Monday, April 30, 2012

Demographic Change

The Instapundit blogs about an article in The Wilson Quarterly on demography as destiny.

I am not going to expand on this since it seems to me it should be self-evident, including the point that:
Funny how the warnings of demographers are laughed off, while the warnings of climate scientists produce immediate calls for action.
Go figure.

Regards  —  Cliff

Delegates to the Republican Nominating Convention

On this last Saturday Republicans from the Third Congressional District—ours—met and elected delegates to the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Florida, 27 to 30 August of this year. 

When I get the names I will post them, but for right now we know that the "Reagan Liberty Unity Slate" (a Ron Paul organization) got elected.  The report I have is that were very well organized, well spoken and respectful.  Each of them received at least 100 votes more than anyone else.  My interlocutor noted that everyone was warned ahead of time that the Ron Paul people were well organized and prepared to win.  They are all under 30 and very loyal to their candidate.

You may well ask about how they will vote.  By the Party Rules they have to vote for Mitt Romney on the first ballot.  After that it is an open issue.  If Mr Romney does not win the nomination on the first ballot, it is going to turn very interesting.  That said, I am thinking that by the Convention Mr Romney will have the votes he needs.

Regards  —  Cliff

  When the General Court changes our Congressional District from Five to Three you wonder who they are trying to fool.  Another reason to wonder about those boys and girls.
  For a little local color, the catch phrase out of MacDill Air Force Base (located in Tampa) used to be "One a day in Tampa Day".  During WWII (the big one) there was a flying outfit at MacDill that was disbanded and its assets and people distributed throughout the Army Air Force because they were losing too many aircraft.

Minority Status

Over at the Althouse blog we have a discussion about Democratic Party Primary Candidate Elizabeth Warren and minority hiring.  It sees that Professor Warren, at one point, put herself forward as a minority, based upon Native American heritage, but that when she was hired by Harvard she dropped that linkage.  From one Law Professor, commenting on another, we get this:
If those are the facts, what should we infer? Being on the list of minority law professors served her interest in advancement, but the claim was weak and potentially embarrassing, so it was deleted... after she achieved what was the ultimate advancement (to Harvard Law School)? I'm just guessing. Do you have a more apt inference? In any event, it's a question that goes to honesty.
And, here is the link to the original article Professor Althouse was commenting on—from The Volokh Conspiracy.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blame the Republicans

From The Washington Post we have an article titled "Let's just say it:  The Republicans are the problem"?  I will say that the authors, Mssrs Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, get it right when they say:
If anything, under the presidencies of Clinton and Obama, the Democrats have become more of a status-quo party.
This means The Republicans either return to their "me too" ways of the 50s, 70s and 70s or they take a stand.  I think the two authors are correct when they say:
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics.
The TV News Staff person who gave the Republicans the color red was prescient.

If the current paradigm is broken, burnishing it doesn't make it any better a solution.  Is the debt out of control?  Are some of our programs unsustainable?  Sadly, yes on both counts.  The two authors castigate the Republicans for their slow-rolling the increase in the debt ceiling, but the accompanying downgrade of our national credit was not due to the Republicans, who did finally cut a deal, but to our lack of credit worthiness.

The authors identify two culprits in this Republican Party Problem, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Lobbyist Grover Norquist.  Then they say Mr Gingrich knows how to cut a deal.  That leaves Mr Grover Norquist as the eminence grise, running Washington.  Not since the days of Mark Hanna has any single person been so powerful.

One thing that struck me as strange was this part of the article:
The post-McGovern Democratic Party, by contrast, while losing the bulk of its conservative Dixiecrat contingent in the decades after the civil rights revolution, has retained a more diverse base.
I don't feel bad about the Dixiecrats going away.  They held up equal rights efforts for a century, before President Lyndon Johnson had his way with them.  But, if those chaps went away, from where is the great diversity coming?  Is it those Socialists Rep Allen West mentioned?  Confusing.

Yes, the Republicans are the insurgents, holding their collective hands up and saying "this far and no further".  If their analysis of the situation is correct, then good on 'em.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  They skip over the fact that Mr Gingrich drained the swamp that the Democrats left in place of the US House of Representatives.

Hope On The Space Frontier

Here is a report on wind tunnel testing of two space vehicle modelsWired Magazine.  The Shuttle may be in retirement, housed play at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, on Dulles Airport, in Virginia, but entrepreneurs are out there trying to find a way back into space.  The dream is not dead, just deferred.  

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Surely there is some movie producer with an idea for a movie where the Shuttle DISCOVERY is pulled out for on last hazardous critical mission to save the Planet Earth.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Law Professor Ann Althouse, at her eponomous blog, talks about Egypt considering a law to allow sex between a surviving spouse and the deceased, for up to six hours after death.  In the comments is this:
If you had to make a law defining what constitutes a crime with respect to the treatment of a dead body, how much leeway would you give to the new widowers and widows?

My first question would be "why is "necrophilia" illegal anyway"?

Is it because there's no known way for the deceased to express consent?
I thought that was a funny comment, in a twisted sort of way.

Then we have this question:
I don't know how things go on a mountainside in Colorado, but isn't it conventionally "till death do you part"?
Then there are all those questions about the right to privacy.  Privacy should not be too quickly dismissed.  Just because "A" wouldn't do something doesn't mean we should have a law preventing "E" from doing it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Glenn Kent RIP

I see where retired Air Force Lieutenant General Glenn Kent, the Father of the concept of "Strategy to Tasks", passed away.  Here is the article from Air Force New Service.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Regulating Farm Child Labor

Yes, I am all for child labor laws.  They are good for the nation.  However, like everything else, they can be taken to an extreme.  That "extreme" is exactly what the Daily Caller is talking about in this post on the Department of Labor seeking to regulate child labor on farms.

From the article it seems that a one size fits all model is being applied and being applied in an unreasonable manner.

What does the Department of Agriculture say?

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gender and The Military

A comment on the Althouse blog brought me to this article in The Washington Examiner.  The new "equal rights" campaign against the Department of Defense is to allow enlistment of transgendered individuals.  One wonders how the combat exclusion for women will play out here.  That said, the Commandant of the Marine Corps is looking at a limited introduction of female officers and staff non-commissioned officers into ground combat units.   In a 23 April Message the Commandant said, inter alia
Is there a limit to who we allow in the military? Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oppression of Women

Not to suggest that women don't face special problems in the US, but, freedom is greater than in some parts of the world, as related in Foreign Policy Magazine by Ms Mona Eltahawy.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 23, 2012

Montana vs Mormons?

From The Daily Beast (Apr 19, 2012 7:05 PM EDT) we have Reporter Ben Jacobs talking about  Governor Mitt Romney's polygamist heritage.  It seems that Montana's Governor, Brian Schweitzer, has made a public issue of the fact that Mr Romney's Grandparents were living in a Polygamist Commune in Mexico.  The fact that those Grandparents were monogamist seems to be in smaller type.
Romney’s father, George—who served as governor of Michigan and was a member of the Nixon cabinet and also a presidential candidate—was born in Mexico in 1907 to a family of American Mormons who fled to Mexico when the United States government cracked down on the practice of polygamy.  George Romney’s parents were in a monogamous marriage, but Mexico was the last bastion for the practice of plural marriage in the Church of Latter Day Saints.  (The church has since expressly prohibited the practice.)
Born in 1907?   A century ago.  A monogamous marriage?  The Governor of the Great State of Montana is really reaching here.

But, it is really worse than that.  Governor Schweitzer is from the "Party of Choice", except when it isn't.  Does he not remember reading about, in school, the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882?  People of faith were arrested and imprisoned for doing what they thought was right.  Some went into exile rather than submit to the tyranny of the Federal Government.

The Governor thinks most women in the United States find polygamy an abomination, and I think he is correct in his judgement.   Personally, I am against the practice.   That said, out across the Globe hundreds of millions of people agree with the practice.   But, here in these United States the practice only exists underground or on TV shows.

In sum, this is ancient news, about a way of life (Mormon Mexican Colonies) that died with the Mexican Revolution—a way of life created, in part, by persistent hostility to a new idea by the people of the Northeastern quarter of our nation.

It is time to move on.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Legos in the News

A counter to objections to the rounder side of Legos. Hat tip to The Instapundit. Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Continuing Problems with Blogger

My previous post disappeared, except for the title, when I tried to edit it.  I am now on a different computer, putting up this post.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trouble With "Blogger"

This is a test.  In the event of a real post...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Get an ID

I recognize Union Station, but I don't recognize the woman talking, and maybe many Democrats feel the same way.  Ms Kristen Powers, a columnist for the Daily Beast, thinks her party is, WRT Voter ID, stuck in the past.  Democrats, in her view, should be working on ensuring every voter has the required ID.

Regards  —  Cliff

Middle Age Spread

We often here that we shouldn't mess with Mother Nature, but we do.  Here is an evolutionary insight, posted at the Althouse Blog.  Basically it says:
Once our babymaking days are over, fat is stored in larger quantities and also stored more centrally, where it is easiest to carry about.

That way, if times get tough we can use it for our own survival, thus freeing up food for our younger relatives.
Makes sense to me.  "Preservation of favored races in the struggle for life" and all that.

I would assume, based upon observation, that this applies to men as well as women.

For those unwilling to click through the Althouse Blog, you can go to the original post here.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bloggers as Unimportant People, Doing Important Things

Over at Left in Lowell is a thread on ENEL, The Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council (MVEDC) and the Bladder Dam.  In the comments Joe S notes that Mr Bill Taupier called in to City Life and said:
Blogging is the most important thing that unimportant people do.
Brilliant!  Just Brilliant!  As I noted in a comment on the Left in Lowell thread:
Mr Bill Taupier has defined democracy in the digital age.  As Citizens we must communicate amongst ourselves and not just accept what our betters tell us.  Even if we disagree, as is happening on this thread, we are making Democracy live and not just doing as our betters tell us.  And, because this is a Democracy, they aren't really our betters anyway, but just fellow Citizens.

Good on you, Mr Taupier!  And thank you for that insightful comment.
If Governments, Federal, State or Local, move to control that messy thing called the Internet, then we should resist such actions with all our might.  Politically I am a little different from the Left in Lowell writers (this is Right Side of Lowell, after all), but I learn from them and on some issues I join them.  In a time when newspaper numbers and circulation is falling, Citizen Journalism becomes ever more important.  BLOG ON!

Regards  —  Cliff

Not A Great Song?

Over at the Blog Line of Departure we have an appeal against the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA".

And a lot more social commentary.

This apparently started when Stall Brook Elementary School, in Bellingham, Massachusetts, decided to use "God Bless the U.S.A.", but removed the word "God", plus "Bless", replacing it with "We Love".

I know the reference to God is dangerous.  I remember, in Fourth Grade, learning all the verses to "Battle Hymn of the Republic", and its message has remained with me ever since.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

We need to hear from Kad Barma for the local music critic's view.  Awaiting that verdict of Kad Barma, I am with Carl I'm this.

Regards  —  Cliff

Economic Numbers

Could blogger Ed Morrissey be correct about the numbers on economic growth, as stated here?  Mr Morrissey thinks the Presidents two favorite analysts, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, might be wrong.

But, this Tuesday AM my Middle Brother sent this URL from The New York Times, which make Mssrs Piketty and Saez out to be geniuses.  Maybe.

Regards  —  Cliff

Say It An't So, Joe

This is a major disappointment.  Columnist Larry Coleman, of Forbes, tells us it really isn't Kobe Beef.  I have had Kobe Beef, in Japan. It is great.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Martin Zimmerman Case

Finally, something to think about regarding the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case, down in Florida.  Here is the post from the Althouse blog post.

I wonder if the Mother of the late Mr Martin has the line on this.

Regards  —  Cliff

Unemployment by Sex

I am never sure if I should take Rush Limbaugh seriously, or just take the humor and laugh.  Blogger Ann Althouse linked to a piece that explains Rule 24.  Here is Mr Limbaugh talking about Undeniable Truths of Life Rule 24:
Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of American life.
Mr Limbaugh used this as a lead to a story in the 3 April issue of The Daily Mail, where a team of three woman and two men concluded that the availability of men in an area was correlated with the percentage of women in high paying jobs.
They said this means that when men are scarce in a particular area, women, and particularly less attractive ladies, may decide they need to provide for themselves with a well-paid career.

The researchers carried out several experiments to come up with their startling argument.  The first looked at the number of eligible men in an area, which they called the 'operational sex ratio'.  After collecting data from across the US, they found that as the number of eligible men in a state decreased, the proportion of women in highly paid careers rose.  In addition, the women who became mothers in those states did so at an older age and had fewer children.
But, while this is all interesting research, supposedly done by trained scientists, in my mind it brings up a bigger and more important issue.  Have we figured out the impact of women moving from home to work on men less able to get jobs and what happens to them?

Going to the Bureau of Labor Statistics we find the following (People 16 or older, as of March 2012):
Participation %69.957.7
Num UNEMPLOYED7,323,0005,580,000
NOT In Labor Force35,156,00053,133,000

What is it that should jump out at us with these statistics?  I would assert that it is the number of unemployed males.  Between a group of a dozen males and a dozen females, which group is more likely to cause mayhem?  Not petty crime, but big crime?  If you picked females you are showing your evolutionary ignorance.

This, in turn, raises the question of if there is some upper carrying level for the economy, beyond which it can not absorb new workers, even when things are going well?  In the 1930s it was believed that women squeezed out men in the labor force.  When my Mother-in-Law married my Father-in-Law she was discharged from her teaching job—that day.

This, in turn, raises the question of if the Federal or State Governments should be designing social policy such as to encourage more men to work and to encourage more women to get out of their way?

To look at it again, of (non-institutionalized) Males 16 and older, the total number is 116,986,000, of which only 81,830,000 (69.9%) are actually in the labor force.  What are the rest of them doing?  With women the numbers are 125,619,000 who are 16 or older and not in an institution, and of them, 72,486,000 (57.7) are in the labor force.  Since they are women we assume that the 42.3% are stay-at-home moms.  It fits our picture of ourself.  Do we picture some 35 million males as stay-at-home dads?

This is not a trivial issue.

Any woman who wishes to have a job outside the house should be free to have a job, any job she can freely compete for and win.

We should be very concerned about a buildup of unemployed males, since history shows that it rarely leads to anything good.

I will let you know when I figure out an answer.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Like Ann Romney.
  I don't have any good examples to give you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Geo Washington Wins

In a vote in the UK, General George Washington was voted
… the greatest enemy commander to face Britain, lauded for his spirit of endurance against the odds and the enormous impact of his victory.
To qualify as a candidate in the final round you had to have been a field commander, so thus Adolf Hitler wasn't in contention.

The final five included, besides General George Washington, Irish independence hero Michael Collins, France's Napoleon Bonaparte, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who led successful Turkish troops at Gallipoli, during World War One.

The report went off the beam here:
Matthew Hughes of London's Brunel University said that Rommel and Napoleon were both great operational commanders but they ultimately achieved nothing on the political level.
I am not sure that is quite fair to Bonaparte, who gave much of Europe and Louisiana the Napoleanic Code.  Not that this was a good thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 15, 2012

TSA and Security

"Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How To Fix It"

The lede from OpEd author Mr Kip Hawley:
Airport security in America is broken.  I should know.  For 3 1/2 years—from my confirmation in July 2005 to President Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009—I served as the head of the Transportation Security Administration.
This isn't the first such call.  Airport security is like policing Wall Street or the Commodities Markets.  Lots of rigid rules give a false sense of security.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Death to Word

A discussion of Microsoft Word, at Slate.  The author is Tom Scocca, the managing editor of Deadspin.

Hat tip to The Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The most recent article is "History Lesson: The Time Matt Millen Punched Patriots' General Manager Pat Sullivan In The Head".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Morgan is Back.

Morgan is back into racing, at the Long Beach Grand Prix, running this weekend.  Auto blog view.

Regards  —  Cliff

Change at DoL

Maybe not hope, but change.  The Department of Labor is changing how it does "Lockups" before it officially releases employment numbers.  The link to the story, provided by The Instapundit can be found here.

This is the lede:
Unrest is simmering in some quarters of the Washington news universe regarding changes in the way the Department of Labor (DOL) manages its pre-release media “lockups” on sensitive data like weekly jobless benefits and unemployment.

For years, journalists participating in the lockups have shown up at DOL at the appointed time, then entered a limited-access area to receive the new data and prepare news stories for release as soon as official embargoes end.

The system insures that major news organizations get the data as soon as possible and allows journalists covering the release get a jump on providing analyses and opinion about the data.

But Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ top communications advisor, circulated a memo earlier this week to interested media informing them that everybody is being required to re-submit their credentials requests.
Plus some.  I note in passing that each paragraph in the block quote is one sentence long.  Does that seem strange to anyone else?

I liked this para in the story in The Washington Examiner:
The BLS has a spotless record of maintaining data integrity and insulation from political pressures to manipulate data content or release timing. Solis and Fillichio are said to be quietly resisting efforts in Congress to shift control of the lockups to BLS.
Yes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a professional organization.

Regards  —  Cliff

Communicating With The Voters

One thing the late Senator Ted Kennedy did very well was constituent services.  The rest of that crowd?  Not so much.  So, we have a two-for from Reporter Carl Prine.
  1. The turn-around on the letter was five months.
  2. The facts in the letter, apparently supplied by the US Army, are wrong.
I hope someone fixes at least number "2".  The first one is probably mostly a function of personality and vote cushion.

Regards  —  Cliff

The US House of Representatives

From Representative Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader:
On Monday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business.  Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 3001 - Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act (Sponsored by Rep. Gregory Meeks / Financial Services Committee)

2) H.R. 1815 - Lena Horne Recognition Act (Sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings / Financial Services Committee)

3) H.R. 4040 - To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Baca / Financial Services Committee)

4) H.R. 2453 - Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)
T0 be honest, Raoul Wallenberg needs to be honored and in addition I am glad to see Rep Alcee Hastings moving to recognize the great Lena Horne.  But, the schedule is set so that the Congresscritters can fly back to DC on Monday morning, unless they live a long ways off.

On Monday, the 16th, there will be an Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on "Addressing the General Services Administration's (GSA) Culture of Wasteful Spending" (1:30 PM).  This GSA issue appears to be big.  With people stepping down and getting fired it has moved past pranks and into the arena of Fraud, Waste and Abuse.  To quote Wikipedia:
On April 2nd, 2012 [GSA Administrator] Martha Johnson resigned as the head of the GSA after a scathing report detailing outrageous government spending on a training seminar in Las Vegas.
Here is a bit more of a writeup.  Frankly, while the President appoints, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the Administrator, I think the GSA scandal is a "Washington" thing and not something inherent in the Obama Administration.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ms Horne passed away two years ago in May, at the age of 92.

Health Care Mandate and the Founding Fathers

For The Instapundit, a long post on Harvard Law Professor Einer Elgauge's use of the Militia Act and the 1790 and 1798 Acts regarding Merchant Seamen to justify the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Professor Reynolds on the use of the Militia Act:
The Militia Act argument doesn’t work at all.  First, as Elhauge admits, it’s justifiable under the Militia Clause, not the Commerce Clause.  The Militia Clause empowers Congress to provide for arming, training, and disciplining the militia, and the cash-strapped first Congress chose to “provide for” arming them by requiring adult males to own guns.  This method of arming the miltia existed under the common law and, indeed, in Anglo-Saxon history going back at least as far as the seventh century, so it was hardly a stretch.
Note that it is Anglo-Saxon and not Anglo.

The pursuit of the Seaman angle doesn't go very well either.  Check it out.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Not really Obama Care.  Closer to Reid/Pelosi Care.
  And, besides, aren't the Angles really Danish?

Friday, April 13, 2012


Your mission, save the President's Daughter.

Communication is a beautiful thing when it is fast and simple.  In the afternoon I sent an EMail to my oldest son, John.  The subject was Lockout, with a question mark.  Nothing in the body of the EMail.  He wrote:
No, panned in the reviews, not sure,...
No messing around.

Son John is correct.  The almost always up-to-date Wikipedia says:
As of April 13, 2012, Lockout has received generally mixed and negative reviews.
On the other hand, Fifty Shades of Gray has been panned by the literature sevants, but is Number 1 on last week's New York Times Book Review list.  The book started out digital and then slowly went into print, but along the way it went viral.  Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse blogged about it in early March (on my wife's birthday).  Tuesday a week ago the Barnes and Noble in Burlington received a case (a case) of the book in the AM and they were sold out in two hours.

I liked Maggie Grace, who played Emilie Warnock, the President's Daughter.  I also liked Guy Pearce as Marion Snow, a maligned and abused Government agent who goes on board the space station to rescue the President's Daughter.  I also liked that the bad guys were not as bad as the real bad guys.  It is spy vs spy so there has to be layers, doesn't there?

Did I mention that this was a French Sci-Fi movie?  Several of the prisoners having a British accent was a little confusing, but still it hung together for me.  My thanks to the French.

At the 4:50 show there were ten patrons.  Five teenage boys behind me, three teenage girls in front of me and a middle aged man down in front.  We will see if Lockout goes viral, or if the critics were correct.

Regards  —  Cliff

Blog Comments

I often link to the Althouse blog because it attracts some good comments.  And even though she is in Madison, Wisconsin, she gets comments from all over.  A recent post attracted three comments from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Here is a blog post on comments.  Well written.  I got here via The Instapundit.

I would like to note that (1) the new "I am not a robot" stuff is making it harder, not easier, and (2) the lack of a preview option for comments on some systems is annoying to me.  I make a lot of typos and spelling errors and looking at a final copy gives me that last opportunity to clear up mistakes.  It isn't like one can go back in and edit comments.

Comment on.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Contest in 17th Middlesex

Assuming that Mr Martin Burke gets his required signatures, he will be the most likely Republican candidate for the 17th Middlesex State Representative's seat, running against the incumbent, David Nangle.  The [Lowell] Sun, in a Thursday article by Reporter Chris Camire, talks about this on page 3.  From the article:
Burke, who owns an appraisal business on Merrimack Street, said he decided to get into the race in part to protect government programs that help people and do away with those that waste taxpayer dollars.

"I see it as an issue when they're talking about cutting Meals on Wheels but are going to expand free cellphone programs," said Burke, who lives on Andover Street.  "They're taking things away from the needy because other programs are being exploited."

Burke is running in the 17th Middlesex District, which consists of part of Lowell and Chelmsford.  The district has been represented by Nangle, a Lowell Democrat, since 1999.
Yes, Mr Nangle has been in a long time.  Surprisingly, in the first primary, in 1998, he beat out folks who are now heavyweights, including Bill Marin and Rita Mercier.  From The Sun Blog:
HERE'S THE order of finish in the 1998 Democratic primary that Nangle won. Many forget how close it was: Nangle, 1,268 votes; Martin, 1,048; Geary, 978; Rita Mercier, 817; Karin Theodoros, 766; Scott Consaul, 291.
In the General Election Mr Nangle beat Republican Karen Simao, a recent graduate of American University, in DC.  Another time he was opposed by both a Republican and a Libertarian and then by a Republican alone, but he managed to poll well in each case.  Part of it is that he is a very likable person.

I am wish Mr Martin Burke the very best.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Allen West and Communists in the House

Did Representative Allen West misspeak?  Blogger Althouse thinks so and attracts a lot of comments, including comments about how the VENONA Papers prove a former Wisconsin US Senator wasn't so far off with his accusations about Communists in the Federal Government.

In a couple of the comments it is suggested that Representative West was filching his information from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who, in 2009, released a list of 80 members of Congress who are also members of the DSA.

The silly season has started.

Regards  —  Cliff

PEW Quiz on Political Parties

Someone I know sent out a PEW quiz to test one's knowledge of the political parties here in the US.

Word of the day—tendentious.
expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, esp. a controversial one: a tendentious reading of history.
But, even so, a good test of one's understanding of what the People are thinking, as understood by Pollsters.

Take the test and tell me.  So far Pat Vondal and I have scored 13 correct out of 13.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Drug Kingpins

George Will, in The Washington Post.

Ed Morrissey, at Hot Air.

Best line:
And cartels have oceans of money for corrupting enforcement because drugs are so cheap to produce and easy to renew. So it is not unreasonable to consider modifying a policy that gives hundreds of billions of dollars a year to violent organized crime.
This blog has been saying that drug cartel violence is coming north of the border.  It will be like prohibition, only worse.  What should we do?  What do you think?

We should:
  free polls 
Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Major Catastrophes

Over at the blog of The Instapundit is a link to a Popular Mechanics article on the loss of the RMS TITANIC and other major catastrophes.  There is a recommendation, by The Instapundit, of an article that talks to these sorts of problems and the human factor involvement.  The article talks about how we relax safety standards and then later reap the consequences of such actions, actions designed to increase profits or reduce costs (from a Government point of view, given that Governments don't make profits).  The article compares the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1911 and the World Trade Center attack and subsequent fires and collapse in 2001.  Relaxation of standards applied after the 1911 problem caused problems in 2001.

This is why Department of Defense nuclear surety is so important.  The pressure must always be on, so that there is no relaxation of attention.  Anyone remember when six nuclear warheads went missing for a short period?  My impression is that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went to "Battle Stations" and heads rolled.  When risks are low but consequences are high, extra measures must be taken.  Just ask Mediator Kate Reed, about her recent experience, highlighted in the most recent episode of "Fairly Legal".

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Know who you are.

From Richard Cohen of The Washington Posr.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Normal

From Warwick, Rhode Island, a question about acceptable art.

Hat tip to Hot Air.

Regards  —  Cliff

From Outer Space

This is a great story and a lesson about oral histories.

It is also touches on the efforts our folks, Government and Contractor, have gone to in ensuring our national security.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 9, 2012

Candidate Warren and SCOTUS

The [Lowell] Sun had an article on Ms Elizabeth Warren condemning the US Supreme Court for getting into policy issues.  I wonder what she thought of the Warren Court?

Apparently Law Professor Warren has trouble with the letter from Attorney General Eric H Holder, Jr, which said that it was within the authority of the US Supreme Court to rule on the Affordable Care Act.  (My blog post is here.  In a nutshell, I am with the Attorney General on this one.)

I was glad to see that the other Democrat running in the Primary, immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco, was also mentioned in the article.  Ms DeFranco is an impressive candidate in her own right and well worth consideration by the Democrats who will be voting in the State Primaries later in the year.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Remember, articles in The Sun go away after a while, to a different place.  I will not be updating their links unless I am bedridden and have read every book in the house.  And, besides, the Editor tells me the links cost money after a few weeks.  It is the new business model.

Poverty as Business

Over at Left in Lowell Blogger Jack talked about "poverty being big business in Lowell", 21 February of this year.  He elicited forty-two comments; I am jealous.  The longest from Victoria.

At any rate, in addition to the concerns mentioned in the blog comments, in some of the circles in which I have traveled this post came up for some criticism.  But, Jack is not the only one thinking along these lines.  I am currently (and slowly) reading Mudwoman, by Joyce Carol Oates.  Professor Oates, of Princeton, is not a flash in the pan author, so perhaps her opinion can be given some respect.
One of those regions in America, M.R. had said, trying to describe her background to her astronomer-lover who traveled more frequently to Europe than to the rural interior of the United States, where poverty has become a natural resources:  social workers, welfare workers, community-medical workers, public defenders, prison and psychiatric hospital staffers, family court officials—all thrived in such barren soil. (p 31)
And perhaps that respect can spread to Blogger Jack.

All that said, I do hope that no one in Lowell is thinking of Poverty as an acceptable business model.

And, as Victoria notes, education is the route out—but I would add education as more than just what you get from the local school district, as important as that is.  Mentoring as education.  Teenage employment as education.  Scouts and other youth activities as education.  The Pollard Memorial Library as education.  Mom and Dad (and Aunt and Uncle) setting examples as education.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Meditation

I thought my sunrise post was sufficient for the day, until I read this Easter meditation on St Paul's Letter to the Philippians.

Regards  —  Cliff


I am amongst those who declare:

He is Risen

Which is a good thing, considering the way I stumble through life.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mansur Street

The last time my wife's family got together here in Massachusetts her cousin, a renowned historian of the Middle East (a PhD from Harvard) suggested that Mansur Street was named after some Syrian who was part of the migration of Syrians to Lowell to work in the mills.

I was not against the idea that Mansur was a Syrian, but I wasn't sure that it made sense, given that Mansur Street is in the Belvedere section of Lowell, where the mill owners lived, vice the other sections of Lowell, where the mill girls might be living.  Of course, my wife's cousin might have just been pulling my leg, but in the back of my mind, money was riding on this question, so I did a little research.

In doing my research I received a lot of help from the UMass Lowell history archives personnel and from the Lowell Engineers Office, as well as the Lowell Library.  All were very helpful and I offer them thanks here.  Also, as I was wondering around I ran into a couple of people who remembered Syrians in Lowell back in the 1950s and 60s.  But, the mention of Syrians appears to not go back much further than about 1900, as per the National Park Service and their publication, Ethnicity in Lowell.

In contrast to the 1900 date, the records in the Engineers Office show a "Resolution laying out and establishing grades of Mansur and Fairmount streets" passed 27 September 1853.  This goes along with the Massachusetts Historical Commission report on the Mansur-Richardson House, at the intersection of Mansur and Nesmith Streets (172 Nesmith), erected circa 1845 by a Stephen Mansur.
Mansur-Richardson House

Mr Stephen Mansur was born in Temple, New Hampshire in 1799.  Mr Mansur arrived in Lowell in 1822 and in 1830 entered into a partnership with an Alonzo Child to found the Mansur & Child hardware and crockery business.  It is suggested in the Mass Historical Commission report that he helped to build the Eire Canal and then came to Lowell to help widen the canal between the guide locks and the old Lowell Machine Company shops.  He passed away 1 April 1863.  In his time in Lowell he was an twice elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  In 1857 he was Mayor of Lowell.

The Mansur family of Lowell, Massachusetts, spring from Robert Monsieur, a French Huguenot, who came to Charlestown, Massachusetts, at an early day, he being known there as the "Crazy Frenchman", his vivacity and unusual way being in such contrast to the Puritans.  The same soon became anglicized as Mansur, and his descendants were found all over the United States.  Robert Monsieur married Elizabeth Brooks, June 6, 1670, according to Charlestown records, and it is known he was living in 1678.  The line of descent from Robert Mansur, the founder, is through his son, John Mansur; his son John (2) Mansur, who settled in Temple, New Hampshire; his son William Mansur, born in Temple; his son, Stephen Mansur, born December 8, 1773, his son Stephen (2) Mansur; his son William Gage Mansur, born in Lowell, Massachusetts.
I am thinking Mansur street is named after some Frenchman.  Not a French-Canadian, but one of those people who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony within forty years of its founding.  One wonders to what degree his Huguenot background disturbed the Puritan balance in the area.  Since he wasn't run out of the colony, one must assume not much.

UPDATE:  Updated to add photo.

Regards  —  Cliff

Unintended Consequences of Financial Regulation

And, following the morning trend, here is a post from the Volokh Conspiracy on the Cordray Index.  The author of the blog post is Todd Zywicki and his source for the Cordray Index is Reuters.
Along these lines Reuters has now constructed the “Cordray Index,” which shows how the onslaught of federal regulation as well as the continued struggles of the retail banking system to work off bad debt has created a boom time for alternative lenders as consumers have been pushed into these products.  Of course, the response of regulators to increased consumer use has been predictable, albeit tragic–to try to take these options away from people (which will, of course, simply push them further down the chain of products).  The logic turns conventional economics on its head–so when we see increased demand for this product we are supposed to think that consumers are worse for using it instead of available alternatives?  I don’t get why the ordinary rules of economics don’t apply in this market–it seems to me that increased demand for a product is generally evidence of consumer satisfaction relative to other available choices.
Have I recently mentioned the War on Arithmetic?

Regards  —  Cliff

Strategic Forecasting Changed

In my last point I talked about the use of statistics in fighting crime.  Here is a link to an article in The Atlantic by someone who is leaving the industry of strategic forecasting because it has become corrupted by customers only wanting to hear what they want.  Worse, consolidation and government regulation have combined to distort market trends.
There is no good way to reliably predict the future in these markets anymore, except maybe by being privy to the desires of an ever-decreasing number of centrally connected power players. Companies still need guidance, but if rational analysis is nearly impossible, is it any wonder that executives are asking for less of it? What they are asking for is something, well, less productive.
I quickly picked up on the point of the author, Mr Eric Garland, that increased Government Regulation, amongst other things, was distorting the markets.

Good luck to us with that.

Our form of government works on the idea that the crowd, over time, is smarter than any one individual (and the fact that by giving people a vote we get their buy-in for decisions taken by those elected).  Markets work the same way.  You may think hula-hoops are dumb, but the customers liked them and thus some respect needs to be given to them.

Regards  —  Cliff

Statistics vs Crime

Over at the magazine Nature is an article on the use of analytic techniques to help reduce crime.  The laboratory is Springfield, Massachusetts, described in the article as "one of the most dangerous cities in the United States".

The article talks about the application of approaches from the US military's Counter-Insurgency (COIN) doctrine to the problems of crime in Springfield.  This terminology, this talking of relating COIN doctrine to civilian policing, causes concerns for Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Lieutenant John Sullivan, who believes it "convolutes the discussions".  If Lieutenant John Sullivan, a recognized expert in this area, shows caution, I think caution is in order.  Given our form of Government, we should avoid the "militarization" of the conversation, while still being open to all lessons we can apply within our own understanding of democracy and the relationship of the People and their government.

On the other hand, the view of George Mason University anthropologist Hugh Gusterson, "that the idea of applying a counter-insurgency approach in domestic law enforcement, however it is labelled, risks casting local communities as hostile populations" ignores the idea that in COIN the local community is not a hostile population, but a population in need of help due to crime perpetrated by a group hostile to the People and their government.

The article is short and interesting.  It makes the point that statistics can be very helpful in understanding what is going on in a community and that hidden in reams of data is knowledge that can be used to make things better.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Sometimes one wonders if the anthropology community, which, in the United States has appeared hostile to the military's use of social science insights to dealing with civilian populations, would rather adopt the line that the military should just kill their way to victory.  They wouldn't say that directly, but that is what their approach amounts to.  That is a short-sighted view.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Clothes Help Make the Man or Woman

Over at Dapper District, DC area lawyer Lee Warren has a link that then goes to a link to The New York Times, which has an article on psychological experiments on the impact of clothing on cognition.  Pretty interesting.

UPDATE:  Spelling error corrected.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Arab Spring Reviewed

Over at Time Magazine is an item by Mr Fareed Zakaria, titled A Region at War with Its History.  Mr Zakaria is a Harvard PhD and the Editor at Large for Time.

Mr Zakaria notes that those Arab lands without democracy suffer from a weak civil society, and have for eight hundred years.  Civil Society is defined by Wikipedia as:
... a society in which acts of aggression, violence, intimidation, and force are absent.  In common language usage, "civil society" also implies peaceful and respectful as opposed to belligerent, tyrannical, or oppressive.
Mr Zakaria also notes a lack of economic pluralism.

Someone I met on the internet had this comment on the Zakaria piece:
A Peruvian scholar, Hernando de Soto, has done excellent research on this subject and in a series of books asks "Why, in countries where the people have strong entrepreneurial instincts, does democracy and capitalism struggle so?"  Anyone who has been to the Middle East can testify that the people on the street have hustle -- the whole Arab Spring series of revolts started when a street vendor was hassled by police.

The answer, de Soto says (and you can see it between the lines of Zakaria's article, below), is that dictatorships and oligarchies fail to safeguard basic property rights that people need so they can own things with clear title.  He points out that in Western, capitalistic societies, the right of property ownership is so entrenched that we don't even notice the right to own land, a car, our house.  But in many societies, for example Egypt, that is not always so clear-cut, and small businessmen who can't get clear title to property, or where the processes to get clear title are cumbersome and subject to graft, are not only unable to borrow money for expansion -- a fundamental business principle in Western economies -- but are also subject to having their property confiscated at any time by the government or someone who can buy influence to close them down.  So the economy stagnates.  Our own founders recognized the basic relationship of property to democracy, and it was an eye-opener to me when de Soto reaffirmed that in modern terms.

IMHO, anyone who seriously studies insurgency or instability ought to read de Soto's work.  He began it as a counter to the "Shining Path" movement in his homeland, and it is fundamental to understanding why economies -- and democracies -- have a hard time taking root in some places.
Democracy doesn't come about because a few people wake up one morning and say to themselves that they should vote for the government this time, rather than have a coup.  It comes about through a slow evolution that includes respect for people and respect for property.

We should pray for the Arabs.  They have a way to go before they have democracy.  But, maybe they don't wish to have the pluralism.  Too bad for us.

Regards  —  Cliff

Some Good News

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy is this article on "Canada Abolishes Long Gun Registry".

Regards  —  cliff

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Holder Letter

I previously blogged on a Federal Judge (Fifth Circuit) asking the Department of Justice to comment on the question of judicial review, given the comments by the President on Judicial Review.  Here is the Presidential quote that launched the letter from the Attorney General.
Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.
The Affordable Health Care was passed by a strong majority?  How soon they forget.

We now have the letter from our Attorney General, Eric H Holder, Jr, dated 5 April 2012, laying out the position of the Department of Justice.  It is a good, solid letter, right up to the last paragraph, which is the last sentence.
The President’s remarks were fully consistent with the principles described herein.
I guess he had to say that, didn't he?

For another view, we have David Bernstein commenting, and at this posting 179 comments on the post.  A good Passover to you, David Bernstein.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bombs Away

Here is a nine minute tape from a B-52 over Hanoi in the "Christmas Bombing" of 1972.  We get this link from Carl Prine's Line of Departure.  The original link has been around for a couple of days in other fora.

There are a couple of terms that might be unfamiliar, such as
  • RED CROWN, which was a US Navy Picket Ship off North Viet-nam, which would transmit warnings of SAM or "MiG" activity.
  • The term EWO is Electronic Warfare Officer, the person who ran the electronic jamming gear on the B-52.  Sometimes referred to, I am told, as "Extra Weight Onboard".
  • The term "Up-Link" refers to the guidance from the ground to the in-flight SA-2 Surface to Air Missile.  Without the Up-Link the SAM is on a ballistic course.  Toward the end of the war the SAMs would be launched ballistically, with the intent to capture them in flight and guide them to the target, with less warning to the target.
  • Early on one hears a repeating sound, which is the "beeper" that transmit on Guard Frequency (243.0 UHF), indicting an person has bailed out of an aircraft.  They were activated automatically upon ejection and the job of the person who ejected was to turn the radio off as soon as possible, as it clogged the frequency and thus the radios of others.
Carl talks about use of the F-Bomb and its pervasiveness in combat situations.  He is not wrong.  However, radio is a scarce resource and one is expected to speak briskly and clearly and then shut up.  My friend from long ago, James Y Myers, told of hearing a Thud flight lead talking to a wingman.  The wingman came up on the air, saying something like "I am hit and my EGT is going up and my oil pressure is going down.  The RPM is falling off.  My hydraulic pressure is low..."  As he paused for a breath the flight lead said "Shut up or punch out."  When you are "up North" you don't want the radio channel clogged with nice to have information.  You don't want to miss a call about an enemy aircraft closing to your six o'clock while someone else tells you he is "Feet Wet".  The first is much more urgent than the second and may not be repeated (in time).

Or, to cartoon it, there is the flight lead in a briefing who says to the new wingman, "All I want to hear from you is "Two", "Bingo" and "Lead you're on fire".  Which led to my daydream about one day being able to say, "Wastrel Lead, Two is bingo, and, ah, Lead, you're on fire"; in that order.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In a flight of several aircraft each carries the flight call sign plus their number in the flight, Lead, Two, Three (Deputy Lead), Four.
  Bingo indicates one has reached a predetermined fuel level at which the flight should terminate business and head home.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

God, Guns, Guts and Pickup Trucks

Neal Croz passed this to me.  It is from Ed Rasimus's blog.  Ed and I were in the 34th TFS together at Korat, back in 72/73.

It is a view.  Well, actually, two views.  I would note that while crime may be up in rural Missouri, it is down, overall, in the US.  The reason is, sadly, eugenics.  On the other hand, the northward march of the drug cartels might just reverse the crime trend.

Regards  —  Cliff

Anti-Mormon Bigotry

Charlemagne was a polygamist?  Who knew?  Apparently not actor and political activist LarryLawrence O'Donnell.

Hat tip to The Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Individual Mandate

Mark me confused and charge it off to The Instapundit and Forbes.

Regards  —  Cliff

Advice to Romney

From over at The Instapundent we have a link to a John Ellis piece at BuzzFeed.
The key to a Romney victory is not to defeat President Obama; that would be a byproduct. The key is to make the case that the Blue Social Model is truly dead, that a new model is urgently needed and to present the first rough draft of what the new model might look like. Points one and two are an open-and-shut case.  Point three is much riskier, obviously, but will (over time and with repetition) sharpen the points of difference. Vote for Obama and surely sink. Vote for Romney and at least there’s hope.
The best line in the article was "The war against arithmetic is also a war against the young." There it is, the best candidate for campaign catch phrase—"The war against arithmetic."

We need a social safety net, but we need to reject Keynesian economics.  It didn't work for us in the 1930s and it hasn't worked for the Japanese.  The fact is that the less fortunate are suffering more than they need to because we have the wrong model.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I thought that the first two points weren't obvious, so here they are.  The first is "Blue Social Model (the New Deal through to Richard Nixon's implementation of the Great Society) is a failed paradigm.  The second point is that we urgently need a new social model.

Advice to Candidate Obama

At the Althouse blog, "President Obama, may I give you some campaign advice?"
I'm independent, moderate, and pragmatic, and I voted for you in 2008 because I thought I saw those qualities in you.  I still see those qualities in you, but the you that has those qualities is one of two Obamas, and the other Obama — Radical Lefty Obama — is a person I will not vote for.
Nice debate in the comments.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quick Turn Paper

At the Althouse blog is a link to a CBS News report on the Fifth Circuit Court asking DoJ to confirm that the Attorney General and the staff accept the reality of Judicial Review, as in the 1804 case, Marbury v. Madison.

In response to President Obama's comments,
Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith directed Federal lawyers to provide a three page, single space paper on the Government's position:
"I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday -- that's about 48 hours from now -- a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, in regard to the recent statements by the president," Smith said.  "What is the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review?"
I am not sure I buy into "passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress".

I am looking forward to the paper from DoJ.

I also note that DoJ is being asked to turn this in about 48 hours.  That would be in contrast to the three months it is going to take our School Administration to decide how to implement, for the Class of 2016, a directive from the School Committee on dropping class standing as a reported performance factor—going with GPA.  That Class of 2016 part just strikes me as bureaucratic delay akin to eventual derailment.  Time will tell.

I guess those DoJ Lawyers get paid a lot more.  I hope so.

Here is the link to the Althouse blog post and comments.

UPDATE:  Wednesday update.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting Past Che Chic

The Instapundit has a link to an article in Reason, by Matt Welch, on an article on the late Che Guevara.

Mr Welch is upset by a column in Ireland's Independent, by a Darragh McManus.  The column ends:
Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous.  But was he a murderer?  No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin.  He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things.

Whether morally justifiable or not, there is something admirable in that -- pure principle in a world of shabby compromise.  Maybe this is why Che remains such an icon, both in image and idea.
So, there you have it; political compromise is good, unless you are someone like Mr Guevara (Che), or maybe Bill Ayers.  This is a warning to all you Republicans.  It is your job to compromise.  It is, apparently, those others who should stand pat and may kill for what they believe.  That said, I think that what Mr Guevara believed was a delusion, an emotional response to facts on the ground, an emotional response that impinged on the rights of others.

The Instapundit, Law Professor Glenn Reynods, very unkindly notes that you can't spell douche without using C-h-e.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 2, 2012

Media Changing the Story

Law Professor and blogger Ann Althouse is unusually cynical in examining The New York Times walking back the narrative in the tragic shooting in Florida (Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman).

One comment was brought forward to the basic post:
NBC doctoring the 911 call, ABC denying Zimmerman's injuries.  Awful.
For those of you who missed this, Rush covered it today.  I don't often cite Rush, but today the irony is too good to pass up.

Professor Althouse goes so far as to ask if The New York Times is leading a narrative change in the media narrative:
I'm complimenting the NYT for doing the right thing now, but I acknowledge — and thought about this as I wrote the original post — that it may have ulterior motives along these lines.
Then she quotes another commenter:
The NYT walkback is strong evidence of a losing narrative.  They don't abandon their cherished narratives easily.  If they thought continuing the narrative would be helpful rather than hurtful to the liberal cause, they would still be running it on page one with daily assorted op-eds.
Ouch!  Somewhere in this post Ms Althouse slipped in an indirect reference to the NYT reference to the shooter as a "white Hispanic".

From my point of view, at this point in time the only people who are looking good are Spike Lee and the Elderly Couple he misidentified when he tweeted their home address as George Zimmerman's.  Mr Lee quickly and sincerely apologized and the couple accepted the apology gracefully, and behind the scenes the two legal teams quietly settled up.  Frankly, Mr Lee and the couple, and the lawyers, showed class in quickly getting out of the way.

Regards  —  Cliff