a shovel, not counting 'peckerwoods'.

And he took his job very seriously - studying techniques and learning from the failures of others as well as running execution rehearsals beforehand - in order to guarantee a smooth quick death with a minimum of pain, mess, or fuss.

rich_owens3_snip owens14304988_1393646973

Which leads to his story of how he once executed a friend of his who had raped and killed a girl while drunk. He spent the evening praying with the man in his cell and when the time came he walked him to the electric chair, prepped him, and then pulled the switch himself. Afterwards he gave his executioner's fee ($100) to the man's wife.

Given the in-artful demise of Clayton Lockett on Thursday perhaps it's time for Oklahoma to bring back a professional like Owens.

Retro-Ace: Enough with the Gay Shit

However, if full and unblemished record of lifelong heterosexuality is now, according to lefties, some sort of requirement for reliability, well, it seems Scott Beauchamp's got a whole new credibility problem.

I'm so sick of the fucking left. If someone says something they don't like, they just bleat over and over "FAG! FAG! FAG! FAG!"

Well, fuck self-restraint. If that's the game we're playing, then game on.

Democrat Clinton Appointee Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law

I have read the opinion (.pdf), and, shockingly, it is nonsense. In a nutshell, the judge finds that 1) there ain't no such thing as voter fraud, and 2) obtaining a photo ID is second in difficulty only to scaling Mount Everest.

CNN Legal Analyst's Failure to Pay Zimmerman Debate Wager Spills Over into Wikipedia Edit War


NJ "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

"[Armatrix employee] Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. 'Belinda?" the person wrote. "Is that you?" ... "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans," one commenter wrote."

So, so much ignorance in the comments. The larger context is that just by selling a single 'smart' .22 gun in the US Armatrix will effectively eliminate the ability of people in several states to buy any existing guns. Yes they have the right (and incentive) to develop smart guns but thanks to dumbass laws their exercising of this right will eliminate the rights of others to buy a gun of their choice.


Report: 70% of Shootings in Chicago Happen Within a Single Isolated Group

Papachristos constructs a social network-not a virtual one in the Facebook sense, but a real one of social connections between people-by looking at arrestees who have been arrested together. That turns out to be a lot of people in raw numbers, almost 170,000 people with a "co-offending tie" to one another, with an average age of 25.7 years, 78.6 percent male and 69.5 percent black. It's also a large percentage of all the individuals arrested: 40 percent of all the individuals arrested during that period.

Within the entire group, the largest component of that whole co-offender group has 107,740 people.

Within the timeframe-from 2006 to 2010-70 percent of all shootings in Chicago, or about 7,500 out of over 10,000, are contained within all the co-offending networks. And 89 percent of those shootings are within the largest component.

If you run the numbers, it turns out that a mere 6% of Chicago's population account for the vast majority of all shootings. Which most people have long believed but it's nice to see it shown in an actual study.

Random Wikipedia Factoid I Encountered While Browsing

Sadly I couldn't find any video of this.

The song Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man details a moderately unpleasant on-air exchange between Emery and Roger McGuinn, the lead singer of the 1960s rock group The Byrds, concerning their 1968 appearance at The Grand Ole Opry. In that performance, the Byrds attempted unsuccessfully to convince traditional country music fans that their developing country rock sound was a legitimate part of the tradition. They were met with jeers and catcalls, in what may be interpreted as a sign of the increasing animosity at the time between rural or working-class (mostly Southern) whites (represented by Opry attendees and Emery's listeners) and young devotees of the counterculture (represented by the Byrds, with their long hair and "hippie" attire). Years later, though, there would be some reconciliation and even convergence of the opposing lifestyles in the "Outlaw" movement, popularized by the likes of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Kate Upton: My Butt Deserves More Attention!

Challenge accepted.

Man Has Stereo Confiscated By Authorities For Playing "My Heart Will Go On" Over And Over

To serve and protect:

Gareth Davies, a 47-year-old resident of Kent County in southeast England, ignored noise complaints from his neighbors, repeatedly breaking a noise abatement notice by blasting Celine Dion's Titanic anthem "My Heart Will Go On" repeatedly. After the sixth violation, Medway Council officers seized all of Davies' possessions that could be used to play Dion's music, including his iPod, speakers, 3D TV and PlayStation. Davies also reportedly has a fondness for blasting the Toy Story theme song, "You've Got A Friend in Me."


Yahoo group. That is all.

The group thingy. And the middle class.

And my Twitter spew.

Tonight's post brought to you by happiness inequality:



Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips plus $1 for S&H to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send your scraps to BizarroAce. Do not taunt happy-fun ball.

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posted by Maetenloch at 10:38 PM

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