Patterico's Pontifications


Open Thread: NCAA Basketball

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:32 pm

[gust post by JVW]

Pertinent questions:

Can Notre Dame beat Kentucky (can anyone)?
Is Tom Izzo the best tournament coach of his time?
Will Gonzaga’s size give Duke fits?
What are the chances that Rick Pitino wears his white first communion suit tomorrow?
Isn’t Wisconsin a fun team to root for?



Paul Krugman’s Babysitting Co-op, Debunked

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:25 am

Krugman brings up this babysitting co-op example all the time and referred to it again on March 25:

And by the way: if you want a simple, homely example of how demand shocks can happen and cause unemployment, there is the baby-sitting coop.

The link goes to a famous, and ridiculously flawed, Krugman article in Slate from 1998. Since Krugman constantly brings up this babysitting co-op example, I think it’s about time a modern, conservative/libertarian blog not narrowly specializing in economic theory took on this canard. I am at your service!

I’ll let Krugman describe the problem at length, and then I will reveal what he didn’t tell you. Finally, I will ask you if you can figure out the solution — which seems to me to be perfectly obvious.

Here’s 1998 Krugman:

Twenty years ago I read a story that changed my life. I think about that story often; it helps me to stay calm in the face of crisis, to remain hopeful in times of depression, and to resist the pull of fatalism and pessimism. At this gloomy moment, when Asia’s woes seem to threaten the world economy as a whole, the lessons of that inspirational tale are more important than ever.

The story is told in an article titled “Monetary Theory and the Great Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op Crisis.” Joan and Richard Sweeney published it in the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking in 1978. I’ve used their story in two of my books, Peddling Prosperity and The Accidental Theorist, but it bears retelling, this time with an Asian twist.

The Sweeneys tell the story of—you guessed it—a baby-sitting co-op, one to which they belonged in the early 1970s. Such co-ops are quite common: A group of people (in this case about 150 young couples with congressional connections) agrees to baby-sit for one another, obviating the need for cash payments to adolescents. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement: A couple that already has children around may find that watching another couple’s kids for an evening is not that much of an additional burden, certainly compared with the benefit of receiving the same service some other evening. But there must be a system for making sure each couple does its fair share.

The Capitol Hill co-op adopted one fairly natural solution. It issued scrip—pieces of paper equivalent to one hour of baby-sitting time. Baby sitters would receive the appropriate number of coupons directly from the baby sittees. This made the system self-enforcing: Over time, each couple would automatically do as much baby-sitting as it received in return. As long as the people were reliable—and these young professionals certainly were—what could go wrong?

Well, it turned out that there was a small technical problem. Think about the coupon holdings of a typical couple. During periods when it had few occasions to go out, a couple would probably try to build up a reserve—then run that reserve down when the occasions arose. There would be an averaging out of these demands. One couple would be going out when another was staying at home. But since many couples would be holding reserves of coupons at any given time, the co-op needed to have a fairly large amount of scrip in circulation.

Now what happened in the Sweeneys’ co-op was that, for complicated reasons involving the collection and use of dues (paid in scrip), the number of coupons in circulation became quite low. As a result, most couples were anxious to add to their reserves by baby-sitting, reluctant to run them down by going out. But one couple’s decision to go out was another’s chance to baby-sit; so it became difficult to earn coupons. Knowing this, couples became even more reluctant to use their reserves except on special occasions, reducing baby-sitting opportunities still further.

In short, the co-op had fallen into a recession.

Since most of the co-op’s members were lawyers, it was difficult to convince them the problem was monetary. They tried to legislate recovery—passing a rule requiring each couple to go out at least twice a month. But eventually the economists prevailed. More coupons were issued, couples became more willing to go out, opportunities to baby-sit multiplied, and everyone was happy. Eventually, of course, the co-op issued too much scrip, leading to different problems …

If you think this is a silly story, a waste of your time, shame on you. What the Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op experienced was a real recession. Its story tells you more about what economic slumps are and why they happen than you will get from reading 500 pages of William Greider and a year’s worth of Wall Street Journal editorials. And if you are willing to really wrap your mind around the co-op’s story, to play with it and draw out its implications, it will change the way you think about the world.

Oh, Good Lord. Krugman’s solution: print more money and everything is fine!!!!!

Except, not so much. That last sentence of Krugman’s penultimate paragraph (the ellipsis is in the original) should cause you to raise an eyebrow. So printing more scrip worked, but then there was too much . . . leading to “different problems” . . .

. . . which we won’t discuss, but will simply allude to with an ellipsis . . . and then we’ll move on to elaborate about how great printing money is. Woo-hoo! Printing money!

If you’re thinking: “maybe someone should Google the original article to find out what these mysterious ‘problems’ were that were caused by too much scrip” . . . then I’m one step ahead of you. Here is the article (.pdf), and here is what happened:

Whatever the cause, the golden age lasted only a couple of years. (Golden ages are like that.) Maybe morals deteriorated-or perhaps the scrip was again out of whack. Now the problem was that more people wanted to go out than to sit.

In fact, the ten-scrip reform has moved the co-op from a position where there was too little scrip and the amount was shrinking, to a position where there was just about the right amount of scrip but the amount was growing. After a while, it naturally followed there was too much scrip and more people wanted to go out than to sit.

What a shock.

So: it turns out that Krugman’s little money-printing solution was not the ideal solution after all. It ended up leading to inflation and excessive demand (for babysitting services). Who could have guessed?!

Krugman’s description of the co-op’s initial reaction is hilarious, and says so much about how government responds to economic problems.

Let’s remind ourselves what the problem was; too much supply (of babysitting services) and not enough demand. And look at what the co-op did to try to address this problem: “They tried to legislate recovery—passing a rule requiring each couple to go out at least twice a month.”

In other words, faced with low demand . . . they tried to pass a rule ordering demand to increase! You vill go out and consume der babysitting services!

I’m wiping tears from my eyes at how much this reminds me of government.

After listening to an episode of the Tom Woods podcast that briefly alluded to this, I spent a little time Googling some discussion, and (especially because this seems like a very simple problem to solve) I was very amused at some of the bizarre reactions. Here’s an Austrian economist who says we’re not talking about money at all, but barter. (Brian Doherty at seems to agree.) And this fellow thinks the problem was “consumer confidence” — and that the members of the co-op simply needed to be rational, put their heads together, and agree to stop hoarding scrip! And here’s a guy (at Forbes, no less! Forbes!) who says: Krugman is exactly right — and that Krugman’s amazing observational skills prove that Bitcoin is doomed. Doomed!

Oh. My. God. Is this really that difficult, folks? Really?

Again: let me remind you what the problem was: too much supply and not enough demand.

Can you imagine a possible solution to this incredibly difficult conundrum?

Please leave your suggestion below in the comments before reading the extended entry — which you can read from the main page by clicking “more.”



Hillary Clinton: Scandal Plagued

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:11 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Poor Hillary! Girlfriend just wants to announce her presidential campaign, but between the pesky issues of all things Benghazi, an email scandal that won’t go away, a Nigerian donor, an Iranian government front group , a cronyism scandal involving her brother and others and a sharply declining favorability rating, she has felt compelled to delay the announcement.

Now this:

Hillary Clinton wiped “clean” the private server housing emails from her tenure as secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

“While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement.

Clinton was under a subpoena order from the panel for all documents related to the 2012 attacks on the American compound there. But David Kendall, an attorney for Clinton, said the 900 pages of emails previously provided to the panel cover its request.

Kendall also informed the committee that Clinton’s emails from her time at the State Department have been permanently erased.

Gowdy said that Clinton’s response to the subpoena means he and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will now contemplate new legal actions against Clinton.


Jay Cost: Two Reasons Not To Leave The GOP (With Added Graphic Of Current GOP Field)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

In the past few years, an increasing number of commenters here at Patterico’s have expressed their disenchantment and frustration with the Republican party. Some have already reached their tipping point and made the decision to leave the party. After all, how long does one keep waiting…and waiting… and waiting to see promises be kept and conservative principles represented?

With that, last week Glenn Beck announced he was leaving the Republican party to become an Independent. Beck’s reasoning was not surprising:

They surrendered on the abortion bill, surrendered on executive orders on illegal immigration, common core. They helped push through $3.5 trillion in deficits this last year. They won’t fight Obamacare. They voted to confirm Katz Unstein (ph). They thwarted the bill on the NSA data collection. They’re still not doing anything on Benghazi. They haven’t done anything on the targeting of conservatives with the IRS. They haven’t done anything on the VA. They also threw an election against Chris McDaniels to Thad Cochran. They actually went to the Democrats and played the race card. I mean, I can get that from Hillary Clinton’s people….

We had to have the house. Then we had to the House. Then we had to have the House and the Senate. Now we have to have the White House. And then when they get the White House, the House, and the Senate then it becomes the Bush administration where it’s just as bad on deficits and everything else. They don’t have any intention of doing anything.

He also noted the establishment GOP’s disrespectful treatment of Tea Partiers like Sens. Mike Lee and Sen Ted Cruz.

His final word on the matter was one of futility:

“Four years ago I was with them. Four years ago I said ‘work from the inside: Let’s change it. Let’s get new guys in there.’ I think it’s too late.”

Days later, Jay Cost offered two reasons why Beck should reconsider his decision: the lack of a viable third party and the belief that party reform can happen.

[T]he Republican party is not going to let conservatives go anywhere else. There has never been a viable third party in the country, at least not one that has persisted over the long run. This has to do with the nature of our elections. Political theorist Maurice Duverger demonstrated fifty years ago that winner-take-all contests centered around discrete geographical areas typically produce a two-party system. There are exceptions, but they’re rare.

Moreover, third parties that do thrive temporarily are co-opted by one of the two major parties — usually to the detriment of the ideological movement that spawned the third party in the first place.

As if all that isn’t enough, even the seemingly easy task of forming a third party is a challenge. The two parties can be thought of as opponents in most respects, but they can also be understood to operate a cartel that restricts entry by competitors. A third party will thus have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get itself listed on the ballot, and even more to be included in presidential debates. None of this is coincidental. The two parties want us to have a choice … between the two parties!

Regarding a GOP reformation, Cost remains optimistic about the future in light of positive changes that have already taken place:

[T]he Republican party can be reformed. It may be very hard to do so, but the GOP is not a political machine. It is not a closed system, impervious to change. It’s open, and grassroots reformers have recourse — in the form of party primaries. They may be seriously out-financed in those contests. Still, it is one thing to be an underdog, and another to have no hope of change at all. And there is hope.

In fact, I’d argue that there has been an extraordinary amount of change within the GOP over the last generation. Reformers have made some real gains.


…The group of solid conservatives, meanwhile, has grown. The Senate already had many such members, like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Tim Scott. But now they are set to be joined by Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, and Joni Ernst. My back of the envelope calculations suggest that the number of solid conservative senators has risen from about a dozen in 1995 to 20 or so today.

Cost also notes changes in the House as well, observing that the “insurgent” class of House reformers is now large enough to make real noise.”

And yet, he makes an important distinction: while conservative reformers have won elections, there have been little to no actual breakthroughs. He believes this is by design:

That is one of Madison’s big points in Federalist #10 and #51; he wants our system to be responsive to changes in public mood, but — fearful of fractious majorities — he also promotes a system of checks and balances to slow change down. Moreover, the powers that be in the Republican party have been doing things a certain way for a century and a half. They are not going to give up just because conservatives have won a handful of elections.

Regardless, Cost believes conservative reformers should remain in the party, be inspired by recent conservative wins and continue to push the big rock uphill toward reform.


NOTE: I’m adding Nate Silver’s “graphic conception of the GOP field” as I think it’s helpful to have a visual of the various divisions and overlaps of the current GOP field. Thanks to Kevin M. for the link.


Does Ted Cruz’s Legislative Record Show Him to Be Confrontational?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Noah Rothman at Hot Air:

Cruz’s approach to legislating since he took a seat in the Senate 26 months ago has been confrontational, self-aggrandizing, and alienating to adversaries and allies alike.

Is that borne out by objective fact, or simply an impression fostered by Big Media and repeated by Rothman? The Hill cites an objective study of Cruz’s legislative record and shows that, applying a measure of bills introduced and votes cast, Cruz is hardly the loner that Big Media and Rothman claim:

Let’s look at bills passed by this Republican Senator in a Democrat-controlled Senate, comparing his record to other Senators:

Cruz has sponsored only one bill that was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama.

In April 2014, Cruz introduced legislation to prevent representatives to the United Nations who are believed to be spies or terrorists from entering the country. It was approved unanimously by the House and Senate and signed into law only weeks after having been introduced.

The legislation was provoked by Iran’s pick of Hamid Aboutalebi to act as ambassador to the U.S. In the late 1970s, Aboutalebi was a member of a group that seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held dozens of Americans hostage for more than a year.

. . . .

While it’s just one bill, Cruz is no outlier here. Only four Republican Senators in the 113th Congress had more than one bill signed into law, and another 16, like Cruz, had just a singular bill signed into law.

The piece also says that Cruz “has a history of breaking with GOP leadership on votes, although it’s not as extreme as one might suppose.”

In 684 votes spanning his entire time in the Senate, Cruz has bucked party leadership 73 times. His 82.8 percent rate of voting with the party in the 113th Congress ranks him 29th out of 45 Republicans.

Similarly: “The 65 amendments Cruz put forth in the 113th Congress ranks him 12th in his party and 13th overall.”

As a constitutionalist, I would measure Cruz’s success as a legislator more by what he can repeal than by what he can pass. And of course, with Barack Obama in the White House, he can’t pass a law to repeal much of anything. But he can lead an effort to try to repeal the worst legislation passed during Obama’s tenure. And he has — an effort that gave Republicans a black eye that led to their huge losses in 2014. (Eye roll.)

And it is this area and this area alone, as far as I can tell, where Cruz is seen as such a troublesome meddler. He has had friction with party leadership over his desire to repeal ObamaCare. He has risked his political reputation over his desire to repeal ObamaCare.

Or, you may think, he has taken these steps to stake out a position as the main opponent of ObamaCare. In other words, he isn’t being principled but rather opportunistic.

Let’s pretend that view is right. So what?

I don’t really care what Cruz’s internal motivations are, although he does a damned good job articulating them as flowing from a principled constitutionalist view. I just want him to act like a principled constitutionalist. It would be nice if that flowed from actual principle, as I suspect it does. But as long as he keeps acting that way, I don’t much care why he does it.

As for Rothman’s citation of “insiders” who say Cruz can’t win: I’m perfectly happy to listen to people’s electoral predictions. Please show me proof that they predicted Obama would win when he first announced, and I’ll listen to them even more closely. If you can’t show me that proof, then their predictions are just guesses, like anyone else’s.


Flashback: CNN, 2013: Ted Cruz Sure Is a Hypocrite for Not Going on ObamaCare!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

Yup. That was seriously their stance back then.

CNN, 10-24-13: Ted Cruz sure is a hypocrite for getting his health insurance through his wife instead of the ObamaCare exchange.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted fellow members of Congress and legislative staffers for accepting federal health insurance support, has revealed that his coverage is provided through his wife, a Goldman Sachs executive.

Cruz’s office told CNN Thursday that Cruz is covered by his wife’s policy. Heidi Nelson Cruz’s policy is worth at least $20,000 a year, according to the story as originally reported by the New York Times.

Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the senator, told CNN that “the senator is on his wife’s plan, which comes at no cost to the taxpayer and reflects a personal decision about what works best for their family.” Frazier had previously given the same statement to the Times.

Cruz was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans during the recent government shutdown debate for his calls to strip federal health care support from members of Congress and both legislative and executive branch staffers. Cruz’s critics argue that the support is no different from what other large employers provide for their workers.

Their anger has been magnified by suspicions that the senator does not have to rely on his employer – the U.S. Senate – to get coverage.

Cruz and other Republicans argue that ending the subsidy is only a matter of fairness, and that public officials should be required to get coverage through the Obamacare exchanges with no financial assistance.

CNN, 3-24-15: Ted Cruz sure is a hypocrite for getting his health insurance through the ObamaCare exchange instead of through his wife.

Ted Cruz is going on Obamacare.

The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act — a law he has been on a crusade to kill.

“We’ll be getting new health insurance and we’ll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we’ll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange,” Cruz said.

. . . .

Under the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress and some designated congressional staffers are required to obtain health care coverage through the D.C. Health Link Small Business Market. The Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines state that lawmakers and their staff receive a “government contribution” if they get health care coverage through the ACA.

But some lawmakers have declined to accept the contribution, saying they do not want to get special treatment. After the interview, a Cruz spokesperson clarified that he wouldn’t take the contribution.

Cruz’s admission comes one day after CNN first reported that the senator would no longer have access to health benefits through his wife’s employer, Goldman Sachs. Heidi Cruz, a managing director at the firm’s Houston office, has gone on unpaid leave for the duration of the senator’s presidential campaign and will not have access to the company’s benefits during that time.

See what’s going on? When he was getting insurance through his wife, he wanted to end special payments for Congressmen that the rest of the country wasn’t allowed to get. CNN said: HYPOCRITE!!!! You wouldn’t be saying that if you didn’t get insurance through your wife!!!

Now, he can no longer get insurance through his wife, so he will start getting it through his job. He could have done that before ObamaCare and he can still do it now. But, because he opposed the special payments, he declined to take them — the honorable and principled stand. And CNN said: HYPOCRITE!!!! Why don’t you get insurance on your own, like through your wife’s COBRA or something!!!

They will find a way to cackle and fling monkey poo no matter what he does.

(H/t Bridget F.)

Some Bergdahl Flashbacks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:54 pm

I have been collecting some Bergdahl flashbacks and sharing them on Twitter, and I thought I might share a few of them with you here.

Dana already noted the first two of these:

  • A White House official said that soldiers accusing Bergdahl of desertion were “swift-boating” him.

  • A White House official said that the platoon members accusing Bergdahl of desertion might be “psychopaths.”
  • Eric Boehlert said Fox News smeared Bergdahl:

  • A lefty cartoonist portrayed Fox News as executing Bergdahl:

    Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 8.45.03 PM

  • Justin Baragona at PoliticusUSA assured his readers in June 2014 that Bergdahl-as-deserter was a “made-up scandal.”
  • Heather Digby Parton denounced “hysterical screeching over Bowe Bergdahl the traitor” in June 2014.

Also, for some reason I found this interesting. In a June 2014 article, the L.A. Times chose one Eugene Fidell to consult as an independent expert for a quote about Bergdahl:

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 8.27.28 PM

Yeah, so guess who Bergdahl’s lawyer is today? Eugene Fidell. Man, the L.A. Times sure can pick ’em.

A Round-Up Of Tangible Commitments And A Pinky-Swear Agreement With Iran

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

With the March 31 deadline looming for an agreement with Iran and with a comprehensive finalized version due June 30, the US is making concessions in order to reach an agreement.

Facing demands by President Rouhani to lift all sanctions in order to reach a “final solution” as opposed to the gradual lifting of sanctions the West prefers, the Obama administration appears willing to make whatever concessions necessary to close the deal:

The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.

U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran.

Concern from sources familiar with U.S. concessions in the talks comes amid reports that Iran could be permitted to continue running nuclear centrifuges at an underground site once suspected of housing illicit activities.

This type of concession would allow Iran to continue work related to its nuclear weapons program, even under the eye of international inspectors. If Iran removes inspectors—as it has in the past—it would be left with a nuclear infrastructure immune from a strike by Western forces.

The risk of such a concession:

“Once again, in the face of Iran’s intransigence, the U.S. is leading an effort to cave even more toward Iran—this time by whitewashing Tehran’s decades of lying about nuclear weapons work and current lack of cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” said one Western source briefed on the talks but who was not permitted to speak on record.

With the White House pressing to finalize a deal, U.S. diplomats have moved further away from their demands that Iran be subjected to oversight over its nuclear infrastructure.

“Instead of ensuring that Iran answers all the outstanding questions about the past and current military dimensions of their nuclear work in order to obtain sanctions relief, the U.S. is now revising down what they need to do,” said the source. “That is a terrible mistake—if we don’t have a baseline to judge their past work, we can’t tell if they are cheating in the future, and if they won’t answer now, before getting rewarded, why would they come clean in the future?”

Further, as if ensuring Iran’s “nuclear privacy” wasn’t enough, Josh Earnest refused to confirm that there will be a written agreement signed by the Iranians. Three times White House news correspondent Jon Karl pressed Earnest for confirmation of a written deal, and three times Earnest offered non-answers:

Well, Jon, when the President was asked to talk about our ongoing efforts to reach a diplomatic political agreement with the Iranians before the end of March, the President made reference to the fact that we would see and that we, meaning the American people and Congress, would be able to take a close look at the terms of that agreement.

Now, the terms of that agreement are going to be — it’s a political agreement, right, so they’re making certain commitments to do certain things. The details of those commitments are extraordinarily important and there will be a process for hammering out those details. But the President was clear that the kinds of commitments that we seek from the Iranians are the kinds of things that we would be able to show to members of Congress and show publicly to share with our allies, including Israel, about what kind of commitments Iran has made.

So I don’t want to prejudge the process here at all, or to prejudge sort of the outcome of the talks because there’s the chance that a deal is not reached. But we certainly would want and expect that if a deal is completed, it will include tangible, specific commitments that have been made by the Iranians.

Pressing Earnest again:

Well, again, Jon, we’re going to seek very tangible commitments from the Iranians, and the President made a commitment to sharing those tangible commitments with members of Congress and with our allies.

When asked to clarify “tangible commitments”:

“And what I’m saying is that you can — that as we move through this process of negotiating with the Iranians and our P5+1 partners, we hope to be able to elicit tangible commitments that the Iranians have made that we can then share with our P5+1 partners, with our allies, and with the United States Congress, all of whom have a legitimate claim to understand exactly what kind of commitments Iran has made in this process, if they make them.”

Rush pointed out the obvious:

If there is a nuclear deal with Iran, it may not be committed to paper. It may not be written down. And if it isn’t written down, obviously there’s no way anybody can verify what it actually says. And if it isn’t written down, any signature that is said to accompany it is meaningless.

If a deal is reached, “the United States and its five negotiating partners may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of describing the accord as they understand it while the Iranians go home to offer their own version.”

So, in other words, folks, the Iranians might tell their people that they’re still gonna continue to pursue nuclear weapons, but the Regime, the Obama Regime will probably explain that they’re only saying that for domestic consumption. It isn’t gonna be written down. The Iranians can go home and tell their people whatever they want.

[W]e’re gonna have two different characterizations of the deal, or we likely could. Nothing’s gonna be written down. So we’re gonna have to take somebody’s word for what it is. The Obama administration, do they really think they can make a gentleman’s agreement with these lunatics in Iran? Do they really think they can take the mullahs at their word? I think Obama does.

And although there is not yet a deal secured, the White House already has their strategy in place on how to sell one to Congress and the American people:

The White House is gearing up to unleash an unprecedented campaign to sell a nuclear deal with Iran, should President Obama secure it, in a bid to win over divided Americans, skeptical lawmakers and wary Middle Eastern allies.

The blueprint for defending the legacy-defining agreement was described to Yahoo News by current and former officials from the administration and Congress.

Obama and his top national security and foreign policy aides will defend the deal forcefully to the public and in private talks with wavering senators and representatives. They will emphasize the deal’s intrusive monitoring and verification of Iranian nuclear facilities, an approach national security adviser Susan Rice recently summarized in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as “distrust and verify.” They will defend the easing of crippling economic sanctions in return for steps Iran is taking to assure the world that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

We’re in good hands.


Ignorant Parents Encourage Children To Use Vietnam Memorial As A Jungle Gym – In Front Of Veterans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]


This is The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington D.C. As you can see, it is also doubling as a jungle gym for children.

[Matthew Munson] was taking photos when girls showed up, and says at first he didn’t think anything of it. He says he was waiting for them to move so he could take more pictures when their parents showed up and told the girls “to get on for pictures.” He says the kids were treating the memorial like a jungle gym.

“The parents were laughing while trying to get their kids to pose,” Munson wrote on Reddit. “There was a crowd of tourists forming around the parents just glaring at them. It was all pretty brutal to watch.”

Veterans watched the antics:

“They looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet. That’s when I noticed a big group around the parents glaring at them, the pressure was intense and the kids blissfully ignorant. That’s when I snapped the picture.”

Reaction to the children playing on the memorial was what you would expect – outrage over the disrespectful behavior being encouraged by parents. However, there are also those who see this as anything but disrespectful:

Some saw the carefree children as the very thing veterans fought to enable. One user told of how his grandfather, a World War II veteran, loved watching kids play on a local memorial that had names of lost friends — including his brother — on it.

“He saw it as a way for the next generation to take some joy out of something so terrible and at the same time gave them a link to the past,” the commenter wrote, noting that some kids would stop to read names or be prompted to read up on the history.

Another said his grandfather, also a World War II vet, let him play on local memorials in town, adding “I think they fought so kids can freely be kids.”

Parents encouraging their children to behave rudely and disrespectfully at a war memorial? If I had been there, I would not have been able to remain silent. Not for one second.


Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 am

First he locked the main pilot out of the cockpit — which pilots can do, thanks to 9/11 — and then deliberately crashed the plane.

The co-pilot’s name: Andreas Lubitz. Religion: unknown.

Hmmmmm. One gets the feeling that there will be a lot of interest in Mr. Lubitz’s life in the weeks and months leading up to this crash. For now, let’s call it what it was: mass murder.

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