Thursday, July 21, 2016

50 years past time

...but give the IOC credit; they appear to be finally laying down the law on performance enhancing drugs and the nations that use them to improve their standing in the Olympics; Russia's track and field team is banned from Rio. 

Well, at least a golf clap for them; the great reason, of course, that the Olympics have been a bastion for hyper-nationalist nonsense for a long, long time is that Olympic qualification is not a matter of being one of the best in the world, but rather being the best in your country.  Not surprisingly, countries used and manipulated the rules for their own purposes, and thus the floodgates were opened to enormous amounts of time, effort, and money to "win the medal count." 

Hang those incentives in front of nations and athletes, and we ought not be surprised that so many cheat.  Maybe, just maybe, the IOC needs to re-read de Coubertin's thoughts on the matter and change some things.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Black Lives Matter comes to Rochester?

Sort of.  There was a march--I was on the parade route at Dunkin' Donuts while it went by--and the first really interesting thing was that when I looked for a guy I'd met--about 6'4" and of robust girth, easy to spot--he wasn't there, but a young lady from my church was.  Sure enough, when I looked up the Facebook page of the local black Baptist church, they were telling members and attendees not to go.  So apparently there are at least two BLM movements in our city.  What the differences are, I'm not sure, but there is a rivalry.

What were they saying?  Well, about the worst it got was "no more racist cops", a sentiment with which I agree, but it's unclear to me how much racism goes on here--let's just say that some of the best patients at Mayo are non-whites who fly halfway around the world to get here.  If there were a large number of DWB citations or worse, City Hall would be hearing about it.

So what does BLM believe?  Well, with the obvious caveats that there about there being two such movements (just as Dr. King headed one, and Malcolm X headed another back in the 1960s) at least, and not every adherent believes everything, a few things of note are that the rights of LGTB.... seem to be about as important to them as the rights of blacks, that they're trying to end mass incarceration of blacks (really everyone), and they specifically note that they're committed to disrupting the "western prescribed nuclear family." 

In other words, it's exactly what one would predict if we assumed that the center of the black civil rights movement had migrated away from the church (at least the orthodox churches) and found itself in a secular, or at least UCC, position, which anyone watching Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over the past 35 years (e.g. myself) would have guessed.  

The biggest problem here is not that some marches talk about "dead pigs", though that is a nasty reality in places.  The far bigger deal is the question of their agenda, in particular by weakening nuclear families and getting criminals out of jail.   

Now don't get me wrong; I love my extended family and community, and benefit greatly from them.  But that said, extended family and community builds on the nuclear family and its economic and other provisions--so really, you cannot move to a "community" model a la Hilliary Clinton's It takes a Village if the nuclear family is broken, and quite frankly, the inner city demonstrates this in a horrific way, as Sen. Moynihan noted in 1965.

In the same way, extended family and community, not to mention protection of LGBTQ.... rights, depends greatly on whether anti-social and criminal elements can be rehabilitated or removed--and for the most part, that means churches rehabilitate and the state jails criminals. 

Which is to say that the "end point" for this branch of BLM is more or less the same liberal utopianism that has been tried, and has failed, since the mid 1800s, and really at the cost of tens of thousands of lives (among those born) and millions of lives among the pre-born.  And so the question for the BLM activist who believes this is simple:

How's it working out for you?  It's been tried in your community for over half a century.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Too close for comfort...

....is the Babylon Bee's joke that President Obama has nominated the Canaanite fertility "god" Molech to the Supreme Court because no other conveyed the deep desire to slaughter infants that is a hallmark of the Obama presidency.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Like I said

Allowing the self-identified "transgender" to use the bathroom of their choice opens up the ladies' room to those who should be on Megan's List

Also, as if urban blacks did not have enough problems already, white liberals appear to be working to create more by blocking I-35 in Minneapolis.  About 90% of the protesters that have been arrested appear to be no more black than myself.  "Thanks, guys, but....can you just go back to your coffee shop and do some good for society instead of getting us blamed for everything?  Thanks!"

Bit of a mixed message

It's a little blurry, but the italics are "This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it", and the recipe is for "Classic Deviled Eggs."  Apropos nothing.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

In praise of cultural appropriation

Evidently some actress named Lena Dunham has come out strongly against "cultural appropriation", one example being her alma mater's (Oberlin College) serving sushi in dining halls. 

Now while I have any number of reasons to get pretty scared of the idea of dining hall sushi, starting with food safety, I've got to say that you can count me 100% in favor of cultural appropriation.  Where would our food be without "cultural appropriations" like coffee, soul food, noodles, rice, maize, potatoes, chocolate, cured meats, pasta, European breads, tea, various types of liquors, and the like?  For that matter, what would our music be without appropriated music like jazz, blues, opera, bluegrass, and more, or our literature without appropriations of various poetic and stylistic forms like the sonnet, regular meter, and such?  Where would our technology be without the contributions of other societies?

We would be, of course, back in the stone age right after the scattering at the Tower of Babel.  And having learned a bit about life in the stone age--where the C-section that delivered me and the intussusception surgery that saved my life were not yet culturally appropriated--count me out.  I'm all in favor of cultural appropriation, even if people make some mistakes in doing so.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Just saying....

....that I've done business with stores because I saw they were willing to hire the disabled.  Your move, Wal-Mart.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Ticked off...

....I don't presume to speak for the families of the Dallas officers killed and maimed by the shooter last night, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them had a decidedly unprintable view of Governor Dayton and President Obama for their public statements claiming institutional racism was definitely in play--and that before the body was even cold or the investigation really got going.

I know my response to Governor Dayton and President Obama in this regard is this: thanks, idiots.  And for those who have intimidated police into not proactively dealing with signs of crime:  thanks, idiots.  If we want to act as if black lives matter--and emphatically they do--that starts with dealing with and prosecuting real crimes, no matter who the perpetrator is.  It starts with respecting the process of investigation and not flying off the handle with your own pet theories.

Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Comey and Mrs. Lynch.  Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Dayton and Mr. Obama.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Some thoughts on refugees

Here in Minnesota, something that's worth noting is that apparently at least 20 Somalis living here in Minnesota--refugee, resident alien, or citizen--have either gone to the Middle East to be terrorists (some having killed and been killed themselves), or have been arrested trying to do the same.

Of course, this is a big concern with any refugee program; refugees, after all, arrive on our shores because their government either is trying to kill them, or their government fails to protect them against those who would kill them.  Hence, you cannot really do a decent background check on a refugee--that's why historically we've had "refugee camps" where we watched their behavior to determine who will be allowed in, and who will not.  No great shakes in terms of lifestyle, but it beats where they came from.

Now in terms of Minnesota, the state is said to have about 25000 residents of Somali descent, so that would seem to be a significant level of terrorism--about a 0.1% "participation rate."  That said, we're not done yet.

All of the convicted, and deceased, happen to be young men.  So we have 20 of about 12000 men, and 20 out of probably about 2-3000 young men; in other words, at least 1%.  Add to that people who have "participated" but not been detected, and we're getting to what I'd call a fairly unacceptable rate of this group participating in terrorism--and what happens if and when they figure out that some U.S. targets are "soft"?

I don't want to send all these people back to where they came from, but we seriously need to do a better job monitoring refugees and teaching them about our society.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

What about "lying to investigators"?

In ignoring the clear meaning of 18 USC 1924, but repeatedly stating that Mrs. Clinton lied on more or less every significant point in the investigation, one must wonder why James Comey didn't bring "lying to investigators" charges on Mrs. Clinton.

Of course, the reason is the same reason that Comey's boss didn't allow a real investigation of IRS abuses.  It's been all to convenient for President Obama, really, and if he allowed prosecution of people whose "mistakes" benefited him, they would of course suddenly develop a great memory for who had told them to make those mistakes.

Update: the Babylon Bee is apparently abandoning satire here on this topic, as Mrs. Clinton lied to a judge about providing all work-related emails (that's perjury) and obstructed justice by deleting files on her server and burning her meeting schedules.  She's in good company with her husband in that regard, sad to say.  Comey needs to be disbarred for this one, as it's clear abdication of responsibility going well beyond mere prosecutorial discretion.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Bad news for self-driving cars...

....is the sad fate of a man using this feature on his Tesla Model S, as the software failed to detect a semi in his path--suffice it to say it will probably be a closed casket funeral, to put it mildly.  At this point, it is one fatality in 130 million miles, and that fatality rate ( 7 deaths per billion vehicle miles) is comparable to the overall vehicular fatality rate of ten fatalities per billion vehicle miles.

While the confidence range is huge with n=1, and Tesla and others will certainly improve their image recognition software as a result, it's still troubling, even with the company's explanation and promise.  The fact of the matter is that the key drivers of accidents--alcohol and fatigue--were obviously not involved (at least on the autopilot side), and hence we'd infer that this fatality rate is actually fairly high versus that of sober, attentive drivers.

This illustrates a big weakness with vehicular autopilot systems; the key driver of vehicle safety, really, is the proverbial "nut behind the wheel", and autopilot allows that nut, as it were, to come loose a bit.  Count me out of efforts to rush this to market.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Condoms reducing STDs and pregnancies?

Well, according to David Limbaugh, a National Bureau of Economic Research study finds that free availability of condoms in schools correlates to a 10% rise in teen pregnancy and a rise in STDs to boot. Here's another article about the study.  Interestingly, a supporter of comprehensive sex ed, Christina Cauterucci of Slate, gives the reason; she noted that condom giveaways are  helpful to teens that want to have sex, are too embarrassed to buy a condom, and are reluctant to have sex without them.

Well, yes.  That's precisely what conservatives have been telling the country since I was a child.  Giving away condoms to kids tells them that it's OK to have sex before marriage.  Thank you, Ms, Cauterucci.  Thank you, NBER.

Now, can we stop doing this?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another reason to get the Feds out of student loans

Apparently, due in part to easy student loans from the federal government, there is shaping up to be a massive surplus in the number of lawyers in our country.  Moreover, that surplus appears to be forming (gulp!) in many of the educated professions, which I would assume includes my own.  Check out this article as well--I grew up just north of Valparaiso, so it's especially meaningful to me.   Notice--also close to home now--that the U. of Minnesota law school is cutting admissions.

Now if we had sane economic policies--pretty much reverse most of what has been done since 2006--it's likely that the economy would pick up, but all in all, I dare suggest that it's long past time for would-be students to justify their degree plan to a banker whose neck is on the line for whether that loan gets repaid or not.  At the very least, we need to start restricting student loans to those who have a realistic chance of graduation--meaning "not the bottom third of incoming students", who have an approximately 17% chance of getting a degree.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dressing a wife, or trying to hold it together?

My wife and I recently (at the encouragement of dear sister Elspeth) took a look at a neat little book called "Wife Dressing", and I figure that a review from the male point of view might be of interest.

Or perhaps "amateur detective perspective" might be more accurate, as a look at Anne Fogarty's wiki page  puts the book in interesting perspective.  She married her first husband in 1940 and was married for over 17 years; the book was published in 1959.  Do the math; she was writing and editing her book as, or after, her marriage fell apart, and yet somehow she remains strongly in favor of marriage, and even of the Biblical model of marriage, including male headship.

This is more remarkable yet given that there was no such thing as no fault divorce in 1957; she, or her husband, had to allege divorce-worthy behavior to get that divorce granted.  What was it?  Look at the husband's obituary; it lists his profession as an art professor and artist, including figure and life drawing, and the obituary lists two daughters that could not have been Anne's--she lists only two adopted sons in the book.  My best guess is that he traded in his wife on a younger model, if you catch my drift.

It also is worth noting that unless he inherited a fair amount of money from his father (also an artist), it doesn't seem likely that he could have supported his wife in the style the book describes--professors get paid well, but not well enough for a large Manhattan apartment or home filled with the work of couturers to the tune of dozens of traveling trunks.  I'd guess she earned most of the money, but--radical patriarchy here on her part--she treated her paycheck as his to dispose of.  The book and the wiki bio give little idea of her religious life, but her view of marriage puts many "fundagelicals" to shame.

(other things of interest include that the sons were adopted, and the obituary of the husband contains no mention of military service, although he was a very draftable 25-26 years old in 1942)

And the fashion advice?   Quite frankly, my Midwestern/Scots blood rebels at the idea that one ought to buy lower quality garments and keep up with fashion trends.  Give me one pair of Allen Edmonds instead of the entire stock of a typical Wal-Mart or Target.  Give me one nice Pendleton shirt instead of the whole warehouse of cheap flannels.  Nobody cares that I've been wearing my Lodge Shirt for 24 years, or my wing tips for 14, and nobody cares that my wife's Beautifeels are 16 years old, and her Pendleton skirts over 20.  Well, maybe in Manhattan, but we don't go there often.  And tons of clothes instead of the other things we can do with that money?   Simply not my language!

Where the author goes right in fashion is to note that what's underneath is important--I'd add whether that's one's natural frame/musculature or a garment--and to note that ultimately, one needs to dress for the enjoyment and comfort of those who are most important--one's spouse, hence the title.  Really, that last bit is a contribution worth ten times the purchase price.  She doesn't use time telling women how to dress for their body type, but rather says....talk to your husband.

It's something we need to hear more in this day and age, especially in the church.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Navy builds new battlecruisers?

It's something that we can't apparently learn well enough; that ships cannot outrun artillery or missiles.  One would figure that the lessons of the Battle of Jutland (where lightly armored "battlecruisers" were target practice for battleships) would still be taught in Annapolis, but apparently we need to re-learn this from time to time.