Sunday, April 28, 2013

A glorious day.....

.....with a bike ride to church and home, and a hilarious rule for the use of my new home's bike paths.

Rule: cannot use bike path before 7am.

Name of bike path:  Sunrise bike path.

So apparently, you can use the Sunrise bike path as long as it's not anywhere near sunrise.  OK......

Friday, April 26, 2013

Those who cannot remember the past....

are of course condemned to repeat it, as Santayana noted, and it's especially telling about the past that President Obama forgot, or ignored, in his recent address to Planned Parenthood.  Lauding "100 years of service", it would have been interesting if someone in the press had asked him whether that would include the historic racist and eugenic policies of Planned Parenthood. 

Or, for that matter, if it would include the group's failure to ensure basic sanitary conditions at its clinic in Delaware, or the group's opposition to reporting of likely cases of statutory rape (and documented failure to comply with the law where it exists), or their affiliation with Kermit Gosnell.

I'm no friend of Roe V. Wade, but if I were, I hope I'd still be asking these questions.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's all in how you view life

Take a gander at this article endorsing greater government involvement in, ans subsidies for, daycare.  It's a brilliant picture of looking only at the intentions, and not the actual results.

For starters, they note that, in real terms, the price of daycare has doubled in the past 30 years, and that government is trying to help with daycare tax credits--but don't notice that the increase in cost is, at $59/week ($3000/year), identical to the childcare tax credit maximum.  It appears that government isn't helping at all, but is rather driving up the cost of daycare.

Going on, the article notes that the tax credits increase workforce participation and "pay for themselves" in tax revenue.  Well, yes; if you pay for daycare, Mom (or Dad for that matter) is more likely to work, and the tax revenue from a minimum wage job at 40 hours per week is (assuming Dad is also working) over $4000 at the state and federal level--more than enough to pay for tax credit.

What's unasked, however, is whether Mom (Dad) and child are actually better off.  Contrary to the article's contentions, there are no data which indicate that daycare actually does better than a parent in parenting, especially when you're dealing with people who are not in poverty. 

Financially?  Well, I ran the numbers, and a woman making minimum wage with one child will take home about $7000/year--only half her official wage--after taxes.  With two children, it's $2000/year.  The woman making the median wage (and remember, women on average only earn 77% of what men do) will take home $15300, and with two, it's only $10,000. 

In short, not a lot to pay for vehicle expenses, necessary meals out of the home, and work attire. 

A final comment in "favor" of subsidized daycare is that companies find that it helps retention and recruitment.  OK, so is this an unalloyed good, or is it another case of "golden shackles"?  Yes, I'm leaning towards the latter.

You see, it's all in the questions you ask, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The face of legal abortion in America, once again, Kermit Gosnell's.  How so?  A Planned Parenthood clinic in Delaware has been closed due to the same kind of sanitary violations alleged in the Gosnell case.

Most shocking; the doctor apparently refused to use gloves or clean his instruments, despite certainly knowing that the CDC has told us that about half of adults are carrying an STD, and that young people can more or less expect to get one at least once in their lives, and that his patients--obviously sexually active--were at even greater risk for this.

Translated, this means he chose to endanger his own health and the health of his customers, and the discomfort of nitrile gloves doesn't seem like a sufficient motive for refusing to wear them, if you catch my drift.  If the press does its job here, this could get really, really gross, and quickly.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The more things change.....

I've picked up a volume of Sherlock Holmes lately, and one thing that strikes me is Holmes'--OK really Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's--disdain for the intellect of the police.  It's hard to turn the page without a cheap shot being taken at Scotland Yard, really.

In other words, choosing peace officers for brute force, rather than for the ability to outsmart the criminal world, isn't just a phenomenon of the LAPD or New London, Connecticut.  It isn't limited to officers threatening McDonald's workers because their McDouble is coming too slowly.

No, it's apparently an old tradition of substituting intimidation for thought, and I would suggest that it has a lot to do with the fact that most homicides aren't solved these days.   In too many cases (read; most big city police departments), the system is designed to prevent smart people from working there, and therefore it's designed to prevent the hard cases from being cracked.

And if it's scary to you to contemplate a lack of intellect among the officers in places like New London (or Detroit, or Chicago, or elsewhere), contemplate the fact that to become a chief of police, one must first become an officer.  In other words, to reach the highest ranks of many police departments, you must first prove your mediocrity.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How to fail at just about anything

Now you my get your way, as President Obama has repeatedly, but if you want your work to be a failure, you can do little better than to approach it as our "Dear Leader" is doing right now.

How so?  Well, he's announcing that since he didn't get his way on universal background checks, he's only now going to investigate the possibility of altering privacy regulations to enhance the reporting of mental illness to the Brady check database.

Now why is this a failure?  Simple.  He had almost everyone, including the NRA, endorsing better mental illness controls, and apparently nobody has been working on this.  In other words, he's going for the "quick kill" as he did with the Health Insurance Deform Act ("Obamacare"), and the ugly reality is that even if he "wins", we all lose because it's simply not well thought out.

Just ask Max Baucus.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jackbooted thug of the week

Georgia detective Scott Biumi points gun at McDonald's worker in drive-through.  Now I'll grant that McDonalds' food is sometimes a crime, but I'm pretty sure that it can be dealt with by "not eating there." 

Maybe this explains why many donut shops serve the "thin blue line" for free.  :^)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Academy may be dying..... least if this study from the University of Colorado at Boulder is indicative.  A professor there (in the sociology department of course) uses the example of movies to argue that it's incontestable that people build their happiness, or lack thereof, off their relative frequency of sexual relations vs. that of others, and that we routinely ask other people how often they're having sex.

In related news, another "Ski U" professor has proven from the movies that nobody ever goes to church unless they're being chased by a homicidal maniac and need to take communion to protect them from the Devil, that nobody is married but everybody is having sex at the drop of a hat (at least if anyone wore hats anymore), all clergy not protecting promiscuous teenagers from the Devil are devils themselves, and that 95% of people in the world are young, impossibly attractive, and of course, promiscuous.

The Buffs aren't likely to go to the Rose Bowl anytime soon, but they're becoming seriously competitive in the "stupidest liberal arts professors" with the likes of Stanford and Berkeley already.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on the Kermit Gosnell case

For those of you who get your news from places like CNN and MSNBC, Kermit Gosnell is a Philadelphia abortion provider who has been credibly accused of murder, use of unqualified personnel in his clinic, failure to perform adequate sanitation (resulting in infections of his patients), tax evasion, and a whole lot more.

How did this happen? Let's answer with a quesion; what is the moral and ethical difference between prenatal and postnatal infanticide, other than the setting?  Were protesters of Roe v. Wade right all along, that once the barrier to destroying innocent human life is breached, that only a gossamer film of law protected the rest of us?

To answer that, let's look at how Gosnell and others have treated their patients and staff.  Are clients protected from infection by appropriate sanitation?  Do they report cases of clear statutory rape to authorities?  Do they protect the rights of their employees by paying them honestly and treating them fairly?  Do they protect clients by referring them to emergency care when needed?

As far as I've seen, there is a litany of doctors who don't do this minimal due diligence, not just Gosnell, and no less than Planned Parenthood has stood against reporting of statutory rape, requirements for emergency care, and even had one representative claim that the fate of infants born alive after an abortion attempt is "between the woman and the doctor."

In other words, the law of the land appears to be indeed a gossamer barrier between life and death in the abortion clinic, and the new face of pro-choice is that of Kermit Gosnell.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yet another reason to homeschool

A high school teacher in upstate New York has apparently decided to tell students to imagine he was a Nazi official, and write to persuade him (?) that they are loyal to the same by writing an essay demonstrating the "evil" of Jews from Nazi propaganda.

Now thankfully, a full third of the students had more sense than the average Florida Atlantic University student, and refused, but it says something when a teacher in New York of all places thinks that this kind of thing is appropriate.  Isn't the "values clarification" and "diversity" classwork in most schools of education supposed to prevent this kind of thing?

Or, when we think about it, might we wonder if it's supposed to cause these kinds of things?  I'm leaning more and more to the latter.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why you don't want to trust government

In light of today's cloture vote allowing the Senate to pass its version of a bill requiring nearly universal background checks for firearm purchases, I thought it might be useful to offer a few examples why we want to limit government databases of the kind that the BATF created back in 1994 when the original Brady chec was passed.  (h/t SayAnythingBlog)

First, apparently the Missouri Highway Patrol has released the personal information of all 163,000 carry permit holders to the Social Security Administration, sans warrant, to determine if the mentally disabled were getting carry permits.  Most likely, they perpetrators at the SSA were trying to get around prohibitions of sharing their information with the DOJ.   But you can trust government with a database; really you can!

Next, the District of Columbia, California, and Connecticut have apparently decided (giant suck-up to the Smoker-in-Chief?) that smoking--probably the most voluntary of all health hazards known--is a "pre-existing condition" , and therefore insurance companies can't charge extra for a habit that increases the risk of lung cancer by a factor of 40.  

Third, the Obama budget (only nine weeks late while he was out campaigning again!) has a number of insane provisions, and one notable example is a limit of the value of IRA/401k accounts to about three million dollars.  Now regrettably this does not impact me at present, but it's hard to overstate how bad an idea this is. 

For starters, those individuals affected were promised a delay in taxation until retirement, and so this is a breach of contract by the government that at least comes close to violating the prohibitions on ex post facto laws.  Next, in forcing people to divest funds to pay taxes on them during work years, it generates financial instability--just what we need right now, of course.

Probably most importantly, though, it's yet another place where government means-testing is discouraging savings, and it's worth remembering that an excess of borrowing is what led to the current malaise. 

Finally, we have here (H/T Doug Powers on Michelle Malkin's site) a cancelled order for bagpipes from the Department of Homeland SecurityHeimatssicherheitsdienst.  So not content with using expensive hollowpoint ammunition for target practice (we hope), they're "investing" in instruments not relevant to their role. 

Now if you still think the government can have a beneficial role in preventing mass killings, I submit to you a list of all of the recent perpetrators who would have been stopped by a background check at a gun show:

In reality, most of the recent killers had passed the checks, and the others stole their weapons, just like the NRA has been telling us.  Hopefully the bill dies a quick, painful death in the House of Representatives.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Corporate welfare hitting home

One of the big hitters in this year's Minnesota legislative session is a request, or demand, from the Mayo Clinic here in Rochester for $500 million in infrastructure for a big expansion.   Now on one side, I understand the request--it's hard to get to the Mayo or Gonda buildings, and not much easier to get to St. Mary's unless you're on board Mayo One.  The city has simply not kept up with the needs of its biggest employer over the years.

However, does a state subsidy cure this?   Keep in mind here that the city has worked against Mayo's interests in any number of ways.  There isn't much housing that would appeal to the doctors and other highly paid professionals (mostly small lots/tract houses), and the school systems here....well, suffice it to say that homeschooling in Minnesota started around Rochester for a reason.  The schools aren't bad, but they aren't "doctor good", either.  Hence a lot of doctors (and QEs) who work in Rochester commute.

So in a nutshell, what the subsidy would do would be to buy time for the city to once again neglect its biggest employer.....and it appears that the city, in part due to its housing policies, simply doesn't have the tax base to get this right even if there would be repentance in City Hall--where ironically the mayor is a former Mayo administrator, and should know better.

Looks like Rochester, and Minnesota as a whole, needs to consider the fact that if they don't get their act together, employers like Mayo are going to realize that there are a lot of places with excellent transportation, low taxes, year round golf, and winning football teams.  And it's a bigger deal than a one time hit for roads and sewers.

Don't make policy based on this correlation!

Walter Williams' latest appears to demonstrate that black unemployment was lowest during the dark years of Jim Crow and other forms of institutionalized racism, rose during the start of the Great Society, and now is reaching new heights under the Obama administration.  In other words, what the Klan and such failed to do (and thankfully so) in years past, the welfare state and our first black President have, um, "achieved."  With friends like these, blacks don't need any enemies.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The failure of the Great Society and the Welfare State in a Simple Phrase

It takes a village, otherwise known as the notion that children belong not to their parents, but to "society" and therefore ultimately the state.  Ignoring 6000 years of history and the evidence that the best predictor of a child's success is the marital status and attitudes of his parents, they proceed to re-try the experiment ("maybe the results we'll change now that smart people like us are in charge!") and wonder why the results are the same.

It is as if blood is thicker than water, or even tax revenues.

Let's worry about a drone strike

I'm not usually a fan of anonymous sources, but apparently anonymous sources within the White House have released this diagram illustrating the various types of terrorists to be found in the United States, and who might be subject to a drone strike whenever Eric Holder is persuaded that his dimly-lit legal rationale for withholding drone strikes is incorrect.  (h/T Vox Day)  Here is the diagram:

From the top left, I'm certainly #1 and sometimes #4, my wife is #3 and #5, my children have been #6 and #14 and #17, our family is #10 (will become #9 if no drones strike), and we've got three apparati that look a little bit like #22.  So if you hear about a home in the Wasioja metropolitan area being vaporized due to such terrorism, now you know what happened.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Deep thoughts, or otherwise

Having just read Treasure Island, I'm thinking that it would be fun to go to Long John Silver's and ask for rum, and see if anyone gets the joke.

Along those lines, it's interesting to see how prominently liquor, especially rum, is featured in the "diets" (as it were) of the characters, Stevenson even doing a fair job portraying the onset of delirium tremens in the character of Billy Bones.  Suffice it to say that my liver is happy not to be on board with Captain Flint and Mr. Silver.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A company that gets it

Yoga attire (hey Boo-Boo, let's get ourselves a picnic basket!) maker Lululemon has apparently invited their chief product executive to "pursue other opportunities."  Like too many other product managers, this executive thought that her path to fame and fortune was in making the product monotonically cheaper, in this case by making the knit fabric lighter and lighter and lighter.....

Unfortunately for the company, they didn't see through this rather transparent scheme (sorry, couldn't resist) until it was too late, but at least they're doing the right thing now.

Side note; if you guessed that many product managers earn the contempt of quality engineers by doing this, you would be correct.

Side note 2: if you guessed that my family of knitters is incredulous that a chief product executive wouldn't be able to figure out that a particular knit fabric would be see-through, you would also be correct.

Some statistics for those who advocate women in combat

Vox has helpfully provided a link to the further success of the Obama administration to get women into combat.  How well will they do?

Well, four of four women who have attempted the initial test on entry to combat infantry school have failed, and in the most recent class, 96 of 108 men in the class passed.  Here is the statistical comparison:

Sample X N Sample p
1 12 108 0.111111

2 4 4 1.000000

Difference = p (1) - p (2)

Estimate for difference: -0.888889

95% CI for difference: (-0.948159, -0.829618)

Test for difference = 0 (vs not = 0): Z = -29.39 P-Value = 0.000

* NOTE * The normal approximation may be inaccurate for small samples.

Fisher's exact test: P-Value = 0.000
In other words, even with cherry-picked candidates and a mandate to try to make things work, it is certain that female officers are a statistically different group from Marine infantry officers.  Hoping that the Obama administration will get a clue and back off from this policy that might get a bunch of good men and women killed?

Dream on.  The Corps is going to study this until 2016, after which Mr. Obama conveniently hands this stink-bomb off to his successor.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Want a big cut in federal spending?

Well, if Jonah Goldberg's sources are correct, all we need to do is to require Social Security disability recipients to submit to a medical exam to see if they are, in fact, disabled.  More or less, FDR's dictum that welfare is a subtle narcotic destroying the human spirit is being lived out in the disability ranks, where apparently many doctors are rubber stamping disability applications, and the overall disability rate is nine times higher than in the 1960s and rising.

If the statistics from Great Britain are indicative, the overal number of recipients would go down by about two thirds.  In the United States, this would be about five million people currently receiving benefits, or most likely somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred billion dollars. 

Write your Congressman.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Contemplations on gun control

Perhaps the reason Mr. Obama wants to ban 30 round magazines is because he's afraid that many gun owners might be as bad of a shot as he is with a basketball.  Let's face it; if Mr. Obama were missing that wildly with a pistol, he could do some serious damage, couldn't he?

Also in the news, Democrats are proposing mandatory liability insurance for gun owners--well, at least Democrats in safe seats, I guess.  OK, let's think about this.  First of all, 98% or more of gun deaths are intentional (homicide or suicide), and almost all insurance policies do not cover intentional acts.   Of course, the Democrats demonstrated quite clearly in March, 2010 that they didn't exactly understand the purpose of insurance, didn't they? 

One might also suggest that if there is significant evidence that someone poses a risk to themselves or others by owning a gun, you might prohibit them from buying one--as has been done, of course, nationwide since 1968, and enforced by the Brady check since 1994.  Evidently they've forgotten about the laws they've already passed.

So what's the real purpose, besides harassing law-abiding gun owners?  Well, I'm guessing they're worried about President Obama pulling a Dick Cheney on a larger scale if he ever takes up skeet shooting for real....

Monday, April 01, 2013

Psalm 14:1 in North Korea

Take a gander  this picture of top secret North Korean military technology, which appears to be an ordinary desktop PC, probably somewhat antiquated (see roller ball mouse) in a big green metal box.  (H/T Michelle Malkin)

Now look carefully at it, and ask yourself "what's missing here?".  One answer; ventilation.  So not only are they taking a standard "Dell" PC and presenting it as if it were something brilliant, but they're also putting it in a box that will dramatically shorten its useful life.  Unless, of course, their goal is to "dual purpose" the PC for both computing and warming up the truck heater meals they just ordered online.  Which, if I were living in North Korea, I'd consider trying.

Check out this link for some more delightful pictures of cutting edge military technology from Pyongyang.  Although the word "fool" in Psalm 14:1 refers primarily to moral foolishness, I'm thinking that the principle is carrying over to how they're engineering their world, too.

Happy Atheism Day

And if you're confused, look up Psalm 14:1.

In related news, the British have decided to emulate the Aussies in terms of border control, and have dug a miles-wide moat around the whole island.  The project name for this is the "English Channel", and naysayers who argue that it's been there for thousands of years, effectively preventing invasions of decent food and wine from France, are of course being ignored.  Opponents also point out that the "Australian Channel", otherwise known as the Indian and Pacific Oceans, have failed to prevent drinkable wines from being made there, and some even argue that the island continent has even recovered from its heritage of being a penal colony English cooking.

Actually, no, they're contemplating requiring immigrants from "high risk" nations to post a bond that would be forfeited if they overstay their visa.   Suffice it to say that I'm finding it hilarious that island nations are doing more to monitor their borders than our own.