Friday, March 30, 2018

Say what?

The Economist takes a look at gun ownership in Switzerland--which has evidently fallen drastically since they ended mandatory conscription in the army--and comes to the conclusion that more gun control would work in the U.S., too.  One wee little problem comes at the end of the article, where they make this claim:

The rate of gun homicides in 2015, 0.2 per 100,000 people, was roughly half the level of the late 1990s.  In contrast, America's figure was 4.0, and over the same period it has barely budged.

For the record, the U.S. firearm homicide rate dropped by about half from 1993 to 2016 as many states enacted shall issue concealed carry laws and otherwise reduced firearm restrictions.  It is quite shocking to see none less than The Economist using such an easily disproven statistic, and it's not a good sign for journalism in general.   Apparently the reality that about ten thousand people make it to the next year alive who otherwise would not have is of little significance to this journal.

It is also worth noting that, with a population currently of around 8.7 million souls, Switzerland's huge reduction in gun deaths amounts to only 16 lives per year, and the statistical shift is only barely statistically significant.  Those are 16 important lives each year, but let's keep these things in perspective.  Plus, their suicide rate is apparently 40% higher than ours. 

Half a million wasted

It strikes me that Michigan State both spent half a million bucks to monitor the social media accounts of the victims of Larry Nassar and their loved ones, and had a spokesman (and other personnel) who were apparently unaware that Rachael Denhollander had a law license and had been involved in the political process since she was a child. 

This is, of course, knowledge that the defense team at MSU would have had if they'd done the hard work of "reading the papers."  Now I'll grant my alma mater the reality that, yes, looking at social media accounts can be a good way of establishing whether a particular witness is credible, but if you won't bother reading the papers, maybe full time monitors of a Twitter feed ain't gonna do you much good.

Ironically, MSU has one of the nation's best journalism schools whose professors could have taught Mr. Engler and his staff something about this.

Nice work if you can get it?

No, not that I'd sign up for any amount of money to sleep with the President, but this column about says, inadvertently, quite a bit about the media.  Apparently former porn "actress" (whore) Stormy Daniels is arguing that she is entitled to more money because the agreement she signed does not also contain Donald Trump's signature.

Yes, adultery is wrong, and yes, the agreement does appear to be rather odd in its construction, but it strikes me that $130k to keep quiet about a consensual affair that may or may not have occurred is pretty good money for that line of "work", and that maybe, just maybe, she ought to do what whores have always done--simply count the money and go about her way.

Along these lines, there is a line of investigation that I'm not seeing in the media that really ought to be getting some traction.  Specifically, isn't it remarkable that a 38 year old hooker washed up porn actress actress whose "talents" aren't getting much attention lately is simultaneously initiating legal action to get more money while going on a national tour of strip clubs to take pictures with lechers perverts customers for twenty bucks a pop?

Or, really,  it's not a surprise at all.  The most likely reality here is that she's learning the hard way that if you make a career as eye candy, you'd better save your money for when your looks fade.  If we had, as Mitch Berg notes, an industry with printing presses, reporters, websites, and all that devoted to the investigation of truth, we might find out something very interesting about this case.  Specifically, Stephanie Clifford is most likely broke.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Worse than I'd have thought

This article from CNN scares me, and quite frankly, I'm a bit harder to scare this way.  Back in 1988, I was a "marginal at best" runner on Michigan State's track and cross country teams, and I'd visit the the training room in Jenison Fieldhouse to get ice or get an "ouch" dealt with.  Yes, one of the places where Larry Nassar worked a few years later. 

I got to know who was there while getting ice; Mario Izzo (no relation to Tom), a backup big man, was there often, but most of the others were members of either the men's gymnastics team or cheerleading squad.  So I know well that all that acrobatic jumping can leave someone feeling down. 

But that noted, this story bothers me because training on broken bones and the like leads to lifelong injuries at best.  At worst, I'd have to guess it conditions its victims to be victims of another sort of abuse, like that of Larry Nassar.

Whether or not this was part of some evil plan, those who tell kids to "tough it out" when a doctor diagnoses broken bones and the like need to consider exactly what they're training young athletes to do.  It might be, really, the "sportsball" equivalent of the "casting couch" in acting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hope they got their man

The recent arrest of Larry Nassar's former boss, William Strampel, makes me hope that the investigators at my alma mater are getting to the root of the problem in a somewhat personal way.  The last time I donated blood, I talked with a woman from Traverse City who noted that her niece had been told by a medical school professor that--in a trip to a developing country no less--she needed to be less modest in her attire. 

I didn't get the name of the niece or the instructor, but I sure hope that niece is being heard now, and if the instructor wasn't in fact Strampel, I hope Bill Schuette is closing in on him, too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My boycott

In response to Heineken's pretty racist ad for their light "beer", I am boycotting their light "beer".  Oh, wait, not exactly much of a move on my part.  Come to think of it, I can boycott just about everything they make without much of a sacrifice.   We might infer that super-edgy advertising might be largely the realm of companies that really don't have very many good products.

I am left, really, to make a difference for race relations doing something else besides boycotting light beer. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Unclear on the concept

BET invites a prize-winning reporter to a conference featuring Michelle Obama, and then kicks the reporter out when she has the chutzpah on it.  Evidently a conference that was being heavily publicized is now a safe space or something, and had something of a misunderstanding of what a "reporter" does for a living.  I can certainly understand this, because it's not like BET has their own news shows, or hires reporters or anything like that.  Oh, wait....

And in honor of that, what other tribute can be made?  Take it away, Liberal Larry!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stuck on stupid

During deliberation about laws which would extend the statute of limitations for sex abuse, John Truscott, a spokesman for MSU President John Engler, claimed that Rachael Denhollander was talking about things she knew nothing about.

Idiotic, first of all, to pick a fight with an actual victim of sexual assault that way, and particularly moronic given that the lady in question has been involved in the political process since she was a child, and of course is a lawyer.  Truscott may not be aware of this, but sometimes lawyers know a little bit about the law and how it's enacted.  Truscott might also consider the demonstrated fact that this is one young lady whose bite is worse than her bark, and that those who make personal attacks demonstrate only that they are unable or unwilling to make a real argument. 

Finally, Truscott seems blissfully unaware of the fact that everything he says--smart, dumb, idiotic, or from the office of John Engler--is going to be reviewed by the hundreds of women getting around to suing his employer.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  This is a guy who works in public relations?  Seriously?

Mr. Engler, time to make some staff changes, as it's apparent some of your subordinates have an IQ that's not above room temperature.  It's fine to remind legislators that there may be a huge butcher's bill as previously suppressed allegations of sexual assault come to light.  MSU's problems will probably go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, for example, and if my understanding of Title IX is at all correct, we can expect huge issues at other places, too.  What's not fine is to pick a fight with known victims using basic fallacies of informal logic.

Update: Lt. Governor Brian Calley has come up with what seems to my mind to be an excellent way of resolving the issue, albeit one that would have to pass legal and insurance muster.  Just give up defending the suits and propose a settlement.  It's not like there is any reasonable defense for failure to report, or for describing fondling a girl's breast as some legitimate way of helping her pelvic fascia, after all. 

Update 2: strangely, Patrick Fitzgerald is STILL working with MSU despite his "conclusion" that MSU was not at fault in the Nassar disaster--a "conclusion" arrived at with no report written.  Wake up, MSU!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Now why didn't I know that before?

This article notes that, ironically, it appears that overall mortality went down, and lifespans went up, during the Depression.   It reminds me of getting to know my mother's parents--along with aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like--after my parents divorced, and being struck with how much love there was, even though they didn't have much money.  Toast with jelly and a couple of eggs somehow tasted better than a full brunch elsewhere, and going to the Lions Club Labor Day celebration was a lot more fun than a lot of far higher dollar events I've attended elsewhere.

And it wasn't the first time I'd become enamored of what I'd learned from those who went through the Depression.  I'd spent many happy hours looking around the things stored in the basement of the home my dad had grown up in, filled with items my other grandmother and grandfather had kept through their lives.  I'm very grateful for the fact that contentment can be had cheaply.

And a side note; happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Great set of interviews

Rachael Denhollander's pastors interview her about the problems of sexual abuse in the church.  She is obviously a huge fan of Boz Tchividjian, has quite a ministry dealing with the aftermath of abuse, has seen a fair amount of moronic, sinful behavior in that ministry, and last, she's got a great grasp of the fact that "corporate culture eats corporate initiatives for lunch."  Well worth the listen. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Alrighty then

Hilliary Clinton has, in a series of tweets commending women on International women's day, recognized Rachael Denhollander for her part in putting Larry Nassar in jail and opening up a national conversation on the issues of sexual abuse.

For my part, I recognize Juanita Broadrick, not to mention dozens of other women who were silenced by Mrs. Clinton's "bimbo eruptions" team.  Of note as well is that Mrs. Clinton is recognizing people "fighting for a criminal justice system that actually delivers justice."  OK, but are they fighting to get the Department of Justice to investigate her dealings with the Russians, and her illegal server?

Really, if it were not for a sycophantic media holding water for the Democrats, I don't think Mrs. Clinton would have dared make those tweets.  The mockery would have just been too intense.


My alma mater, Michigan State, is dealing with some pretty clear-cut issues of abuse by...hiring more lawyers and PR firms.  While it's a good thing to lawyer up when you're about to be sued for many millions of dollars, MSU's case is pretty straightforward.  Michigan's mandatory reporting law was passed in 1975, and from 1995 to 2016, there were at least eight reports of criminal sexual conduct made to 14 MSU employees regarding Larry Nassar alone, with zero police reports made.  The legal facts are pretty straightforward and damning.  Most likely, the failure to make police reports got 200+ young ladies (and some gentlemen too) molested.  The same thing goes for the national gymnastics association and even the USOC. 

Really, in this case, they don't need more lawyers.  They need good quality engineers who can take a look at a policy and envision where the hidden factory will show up, and then they can work with the lawyers to figure out the legal implications of this.  Moreover, as I've noted before, at least some of them need to be from outside of MSU, from outside the gymnastics community, and so on.  You need somebody there who has never been tempted to play along with the system.

Nothing against lawyers; it was, after all, a lawyer who got things together to take Nassar down.  However, there are simply other skill sets necessary to fix the problems there.


Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, has a Billy Sunday cocktail bar.  Here's the sponsoring company.  

For the uninitiated, Sunday, after his time with the Cubbies (then the White Stockings), became a firebrand revivalist notorious for preaching against alcohol.

A point of interest for hybrid and electric cars, and your phone

Ever wonder why your lithium ion batteries degrade and die, and sometimes catch on fire?  Well, a University of Arizona study has found a way to reduce the formation of lithium dendrites--kinda like a stalactite, but in a battery--to improve life and reduce the risk of fires.  It's the same reason that lead-free solders (RoHS regulations) tend to result in electronic device failure.  To draw a picture, current tends to flow along the dendrites instead of through the material between the lithium plates, and that results in a localized "hot spot" that destroys the battery, sometimes spectacularly in fire.  The dendrite is acting, more or less, like a lightbulb filament.   It's classic electromigration. 

As Fat Albert said, if you're not careful, you just might learn something.  I'd better watch out.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Word to the Spartans, er, "foolish"

Here's the latest from C.J. Mahaney regarding the sex scandal that rocked the church he once pastored, then the denomination he founded.  Mahaney is, really, behaving a lot like my alma mater by denying responsibility, but without taking a thorough look at what really went on. Obviously I'm not proud of Michigan State at this point.  H/T Jacob Denhollander, of course.

Reality here is that when sworn court testimony suggests something was, at least informally, done, then the accused doesn't simply get to say "didn't happen, neener neener, let me just do my job."  Or, perhaps more precisely, if one chooses to use that approach, don't be surprised when this happens.

No, C.J. and S.G.M., you're not the German Shepherd, and Boz's contact information can be found right here.  Yes, it'll be expensive, but it's a whole lot cheaper than trying to sweep it under the rug.

Honestly, with the scandals at New Tribes, B.J.U., A.B.W.E., and elsewhere demonstrating the tendency--hopefully soon to be former tendency--among fundagelicals to "handle things inside" as part of our corporate D.N.A., along with the reality of horrendous abuse by secular groups like Michigan State in their Title IX "compliance", I really don't get why people argue the point.  If you go back 30-40 years, it's what almost everybody did.  Might as well admit it probably happened (especially if there's sworn testimony saying it did), change course, and watch people have responses like this.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

How can Libby Schaaf sleep at night?

ICE has revealed that among the 800 illegal immigrants she helped escape immigration action are quite a few convicted felons, and about half of the 232 illegal immigrants apprehended had a felony record.

We would therefore assume that of the ~800 illegal immigrants she assisted, perhaps 400 had a felony criminal record.  One would infer that this would be obstruction of justice, and two good options come to mind.  First, we could simply prosecute her for her crimes and put her in jail where she belongs.  Second, and perhaps even more intimidating, when some of those felons commit another crime in the U.S. because Schaaf refused to allow I.C.E. to do their jobs, I.C.E. could let the world know exactly who allowed them to go free, and what her address is.

Yes, it sounds medieval, but when public officials risk our lives, liberty, and property to keep criminals in our country who ought to be deported, it just got personal. 

Not included, I'd guess

The People's Republic of China has donated a 14' statue of Karl Marx to his birthplace, the city of Trier, Germany.  I would have to hazard a guess that the statue does not include a plaque memorializing the tens of millions of people killed by their Communist governments, and I have to hope that 'ol Karl's hands are soon painted red in their memory.

Or, for that matter, in respect to his long-suffering family, who basically starved while he pretended to work on his published works while assiduously avoided doing any actual work.  There are a lot of beautiful things to be seen in Trier--I've been there--but the Karl Marx birthplace is at best a pathetic footnote there.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Yet another fact about the Parkland, Florida murderer

It's not just a failure of the schools to report actionable crimes to the police, or the police to take action on a clear pattern of antisocial behavior, or mental health workers to take action on clear mental health issues, or of the police to actually go inside (there is some indication a stand-down order may have been issued), or the FBI to take action on clear tips.

No, it appears that the murderer's mom didn't even know who his father was, or the father of the murderer's brother.  In other words, the birth mother was quite a loose lady, and we would then ask a followup question; were alcohol or drugs involved?  Former adopted children of my brother-in-law and his wife did suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, leading to great difficulties and their eventual un-adoption (and adoption by another family better equipped to care for them). 

Which leads to another thought.  If we assume that none of the murderer's actions prior to the Parkland murders were criminal--debatable, but let's go with it--we then might ask whether a pattern of antisocial, but not yet criminal, behavior ought to trigger further investigation and intervention in a young person's (or adult's for that matter) life.  It would function, really, along the same lines as the biological passport that led to Lance Armstrong being banned from cycling for life.

And at best, this would be assistance, not prosecution.  My brother-in-law's experience was that presumably well-meaning social workers seemed very eager to lower the boom on him and his wife, but were not willing or able to partner with them and help them.  And of course, the kids paid the price for that.  We might do well to consider a paradigm shift in social work.

Update: if the Department of Justice is compelling schools to handle things in house instead of reporting them to the police, isn't that a clear violation of state mandatory reporting laws?  Would we not then go after the law licenses of the DOJ lawyers involved?  I think the clear answer is "yes, I sure would do that."

Word to the wise

Never, ever, ever flippantly respond to claims made by a lawyer who was diligent enough to sort through a ton of medical journal articles to put one of the nastiest pedophiles known in jail.  It is an especially bad idea if there is well-known, sworn court testimony suggesting exactly what she's saying about you.  You are likely to get a response like this that will leave a mark. 

SGM, it's time to give Boz a call.  You know his number.

Side note; in talking to a friend, I noted that (as my church's Sunday School director) I was dreading the day that someone came forward and noted that he'd been abused by someone at our church.  It's just too likely, statistically speaking, to ignore the possibility.

Well, it hasn't happened yet, but my friend is dealing with someone who was abused by a family member while his family were members there.  Close enough; if you're working in children's ministries, and you don't have a children's ministries policy to guide and protect you, take a look at the lawsuit Aly Raisman just filed against the USOC.   (take it to 'em, Aly!)