Steve Martin At The Hollywood Bowl

In our seats, waiting to hear him play banjo with a bluegrass band and Edie Brickell. Then, the fireworks.

[Saturday-morning update]

What a great show. I hadn’t realized how seriously Martin had gotten into his music in the last few years. He’s equally adept at both bluegrass fingerpicking and clawhammer, and he and Brickell did some beautifully spooky songs in the latter style. He also hasn’t lost his comedic touch. “It’s always been my dream to play the Hollywood Bowl on the 4th of July. Call me crazy, but I feel that, as I step on this stage, I’ve taken a big step in that direction.” (Paraphrase).

Only disappointment was that the show wasn’t long enough, and the fireworks (accompanied by a medley of Sousa tunes from the Air Force Band of the Golden West, ending with the classic Stars and Stripes Forever) less spectacular than I’ve gotten used to in recent years, but still well worth the money and effort to attend.

[Update a while later]

One other thing. Paul Simon made a guest appearance, and sat in for a song.

Ignorant Appeals To Authority

Just yell ‘Science!’“:

Where to begin? It doesn’t matter if Steyn has “no scientific credentials;” he’s perfectly capable of both spotting fraud when he sees it, and calling out a fraudulent huckster if he deems it necessary. And while it’s true that science, idealized, is “a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion,” this has no bearing on whether or not Michael Mann committed fraud. We’re not debating whether or not science is a fact-based enterprise; we’re debating whether or not Mann is a fraudulent scientist. Defining science simply has nothing to do with the debate at hand; it’s a definitional reductio combined with an argumentative non sequitur.

But that doesn’t really matter with these people. If they get backed into a difficult corner, they just repeat, by rote, the textbook definition of science; for some reason, this is supposed to absolve their pet favorite scientists of any wrongdoing, even if the scientists’ professional credibility is seriously in question. It just doesn’t make any sense to use such a rhetorical device in such a way, and it makes people look like idiots when they use it: “Hey, that scientist is correct; after all, science is fact-based.”

As I said, this is mostly a left-liberal phenomenon; progressives just love the empty-headed campaign to endlessly repeat “science” until their adversaries give up.

It is quite annoying, at the very least.

Birth Control

If it’s not your boss’s business, why do you expect him to pay for it?

…the Hobby Lobby decision opens the door for closely held companies to deny coverage of all forms of birth control if they can plausibly argue that doing so would violate their conscience. The decision doesn’t apply to large, publicly held corporations, but even if it did, it is unlikely that many companies would go down that path. And even if they did, birth control would not be “banned” – employees simply would have to pay for it themselves. The notion that denying a subsidy for a product is equivalent to banning that product is one of the odder tenets of contemporary liberalism.

The cognitive dissonance required to be a leftist must be quite painful.

Shelby’s Antics

The Houston Chronicle weighs in.

I don’t think this is quite correct, though:

Under the current Commercial Crew Development program, SpaceX contracts with NASA for a flat payment. If SpaceX comes in under cost, it gets to keep the profit. If it goes over budget, SpaceX has to make up the difference. This system gives SpaceX more flexibility to operate as it sees fit.

Shelby has inserted language in a Senate appropriations bill that would instead force SpaceX to work on NASA’s old cost-plus model. This would require the private company to track every step of its development, assign a cost to those steps and charge it to NASA, plus an additional fee. This stilted payment model forces engineers to be accountants and removes disincentives for bloated budgets.

Shelby isn’t forcing the company to cost plus. He’s doing something worse (and stupid), forcing them to account for it as though it were cost plus, but on a fixed-price contract.

The IRS’s Illegal Destruction Of Evidence

It’s looking worse and worse:

Any private company that conducted itself in this way would be crucified. It happens from time to time, but rather rarely nowadays, as the duty to preserve evidence is well known in the business world. The IRS’s account of its own behavior is, frankly, shocking. I can hardly imagine what a federal judge would do to a party that took no steps to preserve documents, erased backup tapes, allowed employees to delete relevant emails and memos, and “recycled” the crashed hard drive of its principal witness, all while the lawsuit was pending.

I guess we may find out soon, as True the Vote’s motion is scheduled to be heard on July 11.

Let’s hope. Who will be the equivalent of Judge Sirica in this case?

[Update a while later]

Lois Lerner, Colonel Mustard, and the Blue Screen of Death.

I hope that Megan is feigning credulity to maintain her own credibility when she finally comes down on these serial liars like a hammer.

[Update a while later]

Issa to Koskinen: Want to revise your testimony?