Friday, October 30, 2015

More on the Hilliary email scandals

Probably the best part of Hilliary Clinton's recent testimony before Congress was where it was revealed that even as the Benghazi tragedy/atrocity was occurring, she was sending emails to her family stating that she knew it was not a response to a video, but rather a preplanned attack by elements of Al Qaida.

Now think about this one for a minute; news reports had not come out with any reliable data.  The only way Hilliary could have stated this was would be to reference CIA and other intelligence sources on the ground there--and this would be "born classified" information, and she would know it.

Bill and Chelsea, not working for the government, presumably do not have security clearances.  So Hilliary is, by her own testimony, guilty not just of mishandling classified information, but also guilty of sharing it with people not entitled to receive it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Domestic abuse and the Duluth Model, part 1: Patriarchy

Chris in NZ pointed me to some interesting things about our system of dealing with domestic violence; it is predicated in great part on something called the Duluth Model.  This model, in a nutshell, states that domestic violence results primarily from "patriarchal ideology in which men are encouraged and expected to control their partners", and proposes a "Power and Control Wheel" to illustrate the issue and help coach men and women to avoid these behaviors. 

Now let's take a look at the basic premiss; that patriarchy, loosely defined as a social system in which men predominate in positions of authority in politics, religion, and property.  The Duluth model appears to invoke a strict view of patriarchy as one where men enforce the hierarchy--though skeptics might point out that those formulating the Duluth model do appear to have conflated the "loose" and "strict" definitions of patriarchy.

That said, let's take them at their word and test it with a couple of hypotheses.  If, indeed, domestic violence results from men thinking they "need" to impose this control, then we should be able to statistically measure this.  In our country, however, talking about "keeping women in line" is largely a joke--there are fringes who believe this, but reality is that such attitudes became gauche decades ago.

Moreover, if patriarchy is the root cause of domestic violence, we should also expect that it should be virtually nonexistent among women, lesbians, and male homosexuals; we find that the opposite is true.  It's actually more common among male and female homosexuals, and almost as common among women as it is among men.   Moreover, it's been found that domestic violence is higher among unwed couples than it is among the married.

So if indeed "patriarchy" is even a significant cause for domestic violence, it's not exclusive, and it may not even be #1 or #2 on the Pareto.   So by the "GIGO" (garbage in, garbage out) principle, the Duluth Model looks to be in trouble.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An exhortation, a WHAT?, and some good news

First of all, a New York EMT has been suspended without pay for attempting to clear the airway of a choking girl without a call being issued.  Shame on Assist Ambulance for this moronic decision, kudos to Qwasi Reid for recognizing where company policy's authority ended and basic humanity began.  Condolences as well to the family of the girl he tried to help, who is on life support and apparently brain dead.

And for crying out loud, if you haven't already, learn how to recognize choking and perform the Heimlich maneuverIt's a dismal shame that nobody at that elementary school appears to have even tried.  (don't they require first aid training for a lot of teachers and such?  I really don't get that part)

In other news, a group lead by Bombardier is claiming that they'll have a "scram-jet" ready to fly people from London to New York in half an hour--remembering my high school physics, I'm calculating an average acceleration/deceleration of over half a g--19.55'/s^2, to be precise.  For comparison's sake, imagine 15 minutes of hard acceleration  (akin to that of a Corvette) followed by 15 minutes of equally hard deceleration (akin to hard braking in a car).  Hint; if you ride, eat light and avoid spices and fat.  I think I'll be happy to ride something more sedate, personally.

Finally, some good news; a man threatening to sing Justin Bieber songs to kids has been rightly arrested.  The sad news, of course, is that it wasn't Bieber himself.

(seriously, it appears that drugs and perhaps mental illness were involved--pray for the man to find the help he needs)

U.S. Government at its, um, best

Part of the Heimatssicherheitsdienst (Department of Homeland Security, but it works better in the original German) apparently not only has more SUVs than officers, but is also leasing them, and all in the name of protecting federal buildings.  Call me weird, but isn't the point of an SUV, especially the Suburbans that the federal government loves, that it will carry more than one person, and doesn't one usually protect a the building site?  Given that a Suburban will carry four people and their gear very comfortably, and given that most building guards don't need to drive around to begin with, I'm thinking they've got about four times as many vehicles as they need at least.  Maybe ten times as many, really.

Plus, they need to remember what Dave Ramsey says about vehicle leases, and that with modifications needed and some fairly rough usage, the HSD/DHS is probably one of the worst candidates for vehicle leases out there outside of the DOD.

Iranian Engineering at its best?

Apparently, a four billion dollar, three mile long tunnel built by the Iranians in Tajikistan is plagued by potholes, water infiltration, and a lack of ventilation.  So maybe one consolation with the horrible deal President Obama made with Iran is that many of their engineers just aren't that good.

For contrast, the "Chunnel" between Dover and Calais obviously has an even worse water risk (the English Channel of course), is about ten times as long, is adequately ventilated with room for multiple lanes of traffic and trains, and only cost about twice as much to build.   It even has adequate lighting.  And, of course, the laborers working on the "Chunnel" were being paid European wages, and I'd wager a nickel or two those working on Anzob were not.

Is the altitude the issue?  Well, in the videos, I still see trees, which means the tunnel is not above tree line.  It was no more challenging, really, than Colorado's Eisenhower Tunnel.  So with a bit of luck, the state of Iranian engineering (civil engineering at least) is somewhat less advanced than that of the United States 40 years ago, at best. 

And that's probably being nice, since we built the Moffat Tunnel through the Rockies in 1928.   Let's hope and pray that Iranian physicists and nuclear engineers also have abilities that parallel those of that era for obvious reasons.   Maybe we should even tell them, as a certain Austrian corporal noted, that the physics involved are "Jewish"?   They might not proceed if they know that.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A truly impressive investigation

Yes, I'm of course talking about the Obama "investigation" into the antics of the IRS, which (Lois Lerner) flat out admitted using political affiliation as a proxy for enhanced scrutiny.  It was, according to the DOJ, evidence of mismanagement, but not a crime.

Of course, they're not going to tell us what kinds of corrective actions were performed to prevent it happening again....because quite frankly, the results of this "mismanagement" were awfully convenient to Mr. Obama, keeping some of his political opponents on the sidelines in 2012 and 2014. 

Now let's ignore Lois Lerner's obvious perjury before Congress when asked about the matter in 2012, when she stated point blank that nothing of the sort happened.  Let's ignore, for the moment, egregious violations of FOIA provisions and destruction of evidence--yes, both are prosecutable crimes.  Let's ignore emails not backed up, the whole nine yards.

Rather, in one article I read, it was noted that they'd done over 100 interviews and reviewed over a million documents.  It sounds impressive, but....let's be real here.  All this means is they did an interview each week of the investigation (don't overwork yourselves, boys!) and reviewed what is a fairly small number of documents considering the extent of what plaintiffs like the ACLJ are alleging and documenting.   Even the number of emails sent and received by the IRS employees directly involved would likely exceed this number.

For comparison, if one follows this case of a tragic drug overdose, you'll be able to infer that the NYPD interviewed most of the residents of the building where the body was found, family and neighbors, friends, and others at the bars the deceased went to.  I would also guess that emails and other communication were also taken as evidence--if only to possibly put drug dealers behind bars.  So what the IRS took two years to do, the NYPD did in two days or so.

In other words, the very numbers presented by the DOJ indicate that the investigation was halfhearted at best, not following up on obvious leads, parallel sources, and the like.  This also explains why we don't see  any protest resignations; the investigation was probably only a part time project for a few people.  Being politically trustworthy--like the ones I anticipate will be used to investigate Hilliary Clinton's abuse of confidential information--they could keep it all hush-hush.

Profiles in bad management

One thing that really catches my eye about the Congressional interrogation of Hilliary Clinton is that apparently the Benghazi consulate asked for greater security no less than 600 times, but she claimed that the matter never reached her desk.

Now, of course, it's likely that when the Russians and Chinese release Hilliary's emails to the world, we're going to find that she indeed did hear about the matter, but let's take her at her word and assume this is in fact true.  The State Department got no less than 600 requests, and not one of them got elevated beyond the people who were denying them.  Never did the requester decide to go above the heads of the security professionals.

This indicates a huge issue in the State Department--people appear to be very able to keep unpolitic realities at bay there for huge amounts of time.  To draw a picture, when I had colleagues at a former employer with a plan that would gut reliability testing, I did eventually bring people in at the VP level regarding the matter--and the offenders quickly left the company.  If indeed this does not happen at the State Department, there is a reason--most likely that if you go above peoples' heads, retribution will be swift, severe, and even career-ending.

It's a bummer that we don't have independent auditors who could take a serious look at the culture there to see what's really going on.  It would appear that there is some evidence that our government has a culture that could get a lot more than just four Americans killed, to put it mildly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A woman with some spunk a woman who, when a man threatened to kill her and tried to give her a French kiss ( huh?), bit his tongue off.   Well done, and I hope you recover from your trauma soon, fair lady.

Maybe this will put the kibosh on rapists forcing their victims to perform oral sex?

Illustrating an old lawyer's adage

It is said that old time--and maybe modern--lawyers have a profound adage:

If the law is on your side, pound the law.  If the facts are on your side, pound the facts.  If neither, pound the table.

Looks like Hilliary is pounding the table in her approach to the hearings about her actions regarding Benghazi.   Looks like a great opportunity to put her under oath and catch her in some obvious perjury.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thanks, Mr. Harbaugh

Your decision to have Bill Buckner give some tips to your punter really paid off!  Go Green!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Point well taken.....

I was going to write a post pointing out how Joel Osteen's prosperity theology hardly qualifies him as a minister of the Gospel, and that if your best life is now, you're on the highway to Hell, but then he up and tells us that we shouldn't debate people who aren't Christian.

Well, there you go.  You're off the hook, Joel.   With me, if not with God.

Musing on immigration detainers....

In a recent article in the local paper, a number of local sheriffs noted that they are refusing to honor detainers issued by ICE because it would require them to detain them longer than their given sentence, and that would be a violation of their rights.

And you know, as much as I want our government to show the door to criminal immigrants (legal or illegal), I've got to respect that.  It is in effect an unlawful extension of their sentence.  But that said, let's ask a simple question.

With only 340 sanctuary cities (about ten of them within 30 miles of my home and probably another dozen within 100 miles of my home), exactly what prevents ICE from, say, showing up to apprehend them on the scheduled day of their release?  A quick look at the locations of sanctuary cities seems to indicate that about a dozen teams of ICE agents with a van of bus could apprehend almost all of the 9000 or so criminal illegal immigrants that sanctuary cities release each year and make sanctuary cities, counties, and states really a moot point.

Do we have an immigration crisis, a sanctuary city crisis, or simply a lack of clear thinking in Washington, DC?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We're Number One!

The United States apparently tops the world for obesity, according to the OECD.   Booyah!

Sad to say, my kids are not doing their part to help their native land in this vitally important statistic, and they've even been known to favor broccoli over donuts, and have even been known to tell this highly insensitive joke their father taught them:

Q.  What's the difference between a Wal-Mart and a Target shopper?

A.  About 50 pounds.

Seriously, as one who struggles a touch with weight myself, I get how hard things can be in this country--corn subsidies make high calorie foods cheaper, and even without those, too much of our food is made palatable not by skill, but rather by the insertion of large amounts of fat, sugar, and salt.  Want a cure?  I can't recommend anything more highly than the Mayo Clinic Diet.  Here are some of the results for me--it's certainly not easy, but suffice it to say that its results for me are that my lipids and weight have improved to a point generally achieved by statins.  If you pay attention to your numbers--weight, fat %, lipids, blood pressure, etc.--you can take the steps to avoid or mitigate heart disease, diabetes, back/hip/knee problems, and other things associated with excessive weight and poor diet.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Speaking of lumberjacks.....

.....apparently "Jihadi John" likes to do the tango with captive men.  Not that there's anything wrong or weird about that, of course, but somehow it brings this to mind.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Now this is interesting

Captain Capitalism does a little bit of digging, and has apparently found some Census Bureau data which indicates that there are about 17 million more mothers in our country than fathers.  Let's assume that the data are relatively correct (not a given, but let's go with it), and do a little bit of math. 

Given an overall rate of about 30-40% for single parenting, this would indicate that the average single mom has children by two different fathers.  Now I would guess this means that a good portion (let's say half) have children by one father, maybe a quarter by two, and the rest have children by three or more fathers, and it is interesting that the same Census reports indicate that about half of single mothers report that the fathers of their children are delinquent on child support payments.

I am going to walk this one back a bit.  This data merely means that some portion of men are fathering children by more than one woman.  While I know a fair number of single moms with children by more than one father, I can't demonstrate this statistically from the numbers here.  So I retract that part.  What is striking here is that, minus women left widowed and such, a fair number of women are in effect sharing the affections of their men with other women.

We could still infer, however, that with many women in effect "sharing" men, that those men would have difficulty making child support payments to multiple women, if they were even requested, and that as such it is no surprise that about half of single mothers report the fathers of their children are delinquent on child support payments.

I would also guess that they're more likely to receive welfare benefits, and fatherless children are also far more likely to commit crimes.  At a cost of over a trillion dollars annually, maybe it's time to tell guys making child support payments to multiple women to learn what a bag of frozen peas is for. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Protesting the obvious....

...are a group of vocal parents in Fort Mill, South Carolina, who are apparently unaware that it is generally the young ladies who bare large portions of their torsos during school dances and at other functions.  Perhaps they've never gone to the mall, or church, or a school function, or elsewhere where teens are to be found?

No, folks, it's not sexism, but rather reality.  Young ladies know that putting themselves on display will get attention from young men; young men know that doing the same know that they will tend to get the disdain of both sexes. 

Maybe that will change over time, but I've got the crazy idea that we ought to design our policies around reality.

Brilliant example of appeal to authority fallacy... this brilliant bit of cross examination by Senator Ted Cruz of Aaron Mair, the head of the Sierra Club, who repeatedly responds to questions of whether the Sierra Club would retract his testimony upon presentation of contrary evidence (like satellite temperature measurements of the last 18 years) by noting that he "agrees with 97% of scientists."

Sorry, Sierra Club, and sorry, Mr. Mair, but we have a phrase in my profession:  "In God we Trust; all others must provide data."  If you appeal to authority, you are ipso facto not appealing to science.  The weakness of climatology research is demonstrated in tactics like this.

Please, please, please don't do this

It appears that a growing number of marriage therapists are bent on introducing one of Deming's seven deadly diseases of management--number three to be specific--to the marriage relationship.  Yes, they are really advocating that couples have an annual performance review.

One would think that they were paid off by divorce lawyers to recommend this, as in work life, the performance review is at best a nonissue--the manager has communicated his views and feedback to the employee already, so it introduces no new information besides the size of the raise, if that.

At worst, the manager does introduce new information to the employee, and since the manager has waited an average of nine months to give this feedback, it is outdated and invariably negative.  Who waits to give positive feedback, after all?  Attaboys and Attagirls do not cause confrontations.  And in many cases, since the manager has waited a long time to give feedback, the information is false--there have been a couple of cases where I felt downright slanderous.

It also strikes me that, while I do hold to the Biblical doctrine of headship, even the most submissive wives are going to get a touch grouchy (to put it mildly) at being treated as an employee. 

So if you want to have a better marriage, don't do this, but rather simply make a practice of routine self-evaluation and asking your spouse how things are going.  Waiting months to give negative feedback is simply a great way of getting divorce papers served.

But on the bright side, the psychologists are choosing only one deadly disease, which is better than the city of New York can say.  They're encouraging promiscuous Gothamites to get IUDs, which of course exposes them to far more than seven deadly diseases.  #50 Shades of Stupid.

Monday, October 05, 2015


Apparently, Doug Wilson has gotten himself into (yet another) kerfuffle by making the horrible observation that Christian women are prettier, and then defending that wild claim.  Because, of course, it must be a sin to notice that a woman (or man) is attractive, which is why Christ explicitly condemns the Holy Spirit for noticing that Rachel and David (and a bunch of others) were attractive.

Um, wait, not in my Bible.  No, our Lord does not do this.  So wait a minute on this one; if God Himself can notice that a person is attractive without sinning (and of course that's the case), exactly why would we say that a person cannot do the same?  It is as if we've forgotten the difference between a smile and a leer. 

Now there may be great reason not to verbalize the fact that many of our sisters in church are very pretty in some cases--our current culture being about 100 of those reasons--but if we outright say there's something wrong with noticing, we're really coming close to saying something about our Counselor that we really ought not say.  And the Bible does say something about that.

And what's even more humiliating?

Easy.  The debate team from Harvard, a fine private university, were caught off guard by the argument that private schools might do a better job than public schools in educating students.  Um, and you were going to Harvard and not the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople exactly why?  Because you wanted to throw away enough to buy a nice new SUV each year?

Apparently they did, for all the good paying all that tuition appears to be doing them.

Friday, October 02, 2015

What's more humiliating....

....than finding out your nation's national women's soccer team is half men, as Iranian fans appear to be learning now?

Finding out your nation's women's soccer team is half men, and still couldn't  get any medals at the Olympics or even get into the women's World Cup.  But who can blame them?  They really wanted to be....lumberjacks, of course.

What happens when you intimidate the police?

Just ask the residents of St. Louis, which this year overtook Detroit as the nation's murder capital. 

Yes, let's change the gun laws....

Predictably, President Obama has responded to the atrocity in Oregon by asking for a change in gun laws.  Now this may come as a surprise to readers here, but I'm all for it.  Let's change the gun laws.

We can start by requiring public colleges to allow carry permit holders to carry on campus, so that there is at least a chance of someone shooting back.  This is yet another atrocity that has occurred in a so-called "gun free zone". 

(probably not what the President was thinking of, but it would be a great start)

Along these lines, when I was in carry permit class, I wondered whether a victim of such a crime (or his estate) might someday sue because he was compelled to be unarmed in such a situation.  Now for the private sector, this kind of lawsuit probably won't fly because it can be assumed that the person has consented to that arrangement and has other reasonable options.

For colleges, however, public colleges are more or less the main gateway to a better life for a majority of the middle class and poor, and one can argue that one is more or less compelled to either take the deal or work retail or basic labor for all of one's life.  Hence I think that in the right setting, a good lawyer might be able to make that case.

And I hope one does.  Too many people have died because they and their neighbors were denied the right to self-defense.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Georgia and Denmark

Update; the 103 year old woman who was forced out of the church her family helped to found is now going back, as the "Holiness" pastor with whom she disagreed has left.  Regrettably, he's leaving to found a new church and does not appear to have even seriously discussed the issue of whether holiness methods are appropriate in a Baptist church.  My take--as a person who is convinced of Baptist distinctives but who shudders at a lot of the externally imposed rules we like (a trait shared with many holiness churches)--is that while I and my Baptist brethren often could use a shock from the cattle prod to get our hands out of our pockets and our feet un-nailed to the floor, there is yet another way to get there besides the holiness movement.

I've been, and remain, interested in the pietist movement and is founder, Philip Jakob Spener (and even own the Torah and History of the Berlenburger Bibel), but I think that things have gone to a point that neither Spener nor Scripture recommend.  And I grieve for the situation this woman finds herself in.  All too often, we seem to think that an acrimonious church split is our signal that we have the character and wisdom it takes to found a new church.  (Hello?  Is anyone in there?)

In other news, a Danish travel agency is offering would-be grandmothers the chance to buy a vacation for their childless children on the idea that if they can only get them on a beach with their loved one, that nature will take its course and grandchildren will result--making grandmothers joyful and Denmark prosperous.

But yes, party-pooper that I am, I have to be reminded that I seem to remember that Scandinavians seem to have had higher birth rates prior to the time they really started infesting Mediterranean beaches en masse,  so it does not seem that sun and sand and a bikini (bottom at least, they're European of course) is truly a recipe for making babies.  Rather, I'd have to suggest that when we live for our own pleasures--something that is at least compatible with the notion of spending a month on the beach in France or Greece every year--then sharing that pleasure with a demanding infant isn't going to be high on the "to do" list.

Never mind the absurdity of thinking that sand you-know-where, sunburn, and the general tiredness of travel are going to help a couple that's open to God's command to "be fruitful and multiply", if you catch my drift.  I like vacations and the beach, but let's be serious here.

Update on tiny houses/RVs

Yes, it's time to promote the Airstream company again at the expense of Tumbleweed.  Why so?

Well, one of the Tumblewood company's "poster couples" for their product has learned that after towing their RV or "tiny home" less than 20,000 miles, the tow vehicle is on its last legs and needs serious repair or replacement.

I don't think it's the vehicle's fault; it's an F250 Powerstroke 4x4 is said to have been capable of towing 12,500 lbs, and the "tiny home" only weighs in at 10,100 lbs.  My aunt, who works at renaissance festivals, puts tens of thousands of miles on her Chevy one ton each year and has few problems.   The neat thing, for comparison's sake, is that my aunt's home is much larger (it's a25' or so with slide outs and all) and nicer, and she's getting better mileage even with the gasoline engine.  So what gives?

Well, the Tumbleweed is close to the weight limit and has all the aerodynamics of a cardboard box.  Hence a truck that should be getting about 12mpg or more with a 150 square foot camper is getting about eight, and the transmission, engine, and suspension are begging for mercy. 

Lesson learned, again; if you really value the environment, skip the Tumbleweed and look at a well designed trailer like the Airstream.  Depending on the model, you can tow it with a half ton pickup or even an SUV like the GMC Acadia, and it will cost less, have more room for living, and you won't have that wonderful composting toilet smell all the time.  Wins all around.