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Sandwichgate

I don’t know how many of you have followed David Brooks’ stepping in it with his story of introducing a working class friend to an upscale sandwich shop.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Ace of Ace of Spades has a somewhat different take on it:

By the way, where did David Brooks come by this non-college-educated “friend”? Last time I heard from him, he was asking the government to set up Adult Day Camps where people of different social classes could meet and mingle.

I’m already involved with such an Adult Day Camp, namely my local shooting club. It’s difficult for me to relate to this kind of class anxiety. I think a key part of getting along and enjoying new experiences is just not giving too much of a crap what other people think of you. Now, to a degree, we all care somewhat. I certainly don’t enjoy offending people, and try very hard not to poop in other people’s pools. But I don’t see what the issue is asking what a Padrino is, and couldn’t really care less if someone thinks I’m a rube for not knowing.

My father worked in an office, but only completed some college. My mother only had a high school education and was a full time mom. Both my grandfathers were tradesmen. Most of my father’s friends were either tradesmen or worked for a living. None of my grandmothers had more than a high school education. So I don’t get class anxiety being around wealthy elites or working class people. Both groups of people have their bullshit, even if it’s different bullshit. Both groups engage in “virtue signaling,” it’s just that their virtues are different. But somehow increasingly, the two groups can’t talk to each other. Why?

I blame social media.

Good News in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied appeal on FOAC et al. v. Lower Merion Township, basically upholding the ruling in Commonwealth Court that their ordinance banning firearms and discharge in township parks was illegal.

Our current preemption law usually works when we can take these ordinances to court, but getting them there is difficult.

Also from Josh Prince: “It is time for the citizens of Pennsylvania to stop paying millions of dollars, each year, for a broken and duplicative system, when the FBI offer NICS to us for free.” PICS is awful. At some point I’d like to see a bill in Congress to eliminate POC states. That way there’s only one entity to keep an eye on. POC state agencies have gotten away with a lot worse malfeasance than the FBI, and the FBI does a much better job with uptime on NICS than the PSP does with PICS, which is very outage prone for as much as it’s costing taxpayers.

Quote of the Day: Anger Issues Edition

I can’t find much to disagree with here:

But something new has happened to American politics in the last few years: Politicians have realized that the simplest path to power is to humor everyone’s anger. If you take someone’s anger from them, you’ve emotionally castrated them. More important, you run the risk of driving them into the arms of someone who will feed their anger — an anger that will now turn on you for the sin of having discounted that anger in the first place. This is deeply unhealthy.

Yes. And the data crunchers are getting very adept at manipulating people’s emotions for gain. They aim to sell you something, whether it’s a better razor, or an ideology. Big data means those with a product to sell will know what buttons to push to get you to buy.

Yes … Next Question

Should Democrats give up on gun control?

I have absolutely no love of playing in politics (though I would likely remain an enthusiastic observer), but I play the game because I care about my gun rights. Take that issue off the table, and I have better things to do with my time, like, you know, enjoy my gun rights for a change.

So yes, as long as the Republicans remain better for gun rights than Democrats, I will work with Republicans. But boy could I be convinced to stay home and chill if the Dems would just let the issue drop.

And why would they do that? Because there are a lot more people like me out there than there are people who will vote for Dems because they are against guns.

Despite Long Guns Being Rarely Used in Crimes …

… and despite Pennsylvania’s ban on transfers or loans of firearms without going through an FFL or Sheriff not doing hardly a think to put a dent in Philadelphia’s violence crime rate, some lawmakers want to expand the ban on transfers or loans to long guns.

This has been going around in rightly circles. It’s interesting to see some of the outlets making hay of this given that Santora is still willing to vote the right way on abortion.

Quote of the Day

Glenn Reynolds pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole sad affair.

But to be clear, my problem is not with people saying that body-slamming a reporter is wrong. It is. Rather it’s with the predictably hypocritical nature of the outrage. One might almost say that the political class is happy to wink at political violence, until it affects one of their own.

One of the things I really don’t like about following news and politics on a daily (hourly?) basis for so long is how cynical I’ve become about this sort of thing. I’d rather not feel this way, but it’s pretty hard to escape, given the realities.

I can really relate to that second paragraph.

Sometimes I Hate Being Right

The verdict is in on the Montana special election: “That audio made me cheer.” Though, I’m happy to see a college professor who thinks it’s acceptable to strike people in the head with a heavy bike lock is getting what’s coming to him. The stakes are being raised from both sides. What factor do you see that will lower the stakes? I see my family, family, on social media posting vile, hateful things about people that disagree with them, knowing full well they have family that does.

I’m coming to the conclusion that we’re getting beyond a political struggle of ideas, and that scares me because this country was always about a political struggle of ideas. The only time it turned violence was over the question of slavery, and one has to admit that’s a pretty big idea. Today’s meme wars are vapid, ignorant, and shallow.

I fear the future does not belong to ideas. It belongs to propagandists and marketing experts, who armed with Big Data are going to get much better at manipulating people’s emotions and biases to whip them into mindless frenzy to do their bidding. We’re already seeing it. It’s not that people have fundamentally changed, but never has so much information about so many people been concentrated into the hands of so few. I don’t think this will end well.

Help or Hurt?

Bitter and I were debating this morning about whether the latest news that GOP candidate in Montana’s special election, Grew Gianforte, body slammer a reporter who wouldn’t get a microphone out of his face. It’s my opinion that if anything, it’ll boost Gianforte. Bitter isn’t so sure. Thanks to early voting (don’t even get me started on that), about 1/3rd of the ballots are already cast.

I don’t think it’s a good thing, but the rules are changing. We were all very fortunate to grow up in a period of relative political and social stability. We’re witnessing the unraveling of the post World War II order, and it’s a global phenomena. Everything is at stake and up for renegotiation. When politicians say “I’ll fight for you,” their supporters are increasingly expecting that to be literal.

In the past we’ve been far worse. Fist fights were once common on the House floor. Prior to and after the Civil War, a lot of Members of Congress carried pistols, for their protection… from their colleagues. I’m reminded of a bit of research Dave Hardy was doing, when he uncovered this bit:

Prior to the Civil War, Sen. Ben Wade (R-Ohio) said something on the floor which was deemed insulting to Sen. Robert Toombs (D-Ga), and a friend told Toombs, “you must challenge the old wretch!” Toombs replied, “No, I mustn’t, for that old wretch is the deadliest shot in the District. Wade and I have been out practicing many times together, and he can hit a ten-cent piece at thirty paces every time, and to tell you the truth, sir, I cannot!”

Ben Wade was one of the Radical Republicans, who was largely responsible for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and who favored a Reconstruction policy far more punitive than Lincoln did. Are we headed back to that kind of political climate? I fear we are.

What Happens When There’s no Sheriff?

Apparently Blair County, PA lost its Sheriff, and due to a lack of someone to sign LTCs, they just stopped issuing them. A judge has authorized the Chief Deputy to act in the Sheriff’s stead until a replacement can be confirmed. It looks, in this case, like the seat has only been vacated since April 9th, and Sheriffs have 45 days by statute to issue.

This kind of licensing scheme would never be allowed in any other context. There’s a movement now to let people vote without first having to register to do so. If we ever get judges willing to take the Second Amendment seriously, as opposed to judges who are fine with it being a second-class right, this kind of thing is what will eventually take down licensing regimes.

The Supreme Family Tree

In light of Trump’s victory, Gorsuch’s confirmation, and another 3 1/2 years of the term, it’s reasonable to discuss what’s next for SCOTUS. The topic becomes a bit morbid when you’re talking about non-retirement openings that could change the Court because one study found that “the justice’s death-in-office odds are about tripled” when the sitting president is from a different party than the that of the president who appointed the justice.

Sebastian & I were curious about the chances of an unplanned opening on the SCOTUS (aka not a retirement) and realized that family history can yield some important clues to the health of descendants. This post isn’t meant to indicate we’re wishing any negative health to sitting justices, it’s just an interesting intersection of law and genealogy. Here’s a look at the oldest Justices on the Court right now.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Much has been discussed about her health since she was diagnosed with one of the deadliest cancers a few years ago. However, it was caught early and things seem to be fine with her. Regardless, she is the oldest member of the SCOTUS at 84.

I actually can’t trace Ruth’s family back very far because her father was an immigrant and her mother was the daughter of immigrants. What makes it worse is that she’s from New York which is generally a nightmare for records. (There’s a reason that Reclaim the Records has had to sue them the most.) However, I have learned that Ruth may well have a fine collections of furs in her closet since her family was big in the fur business. I’d love if she’d flaunt them.

Regardless of the challenges, Ruth has far surpassed the average age I’ve been able to confirm with any confidence of her direct ancestors – 61.5. That number is largely so low because her mother died very young of cancer. Once you factor in collateral relatives such as aunts/uncles, the average age jumps up to 79.38.

Needless to say, it’s understandably why some on the left are upset that she didn’t retire under Obama. However, if she takes after a couple of uncles, then she’s got another ~3 years to meet their lifespan, and that’s enough to get into another administration should Trump not win another term should he run again. In fact, given better healthcare, it’s possible she could last through 2 terms of Trump if he can pull off a win in 2020.

Anthony Kennedy
As the next oldest member of the Court, Anthony Kennedy also has a strong recent immigrant background that makes it a little harder to trace his family tree. However, he’s the first one I found that has any line going back to the Revolution. (I don’t think that’s required or anything, but it’s just interesting.)

Anthony Kennedy is turning 81 years old this summer. The average lifespan of his direct ancestors is only 69.4 years. Factoring in those indirect relatives in reasonably close generations drops that average to 62.3 years.

It’s fair to consider that Kennedy may not want to pass on the bench. If he doesn’t want to do that, then he probably would want to retire soon. Based on his family history, he is rather lucky to have these extra years. (Granted, I don’t know the causes of death for his family, so it could well be that medical advances would have easily extended their lifetimes.)

Stephen Breyer
The third in line based on age is Stephen Breyer who will turn 79 this summer. What I can research of his tree doesn’t go back very far since his maternal grandparents were the immigrants on that branch and all great grandparents on the paternal side made the trek to America.

Direct ancestors and indirect lines come out to the same average – 73.1 years. In that regard, family history would indicate that maybe Obama’s term may have been a better time to retire if he wanted to confidently keep his seat in liberal hands.

***
I’ll do further research on the younger justices soon. And, based on suggestions at the bar this weekend, I may also expand this to study the family histories of any other potential nominees. (Watch, this will result in judges having to submit a family tree to be considered for SCOTUS!)

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