My Lawsuit

Yes, there has been a ruling, over two years after argument in the appeals court. I’ll have a comment after discussing with counsel.

[Update a few minutes later]

For what it’s worth, here’s Mark Steyn’s take.

[Update a while later]

Here are the official statements from CEI and counsel:

Statement from CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman:

Today’s ruling simply means this case will proceed and the Superior Court will now consider the merits of both sides’ arguments. The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a staunch defender of free speech and open, public debate, and we are confident we’ll prevail on the merits as this case goes back to Court. As a public figure with his own history of harshly attacking those who disagree with him, Michael Mann must now show that CEI’s commentary met some very stringent standards of malice. It did not, and we will continue to fight against those who seek to punish and harass groups and individuals who speak out on controversial issues.

Statement from Andrew Grossman, CEI’s attorney and partner at BakerHostetler:

T​oday’s decision throws out half of Michael Mann’s claims against the Competitive Enterprise Institute and sends the others back to the Superior Court for further consideration. We are confident that Dr. Mann’s remaining claims will ultimately fail, because they attempt to shut down speech and debate that is absolutely protected by the First Amendment. Today’s decision only draws out Dr. Mann’s years-long effort to wage “lawfare” against his opponents instead of engaging in public debate.

So, on we go.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here‘s the story from Buzzfeed, FWIW.

[Noon update]

Thoughts from Jonathan Adler.

[Friday update]

National Review‘s formal response to the ruling.


In light of recent electoral events, on this 72nd anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, it’s worth revisiting an old news story from the battle:

World Outraged By Crude Surrender Response

December 22, 1944

BASTOGNE (Routers) A generous German offer of surrender terms was crudely rebuffed by an American general in this besieged Belgian town today, reinforcing the growing image of America as a brutish cowboy in the OK Corral, and almost certainly dooming it and its inhabitants.

The town has been under attack by German artillery almost since the beginning of the latest successful German offensive six days ago, and has been surrounded by German troops for the past two days. Its only defense has been the US 101st Airborn Division, under the command of General Anthony C. McAuliffe.

At 11:30 AM this morning, the German commander, General Heinrich von Luettwitz of the XLVIIth Armored Corps, sent negotiators in to arrange for the peaceful handover of the town. There are varying stories about what occurred next.

Some say that General McAuliffe’s response was a single word–“Nuts!”–a word that the German officer sent to negotiate had trouble translating back to his superiors. Other firsthand reports suggest, however, that the General actually issued a two-word reply, one in the imperative case suggesting that the unfortunate officer have someone engage him unwillingly in activity of a sexual nature, but one that was also more readily and universally understood.

In either case, the negotiations were ended, and with them any prospects for saving the town. As a result of the general’s needlessly insulting recalcitrance, the destruction of the town is now all but certain, and the lives of its terrified residents and defenders likely forfeit.

Surprisingly, some have defended the general, pointing out that the value of German surrender offers had been severely debased after the “massacre” of American POWs at Malmedy just five days earlier.

However, back in Washington, many were privately appalled. One State Department official noted that this could only diminish Americans in the eyes of the world as a heartless and base people, who don’t understand the exigencies and nuance of war. “General von Luettwitz is a noble aristocrat–not the SS troops at Malmedy, and anyway, we still don’t have all the facts on that. That town could have been spared,” he went on, “but General McAuliffe put his own ego and stubbornness ahead of the lives of the townspeople and his own men. But then, what do you expect from a hick who went to the University of West Virginia?”

Some at the Pentagon were dismayed as well. “Now we’re going to have to risk many more men to go in and save his sorry ass,” groaned an undersecretary. “Maybe Patton can do it, in between slapping enlisted men.”

The White House had no official comment, but staffers indicated that the general was perfectly justified in light of the Malmedy incident. It was clear that despite his incompetence and rashness, the general continues to have the president’s full support, and that the war effort would continue, despite its seeming hopelessness, as the tide of world opinion continues to turn against the nation.

(Copyright Rand Simberg 2004)

I wrote this during the politically correct Bush administration. It may have even more resonance today. And before you correct in comments, yes, I am aware of what school McAuliffe actually attended.

Watching Climate Science Bubbles

…from the outside. Thoughts from Scott Adams, with an interesting idea:

…what if the worst-case scenario is really, really likely, as in the case of climate change disaster? In that case, shouldn’t you manage to the worst case? Well, yes, but only if you are sure the risk is as high as you think. And I don’t see any way a non-scientist could be exposed to both sides of the argument and assign a risk to it.

Given the wildly different assessments of climate change risks within the non-scientist community, perhaps we need some sort of insurance/betting market. That would allow the climate science alarmists to buy “insurance” from the climate science skeptics. That way if the climate goes bad at least the alarmists will have extra cash to build their underground homes. And that cash will come out of the pockets of the science-deniers. Sweet!

But if the deniers are right, and they want to be rewarded by the alarmists for their rightness, the insurance/betting market would make that possible.

It would also be fascinating to see where the public put the betting odds for climate science. Would people expose themselves to both sides of the debate before betting?

The smart ones would.

A Useful Experiment

I’ve been watching this Kickstarter project. I was talking to Jon Morse a couple weeks ago, and he didn’t expect it to succeed. He was right; it only raised a third of the million dollars it sought. But it’s a useful market test for private space exploration. Maybe if they shoot for half that. I do think we’re entering a new era of what I call “normal science,” before the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and Apollo screwed everything up, and things like the big telescopes (the first high-tech astronomy programs) were funded philanthropically.

The Electoral College

Did the NYT care about this before the Democrats lost power?

No, it’s not “antiquated.” It is part of the Constitution of the United STATES of America. It’s part of the separation of powers. The Founders never intended that the president be popularly elected, with good reason. The people are represented by the House. The president is elected by the states. What they’re really saying is that they hate federalism in general (which is ironic, considering that states like California are considering seceding in the wake of the loss).

[Update a while later]

[Update a while later]

[Update Wednesday morning]

The electoral college is actually awesome:

Unlike governors, whose state governments have total sovereignty within their borders, the presidency governs over states with their own sovereignty under the Constitution. The role of the presidency is at least somewhat limited to foreign policy and questions that are at least loosely connected to interstate issues and enforcement of other provisions of the Constitution. For that reason, the framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure that the president would have the greatest consensus among the sovereign states themselves, while still including representation based on population.

That is why each state gets the same number of electors as they have seats in the House and the Senate. It reduces the advantage that larger states have, but hardly eliminates it entirely; California has 55 electors while Wyoming has only three, to use the Times’ comparison. Rather than being an “antiquated system,” as they write, it’s an elegant system that helps balance power between sovereign states with national popular intent, and it forces presidential contenders to appeal to a broader range of populations.

[Via Stephen Green, who has more]


[Update a while later]

Wow, the electoral college is so awesome, that it’s thwarting our ability to defeat global warming.

[Update a few minutes later]

That NYT editorial attacking the Electoral College is garbage.

You don’t say:

The process of protecting smaller states from the whims of the larger, more populous states is precisely why the electoral college exists. Contrary to what the editors of the New York Times think, we are not one large nation where the federal government reigns supreme. We are a republic made up of semi-sovereign states. That sovereignty is what protects states like Wyoming and Montana from states such as New York and California. The people living in these different states both have their sets of values. The electoral college protects a state like Wyoming (the minority) from a state like California (the majority) in that the country is not governed by the say-so of the most populous states in the union. Under the electoral college, all states have a voice.

These people hate the United STATES of America. They worship the State.

[Update a few minutes later]

The DoJ/FBI refuse to investigate crimes against the Electoral College. Well of course they do; a Republican won.

Thiel Versus Sessions

They’re battling over the future of NASA.

Thiel is pushing for a 21st-century space policy. Sessions represents the past, Apolloism, space socialism, and pork. He should stick to being AG.

[Update a few minutes later]

[Update a few more minutes later]

Not sure what “commercial space trade association” Tim Fernholz thinks that Alan Stern leads.

[Update a few more minutes later]

Tim pointed out to me that he’s chairman of the board of CSF, which I hadn’t known, or had forgotten. But I pointed out to him that Eric Stallmer is really the person who “leads” it, which he agreed was fair.

More on this topic from Eric Berger.

[Update a while later]

Not exactly space related, but sort of, in the sense that indefinite lifespan will help with opening the universe, an interesting description of what else Thiel is up to.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!