Category Archives: Politics

Hate crime stats and what they say about NYC

Today there was a tweet about some hate crime stats in NYC:

There are several things that jumped out at me about these numbers:

  • Why are they comparing this year’s numbers to the attacked from 2015? It seems to me that the only reason they are doing that is because they can then show the much larger differences1.
  • The sample size of these numbers is very small. I don’t think you can make any points based on these numbers.
  • In what may be a surprise to some people anti- semitic crime is seeing the biggest increase. Again, these are small samples so your milage may vary.
  • These are only crimes the police classified as “hate crimes”2. How many more crimes were there when it was a question if it was a “hate crime” or not? I’d be interested in seeing those numbers as well.
  • Finally the total number of hate crimes in NYC is shockingly low considering the population of the city. This is a good thing and shows most people are tolerant of others. Of course the fact it is increasing is not good at all.

  1. I assume the they in this case is the NYPD, but no context was given in the tweet. 
  2. Yes the term is in quotes because almost all crimes of violence are hate crimes. No, I don’t like violence against anyone and I’d like to think I respect everyone’s beliefs. 

Holocaust and Immigrants

It is amazing how a few days change things. As I mentioned in a previous post I didn’t vote for our current president, but I didn’t think his election was illegitimate either. As with every president I hoped that he would do a good job running the country but was expecting to be let down. I didn’t think it would happen so fast.
Let’s take a look at a few things that have gone on this past week. Friday was International Holocaust Remembrance Dayand as a matter of course most governments issue a statement about the day mentioning how the Jewish people were singled out for genocide by the Nazi. However the current administration didn’t see fit to mention the Jews in the entire statement1. Here is the full text of the statement and some emphasis added by me:

“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

There were a lot of innocent who were murdered during the Holocaust, around 11,000,000. However, there was only one group that was above 50% and who were singled out as being a problem requiring a “final solution”.

The administration defended their statement by saying there were more than Jews killed during that time. This is a very stupid defense and is taken apart by John Podhoretz at Commentary Magazine his main takeaway is chilling:

It is, rather, the culmination of something—the culmination of decades of ill feeling that seems to center on the idea that the Jews have somehow made unfair “use” of the Holocaust and it should not “belong” to them. Someone in that nascent White House thought it was time to reflect that view through the omission of the specifically Jewish quality of the Holocaust.
Now the question is: Who was it?

Who was it is indeed the question.

Shabbos afternoon I mentioned to my daughter what a gift Shabbos was because we are off the grid and don’t have to deal with what craziness the President has done now. I didn’t know how true those words were. Once Shabbos was over and I got onto to Twitter I saw what the president had done via Executive Order2. This ban on immigrants who are holders of legal visas and green cards is wrong. It is exactly this kind of attitude that didn’t allow Jews into the country who were trying to escape the clutches of the Nazi government3. There is a lot of hyperbole and hysteria going on about it (this is a good article with facts and a right-of-center view and another article which destroys the EO.) but way the administration handled this from the beginning was ham-fisted and wrong. Just the fact they didn’t allow the DHS (I think that is who was supposed to review it) to review and suggest things is the worst kind of management possible. Moreover when the DOJ suggested changing things they were overruled by the Whitehouse. It’s a classic example of an over-reach.

The upshot is that this administration is poorly run and has no idea what it is doing. The opposition is screaming about everything the government does which makes the signal to noise ratio very high. If everything is horrible then nothing is horrible. We need to pick and choose the battles to fight (like this one) otherwise there will be no strength to fight the important battles.


  1. For comparison, here are the statements from President Bush and President Obama
  2. I am not a fan of the Executive Order. Our past two presidents made use of them and we now reap what we have sown. 
  3. Here is just one story. 

I’m going to give an unpopular opinion. I am no fan of Trump but a supposed news like site Buzzfeed shouldn’t be posting news by saying we have no idea if this is true or not, we’ll let you decide. Yes, the details are salacious and everyone is getting a good laugh but if “fake news” is a problem (and I think it is to a degree) then this shouldn’t be the standard of publishing. Moreover, this guy Cohen who was supposed to be in Prague, was never there. He was at USC with his son (this has been confirmed). I know that Trump is the devil and if he says the sky is blue it needs to be rebutted but let’s be fair about what we are doing here.

Just because he has gone and said things with no proof, that does not grant us permission to do so as well. Additionally publishing this stuff allows the ignoring of bigger issues with Trump as president.

Bye Bye John McLaughlin

I just saw the news on Twitter that John McLaughlin passed away. His show “The McLaughlin Group” was something that ESPN tried to copy with “The Sports Reporters” but were never fully successful.

His show was my first entry into politics and it got me to hear opposing points of view and make up my own mind.

Here is a sample of what the show was like; and yes there was a lot of cross talking that went on.

Here is a parody from SNL:

RIP

George Washington on Political Parties

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

How to fix the presidential debates

It doesn’t matter if you are a conservative or liberal, republican or democrat I think you would agree that the debates are broken and need to be fixed. The question is how to go about doing that?  The good folks at Intelligence Squared US have an idea, get back to what the debates are supposed to be about, the issues and seeing if the candidates know them.

This isn’t about the sound bites you hear the candidate make time and again. This is the candidates knowing about a specific issue and being able to talk about it in depth.

I’ve been a big fan of the debates they put on and as I have mentioned before they are always respectful and thought provoking, no matter what opinion you have. If you have not listened to them, I highly recommend you give at least one a listen.

To that end the people at Intelligence Squared have created a a petition to have at least one Oxford style debate this election cycle. With our help they can get some civility back into political discourse.

Why we need someone like John Adams – again

Happy Independence Day everyone (the original #Brexit you guys). If John Adams had his way we would be celebrating on the second of July instead of the fourth because the second was the day congress approved a resolution declaring independence from Britain.

With the popularity of the musical of Hamiltion I’ve started revisiting the biographies that I have of some of our founding fathers. Heck even my daughter has gotten into the act and is reading American Sphinx, Ellis’ book on Jefferson. Ever since I read Founding Brothers I have been interested in John Adams. Then I read David McCullough’s book and I became an Adams man for life.

Considering the two candidates we have for president this election cycle and how how things have going down hill with the office of the President we can really use someone like Adams again. Yes there were some problems, namely the the Alien and Sedition Acts, but the man did things strictly because he cared for the country. The main example of this is continuing to remain neutral in the face of Federalist demands for America to go to war against the French following the XYZ Affair.

We need someone who can disagree with a point of view but will argue the merits of their case and not start with the ad homonym attacks.  Additionally we need someone who will be able to stand up to their party and tell them “Even though you’re my party this different path is what need to do. It’s the best for America”.

It seems that the politicians these days care more about their party’s politics than about doing what is right for the party. It seems we have become more and more polarized with everything seeing things in terms of black and white with very little gray in between.

Let’s get back to having civil discourse but let’s always keep in mind to do what is right for the country regardless of political affiliation.

Has The President Has Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?

Has The President Has Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?

This is an excellent question and it will be debated on June 8th. The Intelligence Squared debate series is excellent. All debaters are allowed to speak and no one gets shut down. They actually debate ideas and not throw ad homonym attacks at each other. Imagine the concept!

As for the topic I think not only has this president usurped the power of congress but the past president has as well.