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"? 

Great moments in thinking

First, Texas Congressman Al Green has decided to file a bill to prevent President Trump from pardoning himself.   Since the pardon power exists in the Constitution and cannot be modified by any law passed by Congress, exactly what the Hon. Mr. Green is thinking could be very interesting.  Or depressing. 


Next apparently many fans of swimming great Michael Phelps are quite disappointed that his "race with a shark" was not real, but was done with computer animation.  So we would assume that many of his so-called "fans" are not only clueless that the better measure of Phelps' speed would be his world records (most of which were set at least 8 years ago), but are also not terribly aware of the habit great whites have of making humans into "Purina Shark Chow."


I will, of course, be using CGI to demonstrate that I'm the equal of not only a single great white, but a whole pod of killer whales.  And Joe Louis, and Mike Tyson.  Pay per view will be $50, and all viewers will be given a chance to buy this gorgeous 1870 bridge.



Congratulations, idiots

According to the Washington Post, current and former officials of the U.S. government have not only committed multiple felonies by releasing classified information to the press, but have also notified the Russian government that their secure channels for communication with Moscow are not, in fact, secure.  This, of course, gives them the opportunity to fix this problem.


Thanks, idiots.  You're trying to catch somebody for a minor crime and you pull this dumb*** stunt.  Does the name "Alger Hiss" mean anything to you? 

Friday, July 21, 2017

My advice for Mohammed Noor

If you've been reading the papers, you may have heard about a tragic case where an Australian woman living in Minneapolis was shot and killed by a young police officer of Somali descent, Mohammed Noor.  Suffice it to say that what is known does not look good for him.  The police union, which usually reflexively defends its members, is mostly quiet.  Police chief Janee' Harteau has said the killing should not have happened, and even the Somali community seems to be quiet so far.  So while I'm not a lawyer, I'm guessing that Noor's lawyer is telling him he's looking at 10-20 years unless he does something really smart.


That something smart could be to do the same thing Harteau did to him; throw the Minneapolis Police under the bus.   Admit he was an "affirmative action hire" and note that certain key parts of his qualifications were ignored or falsified--provide evidence if possible.  Explain that because he and other AA hires were not highly qualified, they were partnered together instead of with veteran officers, depriving them of the "street wisdom" that comes with time (Harteau has almost admitted this already).  Finally, make public what has been long suspected; that Minneapolis police officers are trained to keep their fingers on the trigger, despite the official policy.  Bring half a dozen carry permit instructors with combat or MP experience to explain what that policy is a really, really bad idea.


If he does something like this (and does not have some other exonerating evidence of course), my prediction is he cuts his sentence to 2-5 years, and that we really get to watch the fur fly when the family files a civil lawsuit against the MPD.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Now that's some good thinking

A white professor of classics at the University of Iowa, Sarah Bond, has come out with a remarkable new theory; that the use of white marble in sculpture feeds white supremacists.  After all, who doesn't see a bunch of Aryan Nations types with black combat boots and shaven heads every time one goes to an art museum?  I'm told that Vatican City is virtually overrun with them! 


She suggests that the cure for this is to colorize Sculpture, which obviously is going to irritate white supremacists, as (being Greek and Roman) the models for these great sculptures were, of course, white. 


Hmmm....I see just a tiny little problem with this theory, but thankfully, there is a workaround courtesy of the thousands of diesel trucks going around Italy and Greece.  Simply allow the acids in the air to corrode the marble and turn it gray and black, destroying the world's great artworks over the centuries.  Even though the models were white, nobody will ever figure that out from facial features, body types, long, flowing beards and hair, and the like. 


Well, I guess at least Professor Bond's students might have trouble figuring this out.   If you want to learn the classics, I'm going to have to suggest you might want to skip Iowa City and go to Ames.  Also worth noting is that Bond's work is significantly published by a company in the shadow of the 14th best Big Ten University, and second best Big Ten university in the state of Michigan.   As a Spartan who was born south of Columbus, somehow I find it fitting.

A heartwarming story

A young lady named Kimber uses her father's firearm--which I can only hope was a beautiful 1911 for obvious reasons--to prevent being victimized by a criminal fugitive.

I don't get it

Reading this article commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riots, there are many things I get. I get anger at systematic discrimination the city's black population thought they'd left behind in the south.  I get anger at "their" blind pigs being targeted--a place where, for good or ill, many found comfort.  What I don't get is how rioters immediately started to destroy their own neighborhoods, and how that pattern was repeated nationwide.


At a certain point, absent compassion for the innocents in those neighborhoods, I would anticipate that the response to "if things don't change, we'll burn the whole d*** city down" would be "have at it."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sexist dress code?

Apparently the LPGA has issued a new dress code saying that pros are not to wear shirts with plunging necklines, leggings, or short skirts, and predictably, Teen Vogue and at least one golfer are saying that the new regulations constitute "body-shaming."


Beyond the obviousness of citing "Teen Vogue" as a resource for what makes sense on the golf course, I've got to note that I'm 100% fine with it if the PGA men's tour also bans shirts with plunging necklines, leggings, and short skirts.  Especially if John Daly is playing.


Speaking of which, I would agree that both the men's and ladies' golf tours might benefit from applying some basic rules for attire more consistently.  Unless the tours should look like this.



Friday, July 14, 2017

A difficult problem

Now I am not anticipating that people will really take action on these issues, but it strikes me that there are any number of people in government who really need to be punished severely for what they've done.  You can start with the IRS agents using political affiliation as a proxy for increased audits, continue to the hordes of bureaucrats feloniously leaking state secrets for political advantage, go on to crime lab employees falsifying circumstantial evidence (and getting stoned in the process), and of course a former Presidential candidate who kept classified information on her private server, and a Presidential candidate's wife who defrauded banks to fund the college she headed at the time.  And of course, we're just getting started!


Sad to say, there is not enough room in federal prisons to house all of them without releasing other dangerous criminals. So what should we do?


Well, I dare say that we can take a page from the book of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, clothing them in pink and feeding them bologna sandwiches as we let them help build a border fence.  Problem solved, and with a bit of luck, we'll have taught them a useful trade by which they can earn a living, too, while reducing their likelihood of heart disease and diabetes through a lean diet and useful exercise.  The way I see it, we solve at least a portion of government corruption, illegal immigration, Medicare sustainability, budget issues, and more in one fell swoop.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Your government at work

The TSA has apparently missed 17 of 18 items where testers attempted to smuggle them through security.  This continues a trend well over a decade old.


Maybe, just maybe, it's time for us to consider Israeli-style behavioral screening and abandon this charade.  And, ahem, get serious about arming pilots and training flight crews to resist this kind of nonsense.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Worth a read

If you've heard about the former Johns Hopkins psychiatrist who found a strong correlation of suicide to gender reassignment surgery, you may be interested in this document which analyzes the evidence regarding all phases of the controversy about homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, and the like. 


What it finds, in a nutshell, is that all of these are correlated well with signs of mental illness, abuse, and suicide, but that evidence is thin that they are "born that way", or that the mental illness and suicide are caused by societal disapproval. 


I would guess that if this paper gets traction, it will become even more controversial than it already is, but it's worth noting that the correlations to mental illness, intoxicant abuse, and suicide are exactly what pro-homosexual organizations on campus were telling me back in 1987.  It is also worth noting that in certain areas, you cannot do truly "good" research, because medical ethics precludes either forcing the unwilling to undergo certain procedures, or preventing the willing from having a procedure done. 


Agree or disagree with the authors, well worth a read.

Just askin'

One must wonder how many Hamburg police need to be injured or worse before the SPLC lists "Occupy" and "Antifa" as hate groups.  If dozens of groups which have never hurt a soul qualify, why not these guys?


Just askin'.  As things stand, the SPLC's credibility is down there with CNN's.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The proper use of a blowtorch....

...is of course when your daughter uses it to "seize" the frosting on a cake meant to look like a properly cooked steak on Father's Day.



Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A movie review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

My kids are getting to be quite the movie buffs, and one movie they recommended we see is the recent version of Beauty and the BeastNow of course, the most important question for a fundamental Baptist like myself is how horrific the supposed "gay" scene was, and quite frankly it's a total nothingburger, an accident at the ball akin to a poorly done Jerry Lewis skit.


Overall, the impression made was that the movie meant well, but was trying too hard. It transforms the gracious merchantman's daughter of Barbot to an early example of a gender feminist (and a prickly one at that), presents the makeup choices of people in her town as caricatures I cannot find in art from the 17th through the 19th centuries, establishes a pace where all but the ADHD cannot keep up with the plot, and finally abuses the French language with a cadence reminiscent of a doodlebug trolley on improperly laid rails. 


In doing so, it wastes wonderful costumes, sets, special effects, and of course the original story.   I give it 3/5 stars, and I've frankly got to wonder if I'm going to see a lot more of "trying too hard" in moviemaking.  I hope not.

Some "well, duh" moments

First, restoring work requirements for food stamp recipients has led to a plunge in SNAP (food stamp) rolls in many states.  Sadly, most states have not restored these requirements. 


Second, minimum wage hikes in New York and Seattle have, as expected, creamed a lot of low wage workers.  We need to remember that the real minimum wage is zero, no matter what the government says, and if your productivity is less than your wage, you will tend to find yourself unemployable.


Third, a new lawsuit claims that the "regulatory capture" of the EPA by environmental groups extends to labs faking results.  Hope and change, I guess, and especially meaningful given that a federal court has, once again along "lines of which President appointed the judges", halted a Trump effort to roll back Obama EPA regulations. 


That last bit is bothering me more and more--where the outcome of a given case can more or less be predicted by which President appointed them, even to the point of a clear Democratic-Republican split.  In other words, we are starting to see two clearly delineated theories of law fighting for dominance in the courts, which is scary for those who need to comply with laws and regulations.


May the real law, and Blackstone and Scalia, win.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Absolutely true

Bernie Sanders has made the claim that the investigation into his wife's fraudulent loan applications--which cost lenders, including the Catholic church, up to ten million dollars--is due to the GOP.


Well, yes, we've learned well over the past eight years that the Democrats do very well covering up their scandals and refusing to allow a robust investigation, but I'm afraid that doesn't make me want to pull the lever for them anytime soon.


It is heartening, however, to see the left and the media very interested in propriety after some admittedly obnoxious tweets by the President.  One wonders, however, where they were when President Obama was flipping people off during speeches, when "Senator" Franken was beating up protesters and robbing the Boys' and Girls' Club, when Joe Biden was pegging the creep-o-meter draping himself over female politicians and appointees, when Gerry Studds' boyfriend was turning their condo into a brothel, when "Senators" Dodd and Kennedy were making waitress sandwiches, and of course when the "Godfather" of the left was caught getting some action from a White House intern.


Apparently all that concern about "propriety" only registers when the offender is not a part of the left.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Finally catching on!

Judging by this article, it appears that the far left is finally catching on to the fact that former President Obama is not, and never was, a man of the people, but is rather a plutocrat in training.  One thing lost, however, on the left is still the obvious question; why is Obama's presence so valued among plutocrats that he's getting all this bling, now that it's sort of legal for him to receive it?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Campaigning to be disbarred?

I'm not a lawyer by trade, but it strikes me that when a judge in quite liberal San Francisco throws out 14 of 15 charges made in an indictment, one must consider the possibility that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is not about justice, but about political retribution, and that maybe, just maybe, he ought to be removed not only from office, but also from the trade of law.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Man Acts"

Interestingly, Ludwig von Mises has a concise response to the claim that we can obtain 100% of our electricity needs from renewable, non-biofuel sources; man acts. That is, human action can be independent of solar and wind patterns, and hence no matter how good solar, wind, and hydro power work, we can pull a trick and load down the system beyond what it is supplying.  Hence we need some "on demand" systems and/or storage.

One would figure a guy smart enough to get a professorship at Stanford would figure this out, but apparently there's a lot of politics involved in getting an office in Palo Alto where ability in logic is not necessarily a requirement.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Onset of dementia, I think

It's pretty obvious that Senator Bernie Sanders (CCCP-Vermont) doesn't remember the events for the few months prior to March 23, 2010 very well. If he did, he'd know full well about an important law about this very subject that was passed without a single vote from the minority party, and without their input, via the Constitutionally dubious tactic of reconciliation, and starting in the Senate despite imposing taxes/fees in clear violation of the 10th Amendment.

Alzheimer's is always so sad.  Or maybe it's simply "politically expedient selective memory".   You be the judge.

Monday, June 19, 2017

More difficulties...

...for young people who are of the belief that they are "transgender"; here's the case of a young man who has run with the ladies despite having neither hormone therapy nor surgery.  In other words, physically, if not mentally, he's all boy.  And I've got to admit, I'm torn.  On one hand, I don't want this young man's body chemistry to be ruined, or worse yet for his "factory parts" to be mutilated, and on the other hand, I don't want deserving girls to lose out because they have to run against the boys.  I would have hoped that the prospect of being mutilated--forever, um, "cut off" from the possibilities of natural parenthood and such--would curb the possibility of this being done, but right now, I'm not so sure.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Your government at work

H/T Michelle Malkin.  Apparently President Trump has just signed an executive order stopping federal work on resolving the issues with Y2K transition for computers.  There are many things I do not like about Donald Trump, but let's give him credit when he gets it right.

Truer than it ought to be

A study commissioned by the Babylon Bee (Christian satire) "finds" that AC/DC's Highway to Hell is more sound, theologically speaking, than 96% of 800 Christian worship songs on the CCLI playlist typically performed on Sundays.

Now of course this is satire, but there is a grain of truth here; too many CCM songs are simply genre like "Jesus is my boyfriend", whereby the lyrics of modern love lust ** songs are slightly modified to speak of Christ, and sung as if they were Biblical.  At least Bon Scott (who soon after he wrote that sing does appear to have gone to Hell, by the way) was honest enough to note that his life of rebellion to God would lead to eternity in Hell with those who partied with him. 

So while I'm not ready to emulate Perry Noble and have my church play Scott's minimum nadir on Resurrection Day, I am ready to remind my "vast readership" that Christian music ought to have a distinctly Biblical message by which the Word of God may be conveyed to the people of God.  Many thanks to the heavy metal bands of the world who, by using metaphors from Scripture, remind us of that.

** One side note here is that when I thought back about most of the "love songs" I've heard since childhood, they are overwhelmingly "lust songs" with lines that make clear that the song is, shall we say, about a relationship consummated prior to or outside of marriage.  As such, they will tend to, shall we say, have lyrical and stylistic hints about that sort of relationship--hints not appropriate to Christian music, either before or after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, to put it mildly.

On the tragedy in England

There will of course be plenty of blame to go around for the fire which has taken at least 17 30 (sigh)lives in a high rise apartment building in London, but it strikes me that there is a more basic problem.  High rise buildings simply do not make sense except as a statement of vanity.  

To draw a picture, in London, you've got a population of about eight million in 1600 square kilometers--about 2000 square feet per person.  Build four stories tall and have 90% of the land not covered by a building, and you've got 800 square feet per person--my share of both my home and office space.  You would also have more green space than does a typical neighborhood in small town Minnesota.

In other words, while I think the private sector should be allowed to build that high if they like, there's simply no need for a building so tall that the fire department can't readily help.  Central planners need to clue in to the fact that skyscrapers are monuments to vanity, not common sense.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fun thoughts

Now I could be ticked about the recent (criminal) leaks that Robert Mueller's office is starting an investigation of obstruction of justice due to alleged interference with an investigation of non-crimes by the White House, and to a degree I am, but on the flip side, I know from 1998 that Democrats do NOT consider things like perjury and obstruction of justice to be crimes that rise to the level of impeachment and removal from office.  Obviously, Mueller and his colleagues need to simply shut the investigation down, because no matter what, Donald Trump has not done nearly as much as his old friend Bill Clinton did.

(#dream_on)

Or if he continues, the case for draining the swamp in DC becomes ever stronger, which is I think closer to reality.

Intersection of the law and Title IX?

It's not been fun being a fan of Michigan State lately with the arrest of gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, as well as the arrests and indictments of at least three football players for some degree of sexual assault as well.  Obviously there have been some abominable problems there that need to be fixed.

That said, one interesting thing about this is that apparently, one coach was arrested for "interfering with investigations" when his apparent crime was....talking to the indicted players about the circumstances of that night.  Also noted was the coach's failure to follow university policy led to his arrest.

In other words, it suggests that one thing in play may be that Title IX regulations requiring aggressive prosecution of sexual assault cases--to the point of abrogating Constitutional protections by using "preponderance of evidence" as a standard for guilt--may be affecting how local police prosecute obstruction of justice and interfering with investigations.

And writing as someone who has personally counseled victims of assault to talk to the police, I'm troubled.  The ugly fact of the matter is that victims don't always know that what they've experienced is a criminal matter, and it takes a little bit of learning to get to the point where you are ready to tell them "you really ought to take this to the police--I'll go with you if you like."

So while it's entirely possible that this article understates what the gentleman is accused of doing, those who have the chance to help victims get to law enforcement ought to take note.  It could be just at MSU, just at colleges, or it could be nationwide, but something very interesting is going on.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The state of "fact-checking"

The Washington Post "fact-checks" President Trump's claim that "we built the Golden Gate Bridge in four years and the Hoover Dam in five" by admitting that yes, these projects were indeed built in that time frame, but because people had been planning it for years before, that the claim was false.  In other words, they redefined President Trump's claim to declare the redefined claim false.

I award the Post seventeen Pinocchios for that one.  Nice try.

To put things in perspective, the current World Trade Center started construction in 2006,  and Tower 1 was completed in 2014.  The original World Trade Center buildings had groundbreaking in 1966, started construction in 1968, and was finished in 1970 and 1971.  The tallest building in the country (sorry, radio spires and such don't count) was started in 1970 and completed in 1973.  The Empire State Building was started in 1930 and opened in 1931. 

Based on these data, Trump's implicit claim that it's getting harder to do big projects can only be rated as "true."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great Moments in Self-Awareness

Senator Elizabeth "Fauxcohontas" Warren, famous for lying about native American ancestry to get a plush position at Harvard and then the Senate, says that Attorney General Jeff Sessions ought to be fired because he didn't fully explain every contact he had with Russians in confirmation hearings.

Tell ya what, Fauxcohontas; when you give up YOUR ill-gotten gains, including your Senate seat and million dollar home in Cambridge, then we can discuss whether the Attorney General's statements in confirmation hearings were in fact lies, or whether Sessions was simply noting that in his position with Trump's campaign, he didn't have contacts with Russians.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Helpful note for Bill Maher and Bill DiBlasio

There are certain phrases that will always get you into trouble if you're caucasian, even if you happen to be romantically involved with someone who is not.  Most of us learn this by the time we graduate from high school, but apparently being liberal and rich makes one a bit slower on the uptake.

Speaking of slow on the uptake, notice how a lot of these sterling examples of class and decorum are linked to Al Franken.  Somehow I'm not surprised 'ol Al has had to back away from his buddies.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A fun nuance of Bible translation

Spend any significant amount of time around fundamentalists, especially of the Baptist variety, and you will hear quite a bit about the problems of "sensuality."  More or less, as dear sister Elspeth notes in the comments of this post, anything that is particularly enjoyable to the human senses is described as "sensual" in the context of verses like Romans 13:13, 2 Corinthians 12:21, and the like.

Well, just for giggles (and perhaps edification), I went and took a look at the original Greek, and it turns out that Strong's #766 has its closest parallel in a Greek word meaning "brutal."  A very interesting portion from Thayer's lexicon is there as well, indicating it may be a simple negative of the perceived character traits of a certain city in Pisidia, where citizens were renowned for strictness of morals.

Now in its context, and in its usage, it does tend to be used in the context of sexual immorality, but it appears, in my view, to denote specifically such cases where ordinary restraint is not practiced; that the behavior is no more human, but perhaps might be better described as "brutal". 

In other words, it doesn't mean that anything that appeals to the senses is wrong. One can drink the wine Jesus made, eat wonderful foods from a Michelin-starred restaurant, take your wife dancing, make exuberant love to her as Paul commands in 1 Corinthians 7, and not fall afoul of Paul's command to avoid "sensuality."  The problem comes, rather, when there is a lack of restraint that drinks to drunkenness, eats in gluttony, and exchanges pure marital love for fornication and adultery. 

It strikes me that the word "sensuality" in the NASB is somewhat unfortunate, as it can, in our "low study" culture, give us the wrong idea of what is being described.  Thankfully, God gave us experts in Greek, not to mention John 2:1-11, the Song of Songs, 1 Cor. 7, and the like to set us straight if we will listen.

Friday, June 02, 2017

The response to the Paris Treaty Withdrawal

In 3 minutes and 37 seconds.


Professor Logic, please call your office

The study described in this article purports to answer the question of whether red wine helps heart health by controlling for heart health.  So apparently when we control for whether or not our control sample has arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, myocardial infarction and the like, we find that both moderate drinkers and teetotalers have about the same rates of arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, and the like.

Well, yes, and I could have told you that before you ever selected a sample or hired any statisticians.  Scary thing is that this study made it past peer review, and even more scary, it's probably someone's Ph.D. dissertation that may land them in a professor's office.




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The wages of being unobservant

....are amply shown in this "weight loss expert's" comment about imposing a "fat tax" on obese peoples' clothes.  Apparently, this hypnotist has not only lost four stone due to hypnosis, but has also completely forgotten the experience of shopping at "big & tall" and "plus sizes" stores to realize that, due to the specialty nature of quality clothes for those of height and girth, plus the reality of extra fabric needed to cover the same, clothes for the obese are indeed more expensive than those for people of average size.

Either that, or he was one of those buying stretch pants at Wal-mart a size or two too small....

Friday, May 26, 2017

More thoughts on zero tolerance.

Again, regarding the tragedy where a "Greek" pledge at Penn State lost his life because nobody pulled out his cell phone and called 911, it strikes me that this is an understandable consequence of our Victorian** attitudes towards drinking.  First of all, other fraternity members would know instinctively that since the pledges were largely under 21, that they would be in trouble as soon as the police and ambulance were called.  This is especially the case when we consider that universities are prone to revoking fraternity charters when they get news of a party.

On a more basic level, the age 21 drinking age helped to kill this young man because it ensured that he learned about alcohol not from his family, but from his high school party friends and frat brothers. 

Ending our Victorian attitudes towards liquor might not have kept him alive, but all in all, it would be more likely.

**I call these attitudes "Victorian" because Prohibition was a Victorian enterprise which the beer-drinking Puritans would have been puzzled by.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Another triumph of environmentalism

...this time, from the Rio Olympics of 2016.  No, I'm not talking about the millions of tons of concrete, steel, and plastic decaying in abandoned venues, but rather the fact that apparently, the "eco-friendly" medals handed out are tarnishing.

Writing as a guy who's actually done work ensuring the quality of plated parts of base metal like brass, beryllium copper, and stainless steel, what's worth noting here is that the military has been using parts with such platings for decades in all climates, and it does not matter whether they are dropped or "mishandled", as the IOC's excuse reads. 

Rather, it simply matters that you've got a clean base metal blank treated properly and plated to a thickness of 50 microns or less.  What matters is that your base metal and process is good, and it's worth noting that the weight of gold listed--0.2 ounces--is exactly the same as I'd anticipate from a 3" medal coated a little more than 50 microns thick.

In other words, their "environmentally sound" recovered base metal simply wasn't capable of holding any plating, something that should have been obvious to any decent plating engineer or technician.  I dare suggest that a faulty medal is no environmental win.  It's a triumph as great as that of the infamous green swimming pool.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review: "Do not hinder them"

Prompted by this note about a review of a book by Justin Peters, Do Not Hinder Them, I decided to purchase the book and see what Peters had to say.  As I've mentioned "a time or two" on this site, the sad reality is that far too many "seeds" do not sprout, and it's something that's killing our churches.

The main thrust of the book, in my view, is Peters' view of the age of accountability--the doctrine that below a certain age, all children are given grace by God whether or not they personally confess Christ.  In Peters' view, that age is somewhere around the ages of ten to twelve, somewhere near the age of a Bar Mitzvah, and where Dorothy Sayers noted the "poll parrot" stage of education ends, and the "pert" age begins.  In the language of classical education, it's about the age when a child can begin to use the tools of logic/dialectic.

Now as a Baptist myself, I am of course quite amenable to the notion of an age of accountability.  The simple fact is that infants do die occasionally, and that just as David noted that he would go to Bathsheba's child, there is some indication of grace to the child when he's that young.  I can also commend the idea that there are some things the very young cannot really understand, and that the practice of thinking logically may be involved in coming to Christ.

And yet....and yet....I cannot completely go along with his thesis, as his very title refers to Matthew 19:13-15, which notes that Jesus specifically says to let the little children come to Him.  Not teens, not youths, but little children. 

Moreover, if a key issue with people falling away from Christ was age, then the Scripture might have said that specifically (it doesn't IMO), and we would not see the huge fallout from college age conversions that we do. 

So it is a good effort, but ultimately it is one that does not persuade me.  I am 100% in agreement that revivalism and its techniques bear a lot of false fruit.  I am 100% in agreement that our "evangelism light" or "easy believism" culture tends to leave people defenseless against the challenges of life--persecution, the need to grow and repent, and the like.  But at the same time, I am not persuaded that our problems will be solved as we refuse to immerse the young.