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.