The couple who called 911 when Jayme Closs found them after a months-long abduction is saying that the young lady ought to get the reward for her return since she freed herself. Now as much as I'd also agree that the couple could also be said to deserve that reward because they did indeed risk a confrontation with the kidnapper--allegedly the murderer of at least two people already and the horrendous abuser of one in addition--I've got to take off my hat to a couple who are willing to forgo this reward to benefit this young lady.
This is especially the case when I consider that Closs' family is going to need resources not only to feed, clothe, and house her, but also, I'd presume, to provide mental health services for her as she deals with whatever trauma she endured. I might even smile and suggest that part of that money ought to get her a puppy if she desires one. Hopefully some smart person in the area knows how to make this happen.
And I dare suggest that if I were to walk past her rescuers' home, I just might be overcome with the fragrant scent of class, and ecstatically so. Well done.
Not only has DHS noted that yes, the Capitol building can indeed be secured for the State of the Union speech, but the very question of why a building half filled with Democrats and their guests ought to pose a hazard to President Trump ought to make us wonder whether anyone is safe as long as Nancy Pelosi has the gavel.
Also on the light side, the Babylon Bee notes the hilarity of the "least masculine society in history" acting as if an excess of masculinity is our biggest problem. To that point, while I was more amused than offended by the recent Gillette advertisement--it struck me as rather wooden in its obvious axe to grind--it did show me that my family may be overpaying for razor blades, so we're going to give Harry's a try. Plus, I've been using my grandfather's safety razor for years now, also using blades not made by Gillette/P&G.
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!
One of the things that is most fascinating, and appalling, about the ongoing "manure show" that is the scandal surrounding Larry Nassar's crimes is the question of how over 80% of sexual assault complaints go nowhere with investigators--and that of the 31% or so where a complaint is actually made to the police. For reference, about 18-19% result in an arrest, 3-4% result in an indictment, and about 2% result in a felony conviction involving jail time. Conversely, about 2-10% result in the police deciding that it was a false accusation.
Speaking to this is this recent tweet by the attorney for many of Nassar's survivors, John Manly. He notes that the documents he's read indicate that survivors were told that if they spoke up, it would endanger the police investigation--and this apparently kept many from going public with their complaints.
What this says to me is that a lot of people simply do not understand how the criminal justice system works--when told "there is an investigation", shouldn't our immediate response be "tell me who the investigating officer is and I'll be sure to talk to him."? And if the person we're talking to hedges, shouldn't we just say "Well, the offence occurred in such and such town, I'll just give them a call right now."?
In other words, despite our civics educations (or lack thereof), it appears that for a huge portion of Americans, the criminal justice system is a mystery. Perhaps if we took things seriously and told people how they go from a crime to a complaint, and how a complaint becomes an indictment, and an indictment becomes a conviction, we would get somewhere.
Not content with endorsing minimum wage policies that killed her favorite coffee shop, using UBER for her campaign's travel while endorsing (supposedly) the rights of union cab-drivers, and wearing $3500 outfits while complaining that she couldn't afford an apartment, Demo-dingbat Congress-critter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been found to have failed to pay workmen's comp for her campaign staff.
Democrats, this is the face of your party.
Update: Democratic Congress-critter Pramila Jayapal is telling Ocasio-Cortez "hold my beer" by claiming that President Trump wants to have an America that has no immigrants or people of color. I'm sure that this comes as something of a surprise to Ben Carson, Elaine Chow, and Nikki Haley, not to mention Melania and Ivana.
Having voted for President Trump for a variety of reasons, starting with the reality that his opponent really needs to be living at 1000 University Drive SW, Waseca MN 56093 (look it up), I am also feeling obligated to note when he makes a factual mistake today.
In his recent speech, he claimed that one in three female illegal immigrants is sexually assaulted on their way to the U.S. Numbers uncovered by CBS, which hilariously was trying to "refute" his claims, indicate that the real numbers are 60-80% of women and about 17% of men, numbers which make the U.S.'s already horrendous rates of sexual assault (about 25% for women) pale in comparison, especially when we consider that these assaults are more or less guaranteed in a few short weeks (or days) of the victims' lives. Read the whole report by Mollie Hemingway for a lot more appalling mistakes by the MSM, by the way. Yes, President Trump was wrong, but not in a way that undercuts his message.
It suggests, really, that our response to illegal immigration ought to certainly involve a border wall and other enhanced enforcement (e-Verify for all employers, enforced), but then ought perhaps to involve shooting the "coyotes". Two thirds of women raped in a short time by these guys is just horrendous, and we ought to infer that there is Hell to pay among immigrant communities due to this.
I'm going to only link to this one, but it seems that just about every "fact check" of President Trump's speech last night succeeds only in changing the subject. Confronted by a quarter million crimes being committed by illegal immigrants last year? Change the subject to the fact that some of those crimes were immigration crimes and link to a study that didn't see overall rises in the per capita crime rate. It's not like more capitae against which the crimes are committed means anything, except for the fact that it does.
Going further, point out that the native born also commit crimes--um, that was in dispute? Really? Concerned about the fact that illegal drugs are indeed being carried across a largely unsecured border? Don't worry, most of those drugs arrive by air or sea.
Brilliant example of changing the subject, I guess, but if that's going to be the ethics of the left, they can shut up about the matter, forever.
The University of Virginia has apparently punished a sorority for requiring its members to.....study a whole 25 hours per week. Now one can quibble over whether every member indeed requires this much study--the rule of thumb I remember is 2 hours study/work outside of class for every hour in class--but it is hilarious that the university, well aware of the real issues within the "Greek" system like alcohol-and-drug-soaked parties and resulting harassment and sexual assault, has decided to censure a sorority for emphasizing the reason they're supposed to be enrolled.
A few weeks ago, Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald (and the elders) decided to sue journalist Julie Roys and four others regarding the blog "The Elephant's Debt", a site which details various abuses of Harvest Bible Chapel, the larger Harvest Bible Fellowship association of churches, and of MacDonald himself. Yesterday, MacDonald's lawyers requested that the lawsuit be withdrawn after losing a motion to keep certain documents private. In response, The Elephant's Debt has written a response--a response I consider justified--that can only charitably be described as savage.
Now ignoring the realities of 1 Corinthians 6's prohibition of lawsuits among believers, and in particular James 2:6's description of rich people (MacDonald certainly qualifies) dragging those who are poorer into court, what can we learn from this?
First of all, listen to your lawyers. I would be surprised if a body like Harvest didn't have a few among the elders, and of course they hired lawyers to file the action. If these guys didn't warn MacDonald and the rest that "discovery" is like a full body cavity exam, they should be disbarred. Otherwise, MacDonald needs to step out of ministry for a while if he didn't pay attention.
Second, listen to your lawyers. I would also be surprised if Harvest's lawyers didn't ask to see the evidence MacDonald and the elders wanted to present to prove libel--to knowingly promote falsehoods with malice, since MacDonald is a public figure--and if he didn't have the goods to make the case, again, the lawyers should be disbarred if they didn't warn him, and MacDonald should resign if they did. We have enough harassment lawsuits as it is. James 2:6.
Third, listen to your lawyers. They would have told him that he would have little chance of getting significant damages from the defendants, and that (if the evidence existed) simply presenting the evidence would likely suffice to silence the criticism.
Fourth, read the evidence for yourself. If it doesn't make your case, don't take it public in the first place. The request to keep that evidence quiet shows MacDonald and HBC elders ignored this basic principle.
Fifth, if you don't want something to become public, don't do it. If you look at Julie Roys' writing and The Elephant's Debt, you will very quickly notice that their evidence consists of publicly available documents, HBC internal documents, and testimony from those who have left the church.
Sixth, a functional dictatorship (MacDonald has a 50% vote on the elder board; nothing happens without his consent, really) is a truly awful way to run an organization. Let's be honest here; Roys' sources were either on the elder board, or were employed by HBC. They went to Roys because they were not willing to risk the big boss' wrath by expressing reservations within the organization--just like we see in the District of Columbia, really.
Really, MacDonald has more or less admitted that his lawsuit was merely a way by which he might extract revenge against his detractors, and in doing so, associations he theoretically cares about are paying a heavy price. His Walk in the Word radio show is being withdrawn except for online, Harvest Bible Fellowship is now separated from Harvest Bible Chapel, and quite frankly, since WITW (and MacDonald) are also affiliated with Moody, it's going to leave some significant marks on Moody as well. James MacDonald needs to make some big apologies, and then step away from pastoral ministry for a while to consider how to fix the mess he made.
And that assumes that this mess is not going to get a whole lot worse. One of the big issues at hand is that a major backer, a man who married into the Van Kampen family that runs mutual funds, left after reviewing a partial audit of their books. Guys like that don't just resign over bad news, since they've seen that before. They resign because what they saw invites law enforcement to take a look.
Update: sixth, listen to your lawyers when they explain to you that suing a lawyer (Ryan Mahoney) and an investigative journalist (Julie Roys) is the worst possible situation for making a libel lawsuit stick, as they know libel law well and moreover will make you pay for handling evidence recklessly. I dare suggest that this is a consequence of MacDonald really having no one who could keep him accountable for at least the past decade and a half.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has just come out endorsing a plan to (a) pretty much end the use of fossil fuels and (b) tax high earners at up to 70% to fund it. In parallel brilliance, a Muslim congresswoman from Dearborn has, ostensibly to stand against bullies, used some of her first comments in office to threaten to "impeach the mother******". Sounds a lot like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez never learned about the mobility of capital in her "economics" degree, and like Congress-woman Tlaib is in serious need of a dictionary and a mirror.
Just the new hands? Nope, first thing Nancy "The Knife" Pelosi did was to file a bill trying to overturn a Supreme Court 1st Amendment decision. Good luck with that one, Mack, but as for me, I think our gal's done something rash. Worse yet, she apparently thinks that Congress has power to unilaterally amend the Constitution, and has filed a bill to end the electoral college and limit pardon power.
Democrats out there, this is what you are voting for. Maybe think about the matter a bit?
On the bright side, as someone who dislikes UCLA, I can almost approve of Bill Walton's suggestion that would make John Wooden spin in his grave; appoint Barack Obama as head coach of UCLA. Nothing says "most successful program in history" like a coach who famously missed 20 of 22 shots in a public event. If he's qualified, so am I, but really, my history of throwing up bricks really qualifies me more for Scottish Rite than it does to sully the legacy of John Wooden.
On New Year's Eve, my church showed a recent movie about Mercy Me's Bart Millard, I can only imagine, in which his journey from being an abused child to CCM stardom is profiled--if perhaps fictionalized a bit. One thing which really stuck out for me is the movie's notion that there is a group of "godfathers" in Nashville more or less policing the industry, weeding out groups which are technically proficient but not "genuine."
As someone who has heard a fair amount of CCM that can only be charitably described as "mumblin' and moanin' with a metronome", this surprised me to a great degree. We have this Politburo of quality control, and the result is "Jesus is my boyfriend" dreck? The suggestion is as if Deming's work resulted in not Toyota, but Yugo.
So I started thinking about musical greats outside of CCM and what they do. Put gently, pretty much all of classical music and opera is, per the movie's objection to Millard's early work, "singing someone else's song", and nobody seems to have been bothered. In the same way, Van Halen's album Diver Down is mostly covers as well, and a large number of songs you'll hear on the radio are written by someone else.
That brings me back to the question of exactly what those "godfathers", which in the movie include Michael W. Smith among their number, are doing with a prescription of "singing your own songs". Now perhaps my esteem for Mr. Smith is affected by his nauseating song "Breathe", but it strikes me that perhaps the problem with CCM is that, indeed, they are singing their own songs.
How so? Well, consider what you learn when you watch great performers and sing their songs. It's about tempo, volume, tone, how you position your body, facial expressions, and the whole nine yards. In other words, musicality and performance.
So if indeed the CCM brass are encouraging this, it's no surprise that they're not producing a worthy product. They're telling bands to short circuit the process of learning the trade.
The Michigan Attorney General has released a document noting that my alma mater, Michigan State University, has so obscured the truth about the tenure of Larry Nassar that it would be impossible to find the overall truth about the matter.
And while we know that any investigation will not get the total truth, humans being fallible, it strikes me that what is implicit here is that investigations of sexual assault ought to be handled by those with large amounts of resources, subpoena power, the ability to handle physical and other circumstantial evidence, and most importantly who are bound by Constitutional limitations.
In other words, while I understand the motive of using internal discipline procedures to make sure that students need not fear other students--really the Genesis of Title IX in this area--keeping the matters out of the hands of those qualified and entitled to handle them serves only to exonerate the guilty and convict the innocent. It's time to seriously re-evaluate Title IX to de-mystify the process of criminal investigation and drive complaints into the hands of police and prosecutors.
Oh, it just might have something to do with the fact that I'm buying "emotional support chickens" from Popeye's all the time. Seriously, sad to say, there is no Popeye's in Rochester, although there is a Chick-Fil-A to help me maintain my adipose reserves. More squats tonight!
ColdFusionGuy links to this excellent article from the New York Times about the one factor that reliably (shift of statistical means) results in losing weight; bariatric surgery. I am in agreement despite my endorsement of the Mayo Clinic Diet, and really that of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), and really for the same reason; any successful diet works by persuading the body that it doesn't want as much food as it thinks it does. Mayo's diet does so by introducing plant foods in place of calorically more dense animal products, and bariatric surgery does so by physically reducing the size of the stomach.
To grossly oversimplify things, the body's "full" signals from the stomach thus counter-act other signals that would induce us to eat more. And that, in turn, illustrates a well-known fact of behavioral change; you need to see things before your eyes all the time, it seems, to be consistently reminded of your need to change. The athlete needs to envision competition to get out of bed; the overweight person (guilty) needs to envision his next lipids and blood sugar test. Doing so in a world of Krispy Kreme and the like often takes some doing.