Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

.....to you, my "legion" of readers.  Let's start with a nice ornament my daughter made.

Now, let's not forget dinner:

And finally, knowing how cold it gets this time of year, a place to warm up (sort of a Christmas gift to my wife and I)

It's not like we needed that half of the garden shed for tools, anyways.  :^)

What to do instead of protests

As far as I can tell, the goal of the protesters at the MOA this weekend (and elsewhere) is that the officers involved in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases be prosecuted.  OK, fair enough, but the grand jury's word is pretty much final; they didn't find enough evidence to indict.  So to indict them now would be to violate various parts of due process, probably including the sanctity of grand jury investigations, the prohibition of ex post facto laws, and the prohibition of double jeopardy.

In other words, to indict more or less brings back the state of affairs very well known to civil rights activists before 1964, and allow me to say that I think that black lives matter enough for us to keep the legal advances we've had since then in place.  No sane person wants a return to Jim Crow, after all.

So what is to do?   One possibility is that activists could take a good look at the evidence--it's public for the Michael Brown case at least--with the help of a good detective and lawyer and see if the prosecutor has a pattern of downplaying or even suppressing evidence that would tend to get policemen indicted.  If they find anything--and I would suggest that the USDOJ and Eric Holder are probably already looking into this--then that is cause for removal from office, disbarment, and in extreme cases, probably even jail time.  Just ask Mike Nifong.

But that said, given that the "D Team" of the USDOJ is presumably scouring everything near Ferguson and Gotham to make exactly this case, that's probably a stretch.  So the goal I'd suggest--and contribute to as God gives me the resources--is to do what it takes to reduce the chances of it happening again.  Some suggestions:

Encourage dashboard and body cameras for police, and pay for a few of them in some areas.  If the police had simply said "roll tape" to show Michael Brown either being submissive or aggressive just prior to his death, a lot of trouble could have been prevented.

Teach kids the law regarding the use of deadly force, and that picking a fight with a stranger can be the last thing they'll ever do, especially if they are large, athletic, and male. 

Encourage welfare laws to be reformed to favor work and family formation instead of penalizing those who marry those they love and get out of the house to find a job.  After all, we have 50 years of evidence now that says that what we're doing is only filling welfare rolls and prisons.

Get to know the police in your town.  Maybe everyone involved can get a sense of ownership. 

Probably a few other things can be done, and hopefully those that Walter Williams calls "race hustling poverty pimps" can get out of the way long enough to let some genuine progress be made.

Monday, December 22, 2014

On the light side

I had to laugh this morning when a GEICO commercial commemorating their 75 years of existence, dating back to 1939, claimed that way back then, there wasn't much  in terms of entertainment.  Yup, after all, it's not like anyone remembers Shirley Temple, Bill Robinson, Satchmo, Donald O'Connor, Roy Rogers & Trigger (and Dale, too), John Wayne, Fred MacMurray, Glenn Miller, Fats Waller, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and a host of others who proved that one could be entertained without seeing the private parts of the actors and actresses.

Isn't it scary that people who think there wasn't much entertainment in the late 1930s are registered to vote?

Along the same lines, my kids (and their dad) were watching Disney's version of "Robin Hood", and it struck me that not only were clear references to Biblical doctrine (e.g. one to the widow's mite), but also that the "Maid Marion" character conveys a tremendous amount of beauty and appeal while dressed (cartoon style) in the next best thing to a nun's habit, and does it while being "a real dog" (or fox I guess) without the advantages of being Julie Andrews.

So a cartoon canine and a young sister dressed in untailored robes/dresses with little skin exposure convey beauty more effectively than today's starlets, apparently.  Just might be a lesson somewhere there.


As my dear wife notes, my family was at the Mall of America when last weekend's protest of the exonerations of two police officers took place.  Now, without going into my view of the motivations of the protesters, it strikes me that this is a great way of seeing what happens when those involved have a sense of ownership.

As I noted before, one of the tragedies in Missouri is that the protesters did not seem to have a sense of ownership in their community, and this weekend's events indicate to me that I didn't go far enough in my argument.  Another part of the tragedy is that the Ferguson police do not seem to have a sense of ownership in their community. 

I missed that part, and the Bloomington Police and the MOA organization made that very clear.  As soon as the protesters coalesced into a "flash mob" and started the protest, hundreds of police officers surrounded them as mall security (the hotel where we were had at least five or ten men at the door where we were, rocking the "Secret Service" ear bud and suitcoat look) lowered security gates to most stores and stood watch.

Since the MOA is a large portion of the tax base for the city, there was ownership, and it showed.  Reports have it that the 25 or so people arrested are going to be prosecuted fully, and this is appropriate.  The MOA didn't do anything to these people--they're not refusing to serve them at lunch counters or anything like that--and the protest probably cost the MOA and the city north of a million dollars.

Hopefully the lesson is learned; you protest those who have actually hurt you, not innocent bystanders.

Update: a commenter on my earlier post on this subject suggested that most of those arrested/making trouble were not from the area.  The Washington Post actually tested this, and 80% of those arrested are from Missouri, most from the St. Louis metro.  Now this doesn't mean that outsiders didn't have a significant impact, but it does mean that there is a significant population there that does treat their home as if it were not their own.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coming interrogation techniques

If things keep going here and in the U.K., this apparently where interrogation is going to go in the future.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to spot naked politics

If a Senate report is signed unanimously by one party and rejected unanimously the other, it's a good bet.  If that report makes clear that the committee did not talk to anyone at the agency critiqued (and accused of torture) by the report, then it's all but certain.

The proper punishment for Senatress Feinstein and the Democrats on the committee is, of course, waterboarding. The problem is, of course, that the result of waterboarding is in general confusion, and the Democrats are showing plenty of that these days without being subjected to "enhanced interrogation."  Who would notice the difference?

Another example; Jonathan Goober (oops, Gruber) has apparently been caught on tape saying the very things he denied in sworn testimony before Congress.  Just like I said.   Or, like I said elsewhere, what exactly does it take before a professor loses tenure?  Lying for fun and profit is not supposed to be protected behavior, and it got Ward Churchill removed at Colorado.

Finally, apparently in the NFL, it's OK if you knock your girlfriend unconscious--the same injury that is suspected in many suicides of former football players--but if you leave bruises on your son during discipline, that's completely wrong.  Not excusing AP here, but seriously....?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My thoughts on Jonathan Gruber

....are that the Congressman investigating this scandal are being way too nice to him. Yes, they've got him nailed to the wall, as they should, but if it were me doing the questioning, I'd simply point out that, as a Congressman, I agree that he was telling the truth in those videos.  Calling something a tax is a great way to get a bill killed, as is admitting the real costs of a policy.  Congress routinely (e.g. HIDA) banks on stupidity and ignorance to get bills passed.  It is not an accident that no time was allotted for reading and debate prior to the vote for HIDA/Obamacare.

Recognizing these facts, and recognizing his status as an MIT professor who gained millions by doing HIDA consulting, I would proceed to reject his claim that he was just satisfying his vanity, and ask him why he didn't take action, knowing that the arguments made for HIDA (no tax, low cost, nobody loses coverage, etc..) were a complete line of....nonsense.

It's almost like they're coddling him because they don't want to learn the real truth.

Avoiding scalability

A while back, I commented on a wonderful book called The Millionaire Next Door, which explored the realities of wealth in America.  Most press was put into the reality that the truly rich generally don't drive high end luxury cars, don't wash their caviar with top flight champagne every night, don't inherit their wealth, and don't live in the toniest neighborhoods.  Rather, they are in general entrepreneurs who make a point of saving a portion of their income to build financial security.  It is, more or less, a secular version of what Dave Ramsey teaches.

There is another part of what Stanley and Danko write about, however, and that's that most of these entrepreneurs don't earn their wealth in flashy ways.  They are plumbers, shopkeepers, dentists, electricians, and the like.

What unites them in their professions is not tools or skills, with the notable exception of one skill; they develop relationships.  And to that point, here's an interesting big from The Art of Manliness pointing out the criticality of building relationships that are deep as opposed to wide.  If you fail at this, good luck making a small town business work, and that's where most of us live--even New York City is divided into neighborhoods served by small businessmen.

And it strikes me that this is a big crisis confronting the church.  My pastor last weekend noted that there is a huge problem when the pastor--celebrity or otherwise--becomes the sole point of contact.  This is, in a nutshell, why Mars Hill in Seattle dissolved so quickly.  Without Mark Driscoll, it simply didn't make any sense, and it's worth noting that people left quickly--it was not only a single point of contact, but it was a casual, and not a deep, contact.

And along those lines, take note of passages like Colossians 4:7-11, where Paul specifically mentions others in their relationship with the church.  In other words, Paul is making sure that the Colossian church is connected to someone else besides him.  We should take note of the same.

Thoughts for the day

Per my earlier comment, it appears that the problems at the University of Michigan go far, far deeper than Brady Hoke.  How so?  Well, apparently they're recruiting their new football coach from.....traditional powerhouse doormat Duke (and got rejected!), and they've just dropped two games to Eastern Michigan and New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Oddly, it seems that NJIT shirts are being shipped to a lot of the same addresses where Appalachian State t-shirts were shipped in 2007.  Go figure.

Seriously, I'm hoping that Jim Harbaugh gets the job, as it would be really good for Michigan and the Big 10 as a whole.  The trick is whether they'd let him get rid of the general studies program that is the shame of Michigan athletics, and would they give him a few years to get excellent players who can also read. 

I'm guessing no, but if it happens, it could put a lot of pressure on my alma mater to curtail some of the "comm arts" majors taken almost solely by athletes.  And they need the help, as the state of scholarship there is such that feminist groups are calling for George Will to be uninvited because.....he questioned statistics and methods related to the issue of sexual assault.  Good to know that Michigan State is doing such a good job teaching people how to think.  Sigh.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Great times in family Bible time

We were discussing Gideon's destruction of his father's shrines to Ba'al and Asherah as a family last night, and my children not illogically suggested cutting down all the trees (Asherah is said by many to have been worshipped in sacred groves in the same way that Druids and Teutonic pagans did) to prevent this.  My response;

The poor trees didn't do anything to deserve a bunch of naked pagans dancing around them.

Somehow my kids thought that was a pretty funny picture.  So if anyone tells you that reading God's Word as a family is boring, think again.  And as people who have lived around Boulder could tell you, it's not just Gideon who has the opportunity to cut down sacred groves infested by naked pagans.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tears are flowing in Columbus, East Lansing

....Madison, St. Paul, Lincoln, College Park, State College, Evanston, and probably even Iowa City, Bloomington, West Lafayette, Champaign-Urbana, and Piscataway.  Not to mention Crawfordsville, where the Little Giants were hoping to get a big payday playing the stinky weasels.  Why so?

Our favorite Michigan football coach ever, Brady Hoke, has been fired.  Let's all hope that blue can get another coach to do as well as Hoke and Rich Rodriguez did there.  Word has it that this was sung at his firing:

Hail to the Unabomber's school
where the students smoke and drool
Hail to Michigan, 4-20 hash fest!

hail to the Unabomber's school
where the profs smoke and drool
Hail to Michigan, the weenies of the West!

Well, at least those are lyrics, cleaned up a touch, a little like those we'd sing in East Lansing and Columbus.  Go get 'em, General Studies majors from the "Harvard of the Midwest."  If Harvard were known for a 50% graduation rate for their football team, and half of those with degrees which are completely worthless, that is.