Friday, January 23, 2015

Well, almost the point I'd make

Lori Alexander links an interesting list of things by a newlywed, and is mostly troubled by item #2; that the man has "learned" that since he's gotten married, he's usually wrong.  On the "marriage wars" theme, it strikes me that this is a variant of the old joke; If a husband says something in the forest, and his wife isn't there to hear him, is he still wrong?  She probably has a point, although the man could simply be recognizing his sin in the light his wife casts. 

What bothers me more, however, from a Biblical point of view, are thoughts #3 and #5; that there will be a lot of movies and Bravo network in the house.  Now I'm a fan of old movies, where actors and actresses were able to convey romance without disrobing, but the inclusion of Bravo--home of "Real Housewives", featuring housewives so real they'll melt if they get close to a fire--suggests that the fare being watched is not always what you'd want your kids to see.

And so I am reminded of something my wife and I learned in marriage counseling; that certain literature and film acts for women the same way that porn does for men, setting the expectation that no matter what one's own character or behavior, one will attract a rich, handsome person who will be at home at six every day and.....you know the rest.  It is a prescription for dissatisfaction, covetousness, and even adultery--the ludicrous becomes plausible in the same way it does for men with pornography.

And so the man whose wife is involved with this--or romance novels, or whose daughters have gotten hooked on horse romances--needs to step forward and fulfill his Ephesians 5 & 6 responsibilities to wash his wife in the Word.  That, along with not "lording it over" people, is a lot of what servant leadership is all about.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Solving problems vs. fishing for votes

There is plenty to dislike in President Soetoro's "State of the Union" speech, but probably the biggest obnoxious thing in it is his plan to make community college "free".  We of course start our criticism with the TANSTAAFL principle; there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  Yes, community college costs, and the only question we have about the matter is who is paying. 

And who is paying?  Well, of course, people who are wise enough to pay for their own education--Obama desires a tax on 529 plans to pay for it.  In other words, he's proposing that the government break a promise not to tax the interest on these plans, hurt the "ants" who saved for the future, and all to bless the "grasshoppers" who did not.  It's a nasty low blow if it gets passed, to put it mildly.

And what is the benefit?  Well, the graduation rate from community colleges is an abysmal 20% or less, and anyone who's been in college knows what happens with most students who do not have skin in the game--study is an afterthought at best.   For example, Pell Grant recipients have a 40% graduation rate, well below the national average.   That's what comes when the government pays your tuition without regard to your ability to get a degree.

So our supposed "benefit" is more students spending years in community college instead of learning a trade--more or less, a net loss of billions of dollars in tuition costs, plus a net loss of tens of thousands of young people in the work force learning valid trades. 

However, as Dear Leader knows well, it buys votes from those who think they are being helped, no matter what the truth of the matter is. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Potemkin SOTU

Apparently, not only are the policies President Obama has proposed economic make believe, so is the story he presented.  The family he presented as representative of common Americans is....

.....one where the wife has been a Democratic operative.   And it's not the first time he's used her as a speech prop, either.  Seems like except for the golf course, vacations in Hawaii, and dinners at clubs where it costs a half million bucks to join, the President doesn't get out much.

Not that this will stop the media from acting as if Mr. Obama is a "man of the people", of course.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sending the folk song army....

....is our Dear Leader, who apparently chose to send crack infantryman James Taylor to France to play "You've got a Friend" to atone for Mr. Obama's failure to send someone of significance to a rally in support of free speech after the "Charlie Hebdo" atrocity.  Now part of me wonders why Taylor needs to stare at his guitar to play a song he's been playing for nearly 44 years, but another part of me sees a parallel in another singer popular in the hippie era.

Yes, Dear Leader is taking diplomatic tips from Tom Lehrer, regrettably.  But enjoy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is "disparate impact" really a problem?

Powerline discusses an important--maybe--case before the Supreme Court where the Court is being asked to establish whether the criteria of "disparate impact" applies to housing.   They define it as when a policy excludes or injures a group without a legitimate interest, and give the examples of school disciplinary standards or employment standards (say for police or firefighting work) as examples where this standard has done harm.

But that said, any parent can tell you that relaxing disciplinary standards in school is guaranteed to cause problems where good students aren't allowed to learn.  Relaxing standards for police or firefighting work guarantees that crimes do not get solved and fires don't get put out readily. 

In other words, I'm at a loss to think of cases where the disparate impact criteria are met--you will find plenty of places where one minority is harmed, but not too many of them are cases where there is no legitimate reason to do so. 

So what's the problem, then?  The problem, as far as I can tell, lies in attorneys general (state and federal level) who use the tool to intimidate school districts, police departments, and the like into doing their will.  It is a legal blackmail tool. 

And so if it's happening in your area, there are two things to be done.  One can either repeal disparate impact laws, or alternatively simply rein in the attorneys general who mis-use it and encourage the victims to point out that yes, there is a very real reason for the policies in question.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Criminy

I had wanted to give the annual "Barack Obama knowledge of the Constitution Award" to Kirby Delauter for his impressive lack of devotion to the 1st Amendment, but now comes some serious competition.  Houston mayor Annise Parker has followed up on trying to subpoena sermons (another impressive 1st Amendment violation) by an impressive sixth Amendment violation; trying to unilaterally impose a bench trial in a case trying the city for wrongly invalidating petitions.  Which is, of course, another egregious 1st Amendment violation.

The question here is whether Mayor Parker leaves office due to a Texas attorney general investigation, or whether she takes a top post at the Department of Justice first.  She would be a worthy recipient of the BOKOTC award, but the year is young.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Now there's an idea

A high school principal from Alabama has requested that cans of food be brought to school to help repel intruders--keep it around, throw the can of Campbell's soup at the disgruntled student or jihadi, I guess. 

Call me weird, or perhaps a bit politically mistaken, but somehow I'm thinking of a better alternative than Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

In honor of Kirby Delauter, foolish politician

Powerline (and others) detail a fascinating exchange between a thin-skinned and Constitutionally ignorant county commissioner of Frederick, Maryland decided that journalists needed his permission to mention his name in unfavorable terms, and even threatened legal action if the journalist continued in doing so.

Kirby, if you're reading this, bring it on, but enjoy when the judge throws out your case on obscure grounds called the "First Amendment to the United States Constitution."  You've won the Boulangerie's first annual "Barack Obama knowledge of the Constitution Award", started in honor of the President's ignorance of Marbury vs. Madison and the 13th Amendment, among other issues.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

I do not think....

.....that the phrase "white privilege" means what Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal thinks it means.  The Senatress recently tweeted that she would "remember...and use" examples of people using their "white privilege".

Now apart from whether I believe in the idea of white privilege at all--I am thinking that my privilege lies not in the color of my skin, but rather in the fact that my home life featured a lot of "books" and parents who cared enough about me to keep me in certain situations and out of others--but it's worth noting that the very premiss of "white privilege" is that the mere fact of caucasian ancestors conveys certain advantages in life, and therefore whites cannot, by definition, avoid using white privilege.

And so the person who says that she will use "white privilege" against those who use it is really saying that she is going to discriminate against white people.  I guess that's one's right, or "black privilege", when one is a politically favored civil rights activist.

Hoping and praying that we can discard both concepts, though, in favor of the real things that differentiate us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

.....to you, my "legion" of readers.  Let's start with a nice ornament my daughter made.


Now, let's not forget dinner:


And finally, knowing how cold it gets this time of year, a place to warm up (sort of a Christmas gift to my wife and I)


It's not like we needed that half of the garden shed for tools, anyways.  :^)

What to do instead of protests

As far as I can tell, the goal of the protesters at the MOA this weekend (and elsewhere) is that the officers involved in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases be prosecuted.  OK, fair enough, but the grand jury's word is pretty much final; they didn't find enough evidence to indict.  So to indict them now would be to violate various parts of due process, probably including the sanctity of grand jury investigations, the prohibition of ex post facto laws, and the prohibition of double jeopardy.

In other words, to indict more or less brings back the state of affairs very well known to civil rights activists before 1964, and allow me to say that I think that black lives matter enough for us to keep the legal advances we've had since then in place.  No sane person wants a return to Jim Crow, after all.

So what is to do?   One possibility is that activists could take a good look at the evidence--it's public for the Michael Brown case at least--with the help of a good detective and lawyer and see if the prosecutor has a pattern of downplaying or even suppressing evidence that would tend to get policemen indicted.  If they find anything--and I would suggest that the USDOJ and Eric Holder are probably already looking into this--then that is cause for removal from office, disbarment, and in extreme cases, probably even jail time.  Just ask Mike Nifong.

But that said, given that the "D Team" of the USDOJ is presumably scouring everything near Ferguson and Gotham to make exactly this case, that's probably a stretch.  So the goal I'd suggest--and contribute to as God gives me the resources--is to do what it takes to reduce the chances of it happening again.  Some suggestions:

Encourage dashboard and body cameras for police, and pay for a few of them in some areas.  If the police had simply said "roll tape" to show Michael Brown either being submissive or aggressive just prior to his death, a lot of trouble could have been prevented.

Teach kids the law regarding the use of deadly force, and that picking a fight with a stranger can be the last thing they'll ever do, especially if they are large, athletic, and male. 

Encourage welfare laws to be reformed to favor work and family formation instead of penalizing those who marry those they love and get out of the house to find a job.  After all, we have 50 years of evidence now that says that what we're doing is only filling welfare rolls and prisons.

Get to know the police in your town.  Maybe everyone involved can get a sense of ownership. 

Probably a few other things can be done, and hopefully those that Walter Williams calls "race hustling poverty pimps" can get out of the way long enough to let some genuine progress be made.

Monday, December 22, 2014

On the light side

I had to laugh this morning when a GEICO commercial commemorating their 75 years of existence, dating back to 1939, claimed that way back then, there wasn't much  in terms of entertainment.  Yup, after all, it's not like anyone remembers Shirley Temple, Bill Robinson, Satchmo, Donald O'Connor, Roy Rogers & Trigger (and Dale, too), John Wayne, Fred MacMurray, Glenn Miller, Fats Waller, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and a host of others who proved that one could be entertained without seeing the private parts of the actors and actresses.

Isn't it scary that people who think there wasn't much entertainment in the late 1930s are registered to vote?

Along the same lines, my kids (and their dad) were watching Disney's version of "Robin Hood", and it struck me that not only were clear references to Biblical doctrine (e.g. one to the widow's mite), but also that the "Maid Marion" character conveys a tremendous amount of beauty and appeal while dressed (cartoon style) in the next best thing to a nun's habit, and does it while being "a real dog" (or fox I guess) without the advantages of being Julie Andrews.

So a cartoon canine and a young sister dressed in untailored robes/dresses with little skin exposure convey beauty more effectively than today's starlets, apparently.  Just might be a lesson somewhere there.

Ownership

As my dear wife notes, my family was at the Mall of America when last weekend's protest of the exonerations of two police officers took place.  Now, without going into my view of the motivations of the protesters, it strikes me that this is a great way of seeing what happens when those involved have a sense of ownership.

As I noted before, one of the tragedies in Missouri is that the protesters did not seem to have a sense of ownership in their community, and this weekend's events indicate to me that I didn't go far enough in my argument.  Another part of the tragedy is that the Ferguson police do not seem to have a sense of ownership in their community. 

I missed that part, and the Bloomington Police and the MOA organization made that very clear.  As soon as the protesters coalesced into a "flash mob" and started the protest, hundreds of police officers surrounded them as mall security (the hotel where we were had at least five or ten men at the door where we were, rocking the "Secret Service" ear bud and suitcoat look) lowered security gates to most stores and stood watch.

Since the MOA is a large portion of the tax base for the city, there was ownership, and it showed.  Reports have it that the 25 or so people arrested are going to be prosecuted fully, and this is appropriate.  The MOA didn't do anything to these people--they're not refusing to serve them at lunch counters or anything like that--and the protest probably cost the MOA and the city north of a million dollars.

Hopefully the lesson is learned; you protest those who have actually hurt you, not innocent bystanders.

Update: a commenter on my earlier post on this subject suggested that most of those arrested/making trouble were not from the area.  The Washington Post actually tested this, and 80% of those arrested are from Missouri, most from the St. Louis metro.  Now this doesn't mean that outsiders didn't have a significant impact, but it does mean that there is a significant population there that does treat their home as if it were not their own.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coming interrogation techniques

If things keep going here and in the U.K., this apparently where interrogation is going to go in the future.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to spot naked politics

If a Senate report is signed unanimously by one party and rejected unanimously the other, it's a good bet.  If that report makes clear that the committee did not talk to anyone at the agency critiqued (and accused of torture) by the report, then it's all but certain.

The proper punishment for Senatress Feinstein and the Democrats on the committee is, of course, waterboarding. The problem is, of course, that the result of waterboarding is in general confusion, and the Democrats are showing plenty of that these days without being subjected to "enhanced interrogation."  Who would notice the difference?

Another example; Jonathan Goober (oops, Gruber) has apparently been caught on tape saying the very things he denied in sworn testimony before Congress.  Just like I said.   Or, like I said elsewhere, what exactly does it take before a professor loses tenure?  Lying for fun and profit is not supposed to be protected behavior, and it got Ward Churchill removed at Colorado.

Finally, apparently in the NFL, it's OK if you knock your girlfriend unconscious--the same injury that is suspected in many suicides of former football players--but if you leave bruises on your son during discipline, that's completely wrong.  Not excusing AP here, but seriously....?