Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Shameless

After Fast & Furious (including the needless deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and at least two Border Patrol agents), Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the non-investigation of crimes by Hilliary Clinton, and the weaponization of several agencies (CIA, FBI, EPA), former President Obama says that there was nothing in those eight years that embarrassed him.


We can call that "shamelessness", or, more directly, one symptom of narcissistic personality disorder.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shocker, that

It turns out, apparently, that increasing numbers of Uber and Lyft drivers contribute to congestion in big cities.  Well, yes, just like delivery trucks, taxis passenger automobiles, and city buses, I guess.  One of the chief contributors to the success of these services is made pretty clear by (who else but?) Weird Al Yankovic'.




Yes, mayors and aldermen, there is a reason that most sensible people prefer not to ride public transit.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

This is very troubling

With the Larry Nassar/gymnastics/MSU scandal, I've succumbed to something of a guilty pleasure; Jacob Denhollander's (Rachael's husband's) Twitter feed.  He's got quite a sense of humor through all this (deleted), but on the flip side, he says, and links, some things that really are thought provoking, some of them ugly.


This is one of the ugly things, courtesy of Matt Mencarini of the Lansing State Journal; apparently my alma mater is using the same kind of "scorched earth" tactics used by MSU Trustee Dan Kelly to work against the lawsuits coming forward against the university.  I don't know (or want to know)specifics, but I suspect that what Denhollander, Lemke, and Lorincz are objecting to is the same thing that Denhollander experienced when she came forward with her allegations against Larry Nassar; private investigators finding, and publishing, every silly or foolish thing the victims have done in their lives, and possibly quite a few made up and embarrassing things that they've not done. 


There is, indeed, a legitimate place for establishing credibility, but I would dare suggest that MSU's lawyers are crossing a not-so-subtle line between legitimate defense and vindictiveness.  The question here is not whether they did something foolish in high school or college that they might not want the whole world to know, but rather whether they are a credible witness to their abuse, and whether MSU's actions contributed to that situation, period.


I would dare suggest that if I'm reading things correctly, yes, I'd support disciplinary action against those participating. 


Update: here is an article about Dan Kelly's tactics, which include attempting to reveal the names of victims during a molestation trial. 

How to deal with school shootings

Reading the papers, a number of proposals are out there to prevent, or at least reduce the lethality of, school shootings.  I've seen a minimum age of 21 for buying a gun, bans of semi-automatic rifles, bans of all semi-automatic firearms, and even repeal of the 2nd Amendment being proposed by gun control advocates.  On the side of freedom, you've got proposals for improving school security (including armed teachers), fixing gaps in police work, and looking at the impact of family and mental illness.


Regarding the gun control proposals, the simple fact of the matter is that almost all kinds of modern firearms are represented in mass killings, and almost all school shooters are below 18--which means that the weapons were obtained illegally to begin with.  Banning categories of firearms simply makes the whole enterprise a game of whack-a-mole, banning category after category after each new atrocity reveals yet more ways people can hurt each other.  My favorite proposal is the age 21 limit for owning a gun; OK, a young person is mature enough to be a police officer or soldier, but not to own a gun?  Seriously? 


Really, the gun control proposals all come down in the end to a single thing; the end of the 2nd Amendment.  Remembering what happened in the 20th century with gun confiscation--mass genocide killing over 100 million innocents--I'll pass on that idea.


What's at stake in this debate is simple; whether we are going to blame people, or inanimate objects, for the consequences of sin.   I'm going to go with "people", thank you very much.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

At your service!

The city of Pine Island, Minnesota (close to my home), is asking for suggestions on how to deal with their pigeon problem.  Well, I can certainly help with that one.  Pine Islanders, and others afflicted with the great flying rat, you are welcome!



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Let's handle this one in house, shall we?

It turns out that those who ignored budding signs of the most recent school murderer included not only the local police, who made 39 visits to his home for issues up to and including reckless discharge of a firearm, and not only the FBI, who failed to act on clear signs he was planning a school shooting, but also his school, which (perhaps per an "agreement" with the Obama "Justice" Department) kept investigation of his behavior out of the courts.  Yes, it does turn out that looking past bad behavior generates more of it. 

Another enduring mystery

Why is it that, when faced with gun control advocates who confuse vicious and slanderous personal attacks with argument, sensible Americans come out in favor of the 2nd Amendment?  It is as if they have a hunch they'll need to defend themselves or something from people who clearly hate their guts and want them dead.


Oh, wait, that appears to be the case, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

You could take this two ways

Former newscaster Connie Chung says that she was sexually harassed every day as she established her career, but followed up by noting "anybody who sexually harassed me is now dead."


I know she probably means she was harassed by older men who have since passed on, but I must admit that the question "Where did she hide their bodies?" came to mind.

Not how the game is played

Sovereign Grace Ministries shows that they really don't have a clue how the game of addressing sexual abuse is played by releasing a document which contains no evidence, no links to policies of interest, and most importantly, no explanation or refutation of the sworn court testimony which establishes very clearly that SGM pastors did indeed work together to keep sexual abuse accusations from becoming public.


I am hoping that the author of this article comes forward with the 17 page policy that, according to the article, provides a clear framework for SGM to have pushed accusations under the rug.  Very serious allegations, such as those made in the Nathaniel Morales case, deserve a very serious response, and SGM leadership is simply not stepping up to the plate here.  This is dangerous business for them, because their response here is admissible evidence the next time they're dealing with the aftermath of a sexual abuser.  And with 855,000 people on Megan's List, and probably an equal number who ought to be there, the sad reality is that it's not a question of if.  It's a question of when.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Title IX, enabling rape

No, I am not making this up, but I wish I were.  A recent article about the troubles at MSU gave this link to their Title IX compliance policy, and the long and short of it is that as currently implemented, it gives authority to "investigate" sexual crimes to people with no capability for collecting circumstantial evidence, with no subpoena power, and few protections for the accused. 


The only offense that is not specifically a crime, as far as I can tell, is harassment, and the end result is a very ugly reality that we've seen in the papers a lot lately; those who would have been indicted by a police investigation go free, and those who would have been exonerated by a police investigation all too often get punished.  If this is representative of what is mandated under federal Title IX law and code, Congress has some work to do.  As things stand, MSU is in the same position that BJU and ABWE were in before GRACE and PII did their investigations, and I suspect most other major schools are in the exact same place as well. 


A good start to reform Title IX would be to make clear that the school's role in cases of criminal misconduct (sexual assault, domestic violence) is to make a report and encourage the complainant to go to the police--and then to follow up with appropriate suspensions when the accused is indicted, and expulsions if the accused is convicted.  Some leeway for harassment--if a student is constantly bothering peers, yes, some discipline can be appropriate outside of the criminal justice system--but bad things happen when you try to do criminal justice without circumstantial evidence, subpoenas, and protections for the accused.

Looks like he failed

Larry Nassar's former boss, William Strampel, commented that his primary goal in the investigation of Nassar was to protect the reputation of MSU.  Maybe I'm hopelessly na├»ve, but I dare suggest he failed.


I obviously won't be at the hearing for Strampel's firing, but it would be very interesting to see Strampel try to explain why he (and 3-4 other colleagues of Nassar) didn't tell the Title IX lawyer that no, manipulation of the breasts was unlikely to effectively manipulate the pelvic fascia tissues.  One would figure that anyone who had passed first semester anatomy, or who for that matter was familiar with the relative locations of the "pelvis" and "breasts" on the female body, just might have picked up on that little detail, but no such luck. 


That, along with an idiot comment about one victim's testimony being "cherry on the cake of his day", ought to convey Strampel's career to the Place de la Concorde posthaste, and deservedly so.  I'll be, so to speak, knitting and watching.

On the White House domestic violence scandal

I think intelligence chief Dan Coats has it right; there is a serious issue with security clearances if Rob Porter was allowed to work his job without a clearance, which appears to be the case.  He was allowed to control the flow of information to President Trump's desk without a clearance for a year....why?  As someone might say, this is Yuge.


Moreover, let's dispense with the issue of whether the allegations are true for a moment and ask a simple question; should we expect to find something "interesting" about a twice-divorced Mormon only 40 years old, and whose marriages lasted two and four years, respectively?  The Mormon faith is not mine, but I do know that they do take a dim view of divorce.   Porter clearly has made a stench of his personal life despite a resume that screams "marry me!" in that culture.


It also occurs to me that most standard background checks, and I would guess the Brady check for buying a gun, would have found the restraining order against Porter.  The FBI may be too preoccupied with ignoring crimes by Hilliary Clinton and Lois Lerner to get background checks done quickly, but there are ways of getting around this.  It simply takes some thinking.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Weekend humor

I believe "Big Ben" is back in order, but a while back, this sequence of newspaper headlines amused me. Maybe it will amuse you, too.



Thursday, February 08, 2018

Elon Musk, cosmic litterbug

Instead of a satellite that could benefit the world by the expansion of knowledge, Elon Musk sends one of his electric buggies into the asteroid belt.  I guess it's comforting in a way to think of that roadster being smashed between asteroids, and it may be better to have it out there instead of burning coal like the rest of his products, but one would have hoped that a guy as smart as Musk would contemplate the fact that what he's basically done is littering on a cosmic basis.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

How to train to be an Olympic athlete?

If the condom allocation for athletes in the Olympic Village is any indication--it's apparently 40 per athlete--it doesn't have anything to do with skates, skis, or sleds.  I can see understanding that some things are going to happen, I can see a few for souvenirs, but....seriously?


And really, there is a big choice to be made here.  Obviously a portion of Olympians believes "what happens in the Olympic Village stays in the Olympic Village", and the problem with this is that others around them start to assume that all such athletes--or even aspiring athletes--are sexually available.  If you want to protect young athletes' innocence, I dare suggest that reining in the behavior of older athletes might be a good place to start.


Other examples of this reality include the case of a White House worker shown the door after two of his ex-wives claimed abuse, as well as a fraternity at Cornell holding a contest to determine which members could have sex with the most, and largest, women on campus.  If you want to be respected, you cannot be easy.


Update: as if on cue, Sports Illustrated has decided that they're going to "honor" #MeToo by having models pose nude. OK, it's not that much of a jump from body paint, but I would have hoped that they'd simply have the decency to lie low in this case.....

Monday, February 05, 2018

Separated at birth

New Lions head coach (and former Patriots defensive coordinator) Matt Patricia








.....and Topol (Tevye in the movie adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof )




Seriously, one of the highlights of the Super Bowl, beyond the Eagles' revival led by their backup QB and the Patriots losing, was the number of excellent beards sported by players, coaches, and others taking part.

Now there is some good news

Researchers at the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center have found that the equivalent of 2.5 alcoholic drinks per day added to the diet of lab mice cleared their brains of toxins in a way not seen in the control group.  Now granted, this is just mice, and it's not proof that a glass or two or wine will prevent Alzheimer's by any means, but it's certainly good news.  It is as if God knew what He was doing when He promised full wine-vats to His people.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Cecile Richards makes my point

....by arguing in a fund-raising letter found by right to life activists that pro-life and religious workers ought not have the right to refuse "care" to those who are seeking abortions.  In a nutshell, they're saying that pro-life obstetricians and nurses ought to be forced to provide them.


Exactly as I've noted before; abortion in the United States simply isn't paying the bills because even pro-choice people don't want to hire an abortionist for medical care if they can avoid it.  Solution by Planned Parenthood and Cecile Richards; make every obstetrician and obstetrics nurse into an abortion provider so people have no choice but to patronize an abortionist.  It is not enough for them that the procedure is legal; for it to be available, Planned Parenthood must trample religious rights.