January 1, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 3:54 PM


Posted by orrinj at 10:03 AM


Gen Z Republicans see new era for party after Trump (Nicole Via y Rada, 1/01/21, NBC News)

Now that the election dust has settled just weeks until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, the Republican Party is beginning to take stock of its future beyond President Donald Trump.

For many young Republicans, Trump's loss signals an opening for new directions within the party. Several said in interviews that they want the party to become more tolerant and inclusive while staying true to conservative values.

"The GOP has a lot of really good policy, a lot of winning policies, but it does seem like often we can get caught up on the losing ones and fight like hell for them," said Cameron Adkins, a sophomore who is vice president of College Republicans at Columbia University. "When in reality, they're losing issues with the American people."

Thirty-one percent of voters ages 18 to 24 supported Trump in November, according to exit polls, down from 37 percent in 2016. The Generation Z bloc, born after 1996, makes up at least 10 percent of the U.S. population, according to a report by the Brookings Institution, and it will only grow as the next election approaches. [...]

"I think the term 'conservatism' has been given this really bad rep for so long," he said, predicting that the ethos of the party will evolve to become, for example, less religious and more forward-thinking.

"I feel like that should change in a way, so that people can understand it a lot more than just 'a bunch of old racist white people' as they like to see it, you know, but in reality, it's a lot more than that."

Posted by orrinj at 8:51 AM


What does sovereignty mean in the age of Brexit? (Rupert Gather, 1/01/20, CapX)

Finally they got it. In the end the EU team realised that Brexit wasn't a dumb, dry economic calculation by deluded Brits, but was about the desire to become an 'independent coastal state', with all the risks and opportunities that entails. Ursula von der Leyen however, having belatedly identified the stick, firmly grasped the wrong end of it. Only late in the day, with Brexit upon us, did she identify sovereignty as the key driver of the 2016 referendum result, whilst claiming nonetheless that real sovereignty is about "pooling our strength and speaking together".

She was right to suggest that sovereignty is an abstract concept. True, it has a legal structure and can often be born out of physical boundaries defined by an island, river, desert or mountain range. But really it is about the feelings of the people who live within a particular jurisdiction. The emotional attachment that this engenders, the love of the sovereign nation, is how we define patriotism -- and where the EU struggles.

We have to be cautious not to confuse love for one's own country with hostility to others. As Voltaire said "it is lamentable that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind"

America redefined sovereignty as democratic legitimacy in 1776:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

But the one area where national sovereignty may have to yield to a transnational authority and rules is in trade, if your nation seeks to enforce trading rules against others.   To the extent that the original united Europe was just such a free trade scheme Brits could abide it. But when regulations adopted remotely began to be applied domestically there was little chance of their accepting its continuance.  The most important thing now is for them not to trend towards the antagonistic nationalism that reflects the weakness of a people but to maintain an open society that exploits the economic benefits of the free movement of goods and peoples. 

Posted by orrinj at 8:47 AM


To Fight Thanos, the Avengers Needed a Better Leader Than Capt. America: The Battle of Wakanda is a short and approachable case study in what not to do with an infantry battalion. (The Angry Staff Officer, 1/01/21, National Interest)


To set the stage - Captain Rogers and his host nation ally Black Panther positioned a Wakandan infantry battalion in close order on the plains outside Benin Zana, the capital city of Wakanda. While they were transported to the battlefield by vehicle, these craft were sent away. This dramatically cut down on the tactical mobility of the overall force and forced an engagement at that location. Given the enemy had superior numbers, this complete disregard of manoeuvre was a critical mistake.

It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.

Captain Roger's disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. However, his next sin was far more grievous.


Captain Rogers failed to keep any sort of reserve force back from the fighting. Instead, he committed them all into one action. 

Posted by orrinj at 8:12 AM


How the idea of the tiny house evolved in 2020 (ADELE PETERS, 1/01/21, Co.exist)

If you've been living with roommates during the pandemic, 2020 might have felt like you were already living in a tiny house, just one you shared with other people you may have come to not like as much. Maybe you began to seriously fantasize about living in a tiny house on your own. The experience isn't always as idyllic as tiny-house shows portray it. But if 200 square feet may not be the ideal amount of living space for everyone, it's still true that smaller homes are a viable part of the solution for the challenges of affordable housing and homelessness. Here are a few of the ways that the field advanced this year.

In March, just outside Austin, giant 3D printers squirted out a concrete-like mixture to form the walls of six tiny homes in a small community designed for people who used to be chronically homeless. Icon, the company that designed the technology, is also working with a nonprofit to build a 3D-printed neighborhood for people living in extreme poverty in Mexico. (These houses are roomier than many tiny homes, at 500 square feet.) Ultimately, Icon projects that the tech could cut costs in half and make the homes twice as fast to build as standard construction. Mighty Buildings, another startup, created an innovative process that makes it possible to 3D print more of the shell of a tiny home, including the roof.