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?


...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


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.