The EU

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Pope Visits

For John, BLUFIf you wish to take offense, you will.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was dubious about this report when I first say it, even though it was in The Old Gray Lady. "Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk, Is Said to Have Met Pope".  Bless her little heart.

Over at the Althouse Blog CWJ commented:

I believe this and the visit to the little sisters of the poor, both happening in Washington, were the Vatican's response to the White House's gay bishop, etc. guest list.  The Vatican has practised politics for centuries longer than Chicago has even been in existence.  Amateurs should not go up against professionals.
The strange part, for me, is that Ms Davis is a Protestant Pentecostal and not a Roman Catholic.  Why did she tag up with the Pope?

The thing is, we have to have a little space for people.  For the Franz Jägerstätters of the world.

Sure, Ms Davis should be removed from her official position, legally, with all due process, but we should acknowledge that she is doing what she is doing as a matter of conscience.  You may think she is a bigot, but unless you believe that culture is on a path to perfection, you will, privately, acknowledge that 100 or 200 years from now her view might be back in fashion.  I am not saying it should be, but it might be.

UPDATE:  Typos :-(

Regards  —  Cliff

  After all, slavery still exists in this world.  We hide from that fact, but that doesn't make it any less true.  We are lucky to live in a nation that thinks we should expand freedom of individual action.  We shouldn't become rigid about who is in and who is out of the circle.

Ms Clinton's Health Care Plan

For John, BLUFThere is no free lunch.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I liked these quotes from Bloomberg View on Ms "Clinton's Plan to Mess Up Prescription Economics":
Hillary Clinton thinks drug development should be riskier, and less profitable.  Also, your health insurance premiums should be higher. And there should be fewer drugs available.

This is not, of course, how the Clinton campaign would put it.  The official line is that Americans are just paying too darn much for drugs, and she has a plan to stop that...

I think Columnist Megan McArdle is correct.

Controls don't make things cheaper.  The Soviet Union proved that.  As Bridge players say, "a cheap trick now costs you later."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

After Speaker Boehner

For John, BLUFPeople are seeing this even through their own narrow field of view.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog Splice Today we have Mr Russ Smith writing "Democrats’ Sudden Embrace of John Boehner Is Infuriating".  The sub-headline is "One of the few liberals to tell the truth is The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin."

What was that line from Madame de Pompadour?  "Après nous, le Déluge" ("After us, the Deluge").

Those celebrating this resignation need to think about the unintended consequences.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Said to the French King, Louis XV, after the French loss as the Battle of Rossbach (5 November 1757).

Protecting the Secrets

For John, BLUFIt seems so straight forward.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While those supporting Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton are minimizing the impact of her conducting State Department business on a personal computer, some are concerned about the loss of data to other nations.  For example, Defense One has an article headlined "Pentagon Scrambling to Know What U.S. Secrets Iraq Tells Russia".
Pentagon officials do not know what secrets the Iraqi government may be telling Moscow, after Iraqi leaders unexpectedly entered into an intelligence-sharing agreement with Russia this weekend.

The Defense Department’s second-in-command told the Senate on Tuesday the agreement came as a surprise to military intelligence and Pentagon teams are scrambling to make sure classified intelligence from the U.S. does not make its way into the hands of Russian, Syrian or Iranian authorities.

On the other hand, if Russia had been doing due diligence, it could have recovered a lot of good information from Hunny Bunny's home brew EMail system.

Regards  —  Cliff

CIA Pulls Officers from China

For John, BLUFThe OPM Breach is major.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While the Administration has avoided putting the blame for the OPM computer breach on the Chinese, apparently the CIA, per The Washington Post, is being careful—"CIA pulled officers from Beijing after breach of federal personnel records".

Regards  —  Cliff

The Preliminary is Over

For John, BLUFDemocracy is worth the cost.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Mercier tops ticket, Mitchell out in Lowell preliminary election".

Not shocked by City Councillor Rita Mercier topping the ticket.

My condolences to Challenger Mayon Mitchell and I hope he does not drop out of participation in future elections.

If you didn't vote you should feel bad about it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chinese Premier Goes to Turtle Bay

For John, BLUFChinese is looking to be a respected player on the world state.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Chinese president Xi Jinping will arrive at the UN armed with a list of things he wants changed"

So writes Mr Richard Macauley, for Quartz.

Here is the lede plus 1:

On Sept. 28, Xi Jinping will make his first speech as China’s president to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Ahead of his talk, China’s foreign ministry helpfullypublished a list of amendments it would like to see the international body make, “so as to turn the vision of the UN Charter into reality at an early date.”

Some, such as the suggestion that, “the world needs to come together to make [the UN] a strong champion of peace and security,” allow China to sound authoritative without ruffling any feathers.  Others, such as a call to “respect countries’ right to choose their own path of human rights development,” offer a sharper insight into how China wants to reshape the organization to suit its own concerns.  All told, the list of 12 “priorities” that China wants the UN focus on show China both assuming the role of a major world power and also trying to shape the world order to better reflect how China does things at home.

As one would expect.

On the other hand, the UN Annual Budget is $2.8 billion.  The US pays $654.8 million.  China, the world's next biggest economy pays $139.7 million.  I am thinking the Chinese ought to be offering up about twice what they are paying now.

If they want respect.

Regards  —  Cliff

Time to Vote

For John, BLUFI miss Bill.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today is Lowell's Preliminary Election.  Here is a link to Lowell Polling Locations.  (Where you vote, based on your Ward and Precinct.)

Open Now and open until 8:00 PM.

You may vote for up to nine candidates.  That means that if you like Rita and no one else, you can just vote for Rita.

Why a Preliminary Election?  Reporter Grant Welker, writing for The [Lowell] Sun seems to suggest it is a waste of money, giving we will pare the list by one person.  The thing is, no matter what number you pick as the limit for calling a Preliminary, there is a chance that the next election the number of candidates will be that number plus one.  The result will be people saying, "Why waste the money to eliminate one person?"

It reminds me of a story from long ago.

Our City Manager at the time, Bill Taupier, was walking with the God of Finance, which was right in that Bill was an accountant.  The God of Finance was looking for ways to save money and he came upon Preliminary Elections.  He confided in Bill that he intended to wipe out Preliminary Elections, because the outcry against them was so great.

Bill said, “Will you sweep away the poorly financed with the wicked?  What if there is one righteous person over the limit?  Will you really sweep it away and not spare the system for the sake of one righteous person?  Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike.  Far be it from you!  Will not the Judge of all the earth's finances do right?”

Well, to make a long story short, the God of Finance spared the Preliminary, because, frankly, the bureaucratic effort was not worth the financial savings.

Regards  —  Cliff

  No, not Primary, Preliminary.  Its goal is to whittle down the field for City Council, School Committee or GLTHS.
  My recommendation is you vote for more than one candidate, thus helping others you favor.
  This has always be a contentious issue and in the past the City Council has asked the General Court to allow us to cancel a Preliminary.  Our legislative team down on Beacon Hill has passed the word that it will do it no more.
  With credit to Moses, who gave us Genesis 18:16-33.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Daesh Growing

For John, BLUFAs I mentioned earlier, we have support for Daesh right here in America.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning, at The Daily Beast, Reporter Kimberly Dozier gave us "Generation ISIS: The Western Millennials Stocking the Terror Army".

Here is the lede plus one:

Obama officials acknowledge that 1,000 foreign fighters a month are still traveling to Iraq and Syria—and more than 50 percent of U.S. recruits are under the age of 25.

Angry, committed, and ever younger ISIS recruits keep flowing into Syria, despite the Obama administration's year-long campaign to target ISIS and tighten regional laws and borders against militants.

The fact is, Administration officials have touted the success of their efforts to keep foreign fighters from going to Syria and joining Daesh (ISIL, ISIS, IS).  On the other hand, the numbers haven't budged.  As Ms Dozier has suggested, we may have an emperor's new clothes problem.

Assistant US Attorney General John Carlin talked to the US problem:

U.S. counterterrorist officials estimate that some 250 U.S. citizens have tried to travel to join the fight, with 60 of them formally charged for attempting to travel or traveling to the region and provide support, Carlin said.

In addition, so far in 2015, more than 10 people have attempted terrorist attacks inside the United States "after being inspired by or directed by foreign terrorists," Carlin said.

Some people just admire what Daesh and others are doing in the Middle East.

Regards  —  Cliff

London Mosque Fire

For John, BLUFJust stupid.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the BBC report on the Mosque fire in Morden, in the Southwest part of London.

Here is a report with a more spiritual bent, from The Inquisitr, "LONDON MOSQUE FIRE TEEN SUSPECTS ARRESTED, ACT ‘BIG BLOW’ TO COMMUNITY".  The reporter is Mr Denzel Hammett.

The good news is the Mosque itself was not damaged and only one person went to hospital.

The bad news is that there are people who can't differentiate between being opposed to something and being an ass about it.  The two teenagers accused, if guilty, were acting with extremely poor judgment.  Let us hope such actions are, in the US, minimal.  We can't fully eliminate such stupidity, but all of us should stand against it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Not in Uniform

For John, BLUFAt least it hasn't gone this far over here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is from The [Manchester] Guardian, not famous as a "right-wing" newspaper, so I am assuming this is pretty much the story.  The headline is "Hospital moved RAF sergeant over fears his uniform would upset patients".  In this case RAF stands for Royal Air Force.

The lede plus three:

A hospital has apologised after an injured RAF sergeant was moved out of a hospital waiting room because staff thought his uniform would upset other patients.

Aircraft engineer Sgt Mark Prendeville, 38, was taken to accident and emergency at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother hospital in Margate, Kent, after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got in to his eyes during a training exercise.

The sergeant, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken to an empty corner of the waiting room before being moved behind a corner by hospital staff, the Sun reported.

His family was allegedly told by hospital workers that “they didn’t want to upset people” and “have lots of different cultures coming in”.

It does raise the question as to why RAF Manston doesn't have its own dispensary.  The thing is, it has been reduced to being the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre (DFTDC), which is pretty small potatoes.

On the other hand, why is a person in uniform a cultural threat?  Is a Sikh with his traditional knife, his Kirpan, a threat?

If any of the Bien-pensant want to know why Mr Donald Trump is doing so well in the Republican race, this would be an example.

I would expect, however, the new leader of the UK Labour Party, Mr Jeremy Corbyn might agree with the Hospital's decision.  He is a bit of a Progressive Loon.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In the late 1940s and the 1950s the USAF had aircraft stationed at RAF Marston.  In all such arrangements in the UK the base was owned and commanded by the RAF and the American units were tenants.

Meanwhile, Back in the Camp

For John, BLUFGod does operate in a sovereign way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today is the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the first reading is from Numbers, Numbers 11:25-29.  Moses has gathered 70 elders out in the camp, for God's Spirit to fall on them, but as luck would have it...
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, had remained in the camp, yet the spirit came to rest on them also.  They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; and so they prophesied in the camp.
Even back then there were lists, or maybe even the beginning of listicles.  At any rate, Joshua, son of Nun says to Moses that he needs to do something about these two men prophesying back in the camp.

But Moses answered him,

"Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"

Would that He would.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Giving rise to the famous Biblical quiz question—what man in the Bible had no parents?  ANSWER:  Joshua, son of none.
  When used in this way, the meaning is not the standard "tell the future", but rather meaning to speak forth the word of God.  For the Charismatics, the Pentecostals, amongst us, it could be as simple as an utterance such as "God is good", if it is spoken by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bigots Fighting "Bigots"

For John, BLUF"The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Washington Post OpEd Writer Ruth Marcus, who is a Progressive ideologue of the first water, just doesn't get it.  Her deep seated prejudice against the Republican Party (and perhaps the idea of Black Republicans) causes her to refuse to understand what Dr Ben Caron is saying.  It isn't brain surgery.  Dr Carson is saying that if you believe Sharia Law is supreme, and you believe it is over the US Constitution, you have the wrong mindset to be US President.  But, let us listen to what Ms Marcus says:
Pope Francis did not come to Washington to side with one political party — and, predictably, there was something in what the pope had to say for both Republicans and Democrats to dislike.  Yet taken as a whole, Francis’s remarks amounted to an unmistakable rebuke — implicit and perhaps unintended, but nonetheless stinging — of the Republican Party and its leading presidential candidates.

For retired neurosurgeon and continuing anti-Muslim bigot Ben Carson, who attended the first-ever papal address to Congress, Pope Francis had a message about the imperative for religious tolerance.  “We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism.  This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind,” Francis said.

Here it is, the money quote:  "For retired neurosurgeon and continuing anti-Muslim bigot Ben Carson".  Give me a break.  Here is a transcript:
CHUCK TODD:  Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what's been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way:  Should a President's faith matter?  Should your faith matter to voters?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is.  If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.  But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.

CHUCK TODD:  So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?

DR. BEN CARSON:  No, I don't, I do not.

CHUCK TODD:  So you--

DR. BEN CARSON:  I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.  I absolutely would not agree with that.

CHUCK TODD:  And would you ever consider voting for a Muslim for Congress?

DR. BEN CARSON:  Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.  And, you know, if there's somebody who's of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I'm with them.

Ms Marcus is a bigot, plain and simple, and so are those Democrats who are jumping on this story.

Regards  —  Cliff

  She probably missed the way SecState Hillary Clinton threw the First Amendment under the bus over the Benghazi Imbroglio.
  It reminds me of Turkish President Erdogan and his comment that Democracy is like a train trip.  When you get to your station you get off.  Not my view of Democracy.

Cases of Budget Shutdown—The Record

For John, BLUFIt isn't always about abortion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Washington Post look at previous Government Shutdowns.

I note that sometimes House Speaker Tip O'Neill was a problem, and sometimes Majority Leader Robert Byrd and sometimes others.

Sometimes the budget delay was over the issue of abortion.  One of the things I don't understand is why Incest is often cited as a reason for an abortion.  If the woman is underage at the time, it is rape, pure and simple.  Thus, the rape exception.  If she is of age it is consensual, so why an exception?  If there are those who assert that there is coercion involved, then I would suggest that the issue is the law for statutory rape.  In the case of incest the age of consent should be moved to 18 or 21.  Seems simple enough.  Or do we think of incest the way we used to think of homosexual sex unnatural?

Regards  —  Cliff

Welfare and Personal Responsibility

For John, BLUFDaniel Patrick Moynihan was correct, back in the 1960s.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Captain Capitalism is a little cynical in his posting of this article from the Strib on the case of a missing two year old child.
Replacing Husbands With Government Checks

Actually, the father COULD be reached for comment, but he was in Chicago.

Regardless, this is what happens when the leftist dream is installed where women trade boring, reliable, employed husbands in for sexcapades with multiple losers and government checks.

I would be for legalization of drugs except for the fact that we have large parts of our population that lack self-discipline and the soft skills needed to gain and hold jobs.  If it is only a small percentage we can deal with it—after all, the poor will always be with us.  However, as the number of such people grows we eventually run out of other people's money.

The hard question is, how do you inspire the uninspired to do those kinds of things they have learned to avoid?  Can it be taught in a semester or is it a lifetime thing?  Is it reasonable to take away money when these people need that money to make it from week to week?  Is the answer to require them to show up some place five days a week, until they develop a pattern of showing up and it is second nature?  I have no answers, but neither, apparently, does the Federal Government.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, September 25, 2015

Farewell, Next Month, to Speaker John Boehner

For John, BLUFLots of room for speculation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Althouse blog we have "'Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, will resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October...'"

Note the notation "B3" in the comment by "Bobby" and pulled up into the article.  This is saying "Usually reliable" source and information "Possibly true".  This is from the Government's "Intelligence source and information reliability" coding system.

This is one of those "be careful what you ask for".  Sure, a lot of folks dislike Mr John Boehner.  It might be surprising to a Progressive like Ms Lynne Lupien that there are Conservatives who despise him more than she does.  Then there are those who Mr R T, who thinks Mr Boehner is worthless, but hasn't yet thought about who might take his place.

Good luck to us.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Change the Law

For John, BLUFGovernment immunity leads to despotic behavior.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reason Magazine.

"Man Jailed for Traffic Ticket Dies in Cell After 17 Days of Torture. Officers Watched It Happen."  The sub-headline is " Macomb County man David Stojcevski died of drug withdrawal and neglect as officials ignored his plight."

Here is the last paragraph and the indication that we need to change the laws in order for Citizens to demand and obtain justice.

Stojcevski’s family is suing Macomb County. A lawyer for the county told WDIV that the suit “lacks legal merit,” and expects the family to lose when the case goes to trial. Macomb County has no plans to settle, according to the lawyer.
If local government allows someone to die due to negligence the family of the person should be able to sue and to obtain a large settlement.  This is the best way to send a signal to the Government.  The other, of course, is for the family and friends to run for office and, if they win, cut funding to the people responsible, until those official (1) publicly acknowledge the failures and publicly apologize and (2) fire, suspend or send back for training those responsible and (3) ensure the errors are recorded in annual evaluations.

Not saying it happens here.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Cost of Homelessness

For John, BLUFAn ongoing problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Not a great article, but some thoughts on homelessness and its costs.

Data and Privacy are, indeed, big issues.  With better data we can do a better job.

Regards  —  Cliff

Government Shutdown?

For John, BLUFPlanning needs to start now.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Perhaps in honor of the Late Yogi Berra, we have, from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns".
It’s déjà vu all over again, again – Congress seems to be ignoring the gathering fiscal storm clouds.  The most immediate of these is just around the corner:  if lawmakers do not pass legislation to fund federal programs by September 30, the government will shut down.
Not everything shuts down when the US Congress fails to pass a budget or when the President vetoes budget legislation and Congress is not able to override the Veto.  But, a lot of things do shut down.  The elderly will still get Social Security.  On the other hand, certain Federally funded social services will fall on the States.

By the way, it is more complicated than passing of a budget, although there is a Budget Resolution.  Then comes a two step process, the Authorization and the Appropriation.  We need both for a Federal Agency to expend funds.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Funding the US Government

For John, BLUFAnd they will say it is the fault of the Republicans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 because it would have also stripped out funding for Planned Parenthood.

So, to make sure I have this straight—the Democrats in the US Senate said it would be better to shut down the whole US Government rather than defund Planned Parenthood?

I wonder what else they would take such a stand on?  Funding embassy security?  Food Stamps?  Uncle Sam's military?  Corps of Engineers flood control efforts?  Amtrak?  CDC?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Saint for California

For John, BLUFI liked it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Prayer for Blessed Junipero Serra

Gracious God,
you call your people
to preach the Gospel at all times
that your message may go forth
to the ends of the earth.
We praise you for your servant
[Blessed] Saint Junipero Serra,
the Apostle of California,
who served you
with a missionary heart
and loved your people
to the end of his life.

As he is raised to the full stature
of holiness among your saints,
grant to your sinful yet holy Church
the grace to follow in his footsteps.

By his example,
help us to persevere in this life
for the sake of your Gospel,
always going forward
and never turning back.

With all the saints
who have gone before us,
and inspired by their courage, joy,
and abiding hope,
may we embrace our mission
to be your disciples
as we walk the way of holiness
on the road to your heavenly kingdom.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Regards  —  Cliff

Another View on the Iran Deal

For John, BLUFYep.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At Breitbart Reporter Joel B Pollak talks about an LA Times OpEd by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.  "IRAN DEAL IS BAD.  PASS IT AND PREPARE FOR WAR".

The Honorable Mr Panetta served this White House in several capacities.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Coming to Lowell

For John, BLUFI thought there was a little "over acting" today, on the show.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this AM there was a little dustup over refugees from the Middle East.  As background, SecState Kerry wants to take 85,000 refugees the first year and 100,000 the next. Given the number of locations across the fruited plain for such folks, that probably work out toward 1,000 here in Lowell.

This raises lots of questions, such as are we going to get funds from the Feds for schools and housing and for acculturation?  It also raises questions about different mores?  For example, do those refugee families with more than one wife get to come in?  Or is the the second or third wife sheared off and sent elsewhere?  Not every family coming out of Syria or Iraq includes multiple wives, but some will.

But, back to City Life, I thought we were going to have a replay of the Ben Carson Controversy, wherein Dr Carson said a Muslim couldn't be President of the United States. Here is Dr Carson's explanation:

“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” Carson said, referencing the Islamic law derived from the Koran and traditions of Islam.  “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”
While not every Muslim thinks and acts this way, there are a number who do, even spokesmen for CAIR.  But, there is always an exception to test the rule.
Carson said that the only exception he’d make would be if the Muslim running for office “publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.”

Fair enough.

It is all about Sharia.  If you follow Sharia you accept that it is the basic doctrine.  Not the US Constitution.  There is no First Amendment.  There is Sharia.  If you like Sharia, then vote for a real Muslim.  If not, don't.

Sharia?  Here is a line from Wikipedia (underlining mine):

In its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.
Back to City Life.  Producer John McDonough said, speaking of refugees, not the Muslims, meaning, in my mind those who are making a mess of the Middle East.  Those who believe the Iranian Leader when he says "Death to America, Death to Israel."  You say, that is Iran, not Syria.  And who is supporting Assad in Syria?  Iran.  Those who have quite different views from most in this nation about the treatment of women and children.  Remember, we thought Iraq was Westernized.  Ready to be more like us.  Turned out it wasn't true.  Shia and the Sunni are not getting along, still.

But, the real divide in Islam is not between Shia or Sunni.  It is between those (1) who wish to strictly impose Sharia, (2) those who wish to strictly impose Sharia and killing lots of people to do it is acceptable, and (3) those who wish to see some sort of a "reformation", and (4) also that group which wishes to live per Sharia but do not wish to have it imposed from above, but to live in peace with others.  The first group is like the Wahhabis in Saudia Arabia.  The second group reminds me of Joseph Stalin.  The third group reminds me of Aataturk.  The fourth group reminds me of the book, Oceans of Ink.

Groups 3 and 4 are OK.  Groups 1 and 2 are toxic, lethal.

We need to make distinctions.  Intelligent, informed, compassionate distinctions.

Some will come to America to be Americans.  Some will come to wait out the terrible carnage in Syria (and Iraq).  Some will come because they thing it is best for us Americans to adopt Sharia.  Thinking about this is not showing prejudice.  It is showing prudence.

I appreciate my Muslim Jeweler.  Unlike some buying wedding cakes, I accept he doesn't wish to work on my Rosary, for religious reasons, and that is OK with me.  He is a good citizen, trying to do the right thing.  As a License Commissioner I know he wants to do the right thing.  He is a fellow US Citizen.  If I thought he was seeking to subvert our form of Government I would be upset with him.  But, I have no reason to believe that.  He is just another Lowellian, albeit a Blow-In.  God Bless the Blow-Ins.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gravitational Waves

For John, BLUFCan something so small we can't detect impact anything?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"U.S. Restarts Hunt For Gravitational Waves With Advanced LIGO".

From IEEE Spectrum, by Reporter Rachel Courtland.

And, if they don't exist?  Einstein was wrong and it is 52 card pickup in Physics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Perhaps due to the effect of Gravitational Waves, the headline, corrected here, misspelled "Gravitational", leaving out an "A" and a "T".

Understanding Communism

For John, BLUFThere isn't enough computer power in the world to make communism work.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over twenty years ago Writer P.J. O’Rourke reminded us, “It’s impossible to get decent Chinese takeout in China, Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba, and that’s all you need to know about communism.”

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, September 21, 2015

Not All Cultures Are The Same

For John, BLUFSo, how much cultural diversity is OK?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is what I see as the next big scandal.  From The International New York Times, Reporter Joseph Goldstein, "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Afghan Allies’ Abuse of Boys".

This is a nasty tale and may blow up on DoD.

KABUL, Afghanistan — In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him:  From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012.  He urged his son to tell his superiors.  “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population.  The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

If you wish to read more, go to the link above.

in the mean time, while this custom can be found in various nations, it is cultural and not part of Islam.  For example, it is not found in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation.  Nor in India.  Nor in Turkey, that I know of.  A nation not named here does not mean it engages in this custom.  Afghanistan, yes, at least in parts of the country.

Regards  —  Cliff

Opposition Disparaging the Monarchy?

For John, BLUFJust isn't done.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In England the Labour Party has a new leader, Mr Jeremy Corbyn, and he likes to take interesting positions.  But, he ran afoul of the traditional political respect for the Queen, or at least an organization he heads did so.

From The Telegraph we have Mr Tim Ross, Senior Political Correspondent, reporting on "Jeremy Corbyn's 'shame' over Queen slur".  The sub-headline is "Labour leader forced to quit Stop the War Coalition after attack on Royal family".

Here is the lede plus one:

Jeremy Corbyn was under intense pressure last night after his peace movement published a “disgraceful” diatribe against the Queen.

A poem on the front page of the Stop the War Coalition website alleges that the Queen has a “criminal record” and is “lubricating Britain’s wars”, while the Royal family are arms dealers and “friends to despots and dictators”.

This should be an interesting ride.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, September 20, 2015

You covet but do not possess

For John, BLUFAlign your will with God's Perfect Will.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Following up on my last post, this is the conclusion of the Second Reading, The Epistle of Saint James, 3:16-4:3:
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Well, I do believe in prayer and in praying for things, but Saint James gives us some good advice here.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Just One

For John, BLUFTimes can be trying.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today was the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The first reading was Wis 2:12, 17-20.  Here is the 2:12 part:
The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
I guess we should all strive to emulate the just one regardless.

Regards  —  Cliff

Syria Today

For John, BLUFOur aim is to protect Israel, Jordan and KSA.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The following comment from out in the ether captures my view exactly:
The truth is that the Russians just did the West a huge favor, since the West couldn't bring itself to cooperate with the Syrian Army after taking such maximalist anti-Assad positions in 2011, but somebody had to do it, and [President] Putin saved [President] Obama.
Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy Birthday USAF

For John, BLUFBetter late than never.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Well, I blew that anniversary.  Yesterday was the 68th Birthday of the US Air Force, when we gained our independence from the US Army.

Oh, the photo?  Just a random shot (558 TFS, 12 TFW, Cam Ranh Bay, back in the day).  The streamers coming off the wingtips is an indication that the atmosphere is pretty humid.

Regards  —  Cliff

At the Movies

For John, BLUF"Without a vision, the people will perish".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"‘Straight Outta Compton’ versus ‘The War Room’".

Mr Alex Beam, writing in The Boston Globe today, gives us a look at two recent movies, and comes down on the side of War Room.  But, he gives the new Mayor of Compton (CA) the last word—Proverbs 28:18.

Regards  —  Cliff

High Speed Rail Coming to US, From China

For John, BLUFEmbarrassing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The LA Times we have "A high-speed rail from L.A. to Las Vegas?  China says it's partnering with U.S. to build" Lede plus three:
For decades private developers and entrepreneurs have periodically announced bold plans to run high-speed trains between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

None have gotten anywhere because they lacked money or suffered other setbacks.

On Thursday, however, one long-discussed proposal appeared to gain some intriguing support.

Officials for XpressWest, which has been unable to secure adequate private investors in the United States or a $5.5-billion federal loan, announced that it had formed a partnership with China Railway International USA, a consortium led by China Railway, the national railroad of the People’s Republic of China.

With the Chinese involved it might really be high speed rail and not that faux Acela stuff.  I just hope there is good engineering and construction.

But, one does wonder about what has happened in the Good Old USA that we can't do these things on our own?  LA to Lost Wages would seem like the perfect proving ground for real high speed rail.

Regards  —  Cliff

Prosecute Climate Deniers

For John, BLUFOr is that "persecute"?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Daily Caller (Reporter Michel Bastasch), but still, it is based on a Press Release from the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES).  The article is headlined "Scientists Ask Obama To Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics" The lede plus one:
The science on global warming is settled, so settled that 20 climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree with them on the science behind man-made global warming.

Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

I would have said it was all a very sophisticated put-on, except we do have Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, mentioned in the Press Release, writing an OpEd on this back on 29 May 2015, in The Washington Post, "The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people".  The Huffington Post liked it.

I still wonder if this Press Release is a hoax, but the invocation of RICO is chilling to me.  This is a lesson in why we need to reduce the number of laws on the books and stop being a "Ham Sandwich Nation".  The RICO statute was a strong tool against the Mafia.  It was a strong tool against the tobacco manufacturers, in the mistaken belief, it would seem, that we can stop people smoking by prosecuting other people.  Didn't work.  Then there was the plan to use RICO against abortion protestors.  The use of the law to punish differences of opinion can be ruinous.  The suggestion that "climate deniers" are like "holocaust deniers" is an indication of people who have no sense of proportion.

Hat tip to Drudge.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, September 18, 2015

Compromise on Capitol Hill

For John, BLUFActually, such a thing doesn't exist for the Bien-pensant.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So, on 17 September Mr Michael Winship, writing for Nation of Change, gives us "Congress Is a Confederacy of Dunces".

What it boils down to is that the Democrats are prepared to shut down the Federal Government over the issue of funding Planned Parenthood.  It isn't cast that way, but that is the way it is.

And why does Planned Parenthood get money from the Feds?  What do they do that is not covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PP&ACA)?  And if not, why not?

So, from my angle, Ms Nancy Pelosi and Mr Harry Reid are prepared to stop paychecks to thousands of Civil Servants over the funding of Planned Parenthood.  How does that make sense?

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Anglicans Rejiggering Their Relationships?

For John, BLUFThe tendency of religion is to splinter.  Look at the Baptists.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter Stephen Castle, writing in The International New York Times, gives us "Meeting of Anglican Leaders Could Lead to a Looser Federation".

The lede and subsequent paragraph:

Sharply divided over issues including same-sex marriage, Anglican leaders from around the world were called on Wednesday to a meeting, planned for next year, that could lead to the transformation of the fractious global church into a much looser grouping.

In a statement, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, invited 37 primates to meet in Britain next January to “discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion.”

Included in the 37 Communions is the more traditional Anglican Church in North America.  The Anglican Church in North America is a conservative grouping of churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada over a number of issues, including the ordination of gay priests.  Early on parishes were placing themselves under Bishops in more conservative African Communions.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lost Crime Data

For John, BLUFTell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fox News, via Reporter Ms Malia Zimmerman, we have a look at crime rates for illegal immigrants and who is not tracking them.  "Elusive crime wave data shows frightening toll of illegal immigrant criminals".

The lede is:

The federal government can tell you how many "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders" stole a car, the precise number of "American Indian or Alaska Natives" who were arrested for vagrancy or how many whites were busted for counterfeiting in any given year.  But the government agencies that crunch crime numbers are utterly unable — or unwilling — to pinpoint for the public how many illegal immigrants are arrested within U.S. borders each year.
Willful ignorance.  If you don't have the data you don't known what is going on.  As Lord Kelvin told us

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

False Accusations

For John, BLUFThis sounds like someone trying to justify an initial bad move.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A friend of mine has been explaining to me the discrimination Americans of Chinese descent face in our nation.  I remembered that there was open discrimination in the past, especially in the 1800s and early 1900s, but I had thought we had moved beyond that.  We haven't.  I have probably been deceived by living in Lowell (MA), where people of Asian descent make up 20% of our population—one in five.  But, there are the signs out there.  For example, Harvard University appears to have a cap on admission of Asian students.

Ms Sherry Chen, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service, was first arrested, and now that she has been cleared, is being fired.  A civil servant here in the United States.

Yes, the Government of China has a view that all those of Chinese descent owe loyalty to Beijing.  That, however, does not mean, even suggest, that these individuals, be they a recent immigrant or someone whose parents arrived in the US 150 years ago, are not fully American and loyal to our nation.

From The New York Times Reporter Nicole Perlroth gives us "Chinese-American Cleared of Spying Charges Now Faces Firing".

Here is the lede and following paragraph:

Government officials say they intend to fire a Chinese-American hydrologist who was prosecuted but eventually cleared of espionage-related charges.

The hydrologist, Sherry Chen, an employee of the National Weather Service, received a letter over Labor Day weekend notifying her that the government planned to fire her for many of the same reasons it originally prosecuted her.

Mr Peter Zeidenberg, the lawyer for Ms Chen, says “How is this not a clear case of racial discrimination?”

I am with Mr Zeidenberg.

If you think there is such a thing as McCarthyism, this is a prime example.

Regards  —  Cliff

  As "Suit" says, "The information is out there. All you have to do is let it in."

Defining Anti-Semitism

For John, BLUFAnti-Semitism needs to be exposed, wherever it appears.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The University of California has a big campaign against "micro-aggression", but it seems to be showing indifference toward anti-Semitism.

In The San Jose Mercury News is an OpEd by Mr Ron Dolinsky, "UC must adopt clear anti-Semitism definition" Here is the last paragraph:

On Wednesday, the California Board of Regents will meet to vote on adopting a definition for anti-Semitism.  Anything short of the official U.S. State Department definition will be a slap in the face of the Jewish community and a triumph for hatred.
That is Wednesday, 16 Sept 2015.  Today.

Here is the Department of State definition:

The State Department’s core definition is clear:  “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.  Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”  The State Department goes on to include the new anti-Semitism in their definition, which is masked as anti-Zionism and includes demonizing, delegitimizing and using a double standard to judge the state of Israel.
I think the jump from pogrom to genocide is what distinguished anti-Semitism.

Time for the Regents to do the right thing.

Hat tip to my Middle Brother.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ron Dolinsky is vice president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, a Christian nonprofit organization that works to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to defend the Jewish people and Israel.  He wrote this article for this newspaper.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


For John, BLUFDo we really want Gov't playing mind games with us?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller Reporter Chuck Ross talks to "President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public".

Here is the lede and following two paragraphs:

President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.
“A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights — research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them — can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people,”
reads the executive order, released on Tuesday.

The new program is the end result of a policy proposal the White House floated in 2013 entitled “Strengthening Federal Capacity for Behavioral Insights.”

This is all based on the research of University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein (Nudge:  Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)

Here is a good direction this can go:

This can be achieved by “administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms,” the order suggests.
Here is a bad direction:
The initiative also urges agencies to tinker with how information is presented to individuals, consumers, borrowers, and program beneficiaries.

The “content, format, timing, and medium by which information is conveyed” should be taken into consideration as those characteristics affect “comprehension and action by individuals.”

In programs that offer choices for consumers, agencies are instructed to “consider how the presentation and structure of those choices, including the order, number, and arrangement of options, can most effectively promote public welfare.”

The order also suggests that agencies fiddle with whether to label certain expenditures as “benefits, taxes, subsidies” or other incentives to “efficiently promote” programs.

President Obama’s federal health care law, Obamacare, is replete with “nudge” language and experimentation.
Here is an example, but it borders on fudging the language to achieve a goal.
Another nudge contained in Obamacare was brought to light in the debate over whether the individual mandate contained in the law was a tax hike.

Republicans insisted that it was a tax increase, but the White House portrayed it as a penalty on the logic that the word “tax” has a negative connotation.

I guess, as long as we have a Free Press, not beholding to this or that political party or bureaucratic group, this could be a good thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Controlling Conversation

For John, BLUFI'm speechless.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in The Washington Post, Professor Eugene Volokh talks to University of California considering recognizing a “right” to be “free from … expressions of intolerance”

We need to think about this, before we create a situation where the volume of conversation drops precipitously.  And how awkward will it be where one comes across a person who one sees to being a little different and not striking up a conversation for fear of causing offense?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, September 14, 2015

Salem Witch Trials

For John, BLUFPeople can lead themselves to believe many strange things.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The New Yorker, through the writings of Ms Stacy Schiff, talks to "The Witches of Salem:  Diabolical doings in a Puritan village."

We get a good historical summary of the events of the late 17th Century here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but we don't get any scientific underlying reason for the events that locals took to be witchcraft.  Was it PTSD from the wars with the local natives?  Was it some sort of medical issue, like ergot poisoning, an idea put forward by Professor Linnda Caporael while still a college student.  Here is a more popular view of that discovery, which is contested.  Or is it based on the fact of evil from the supernatural realm?  Or visits by the Borg or some other space traveling entity?

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Voting Deficit

For John, BLUFEveryone needs to vote, to scare the politicians.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the LA Times we have an article on Latino Voters in California's Central Valley, who don't.  By Reporter Kate Linthicum, "The Latino vote is growing — but it could be much bigger".  The Reporter's point is that Latinos (and Asian Americans) don't vote in as many numbers as Caucasians and African Americans (Blacks).

My view is that if they stop thinking of themselves as Latinos and start thinking of themselves as being part Caucasian, who are inheritors of a great Anglo-Saxon approach to Government, they might vote more.  If we say Hispanic, are we not acknowledging the Caucasian genes in their bodies?

I will grant that for some recent immigrants there may be lingering concerns about Government as Government.  Oppressive Government.  Thus, these recent immigrants should get out and vote for Limited Government.  Not necessarily "smaller" Government—there are things Government has to do—but Limited in the degree to which it regulates our daily lives.

Regards  —  Cliff

Battle of Britain Day

For John, BLUFHeroes to me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Since it is the about The Battle of Britain, the source is appropriate, The Pilot. Today is Battle of Britain Day. This is a nice writeup by George Weigel, "Remembering 'The Few'".  However, the photo seems inappropriate, although a single RAF bomber raid on Berlin, which caused the German Government to switch from a winning approach to bombing cities, was important—an asymmetric tactical approach with strategic implications.

As Mr Weigel says, there are the men and women of Fighter Command, and especially The Few, to be remembered today, and may they rest in peace.

And, as a footnote, the pilots in Fighter Command were not just the English, the British, but also Canadians, Poles, Czechs, Aussies, Kiwis.  Immigrants, if you will.

Regards  —  Cliff

Revised Annulment Process

For John, BLUFA Church not too rigid, but willing to identify sin and also those sinned against.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Pilot, the newspaper of record for the Diocese of Boston, Mr Christopher S Pineo writes "Judicial Vicar Explains Changes to Annulment Process".

Of course, the first question is "what is a Judicial Vicar"?  Sure enough, Wikipedia has an answer.

In the Roman Catholic Church, a judicial vicar is an officer of the diocese who has ordinary power to judge cases in the diocesan ecclesiastical court.
This is about the Holy Father issuing a letter to the Church, saying "lets clean up this annulment thing and help those who are suffering and shouldn't be.
Judicial Vicar Father Mark O'Connell, head of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, explained changes to the annulment process announced by Pope Francis, in a Sept. 8 interview with The Pilot.
Of course the answer is to read the article to see what is new.

What is not new is speed.  I remember, back around 1976, wanting my friend "X" to be the chairman of our Parish Council, in Naples, Italy.  However, he was married to one of my CCD teachers, who had been divorced.  The situation was one of those special circumstances listed in the article and our Diocese, which, being the the military, was the Diocese of Brooklyn, turned the whole case in about two months.  We then had a beautiful wedding in a local chapel, officiated by a Priest from Rome who was one of the Confessors at Saint Peters.

What is new is that the speed of Brooklyn will now be seen world wide.  And, no, it isn't just the Rich and the Kennedy's who can get annulments.  It is also you and me.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I was the volunteer Director of Religious Education for the Naval Support Activity Catholic Chapel Program.
  And that was before the Internet and we had only Snail Mail for moving the paperwork back and forth across the Atlantic, albeit by air.
  Of course, rich and Kennedy may often go together.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

One Take on Trump

For John, BLUFThere is no doubt that Mr Trump is striking a vein of unhappiness with the current political system.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner we have Mr W James Antle III talking about "What Trump knows that you don't".  This is an old item (27 August), but it is still somewhat informative.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Other Unemployment Figures

For John, BLUFThe real unemployment situation is a hidden volcano, waiting to erupt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An excerpt from the excerpt below:
is there any labor-related chart that matters any more?
That is the question posed and answered by Mr Tyler Durden at the Blog Zero Hedge.  He actually provides three charts is his blog post, "698K Native-Born Americans Lost Their Job In August: Why This Suddenly Is The Most Important Jobs Chart".  This touches on the point being pounded by Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.  The U-6 unemployment numbers tell us that there are a lot of US Citizens not working, many not even looking for work because they are discouraged workers.  Now comes the question of if those workers are being pushed aside by immigrants (legal and illegal).

There are the first three paragraphs.  Go to the link for the charts.

After the Fed admitted over a year ago that the US unemployment rate (which in 2012 was supposed to be a rate hike "threshold" once it hit 6.5% and is now at 5.1%) has become irrelevant in a country where a record 94 million people have left the labor force, and with the Fed poised to hike rates even though US hourly wages have not only not increased for the past 7 years, but for the vast majority of the labor force continue to decline, some have asked - is there any labor-related chart that matters any more.

The answer:  a resounding yes, only it is none of the conventional charts that algos and sometimes humans look at.

The one chart that matters more than ever,has little to nothing to do with the Fed's monetary policy, but everything to do with the November 2016 presidential elections in which the topic of immigration, both legal and illegal, is shaping up to be the most rancorous, contentious and divisive.

We need a national discussion about what is really going on with regard to employment and unemployment.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Mentioning Senator Sanders raises the question of what he is.  He is likely a progressive, although he bills himself as a Socialist and is a registered Independent.  Yet, he is running for the Democrat Party nomination for President.  Which brings up the Chris Matthews question to the Chair of the Democrat National Committee, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, what is the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat.

Micro-Aggression Thoughts

For John, BLUFPeople are getting to be very sensitive out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog The Righteous Mind we have a review of a paper, "Where microaggressions really come from: A sociological account".  The author of the review is Professor Jonathan Haidt.

I would like to tell you I have read the paper, but it is $30.  So, I have to search for it at the Library.  Retirement and all that.

At any rate, here is the lede and follow-on paragraph:

I just read the most extraordinary paper by two sociologists — Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning — explaining why concerns about microaggressions have erupted on many American college campuses in just the past few years.  In brief:  We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures.  The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it.  They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means.  There’s no more dueling.

Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture.  But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized.  It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim.  This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, that Greg Lukianoff and I wrote about in The Coddling of the American Mind.

My rough view is that what used to be interest in our fellow citizens has now become micro-aggression, because people have become sensitive to anything that might even suggest they are not accepted and part of the in crowd.  Frankly, not being part of the in crowd is not all bad.  But, if everyone wishes to think alike and go unchallenged, the "sheeple", I guess that is their choice.  As for me, I am still interested in the grand diversity that is Lowell, that is these United States.  Tell me about yourself and where you come from and what you think about things.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, September 11, 2015

Senator Schumer

For John, BLUFIf Senator Schumer doesn't replace Senator Reid if will be an interesting battle for the post of Democrat Senate Leader.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in the 9 September issue of The New Yorker, Mr Bernard Avishai tells us "How Chuck Schumer Lost on Iran".

We know that Senator Chuck Schumer (D NY) is opposed to the President Obama's agreement with the other Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, Germany and Iran.  We know that the agreement made its way through the US Senate, notwithstanding Senator Schumer's opposition.

The thing is, Senator Schumer was thought to be in line to replace Senator Harry Reid as the leader of the Senate Democrats.  Now there are those claiming he is unsuitable because of his opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

My personal view is that:

  • Without the agreement Iran would have the ability to press on with a nuclear program, if it wished,
  • The economic sanctions regime was not going to last, as the P+1 group (UN Security Council Permanent Members plus Germany) wanted the trade,
  • It is not clear that Iran does want nuclear weapons,
  • That said, Iran sees itself as a regional power,
  • Notwithstanding assurances, detection of a breakout is not guaranteed.
  • Nuclear deterrence does work,
  • But there are many in Iran believe the "Twelfth Imam" will return, indicating the arrival of the end times.
Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Faithfully Execute"

For John, BLUFNot the death penalty, but the laws of the land.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at the InstaPundit Ms Elizabeth Price Foley talks about Federal District Judge Rosemary Collyer's opinion in a House of Representatives lawsuit against the Executive Branch, in which the House argues that the Executive Branch is failing to "'faithfully execute' the laws and his related obligation not to spend money that Congress has not appropriated."  This is not a final decision, but it is a ruling that the suit may go forward.

This is tied into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare if you please), but it is a much bigger issue.  We know from the case of Ms Kim Davis, bless her little heart, down in Kentucky, that County Clerks have to execute the laws faithfully.  I am hearing few argument to the contrary from my Progressive Friends.  The question is, must the President, and his Administration, do likewise?

If the President can add and subtract from the laws passed by Congress, then we don't have the Government Abigail Adams thought her husband was securing for her.  There are then ramifications much larger that the PP&ACA.

The system works because (1) we feel the laws apply no matter whose ox is gored and (2) the other side gets a fair shot at being in charge for the next two years (or four years for President).

Read the whole thing.  It won't take too long.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There is also the obscure case of an official down at the Commonwealth Education Office, Mr J Sullivan, telling Dracut officials that he does not recognize a certain section of the law passed by The General Court.  How special for Mr Sullivan.

Too Much Debate Is Not Good

For John, BLUFFrankly, I think the Dems need a new National Chairperson.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill, Little Debbie says six debates only, and if you get into a debate elsewhere you are off her list.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is closing the door on adding more Democratic presidential debates, and says that a controversial clause penalizing candidates for participating in unsanctioned debates will stand.

Speaking at a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Wasserman Schultz said the debate schedule was final and there would be no changes.

“We’re not changing the process. We’re having six debates,” said Wasserman Schultz, who has been under fire from several Democratic presidential candidates over the debates.  “The candidates will be uninvited from subsequent debates if they accept an invitation to anything outside of the six sanctioned debates.”

Do you think she has figured out the answer to the Chris Matthews question, what is the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist?  Or, how about just answering why Senator Bernie Sanders, who organizes with Democrats in the US Senate, is not a Democrat?

Regards  —  Cliff

  That would be Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat House member from Florida and Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What Do The Numbers Tell Us?

For John, BLUFIs Education driving the numbers or excess expectations?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Ms Emily Shire, writing in The Daily Beast, does a book review on an important topic, "Why College-Educated Women Can't Find Love"
If you’re a single, college-educated woman in Manhattan, the cards of love are stacked in favor of you remaining single.
Now that is some bad news.  And, the numbers say it is because there just aren't enough men graduating from college.
As financial reporter and author of Date-Onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, Jon Birger puts it, “It’s not that He’s Just not That Into You.  It’s that There Aren’t Enough of Him.”
So getting down to the numbers, we see a 14 student difference between women and men.
The current college class breakdown of women to men is 57:43, which means that there will be about one-third more women than men with college degrees when graduation arrives.
Is this an issue that matters?  Do we care that women are not finding mates with suitable educational achievements?  Do we care that women are not getting married?  Do we care that women are not establishing long term relationships, relationships that will carry them into their retirement years?

On the other hand, educational balance is not necessary for a successful marriage.  I know a PhD married to a professional man, but one without a college degree.  Why can these relationship not work, if there are common interests and a willingness to accommodate?

And, there is still, in my mind, the question of if there are other factors in the marriage issue.  What models are today's young women following?

Maybe there will evolve new relationships, but being on the conservative side, I think we will be missing something.  There may be adaptation, but it may also distort our civil society, and thus our economy and our happiness.

Or, as the InstaPundit says,

Everything is Economics, and all of Economics is about Supply and Demand.
And, Economics is "the dismal science".

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of course one might claim that is a racist term, in that it was introduced by Mr Thomas Carlyle, in 1849, when he was examining the reintroduction of slavery into the British West Indies.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Which Way SCOTUS?

For John, BLUFThe Supreme Court is a law unto itself.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Jeffrey Toobin is the go to guy for legal issues at The New Yorker.  In this 1 September 2015 article he speculates about where the US Supreme Court will go next year.  "The Coming Liberal Disaster at the Supreme Court"

Of course, bright as he is, Mr Toobin confuses Liberal and Progressive.  I am a Liberal, he is a Progressive.  I believe in freedom to let people achieve their goals, free as possible from Government regulation.  Mr Toobin, as a Progressive, believes that Government is the solution and if you don't agree you are a racist and a fascist.

At any rate, here are the first two paragraphs.  Go to the link to read the whole story.

The beleaguered liberals on the Supreme Court had a great deal to celebrate in the term that ended in June.  Two epic cases, and even some lesser ones, went their way. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Justices ruled, five to four, that all fifty states must recognize same-sex marriages.  And in King v. Burwell, the Court, by a vote of six to three, dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that might have, as a practical matter, destroyed the law.  A surprising victory in a housing-discrimination case and another where the Court allowed limits on judges’ soliciting campaign contributions completed a major run of progressive victories.

Don’t expect the streak to last. The liberals’ big victories last term arose from a very particular set of circumstances.  Justice Anthony Kennedy has displayed a consistent respect for the rights of gay people, which made his alliance with the four liberals (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) on same-sex marriage almost a foregone conclusion.  In King v. Burwell, a group of conservative legal activists pushed such a transparently fraudulent claim about the text of the Obamacare law that Chief Justice John Roberts and Kennedy (who are no fans of the law) had to reject the claim.

For me, and interesting read.

Regards  —  Cliff

The World Is Getting Better

For John, BLUF"It's a big wide wonderful world…".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Not All News Is Bad News".

Wherein the interviewee cheats by using statistics and asserts...

The facts are not up for discussion. I am right and you are wrong.
But, if it bleeds it leads.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Refugee Crisis—Another View

For John, BLUFWhat do we owe our brothers in distress?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Reporter Doug Sanders, we have "THE MIGRANT CRISIS:  HERE’S WHY IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK".

The point of the article is that the Refugee Crisis is long standing and that the nations around Syria and Iraq have absorbed a huge number of refugees, as shown in this chart:

When we talk about refugees, there is an important legal distinction between refugees and migrants.

Q.  Who is a refugee?

A.  Briefly, a refugee is person who has fled his or her country to escape war or persecution, and can prove it.

The 1951 Refugee Convention, negotiated after World War II, defines a refugee as a person who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Among those crossing the Mediterranean in the first half of 2015, the greatest numbers came from Syria, Afghanistan or Eritrea.  Syrians are widely presumed to be refugees because of the civil war there, according to the United Nations refugee agency.  Many Afghans have been able to make the case that they are fleeing conflict, the agency added, and Eritreans can generally argue that they would face political persecution at home in Eritrea, which is ruled by one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Q.  Who is a migrant?

A.  Anyone moving from one country to another is considered a migrant unless he or she is specifically fleeing war or persecution.  Migrants may be fleeing dire poverty, or may be well-off and merely seeking better opportunities, or may be migrating to join relatives who have gone before them.  There is an emerging debate about whether migrants fleeing their homes because of the effects of climate change — the desertification of the Sahel region, for example, or the sinking of coastal islands in Bangladesh — ought to be reclassified as refugees.

This is a new problem for Europe.  They will need time to sort it out.  Then they will need to think about long term issues.

Regards  —  Cliff

Krugman Backs Trump, on Taxes

For John, BLUFProfessor Krugman is just using Mr Trump to bash Bush.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Times we have Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman writing "Trump Is Right on Economics".

Let's be frank here.  Professor Krugman doesn't like Mr Trump.  He dislikes him with a passion.  Despises him.  Belittles him.

But, he does think Mr Trump has a better grasp on how to get our economy moving than the other Republican Candidates.  Mr Trump has indicated a willingness to raise taxes on the rich.

Professor Krugman tells us we need to raise taxes to get the economy going and then proceeds to tell us how well the economy is doing.  He apparently is not following the speeches of Senator Bernie Sanders, who says that our U-6 Unemployment Rate shows that we are in serious economic trouble.  He also excoriates Mr Trump as a racist because Mr Trump wants to deal with illegal immigration.  And he doesn't mention the $2 Trillion Gray Economy, where you drive down to the 7-11 to hire day laborers (illegal immigrants?) to help you do stuff around the house, like build a new stone wall or plant a bunch of plants.

Frankly, I don't think this makes Mr Trump a "Wet".

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He named his blog site The Conscience of a Liberal, but he is, in fact, a Progressive.

Monday, September 7, 2015

British Labor Having a Party Election Upcoming

For John, BLUFI wonder if George, under this plan, could avoid playing for abortions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

For those of you who think The Donald is a little loosely wound, think about the likely winner of the British Labor Party election in a few days.  He will be the Party Boss, who will then be the Shadow Prime Minister.

This is from The Telegraph, out of London, a fairly reputable right of center paper.  The Reporter is Political Correspondent Ben Riley-Smith.  "Jeremy Corbyn:  Let taxpayers opt out of funding the Army".  The sub-headline is "Labour leadership front-runner once proposed letting Britons stop their taxes going to Army - in idea branded 'stark-staring bonkers' by ex-generals".

"Start-staring bonkers" is British for "wacko".

Regards  —  Cliff

The Easily Offended Live to be Offended

For John, BLUFA lot of words can't stand too much archeology.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Columnist George Will writes in The [Lowell] Sun, "Out with 'Redskins' -- and everything else!"

This captures it:

There are so many things to be offended by, and so little time to agonize about each.
I am with the wag who suggested the Washington Redskins drop the word "Washington" from its name due to the unsavory associations it has in the minds of so many.

Regards  —  Cliff