Saturday, April 30, 2016

The "Bathroom Bill"


For John, BLUFI would be interested in your take.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



"Controversial transgender bill headed for vote in House, Senate" By Joshua Miller GLOBE STAFF APRIL 29, 2016
A controversial transgender anti-discrimination bill that has long languished on Beacon Hill appears poised to become law after a series of rapid-fire developments at the State House Friday, including the strongest indication yet from Governor Charlie Baker that he would not veto the legislation should it reach his desk.
Frankly, I wonder if this is not a tempest in a tea pot.  I assume that since Christine Jorgensen transgendered people have been using the bathroom most associated with their current sexual configurations and their dress.  Because no one made a point of it, I didn't care.  And still don't.

Having said that, there is the question of this is restricted to the bathroom or if it goes, or will go, further, to locker rooms and communal showers.  There we might have a problem, as some might be offended to see someone who appears to be of the opposite sex in their shower or locker room, changing.  If that becomes permissible then the whole question of differentiation of such facilities by sex becomes ridiculous.  If Joe, transitioning to Jane, used the women's shower, why shouldn't his identical twin Jim?  To the observer there is no difference, until there is reassignment surgery.  And once there is reassignment surgery all we see is Jane.

The question is unanswered in Reporter Miller's article, aside from the mention of concern by Mr Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute regarding locker rooms.

The other thing that leaves one to wonder is that it appears the bill is a skeleton, to be fleshed out later by the Massachusetts Attorney General, Ms Maura Healey, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which the new House version of the bill would mandate make rules and regulations protecting transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations.  That is to say, the legislating process is passes from our elected representatives to some bureaucrats.  It is like living in the EU.

I am awaiting further details.

Regards  —  Cliff

Baseball Fading?


For John, BLUFMaybe like Bridge and Canasta.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This item is from the blog Corner Three.  The author is Coach Darren Gurney.  The headline is "Why Are Kids Leaving Baseball?".
According to the Sports Industry and Fitness Association, during 2008-2013, baseball participation rates declined by 2.3 million, or 14.5%. Similar data has been reported by Little League baseball, which claims that participation fell 6.8% from 2008-2012. These reports do not bode well for the future of America’s pastime or any other baseball-related business. In recent years, various theories have emerged for why kids are not grabbing their mitts and heading off to baseball diamonds. Currently, Major League Baseball is studying methods for speeding up the game to foster more quickly-paced games. However, there are a multitude of diverse, comprehensive reasons for baseball’s slide which are not being fully addressed.
Yes, neighborhoods are different and so are families.  When I was eight to twelve there was a vacant lot a block over and a dozen kids around my age to fill it, playing various forms of baseball.

Regards  —  Cliff

  "Coach Gurney [from Washington University in St. Louis] has been coaching high school and college baseball for the past 24 years and is the founder/director of the Rising Star Baseball Camp in New Rochelle, NY which teaches players ages 4-15. He has coached over twenty players who were selected in the MLB Draft or that have gone on to play professional baseball."

Caucus Today


For John, BLUFAt no cost to the Taxpayers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



See you there.

Groton High School.

Register at Nine and Caucus at Ten.

Well, at least for the Third Congressional District here in Massachusetts, which includes Lowell.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 29, 2016

A New Cold War


For John, BLUF"Stay calm and carry on".  Nothing to see here; just move along.



"RUSSIAN JET FIGHTER DID BARREL ROLL OVER U.S. RECONNAISSANCE PLANE – CNN".

Barrel Roll?

This is based on a Reuters report with reporting by David Alexander and Idrees Ali; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and James Dalgleish.

World | Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:47pm BST

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighter did a barrel roll over [around?] a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace, CNN said on Friday, citing two U.S. defence officials in the Baltic Sea region.

The U.S. Air Force RC-135 plane was flying a routine route in international airspace when it was intercepted by the Russian SU-27 fighter, the Pentagon said, in the latest in a series of similar incidents between the U.S. and Russian militaries.

The Russian fighter came within about 100 feet (30 meters) of the American plane as it performed the dangerous, high-speed maneuver, CNN reported, citing two U.S. defense officials in the Baltic Sea region.

First off, can we agree that while both aircraft were traveling at (relatively) high speed, the relative speed between the two aircraft was probably less than the speed of a car on Andover Street, here in Lowell, Mass?

Second, approaching within 100 feet is not like the Su-27 was flying wing tip formation off of the RC-135. Can there be untoward events?  Absolutely.  See this mid-air collision between an F-104 and one of two XB-70s, back in 1966.  Then there is the Chinese pilot who let his aircraft drift into a US Navy EP-3, with unfortunate results for the Chinese pilot.  You can watch the moments before the accident here.

Have we discussed the attitude of the Chinese recently?  Yes, here.

Aircrews have been doing this for decades.  I remember stories out of Keflavik, Iceland, about us intercepting Soviet BEAR Bombers penetrating the GIUK Gap and the guy in the bomber side scanner blister holding up the latest Playboy foldout, which the Soviet Washington, DC, Embassy had sent back by courier before the Boys in Blue in Iceland got their copies.  All good clean fun, except for the nudity part.

Here is a picture of a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon F2 from Number XI Squadron at RAF Coningsby escorting a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean.

Sure, there is always the chance someone will do something stupid (either side), but our current reaction, it seems to me, if not tamping down anything, but is helping puff up President Putin's chest.  I worry that a new US President, after 20 January next, will over react, so as not to appear weak, and then we will have problems.

If I was the designated advisor I would advise we calm down.

Hat tip to the Fortuna's Corner.

Regards  —  Cliff

Go To Your Mass GOP Caucus Tomorrow


For John, BLUFWish you could join us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the LRCC Blog we have Comments on the Massachusetts Third Congressional District (3CD) Republican Caucus.

It is TOMORROW.

Saturday, a Nine AM Show for a Ten AM Meeting.

Regards  —  Cliff

China CNX's Port Call by US Carrier


For John, BLUFThis is a problem and the Administration either steps up or we cede our rights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



"China Denies U.S. Carrier Hong Kong Visit Amid Maritime Tension"

From Bloomberg we have this report by Reporter Ting Shi

The Aircraft Carrier USS JOHN C STENNIS, which had been scheduled for a port call at Hong Kong, was disinvited Thursday.

China has denied a U.S. carrier strike group’s request for a port visit to Hong Kong next week amid escalating tensions in the adjacent South China Sea.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the U.S. Thursday of its decision to deny the USS John C. Stennis and its escort ships access to the former British colony, Darragh Paradiso, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, said by phone.  The ministry provided no explanation for the move, she said.

This is a clear signal from the Chinese Government that, from Beijing's perspective, the United States is not being sufficiently conciliatory just because it is not conducting Freedom of Navigation (FON) Operations directly off Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea.  Put another way, it isn't enough that we don't conduct FON Operations, they expect us to concede that, just like Hawaii is part of the US, the South China Sea is part of China.

Recently the issue has been Scarborough Shoal, off the coast of the Philippines, as shown in this Wikipedia map:

From the Chinese perspective the United States has NO BUSINESS in the South China Sea, except to transit to other points.  That is to say, China expects the United States to provide suitable information (time of entry/exit, course/flight plan, etc.), and to refrain from all actions other than just passing through.

And since the United States will not accept this "proper, gracious" way of behaving in Chinese territory, China has no reason to invite the United States to spend some time in Hong Kong.

So why are we continuing to invite China to participate in international Naval Exercises, such as RIMPAC?

How does this play into President Obama's foreign policy, articulated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the Pivot to Asia?

We are going to have to pick up our game.

The other option is to just cede to China the fact that the South China Sea is a Chinese lake, controlled by them, and the rights of other nations, such as the Philippines and Viet-nam, are to be ignored.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New US Ambassador to Mexico


For John, BLUFThings do get done.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The US Senate is about the making of a deal.  Here Politico reports on a Tinkers to Evers to Chance action that got our nominated Ambassador to Mexico approved by the US Senate.

That would be Ambassador Roberta Jacobson.  No "political appointee", she is a career diplomat.

Senators involved included Marco Rubio, Bob Corker and Ted Cruz.

Regards  —  Cliff