Monday, March 18, 2019

Missing one big thing

Apparently the Houston Public Library system had a registered sex offender participate in their "Drag Queen Story Time" program because they forgot to do a background check.  Well, almost, but I'm under the impression that one of the parole conditions for sex offenders is that they are prohibited from such interactions with children.  So what we have here is not just that the libraries failed to perform a background check, but also failed to report a likely violation of parole to police.

And they want us to believe, having failed in these basic responsibilities, that they've done the homework to demonstrate that drag queens in close contact with kids poses no risk.  Not buying it, to put it mildly.

It would be a nice touch, really

My thought, when reading this article about the arrest of a man for forcible rape, featuring his mug shot with a host of scratches on his chest from his victim, is how nice it would be if, instead of scratches, those were bullet holes.  Just sayin'. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

What I've been saying for years

Due to the fact that many pieces of clothing my children, in particular my four daughters, have worn were given to us by others and then worn by more than one of our children, my wife and I joke that by the time our family is done with clothes or toys, they really should be given to a non-charity called "Ill will" instead of Goodwill.  Turns out that in part due to the efforts of recent "clean up your home" experts like Marie Kondo, Goodwill agrees.  They are apparently receiving huge amounts of junk, and some of that, when sent to starving people in Africa, is being rejected.  No kidding.

(if anyone from Goodwill is reading this, my apologies for my family's likely failures to separate out "Goodwill" quality items from "Ill Will" quality items, by the way)

Two realities are obvious here.  First, there is a point where you just use something as a rag, throw it away, or recycle it.  Just because it's in your home doesn't mean someone else will want it.  Second, there is also a certain point to remember that if you don't want a lot of junk in your home, it helps to not buy it or otherwise receive it at all. 

Put other ways, if you want to have something worth buying in the stores, it sure helps if you skip buying things that aren't worth the time spent shopping.

Right back at ya, AOC

Demo-dingbat Congress-critter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has railed against "thoughts and prayers" because they are not sufficient barriers for human evil, and ignores the fact that New Zealand gun laws parallel what her party desires for the U.S.  So the question for her is this; if your desired gun laws won't even work on an island nation like New Zealand, precisely how would things be better in the United States?

Praise God, by the way, for the man who probably greatly reduced the death toll by retrieving his own firearm to chase the assailant(s) away.  I am sad that the man was not able to spare the police some time and effort by helping them to assume room temperature right there.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Now there's a shocker

Apparently the Showtime show "SMILF" has had a number of "abusive on-set behaviors". 

I mean, who would have expected a show whose title represents a woman as having only one value to have the cast and supporting workers act as though.....people have only one value?  Really, I haven't been so shocked since the "Naked" juice company had a sexual harassment scandal.  This may be hard for people in the Hollyweird left to understand, but sometimes, you can see these things coming. 

On the light side

I've noted for a while, with some amusement, that one big theory about why allergies are a much bigger deal today than before is that kids aren't eating enough dirt anymore.  Now an allergist from Denver and others are arguing that to keep healthy, you need to eat your boogers

Nearly four decades after the song was released, we finally have the solution to the conundrum discussed by Weird Al in his song "Gotta Boogie."  Sorry, Mom!

A bit on FBI Priorities

One thing that strikes me as odd in the recent kerfuffle over people falsifying entrance exam scores and bribing coaches to get into elite schools is the simple fact that really, people were not hurt that badly, and it was simply a nouveau riche way of doing what old money has been doing for over a century--getting children admitted by making a large donation.  Really, the main difference is that the old money is making much bigger donations, and is making them openly.

So what ought to be done about this?  As I see things, the big deal is that very successful parents of children of lesser motivation or ability want to provide for their children, but they know that the estate tax precludes giving them a large inheritance.  Hence they must get a "certificate of success" from a school meaningful to their peers.  It won't do if little Bobby or Jane go to community college and then transfer to a second tier school; no, to achieve their goals, they've got to go to a place like USC, Stanford, or Yale.    So the old strategy--train children of lesser ability to handle inheritances well--has been replaced by sending them to more elite schools.

The second thought here is that college matters too much, and that's brilliantly illustrated by the jobs for which college used to be optional.  The building trades, acting, music, secretarial work, and a lot more used to be handled in apprenticeships.  Perhaps if we returned this training to that level, college would return to a more normal level of importance.

Finally, there is the reality today that to really "make it big", apart from playing sportsball, singing, or acting, it really helps to reach the higher levels of organizations, and our society is structured, sadly, to promote the interests of those big organizations--inside and outside of government.  To get to those higher levels, it helps to have graduated from a "premium" college.  Solution?  Maybe we cut back the size of government and stop granting corporate welfare and see where life takes us.

What should not be done; further FBI investigations.  Quite frankly, doing this instead of investigating Hilliary Clinton's server, Lois Lerner's actions at the IRS, and the like makes a mockery of justice.  Let's get the open and shut things first.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

And it starts?

After Randall Margraves, father of some of Larry Nassar's victims, tried to assault Nassar in the courthouse in my wife's hometown, I wondered when someone else might actually figure out how to settle the matter outside the courts, where there are no metal detectors.   Well, we may have our first case, as a laicized priest in Nevada has been shot and killed.

And if indeed the perpetrator in this case is either one of that priest's victims, or a loved one of one of that priest's victims (or those of other priests), I must confess that were I a potential Nevada juror, I'd have trouble convicting.  Just as importantly, it strikes me that the bishops and that guy in Rome need to come up with a plan, quick, to get as many pedophile priests in prison where they may be safer.  As Frederick Douglass is said to have said, those denied justice at the soap box, ballot box, and jury box may seek it in the cartridge box. 

Now this is interesting

A former basketball coach from Newport Beach, CA, has been indicted and is now providing evidence that he helped at least 50 young people gain entrance into colleges for which they were not qualified by falsifying entrance exams and the like.   What would be very interesting, in my view, is a look at the graduation rates of these young people.  If they graduate at about the same rate as qualified students, we would have to wonder whether (a) they're getting a lot of help passing classes or (b) those prestigious schools aren't as tough as they're made out to be.

It's a disgrace that people are gaming the system, but if it shows the system to be a fraud, this could work out really well.

Update: Mr. D. notes that what is bought at prestigious schools is not the education, but access to the alumni.  It strikes me that this is part of why so many rich people support the estate tax--with kick-backs and favors from friends, those with access to powerful friends can always get back the money they may have paid there.  Those who earned their money in less prestigious circles, not so much.  It ensures, really, that the intellectual class will have an even more disproportionate say in national life, whether economic or political.

Update 2: if people can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for big advantages getting into elite schools, don't they already have access to those alumni/elite networks?  Is this "crime" simply an example of "A fool and his money are soon parted."?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

This ought to work out well

Dick's Sporting Goods, having irritated the nation's gun owners by refusing to sell firearms to legal buyers under the age of 21, is now doubling down by ending the sale of hunting equipment (rifles, shotguns, ammunition, targets, reloading supplies, and I presume clothing) altogether, and will be replacing Reebok shoes and apparel with a "store brand".  Now I don't know precisely how Reebok is doing in market share these days--parent company Adidas had an 11.4% share in 2017--but somehow the prospect of generic shoes and clothing doesn't exactly fill me with expectations of high quality, to put it mildly. 

Or, put differently, Dick's is circling the drain at this point.  Really, it's what you get when you forget that the fathers and grandfathers (and often mothers and grandmothers) of the teens who buy your gear for basketball and soccer.....hunt and take the 2nd Amendment seriously. 

And to draw another picture, my town of Rochester has seen the closing of Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Gander Mountain, and the lone survivor for "big box" sporting goods is Scheel's, which features homage to Ronald Reagan 50 feet from the front door. 

Friday, March 08, 2019

But where are the cats?

Budweiser has come up with an ad campaign worthy of their beer by updating their 1950s/1960s era advertisements for the modern age, replacing home cooked meals with takeout Chinese and pizza, and eliminating the husband in at least two of three advertisements.  In the third, neither woman nor man wears a ring, so it's arguable that the husband has been eliminated in all three advertisements.  Also worth noting; she's still at home in all three advertisements.  She's just lost the comforts of home her grandmother had.

At the same time, Bugweiser ignores the fact that one of their ads has a nice reference to a larger can of beer in honor of the "Indian Summer Pow-wow", so they've ironically "strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel" by ignoring very real issues for Native Americans while downgrading the social structures desired and cherished by most women and perpetuating stereotypes about modern women--in particular that they can't cook.

You might suggest that their "women's day" effort might as well have been created by men's rights activists, except that the women portrayed are not 50 pounds overweight and feeding their cats.  Take a bow, Bugweiser.   I'll be protesting on behalf of women everywhere by not drinking Bugweiser.   Solidarity with women everywhere--not to mention with my taste buds--demands nothing less.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Just askin'

With the Democrats completely ignoring the 4th Amendment limitations on search and seizure as they go on what can only charitably be described as a "fishing expedition" against President Trump, blithely ignoring the Heller and MacDonald decisions which made clear that certain levels of gun control are not legal, and getting (repeatedly) spanked in the courts for obvious anti-religious bias in state regulations (e.g. Colorado vs. Masterpiece Cake Shop), the question arises about which Constitutional protections they might actually care.

So far, I've got that they haven't infringed on my 3rd Amendment right not to have troops quartered in my home, but I'm not even sure of that.

Monday, March 04, 2019

How deep is the rot?

I don't know, but Judicial Watch apparently just found that none less than the late Senator John McCain's staff counsel Henry Kerner--now employed by the Trump administration--encouraged the IRS to audit people until it became "financially ruinous". 

If we wonder why the expressed will of the people never seems to get anywhere, look at that again.  The system works effectively for itself.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Here's the reason

Proposed reforms of Title IX sexual assault and harassment procedures from the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy Devos have gotten a lot of press for supposedly tilting the field in favor of the accused, vs. that of the accusers.  High on the list of complaints are that the DoEd would require hearings and the opportunity for cross examination.

Now, having heard a story or two of the antics of defense lawyers in cross examination, I can appreciate why many would despise and fear it.  Some people are, indeed, just total jerks, and that's putting it very mildly.  However, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has inadvertently done us a service through his otherwise pathetic Congressional testimony by wandering into the standard trap of cross examination.

Specifically, while appearing to blatantly violate the tradition of confidentiality between lawyers and their clients--a confidentiality mirrored in attorney-client privilege--Cohen appears to have wandered into the standard trap set by hearings and cross examination; like all liars, he found it difficult to tell the same lie twice, and in doing so, a couple of Congressmen compared his testimony to his sentencing statements and decided to refer him to the DOJ for charges.

Now many will see this differently than Jim Jordan and all, but circling back to the topic of sexual assault, remember that most sexual assaults have precisely two witnesses, the accuser and the defendant.  Sometimes physical evidence makes eyewitness testimony less important, but as a rule, it comes down to that testimony.

And if you end the practice of hearings and cross examination, what you end up with is the danger spoken of in Proverbs 18:17; the first to state his case seems right until another comes forward and cross examines.  In other words, it tends to give the decision not to the right person, but to the best "BSer" or the person with the best political connections--the very picture of a kangaroo court, really.

I have some real concerns with the DeVos plan, starting with the notion that a university would not be required to take action for off-campus crimes, but requiring a hearing, cross examination, and a reasonable standard of proof are not among my concerns.

Brilliance out of Virginia

The First Lady of Virginia seems to be working extra-hard to help us forget how her husband tacitly endorsed infanticide in discussion over an abortion law under consideration in Richmond by handing out cotton balls to black students as they toured the governor's mansion. 

And across the Potomac in Maryland, a Prince George's County Democrat is under fire for using a racial slur in after-hours events. 

Finally, in a further demonstration of brilliance by Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has lashed out at those who pointed out the burger her chief of staff was eating--after she came out against the eating of beef.  For reference, there are some ecosystems that need to be grazed to be healthy, so I'm at a loss as to how responsibly grown beef is necessarily an environmental liability.  But that said, AOC clearly falls into the category of environmentalists who can't do math or science, so no surprise there. 

(or economics, and that's even funnier)