Monday, April 24, 2017

While in Rome, appears that Jim Harbaugh has some work to do yet with his team.  How so?  Well, they willingly compared themselves with gladiators--slaves forced to combat until they died--while in Rome.  So apart from the real issues of how one squares a trip to Rome with the notion of "amateur" athletics", it appears that the spirit of general studies is sadly still quite alive at the U. of M.  I have been hoping, despite my antipathy towards that school, that Harbaugh would lead something of an academic renaissance there and shame other football programs (like my beloved Spartans) into the same.

That said, maybe this trip will help in this regard.  Time will tell.

Update: not going so well, as he's apparently been kicked out of a mall for throwing a football around. Maybe the coach needs to go back through western civ again, too. 

Update 2: Jim, you're in the eternal city.  Maybe show some respect for where you are by wearing a hat that doesn't have a big block M on it? 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Update on Venezuela

Apparently, the socialist/communist government of Venezuela has not only confiscated a General Motors plant, prompting the company to abandon business in the country, but their confiscation of oil company assets has left the nation unable to even repair pipes used to load oil tankers, leading to weeks-long delays in tanker shipments as ships must be cleaned before leaving Venezuelan waters.

The only bright side here is that the upcoming collapse of the Venezuelan economy leaves an opening for the U.S. and other nations to put conditions on help for the beleaguered nation.  This is especially the case given that the main place Venezuelan oil can be refined is Texas.  I'd suggest that a bare minimum of conditions would be (a) no economic assistance for Cuba, (b) return of foreign assets seized by the government, and (c) the ruling socialists step down with the provision that they never, ever, try to seize power again.

I'll be riding this one to the bank...

.....or, rather, directly away from the hospital.  Study finds that cycling to work greatly reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.  Sorry, but the motorized type probably doesn't count.  :^)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Genius in academia

Acting on political correctness and a statistic suggesting 86% of women have sometimes lacked feminine hygiene products when they needed them, the University of Rochester in New York placed feminine hygiene products in both mens' and womens' bathrooms.  The result is that they've learned the hard way that students are tremendous pranksters who would take a handful of the products just because they could, blowing through half the year's budget in a month.

This boggles the mind in many ways; that the advocates had no clue that this would happen, that they thought men might need these, that they thought they could meet the needs of all women with a limited array of products, and that they never clued in that by the time they reach college age, most women figure out that it's a good idea to have a couple whatevers tucked in their purses.

Or, for that matter, if a woman doesn't have this figured out, that maybe, just maybe, she's not college material.  For that matter, maybe the advocates here aren't college material, either.  Congratulations to this group for making a clear case for raising admissions standards.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Women in combat?

Maybe not so much.  Data from 2016 indicate that 16% of deployed women became pregnant on deployment.  If we assume that only 10% of combat troops are women, we would infer that in a given year, about 1% of troops on a given ship would need to be de-deployed in a year.  20 years back, about 10% of the women on the "Love Boat" became pregnant, so it's a consistent problem.

This is  close to the proportion of soldiers in a unit that General Patton said would die in a really terrible battle when he was preparing his men for Operation Overlord.  Now we can argue all day (in a silly way, but we can) about how well qualified women are for combat positions in terms of physical and mental aptitudes, but the simple fact of the matter is that attrition of female soldiers and sailors due to pregnancy is similar to the effects of a major battle on units. 

And really, it's no surprise.  What's going on is simple; when you take young, healthy people ten thousand miles from home and put them in a situation where they are lonely and more than a little bit scared, they tend to fornicate.  All the regs in the world can't stop that, but our regs ought to acknowledge it.

One final note; a West Point graduate of my acquaintance told me a few weeks back that when the Army tried to correlate success as an officer to the experience at USMA, the only thing that correlated well was how well the candidates did in their physical education classes.  This stuff matters.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Here's a solution

Apparently, former IRS crook Lois Lerner is afraid that if her role in IRS targeting of conservative organizations is made public, she will face death threats.  Quite frankly, I agree that she might, and thus it's important to make sure that she is safe.

This can be done, of course, by putting her on trial for her obvious perjury to Congress and other crimes, and sending her to 1000 University Drive SW, Waseca MN 56093, where some personal friends of mine will work to ensure her safety.

You're welcome, Lois.   Say "hi" to the guards for me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Here's your single payer health care

...along with a glimpse of the abortion industry worldwide.  First, in Sweden, a midwife has been told that she must do abortions if she wants to work, and that she must pay the cost for the government to sue her to do this.  Worth noting here is that surgical abortions are, of course, a surgical procedure that ought to be done by a person trained in surgery.  The person who objected to this requirement is a midwife not trained in surgery--not even an epidural, and certainly not a caesarean section.

So just like in the United States, abortion fees do not cover the costs of the procedure when done safely for the mother, and just like here, abortion advocates are willing to endanger women's lives by using unqualified persons to do the procedure.

Along similar lines, a judge in London has prohibited a family from taking their critically ill child to the United States at the request of hospital administrators in England's NHS.  Key here is that it did not matter that the family had the money for treatment together; the death panel had spoken.  The NHS monopoly can not tolerate the possibility that they might be proven wrong.

And unless they emigrate, they've got to get care from the same NHS that went to court to take all hope away for their child.  I'd be filling out papers right now, I dare say.

Finally, regarding the question of whether mitochondrial depletion syndrome is incurable, well, there are some indications of hope.  It's unlikely, to be sure, but we still care for people with ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease" despite the fact that we haven't found a cure for that, either.   It's time for a death panel to put socialized medicine out of our misery.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pure brilliance in science

A study from Mexico makes the argument that 800 species found in the border area would be adversely affected by the proposed border wall, and I was willing to give the study a chance until I read about one species whose free movement would be hurt.

The bald eagle.  Going way out on a limb here, I've got to suggest that if the authors of the study actually believe that a 30' wall is going to impede the free movement of our nation's symbol, that might be a reason to cast their other conclusions into doubt, too.  This is especially the case as the bald eagle is no longer an endangered species, and one might assume that there might be other reasons besides border walls that a species that eats a lot of fish might not thrive in the desert.

There can be great reasons not to support a border wall in the Sonoran desert--in many areas a simple vehicle barrier might be sufficient deterrent, for example--but the plight of the bald eagle is not among them. 

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Stanford campaigns to leave the ranks of the elite

How so?  They admitted a kid who wrote "#BlackLivesMatter" 100 times in the essay portion of his application.  Now no matter what your opinion on BLM--my view is you bet black lives matter, the question is how to protect them best--the point of an essay in a college application is not just to get a view of the child's "activism" or political points of view, but to get a view of their ability to write.

So what Stanford admissions has said with this is that it doesn't matter whether someone can write well, which ought to speak strongly to the quality of the education one might obtain there.  Strongly, and negatively.

Have a Coke!

Why?  Well, PepsiCo has given us a great reason with their recent, inexplicable ad featuring some woman who is the famous child of someone whose reason for fame occurred 40 years ago.  Send hundreds of people to Bangkok to do an ad with a protest featuring clear references to Barry Soetoro, a cellist and a student inexplicably working during that protest, have famous child strut through it all and give a soft drink to highly attractive riot cop without riot gear.  Watch as the left pops a gasket, as of course Black Lives Matter is the only group (s) allowed to have protests, or something like that.

Come to think of it, as I've got tendencies towards diabetes, and as this whole deal boggles the mind, maybe something from Bell's is more the ticket.  Sad to say, I think Hopslam season is over for this year...

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Fahrenheit 451 at the DNC?

After the Heartland Institute distributed, apparently for free, 200,000 copies of a book called Why Climate Scientists Disagree About Global Warmingthree senior House Democrats--Bobby Scott (VA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), and Eddie Johnson (TX) have filed a request that the book be destroyed, thereby indicating that their knowledge of the literary canon does not extend to Ray Bradbury.

One might also infer that Congressmen Scott, Grijalva, and Johnson have only a fleeting relationship with the practice of logic and the principles of investigation, which would have informed them that when you have a work with which you disagree, the last thing you ought to do is to demand it be destroyed.  It is a "tell" that you are not just unwilling, but also incapable, of addressing its arguments.

(thanks for the confession, Congressmen)

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Genius at work in DC and Illinois

First, it appears that a college degree will now be required to work in a daycare center in the District of Columbia.  So apparently, a guy caught smoking crack with a prostitute is a safe bet for the mayor's office, but a person without a college degree can't be trusted to change diapers.  Along with draconian regulations on homeschooling and firearm ownership, this is a great case for removing self-rule from the District.  Common sense simply doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for being in government there.

Next, the state of Illinois has decided to punish straw purchases of firearms about as harshly as they do murder and rape.  Now to be sure, a big portion of Chicago's horrific murder and assault rate is because straw purchases and the like were--apparently by the direction of former President Obama--not prosecuted. 

However, the new law won't help things, because here the key problem is that for whatever reason, prosecuting straw purchasers wasn't going to fly in Chicago, and punishing straw purchases as harshly as murder isn't going to help.  The simple reason is that when a punishment is deemed too harsh--like 8 years plus deportation for a green card holder voting illegally--it will not generally be imposed.

There are a lot of good things that can be done to curb Chicago's murder rate--community policing to regain trust, punishment of minor crimes with appropriate sentences, encouragement of traditional families, etc..--but I don't think this is one of them.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to strike a blow for beauty and modesty

Believe it or not, you can do it even if you are a man by dressing well.  According to Tammy Bruce, the editor of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine said this about the current trend of wearing "yoga pants" and/or leggings to all kinds of events:

Nothing makes you rethink your wardrobe choice like the embarrassment of shaking hands with five people in suits while you're wearing exercise pants.

Want to help your female friends look better and avoid "giving too much information"?  Exchanging jeans for slacks, exercise shoes for work or dress shoes, or putting on a coat or tie might be just the ticket.  And even if it doesn't help with that, your wife might like it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Say what?

It appears that the previous President was on the side of a territory that wanted to restrict the right to vote to people of the proper race.  At the very least, his Department of Justice didn't think that prohibiting non-Chamorro residents of Guam from voting violated federal law, specifically the 15th Amendment.

But, given that Obama had earlier endorsed actions that would gut the 13th Amendment, I don't see why I should be surprised that he'd have gutted the 15th if he could have as well.  Appalled, of course, but not surprised.  I'm just thankful that our current President is one who is likely to honor the text and spirit of the 13th and 15th Amendments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not the way I'd initially expected

A young man's parents are suing because their son was required by his school to share locker rooms--and as a junior, this means showers too--with a biological female who, for reasons known to her, decided she was "male" enough to use the boys' locker room.  Now of course, I don't know her motives, but I know that my response would have been (and would be today) about the same. 

And along those lines, those who genuinely do suffer from this mental illness need to be treated compassionately as well--by not opening up the opposite sex's restrooms and locker rooms to them.  Like it or not, this girl is mentally ill according to DSM-5, and it doesn't do her any good to be exposed to the catcalls of her peers calling her a "freak", "pervert", "slut", and the like.  Never mind what happens to all participants when some boy's body does, or does not, respond to her exposed female form.

Isn't high school tough enough without this kind of silliness?   

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's all a sham

Recently, a transgender person named Laurel Hubbard won the "over 90kg" category for women's weightlifting at the Australian International with a total lift of 268kg, about 19kg greater than the runner up, but far short of the world record of 348kg set by Tatiana Kashirina of Kazakhstan--suspended in 2006 for failing doping tests. 

Now what's interesting here is that Hubbard's advantage in weight--9kg above all other competitors--scales nicely with the advantage in terms of results--8% or so.  In other words, having been born male does not seem to confer a disproportionate advantage vs. women in the sport.

How is that so?  Well, it might have something to do with the fact that at least 137 weightlifters have been caught doping, which would in turn imply that the actual rate of doping is likely much higher, and would then imply that--like we learned during the scandal with Lance Armstrong--the sport is a sham at elite levels.   The problem is not that sports federations are allowing the transgender to compete now, but rather that they've been allowing them to compete for half a century. 

On Comey's testimony

We have on the one side an active FBI investigation into whether the Russians were working with the Trump campaign to influence the election, and on the other hand we have James Comey saying he's unaware of any wiretaps of the Trump campaign.  It strikes me that both of these contentions cannot be true in any meaningful way--one might object that there were not physical devices connected to phone systems in Trump Tower specifically, but if indeed Comey is correct that there is an investigation, the idea that there was no surveillance of the campaign is hard to believe.

As the good professor noted in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, it seems that schools, including fairly elite law schools, are simply not teaching logic anymore.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Silliness out of Boulder

Yes, I know I'm being redundant here, but this story just floors me.  Apparently, when lecturing in a legal ethics class, Neil Gorsuch may have pointed out that it can be seen as unethical for a motherhood-minded lawyer to obtain a job with maternity leave benefits for the sake of....maintaining income while growing her family, especially when she has significant student loans.

In response, a former law student claims that this somehow discounts the worth of women in the if pointing to the cost of maternity leave is equivalent to saying women shouldn't work at all.  The issue is compounded by a claim that Gorsuch pointed out that female lawyers have twice the divorce rate of male lawyers.

Now, on the planet I inhabit, warning people about the perils of their chosen profession--and I did quickly find a study from the ABA that said 50% more female lawyers were divorced than their male counterparts--would ordinarily be seen as a "service", not a "harm."  Apparently, however, the sun shines a different color in the People's Republic of Boulder.

Yes, we were all Irish....

What to do with leftover corned beef after St. Patrick's Day?  Why not a dish of pho?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A little proposal for reducing the budget

Graph out each agency's spending by month over the year, and set their next year's budget according to spending for the first ten months.  Many agencies are notorious for "blowing" their budgets in the last month or two of the fiscal year to avoid cuts.

Fire the heads of those agencies with this pattern, and do not replace them. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Interesting logic by the CBO that defunding Planned Parenthood Infanticide for a year will result in more births because women in poor areas do not have nearby clinics that are not affiliated with them.  So just for giggles, I did a google search for medical clinics in Gary, Detroit, and Chicago, and amazingly, I found that within a few miles of any place in each city, there was a medical clinic not affiliated with Planned Parenthood.  It is sad, but not surprising, that this five minute exercise was apparently beyond the ability of the Post reporters and editors, even apart from the notion that the money currently given to Planned Infanticide could be used as well to found clinics in underserved areas. 

And, of course, even more shamefully, figuring this out is beyond the ability of the CBO.  Is it too much to ask that our government do its work honestly?  Apparently so.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Yet another reason to homeschool

Apparently, the state of New York is contemplating doing away with a literacy test for teachers because too many "minority" applicants are failing it.  Now that's depressing enough--one would hope that any high school graduate, never mind a person with a bachelor's degree or more in education, would be able to pass such a test with flying colors--but it actually gets worse. 

Overall, nearly 40% failed, and when the Manhattan Institute reviewed the test exam, their professional writer achieved only a 55% score and noted that several of the "multiple guess" questions appeared to have multiple correct answers, but only one would be scored as correct.  This may explain why the exam did not predict (according to those with the data) success in the profession.

So what we have is a situation where the state board of education can't write a basic reading test, huge numbers of teachers may be dishonoring their almae matriae by not being able to read, larger numbers of teachers may be dishonoring their profession by not performing better than illiterate colleagues, and schools of education are acting as if the problem is primarily one of racial equity.

So for the sake of the great State of New York, here's a simple reading test; open a newspaper, read, and tell me what you just read.  You're welcome.

Cool, but yikes

Engineers at Google and Levi's have teamed together to create a jacket designed to allow cyclists to be connected with the world, but not staring at the screen on their phone.  As such, they view it as a big safety advance--and then they promote it with a video of a cyclist without a helmet. 

Hint; if it's cool enough to wear a jacket while cycling, it's not too hot to wear a helmet, and quite frankly I much prefer the thought of shattering a helmet to the thought of shattering my skull.   So they take care of a third order safety issue while neglecting a first order one--did they actually talk to any cyclists before doing that video, or for that matter before they did the jacket?

They certainly didn't ask me--while the technology is cool, time on two wheels is generally "alone" time for me, and quite frankly the weather in Minnesota is too volatile to achieve connectivity with just one jacket.   So it falls, as far as I'm concerned, into the bin of "solution in search of a problem."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Gun control logic

Apparently in 2015, an entire container full of firearms from Sturm, Ruger, and Company was stolen by gang-bangers in Chicago.  111 firearms were stolen, some of which were of course used by Chicago's many gangs.

Now of course, the city and various community organizers therein are wondering why the railroads don't hire more security to prevent things like this, but it occurs to me that if the trains were moving, instead of parked at the railyards, then it would be far more difficult to rob them.  Along these lines, a train that could go around the city in a few hours if the tracks were clear actually takes 27 hours on average to get around the city.  That's a lot of time for the Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples to work.

But that said, 111 guns is a drop in the bucket in Chicago, and railroads are one of the few things going on the South Side, so maybe this isn't the big reason to change how trains go around the Windy City.  Cutting of one's nose to spite one's face, as it were.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Marxist theory of history from my Senator

I heard Senator Al Franken talking about the confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch on WCCO today, and it was interesting (but infuriating) to hear his reasons for being against Gorsuch; more or less that the Supreme Court was, in his opinion, in favor of corporations instead of workers.

Now of course, this is interesting for starters because the Constitution says nothing whatsoever about the rights of corporations vs. those of workers, but rather provides that Congress can do things to ensure uniform rules for bankruptcy and interstate commerce.  So Franken is for starters positing a role for the Supreme Court nowhere suggested in the Constitution.  If he doesn't like federal law regarding corporations and trade unions, he has only himself to blame, really.  He's also stating very clearly that he is all for judicial activism as long as his side is calling the shots in how the Constitution will be twisted.

But more importantly, notice as well that he's more or less trying to set the entrepreneurial class--the corporations or bourgeoisie if you will--against the working class or proletariat.  In other words, Franken is for all practical purposes a Communist, something that he's been hinting at ever since he was the "Church Lady" "Stuart Smalley" (H/T Sue) on Saturday Night Live, and something he started shouting with his books.   Long past time for Minnesotans to wake up to who our junior senator really is.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Pure Biblicity in cake decorating

My second daughter did this beautiful rendition of Judges 4:21.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

On the allegations against Jeff Sessions

What strikes me about the recent Washington Post article claiming Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador no less than twice prior to the election is that....ahem, isn't this someone leaking classified information?  Isn't it a fact that people can and do die when intelligence officials leak this kind of thing?

It would be nice if the Post were as worked up about unauthorized release of classified information as a misstatement, possibly a lie, by Jeff Sessions about meeting with ambassadors--something that was, ahem, part of his job as part of the Armed Services Committee.  It is also worth noting that if Senator Franken knew that Sessions had met with the ambassador, he was illegally in possession of classified information--he is not on a committee which requires a security clearance.

Yes, there are some criminals here that need to be prosecuted, specifically writers and editors at the Washington Post, along with their sources in the "deep state."  But Jeff Sessions is not among them.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Humor for our Catholic friends

....a "study" finds that people who comment daily on what they're giving up for Lent have greater closeness with God.  Along the same lines, we can only assume the worst for a man who joined CrossFit without telling anyone.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A limit to political tolerance....

....was apparently found by California Senator Janet Nguyen, who (amazingly) decided not to sign on to a resolution in honor of the late Tom Hayden, noting his part in putting her as an infant in a leaky boat on the South China Sea, and his failure to acknowledge that he was wrong about the brutality of Communism. 

Now "protocol" says that one ought not belittle a fellow Senator, of course, and yes, people can forgive these wrongs, but I am quite happy to see someone objecting to a posthumous honor for Hayden for these reasons.  There are times, quite frankly, when politicians get along too well, and that betrays that they really might not believe what they say they do.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Only in Sweden. I hope

The town of Overtornea in northern Sweden is considering giving its municipal employees a paid hour per week so they can go home and make love to their spouses.  Now apart from logistical problems--what do you do for the single, and those whose spouses work during the day, how do you make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing  (ewww), and what do you do with the kids--these municipal employees just might have trouble giving blood, or at least would get embarrassed quite a bit.

You see, since prostitution is strongly linked with AIDS, every donor is asked in a few different ways "have you ever taken or received money or drugs in exchange for sex?", and these people would have to answer yes--and then explain that the "john" was their town government. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My take on Macy's

When I first moved to Minnesota, one of the nicest things about shopping in Edina (cake eater territory) was that I could walk into a good men's clothing store and ask for "17 1/2 36-37 fitted" and not be laughed at.  You paid for it, but you could get it--or they would know where you could.  One of the places where you could get fitted suits of good quality was Marshall Field's, and I vividly remember walking into the men's area, and within five minutes the salesman had guessed my size (correctly) and found five suits that would meet my needs.

So what is going wrong now?  Well, in my last visit to Macy's in Edina, what I noticed is that the guys who used to staff menswear are simply not there anymore, and when I looked at the garments they had, polyester blends were far more common than wool or cotton.  Moreover, the old system of identifying garments by size had broken down--nobody cared to make sure that  a 36 waist trouser was on a hanger identified as such. 

In other words, the prices still said Marshall Field's, but the garment quality said J.C. Penney and the  presentation said Goodwill.  In other words, my view is that contrary to their CEO, the company does not need to "evolve" or "execute faster", but rather to remember the things that made them the nation's biggest and bring them back. 

Granted, in a world of fast fashion and spandex garments, it's harder and harder to sell the old Marshall Field's experience, but at a certain point, that's precisely why you hire people in marketing, no?  I certainly try to do my part, and the differences in fit, wear, comfort/breathability, and such are not difficult to describe. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Glad I graduated when I did!

A professor--apparently a liberal one--at my alma mater, Michigan State University, is in trouble after having sent out Donald Trump-themed Valentine's Day cards.  I shudder to think of the reaction the Al Capone-themed Valentine's Day cards I gave out one year would get now. 

Or it might be that, now as then, most people wouldn't get it.  Only two people got it back then, and my wife and I met at their wedding.  I don't think that Capone cards had anything to do with that, though.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A simple question

Recent reports indicate that recent decisions of retailers to drop "Trump" brand clothing, jewelry, and other lines had a lot to do with precipitous drops in business as the election season was gearing up--apparently about the same time "the Donald" wrapped up the nomination.  Now granted, I don't have a good statistical sample of those customers who ultimately made that decision, but one would have to conclude that a significant portion of "soak the rich" Democrats were previously willing to buy Trump brand products.

Now from my perspective, I've found the Trump brand rather tacky ever since I was in high school, but it particularly boggles the mind to contemplate this crowd buying their merchandise in the first place.  If one isn't careful, one is bound to learn something new each day, I guess.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feel safer?

When arrested for having a loaded pistol while flying, the aptly-named Rick Derringer noted that he'd flown over 50 times with such and never been stopped before.  Sure makes me feel safer, but it sounds about right given the rate at which the TSA misses lethal weapons in FBI tests.   

So while I don't condone his failure to read the signs while going through screening--his mistake is not exactly excusable or subtle--it does suggest that we might do well to try something new for airplane security.  I wonder, for example, what portion of pilots are now certified to fly while armed?   (the last data I could see indicated about 10% in 2008)

Bringing rail travel back

Having grown up near Chicago, and within 20 miles of at least 20 train lines in NW Indiana, I'm a huge fan of trains, but quite frankly the reality of train travel (a.k.a Amtrak) leaves a lot to be desired.  And so I was intrigued by this article about "most romantic train rides", especially the picture in this link

Notice what you have is the coal-fired (romantic?) steam locomotive pulling up a grade with....a modern diesel locomotive right behind it.  In other words, they've got the romance and the reality.  To buy the ride, people want both.  And in this case, it's pretty obvious that they're compromising one to get the other.

The solution, if it's practical, is simply to have a small diesel and generator on each carriage--a "doodlebug" configuration--and then let the old steam locomotive be the "crumple zone" in the case of a crash.  I'm told that the typical objection to a doodlebug configuration is, after all, the prospect of what happens in a crash with freight trains. 

Oh, and maybe....just maybe....rework the steam engine to burn natural gas instead of coal.  Maybe I'm just weird, but unfiltered coal smoke is not part of the old romance of rail, but is rather part of why so many of us decided to drive, take the bus, or fly.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Unclear on the concept

Believing (wrongly) that the federal Department of Education has the power to destroy public education, many people on the left are planning to homeschool their children.  The irony here is that since schools allocate funds by the number of students, and since schools really need a quorum of smart, well behaved kids to function well, these well-meaning but misguided liberals are...

.....exercising their power to destroy the public education available to their children.  Oops. 

But that said, if liberals learn how few resources (in money and time) are needed to educate a child well, and the tremendous freedoms offered by home education, all I can say is "the more the merrier."  This is especially the case as it would further the migration of home education away from the teachings of guys like Bill Gothard, and would be tremendously good for the movement.  It also has the possibility of reminding the left of the joys of traditional family life where one parent has primary care of the children, and of reminding Democratic legislators that homeschool freedoms cannot be infringed without extracting a political price.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Fun thought

I'd like to get one of those squarish pink hats--the ones named after a cat I'm told--and embroider "Justice for Juanita, Monica, Gennifer, Paula, Kathleeen, and a bunch of others" on it, and then see who gets the joke.  Or maybe that would be a little bit more dangerous than it ought to be in a world of reality-and-humor-challenged activists.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Liberalism in action

Apparently, the rioters thugs  fascists rioting at Berkeley on February 1 decided, among other things, to smash the windows of the Martin Luther King building on campus.  February 1 is, of course, the start of Black History Month.

It strikes me that the major difference these guys have with the Ku Klux Klan is that they wore black instead of white hoods to cover their faces. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Real man, Monty Python Fan

I may be reading between the lines a bit too much, but this case of a woman marrying the firefighter who accompanied her to the hospital after the Boston Marathon bombing makes me think the firefighter is not only a real man in many ways, but also a Monty Python fan.

Real man because he ran towards the explosion and helped save this lady's life, and then is marrying her, and a Monty Python fan because in the ambulance, he told her that her injury--which required the amputation of her leg above the knee--was only a "flesh wound". 

And come to think of it, marrying an amputee counts as another point for being a real man.  Best wishes to the happy couple!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Game changer for media coverage and the former President?

To no one's surprise, President Trump's executive order curtailing the acceptance of new refugees has been former President Obama.  Now given Obama's popularity with the media, he's not to be trifled with, but it strikes me that a simple note from the new President might give him pause.


Noted your talking to the media.....and I remembered that I have it in my power to release the FBI staffers involved in the decision about whether to prosecute Hillary from their pledges of confidentiality, and depending on what we hear from them, we might decide to override Jim's decisions and see what Hillary has to say about the matter.  Just sayin'.

Enjoy your retirement!


Yes, I'm writing about today's politics, again, like Mario Puzo.  I don't like it, but if that's the game that must be played....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Because diversity!

It turns out that the limo torched by anti-Trump protesters was owned by a Muslim immigrant, and the driver they assaulted while ruining his livelihood had an identifiably Hispanic name.  With friends on the far left, it would seem that Hispanics, Muslims, and immigrants don't need any enemies, do they?

In related news, Minnesota legislators are looking to increase the penalties for rioting, and while I sympathize with the motivation, it strikes me that the biggest problem we have with rioters is not that the penalties we have are not harsh enough.  It is that police departments and prosecutors are refusing to prosecute rioters and impose the penalties we have.  We seem to be forgetting that if a penalty is seen as unduly harsh, prosecutors, police, judges, and juries will refuse to implement it.  A parallel case is some wisdom a friend gave about the landlord business; don't make the penalty for late payment so high you can't bring yourself to impose it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bat-signal to the Kool Aid Report

Powerline tells us that there is, apparently, an entire journal devoted to "Metal Music Studies", and that a key question to be addressed is whether a musical genre where most performers have long curly hair with pancake makeup and have physiques developed by years of bench-pressing tuna salad sandwiches and heroin suffers from a crisis of hypermasculinity.   Worth noting as well is that a patron saint of hair metal, Mutt Lange, is the same guy who also did production work for Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis, Lady Gaga, and of course his ex-wife Shania Twain. 

If that's not hyper-masculine, I sure don't know what is.  For more hyper-masculine heavy metal, you can check out the "Harp Twins", "Harptallica", and of course the "Kool Aid Report."  Yes, with all this hypermasculinity, even Arnold Schwartzenegger's cameo at an AC/DC concert can't feminize it enough.  Over and out, Foot.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Michigan gets a couple right

Back when I was a young pup, a friend of mine scored a great opportunity--as a guy who was able to run close to 15 minutes for 5k, he got a full ride, including the possibility of five years and summers, at Purdue.   As a decent student, it struck me that in that amount of time, I could get not only a bachelor's degree, but also a master's, without spending one red cent. 

Sadly, it didn't work out that way for my friend--he partied his way out of college, much to my dismay--but it's good to see that a number of players from the University of Michigan are taking good advantage of their chance by graduating in four years.  Time will tell, of course, whether this is simply a few smart football players, or whether Michigan's second-best Big Ten university (and 14th best Big Ten university overall) is going to end its shameful practice of giving many football players, especially minorities, Cadillac tastes on a Chevy budget by allowing them to maintain eligibility on their "general studies" program, but this is a good start for Harbaugh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cruel to the country, cruel to Bradley Manning

Apparently, one of President Obama's final acts in office is to commute the sentence of Bradley "Chelsea" Manning, duly convicted of disclosing close to a million classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.  Now as much as this is cruel to the country--telling people that it does not indeed matter whether one keeps private information private--it is simultaneously cruel to Mr. Manning, who is said to have attempted suicide twice in 2016 and is on suicide watch at Leavenworth.

How is it cruel to Mr. Manning?  Simple; outside of Leavenworth, he will no longer be on suicide watch, and will not be eligible for medical benefits through the VA--this is part of a dishonorable discharge that was part of his sentence.  He will also have a tough time finding work as a result.  In other words, in commuting Manning's 35 year prison term, President Obama may well have given him a death sentence.   I hope I'm wrong for his sake, but this is where the evidence points.

Friday, January 13, 2017

More participation trophies

...."Ammo Grrl", at Powerline, summarizes my view of President Obama awarding himself the "Distinguished Service" award (OK, his staffer technically did it, but what exactly does such an award from a subordinate mean?), and then proceeding to give Joe Biden the "Presidential Medal of Freedom." 

Now apart from the fact that a list of "Presidential Medal of Freedom" winners reveals that it's pretty much a popularity contest, and apart from the fact that Biden and Obama really don't have that much to crow about except for the Health Insurance Deform Act and the 1994 crime bill that gave Congress to the GOP, Proverbs 27:2 quite frankly comes to mind--let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth. 

The craziest thing, of course, is that praise from "people that matter" in the media, Hollywood, international leaders and bodies, and the Democratic Party has belonged to Obama and Biden in spades.  Would we argue that the "Distinguished Service Award" ranks up there with his Nobel?

So what we have here, really, is a couple of men with a pathological need for affirmation--more or less what the Mayo Clinic calls "narcissistic personality disorder." 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

About that Prius at 80mph

....I saw in the paper that going from 77F to 20F reduces, on average, the fuel efficiency of standard vehicles by about 12%, but hybrid car fuel efficiency drops by about 34%.  The reason for this is simple; you cannot get as much current out of a cold battery as you can from a warm one, which is also why it's always cold when your battery fails  This means, of course, that the Prius that passed me going about 80mph on a 10F day was getting not about 40mpg, but rather about 25mpg.

Which is about what the Buick Regal I was loaned a couple of months back got in similar conditions, just without the fun of 265hp or any sense of "style". In other words, hybrids and electric cars really make no sense north of the Mason-Dixon line at all, and they really ought to have a "winter" rating for mileage and range to go along with the summer ratings.

Inadvertent aid and comfort.... John Birch Society founder Robert Welch and Senator Joe McCarthy comes from an unlikely source, Noel Riley Fitch's biography of Julia Child, Appetite for Life  Now I read the book first of all because it was my mother's, and second of all because it's interesting to learn how a former intelligence agent became the queen of high end cooking in this country, and what made her tick.

And in reality, that's the most interesting part of the book.  We learn that she, like her family, was not particularly big on church (she walked away altogether after college), that she was active in the repeal of Prohibition (and knew the local speakeasies well), and that she was politically liberal to the point of offering the same defenses for abortion that you'll hear today, including the argument that a syphilitic prostitute is a typical mother seeking an abortion.

But that aside, we also learn a lot about today's intelligence services and the State Department from her experience in India and China.  Fitch (Child) presents a picture of an OSS with quite a bit of wild parties and promiscuity, and also one where those involved generally had a far more positive view of Mao than of Kai-shek, even to the point of not knowing or caring that Mao was getting supplies and guidance from the Soviet Union.

A key passage for me--and I am not a Bircher--was in Fitch's (Child's, presumably) view of the death of John Birch.  Fitch (Child) describes him incorrectly as "the son of" fundamentalist Baptist missionaries in China--his parents were in fact Presbyterian missionaries in India, and he was the Baptist missionary in China.  Moreover, his death is described as due to arguing with Communists--but they were theoretically allies at the time.  Hence, the fact that Birch died was indeed (per Welch and McCarthy) that the Communists were not really our allies, but an opponent that happened to have the same enemy for a while.

In other words, Fitch (and Child) show why Welch founded the JBS, and why Joe McCarthy launched his investigations of the State Department and other institutions; the pattern of missing obvious information was too obvious to consider random.  Come to think of it, as one of our 17 intelligence services seems to have fallen hook, line, and sinker for nonsense allegations against Donald Trump, we might guess that the exact same dynamic is at work today as was working in the OSS in 1943.  It is, once again, time to take a serious look at the culture of our intelligence and diplomatic agencies, and see what's blinding them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Why Hollywood loves Roman Polanski

In the news recently has been the behavior of Meryl Streep, who rightly castigated Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, but then proceeded to applaud a lifetime achievement award for Roman Polanski, who has admitted what was more or less a forcible rape of a 13 year old, and has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in compensation to her.

Now we could attribute this to the same moral blindness that leads most of Hollywood to love another rapist, Bill Clinton, or we could take a good look at the Hollywood tradition of the "casting couch."  It is, apparently, well known in the industry that a certain proportion of movie producers and directors use the desire for good parts to obtain sexual favors, and I remember reading that no less than Marilyn Monroe reported this use of the casting couch, and of course Tippi Hedgren recently reported the same of no less than Alfred Hitchcock. 

Whether or not Ms. Streep has been a victim of this practice (I personally doubt it), it is nearly certain that she knows of a number of directors, producers, and studio executives who have taken advantage of it, and just as certainly Polanski has the goods on any number of his colleagues if a suitable number of them turn on him. 

In other words, code of omerta  or mutual assured destruction may well be getting Polanski awards.  I have previously resisted the thoughts of conspiracy, but in this case, I've got to wonder if more is going on than "my tribe/your tribe" hypocrisy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


In a recent homeschooling newsletter, a supposed "expert" on music was arguing that the "back beat" or "offbeat" in music was wrong because of the sound of the heart. Well, let's take a listen.  As someone familiar with the cardiac cycle would infer--the ventricles beat after the smaller, weaker atria--the actual heart beat is, ahem, offbeat.

As Huey Lewis could tell us, of course.