Monday, December 10, 2018

Irritating....

You've got Jim Comey leaking his (classified) memos to the press to get an investigation started, you've got Mueller's team leaking like a sieve every time they think they have something (also feloniously), you've got the DOJ and FBI working to circumvent real investigations as long as the day, and somehow I'm supposed to think it's Donald Trump that should be in trouble for paying off a whore.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Speaking of "very large brain plans"

Incoming Congress-dingbat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has decided to threaten Donald Trump Jr. with a Congressional subpoena on the rationale, apparently, that Trump Jr. noted that under socialism, people eat their dogs instead of walking them.


Seems to me that if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez were to actually attempt this, she might learn about the legal concept of "quashing a subpoena" on the grounds that it is merely vindictive.  If she wants to talk to someone with a "very large brain plan", she can do her makeup.


(to be sure, I don't doubt that, with a degree from Brown, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez does have raw brainpower--it simply suffers because it is devoted to false ideas)


And to be fair, she did point out later that she would not have that power unilaterally, I'd guess after having been read the riot act by one of her colleagues, but the simple fact of the matter is that her tweet was indeed a threat.  She could, in a Congress with some devotion to basic ethics (which won't happen under Nancy Pelosi of course), enter the body as the first member to start her term under censure, or for that matter not enter it at all.

Who is Michael Avenatti?

Well, here's a nice summary of the last few years of his life, courtesy of The American Thinker.  What a pity, however, that we don't have groups of people with printing presses, websites, television and radio stations, and the like who might have investigated this months ago and made it very public that Donald Trump's most notorious accuser is a lying, adulterous skunk who most likely belongs in jail?  Peter Zenger, please call your office.  You've got some work to do.


Side note; Avenatti is apparently have a heck of a midlife crisis.  Me, I'm dreaming of a nice carbon fiber bike, and I've quite frankly got no use for a Ferrari.  I've seen a few on the streets, and the nicest thing I can say about them is that they sound flatulent.  The video is hilarious, though, as it's got to be infuriating to drive a vehicle that will do 150mph+ on anything but the Autobahn or the Nurburgring. 

Thursday, December 06, 2018

I'm confused

Didn't the Democrats tell us, repeatedly, that this sort of thing is OK?   Why is it that legis-critters are entitled to a bathroom used only by their own biological sex, but high school students are not?  Call me confused.


That said, kudos to (Republican) State Senator Beth Martinez Humenik for noting that what she primarily wanted was an apology, not necessarily a resignation.  Once again, if you are, like me, watching with some interest what happens in the #MeToo movement, this is very instructive.


Also of interest is that USA Gymnastics has temporarily halted progress towards dealing with their "Larry Nassar" problems by filing for bankruptcy.  Now to a degree, they've got some defense--lawsuit demands probably will exceed their resources--but since they've not lost a case yet, isn't this premature?  Moreover, observant people cannot fail to notice that the legal hullaballoo about this is going to put a crimp into doing what needs to be done; get the evidence out, make sure they understand what cultural tendencies led to the toleration of what Nassar and others were doing, fixing the culture, and finally re-staffing with people who know and appreciate what the new culture ought to be.


In other words, my view was that the only way for USAG to survive was for them to fall on their sword, ironically.  Putting that blade back in the sheath will only result in killing them off, and in the possible degradation of the national gymnastics teams for years to come. 


Sounds to me like they've forgotten what they were all about. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Change society for the better

Talk to a teenager.   How so?  Well, this Atlantic article, referenced by this "Art of Manliness" podcast, indicates that many young (and middle aged) people are missing out on marriage and legitimate sexual outlets because, in part, they're wedded to their cell phones instead.  I personally note this at the health club where I pretend to work out; where weight rooms had lively banter when I was a young pup, now most lifters are listening to "mood music" on their cell phones.


That isolation born of cell phones, however, appears to be having a nasty consequence; they aren't learning to interact with adults on an adult basis.  As a result, they don't grow up, don't get married, get some nasty habits, and worst of all, you don't get grandchildren to spoil or kids in the church nursery for your kid fix. 


So talk with a young person and save society.  And your sanity, and at least a remnant of the Social Security and Medicare people are counting on to take care of you when you get a touch older.

What happens when a state legalizes weed?

Students in California, which has recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, have started to claim that children's show Veggie Tales is racist--and I quote here--because the evil characters are of color.  Lost in the analysis, of course, is the fact that the biggest hero of the show, Larry Boy, is bright green, gold, and purple. 


No, I'm not seriously arguing that this insane stupidity is all because California legalized marijuana.  Usually when someone comes up with an idea this idiotic, I'm assuming it's something stronger in their pipe. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Exactly

Kyle Smith of National Review nails it.  The despicable behavior of those like Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood is really "on the job" (but unpaid) training for the depravity that is Hollyweird.  Now granted, Smith doesn't deserve that much credit--and I'm sure he'd admit such--because all he's saying is what Maureen O'Hara said.  In 1945

Two very interesting redefinitions

Check out this interesting paper linked by John Ellis, a Christian writer based around Washington DC.  What's most interesting about it is not the actual measurement taken--is anyone really surprised that use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana among minors ("those not allowed to use any of these legally in any state") is linked?  Of course not--you break the law to use one substance, and it will follow that you'll be more likely to break it in others.


No, what's really interesting is how the terms are defined.  If you look closely at the paper, the definition of "gateway drug" appears to have changed.  When I was a young pup, a "gateway drug" was the drug you took on the way to seriously dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine, and the like.  In this paper, it simply means that the use of marijuana is linked to the use of legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol.


While there are serious dangers to tobacco and alcohol, the reality is that in terms of immediate danger to the user, they don't rank up there with crystal meth, heroin, and cocaine.   


In the same way, the definition of "addiction" seems to have changed as well.  When I was young--many moons ago, as they say in the westerns--"addiction" meant that somehow, your body had developed a need for a particular drug.  It wasn't sufficient that you had the habit, but was limited to actual physical addiction.  Back then, we saw opioids like heroin as addictive, but not marijuana.


Now, it appears that any persistent bad habit is being redefined as an "addiction", which means, of course, that I am a blogging addict, I guess.  More importantly, what these two redefinitions mean is that the drug enforcement community is increasingly not distinguishing between physical addiction and bad habits.  In a country where we have somewhere around 50,000 deaths due to the abuse of truly addictive drugs (opioids), that is going to leave a mark.


Personally, I vote that we go back to the old definitions. 

Vanna, can I buy a clue for $500?

Social justice warriors have apparently decided that the TV version of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, the whole point of which is that we ought to accept others who are different, is sexist, bigoted, and the like.


Now I can get some confusion over books like Huckleberry Finn, since Mr. Clemens did after all sprinkle the "n" word around it like it was pepper on my scrambled eggs, obscuring Huck's very real love and esteem for Jim, but this one baffles me. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wow

Powerline links a very damning report from the Miami Herald claiming that Alex Acosta, current Secretary of Labor, made a plea agreement with "Lolita Express" owner Jeffrey Epstein that spared him not only a possible life sentence, but also concealed the full extent of his crimes and the number of people involved.  This agreement also shut down an investigation that would likely have implicated any number of Washington and society bigwigs, including former President Bill Clinton, who flew on the Lolita Express no less than 36 times, apparently. 


The question is why this was done--really why so many prominent cases of sexual assault are not prosecuted.  The prima facie reason given is that Epstein gave information critical to prosecuting financial crimes, but I have to wonder if there is something more sinister--that if others who flew the "Lolita Express" were named, shamed, and prosecuted, that it would paralyze the Deep State.


Other reasons are possible, including the Bear Stearns claims, and quite frankly also including that for federal and local law enforcement alike, it's more profitable to do traffic enforcement and prosecute drug crimes, but sad to say, more sinister reasons seem to come to mind.


The really horrific part of this, in my view, is that I'd have to guess that a major part of the drug problem is the result of victimizations like this.  And scarier yet, does part of this explain why President Trump has kept Acosta around despite Acosta running interference for Obama era policies? 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Is it becoming reality?

Back in 2009, I pointed out (as did Cold Fusion Guy) some big issues about the UAW bailout of 2009, starting with the fact that the bailout was not of GM and Chrysler, but was rather of the UAW and fat wage/pension/etc., payouts to unions that had helped put President Obama in office.  That agreement left systemic problems in place that I predicted might even result in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


While thankfully that hasn't occurred, today GM announced workforce cuts of around 15% of workers, the closing of five plants, and that the Chevy Cruze, Chevy Impala, Chevy Volt, Buick Lacrosse, and Cadillac CT6 will no longer be produced.


The question, really, is whether this is the UAW tax or something else.  In this case, GM asked for 8000 workers to accept buyouts, but only 2250 did.  Going way out on a limb, I'm guessing that the huge pension cuts for salaried workers in 2009-2010 made them unwilling to take a buyout that might be snatched from them--and that has everything to do with Obama's UAW bailout, which maintained pay scales that cost GM $25 more per hour than Toyota and Honda pay in our country. 


Others might point out that this also has a lot to do with the fact that GM doesn't really have anything to compete with Honda or Toyota sedans, or frankly with Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Lexus luxury vehicles, and while I'd agree, I'd also point out that engineers worried about being laid off, and who have seen former colleagues get screwed  ripped off by the Obama administration, just might have something getting in the way of top quality work.  Yes, we can, at least in part, blame the UAW bailout for the fact that GM doesn't have a Corolla or Accord in their stable. 


Sad to say--and I write this as the owner of two GM vehicles and the son-in-law of a UAW retiree--I don't foresee good things for them in the future unless this changes in a major way.

Monday, November 19, 2018

In which case, the point is conceded

After months of hemming and hawing, the DoEd's new guidance for Title IX sexual assault and harassment investigations has been released, and advocates on both sides are in an uproar, mostly about the two major provisions of the proposal.


The first is one that courts have repeatedly mentioned in overturning Title IX disciplinary procedures; given that Title IX discipline really is something that can follow a person for most of his life, Sixth Amendment protections (as well as others) apply, and the accused has the right to confront the evidence arrayed against him.  Agreed.  On the same side, victims' advocates note that the Title IX structure does not provide adequate guidance to prevent cross examination from becoming a re-victimization.  Also agreed.


The second major issue is the question of which offenses ought to be investigated by universities; whether it should be just those which occur on campus, or whether off-campus offenses involving students ought to be dealt with as well.  The logic on the part of the critics is that off-campus offenses involving students will impart a sense of fear among victims and their friends if they are not dealt with.  Agreed as well.


In other words, the debate about DeVos's recommended policy changes has everything to do with whether universities are actually capable of investigating these things, and advocates for victims ought to be sobered in that regard by how badly many schools, especially my alma mater, have done in this regard.  So is the solution to retain Obama-era guidelines that are almost sure to be overturned in court sooner or later?


I think not.  Rather, once again, the solution here is for universities to put the onus on local police forces to actually do their job and investigate these allegations, and to have simple rules students can follow.  If you're convicted of sexual assault or stalking, you're expelled.  If you're indicted, you're suspended until the matter is resolved--and if you're exonerated, you retain the right to pick up your studies right where you left off.  If you're arrested, you're suspended until you are either indicted or exonerated.


If you're a victim, you have the right to understand that your university will do the above, and if you file a police report, you have the right to, with the university's assistance, transfer to another equivalent school without losing academic standing or credits.


Chances of the above becoming law; slightly less than zero, I'd guess, because too many jobs are at stake in the matter.  Title IX is, in my view, simply an attempt to co-opt the behavior codes schools used to enforce, but with quasi-legal authority.  I predict a lot more hullaballoo and a lot more people suffering because we refuse to treat sexual assault as the criminal matter that it is.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Here's how it's not done

ProPublica generates an interesting article noting that many police departments are "clearing" cases of reported sexual assault where they have sufficient evidence to make an arrest or more.  What's really troubling is the rationale; federal guidelines allow police to use "cleared" to describe many cases where they know who and where a suspect is, but can't make an arrest for reasons "outside their control".


With all due respect, are all of these suspects really going to third world countries without an extradition treaty with the U.S.?  The article makes clear that's not the case.  What is the case?  Well, the judgmental side of me has to suggest it might have something to do that you don't get $120 a pop for arresting rapists like you get for writing speeding tickets.


Probably not all of these cases fall into the "we need to take Officer Friendly off traffic patrol and task him with arresting rapists", but the article mentions precisely such cases.  In reality, if this were done to any significant degree--say if a "mere" 50,000 out of the nations ~800,000 police officers were to take a week each year away from writing speeding tickets to make an arrest for sexual assault--we might roughly double incarceration rates for sexual assault.  Given that most who commit sexual assault do it far more than once, it's entirely possible that a ~10% ease of traffic patrol could lead to a huge drop in sexual assault.


Cost: a few billion bucks.  Maybe we can take it out of the money we're currently giving Planned Parenthood and Tesla, as well as corn subsidies.

This is how it's done

In today's climate of fighting every allegation to the bitter end, this story is a huge blessing.  Instead of fighting a lawsuit that would likely have been initiated by the widower of a woman who died after she passed out in front of an emergency door with asthmatic symptoms, the hospital executives responsible apologized in person to the widower.


And in a remarkable show of grace, Peter DeMarco is not suing.  Now again, I don't guarantee that a real apology will end every lawsuit, but I have a hunch that owning up to what went wrong would make things a lot less expensive.  Hats off to DeMarco, Patrick Wardell, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dr. Assad Sayah, Somerville Hospital, and Lynette Alberti. 


And rest in peace, Laura Levis.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Putting your face on

This article from Fox suggests that many women in Asia need to heed the timeless wisdom of Dave Barry; if you can stick a pin more than a quarter inch into your face without feeling anything, you may be wearing too much makeup for the business environment.  Apparently, thick wax makeup to make Asian noses look Caucasian, sharpen chins, and the like is all the rage there.


No skin off my nose if they do that, of course (ha), but one would hope that ladies who desire to look beautiful would remember that at a certain point, their husbands are going to see them without the warpaint battle wax, and maybe, just maybe, they might do well to just leave nature well enough alone.


Also on the light side, a Canadian winery has released a wine that would be just perfect for a bris.  Made from four different kinds of grapes and fermented as a red (with skins), it's called "4 skins".  Sadly, it does not appear to be kosher, so unless you're Reform or don't care, you can't put it out there with the cocktail wieners and such. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Listen to the man

Which man?  John Manly, attorney for many of Larry Nassar's victims, is saying here that the thing his clients are most interested is not money--though some of that is necessary--but rather repentance and openness so others don't have to go through what they did.


I'm not saying here that those who work with young people can somehow evade large settlements if they come clean, apologize, and investigate what went wrong and figure out how to avoid it in the future.  I will say, however, that it's entirely possible that doing so will not only help the healing process, but will also result in smaller monetary settlements than would otherwise be demanded.


One other note is that that somewhere between 88% and 96% of all reported sexual assaults end with neither a conclusion that the complainant was wrong or lying, nor a conviction of a perpetrator.  In this case, various agencies have been tremendously slow to investigate, and it suggests that for a significant portion of those 88-96% of complaints that end with "not enough evidence to arrest" or "not enough evidence to indict" become so for a very simple reason; the police are not willing to aggressively investigate these crimes, just like we saw here in Minnesota and have seen nationwide. 


Yes, these crimes are messy, traumatic, and difficult to investigate, but if we want a world where fewer people become victims, we need to start treating sexual assault like the criminal matter that it is.  And yes, take Officer Opie off traffic patrol for a while and see what he can find out.  Maybe if such were done, the city of New London would be able to hire officers of above average intelligence because they weren't getting bored out of their minds issuing speeding tickets. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

A mechanic I can trust

.....just contacted me to tell me I didn't have to spend a goodly chunk of change.  Hats off to the mechanics at Lupient GMC of Rochester, MN, for telling me something despite the fact that it would have benefited them not to.


Also on the bright side of life, a flight attendant in the Philippines has taken customer service to a new level.  For those airlines not lucky enough to employ Patrisha Organo, putting in a few packets of formula on planes might be a great public relations move as well. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Note to Twin Cities metro Democrats

After putting a guy who ran interference for cop killers into the Attorney General spot, you can shut (the expletives) up about ethics in politics.  Forever. 


(never mind Keith Ellison's obvious adultery, probable domestic abuse on at least two occasions.....yeah, this will be a real dumpster fire in that office for the next few years)

Monday, October 22, 2018

A truly lousy midlife crisis

Michael Avenatti, fresh off successive legal embarrassments in his citing of gossip as a reason to reject Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh and his lawsuit against President Trump, has lost yet another lawsuit from one of his former colleagues, and appears to be deeply in debt to the IRS, too. 


Maybe he can share a cell with John Schneider, who also is in some deep trouble due to not being able to pay off a divorce decree.  And then maybe both of them can apply for jobs at Wal-Mart or something--stockroom, as I doubt Avenatti's mug would be acceptable for the greeter position.


Update: gracious visitor Elspeth notes that, unlike Michael Avenatti, John Schneider has accomplished something worthwhile in his life by portraying the bootlegger's nephew Bo Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard.  Hence it was out of line for me to suggest a violation of the 8th Amendment by putting him in the same cell with Avenatti.  My apologies for the mistake. 

True dat

A study has come out concluding that gymnastics is "tougher" than football--real football (soccer), not the kind we play in the states--and having spent some time myself at the athletic training room in Jenison Fieldhouse as a young pup, I have to agree.  This training room was shared by a bunch of teams, including men's gymnastics, basketball, track, and cross country, and it was quite frankly stunning how many mens' gymnasts were there.  Second most prevalent in the training room (yes this is probably one of the places where Larry Nassar worked) were the male cheerleaders--the young ladies they were throwing were not that heavy, but it took a toll. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

And it works

New Army artillery program has successfully hit a target at a range of 62km (38 miles) with the possibility of extending the range another 10-40km.  Reality here is that if this can get to mass production, North Korean artillery could be silenced from artillery placed south of Seoul. 


Your move, Mr. Kim.  I bet Mr. Trump is working to make sure that China and Russia don't help you out here. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

On the death of women's sports and other transgender news

Here's an interesting article where a transgender person has won a cycling competition, and appears to be discounting the notion that his male physique and (apparently) remaining testosterone gives him an advantage.  Apparently the notion that a "transgender woman" ought to be at least one going through hormone therapy before competing is a bit too much to ask these days, and if we want to kill off women's sports for good, we're doing exactly the right thing.


And in other news, Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against President Trump has been tossed out of court, rightly I think.  She's even been ordered to pay Trump's legal fees, and given my hunch that this whole deal is really a midlife crisis on Michael Avenatti's part coupled with the need for both Avenatti and Clifford to make bank to pay for their divorces, this one is likely to leave a mark.  This is especially the case since this is the second consecutive bold pronouncement by Avenatti that has been slapped down hard by reality. 


My prediction at this point is that Avenatti's other initiatives get slapped down, and he finds himself (rightly) in the position of a number of middle aged divorcees--without money, and having just trashed his professional reputation so he's unable to earn a living.   Maybe with a little improvement in his personal skills, he could become a greeter at Wal-Mart.  And sadly, I dare suggest that Ms. Clifford will find herself in that position, too. 

OK, time for me to buy a Prius!

Climatologists and environmental activists have pointed out that climate change could imperil the growing of barley and the ability to make beer. 


Well, not really, as I'm not persuaded that a Prius would actually reduce my carbon footprint much (just the opposite in fact), and of course if the climate changes, one can simply plant barley further north--it's already centered in the Dakotas, Canada, and Minnesota. 


But that said, there is actually a very real, insanely cheap way to both reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the air and enhance the growing of barley; stop subsidies for corn and soybeans.  Without those, agriculture would return to a greater dependence on pasture (alfalfa roots go up to 30' into the ground and are a serious carbon sink), and those fields that are plowed would more often be planted in flax, barley, and other traditional cool weather crops. 


Then, in turn, people could wear more linen, be cooler, enjoy some liquid bread, and turn off the air conditioning.  Now exactly how much of a consequence this might be is up to debate, and should be, but it illustrates how a great part of helping the environment does not consist in fancy new technologies, but rather can be done simply by stopping stupid programs like corn and hybrid/electric car subsidies.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Nasty hangover for the Democrats

"Democratic socialist" (communist) darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues, in public, that there is no argument that fossil fuel production needs to stop.  Fair enough, young lady, but let's try leading by example.  Go to your next campaign event with no help from fossil fuels; no taxis, no cars, no subway, no bicycles, and finally, no clothes brought to you with the help of fossil fuels.


And no coffee or hot chocolate to warm you up heated up with the help of fossil fuels, either.  I'd guess it would take you about three seconds (and a possible ticket for indecent exposure) to figure out how nonsensical your positions are.


Democrats, this is what happens when you elect people with zero experience in, and understanding of, the real world.  We conservatives would have warned you, but obviously you weren't ready to listen.  It's the political equivalent of what happens the night morning after you meet a really attractive person....after having about ten drinks.


Side note: you never want to wish harm on people, but this article suggests that a feud between the Bloods and Cosa Nostra could be in the offing.  I hadn't even known that the Bloods--formerly just an LA area gang that spread throughout the west as people sent their kids to live with relatives in places like Utah and Colorado--were in New York, but what do I know?

Truth

...courtesy of the Babylon Bee.  I'm all for introducing modern rhythms and genre into church and Christian music, but....folks....let's learn the genre before stamping vinyl, OK?

A very interesting report

John Manly, attorney for many of Larry Nassar's victims, linked this report from USC on his Twitter feed.  It is a bit lengthy, and there are a few places where I am having a little bit of trouble reconciling the numbers, but I'm attributing that to the simple fact that statistics on sexual assault are messy.


Two things that strike me in particular is that in about 2/3 of cases, alcohol or drugs were involved, and in about half of cases, there was physical injury to the victim.  I would infer here first that if we can persuade people either to not get drunk in the first place, or to know that sex with a drunk person is indeed rape, we could cause the overall rate of reported sexual assaults to plunge.


Second, the high rate of physical injuries noted suggests that if we can only persuade victims to report promptly, we might be able to move a lot of cases much closer to the point of "able to prosecute." 


One final thing that I noted is that USC has about ten different groups involved in the reporting of sexual assault, and students were asked if they knew about all of them.  That's too complex to make reporting simple; instead, I'd recommend a simple symbol on their doors and websites to indicate they are trained to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault.


Finally, this tweet by Manly shows a huge problem of child sexual abuse.  He's not just a lawyer, he's a victim grown up, and who has apparently lost faith as a result of his abuse.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review: The Rock Generation

On another forum called Sharper Iron, I've had a number of discussions regarding whether modern music, especially rock-n-roll, is permissible in the church, and was always disappointed that nobody ever really had a Biblical exegesis that would, really, lead one to come to that conclusion.  I figured that since a lot of commenters mentioned Frank Garlock, professor of music from Bob Jones University, that maybe, just maybe, one of his books might be a little bit more scholarly.


Well, perhaps somewhere he's done this, but that is not done in The Rock Generation: 6 Decades of Decline.  As is noted above, there is no Biblical exegesis presented by Garlock that would lead one to suggest that any genre, let alone rock & roll, would be Biblically impermissible.  What Garlock does, really, is to tenuously tie together a litany of bad things he's observed about the modern music scene, and assert that there's something there.  In other words, it's 100 pages of the slippery slope fallacy.


But that noted, it's not just the slippery slope fallacy, as Garlock quite frankly tells a few howlers as "evidence", from false roots of band names and song lyrics to using the wrong units for sound power (watts vs. dB), from thinly veiled references to the "jungle beat" arguments of the Victorian era to a ton of guilt by association.  In short, it would be a great reference for an informal logic class to teach about logical fallacies--in all the bad ways.  Garlock even asserts that soft rock--e.g. Air Supply--is a gateway drug to heavy metal.  Now that would be a fun poll at your Metallica or AC/DC concert!


And why was it so bad?  Well, it starts quickly with a basic failure to define what constitutes "rock" music.  Garlock more or less says because it's "always loud", which of course comes as something of a surprise to factory workers who hear pop music played all day at basically a whisper level, and would further suggest that the end of the 1812 Overture diverts suddenly from classical/romantic in style to rock-n-roll--not to mention the Halleluiah Chorus and Beethoven's An der Freude. 


Totally absent was the notion that rock-n-roll borrows blues, jazz, and black gospel cues, combines them with hints of old style country music, and tends to be performed by small ensembles.  Of course, if Garlock had done that, none of his arguments would have worked, either, as he'd be in the very rough place of implicitly asserting that the spirituals that sustained blacks through slavery and Jim Crow were in fact sinful.


The end conclusion: there may be an argument against certain features in music, or against certain genres of music in the church, but quite frankly Frank Garlock does not make the case any more than does Bill Gothard.  Maybe instead of continuing to fight on this wretched terrain, the church needs to abandon Garlock and Gothard's arguments in toto and address the central question; does singing in the church function to impart God's Word to God's People in lyric form, and if so, what characteristics ought it to have?


Rating: -5 stars.  And to make up for this review, a little bit of the Harp Twins.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Inspiration

This week's assignment in art class for my son is to illustrate a Bible verse or passage.  He chose Esther 7:6-10.  (the hanging of Haman)


Gotta make some Hamantaschen for that boy sometime....

More on false rape accusations

It occurred to me that, beyond the reality that false rape accusations appear to be more common than rape convictions, and beyond the fact that up to 1% of men are falsely accused, there is yet another fact.


Specifically, it appears that almost all sexual assaults are done by 3-5% of men.  Conversely, that means that 95% of men, plus or minus, have no fear of a valid rape accusation, but each one of them can be falsely accused.  When we also consider that--see the Kavanaugh brouhaha--that many so-called advocates for sexual assault victims seem to be unwilling to consider contrary evidence, it's no surprise that most men, along with the women who love them, are unwilling to sign up for such a system.


And as I noted previously, these people are going to be on juries.  The simple fact is that if sexual assault victims are going to get justice--and that is my hope and prayer--we cannot simply take their stories at face value simply because they are female and have made an accusation.  This process matters.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Thank you, William Jefferson Clinton

....for going on tour to angrily denounce people who remember you taking advantage of an intern and groping Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, not to mention what you did to Juanita Broadrick and a host of other young women you bedded in your younger years.  I was afraid that people would actually think that Democrats cared about abused women for a while, and thankfully you've come out of the woodwork to remind all of us how Democrats looked the other way for you, Teddy Kennedy, Gerry Studds, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and others. 


I haven't been this grateful to you since your wife's health care plan gave Congress to the GOP in 1994.

Impeachment for T-Bone's friend?

New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, infamous for his invention of his friend T-Bone, says he wants to impeach Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for allegedly lying during Senate hearings, showing that (a) he forgot which house of Congress he's in and (b) he's got a stunning lack of self-awareness, having not only lied about his imaginary friend T-Bone (who is in reality a friend of Clifford the Big Red Dog), but having also claimed to hand out private materials during those same hearings.


So if Booker, who appears to be making a mockery of his Rhodes Scholarship and Yale Law degree, wants to bring it on, sure, but this humble site and a million others will be happy to remind Mr. Booker of his slanders of Clifford's buddy and our newest Supreme Court Justice.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Be careful what you ask for

Activists in San Francisco (where else?) are moving to require that 30% of public art statuary feature women.  Um, given what a great portion of statues featuring women are, maybe, just maybe, the feminist left might want to think about this one a moment?


Though I have to admit that a statue of Stormy Daniels surrounded by San Fran's famous street poop would be oddly appropriate...

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Improving statistics on sexual assault

Again, with regards to sexual assault, let's begin with these numbers.  Reality will differ somewhat, but let's go with it:
  • 1000 assaults reported anonymously
  • 310 assaults reported to police or other authorities
  • ~57 arrests
  • 11 referrals for prosecution
  • 6-30 false accusations
  • 7 felony convictions
  • 6 imprisonments
What is worth noting here is that of 310 assaults reported to police, ~ 255  (~80%) have insufficient evidence to arrest.  Of those arrests made, ~46 (again, 80%) have insufficient evidence to indict.  It would be interesting to learn where those false accusations are discovered--before or after arrest, before or after referrals for prosecution.  It makes a big difference in how extensive and painful that is for the victim of a false accusation.


We could argue that things will improve with "I Believe You", but our legal system rightly requires cross examination, and quite frankly believing every claim lends itself to false accusations. 


Perhaps better would be a good look at why ~60% of those who say they were assaulted don't report, and why 80% of those reports do not end up with an arrest, and why 90% of arrests for these crimes do not end up with jail time--80% do not even reach prosecutors.


And in reported cases, the simple fact is that there are a few basic reasons they go nowhere:
  • Police don't have the resources to investigate (e.g. unprocessed rape kits)
  • Prosecutors don't have the resources/motivation to indict
  • Insufficient evidence is provided to proceed.
The first two are fairly simple to solve; simply move police from traffic crimes to real crimes, and provide adequate resources to process rape kits and the like. 


The third is stickier, and it does suggest that the abysmal resolution rate for sexual assault could be improved if we simply taught all high school students how the justice system works.  Little things like how difficult he said/she said allegations are to try before a jury, the importance of corroborating and physical evidence, the importance of promptly reporting crimes to police, the importance of telling the truth about every matter (falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus), and the importance of working with investigators.


And, finally, the importance of prosecuting obvious perjury for maintaining witness credibility.  Yes, it's no fun bringing a report of any crime to the police, especially sexual assault, and cross examination is no picnic, either, but if you want crooks in jail where they belong, that's what you've got to do, and here's how you go about it.


But, ahem; didn't that used to be part of civics?  It seems as if a majority of our country has absolutely no clue about this, and that ought to scare the heck out of us.




Wednesday, October 03, 2018

More on false accusations

In a previous post, I commented on why false accusations are indeed a big deal--they are most likely as frequent, or more frequent, than incarcerations for sexual assault.  Now part of that is due to ignorance on the part of prosecutors, as well as bad tactics on the part of supposed supporters of victims, but let's take a look at the overall numbers and what they mean.


The best statistics we have regarding self-reporting (e.g. to researchers, not police) is that about 25% of women--say about 500,000 to 600,000 annually--report some level of sexual assault.  Allowing for repeat sexual assaults, and we might infer that about a million sexual assaults are committed each year, of which 310,000 might be reported to police. 


Of those, 2-10%--or 6-31,000--are false reports.  If we were to "lowball" the estimates and say only 500,000 sexual assaults occur annually, you might expand that range to 3-31,000.  Yes, it's a wide range, but for obvious reasons, these statistics are messy.


We would infer that up to 3-31,000 people, mostly men, are the victims of false reporting each year; somewhere between one in sixty and one in six hundred men have been falsely accused of sexual assault.  If we assume that a portion of "insufficient evidence to indict" is also false accusations, and we should, that number rises.


And let's put this in perspective; a man who is convicted and sent to prison disappears for years--he is incognito to his peers at that point, really.  However, the man who is falsely accused--the one who loses his reputation, maybe his job and key relationships, and the funds in his bank account dealing with the false accusation--interacts with his peers every day.  For each falsely accused man, dozens learn of his story.  Let's draw a wild guess and guess that about one in twenty prospective jurors knows for a fact that false accusations are made, and can name a case where clearly false accusations were not punished with a perjury prosecution.


Do you think it will affect whether they will believe accusers?  I'm guessing it will, and on any particular jury, the odds might be around 50% that at least one juror knows someone who was victimized by a perjurer.

Democrat Don Quixotes

This time, it's because apparently they're trying to change the subject from Christine Ford--whose story is clearly in the "insufficient evidence to indict" category, if not the "outright false" one--to whether Brett Kavanaugh drank to the point of passing out. 


And again, the Democrats are tilting at windmills, and the reason is very simple; Brett Kavanaugh's drinking was predominantly beer, which reminds me of the old drinker's proverb "Liquor then beer, never fear; beer then liquor, never sicker."  In other words, the person who gets "buzzed" on hard liquor, then switches to beer, will get drunk, but not dangerously drunk, because you have to be able to lift the glass, can, or bottle to your lips and drink.  Get too drunk, and the beer goes anywhere but in your mouth. With hard liquor, you can, while sober or only moderately drunk, manage to get enough additional alcohol down your throat to pass out or even kill yourself.  It's a simple function of 3-7% alcohol vs. 40%, really.






Democrats, it's time to lift that paper mache beaver blocking your view, and admit that the simple fact is that you don't want any originalist on the Supreme Court, and you're willing to pull any stunt, no matter how immoral, to prevent that.  And sensible voters, it's time to reward the Democrats for this by voting them out of office next month. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Now that's fascinating

Brett Kavanaugh's accuser notes that she decided to "come forward" when reporters started coming to her classes, and outside your her home.  Um, help me out here, Dr. Ford.  Since you hadn't come forward yet as an accuser, tell me how those reporters knew that you were so interesting.  It suggests that either you, or one of your handlers--like Senator Nifong Feinstein--was getting the word out, contrary to your, ahem, sworn testimony.


Also very interesting is that she "doesn't know" who paid for that polygraph test--and how she took it when the day before, she was said to be on an island in the mid-Atlantic.  It casts her veracity in doubt regarding both her polygraph, and her unwillingness to fly. 


As someone who (I believe) helped expose a predator, I understand not coming forward at the time, and being shy about testifying.  However, the manipulation of the process, and the total lack of corroborating evidence not originating in Ford herself, makes me skeptical of where this is going.


Update; National Review is doing great work covering the hearings, as befits an outfit filled with lawyers.  Her "fear of flying" appears to be overcome rather routinely, doesn't remember details of what she shared with the Washington Post, and also didn't know any details of the polygraph test she took.  She also appears to have refuted her husband's claim that she'd mentioned Kavanaugh's name to her therapist in 2012. 


But we should be totally sure of what she says she experienced back in the early 1980s while intoxicated, of course. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Well, actually, I don't, yet

Say what?  Well, it strikes me that one of the most dangerous things many people in #MeToo are doing is to say #IBelieveYou.  How so? 


Well, it introduces a presumption of guilt and an absolutism that is really more of a product of faith than of evidence.  When this happens, something very dangerous occurs; the question of guilt or innocence becomes unfalsifiable.  The trouble with this is that if a hypothesis is not falsifiable, it simultaneously cannot be proven, and when unfalsifiable premises like #IBelieveYou are introduced, that reduces a great portion of sexual assault investigations and trials towards a mere popularity contest. 


You can see this, really, in the behavior of Democrats who supported Hilliary Clinton, wife of serial philanderer and sexual abuser Bill and head of Bill's "bimbo eruptions" team, but then assume the guilt of Brett Kavanaugh on far flimsier evidence than caused Bill to surrender $850,000 and his law license in a sexual harassment lawsuit.  When we say #IBelieveYou, we discard the notions of witness credibility, corroboration, and other evidence.


This also has a very nasty side effect (again, see "Bill Clinton") of empowering the people who are most likely to commit sexual assault while victimizing the best possible allies of abused women.  How so?  Simple.  Those with a narcissistic personality disorder are both "sexually adventurous" and able to manipulate others--a deadly combination enabling them to commit, and get away with, sexual assault.


Those without the disorder are, then, left with little defense when politicians with NPD, like Dianne "Nifong" Feinstein, seek to try them in kangaroo court.  Here is a defense lawyer's view on what shows him that accusations are "off" in terms of evidence.  Yes, it is precisely what the handlers of accusers like Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford are doing.   Word to the wise.


Those who would support #MeToo need to come to grips with the fact that #IBelieveYou may be one of the most counter-productive ideas they've come up with, actually making the world more dangerous for women.  It's time to replace it with "I'll take you seriously" and restore the primacy of evidence and the legal process to these matters.

Monday, September 24, 2018

In a just world....

....this little demonstration by many at Yale Law School would make them difficult to employ.  How so?   Simple; of all people, students at and graduates of the most prestigious law school in the country ought to know that he said/she said investigations rarely go anywhere, that politically motivated outrage rarely arrives at the truth, that people who admit they were drunk during events in question rarely make good witnesses, and that the four people believed to have been there by the first complainant have all said that it didn't happen. 


The second accusation fell on the same hard rocks of evidence, and who wants an attorney who does not instinctively clue in to these things--or who ignores them when they are politically convenient?


What is especially galling to me is that nobody seems to be asking their "allies", Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal, where they were when Planned Parenthood was found to have been ignoring their responsibility to report clear evidence of statutory rape?  Or, for that matter, where was Feinstein when the matter of an admitted sexual harasser, and probable rapist, was before the Senate in 1998? 


"On the wrong side of the argument", of course. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

On a lighter note

....at least two former Buffalo Bills players claim that at least one child was born due to there being nothing to do in Buffalo besides, well, you know. 


Beyond the obvious question of whether this is a bug, or a feature, of living there, I've got to wonder about someone who is so taken with the restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theaters in his city that he neglects to show affection to his wife.  I enjoy good food and a good movie, but seriously?

A way out

It's probably not a total solution, and I'm guessing David French wouldn't say it is, either, but French makes a great case here that one big way to improve our society's performance with regards to sexual assault is to (duh?) treat it as the criminal matter that it is.


Duh, again, and this means a lot of things.  First of all, it would mean that Title IX investigations would more or less encourage the complainant to (rightly) talk to the police, and the conclusion would more or less be a suspension if the accused is indicted, and an expulsion if convicted.   You might have a little more for university specific rules--say prohibition of fornication at Christian colleges--but otherwise, the matter would go to the police and courts--and sex crimes units would be adequately funded and staffed.  No more rape kids ignored for years, no more cases neglected.


In companies, it would mean the same thing--HR's role would be, apart from company specific policies and non-criminal harassment issues, to nudge complainants to the police, firing at a point ranging from indictment to conviction. 


How to implement it?  French gives a hint there as well; what about teaching kids about what filing a police report entails in these and other cases to de-mystify the process?  What about teaching kids that "he said/she said" rarely goes anywhere, and that the police and prosecutors are simply trying to see if the case has a firmer basis?


It makes a whole lot more sense, in my view, than retaining Title IX as it currently stands, with "preponderance of evidence" standards and a failure to allow cross examination of witnesses in many cases.  Which is, of course, why Democrats would fight tooth and nail to prevent it.


These hard cases are, after all, a gold mine for them, where Senators who looked the other way when Bill Clinton and Planned Parenthood broke these laws can posture piously and tell us how the latest halfway credible accusation is incredibly significant.....as long as the accused is a Republican, or someone they can do without like Weinstein.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Statistics in perspective

I was looking at this tweet from one of my heroes, and it occurred to me to try and put things into perspective.  Yes, it does appear from this study that false rape accusations are in the range of 2-8%, probably with a best estimate of 6% or so.  Now, let's put it in perspective.


For every 1000 estimated sexual assaults (defined broadly), only 370 victims report the crime to police.  From those reports, only six perpetrators ever do jail time.  Presumably some get probation or other penalties.  Let's assume a total of 10 people get penalized, probably representing a much larger portion of sexual assaults than we might guess--those who rape, rape repeatedly.  So, apart from wrongful convictions, we might guess that, say, 50 of 1000 victims actually get some degree of justice, although they might not know it. 


However, if we have a 2%-8% false reporting rate, we would presume that in addition to 370 factual reports that cannot be proven false, eight to thirty false reports are filed.  This means that not only is there insufficient evidence to indict, but moreover that the police found sufficient evidence to declare the report false.  Yes, we might infer that there ought to be a lot more perjury trials, as the victims of Mike Nifong and other corrupt prosecutors would tell you.  A false accusation can put a man (or woman) through Hell, and apparently we've got more clearly false accusations than convictions.


That leaves 360 accusations, plus or minus, that are in the "insufficient evidence to convict" category.  Some are genuine crimes, some are mistaken identity (this is my best guess on the Ford/Kavanaugh controversy now), and some are flat out false accusations where the police can't quite prove that they are false.


Part of this makes sense; sexual assault almost by definition occurs without extra witnesses, and delays in reporting prevent physical evidence from being collected and impair the accuracy of reports.  The huge prevalence of intoxicant abuse among both perpetrators and victims of sexual assault takes a toll as well. 


But with that known, let's understand what that 2-8% false accusation rate really means.  Again, it means that false accusations are as common as prison sentences for sexual assault, and if we can't improve that ratio, people can and will lose confidence in the system for punishing these crimes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Word to the wise

Apparently, a "loving couple" in California, apparently a surgeon and his aspiring schoolteacher/dancer girlfriend, have been accused of drug-induced rape after over 1000 videos of them having sex with unconscious victims were found in his home.


Now "innocent until proven guilty" and all that, but as the evidence looks pretty damning, we might conclude a few things.  First of all, sometimes people will do some seriously sick stuff, and sometimes people will help others do so.  Honestly, an aspiring teacher helped her boyfriend rape other women?  Seriously?  But yet there is video; she was at least being the female equivalent of "cuckolded."


Second, sometimes these things can go under the radar for a long, long time.  It boggles the mind to think that dozens, or hundreds, of women who woke up in a strange home with a nasty hangover and pain/foreign substances in strange places without anyone ever going to the doctor or contacting police.


Third, it can take police a long time to take action even when there are credible allegations--in this case, it's been 23 months since a woman was rescued by police after being raped, and 29 months since a woman went to police with multiple drugs in her system.  It almost seems as if it took the police months, or years, to take action even when they knew the very apartment where the crimes occurred.


Finally, if you're going to go out drinking, this sad case suggests that you'll be wise to go with a friend who will remain sober enough to help you out if someone "puts the moves" on you in this sort of way, and quite frankly it might be smart as well to commit to remaining relatively sober overall.  It might also be smart to avoid what we used to call "singles bars"; like it or not, I don't know that an "anything goes" sexual culture is compatible with personal safety.   Things that Grandpa would have instantly recognized as the work of a "rake" go under the radar when it's acceptable to go home with someone that very night.

Friday, September 14, 2018

I guess I missed that

Apparently the latest thing in critical race theory is the notion that white men who grow a beard are doing so because of racism.  I guess that explains why Bull Connor was clean shaven, and why Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass wore beards.


On the bright side, if the frontiers of racism have receded so far that we are free to worry about whether or not a man wears a beard, we are in better shape than almost any society in the history of the world.  I don't think we're there, but that some people apparently think we are is a promising sign.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Fashion Industry in One Quote

From model Karlie Kloss:


my body became more womanly....hips and thighs appeared....I started losing jobs.


Keep in mind here that many would argue that even now, she's quite slender.  What she's saying, really, is that the fashion industry's view of a woman doesn't exactly equate to how women are actually built.  I know that it makes the sewing more difficult, but I do have the dream that someday, somewhere, a fashion designer will figure out how to clothe real women instead of the "boys with breasts" that inhabit fashion runways.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Terroir Incognito

On Sharper Iron, a fundamental Baptist website I read often, one contributor linked an Amazon link to Gisela Kreglinger's The Spirituality of Wine, a book where the author attempts, in a semi-secular way, to present both the Biblical view of wine, as well as how the world of wine developed in Europe and the world as a whole, and finally goes into something of a dissertation on the risks of commodities vs. local products.


In other words, it's three books in one, in a manner of speaking, at least from a "fundagelical" perspective.  In the "first book", Kreglinger does what we would suggest any good fundamental Baptist ought to do; she simply takes seriously the Biblical passages telling of the ubiquity of wine, its blessings in moderate use, and its dangers in overuse and drunkenness. 


Coming from a Lutheran perspective, and from a family that has produced wine for half a millennium, however, she also feels compelled to discuss how the monks and nuns of old--and of modern times--developed many of the techniques used in wine-making, as well as most of the major hybrids/land-races of wine grapes. 


This leads to the most fascinating, confusing (to me at least), and controversial part of the book; where she discusses the differences between mass market wines (and even beers) and those which really speak of the climate, hybrid, soil, and more in the making of that wine.  Her writing has a bit of a "Wendell Berry" vibe, being a touch anti-commodity in the process.


And this is, really, why I read the book four times to try and grasp this argument, as Scripture simply does not speak obviously of things like terroir--roughly meaning "terrain", but in practice meaning all of the subtle factors of a vineyard that make its wine unique.  But that said, I did some thinking about the matter, and I remembered the case of Bezalel, the artist behind the Tabernacle and the Ark.  Noteworthy is that Bezalel used a number of supplies from various localities--the origin was, in a manner of speaking, the product.  Terroir, no?


I thought of Proverbs 22:29, where the skilled tradesman would find his work before kings.  I thought of Jesus' comment that the "old wine is better", and the amazement at the wine He made in John 2.  And so I am persuaded that there is a case to be made in Scripture for distinctly local products, to include wine.  So there is at least some Biblical support for the notion that we can honor a Bordeaux or a Franconia wine for its origins. 


In this section is as well a good discussion of the benefits and risks of alcohol.  Kreglinger is a huge fan of wine as an antiseptic, aid to heart health, and the like, but does not downplay the risks of abuse and addiction.  In responding to this, she notes that there is a huge difference between the risks of wine and of hard liquor, and that societies that enjoy wine simultaneously learn the methods of using it responsibly. 


All in all, I give this book 4 of 5 stars (corks?  glasses?), and the missing star is really because the author has tackled a huge topic, and simply does not have the space--or perhaps the inclination?--to fill in the gaps needed to go from the obvious Biblical truth that wine is a blessing in moderate use to the point of affirming wine as a local product instead of a commodity.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Word to the wise

Check out this tweet from John Manly, attorney for hundreds of Larry Nassar's victims in their lawsuit against Michigan State University.  Read it very carefully; he is picking on (rightly) interim MSU President John Engler for mismanagement leading to the $500 million award to his clients.  To me, it almost seems as if--as I've suspected--Nassar's victims are by and large far more interested in repentance and apologies than they are in money.   In other words, they took blood because it was all Engler offered, but they were not out for blood.


Not that a certain amount of money is not needed--they have lost certain opportunities and many require mental health care and the like--but if you're in leadership in an organization that is dealing with crimes like those of Larry Nassar, you might do well to consider the possibility that the complainants are far more interested in an apology and action that will prevent it from happening again than the deed to your organization's property. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

This is your Democratic Party, I guess

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris asked SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh whether he had ever spoken to anyone at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres about the Mueller investigation.  Keep in mind here that the firm has 350 lawyers and numerous other personnel, and one could hardly live in DC without discussing the investigation with a few lawyers over dinner.  Never mind the reality that, as a judge, he would have no particular role in this investigation, and interactions with lawyers are often "privileged", as a lawyer like Harris ought to be well aware.


In other Democratic brilliance, Senator Cory Booker (CCCP/D-New Jersey) cited a copy of emails as evidence of Kavanaugh being open to racial profiling, emails that were classified as "committee confidential", and which were not provided to Kavanaugh for review.  Um, yes, Cory, they taught you something about this at Yale Law, and it wasn't how you did this.


Maybe the Democrats do indeed have Senators who are indeed qualified to be on this committee, but it's certainly not showing at this point.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Does the FBI even do traffic enforcement?

Why do I ask this?  Well, apparently it took the FBI over 13 months after being notified of Larry Nassar's crimes to actually get anything going.  John Manly, lawyer for many of Nassar's victims, notes as well that his office's (clients') requests for meeting (to give them evidence) were refused, and that in his opinion, the investigation appears to have been slow walked by both the FBI and U.S. attorneys.   Obviously, they've got some speeding tickets to issue or something.


Of course, those who have been watching the FBI lately are keenly aware that there are a number of things more important to the FBI these days than investigating obvious crimes, like pinning false accusations of Russian collusion on President Trump (or nailing him with a Mickey Mouse allegation from one of his former staffers), ignoring Hilliary's corruption, and the like.  Actually issuing a subpoena or warrant on an obvious case, or even sending a note to local police forces so they could get an investigation started, simply didn't fit the model.


Ugly reality is that this is going to get worse and worse.  It hit MSU hard (rightly so), it's hitting USAG and the USOC hard, and now the list of culprits is extending to the FBI, U.S. attorneys, local police forces, and the like.  Next up: Nassar's former employers at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and his high school.  The University of Michigan is an interesting case, since I'd suspect Nassar had something of a fixation or fetish for female gymnasts, but he worked with the football and track teams there.  One has to wonder whether they knew, or suspected, something even then.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Aieee.....

It appears that the barrier between the International Space Station and the zero-pressure, close-to-absolute-zero temperature of outer space is something like 0.040" of aluminium.  I realize that weight is at a premium up there, but yikes.

More on bad behavior in public places

According to the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins, The Ohio State University concussion-ball coach Urban Meyer appears to have tolerated a litany of abuses by Zach Smith, the grandson of former coach Earle Bruce, including domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and the inability to even purchase airline tickets and meals on his credit card, all while issuing him glowing performance reviews.   (h/t Rachael Denhollander and others)  One point of particular interest is that OSU sent Smith to rehab and did not discipline him when he left that program.


Why so significant?  Simple; getting sent to rehab by your employer means you are no longer a "high functioning drunk", but that your problems are big enough that it's impacting your performance.  In short, Urban Meyer wasn't just facilitating (and deepening) Zach Smith's addictions and abuse of his now-ex-wife, but he was also making his team worse than it otherwise would have been. 

Gutting Title IX protections?

Or, perhaps, not.  I've looked up a number of articles on the (allegedly) proposed reforms of federal Title IX sexual assault guidance, and one thing that strikes me is that I'm not seeing any links to any federal documents written in the past year.  In other words, the New York Times, which broke the story, is carrying on its well established pattern of leaking to damage political enemies.  Who are those enemies?  Well, did you oppose Hilliary?  You're one of them.  The whole kerfuffle has its origins in a political hit job.


And what is that for?  Well, apparently it's to support the old Obama guidelines using preponderance of evidence as a standard of guilt, and also to prevent the accused from cross examining the accuser, among other things.  Proponents cite that preponderance of evidence (50% likelihood plus one iota) is used in civil cases (true), and that the accused can more or less cause the accuser to relive her rape.


Regarding the first, reality is that court after court is slapping college after college down for biased Title IX decisions--a result anyone could have foreseen--and the use of a civil law standard of guilt is dubious to begin with, given that a Title IX judgment does lock the accused out of further education at good colleges.  Want to create a group of mostly male, significantly minority victims who are reasonably intelligent and have very real grievances?  People who might act out those grievances in antisocial ways?  Keep that preponderance of evidence standard.  Want justice?  You might want to change.


Regarding the second, the simple fact is that a Title IX judgment is pretty much a criminal conviction in terms of its effects, and hence you've got to protect the accused's right to confront evidence against him, which would include accusers.  Worth noting as well is that defense lawyers (your other option, really) are not exactly renowned for their manners towards sexual assault victims, either.


Maybe instead of "filtering" the right to confront evidence, or abrogating it completely, we need to consider how we might create a few guidelines for "out of bounds" interrogation?  Maybe we need to work to prepare accusers to work--given that these are at their heart criminal accusations--within the system that can compel testimony and collect physical evidence?


As men wiser than I have commented, to every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, appealing, and wrong.  I do not know--not having seen the actual proposal--whether the DeVos proposal is an improvement overall or not.  I do know, however, that the guidelines in the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter actually endanger victims by destroying trust in the system.  It's time for a good portion of them to go.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Want to do urban ministry?

LeBron James shows the way, in a manner of speaking, by sharing some of the attitudes he'd picked up--and then discarded--upon attending St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School in Akron.  He appears to have made some of the same kind of cultural errors that I made the opposite way when I would visit Compton, CA on Saturdays as a college student.  Want to do urban ministry, or, for that matter, ministry outside your particular culture?  Understand that the people you're going to get to know may live in a very different world, and that you've got to understand a lot of people simply don't understand your world. 


Side note is that some of the most difficult cultural differences to overcome are those where you don't have an immediate visual cue--like race--that people think very differently than you do.  For example, when a conservative tries to minister on a prestigious college campus, or when someone from the suburbs goes to poor rural areas.


Well done, LeBron.

A bit from Oswald Chambers

Referencing Luke 10:19-20, Oswald Chambers wrote this. 


Jesus Christ says, in effect, Don’t rejoice in successful service, but rejoice because you are rightly related to Me. The snare in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to rejoice in the fact that God has used you. You never can measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ. Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is of His mercy that He does not let you know it. When once you are rightly related to God by salvation and sanctification, remember that wherever you are, you are put there by God; and by the reaction of your life on the circumstances around you, you will fulfil God’s purpose, as long as you keep in the light as God is in the light.
The tendency to-day is to put the emphasis on service. Beware of the people who make usefulness their ground of appeal. If you make usefulness the test, then Jesus Christ was the greatest failure that ever lived. The lodestar of the saint is God Himself, not estimated usefulness. It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him. All that Our Lord heeds in a man’s life is the relationship of worth to His Father. Jesus is bringing many sons to glory.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Yikes

Investigative reporter finds that horrendous allegations, including murder, related to at least one Catholic orphanage, have a basis in fact.  Add this to homes for poor mothers in Ireland, and apparently even a sad case at Boys' Town, and the sad reality is that it seems Rome has problems that could well rival those in DC or the public schools. 


I'm going to guess that Father Flanagan, given his advocacy of reform of Catholic institutions in his native Ireland and the U.S. alike, would have been rather peeved that, 70 years after his death, the church he served and loved hadn't figured out what he learned starting about a century ago. 

Who makes the Catholic Church look clean?

According to a 2004 study, apparently it's the public schools and teachers' unions, which are apparently spending far more money and have far more victims than any Catholic ever had a nightmare about.  Apparently the NEA/AFT money has been successful as well, as the study hasn't been repeated despite the obvious significance of what's gone on.


Time to let loose the dogs of war, so to speak, and bring some of this out into the open where we can deal with it in a way corresponding to its nature.  I suspect that we've been paying--welfare, medical costs, incarceration costs--far more than we need to simply because your average victim suffers in silence.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Just one thing missing

Former Trump staffer Omarosa is ready to testify at Trump's impeachment trial any time, any place, according to this article.  Just one thing appears to be missing, however; evidence of impeachable offenses.  Omarosa says she has some and is "cooperating" with Robert Mueller, but if it's as obvious as she wants us to believe, exactly why hasn't Mueller indicted anyone yet?  Omarosa, in praising Michael Cohen, also glosses over the very real crimes of tax evasion and the like he could have been convicted for.


Seems to me her most recent interview is as fact-filled as her recent book. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

On the Asia Argento kerfuffle and Catholic priests

People are saying a bunch about how Asia Argento's apparent settlement with a young man who accused her of sexual assault somehow invalidates a movement Argento had a good part in starting: #MeToo.  Apart from the obvious point that this is a simple example of the tu quoque ("You Too!") fallacy of informal logic, let's take a look at the facts.


Argento is said to have been more or less compelled into non-consensual sex acts (a.k.a. "sexual assault" or colloquially "rape") with Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s, and in 2013 was single and made a number of social media posts suggesting, shall we say, a very intimate friendship with her alleged victim.  I can't say whether she's guilty or not, but they aren't the kind of thing you want provided in a court of law.


But for the sake of argument, what does it mean if she is guilty?  Well, we know that Argento is a victim, and that victims often become victimizers.  Now, does this minimize the importance of #MeToo, or does it emphasize realities of which we were already aware?  I'd argue the latter. 


In the same way, the recent report listing ~ 300 offenders in a few dioceses in Pennsylvania offers the Catholic Church a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the conversation if they will only take it.  The offenders may be out of the reach of the law, but shouldn't part of their penance be to talk with psychologists and other experts in the area about how they first found out about their perverse desires, how they acted them out, and the like?  Maybe do some community education about how to prevent this kind of thing in the future?


Yes, part of me wants blood here, but another part also wants people to recognize the signs that something is seriously wrong.  Rome can help a lot with this.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Yes, speak up

This tweet from one of Larry Nassar's victims says a lot about how a predator can, or can not, be stopped.  You see, the conventional wisdom was that Nassar's crimes started at MSU when he became an osteopathic doctor.  However, Ms. Klein says she was first abused 30 years ago, around 1988, when Nassar was only an athletic trainer at USAG.


Keep in mind here that athletic trainers generally do not work in as private a setting as doctors, and they are not allowed to do the range of services that doctors are, either.  So it would seem that USAG missed a golden chance to stop Nassar back when his career in crime was barely started.


Or, perhaps it had already started when he was an athletic trainer at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, or perhaps it started as far back as 1978, when he was a student athletic trainer in high school.   It seems that as ugly as this is already, it's  likely to get a lot uglier.

George Orwell, please call your office



It appears that Chelsea Clinton has learned the wrong lesson about "newspeak" from your novel 1984, as she's using it quite well to say absurdities like "pro-choice is pro-life".   Because what is more pro-life than ripping pre-born babies limb from limb?  Duh.   In other news about Ms. Clinton, apparently she's claiming that the Holocaust added $3.5 trillion to Nazi Germany's economy.  (for the humor impaired, that is a joke from the Babylon Bee)


Seriously, if this is the best thinking Ms. Clinton can come up with, I have to suggest that she and her parents are due profound apologies from Sidwell Friends, Stanford, Oxford, and Columbia--and full refunds of all tuition and fees paid.  She is entitled to her point of view, perverse as it is, but coming into adulthood as a total dingbat despite multiple prestigious degrees is in part the fault of her "educators".



A groan and a suggestion

Apparently two more Olympic gymnasts have said #MeToo; they too were molested by Larry Nassar.  I pondered a while back if Nassar had any patients he hadn't molested, and increasingly it's looking like such unmolested patients of Nassar's are like hen's teeth.


And with that, it strikes me that if I had access to large numbers of dried up cowpies, I'd collect them, paint them teal, and spread them around the campii of Michigan State, USC, Ohio State, the USGA, and the USOC, so that the leadership there could have "teal shit" in front of them wherever they went.  And if I happened to be the leader of one of these institutions, I would pick one of them up and put it on my desk. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Now this could be fun!

Apparently the environmental left is moving to ban balloons because of the likelihood that they also could hurt aquatic life, just like plastic straws.  Now of course, there's little evidence that suggests it's a huge effect, but since when has that stopped American environmentalists?


Besides, I can think of something that liberals love and have promoted since the early 1980s that closely resembles the latex balloons that the environmental left would like to ban.....yes, I'm humming along to "Up, up and away" (in my beautiful balloon), remembering Rush's use of the song for one of his updates....yes, we could help save the environment AND make the environmental left really, really grouchy to boot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What would be the worst thing?

Numerous sources today are reporting that a Pennsylvania investigation of molestation by Catholic priests is naming 300 as abusers--for perspective, Wikipedia suggests that there are only about 37,000 total in the U.S., and the diocese involved represents perhaps 75% of Pennsylvania's 3-4 million Catholics.  Doing a bit of hand-waving math, we would expect that about 5% of U.S. Catholics are in this diocese, which would be expected, then, to have somewhere around 2000 priests.


Leaving some allowance for priests moving from one diocese to another, and leaving a bit of room for the fact that these offenses occurred over 2-3 generations of priests, it would seem that previous estimates of about 4% of priests being abusers may be low, and that another round of Hell is about to break loose for the Catholic Church.


Update: apparently the dioceses in question have about 1.7 million congregants, about 2.5% of U.S. Catholics, which would suggest only about 1000 priests.  Even accounting for 3 generations in the last 70 years, that would suggest only about 120 offenders overall (how many of them known?), which would suggest either a lot of movement between dioceses and/or that the rate of offense there is quite a bit greater than 4% of priests.



And then, I'd have to guess, another round of Hell will then break loose for churches in "my" tribe, sad to say.  It brings to mind the question of "what is the worst thing that could happen?"  Apart from people who rightly belong in jail for what they've done, it would stand to reason that a lot of church property may soon be owned by trial lawyers and their clients, and that believers are going to need to figure out different places to worship and serve God.


It sounds bad, but we need to remember that one of the greatest periods of growth for the Church was when Rome was killing whatever Christians they could find, and when God's people had to meet quietly in homes and do their acts of benevolence without hiring time on TV and the like.  If things go down like I anticipate, it will be a set of tough lessons, but a set of tough lessons that will remind God's people of what's really important.


And as we anticipate that, we might decide to change our ministries from property and buildings to people.  Double bonus, no?

Friday, August 10, 2018

More California dreaming

As many who follow the news are aware, California is committed to spending something like one hundred billion bucks to put a bullet train between LA (or really its far out suburbs) and the Bay.  Now, while I've got huge differences with rail transit in general, it struck me that the bullet train is classic 1960s technology, and if Californians can milk the taxpayer to get such technology, why can't I?  So here's a short list of the 1960s technologies I'd like to have not just available today (though many aren't), but subsidized for me by the taxpayer.


  • A 409 with 3 deuces under the hood. 
  • A dishwasher that actually works and lasts 20 years.
  • A clothes washer that actually works and lasts 20 years.
  • Dish and clothes detergents with phosphates that actually work.
  • A firearm purchase without background checks or a paper trail.
  • A clothes dryer that actually works.
  • Appliances with a pilot light that don't constantly need new igniters.
  • A toilet that works
You know, we could work this, couldn't we? 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

All true, it appears

I just got back from a two week vacation in California--Bay area and northwards--and sad to say, a lot of what I've heard about that great state's decline is absolutely true.  Even in the very prosperous towns of Mountain View and Palo Alto, you've got garbage strewn all over and signs warning drivers to lock their cars lest someone steal their things, tech workers living in RVs (and strange traffic control methods in Palo Alto to prevent it), and the fa├žade of prosperity along with the reality of empty homes and buildings. 


It is as if residents of the state have forgotten what formerly made their state work, and I saw that when I visited Stanford's campus in Palo Alto.  There is a degree of beauty there that I've rarely seen elsewhere (and I've been to Cambridge MA and Heidelberg), but there was something striking and quite frankly appalling as I watched those on campus act as if the dozens of Rodin sculptures (including a complete Gates of Hell and a bigger than life Le Penseur) were simply freshman sculpture projects. 


Loved the whales, sea lions, redwoods, and wineries, but the state is cruising for a bruising, societally speaking.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Points of reference

With reference to the modern #MeToo movement, here's an interesting article (and horrifying, BTW) that documents part of the English movement to end prostitution.  Evidently part of the problem was that numerous members of Parliament thought that visiting brothels--often government-controlled at the time--was a normal part of growing up.  It illustrates the fact as well--relevant then as now--that the real dividing line between "jailbait" and someone one could legally (if not morally) pursue is not really physical maturity, but rather whether society has decided that a person is "off limits" or not--and that "off limits" designation really has more to do with emotional and mental maturity than anything else, along with a perceived balance of power in the relationship.


Here's another interesting thing; resorts are putting spray sunscreen booths by beaches.  Apparently the old pattern of wearing swimwear where you'd either be able to apply sunscreen yourself, or where you had companions you'd trust putting sunscreen on your back, is fading, and people are deciding to go to these resorts without having trusted friends nearby.  Raises all kinds of questions for me, really.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cry me a river

Larry Nassar was apparently attacked in prison, following a pattern seen often for those who violate minors.  He wants to blame the judge for this, because she was harsh during sentencing. Poor widdle baby.  If only he'd known that sexual assault was against the law.  Oh, wait....




I know I should be more concerned about jailhouse assault, but when my favored punishment for him would have involved battery acid and an industrial meat grinder, sorry, I can't get all worked up about this. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Plenty of guys giving speeding tickets, though

The (Red) Star-Tribune is not my favorite newspaper, but credit where credit is due.  See this expose (H/T Jim Peet) of the effort, or lack thereof, put into investigating sexual assault in Minnesota.  Lots of effort put into traffic enforcement, but prosecution of rape, not so much.  Apparently even basic DNA profiling sometimes is omitted, despite the DNA being readily available.


I get a lot of why this is, too.  I'd bet it's pretty traumatic to deal with such crimes, and the article also makes clear that a lot of these cases are hard to win.  That said, I'd have hoped there would be reasonable effort made to deal with such life-changing crimes, and at least to a degree, that hope appears to be dashed.  It's time to take some guys off traffic patrol and have them investigate real crimes like these, and I for one would be glad to pay a little more in taxes for that.  Well done, Star-Tribune.

Why these things are tough

Check out the New York Times on how one of Jim Jordan's accusers, Mike DiSabato, decided to come forward with his allegations against former wrestling doctor Richard Strauss.  (H/T Jacob Denhollander)  More or less, watching hundreds of women (and I think at least one man) step forward with the same story about Larry Nassar informed DiSabato (and evidently about a hundred others) that what they'd experienced was not just weird, but a crime.


And that's a challenge as we assert that an organization or person "should have known" that something wrong was going on; if the very victims had to figure out that it was wrong, then (absent clear training on what to look for) those around the victims are going to have even more trouble figuring out what's up.  That makes the OSU case far more difficult than the MSU and PSU cases, where there were specific reports about both Larry Nassar and Jerry Sandusky that the schools ought to have acted on.


On the flip side, there was a known issue where people were indeed visiting the wrestler's showers to ogle them.  What is uncertain here is whether the victims are out for blood and money, or if they were seeking predominantly repentance.  I have a hunch most of Nassar's victims were looking for the latter more than the former, to be honest, and MSU probably threw a few hundred million dollars down the toilet by refusing to give an apology with a commitment to an independent set of audits.


So my prediction here is that if the victims are seeking primarily repentance, OSU can get past this with about $20 million for mental health treatment of victims and a commitment to audit the relevant departments--unless OSU refuses to give a real apology.  If no real apology is made, or if the victims are seeking blood (personally I doubt they are), we're talking $100 million or more.