Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Obama Investigated Trump

Democrats are in denial of this, shown in their parsing during the Comey hearing.

"Could it be the Democrats were "stricken.....because they found out President Trump did wiretap Trump for political purposes?"

It gets worse, as investigations expose Obama and company as the real criminals.

The Stupidity Of Politics

Victor Hanson showcases how people are pummeled by the stupidity of leftism.

Are Restrictor Plates Returning To NASCAR Tracks?

According to NBC Sports NASCAR will run restrictor plates on the Xfinity cars at Indianapolis, this following an encouraging test session at the Brickyard in 2016. The report became fact as NASCAR made the announcement on March 23. Drivers Ryan Reed and Blake Koch expand on the package here. The most intriguing angle is the use of drag ducts, where air blasts into the nose and out the front wheelwells; the IMS test indicated they work.

As one who has studied the history of racing may expect the restrictor plate controversy has raged from 1988 onward with drivers predictably speaking against the restrictor plate, yet in the nearly thirty years since the restrictor plate was re-introduced to NASCAR the case against it has been thoroughly discredited by three decades of actual racing. And alternatives are always presented - Dale Jarrett claiming "open the aerodynamics some....let them have the horsepower trying to do it."

Yet in the history of racing those is search of examples where having more horsepower or adding horsepower opened up passing will fail to find any.

MRN call of the 1971 Yankee 400, a restrictor plate race.

NASCAR first mandated restrictor plates in August 1970 until late-September 1971 when it went to carburetor sleeves - in July 1973 NASCAR returned to running restrictor plates and in March 1974 the Southeastern 500 at Bristol was the last race to run them until 1988.   Michigan in 1971 saw two competitive races with the plate, such as the Yankee 400.   NASCAR nearly mandated the plate for 1979 when several tracks were repaved and speeds shot up markedly as a result - analyst Greg Maness adds that the Chevrolet Laguna S-3 was hit with the plate for 1978 and this is part of why that successful marque was dropped after 1977.

"Some people were saying they would not be able to pass...."  So noted Ned Jarrett two laps into the 1988 Daytona 500, the first to run restrictor plates since 1974.  

While not as competitive as the Daytona 500, that year's Firecracker 400 and Diehard 500 saw eye-popping finishes.

Ned Jarrett repeatedly mocked the opinion that the restrictor plate impeded ability to pass in his racecasts at Daytona and Talladega - because the racing itself disproved the view against it. 

People who cite the 2000 New Hampshire 300 as a case against restrictor plates ignore how in the radial tire era stock cars have long struggled to pass there and everywhere - when the Modifieds race at New Hampshire they have run restrictor plates since the track opened - with no impediment to passing at all.  

It also ignores how the longer the drivers ran with this plate package the more used to it they became and the more aggressive they started to get in the racing.   Restrictor plate usage far beyond just this one race would certainly have seen drivers figure out passing in such a horsepower box.

The notion - advanced by many, not just Dale Jarrett - that adding horsepower will increase passing not only is not supported by any realworld evidence, it is further discredited by Indycar's absurd push-to-pass button, which adds short bursts of extra horsepower akin to nitrous oxide usage - it has been in Indycars for several years with zero discernable increase in incidence of passing.  It was bulkier racecar bodies, air-displacement wings - and the combination present in the modern-day Wheldon-12 racecar - with no particular increase in horsepower that opened up passing (the use of air-displacement by Indycars  also brings to mind NASCAR's successful roof blade package, curiously never used in race conditions on smaller tracks despite several test sessions with this package at Charlotte).

The blunt reality is Dale Jarrett is wrong.   NASCAR has needed to expand restrictor plate usage for two decades.   The New Hampshire experiment should not have ended in that one race and the pending use of restrictor plates at Indianapolis should not be limited to that one race - or that one weekend - either.   The fact is NASCAR has too much horsepower by over 250 and has had such for one and a half generations.  

The Camping World Trucks have run small engine spacers - which serve the same effect as the restrictor plate - for a number of years and they have seen excellent racing.

Balancing the horsepower, tire, downforce, and drafting effect is how Indycar has exploded the last quarter-century in competitive racing and how NASCAR can reach that same end.   Restrictor plates have worked - period - so NASCAR should mandate them not just for Indianapolis, but beyond.

NASCAR is shooting for racing like this (from Indy Lights in 2016 and 2013) for the Brickyard and elsewhere - with racecars that are underpowered.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Empathy's Failure As Policy

Empathy's Unintended Consequences

When you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, then-senator Barack Obama told a standing-room-only crowd in 2006 at Xavier University's commencement, whether they are close friends or distant strangers—it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help. Empathy has become, in many precincts of 21st-century America, both the preferred tool for moral reasoning and a paramount value in its own right. But in this well-reasoned tract, Paul Bloom punctures empathy's seeming invulnerability by outlining its serious flaws, arguing instead for the use of compassionate but rational judgment in reaching ethical decisions.

Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale, begins by defining empathy, with most contemporary psychologists and philosophers, as the act of feeling what you believe other people feel—experiencing what they experience. He also explores the nature of empathy, including its roots in the human brain—specifically, the cingulate cortex and anterior insula. Because empathic reactions to the experiences of others trigger the same gray matter as if you yourself underwent that experience, claiming  'I feel your pain' isn't just a gooey metaphor: it can be made neurologically literal.

Senate Democrats' Incoherence on Gorsuch and Executive Power

The Democratic Party continues to prove itself utterly irrelevant to anything as they go after Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination by attacking him in a way where they want it both ways

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Not 'Losing' Coverage if You Choose Not to Have It

The central myth pushed by HillaryCare and Obamacare is that "40 million didn't have health insurance." The fact is they CHOSE not to get it - because they didn't need it.

Study: Obama-Era Guidance Undermined Its Own Aims

"An Obama administration guidance, sidestepping law to serve an albeit well-meaning social agenda, may have deepened the very injustice it was meant to correct. Haven't I heard this before?"

The False Claim About 24 Million 'Losing' Insurance

The Democrats as usual use a fraudulent and dishonest argument

In the hour it was reported with smothering ubiquity that the GOP's Obamacare replacement would cause 24 million individuals to lose insurance, the debate about government health care policy was given a bucket of buffalo wings, a wet nap, and a day off. It was about to get sloppy and awfully lazy.
24 million people losing insurance is roughly equivalent to the population of 15 particular states, Rachel Maddow tweeted, not one of them with more than five electoral votes, but, when listed vertically, appeared ominous. Almost 50,000 users have hit the retweet button.

That's 50,000 users who have participated in the week's biggest question-begging exercise. Nowhere in the Congressional Budget Office's projections about the American Health Care Act did the agency say the bill would cause 24 million to lose coverage—cancel it or take it from them. The report, rather, estimated that the total number of individuals insured under the Republican plan would eventually be 24 million fewer than the total insured under Obamacare. Why is that?

Enough With Phony Islamophobia

"Americans are constantly warned by mainstream media that our prejudices and intolerance 'radicalize' Muslims.

It's the phony recruitment argument Barack Obama used to oppose US victory in Iraq and "Islamophobia" continues to impress reality by its nonexistence - especially as Muslims themselves fabricate stories of Islamophobic violence.
"Hate crime hoaxes empower Islamic extremists."

UPDATE: January 21, 2018: Toronto witnesses the latest social hoax - the hijab hoax.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The CBO And Obamacare

A lot of people don't trust the CBO - and it's because it is so often wrong. Some examples are presented where it gets it wrong.

Of course being flawed doesn't mean its data isn't worthwhile - as its recent estimate on Republicans' repeal effort shows it will among other things repeal penalties on employers as well as on individuals.

Also worth reading is this optimistic epistle on Obamacare's repeal.
UPDATE, August 17: The CBO's math used for Obamacare turns out to be fraudulent.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Hypocrisy And Thoughtlessness In Racing Analysis

The word that New Hampshire International Speedway has been sacrificed for a second Las Vegas Motor Speedway Winston Cup date and that Charlotte will run the road course for its National 500 in 2018 has brought out not just foolish media analysis but worse, it has exposed the hypocrisy involved in the whole issue of what kind of speedways ought to have Winston Cup dates.

Twenty years ago New Hampshire debuted its second Winston Cup date with some spirited racing

The first issue to dispel - New Hampshire is a far better racing and sports market than Las Vegas - and worth adding in is Kentucky Speedway, also a superior sports market than Vegas, is itself being jerked around with the seizing of its stand-alone Xfinity Series race for Vegas.   The claim made is they can get more money at Vegas than at New Hampshire (or Kentucky) but that's never been true, and the same issue shows itself with Los Angeles, like Vegas a transient market with no substantive support for sports.    There simply is nothing in Las Vegas that warrants getting a second Winston Cup date and nothing has happened at New Hampshire that justifies taking away a date.

Quite a few fans hooted that New Hampshire deserved to lose one of its dates because "it's the most boring track." Certainly competitively it hasn't lived up to the bigger ovals, but the criticism draws out the fraudulence involved in the issue of racetracks and who "deserves" a date.

One of the subliterate mantras from fans is "we need more short tracks."   New Hampshire is a short track - but bigger and wider.   To this some counter with the foolish claim "no, New Hampshire is an intermediate track," except by no stretch can that claim hold water.    The Loudon track has the qualities of a short track but is much wider and is bigger, with substantially more room to race than most short tracks.   A fan criticism that Loudon "stole" its second date from North Wilkesboro ignores that Wilkesboro was woefully weaker a track than the Loudon oval - the reality is while the specifics of getting the date should have played out better, North Wilkesboro could not compete with New Hampshire.

The hypocrisy of course long predated the condemnation of New Hampshire.   When Bristol's corners were altered to open up a raceable high groove, the result was a striking improvement in passing and a noticeable reduction in cautions.

Bristol got back the competitive moxie it had had in the 1989-91 period - and yet a lot of fans criticized Bristol because now it was about passing and actual racing instead of constant crashing.   "There's no beating and banging at Bristol" became the new mantra, and it is silly.   By any sober measure Bristol became a better racetrack than it had been.

The hypocrisy then extends to advocacy for more road courses.   Fans say they want better racing, but the reality is they're advocating for facilities that are not better racing.   By now it is well know road courses are the least competitive venues in racing.  The claim having eight to ten corners as a typical road course has opens more opportunities for passing is laughable because the opposite is the truth - the extra corners and switchbacks do nothing but stifle passing.

Road courses don't offer anything safer than superspeedways, either.

So fans say "we need more short tracks" and "we need more road courses" ostensibly for better racing - except one of the tracks they condemn (New Hampshire) is itself a short track type, and it isn't better racing on either venue.   Short tracks certainly are excellent for local racing and smaller touring series but it's the superspeedways - of which the "cookie cutters" are part - that are the most competitive venues in motorsports.

The heart of the issue is fans are being disingenuous through and through.   The real reason for advocacy of more short tracks and more road courses is a fundamentally negative and self-defeating one - fans are beyond frustrated at the lack of passing on the bigger ovals.   If fans would be more honest and acknowledge this frustration then the substantive discussion can begin.   People have been hypocrites for attacking "cookie cutter" tracks and demanding more short tracks and road courses even though the "cookie cutters" by any measure are superior racing venues with higher incidence of passing than short tracks and especially road courses.   This is why the racetrack boom of 1997-2001 so emphasized intermediate ovals instead of short tracks or road courses.

So what fans should do is ask the real question - why is it so damned hard to get more passing on the bigger ovals?   Having more short tracks is not the answer and having more road courses is not the answer - addressing the balance of downforce, tire, horsepower, and drafting strength of the racecars - something the Trucks finally have gotten a handle on the last six-plus years on the bigger ovals, as Indycars finally found in the latter 1990s to where they've had a striking number of excellent battles on intermediates as well as the bigger ovals from 1998 onward - ultimately that is the answer.   Addressing the related issue of incentive to go for the lead has been done with NASCAR's new "segment" bonus points structure.

Sports analysis - heck, analysis of any major issue - always is in need of substance.   For racing it is doubly needed to truly solve the problems the sport faces.

The Infrastructure Myth

Contrary to widespread political myth, US infrastructure is in very good shape and not in need of significant repair or "investment."

NASCAR's Ministry Of Silly Ideas

In its history NASCAR has never lacked silly ideas and in a 2017 season where it is trying to rebuild eroded popularity - and got off to a good start at such with a boffo Daytona Speedweeks - silly ideas are coming again to NASCAR's fore.

The first is word that Speedway Motorsports Inc. will transfer one of its races - widely reported to be the New Hampshire 300 in Loudon, NH - to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a "Chase" period race.   The notion that NASCAR cannot add a 37th race to its Cup schedule if of course always trotted out even though it's not plausible, and the notion that any of SMI's dates is somehow worth switching to Vegas is more preposterous, considering that New Hampshire is a proven racing market and Vegas has yet to prove itself even a worthwhile sports market.   

The shame of it is Vegas is a good speedway and racetracks are supposed to be working together - speedway fratricide has never solved anything.  

The next silly idea is that Charlotte will run its October National 500 in 2018 on the track's infield road course.   I hear over and over "90 percent of fans want another road course in NASCAR," yet nowhere does anyone try to explain why.   The reason is fans are so frustrated over lack of passing on ovals that they think they're getting back at NASCAR by lobbying for road courses.   It's not a constructive reason, it's a self-defeating one.

The blunt reality is road racing is the least competitive form of racing in all of motorsports.   NASCAR has a long history of road races with the Winston Cup Grand National series competing at Riverside, CA, Watkins Glen, NY, and Sears Point, CA.    In 48 career races at Riverside NASCAR's Grand National cars averaged a paltry ten to eleven lead changes a race (506 total) - only five times in Riverside's history did it exceed fifteen lead changes in a race.   In 34 career Watkins Glen races entering 2017 the track has averaged only nine lead changes a race (312 total), while Sears Point in 28 races entering 2017 has averaged a paltry eight lead changes per race (240 total).  

Road races in NASCAR - and other classes - have produced some of racing's most vicious crashes, perhaps the highest violence of crashes with the lowest incidence of passing in motorsports. 

The other argument I hear is "NASCAR needs more diversity in racetracks."  No, it doesn't - it needs more lead changes.   Road courses are incapable of producing competitive racing by their very nature - short to medium straights (Watkins Glen's lengthy straights make it something of an outlier), constant switchbacks and tight corners, general narrowness, lack of room to generate any consistent momentum to pass.    Driving a racecar is not racing a racecar let alone racing other racecars.  

Defenders of road courses will cite exciting finishes at some events, except they are so rare that when they do occur they become more memorable than they really warrant.   Not that the 2011-12 Watkins Glen victories by Marcus Ambrose weren't dramatic, but they were both set up by a mistake by Kyle Busch......

.....the second time a backmarker's blown engine and subsequent a cheapshot by Brad Keselowski set off that finish; it was far less any intrinsic competitive value in road racing and certainly nothing unusual for most ovals.  

The blunt truth is there is no valid competitive reason to add another road race to NASCAR, and fans and media really should analyze the sport a lot better than just repeating some subliterate mantra because they're frustrated over lack of passing on ovals.

NASCAR should tell Charlotte to say no to the road race, be it 2018 or whenever.  

Monday, March 06, 2017

Liberal Evil At Middlebury

At Middlebury College Leftists tried to shut off Charles Murray for the crime of showing up liberalism to be a fraud. It is of course how leftism works - it can't win the debate on facts so it resorts to violence.

A follow-up is presented here while the larger scandal of mob censorship on campus is examined here.

Trump Derangement Syndrome Gets Hacked

The Mainstream Media didn't notice, but the myth that Soviet hacking cost the Democrats the 2016 election has just been forever disproven.

Yale And Title IX

A lawsuit against Yale showcases the college sanctioning abuse of power in the name of the phony law called Title IX.

The Atlanta Falcons 500

NASCAR's annual foray to Atlanta wound up resembling the Atlanta Falcons' 2016 playoff run - Kevin Harvick monopolized the first two rounds and monopolized the championship round before the entire enterprise disintegrated.   And when the final few laps arrived it was Brad Keselowski grabbing the win and Harvick left to stew with only a ninth place finish after leading a whopping 292 laps.    The race left some tidbits to munch on heading to Vegas -

Repave Atlanta - Before the weekend Marcus Smith of SMI said the track will be repaved for 2018, but drivers said and wrote on social media insisting the track should stay as it is because drivers like the feel of the track and like tire falloff.    This 2017 running by any sober reading ended any justification for putting off repaving any longer.   Tire wear was more of an issue than usual with several failures due to excessive wear, and passing was more limited than usual - almost a rumor, due not just to the unraceability of the asphalt but also to NASCAR's latest downforce reduction.  

In its history as a quad-oval Atlanta's most competitive races - such as the two on display above - came when the asphalt was still fresh and teams didn't have to use ten sets of tires to run 500 miles.    

The Aaron Rodgers Mister Irrelevant Award -  Kevin Harvick has made something of a habit in recent seasons of leading a lot and not cashing in the win.   In his last 110 starts spanning 2014 onward he has led the most laps a stunning twenty times without a win to show for it.    So far in 2017 he's reached one such Mister Irrelevant race to go with 342 total laps led.     "I didn't follow what I preach," he said afterward about botching his last stop.

Upshots come in stages - Yet for Harvick leading all these laps is doing him a world of good - his average finish is 15th compared to 4th for Kurt Busch - yet Harvick leads the points race thanks to winning NASCAR's new stages, with the bonus points awarded therein.    This validates the basic premise of the stages - incentivizing going for the lead.   

The only nit to pick there is NASCAR no longer awards bonus points for leading or most laps led - keeping that would further incentivize going for the lead.

It's a Stewart-Haas Racing World -  And right now we in NASCAR are just dwelling in it.   Harvick and Busch are 1-2 in points and SHR is easily the deepest team in the garage area - to where even the inept Danica Patrick hasn't been the total embarrassment she's been in the past.   No one else can come close despite Penske Racing's Atlanta win by Brad Keselowski to go with his third in points and Joey Logano's fifth, and respectable depth being shown by Ganassi's team, now building its own chassis and showing noticeably more muscle.  

The harder they fall - Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing so far look like walking wounded - Chase Elliott is fourth in points and Kasey Kahne is eighth, while Hendrick's Name drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are 32nd and 33rd in points with the Daytona crash so far serving as the nadir; Atlanta didn't exactly spark any kind of rally.   JGR isn't in any better shape as Kyle Busch's Daytona stage win and Matt Kenseth's surprising third at Atlanta have highlighted an otherwise terrible start to the season; and so far the less said about Daniel Suarez's efforts the better. 

Is this the beginning of a Roush Renaissance?  -   At Atlanta the Roush-Fenway Fords were not the minor embarrassment they've been for the last four seasons as Ricky Stenhouse actually showed some respectable form while Trevor Bayne finished tenth.   Sustaining competitive form has been a problem with this gang the last four seasons, so promise still needs to be replicated before we can see the Roush guys as a legitimate force again.  

If it looked too good to be true...... - .....then it must be RCR.   A promising Speedweeks and a promising Atlanta Sunday netted very little, and I was surprised by some of the vehemence against Austin Dillon on some forums following this Atlanta 500.   Even with that Dillon's career has been nothing to feel encouraged about and there hasn't been reason to believe there's any potential there.   Ryan Newman likewise provided a big tease in the Atlanta 500 but in the end posted another mediocre result.  As for Paul Menard, he is what he is - lower-level talent.  

So it goes, with Vegas now on the docket; it should be a better test of NASCAR's new segments format et al as the wildcard of having to change tires every 40 laps shouldn't play out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Myth Of Dodd-Frank Defended

Democratic demagogues like Liz Warren want to defend the Dodd-Frank law that meddles in banking and has caused small banks to disappear, and recent testimony from Fed Chairman Janet Yellen tries to strengthen their case - a case based on inaccuracies.

EPA Driven By Bad Science - Again

The EPA often makes policy based on "sue and settle" harassment of companies by non-governmental organizations, and such NGOs (not to mention the EPA itself) go on inaccurate science, such as with EPA restrictions on pesticides.