Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The real issue with the Mueller investigation...

...is not that he's hired a bunch of people who contributed to Hilliary's campaign or are otherwise obviously biased towards the left, but rather that key people in his investigation are spending large amounts of work time on politics, indicating that they are not only biased, but are also incapable of addressing allegations and evidence fairly. 


Which suggests that not only Peter Strzok and Lisa Page ought to be under scrutiny, but also Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein.  To ignore obvious conflicts of interest like this is something taught, really, in the first year of law school--and does not need to be taught to many even before they enter law school.  Time to drain the swamp.



Monday, December 11, 2017

Why politics is so brutal these days

The Alabama Senate race provides an excellent picture.  Prior to the allegations against Roy Moore, he was up by about ten points....after they came out, his opponent was up by about the same....but a few weeks later, Moore was again up by about ten points....and apparently now, for reasons I do not entirely understand, Doug Jones is up by the same margin again.


Whatever you think of either candidate, the simple fact is that if voters are that fickle and easily manipulated, the political process will feature a lot of manipulation along the lines of what we've seen.  And you know what?  We deserve it if we won't critically evaluate allegations in light of their sources, timing, and other verification or refutation.  Sad to say, it's biting the whole country on the rear, and it's exactly how "the swamp" appears to be holding its own.

A bit of a side note

I am not one to compliment Chicago much these days, with corrupt government and inept sports teams and the like, but having spent last Saturday there with the family at the Christkindlmarkt , two blocks west of the Marshall Field's flagship store, and having enjoyed lunch at Geno's, I must confess that no other city I've been in does winter style like Chicago--bright scarves, etc..


To make up for that, I got to spend about an hour in scenic downtown Gary due to mechanical problems on the South Shore Line.  Oh well, the more things change.....and it gave me time to digest my pizza on the way home, too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

How to destroy a man

I got to thinking about the case of Peter Strzok, an FBI employee who is at the center of both the Hilliary Clinton email scandals and the Robert Mueller special investigation, and beyond this excellent set of questions and links from Powerline, it strikes me that James Comey and Robert Mueller have conspired to destroy the man.


Not that Strzok escapes guilt for his own part in these actions, of course, but let's walk through his recent career.  Apparently a prominent counterintelligence expert, he was put on what appears to most observers to be an open and shut case against Hilliary Clinton, and that with the caveat that one could not come to the obvious conclusion that Mrs. Clinton had destroyed 30,000 government records (or more) and stored classified data wrongly hundreds of times.


In the Mueller investigation, he was put on the case not to investigate links of the Trump campaign with the Russians--there apparently are none of interest--but rather to put Trump associates through a full body cavity exam and drain their financial lifeblood one billable hour at a time until a Mickey Mouse conviction or two could be obtained.


Now even though Strzok appears to be quite the partisan, I'm guessing that he was suffering from a crisis of conscience and quite frankly a lot of boredom, and couldn't talk with his own wife about this.


Enter Lisa Page, with whom he can talk, because she works in the same office.


Yes, Strzok is responsible for his own actions, but at the same time, Jim Comey and Bob Mueller share some blame for making him vulnerable to this kind of temptation.


Update: apparently it gets weirder.  Apparently not only did Strzok himself conclude that Michael Flynn's testimony was truthful, but he and Page also apparently exchanged over 10,000 messages.    It boggles the mind that he got anything done, and it may be that Strzok did indeed have a conscience and was trying to cope. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

A time for gratitude

It strikes me that just as "fact check" abuses and the like indicate clearly that a great portion of the media has been weaponized on behalf of the left, abuses at the FBI like the case of Keyser Strzok detailed by Mr. D. indicate that vast portions of the federal bureaucracy have also been weaponized on behalf of the left.


Why gratitude?  Because the first thing that is necessary in war is to know your enemy.  As Mr. D.'s post illustrates, the rot necessarily goes a lot past Keyser Strzok to the people who signed off on his writing, including James Comey and Robert Mueller. 


The big thing that comes to mind is that the traditional method of investigating these things seems to be to spend a whole lot of time investigating the out of things when we already have clear, yet minor, offenses committed by many.  It strikes me that instead of holding off for months or years waiting for big offenses to be determined, just start with the little stuff and see what people mention when their feet are held to the fire.  The worst you can get is for people like Huma Abedin to be unemployable in government circles again, which is in itself a win.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Half-baked

To do a little bit of more serious thought regarding the planned Senate and House tax cut plans, I figure I ought to link to an article about them, and evaluate the plans in light of a few principles.


The principles are simple.  First, a man ought not be taxed on money he needs to support his family, including pending actuarial cataclysms with Socialist Insecurity, Mediscare, Medicaid, and the Health Insurance Deform Act.  Second, tax cuts ought to be balanced with spending cuts, particularly on the many things government does that really don't help (e.g. hybrid car subsidies, windmills, subsidies for daycare, etc..).  Third, they ought to be permanent to create a sense of economic continuity and planning.  Fourth, they ought to simplify the tax code, since our current system has hundreds of billions of dollars in compliance costs. 


OK, so how does the plan do by these criteria?  The first item, the doubling of the standard deduction does make taxes simpler (few would itemize) and does reduce taxation of money people need to live.  Unfortunately, that is largely undone by the elimination of the dependent exemption, which could be critical to avoid seniors dying on a diet of dog food in a puddle of their own waste when SS and Medicare/Medicaid collapse.  The elimination of the dependent exemption is that further complicated by family tax credits and an expanded, two part tax credit.  What the GOP is doing here, really, is eliminating lines on the 1040 that lack forms and replacing them with lines that require multiple forms.  Not good on complexity there at all, and definitely not good for people supporting disabled and aged relatives, or for people with kids in college.


The damage is compounded with modifications of the estate tax and medical deductions, where the GOP missed a golden opportunity to make HIDA/Obamacare irrelevant by making either all health care costs deductible or none of them. 


To wrap things up, many of the cuts are temporary or delayed, hindering economic planning, and none of the cuts are balanced by spending cuts that desperately need to be made.  Come on, the GOP can't make the case that the kid flipping burgers ought not be required to help a lawyer pay for his )(*&)(&)( Tesla?  Or that the kid sweeping floors at McNeilus Steel ought not be paying for the owner's windmills?  Seriously?


I'm as conservative as they come, but I really think the GOP needs to go back to the drawing board on this one.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The District of Columbia, translated

Perhaps the best way of understanding the plea bargain of Michael Flynn, in my view, is that because information that was illegally released suggests Flynn did not tell the whole truth to the FBI when the FBI, without clear cause, used that illegally released information to start their investigation, the entire Trump administration is in danger because they, having won the election, were doing their job and talking with foreign diplomats.


And people wonder why we're cynical about our government.  Crikey.  We have a herd of people in our intelligence agencies and the FBI feloniously leaking information, people in Mueller's investigation feloniously leaking information, and a former FBI director feloniously sharing his notes with a judge, and it's Flynn that gets punished? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How to deal with North Korea?

One thing that caught my eye about the escape of "Sergeant Oh" from North Korea was that his stomach was filled with uncooked field corn, and was infested with worms; quite a bit of neglect considering he was part of a theoretically elite unit.  This would imply, really, that the country may be quite a paper tiger held together by a core of only a few hundred people.


This, in turn, implies that Charlton Heston showed us exactly how to deal with North Korea in the 1961 film El Cid; the city of Valencia (actually filmed in Peniscola) rebels against the North African garrison when the besieging army throws not rocks, fire, or dead animals into the city, but rather bread. 


Just might be crazy enough to work, and with a bit of luck, Sophia Loren might do a cameo.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pure brilliance

First, BMW has proposed, apparently, clear plastic tubes for bike riding.  Because no cyclist ever has a "jacket" he can put on if it's cold or wet, and certainly no cyclist ever likes to feel the breeze in his hair, and by no means would cyclists put in clear plastic tubes fear that someone would use that contained environment to stage something like a sarin gas attack.  No way, no how, right?


Hey, I want to avoid riding my bike on the streets of Shanghai as much as anyone, and because of that, I don't go to Shanghai.   Problem solved without paying to keep a thinly insulated tube climate controlled and safe from cultish terrorists.


And on the truly light side, somebody at Fox goobered this article asking why airlines make you put up your seats and windows for takeoff and landing.  After all, who doesn't want to depressurize the plane and suffer 500mph breezes in flight?  Obviously the flight attendants need to tell us all to put the windows up, never mind that there really is no way of opening them. (the article actually refers to the window blinds....)


And an update; the Washington Post "Fiction Check" gave Vice President Mike Pence three "Pinocchios" for something that was objectively true.  Oddly, their objections--on the grounds that labor force participation ought also be taken into account--never seem to have been made when Obama was President, and when labor force participation was even lower.  Gosh, why is that?


This humble blog awards the Post and its "fiction checkers" ten manure spreaders filled with Washington Post fake news for its combination of lying, hypocrisy, and blatant political bias. My apologies that I couldn't find a picture of a spreader fashionably adorned with the Post's logo. 


And in other media news, the shocking revelation that media types knew about John Conyers' sexual harassment for years, but mysteriously could not find any way of acting on that information, say by printing it in the newspaper or putting it on the evening news.  They also earn the "spreader of shame" for their classy work.  After all, democracy dies in an avalanche of media bovine scat.



Monday, November 27, 2017

How is this legal?

Apparently the Martha's Vineyard home favored by the Obamas for their vacations, and owned by an Obama backer, is on the market for nearly $18 million.  Now if we calculate that rent on such a property would be somewhere between 0.1% of value/day ($18,000) to 1% of value/month ($180k/month), how, exactly, can we assume the Obamas could have afforded the $45k-126k/week rent on this place?  At 7000 square feet, it's not as if the Secret Service would have been paying for most of the rent, after all, because the President and his family would have been using a great portion of the home.  The article also mentions that a getaway favored by the Clintons sold for $29 million recently.


Seems to me that the vacation homes used by Democratic Presidents seem to heavily subsidize the left, which suggests to me that these "brother in law" prices are in effect...bribes.  If it's not illegal, it should be.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Close to greatness

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh (bane of Bears fans when he was in Chicago) is claiming that his team is close to greatness.  Well, as far as I know, the Buckeyes are still 190 miles away in Columbus, but perhaps he's referring to the Spartans in East Lansing, a mere 64 mile drive?  I'm pretty sure that he's not referring to State College or Madison, both of which are about 390 miles away.


Oddly, the closest to football greatness the stinky weasels get this year--unless they beat the Buckeyes of course--is the 45 mile drive to the home of the Motor City Kitties.  So I'm thinking Harbaugh is showing some clear signs of having participated in Michigan's "General Studies" program.  And go Bucks!



Friday, November 17, 2017

Whine of the day

Hilliary Clinton, one to make a big deal of how one ought to accept the results of elections--at least prior to November 2016--is apparently still trying to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Donald Trump's win.  It is as if she is unaware that many voters, including this one, might have seen her illegal server and dealings with Russian uranium companies as a bad sign.  It is as if she's forgotten that she didn't even bother to campaign in crucial swing states.


Or, it is as if she knows that "journalists" for fish-wrappers like Mother Jones aren't going to point out these obvious facts, and that she'll be able to keep getting six figure paychecks for content-free "speeches" to the already persuaded.  Honestly, I can see a bit of bias in journalism, but maybe, just maybe, we ought to be open to the obvious?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the lack of touch

Helen Smith links a great piece about how our current horror of being accused of sexual impropriety, probably along with the nation's dismal marriage rate, is leading more and more men (and all of us) to be brutally isolated from physical touch.  Along these lines, it reminds me how encouraged I was when my daughter came back from a short term mission trip to Spain, and she and the other high school girls had decided they'd greet each other in the Spanish way--with a kiss, just like the New Testament describes no less than five times. 


Most of us probably wouldn't be comfortable going that far, but there's a tremendous amount of good to be had from simple touch. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Some good points here

Here is a very good piece on the difficulties faced by fundagelicals (like myself) in the age of Roy Moore.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Asking the right questions

In a 60 minutes interview detailing her experiences with former doctor Larry Nassar, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman goes at least halfway through a "five whys" root cause analysis to approach the question of why this issue has remained relatively quiet for decades.  Notice that she answers the question of "why didn't people speak up?" with "because they were afraid to", and then she asks the question of "why were they so intimidated by the culture?". 


Count me jealous--not only an amazing gymnast, but a natural for the various professions of problem solving.  Well done, Aly.  Anyone who works with children ought as well to note her question, and take steps so nobody ever has to ask it regarding their organization.



Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Time to drain the swamp

It appears that the Department of Defense is routinely failing to report criminal convictions to the Brady background check system, including for the (redacted) who shot up a church in Texas.  Just as in many, many other cases, heads need to roll over this, and quite frankly I think we need an auditor to make sure that court martials do indeed report things like domestic violence.  In the case of the (redacted), his crimes really amount to aggravated assault if not attempted murder; we are not talking about a borderline case where someone yelled at his wife and was prosecuted for it.


Yes, it would kill a certain number of military careers if these convictions were faithfully reported, and that's probably why they were not.  But if these men are not safe to their families, exactly why would we assume they'd be safe around their fellow soldiers?


Long and short of it is that those who failed to report convictions need to lose their jobs, and we the taxpayers should end up paying significant damages to those hurt and killed in the recent atrocity.

History of Hollyweird...

....is summarized by this article about something Maureen O'Hara said in 1945; that she understood that her refusal to lie down on the casting couch and be sexually harassed and abused had cost her parts.  And as my family realized there she is again as we enjoyed yet another of her movies, we can have only disdain for those who treated her this way.  After all, she'd been a significant part of the Oscar-winning film How Green Was My Valley; it wasn't like she was jockeying for parts as an extra or the guy in the red shirt in Star Trek landing parties.  How much more cinematic greatness would the world have had if only the producers could have kept their attentions to their wives?  For that matter, how much more income would the producers have had?


Moreover, given that when O'Hara started her career, the Hays Code had only existed for about eight years, it's hard to believe that she was running into something new in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  So when you're looking at something that....stretches the envelope in terms of filmmaking, what you're looking at, in a manner of speaking, is the results of a century of grooming.   

Friday, November 03, 2017

Happens in my town all the time

In Germany, a large zucchini has just been mistaken for a WWII bomb.  Now granted, more often the problem with zucchini around where I live is that churchgoers who don't lock their cars get them filled with zucchini from well-meaning "brothers in Christ", but sometimes, you know....


....and a Chicago thug learns the hard way that crime does not pay....OUCH.   Good shooting, Mr. Pouncy.  No word yet on whether he has received a rare humous "Darwin Award."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation Day!

First of all, a link to the 95 Theses.  Thank you, Martin, and thank you, Gene Veith.


And if you're observing Halloween--"which is Irish, by the way"--a little bit by Remy about the most terrifying thing about the holiday; you might be triggered.  H/T Powerline.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Back to theology

This column is very interesting; more or less, it chronicles a group of men I'd characterize as "rules fundamentalists" and how they approach some issues of personal behavior.  More or less, you've got beer-drinking, beard-wearing, cigar-smoking "young, restless and Reformed" men talking about how they can enjoy pop culture on the one side, and on the other, you've got rules fundamentalists arguing that all this is evidence of being worldly.  The links are informative, ....sad to say.


Why "sad to say"?  Simple.  In general, the fundamental side of the argument is simply assuming that it's wrong to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, listen to heavy metal or rap music (especially as part of church services), get a tattoo, view an R rated movie, and the like.  On the flip side, the Reformed side seems to be, to an extent, simply assuming their permissibility. 


The closest I saw the "rules fundamentalists" come to an argument is to assume that heavy metal and rap are driven by drugs.  OK, so we have a guilt by association fallacy that ignores that a fair number of rappers and heavy metal musicians are in fact teetotalers, but more importantly, if we do guilt by association, it's going to get very quiet in church when every musical genre contaminated by drunks, stoners, fornicators, and the like is eliminated.


It's not a surprise, to put it mildly, that such a discussion doesn't go anywhere, and it's objectively harmful to Christians to have rhetorically vacuous arguments presented by so-called theological leaders.  If they can't adhere to Informal Logic 101 when it comes to hot button issues they've theoretically done a lot of thinking on, that is going to inform the response when they attempt to preach on the arcane details of Hebrews or Obadiah, or delve into prophecy. 


There may be good, sound arguments for and against all of these issues, and I'd love to hear and read them.  Sad to say, I haven't, by and large.


Note: I refer to "rules fundamentalists" instead of "legalists" because few people who like their rules would fess up to trusting in them for their salvation.

Green cars? Not so fast

Now the report here from Xinhua is not exactly scientifically written, but apparently a study done by the Australian Automobile Association indicates that hybrid cars are typically using about 59% more fuel than advertised.  You can also find it from ABC in Australia and other sources.  The environmental lobby of course denies the claims and blames lax sulfur standards in Australian petrol for the issue, but the ugly reality is that AAA has their data, and they're standing by it.


Now that doesn't indicate that your neighbor is not in fact getting 50mpg in his Prius, but it does suggest that the regulators--at least Aussie regulators--are not doing terribly well in correlating laboratory tests to real world conditions.  This is really the same thing that European and U.S. regulators learned about the VW TDI diesels.  By the time regulators figured out that the engine was (ironically) burning rich to pass NOx emissions standards, millions of vehicles had been sold worldwide.  When getting around environmental rules is worth billions, you will find carmakers hiring smart engineers to do exactly that.


One might figure that a smart approach might be to simply shift the tax burden from the income tax to consumption taxes and let people make their own decisions.   I'm guessing that upon receiving the bill, people just might do what it takes to make things cleaner on their own.  We might even find that GE would stop sending a chaser plane after Jeff Immelt's private jet.  (yeah, Jeff, we totally believe you when you say you believe in global warming with that one)


One other place I'd love to see some work; I would love to see what happens to CO production by hybrid cars.  The catalytic converter works best when hot, so it stands to reason that if you're turning the engine on and off, you're going to be having nice bursts of CO emissions as that vehicle--say a Prius taxicab in New York City, Houston, or LA--goes about its daily rounds.  You've also got the reality that engine tolerances, and hence hydrocarbon (lubricating oil) emissions, will also change/increase with this thermal cycling.


Yes, I'm saying that it's possible that the hybrid requirements in NYC are making the air dirtier there.  Wouldn't that be ironic?

Friday, October 27, 2017

NewsWeak

Back in my school days, I participated a bit on my school's speech and debate team, and on the more debate side of things, one of the things we knew was that U.S. News > Time >>> Newsweak.  Newsweak was, more or less, a step up from The National Enquirer, Vogue, or the Weekly World News, but it was not a real source you'd want to cite in competition.


Fast forward to today, and the Newsweak of old looks like The Economist in comparison.  How so?


They actually printed this article, which asks why all of the "conservative loudmouths" are Irish-American.  Not only is this rather crude and bigoted, but it suggests that the author is apparently unaware of non-Irish (except on St. Patty's Day of course) and vocal conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, Jonah Goldberg, and a host of others.  "Professor" Van Gosse's students need to know that apparently, he lives under a rock and has no understanding of the thinkers of the past 40 years.  Tuition refunds at Franklin & Marshall are in order.



Happy Belated birthday....

...to a future prison inmate.  Lord willing, you'll be able to write her at 1000 University Drive SW, Waseca, MN 56093.



Thursday, October 26, 2017

Just make a scene

Larry Elder recounts his experience with Harvey Weinstein.  No, he didn't grope Elder or worse, but in an exchange over the issue of the Iraq war, Elder arguably got the better of Weinstein by making a scene and not backing down.


Now Pervert Pig is probably going to be porcus non grata in Hollyweird for the foreseeable future, but those who'd like to stop future sexual predators there and elsewhere have a script for how to deal with such chazzerim.  You make a scene.  Your girlfriend gets groped by a producer?  Make sure he gets embarrassed in front of his peers; don't just whisper that he'd better not do that again.  And yeah, if he tries being the bully, making him look like this attempted robber might not be a bad idea, either.  I'm not one for watching awards shows, but maybe if they started looking a little bit more like this, I could find some time, especially if Porcus Maximus was playing the part of Will Danaher.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A good sign

Michelle Malkin reports that it's not just Harvey Weinstein facing the music for his past behavior, but also Terry Richardson.  More or less, what is going on is that people are realizing that the behavior of both is classic "grooming", humiliation of the actress or model so that they will be willing to participate in ever more degrading movies, pictures, and the like.  In other words, what you see in the image is what that woman has already experienced in real life from producers, directors, photographers, and the like.  Yes, there are exceptions, but the widespread accusations, and the simple proverb "casting couch", suggest that this is the rule.

Great thinking on the left!

Newsweak now has an article noting that former Hilliary press secretary Brian Fallon is noting that if Trump is removed from office, the money Hilliary's campaign paid for it will be worthwhile.


Yeah, I'm sure the report will be tremendously helpful, given that one of the most sensational claims in it, that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with Russian agents in Prague, could have been refuted by a simple review of Cohen's passport records.  Interestingly, instead of finding that the report was a nice pile of fertilizer, former FBI head James Comey appears to have agreed to pay to continue the work.  Kudos to Fallon as well for admitting that the whole deal was a Nixonian dirty trick, and this should result in the resignation of Robert Mueller and his entire team, hopefully to be followed by indictment for James Comey, who knew exactly where these allegations were coming from, and why they were nonsense.


Update: great thinking on the right, where Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is arguing that "enough is enough", backed up by his...retirement from the Senate.  Seems to me that if Flake really believed that enough is enough, he'd try to keep his seat so he could vote on a conviction in impeachment proceedings, but apparently "logic" and "Constitutional law" are not among his considerations here.

Quick note for Republicans

Yes, the President has a penchant for picking fights.  Yes, at times he has a tenuous relationship with the truth.  Yes, his personal life has been nothing short of tacky.  But that said, he's done more conservative things in a few months than you guys have done in years, and it's time we remember the 11th Commandment given by Reagan.  We do ourselves no favors, when concerned about going into the muck, by doing so ourselves.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Oh, my.

Race hustling poverty pimp Jesse Jackson has compared playing in the NFL to antebellum slavery.  Because obviously, a guy who earns as much playing a couple hours of a kids' game as most of us get paid for our whole lives' work has everything in common with people who worked 12 hour days in the hot sun all their lives without ever receiving a paycheck.  Driving an Escalade with 20" spinners (or whatever NFL players drive today) to the nightclub is just like knowing that if you're not where you're supposed to be, slave-catchers are going to be after you with bloodhounds and shotguns.  Hitting an air conditioned weight room to gain necessary strength is just like being whipped by an overseer, I'm sure.


Yes, there are real problems with the NFL, and I'm no huge fan of playing the national anthem before each gladiatorial contest in the Circus Maximus to begin with, and certainly we can do better to protect the rights of all people suspected or accused of crimes.  That noted, to act as if there has been no progress in civil rights over the past 150 years, even as measured by the status of professional games-players, suggests that when it comes to serious progress in race relations, this one will only come out with prayer and fasting.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Some proverbs of parenthood

Taking the lead of sister Elspeth, here are a few things I've been known to say to my kids.  Why do I share them?  Simply because many of us need to be encouraged to say the "hard" things that really do benefit their kids, I guess.


The white line is your friend--to remind kids to bike at the side of the road and not in the flow of traffic.


The job is done when the job is done, not when you think you've done your share.


If a guy needs to see every curve of yours to figure out whether you're attractive, he's not husband material.  And to the boys: No, this doesn't mean you're mentally undressing her.  It means you ought to be able to get enough information from her silhouette, posture, walk, and smile.


You can learn to motivate yourself, or you can work for someone else who will motivate you...in exchange for a large share of the wage you otherwise would have earned.  (being managed requires a lot of resources...)


You are going to be doing housework all your life--you might as well get used to it and good at it now.


We are not the Queen of England--you do not need a new outfit for every occasion.  (obviously more of an issue with my daughters than sons)


All four food groups, kids.  (yes, as the son of a dietician, I'm still using the food advice I learned when young....unlike "MyPlate", it works)


The car is not moving until your dogs get water and a walk. 


Eat the live toad first. (obviously I borrowed this one; do the difficult, distasteful task first)


I told you to do something, not to discuss the matter.


I meant now, not when you get around to feeling like it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A gift from above,

...if only the President and Jeff Sessions will use it.  Powerline/The Hill report bombshell revelations that the FBI (then headed by none other than Robert Mueller) had credible evidence of Russian assaulted U.S. uranium companies as early as 2010, and knew as well of Russian contributions to Hilliary Clinton's foundation soon after. 


Which would mean that none other than Robert Mueller has known for seven years that there was Russian involvement in U.S. politics, and did nothing to prosecute those involved--presumably because it would have embarrassed his boss and the Secretary of State.


If there is anything to this, sounds like time to put Mr. Mueller, and a bunch of other guys, on the other end of an investigation than the place they currently occupy.  Is there anyone affiliated with the Obama administration who doesn't belong in jail?  Nobody comes to mind right now.

What those chazzerim are about

I was thinking about the flurry of accusations against Harvey Weinstein, and one thing that strikes me is that most of them are young, up and coming actresses.  Looking at a list of the movies he's produced, it strikes me that what is likely going on is called "grooming", and one wonders how many R rated movies simply couldn't have been made without training actresses to accept it via the casting couch.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Confessing?

Hilliary Clinton has claimed that James Comey put a "shiv" into her campaign last year.  Of course, left unnoted by others is that a "shiv" or "shank" is an improvised knife used by prison inmates.  Confession by Hilliary about where she and Comey both belong?  I think so.

Electric car industry news

Tesla shows how it's not supposed to by done by firing hundreds of workers as part of their annual review process.  As if it's not stressful enough already, Musk forgets that one ought to minimize nasty surprises in annual reviews, and one has to wonder what Deming would have said about this--given that he famously called annual reviews one of the seven deadly diseases of mis-management, I am guessing that he'd have struggled to keep comment on Musk's move suitable for a family newspaper.


Worth noting as well is that Tesla achieved $7B of revenue with 33000 employees in 2016, whereas GM achieves $166 billion in sales with only 215000 workers.  So Tesla definitely needs some headcount reduction if they don't massively increase sales--and I would further posit that this employee bloat might have something to do with the massive subsidies Tesla receives at the federal, state, and local levels.


Also of note is this (very sympathetic) article about how the batteries on the Nissan Leaf seem to be at about half capacity at about 90,000 miles, or the equivalent of about 1300 full recharges with its 73 mile range.  If we round up to 100k miles life for a battery pack--we will assume the driver is a true masochist who doesn't mind recharging every 30 miles or so--we then find that the ~ 10000 pounds of carbon dioxide produced to make the batteries--and arguably the ~15000 pounds of carbon dioxide for the car itself--are spread not over 150k miles, but over 100k miles.  Not too many people are going to spring for a $6500 repair on a subcompact vehicle with 100k miles, after all. 


Which means before we ever start counting the electricity to charge the vehicle, we're talking about .25 lbs of carbon dioxide per mile emitted--50% higher for the Tesla.  Add the 0.2 (Leaf) to 0.4 kW-H (Tesla) electricity (from coal), and you've got a total emissions per mile on average of about 0.7 to 1.3 lbs of carbon dioxide per mile.  With natural gas for power, you're still looking at 0.5 to 1 lb/mile, really the same range as a standard gasoline powered vehicle....of a much larger size.

Reefer Happiness

A study has found that opioid deaths in Colorado dropped sharply--by about 180/year--after marijuana was legalized.  Now I'll concede that the graph in the article is a bit too "clean" for my taste--real data rarely looks that obvious--but if you scale for population (1 in 60 Americans live there), you would suggest that legalizing the drug nationwide could save over ten thousand lives per year.


I used to be a prohibitionist, but if the data hold up, I can get behind that, even if I have to deal with a few stoners as a result. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

It bears repeating

The Nation argues that huge policy changes are needed because 20 wealthy people own as much wealth as nearly half of Americans.  Me?  I'll do the math.


The article notes that these 20 people--really 20 families with ~ 50 people--control something like $732 billion in assets.  The article claims that 57 million households with 152 million people control less wealth than this.


Doing the math, we would see this amounts to just short of $5000/person, or about $13000 per family.  In other words, mean family wealth among the 1st-48th percentiles of our country is apparently about the same as the value of a good used car--in a country where almost all households own at least one vehicle. 


In other words, the problem is that for whatever reason, half the country really needs to discover what Walter Williams, Dave Ramsey, and others have been teaching for years.  Government's role is, sadly, mostly negative, as it prioritizes present consumption over savings and capital formation. 

Not denounced anymore?

This column by Jay Nordlinger suggests that unearthing mass graves left behind by Josef Stalin, and giving those whose bodies are interned there a reasonable memorial, is a "crime" for which a dissident named Yuri Dmitriev is being persecuted.  Now process that a minute; nobody in Germany raises a fuss if someone unearths evidence of the crimes of Hitler.  Nobody in Italy raises a fuss when someone produces more evidence of the crimes of Mussolini.


But in Russia today, evidently the minions of Vladimir Putin are seeing the memory of the world's second nastiest mass murderer (after Mao, by the way) as something inviolate.  It makes one wonder if Kruschev's denunciation of Stalin in the 1950s was just for show. 


Did the Soviet Union really crumble, or did it reorganize?  Evidence suggests that it's in the process of reorganization--this case, the rampant drug use among Russian athletes, and more. 



Monday, October 09, 2017

Want single payer health insurance?

Maybe, maybe not.  This article indicates that Britain's National Health Service has mandatory delays of up to a year for those patience deemed too fat--measured by BMI.  Moreover, half of medical residents in the country are quitting before they graduate.  One would infer that if you want to, you know, actually get healthcare, the NHS model is about the last place you'd want to look. 


And in the world of international weapons agreements, a German source indicates that the Iranians have tried to illegally procure technology useful for making things like ICBMs.  Maybe, just maybe, it's time to declare the Obama plan a dream and let the fur fly.  Far better to do so now than when they can fight back with a nuke, and if the Russians object, remind them that if they can hit Jerusalem, they will be able to hit Moscow, too.


Finally, some good news.  I've been something of a fan of runner Galen Rupp ever since he slowed to make sure training partner Mo Farah was OK after they'd collided, and it's good to see that he's followed up on his bronze medal in the Olympic Marathon in 2016 (and silver in the 10k in 2012) with a win in the Chicago Marathon

Friday, October 06, 2017

And some moderately good news

President Trump has greatly expanded the pool of companies allowed to omit contraceptive, plan B, sterilization, and IUD** coverage from health insurance, thus ending one of his predecessor's nastier examples of regulatory vandalism, the "you have the fun, we bill a nun" policy.  It's not quite as good as a full repeal of the regulation--my view is that any man who can't come up with $10/month for contraception really ought to be celibate--but it is a start.




** IUDs can interfere with implantation, and thus are not contraceptives.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

More fake news

Newsweak has come out with a "study" from Formswift that purports to show that the cost of President Trump's travel, said to be $32 million so far, would pay for 128 trips to and from Puerto Rico with supplies.  They do so simply by calculating the...cost of the fuel per trip, as if there is no expense for rent of the ships, crew expenses, loading, unloading, and the like.  They also use a unit of "ships", as if ocean transport is a one sized fits all equation, and not a reality of vessels of many different sizes, speeds, efficiencies, and the like.


By that logic, my driving expenses are only ten to twelve cents per mile, but as one who actually maintains a family budget, I know I'm actually getting off pretty cheaply at about four times that amount.  One would figure that a business would be able to figure out that there is more than one item on the debit or cost side of the spreadsheet, especially given that one of their products is, ahem, spreadsheets, but that would, apparently, be too much to expect of a liberal, politically driven company from San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Watch out, Gino

A Swiss man's Jack Daniel's flag has been mistaken for an ISIS flag by worried neighbors.  According to this article, he was flying the Italian flag below a Jack Daniels flag in Switzerland, so naturally I have to wonder if he's related to Gino.  So for those who might be confused, this is the Jack Daniels flag.




Now there seems to be some similarity to the ISIS flag, starting with large script above a circle with smaller script in it, but....I would have expected people in Switzerland to be able to recognize a western European font and realize that someone flying the flag of "Jack Daniel's" just might be a fairly unlikely Islamist.  On the light side, you'll see a lot of amusing pictures if you google "ISIS Flag". 

On the Supreme Court's "gerrymandering" case

Here's a great article, courtesy of National Review, on the issues before the Supreme Court in the case that seeks to ostensibly "ban" gerrymandering.   More or less, it seeks to enshrine the principle of "proportional representation" so that states can be compelled to get a bunch of districts which are split about as evenly as possible between supporters of either party.  Historically, on the other hand, districts were chosen to be as homogeneous as possible--with the result that the choice in many districts choose "which kind of Republican or Democrat" instead of a Republican or a Democrat.


There are two graphs which illustrate the problems.  First, you've got the lines in Wisconsin, which follow city and county boundaries pretty well and are reasonably geographically compact.  The other example is the gerrymanders of Chicagoland, where inner city neighborhoods are lumped in with the suburbs, and city and county boundaries are not honored.


I can see a bunch of problems with Chicago's plan, starting with the fact that suburban residents in Illinois District 1, might not feel safe campaigning in most of the district--and the district's length (40 miles in Chicago traffic) makes campaigning difficult for all.   The next objection is that it really prevents people who differ politically from gaining office; both the South Side of Chicago and the far more conservative suburbs and rural areas in the district are cheated this way. 


Finally, it's worth noting that when districts are fairly evenly divided between the two major parties, that increases the likelihood that precincts like Burr Oak will decide elections--always a problem in Chicagoland, sad to say.


Really, what's at stake here stems mostly from the fact that many on the far left cannot even stomach the possibility of living in our midst, and thus segregate themselves into urban and university enclaves.  So while they tend to elect Minnesota's state bird, there are far fewer than there would be if leftists could learn to tolerate others.


Hopefully the Supreme Court makes the right decision, and helps keep the loons in the lake where they belong.

How to control illegal immigration...

...even if Congress never gets around to putting a reasonable barrier on our southern border?  Simple.  Fine companies who hire illegal immigrants heavily.   Tree trimming company Asplundh has learned the hard way, to the tune of $95 million, that hiring those who don't have a right to work here can be a very expensive way of saving money. 


I still advocate at least a vehicle barrier on the border, and a fence where practical, but at the same time, you've got to see what you can do about the "demand" side of the supply and demand graph for illegal immigration.  Well done, Mr. President.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Thoughts on the Las Vegas atrocity

Yes, it's a little bit early to say much--apparently we don't even know what the shooter's motivations were yet--and of course some have said that it comes down to having more gun control.  Of course, the kind of gun used last night has been banned since 1934, so maybe double-banning it will help?


For my part, though, what comes to mind is that churches I've attended, including the one I'm a member of now, have security teams whose task is to wander around the building while it's being used to watch for things going awry.  My pastors simply know that if things get out of hand, people simply won't come back. 


And as such, it strikes me that if the hotel in Las Vegas had had the same kind of thing going on, the police likely would have found the shooter much more quickly, possibly saving a number of lives.  Yes, you've got the cultural issue of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and all that, but on the flip side, the city can only afford so many disasters before people start wasting their hard-earned money spending their vacation dollars somewhere else.


Really, if sending a hotel employee to discreetly walk through the halls every 10-15 minutes would put that much of a crimp in their style, that's all the more reason to do so. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Just for fun; top 11 love songs

Since the weekend is coming, let's follow Elspeth's lead and come up with some good love songs for people to enjoy as they come home to their families. 


#11.  Aba Daba Honeymoon, Donovan, sung by Reynolds and Carpenter.


#10.  Good night, The Beatles (you'll have to buy the White Album to get this one...it's worth the money, especially for their tribute to the Beach Boys)


#9.  Honeysuckle Rose, Waller. Yes, I know this is Satchmo and not Fats, but he just drew a bead on the song in this recording.


#8.  You say it best when you say nothing at all, Overstreet, sung by Alison Krauss.  Keith Whitley's version is good, too.


#7. Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue.  The granddaddy of heavy metal power ballads. 


#6.  My Girl, The Temptations.  Why doesn't Mrs. Bubba let me get one of those sleek purple tuxes?


#5.  By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Edwards.  Just don't get caught by your dream man without a corset!


#4.  No one like you, Scorpions.  Thankfully most business trips are not to death row on Alcatraz.


#3.  All the fun, Overstreet.  Love in ordinary life and repentance from the "fun" of the world.


#2.  O Sole Mio, traditional rendered by Capurro, rendered by Pavarotti. 


#1.  Papageno, Mozart.  Malachi 2:15, just with credit given to the wrong One.





Who knew?

At least two members of Robert Mueller's "dream team" of investigators have left.  Now the departure of one is said to have been "expected", but let's face facts; top notch lawyers don't leave top flight investigations where they can make their reputation, and huge bank in the private sector, for no reason.


There are probably other explanations, but one major possibility--the most likely in my view--is that (a) the investigation is not going the way media reports suggest, (b) they're getting sick of the felonious leaks. 


In other words, some of Mueller's team have a conscience.  Who knew?


(either that, or they're going back to the FBI to throw a wrench in the works to stop things from coming back at Hilliary or Comey)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

That's about right

The Babylon Bee "celebrates" the life of Hugh Hefner, who died yesterday at age 91.  One might add that those who are the victims of the 27 common sexually transmitted infections, those who have been victimized by the notion of "safe" extramarital sex, those who have been pushed to abort their children by aggressive lovers, and the like will have a hearty thank you (redacted, rhymes with "duck shoe") for the life of Mr. Hefner. 

Fact checking the "fact-checkers"

Decided I'd have some fun with the most recent version of Glenn Kessler's fiction-checking.


He starts by claiming that since only 5500 estates paid estate tax in a recent year, it's not a big issue.  This comes as something of a surprise to two friends of mine who both practice estate law for a living, to put it mildly.  Plus, the $19.3 billion collected in 2014 could have been put to actual good use instead of subsidizing clowns like Elon Musk.  So not only does Kessler miss the fact that a lot of work goes into A-B trusts and other ways of avoiding the tax, but also misses completely that it is pretty big.  Three Pinocchios for Kessler.


Next, he claims that Trump's claim that our corporate tax rate is 60% higher than the OECD average.  Well, 39.1%/25.5% is, indeed, 53.33% higher than the average.  Kessler tries to redefine the question away from what Trump said, but that's an inherently dishonest ploy that Kessler uses often.  Another five Pinocchios for Kessler.


Next, Kessler tries to get around the obvious fact that over 90% of taxpayers use some form of help with their taxes.  He remains true to form by admitting it's true, then trying to redefine the question.  Um, Glenn, just because help is readily available, often for a price, doesn't mean that help isn't needed.  Another three Pinocchios for Kessler.


Next, Kessler tries to use 2016 estimates to determine the impact of a tax plan released in 2017.  Five Pinocchios plus a "zerbert" for violation of causality.  In the next bit, Kessler seizes on Trump's prior  rejection of the Reagan tax cuts to try to say something, exactly what I'm not sure.  No Pinocchios, but a body slam for a tu quoque fallacy. 


Next, Kessler attacks the tax cuts in Indiana as small--OK, 0.2% of 3.4% doesn't seem huge, but it's nearly a 6% cut in the tax rate.  Four Pinocchios and an F in math for Kessler.


Finally, Kessler winds up with a whopper; he claims, without ever having seen a recent Trump tax form, that Trump would not benefit from repealing the AMT.  He does encourage felonious leaks, however, by noting the case in 2005.  Let's give that one another three Pinocchios. 


Overall, I grant Kessler 23 Pinocchios plus a body slam, a zerbert, aiding and abetting a felony, and an F in math.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nice to know

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse noted that the "noose is tightening" around President Trump due to the Mueller investigation.  From this, I infer that (a) true to the Democratic Party's history with the KKK, Whitehouse is A-OK with lynching and (b) Mueller's team is leaking like a sieve, which is in itself a series of felonies. 


Time for Trump to start playing hardball, starting with requesting a special prosecutor to investigate the clear crimes of Hilliary Clinton, Lois Lerner, and James Comey.  Who knows, maybe they'll find that Whitehouse has been encouraging those leaks by Bob Mueller's team and be able to put him in jail, too.


It seems that we ought to modify an old joke about lawyers:


Q.  What do you call a bus going off a cliff with 50 DC bureaucrats in it?


A.  A good start.


Drain the swamp, Mr. President. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Death of a sporting goods store

Now perhaps this just has something to do with me being something of an "old soul", but the recent merger of Cabela's with Bass Pro has me remembering what Cabela's, and a lot of other sporting goods stores, used to be.  When I first visited Cabela's in the early 1990s, it was a place where one could get things that were hard to get elsewhere--Filson coats, Woolrich and Pendleton shirts and slacks (among other vendors), high end boots, and the like.  Over the past 25 years, the "good stuff" has been steadily replaced by mass market camo and "Cabela's" brand t-shirts and sweatshirts--to the point where my family largely stopped going, despite living fairly close to one of their stores.  If I wanted cheap polyester, I could go to Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, or Dick's here in town--all of which have closed in the past two years, interestingly.


I do, however, visit the Pendleton outlet when I get the chance (and have the money), and the local menswear store that carries Filson gets my business, and the local shoe stores that carry premium brands like Birkenstock, Beautifeel, and Haflinger get my family's business as well.


It strikes me that maybe, just maybe, the crisis in "brick and mortar" stores has a lot to do with the fact that the financial guys are optimizing inventory turns and the like instead of letting the owners manage the business.  Yes, you can sell a lot more cheap camo than you can Mackinaw coats, but you might find that you can make a business when Dad buys one every 15 years, and then buys one for each of his sons as they come of age.


Much like small toy stores are eating the lunch of Toys-R-Us by selling decent toys, really.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Now that's interesting

Apparently there is a kerfuffle these days because many football players have decided to protest mistreatment of minorities (which probably does not include their multimillion dollar paychecks) by refusing to stand for the national anthem, and apparently NFL fans have retaliated by refusing to watch the games.  So perhaps to shore up ratings, ESPN is going to show the playing of the anthem, because all those fans that were offended that football players didn't stand for the national anthem apparently didn't notice that ESPN wasn't showing the anthem at all. 


Alrighty then.  Personally, as much as I love my country and the freedom, liberties, and opportunities we have, it strikes me as odd to require people to stand for it before every sporting event.  It is the political equivalent, really, of being told to tell Grandma how much I liked her chili....right after I've just enjoyed my fourth bowl.   Yes, mom, I can do that, but I think she might have already figured out that I thought it was pretty good.

Another perspective....

....on the collapse of Toys-R-Us while neighborhood toy stores thrive is this; the last time I went to Toys-R-Us, to get a toy that I hadn't found in the smaller stores, I saw a sign by the door; "Toys-R-Us bans guns on these premises."  So beyond the fact that going through Toys-R-Us requires going through a huge amount of trash to find any treasure--it's only marginally more fun than shopping at Wal-Mart--and even beyond the fact that the local one is a dump--you've got the fact that the company has told criminals who might come there that your victims have been disarmed for your convenience.


Even if one does not routinely carry a pistol, one can resent stores telling criminals that you are defenseless, and I therefore rewarded Toys-R-Us with "no dollars and no return visits".

Friday, September 22, 2017

Not since Opus assaulted a mime...

....with an olive loaf has there been a crime this bad.  Fremont, CA man attacks Safeway staff with a baguette.  As the gluten addiction czar of the MOB, I just have to say that this kind of thing is the sort of thing that, sad to say, makes life difficult on law-abiding bread owners, and I can only say as well that I'm grateful that this wasn't an "assault baguette" of the pain a la ancienne type of Philippe Gosselin.  Otherwise, "bread control" advocates would be going door to door with warrants, demanding to see if there is dough fermenting in the fridge and taking lawfully possessed sourdough/pain au levain.


Maybe it's time to start a National Bread Association so that lawless bread control will not become the law of the land....remember, loaves don't beat people, people beat people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Maybe, or maybe not

This National Review article suggests that the way a search of former Trump colleague Paul Manafort's residence was handled suggests that Manafort may be in great jeopardy.  Perhaps, but since so much has leaked out of the Mueller investigation already, it stands to reason that if Mueller had much on Manafort, it would have leaked.


I'm guessing the real reason is to "send a message" and intimidate key players.  Other rumors suggest that Mueller has put wiretaps into the White House, but I doubt that as well, since the Secret Service is bound to screen anyone who enters the building.  Plus, if he does so without real justification, or with false justification, Mueller risks going to the Big House himself.


Shakespeare wrote about this, I believe. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On reparations for slavery

I was listening to NPR last night, and after a very interesting bit about the case of 272 slaves sold by Jesuit priests in Maryland, another bit came up where Na-Tehisi Coates was arguing that there ought to be reparations for slavery.  In the radio bit, it was with regards to Harvard's endowment, but just for the sake of argument, let's indulge it nationwide.


And for the sake of argument, let's ignore the best arguments against it.  Let's assume that calculating what a person is owed is not subject to complex genealogies and even DNA tests.  Let's ignore the fact that most whites were not slaveowners, and many have ancestors who were still in Europe at the time of the Civil War and had no role in the practice whatsoever.  Ignore the fact that when it's been tried before, monetary payments end up in the original hands within a few years--this occurred in Malaysia, for example.  As Proverbs 20:21 notes, an inheritance quickly gained is not blessed in the end.  Finally, let's ignore the fact that we probably all lost a LOT with, for example, Ben Carson's ancestors picking cotton instead of practicing medicine. 


Rather, let's calculate a number.  In 1860, there were about four million slaves with an average "price" of about $1000.  For the country as a whole, GDP of $12 billion for about 30 million residents in 1860 indicates an average GDP/capita of about $400.  Hence, the ~ 4 million slaves freed by 1865 would have had a "book value" of ~ $4 billion and (assuming an average age of 25 years) an overall productivity in their lives of about ~$10 billion. 


Scaling the larger number for inflation, we get to something like $250 billion dollars in reparations that would be owed.  Add for slaves who never tasted freedom, and you're talking twice that.


Now let's contemplate what we are trying to fix with reparations.  I would presume that we'd be looking at economic deprivation and cultural impacts of slavery, no?  Well, it strikes me that about 25% of the annual trillion dollars in welfare spending goes to blacks, or, about.....$250 billion annually.


So in a sense, our nation is making those reparations payments not just once, but rather annually, and we've been doing this pretty much every year since the Great Society started.   And that brings to mind the question, again; "How's that working out for you?". 


We might note, of course, that some kind of restitution might also be wise vis-à-vis the old Jim Crow laws and such, but again; "How's that working out for us?".  I'd love to write a check for my family's share and say "I'm good", but it strikes me that in reality, I can do a lot better for my minority friends and neighbors without ever touching my checkbook.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Priestess Hilliary?

In her book, in which she of course blames just about everything but herself for her electoral loss, Hilliary Clinton notes that she will not offer "absolution" to women who failed to vote for her.  So not only did she want to be the leader of the free world, but apparently she also thinks she controls our spiritual destiny as well.


I'm not a huge fan of "Le Grand Orange", as Mr. D. calls him, but I dare say that our country dodged a bullet last November.  The question is what others might be coming our way as well.

Just what we needed!

Byron York notes that the new "Dream Act" being considered in Congress has looser requirements regarding criminality than other categories of immigration, looser even than President Obama's unconstitutional executive orders.  As if what this country needed is more criminals in our midst.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On those allegations of collusion with the Russians

On one hand, the gossips in the swamp are claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "going for the kill" in trying to obtain an indictment for obstruction of justice against President Trump. 


Really, though, if Mueller wants someone to indict for obstruction of justice, it would be the Democratic Party, which has steadfastly refused to allow the FBI to look at their server to determine whether it was actually hacked, and whether it was likely that the hackers were indeed Russian.  Another good possibility would be to indict the guy who failed to issue a subpoena for this critical piece of evidence, and instead went on a fishing expedition, along with his whole team, none of whom appear to have resigned in protest over this obvious failure to investigate clear leads.


There may be a lot of real wrongdoing on the parts of a lot of people in DC regarding this, but one thing is sure; Robert Mueller's investigation isn't going to find any of it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Sigh

An audit of the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy finds that many ships had expired certification in "mobility seamanship" (ability to sail at sea safely), and many others had expired certification in cruise missile defense and surface warfare, many of which have had expired certifications since at least 2015.    This is probably not the entire problem that resulted in the collisions of two ships with merchant ships, but I'm surprised that no one appears to have raised Hell over this, especially given that the tragedies recently could have prevented by the men on watch, the men in the radar room, the men in the sonar room, and the men on the bridge.  The failures here appear to be (along with perhaps basic maintenance) things that most boaters learn in a basic navigation class--they're not things that ought to be forgotten readily.


The only explanation that makes sense, really, is that except for auditors, everybody in the organization probably hates the certification activities, and does not see them as necessary for the proper functioning of the organization.  Apparently many are being disabused of that notion at this point, sadly only after the taxpayers are out billions in repair costs and dozens of families have lost loved ones.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A finger on the scales...

....ably done by Mark Zandi of Moody's, and ably accepted without question by Yahoo finance.   How so?


Simple.  Zandi's estimate of a $105 billion loss due to the end of DACA (Obama's illegal, unconstitutional "Dream Act" for children brought illegally into the country) simply assumes that the children of illegal immigrants--largely farmers from Latin America--are just as productive, economically speaking, as the average immigrant--which includes a huge number of green card holders, H1B visa holders, and the like who have advanced degrees.


So while, for the sake of the "dreamers", I hope Zandi is right, statistics suggests he's put his finger on the scales of his estimates in a major way.  The kids of illegals simply are unlikely to have the same productivity as the kids of legal immigrants.


In related news, former President Obama has spoken against the repeal of his initiative not by arguing it's legal--he himself admitted it wasn't--but by arguing that it was cruel.  Well, yes, there is indeed going to be a lot of pain about this going forward, as a lot of people could end up, barring Congressional action, going home after a life spent here--some claiming to not even know the languages of their homelands.


But in the same way, it's cruel to the rest of us to have wage rates for the poor suppressed by a surplus of low skilled labor, and to have the rest of us providing schools and welfare for an additional group of poor people, and for us to be incarcerating those illegal immigrants who commit crimes--these data indicate that 90% of the 45000 immigrants in federal prison are here illegally.


I'm not holding out for a good deal regarding DACA at this point, sad to say.  It appears, really, that on the left, even the deportation of felons is frowned upon.  Why, exactly, we would need more felons in this country is beyond me, but I can come up with no other explanation for sanctuary cities. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Post-office bribery, part 2

Not only did Hilliary Clinton get a book advance which is probably ten times what its sales will justify, she's also asking more than $2000 a person to get prime seats on her book tour.  Sorry, but I can't see this as free markets, unless one expands that definition to "delayed payment for services rendered."


How to fix it?  Apart from decreeing that a politician shall be forbidden from receiving any payment for life from anyone whose business was impacted by that politician's decisions--a legal morass by any definition of the word--you can't.  What you can do, however, is reduce the amount of government funding and power so that the pool of bidders ("johns") for politicians' services becomes smaller.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Paging Dr. Williams and Dr. Sowell

Apparently pointing out the habits that lead to prosperity and long life is now not only politically incorrect, but also racist.  As apparently, Walter Williams, Barack Obama, and Thomas Sowell are being fitted for sheets, and Booker T. Washington is spinning in his grave.

Friday, August 25, 2017

There's some great evidence

A group of psychiatrists is writing a letter to Congress alleging, more or less, serious mental illness on the part of the President.  Which is interesting, given that according to standard psychiatric practice and ethics manuals, it's a serious breach of professional ethics to diagnose someone you've never met.


#deranged, I guess.  If you're a psychiatry student being taught by one of these guys, you may want to consider changing professors.  If you're a patient being treated by one of these guys, you might want to choose a new doctor to have one who follows basic medical ethics.

There's a great decision for you

Apparently, the Obama administration approved transgender soldiers despite having a study that demonstrated that the average transgender soldier would be, due to sex change surgeries, undeployable for 238 days.  Because obviously, having soldiers absent from their units for the better part of a year does nothing to unit cohesion, and it's not like the DoD has found that introducing new soldiers to experienced units tends to get people killed.


Except, ahem, that's exactly the case.  So even beyond issues of mental health, physical strength, and the discomfort of other soldiers, there is a monster issue that the former President chose to blithely ignore.   If you care about the transgendered, you need to be in favor of President Trump's move to reverse President Obama's move.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It takes a village idiot....

...to fund Planned Parenthood Infanticide, apparently.  A Denver seller of sex toys is devoting all profits to keep Planned Parenthood afloat.  Now we can, and should, be both amused and repulsed at a lot of aspects of this, starting with the fact that apparently pro-abortion people don't find satisfaction in their spouses/lovers and need these toys, but there is a strong underlying message that insiders of the infanticide business are starting to admit publicly; abortion alone can not keep the doors of abortuaries open. 


As I've noted before, but now, I'm going to extend the argument.  I previously argued that, outside of big cities and D1 university towns, the demand for abortions was unlikely to be high enough to support abortuaries without government funding--things like contraceptive funding and allocations for referrals for mammograms and such.  I dare suggest that even most abortuaries in big cities are financially on thin ice, as the case of Kermit Gosnell makes clear.  A good number of his crimes started with cost-cutting in terms of anesthesia and sanitation, after all.


So how does this work?  Again, if you look at the statistics, you're going to find that a huge portion of abortions are done on poor women, especially poor minority women (and their children of course).  Going out on a limb here, I'm going to guess that a huge portion of urban abortions are paid for out of government programs like Medicaid. 


In other words, if you take away government funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, and if you start doing meaningful health and sanitation inspections on abortuaries, you can reduce abortion to the pre-Roe level without banning abortion at all. 

Time to take a close look

According to this column, which is admittedly biased, Hilliary Clinton received a $14 million advance for her book "Hard Choices", but overall sales so far are only 280,000 copies, and the original hardcover price appears to have been $35.  So I'm calculating a maximum possible revenue, including the cut of the publisher and the bookseller, of only $9.8 million.  Realistically, the publisher's net is less than half of that, and Mrs. Clinton's cut should have been a maximum of $1 million.


In similar news, the advance provided to President Obama for his memoirs is said to be about $65 million.  Given a usual royalty of $1-2/book for this kind of work, that would mean that the publisher is expecting to sell a copy to most of those who voted for him.  Similarly, Bill Clinton's memoir earned him a $15 million advance, but sold only 2.25 million copies. 


Now I don't have a complete picture of what's going on--I couldn't find information on advances for books by George W. Bush, for example--but it strikes me that at least inasmuch as prominent politicians of the left are writing, they're getting compensated far in excess of what a smart businessman would give them--say by a factor of ten or more.


I'm guessing that if a smart detective looked around--say he had friends working at the publishers--he'd find that these huge advances given to liberals are not in fact business decisions, but bribes.   The question is what is being bought, and inquiring minds might like to know.


Update: I found a source that said that George W. Bush had gotten a $7 million advance on a book of his that sold about two million copies, which is firmly in the generous range, but not yet in the ludicrous range.  Somehow it seems that, whether by error or bias or bribe, Democrats are getting richer deals than are Republicans.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jerry Lewis, dormi, dormi, dormi

My family decided to honor the passing of Jerry Lewis by watching Rock-a-bye Baby last night, and somehow it seemed that this would be appropriate.  And yes, Gigi's voice is pretty good--in his non-Hollywood life, he was an operatic bass named Salvatore Baccaloni, and he's not faking an Italian accent, either.



Now we know

Until today, when Asian commentator Robert Lee was moved from calling a college football game in Virginia because of his name's similarity to the Confederate general, I had no idea why former Broncos Linebacker Thomas Jackson had retired from ESPN. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Another hate group?

Jim reports that in the mind of the SPLC, being against homosexual marriage mirage is enough to get your group classified as a "hate group".  OK, if that's so, then we would assume that we would then classify most Catholic, evangelical, fundamental, and conservative Lutheran and Presbyterian churches as "hate groups"--the SPLC's list is tens of thousands of groups short of the real total, if not hundreds of thousands. 


More importantly, they missed two very significant hate groups, the 2008 Obama and Clinton campaigns for President.  Come on, SPLC, if you can't be coherent in your definition of hate groups, at least be consistent.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Now this is interesting

Powerline reports that the SPLC has created a graph correlating the creation of Confederate monuments to the year, and one interesting thing is that it does not correlate well with Klan activity.  Even the bump during the Civil Rights era isn't as big as the bump prior to WWI.  Another interesting thing is that, having spent a little bit of time in the South,  the overall numbers don't seem that big--there seems to be some Confederate monument or other in every town big enough for a post office.  So maybe there is a list of criteria the SPLC is using to determine what's big enough to count, or something interesting is going on on the Y axis.


Just food for thought. 

Say what?

A Washington Post sports columnist, apparently not having learned about great moments of black athletes, claims that the era of "the docile black athlete" has ended with Colin Kaepernick.  Apparently he's never heard about Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, or John Carlos, all of whom demonstrated long, long ago that black athletes were known to stick up for themselves.


Democracy dies in the darkness named the "Washington Post", it seems.  I give Jerry Brewer four dunce caps for his non-reading of sports history.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Truths

From Vox Day: To be a National Socialist in the West today, you have to be so mentally retarded that Hitler would have euthanized you under the Lebensunwertes Leben principle.


And so I don't escape picking on the other side of the riots--many of the groups were unabashedly pro-Communist--the Babylon Bee notes that there is a Strong Link Found Between Supporting Communism And Never Once Having Opened a History Book.


Let's be blunt about the matter; if someone you're politically affiliated with brings out a flag with either the swastika or the hammer & sickle on it (or a red star), it's time to reconsider your political affiliations to reflect people whose IQs are above room temperature. 


And yes, I'm saying that inasmuch as the counter-protesters are fans of Communism--killer of ten million by Lenin, twice that number by Stalin, over 50 million by Mao, and millions by Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Castro, and others--they are indeed morally equivalent to those who view themselves as "neo-nazis". 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Much appreciated, Mr. Bellamy

Wes Bellamy, vice mayor (hee hee) of Charlottesville, has a nice string of tweets including this gem:


I DON'T LIK WHITE PEOPLE


To be sure, he probably meant he doesn't "like" white people, but I'll simply be glad if he keeps his tongue in his mouth where it belongs.  Judging by his racist tweets, it might be good to keep his lips together as well and superglue his fingers to the bannister or something.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Say what?

Apparently, the FBI investigated complaints that former basketball coach Bobby Knight groped women at a U.S. spy agency.  My instant question; what business would he have at a spy agency?  The answer, apparently, is that he was teaching leadership.  Here is some video of agency leadership after the lecture.




I mean, yes, he was a great basketball coach, but....seriously?

Friday, August 11, 2017

New on King David's Cruise Line

Since King David has gone off to parts unknown, I'll try to help.  Apparently, a cruise ship going through the Indian Ocean (not really near Somali pirates) chose to have a ten night pirate drill with all passengers aboard, most of whom were paying up to $40,000 for the cruise.


Now precautions can be a good idea, but in light of the recent collision of a U.S. Navy ship with a freighter, going without lights really isn't exactly the best idea.  Instead, remember that your ship is a much more stable platform than a pirate boat is likely to be, and have a few crew members on board to spot prospective pirates, and if necessary, introduce them to Ma Deuce, or possibly something in 40mm if longer range is desired.  After all, five or so people to guard the ship (really a small faction of the security staff you'd want with 1900 passengers and probably 1000 staff) is a whole lot cheaper than 1900 people with their vacations ruined.


And also on the light side, who wouldn't want to take a ten day cruise to Dubai with a nighttime curfew through pirate infested waters?  I bet the reason KD didn't write about this is he was on the ship!


(sorry, KD, couldn't resist)


In other cruising news, a cruise ship in Alaska arrived in Ketchikan with a dead whale stuck on the bow.  I'm guessing that "smell of the seas" really enhanced the experience at the evening buffet.

Now that's a job well done

The editorial board of the New York Times is arguing that Sarah Palin's defamation/libel lawsuit against them ought to be dismissed because the editorial board had not read New York Times articles that clearly stated that the editorial board's positions were false. 


Given that one of the roles of newspaper editors is to, you know, edit the writings of reporters for brevity and clarity, we would have to go further; we would have to say that the editorial board of the New York Times had not even read the articles they had claimed to edit.


In a sane world, such an argument would be met by a series of quick dismissals by Arthur Sulzberger, but no such luck, sad to say.  On a more serious side, this does explain a lot of blatant factual errors by many at the Old Gray Lady.   Apparently those layers of fact-checkers were in fact down at the bar.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nope, no problem, nosirree

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain submitting 18 false voter registration forms.  Just believe the Democrats--the party that benefited from Andrew Spieles' crimes--that there is no problem.  Ignore the fact that he obtained the information for these forms from the Democratic Party of Virginia.


Maybe, just maybe, it's time for some good audits of voter registrations to see exactly how many dead people were registered to vote, how many people are registered to vote where they can not possibly live, and how many people are registered to vote in multiple places, and how many of them actually did vote illegally.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Chicanery, or bad water?

Two Cuban diplomats have been expelled after a number of U.S. diplomatic personnel had to return to the U.S. with unspecified maladies.  Now perhaps this is true chicanery along the lines of what was consistent in Moscow during the Cold War (or is now?), but I have to wonder if what's really going on is they're going outside the embassy for food and forget warnings not to eat raw fruits and vegetables, and not to take ice with one's drink.


Hopefully our State Department is not quite that stupid, but after the recent spate of leaks, I'm not quite so sure.  At any rate, it strikes me that if State is correct in their assessment, then Cuba's not exactly the friendly nation Mr. Obama assured us it would be.


Update: the problem appears to be an "acoustic attack" with sound beyond the audible range.   Given Cuba's extremely tight control over their economy, it's hard to believe anyone but the "friendly" Cuban government and the Castros are behind this.  Once again, heckuva job, Barry.

There's some great thinking for ya

A professor at San Antonio College has started to come to class dressed in body armor to protest on-campus carry.  Because, after all, it's not like he chose to live in gun-happy Texas or anything.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Coming in 2020!

General Mills will figure out that, indeed, wood does grow on trees.  How do I know this?  On my box of Cheerios, it states that all cereal box manufacture will be sustainable by 2020.  Since cereal boxes have been made of paper, hence wood, as long as I can remember, I can only imagine that this will be the date when the sustainability team at General Mills realizes that paper is made from wood, which grows on trees, and that when you cut a tree down, you can plant a new one.


This is what you get when your "environmental experts" are drawn from a class of people who dropped majors in the hard sciences and engineering because they couldn't do math, I guess.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Island Hopping

Like many, I've been saddened at the GOP's failure to overturn the Health Insurance Deform Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare" and sometimes falsely called the "Affordable Care Act."  But that said, I'm willing to cut the GOP some slack, because like any genius political vandal, President Obama and his minions put a ton of poison pills in there to make it difficult to repeal, from preexisting conditions clause bans to subsidies for those most likely to vote--older people.


And as such, and especially with the media firmly in the hands of the left, maybe it's time to take a look at MacArthur and Halsey's strategy of "island hopping."  Capture weakly defended islands with land for an airstrip while skipping the strongholds, put the Imperial Navy on the ocean floor and use land-based bombers to go to the next island and neutralize the strongholds. 


How would this work versus HIDA?  Simple; you go for the provisions that are most unpopular and build a popular consensus that these are not just "not conservative", but that they are wrong and sinful.  Why, for example, should young, poor people be subsidizing those who are older, even if they're quite prosperous?  Why should nuns be subsidizing birth control for other people?  Why should self-paid healthcare costs be taxed differently than employer-paid?


Win some of those battles, and the rest of Obamacare starts to totter on its own.  So maybe, just maybe, it's time to look seriously at Tulagi and Guadalcanal.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What makes me more nervous?

Is it the fact that Mohamed Noor obtained his place on the Minneapolis Police through an accelerated training program designed for college grads, or the fact that defenders of the standard program describe it as "paramilitary training"?