Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Just a Second


TRIGGER WARNING:  Someone messing with time.
For John, BLUFIt has already happened.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I picked this up from my niece, out in California.

On June 30th at 11:59:59 PM (UTC), the atomic clocks willdid add an extra second to the day.

Here is a way to spend that extract second:

Click here to waste that time with a randomly selected, single-second video.
Regards  —  Cliff

The NYT Ducks


TRIGGER WARNING:  Wherein I mention the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
For John, BLUFIt is hypocrites, all the way down.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Mr Jim Treacher, writing for the "DC TRAWLER" portion of The Daily Caller gives us "The NYT Doesn’t Publish Religiously Offensive Images, Except When They Offend Christians".

That is a pretty insulting headline.  Of course part of the problem is if we think Christians can actually be insulted.  On the one hand, they tend to not actually kill anyone when they are insulted, so maybe they aren't seriously insulted.  And they don't turn out in large numbers to demonstration, except in front of abortion clinics.  They are an easy mark.

But, here is the lede from the story:

The staff of a newspaper can run any images they want, or refuse to run any images they want.  They’re paid to make those decisions.  And when the rationalizations they give for their editorial judgments are a bunch of crap, we can point out that they’re a bunch of crap.

Back in January, here’s what New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet told his public editor, Margaret Sullivan, about his decision not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after their staff was slaughtered by Muslim terrorists:

He said he had spent “about half of my day” on the question, seeking out the views of senior editors and reaching out to reporters and editors in some of The Times’s international bureaus. They told him they would not feel endangered if The Times reproduced the images, he told me, but he remained concerned about staff safety.

“I sought out a lot of views, and I changed my mind twice,” he said. “It had to be my decision alone.”

Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers. To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so. “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.”

“Gratuitous insult.” The NYT tries to avoid gratuitously insulting people of faith. They had an international news story about people being murdered for creating blasphemous art, and that art wasn’t shown because it was gratuitously insulting. Dean Baquet chose not to offend the sensibilities of religious people.
What triggered this column?  Another photo in The Old Gray Lady that was a gratuitous insult to Catholics.

There is a joke in here, but I am not sure what it is.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 29, 2015

Revising Laws For Sex Crimes


For John, BLUFThe Democrats worry about Republicans peering into the bedroom and then work to criminalize normal conduct.  Prosecute rape, not regret.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I wonder about the title of this article by Ashe Schow in The Washington Examiner, "Has the federal government ever had sex?".  Here is the lede.
The act of sex is not illegal.  But if two members of the American Law Institute have their way, it will be — unless you follow their rules.

Law professors Stephen J. Schulhofer and Erin Murphy are trying to update the criminal code when it comes to sex offenses, believing current definitions of rape and sexual assault are antiquated.  The focus of their draft is on what constitutes consent.  It adopts the "yes means yes," or "affirmative consent" model that was passed in California last year.

The California law applies only to college campuses, however.  Schulhofer and Murphy aim to take that definition of consent — which says that before every escalation of a sexual encounter, clear and convincing consent must be given — to the state or federal level.  No one actually has sex this way, requesting permission and having it granted perhaps a dozen times in a single encounter.

But the theory that millions of Americans are having sex wrongly has gained currency among campus activists.  This new attempt to alter the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, a highly influential document that has been adopted in whole or in part by many states' legislatures, is part of a push to bring authoritarianism into the bedroom.

Blogger Glenn Harlan Reynolds is on vacation, so we were missing the line "They said if I voted for Romney the Government would move into our bedrooms, and they were right".

If passed, this won't have a good outcome.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Carrots and Sticks


TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I mention a nuclear Iran.
For John, BLUFKicking the can down the road is a good approach when you have nothing else.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Here is another wrinkle in the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program:
July 9—Due date for President Obama to submit the Iran nuclear agreement to Congress for a 30-day review.  (If submitted after July 9, Congress will have 60 days.)
The source is the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

And from yesterday's edition of The New York Times we have an article on the Iranian Chief Negotiator returning "to Tehran for Consultations on Nuclear Talks".

A lot of drama.

No treaty is ever going to be good enough for some.  For some no treaty is necessary, because they can't believe Iran would be so stupid as to use a nuclear weapon.  The rest of us have to work in the middle ground.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Love Among the Ruins"


For John, BLUFGood win for our gay friends, but life is rushing on.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In an Opinion Piece in The Wall Street Journal Mr Bari Weiss gives us "Love Among the Ruins".  The sub-headline is:
Hurrah for gay marriage.  But why do supporters save their vitriol for its foes instead of the barbarians at our gates?
Yes, on the day SCOTUS released its same sex marriage ruling there were terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait (probably with at least some connection is Daesh) and Al-Shabaab killed 30 African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.

Mr Weiss is a strong advocate for same sex marriage.  But he thinks there are other challenging issues we need to show an interest in. 

The barbarians are at our gates.  But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter.  It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.

You can’t get married if you’re dead.

So, the conclusion is that all of us, straight and gay, need to work together to resist those who would kill folks just for being different.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  My view is more mixed.  I think homosexual sex is a sin, like adultery.  Sorry.  I expect some of my bests friends, and the odd relative, may fall into one or the other area.  On the other hand, I see no reason to criminalize it or to make such relations outside the laws of the land.  I am accepting of the SCOTUS Ruling, although I think a legislative solution would have been better.
  Such as the elimination of Christians from the Middle East, like they were Jews in German occupied Europe.  This is not a good thing.
  Like a couple of days when Daesh pushed a couple of homosexuals off the roof of a building in Mosul, Iraq.  Then there is Iran, where the Government pushes sex change operations on gays and lesbians.  That is pretty strong stuff, but not as strong as the death penalty.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lynching in Israel


For John, BLUFThe Middle East has the diversity of Lowell, but without any interest in getting along and a lot of interest in winning by killing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Independent Reporter Michael J. Totten, who operates out of the Middle East, is one of two people who can usually be trusted to provide the straight word, in this case a look at the Druze in Israel, Syria and Lebanon.  This article is "The Background of a Lynching".
Earlier this week, on the Golan Heights, an enraged mob assaulted an ambulance and attacked two wounded men inside with rocks, clubs, and chains, killing one and seriously wounding another.

The ambulance was Israeli.  The wounded men were Arab fighters from Syria.  The assailants were also Arabs, though they were Druze rather than Muslims.

Several readers have emailed and asked me to explain this, so I assume others are also scratching their heads. I don’t have all the answers.  What kind of person attacks an ambulance?  I can easily imagine it’s someone who is steeped in some real political craziness, is emotionally unstable, and has some kind of personality disorder.  But a mob mentality sometimes sets in with people who are otherwise psychologically normal.  I can’t psychoanalyze these people.

I can, however, explain some of the background that might shine some light on what happened and why.

Read the whole thing for a quick (short read) look at the complexity of the Middle East.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The other is Nir Rosen.

Warnings About Warnings


TRIGGERCONTENT WARNING:  Were we talk about "content' warnings.
For John, BLUFFor those who tend to swoon, everything can be upsetting.  We are back to the deep Victorian Era.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Mr Ed Driscoll, a substitute blogger over at Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds' blog InstaPundit, gives us this update on "Trigger Warnings", from National Review, noting that the correct term is "Content Warning", as "Trigger" can be traumatizing of and in itself.

From the Blog Post:

Well, it’s all come full-circle. According to the Feminist Internet, the phrase “trigger warning” is now in itself also a trigger.

The blog Everyday Feminism recently re-published an article explaining the idea of “trigger warnings” to those of us who are not as culturally literate and sensitive as they are, and began it with the following disclaimer:

Like this phenomenal article, Everyday Feminism definitely believes in giving people a heads up about material that might provoke our reader’s trauma.  However, we use the phrase “content warning” instead of “trigger warning,” as the word “trigger” relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery.  This could be re-traumatizing for folks who have suffered military, police, and other forms of violence.  So, while warnings are so necessary and the points in this article are right on, we strongly encourage the term “content warning” instead of “trigger warning.”
I wonder if "Button Warnings" are out, since that is what served as a "trigger" for the famed eight gun Spitfires of Battle of Britain fame?

Lets face it, with this kind of thing, it is triggers all the way down.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUS Rules on Marriage


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



We have a ruling from the US Supreme Court on same sex marriage, OBERGEFELL v. HODGES.
Held:  The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.
Justice Kennedy, who wrote the opinion, seemed to write with blinders on.  He writes:
(a) Before turning to the governing principles and precedents, it is appropriate to note the history of the subject now before the Court.

(1) The history of marriage as a union between two persons of the opposite sex marks the beginning of these cases.  To the respondents, it would demean a timeless institution if marriage were extended to same-sex couples.  But the petitioners, far from seeking to devalue marriage, seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities, as illustrated by the petitioners’ own experiences.

(2) The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change.
Changes, such as the decline of arranged marriages and the abandonment of the law of coverture, have worked deep transformations in the structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as essential. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution.  Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations.

Hello!  How many plural marriages exist, de facto, if not de jure, here in the United States?  Let alone across the globe.  Are we an immigrant nation that will not allow cultures to flow into our nation?  What about the degree of consanguinity issue?

We are not at the end of this issue.

Justice Kennedy was correct when he said, in his ruling,

Finally, this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Former Commonwealth Chief Justice M Marshall had the same problem.

You Have to Go


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



You know you are a Lowell "Blow-in"

When you ask for the Necessarium and you get a blank stare.
If you have a slightly desperate look on your face the person you are asking may quickly figure it out and direct you in the proper direction.

Regards  —  Cliff

Separating History and Hate


TRIGGER WARNING:  There actually was an American Civil War.
For John, BLUFRegarding our history we need to update, but we don't need revolution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



At Tech Crunch is a story on overreaction to Governor Nikki Haley's move to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the State Capitol grounds, "Apple Bans Games And Apps Featuring The Confederate Flag [Update: Some Games Being Restored]".

Note the update that common sense is being restored.

We need to distinguish between symbols that just make things worse and the artifacts of our history, which help us understand.  Sure, President G Washington owned slaves.  He wrote in his will that they should be freed on the death of his widow.  She ignored that request.  I wonder if the descendants of those slaves were the "property" of Robert E Lee, Confederate General?  There is a national monument to General Lee, what used to be known as the Custis-Lee Mansion.  But, back to G Washington, we are the nation we are, and not like France or Germany over the decades, because of G Washington.  We should know that fact.  We should know our history.

There is the question of renaming Army Posts named after Confederate Soldiers.  The Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the military overseas (and on line) took a poll, "Should US military bases named after Confederates be renamed?".  Note, the question asks, should we change the names of bases such as Fort Lee (Virginia), Fort Hood (Texas) and Fort Benning (Georgia).  Put another way:

Do you think these posts should be renamed to honor people who fought in the U.S. Army exclusively?  Vote, and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
As of this time this morning, with 19654 votes it was Yes (Change) at 12% (2382) and No (Keep the names) at 88% (17272).

For those who think that is just a breakdown along racial lines, here are the 12 April 2015 stats:

Service% White& Minorities% Black% Other
Army73.9 %26.1 %21.5 %4.6 %
Navy66.2 %33.8 %19.3 %14.4 %
Marine Corps83.7 %16.3 %11.1 %5.2 %
Air Force78.1 %21.9 %15.6 %6.3 %
Coast Guard82 %18 %6.1 %11.9 %
Total74.6 %25.4 %17.8 %7.6 %

A lot of Black men and women went through Fort Benning for their initial training.

I would note that Senator Sherrod Brown, (D Ohio) has entered a resolution to honor "2022 as the bicentennial year for the celebration of the birth of President Ulysses S. Grant", a Republican.

The United States is a complicated nation, with a lot of different, moving pieces.  Change is part of the nation, but wholesale change without thought and preparation is not good for the Republic.  And some change is just crazy.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I am sure they meant Caucasian, but didn't have the space in the table.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sanders a Threat, Based on the Reaction to Him


For John, BLUFIt is getting ugly on the Democrat side.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the computer of Mr Josh Feldman, of Mediaite, we have "McCaskill:  Bernie Sanders Too ‘Extreme,’ Media Giving Him a Pass on Socialist Views"
Of all the Democratic candidates not named Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders has the best polling numbers.  He’s drawing big crowds and is viewed by many liberals as the strong left-wing alternative to a more centrist Clinton.

Well, today on Morning Joe, Senator Claire McCaskill went to bat for Clinton by taking lots of shots at Sanders.

“The media is giving Bernie a pass right now,” she said.  “I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he’s a socialist.”

When I think of Morning Joe, I think of a show that represents the right edge of the MSNBC Range.  When I think of Senator Claire McCaskill I think of someone who is more likely to be a Scoop Jackson Democrat, she being from fly over country.  So how does Mediaiteplay in this?  I would assume Mediaite is left of center, but it seems to back Senator McCaskill and Ms Clinton.

It does appear Senator McCaskill seems to think that Senator Sanders is the second coming of Vice President Henry A Wallace.

Senator McCaskill may think Senator Sanders is getting a pass from the media, but then so is Ms Clinton.  For example, when was the last time you heard about Professor Angela Davis saying that Senator Clinton's heroine, Ms Margaret Sanger, was out to eliminate the Black Race via birth control.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In fairness, some may read Ms Sanger as wanting to avoid the public view that she was into racial extermination.  And, in her day, eugenics was settled science.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bobby Jindal Announces


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



Just now, on Fox News, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced for President.  He will, of course, be running as a Republican, one of 457 in the race.

Earlier today, writing in the Federalist, Mr Ben Domenech talked about "Why Bobby Jindal Is Very Problematic".  The sub-headline says it all:

Because identifying as things is good, unless what you identify as is an American.
Governor Bobby Jindal identifies as an American, through and through.

But, some see that as a failing.  Here Mr Domenech gives us an extract from an article in The Washington Post.  The tone is that Governor Jindal is somehow less that he should be because he has "assimilated", and likes it.

“As a child, he announced he wanted to go by the name Bobby, after a character in “The Brady Bunch.”  He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teen and was later baptized a Catholic as a student at Brown University — making his devotion to Christianity a centerpiece of his public life.  He and his wife were quick to say in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic.  He said recently that he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American.  “There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is writing a book on the governor.”
Yes, I like Gov Bobby Jindal.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit for the the article from The Federalist.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Remember, the University of California, under University President Janet Napolitano, has said that "melting pot" is no longer a PC term.

Black Migration Today


TRIGGER WARNING:  May run counter to your preconceived ideas about Race and about the South.
For John, BLUFIt is complicated.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From USA Today, we have this little fact:  "Black migration:  Northern cities lose, South gains".

This is mostly three charts, but the lede is:

Reversing what historians call the Great Migration of 1910-70, hundreds of thousands of blacks have migrated to the South in the last generation.  Every year, more blacks move into the South than move out.
I can only conclude that those are the small fraction of Blacks who vote Republican.

Of course, like a lot of migration it is about opportunity, especially economic opportunity.

The first Great Migration was from 1910 to 1930.

The second Great Migration was from 1941 to 1971.

From the point of view of Wikipedia this Reverse Great Migration started in about 1965.

Note the overlap.  Perceptions change slowly.

Regards  —  Cliff

Favorites for 2016 Race


For John, BLUFDidn't Yogi Berra say something to the effect that predicting is hard, especially about the future?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I am late reporting this, but my good friend, Ritchie T, has given me the way it is going to be.
Democrat — Hillary Clinton
Republican — Jeb Bush
The only reason I am posting this is so that a little over a year from now I can check it out and it is recorded.

As followers of this blog know, I believe it will be:

Democrat — E Warren
Republican — Scott Walker
Regards  —  Cliff

  If you take The New York Times, that would be "Governor Scott".

Why You Need Multiple News Sources


For John, BLUFThe Government is not interested in sharing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Over at the Instapundit, guest blogger Mr Ed Driscoll brings us an item from Real Clear Politics, written by Mr Charles Lipson, "Spike It!  When the Media Kill a Story for Political Reasons".

Guess what that is about?

If you guessed MIT Econ Professor Jonathan Gruber, who it turns out, no one in the White House (or the House Minority Leader's Office) knew anything about, who are smarter than a White House Intern.

But, here is the money quote from the Ed Driscoll post at InstaPundit (Professor Reynolds is on vacation).

As Jim Treacher once tweeted, “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.”
Well, no, that isn't the real money quote.  Over a century ago Lord Acton said:
Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
Letter, 32 January 1861
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Professor who said the White House could depend on the stupidity of the American Voter.  Perhaps he meant the Members of Congress when voting.  On the other hand, we elected them.

No One Responsible


TRIGGER WARNING:  Wherein I question bureaucrats.
For John, BLUFYou lock your doors, don't you?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Lisa Rein, of The Washington Post, gave us "Federal personnel chief: 'I don't believe anyone is personally responsible' for Chinese hack".

Well, of course the Chinese are responsible for the hacking.  But, doesn't someone within the Federal Government bear responsibility for blocking hackers?  Here is the lede:

Senators want OPM head fired after data hack(1:51)

Senators are continuing their call for the ouster of Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, where cyber hackers stole the records of millions of people. (AP)

The federal personnel chief said Tuesday that she does not believe "anyone is personally responsible" for the massive hack of federal employee data and security clearance files and instead blamed the breach on old computer systems and the hackers themselves.

I am just waiting for my letter, notifying me that my data has been compromised.

Someone said, earlier,

We are lost …
Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Some Words Don't Translate


For John, BLUFIn France they give tough exams in order to graduate from high school.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Not coping well in France.

This is from France 24 and has to do with this year's French school leaving baccalaureate English exam.  Here is the lede:

The exam, which is sat by all French pupils in their final school year (normally at 17 years old), presented a passage from Ian McEwan’s “Atonement” relating to the book’s central character, Robbie Turner.

The notorious “Question M” asked, “What are three of his concerns about the situation?” and “How is Turner coping with the situation?”

Coping?  Qu'est-ce que c'est "coping"?

I feel for the students.  French was my worst subject in high school.

But, I was able to cope and to go on to higher education.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Changing Portraits on Our Bills


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



Here is the US Department of the Treasury Press Release on the plan to put a woman on the Ten Dollar Bill.  This is an idea that has gotten a recent public boost.

My recommendation is Harriet Tubman.  She is a good model for all of us.  She was a brave activist, helping slaves to escape north.  She worked for Women's Suffrage.  She packed a gun.  She was a Republican.

That said, City Life Producer John McDonough has come up with a solution to allow us to preserve the image of the first US Secretary of the Treasury on the Ten Spot, while allowing us to honor a woman of historic importance.  He proposes a $25 bill.

At this point in time the $50 (US Grant's image) is too big for a lot of small businesses to accept.  At the Dunkin' Donuts drive-up window it says no bills above $20.  The risk of a counterfeit bill is too high.  But, a $25 would not be too much of a risk.

One might argue that a $25 would not add that much value over the Double Sawbuck, but I think that given inflation over time it might reach a niche market.  I think the competition would answer that question.

There is the question of how cash register trays are configured, but I think that pushing the $50 aside will allow room.

If we are going to do something new we should not settle for rearranging the portraits on the wall.  Let us make something new with a new portrait.

Regards  —  Cliff

WashPost Down on Carly


For John, BLUFYou aren't supposed to believe Ms Fiorina is a real woman.  To be a real woman she would have to be a registered Democrat.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This item—"The Palinization of Carly begins"—is over a month old, but still timely.  The author is Ms Teri Christoph, of Smart Girls Politics.
In a mind-numbingly banal screed in the Washington Post this week, columnist Ruth Marcus fired the first shot in the war we all knew was coming — the war against Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.  I call this the Palinization of Carly, whereby a center-right woman who is strong in her beliefs is belittled, mocked and minimized by the Left.

Ms. Marcus, a presumed feminist, insists this has nothing at all to do with ideology.  And then proceeds to lay out how Carly’s mere candidacy offends her.  This bears repeating, Ruth is offended that Carly Fiorina is running for president.  She is not at all offended that her candidate of choice — Hillary Clinton — has perpetrated massive coverups of Benghazi and her unauthorized secret email server.  The ability to run from her past makes Hillary a totes qualified and unoffensive candidate to Ruth Marcus.

Ms Christoph notes that Ms Marcus also dislikes Dr Ben Carson.

My question is why Ms Marcus is not cheering the fact that those Neanderthal Republicans are even fielding a female.  Or a person of color (maybe more than one—what counts as color?).

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clintons on State Flags


For John, BLUFYes, all those hidden symbols from movies like National Treasure.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The Daily Caller, via Mr Derek Hunter, we have "Flashback: As Governor, Bill Clinton Honored Confederacy On Arkansas Flag".

Yes, this kind of thing is all over.  The thing is, we need to tease out the dedication of Confederate Soldiers (and civilians) from the surrounding truths of slavery and racial oppression.  Some of the memorials to the past are not servicing us well.

Yes, when you go to Gettysburg Battlefield the Confederates should be represented—they were the reason that Union General George Meade and his Army were there—and in fairness, where appropriate, display the Confederate Battle Flag, the Stars and Bars.  But, not in current symbols which convey the idea that today's Federal, State or Local government is carrying on ideas and traditions that are properly left in the past.  So, what kinds of things should go?

We are all in this together.  We should act like it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  the Cliff

  Worst Democrat President in the History of the US.
  Not to be confused with Fort Lee in Salem, Massachusetts.
  That would be "Stonewall", not Andrew.

EMails Are Such Evil Things


TRIGGER WARNING:  Where it is suggested that getting Obamacare passed involved fraud.
For John, BLUFIt may be a while before you can trust politicians again, if you ever did.  Nothing to see here; just move along



From The Washington Examiner we have an item from Reporter Barbara Boland, "Bombshell email release reveals how closely Obamacare 'architect' Gruber worked with White House".  That would be MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, famous for calling the American voter stupid.  To the lede:
Obamacare "architect" Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, frequently contacted the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the healthcare law and how to publicly describe his role, a 20,000-page trove of Gruber's emails released to the Wall Street Journal show.

In videos that surfaced this past year, in 2013 Gruber referred to the "stupidity of the American voter" and the "huge political advantage" the healthcare legislation's lack of transparency would provide in getting the bill passed.

So transparency was out the window, because it wasn't expedient.  Diogenes of Sinope seeking for truth, but being lied to by an MIT Professor.

I have seen it suggested that the stupid voters who were really fooled were the Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Is that possible?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There is a similar article in The Wall Street Journal, but there is a paywall.  It is here.

Reading for Success


TRIGGER WARNING:  Talk about war.
For John, BLUFConsuming information from several sources is good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the Blog The Bridge we have Army Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Bazin (career coded as an FA 59 or Strategist) talking to us about "What Successful Strategists Read".  The lede:
Every two weeks or so here at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, a small group of officers and civilians gets together over lunch to discuss strategic-level topics. This gathering is a low overhead and informal event, where one officer gets the conference room and selects the topic of discussion. Sometimes, there is a book to read ahead of time, other times, there is a brief movie to watch and discuss. The dialogue that unfolds is usually lively, and there never seems to be a shortage of things to talk about. Generally, the people involved find the sessions very valuable and come back again.
Since lists are in, here is the list of this groups top ten books, but non-fiction and fiction.

Here is the complete list of books.

Here is a look out how the folks in this informal group gather the news.  I find it interesting.  For myself, I think I may be a little higher with radio.

And then there is "social media".  The second item, "EMail Distro Lists", are sometimes called "Reflectors" from the fact that a single EMail is "reflected" back from a central server to all members.  I am on two such national security lists.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Reason for Charter Schools?


TRIGGER WARNING:  Comments on Public Schools.
For John, BLUFThis is probably you, John.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Writing in The Washington Post, Columnist Jay Mathews asks "Why are American schools slowing down so many bright children?".

The lede.

Vicki Schulkin, a Northern Virginia parent, knew her son Matt was bright but did not think this was a problem until some of his teachers began to bristle at the erratic working habits that sometimes accompany intellectual gifts.
Further down in the article we have this:
At the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa’s College of Education, this is old news.  In 2004, it published an extensive report, “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students,” with research showing that children like Matt were poorly served.

Now the center has done a follow-up, “A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students.”  Its 345 pages have encouraging stories about gifted children like Matt being allowed to accelerate their learning.  But authors Susan G. Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo and Joyce VanTassel-Baska remain frustrated with school administrators and legislators impeding students who would do better in more challenging classes.

Could this be your school?  Maybe read the linked reports.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Small Misunderstanding


For John, BLUFUp with teachers, down with bureaucracy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



On City Life this AM, with seconds to go, Mr George Zaharoolis said I was against the teachers.  He said this after I had texted in that I thought there might be some value in Charter Schools.

Mr Zaharoolis is mistaken.

I am for teachers.  I am against a lot of the Administrivia that impedes education, that impedes teachers in doing what they should be trained to do.

That is why I like Charter Schools.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Murder Rampage Saturday in Austria


For John, BLUFI suspect that even 10,000 years ago this sort of thing happened.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I was surprised that it took a while for the Drudge Report to note this story out of Graz, Austria, where a man used a car and a knife to commit multiple murders.  From the BBC we have "Fatal car crash on crowd in Austrian city of Graz".  The story is from yesterday.  An update from today's (UK) Independent.

It is being pushed off as insanity.

And, I would agree with those who would point out that being a bystander with a firearm, one would not have been able to prevent the first part of this.  The knifing, on the other hand, might have been stopped by a little old lady with a 22 cal pistol.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Four is the magic number for "mass murder", per the FBI.  With one person in the hospital in critical condition, this might make the definition.

Long Wave Waffle


For John, BLUFProminent Democrats, from Nancy Pelosi to E Warren to Bernie Sanders, are saying no to the Presidents request for authority to negotiate a trans-pacific trade deal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Writing in The International New York Times Ms Maureen Dowd gives us "Trade Winds Blow Ill for Hillary".  From several paragraphs into the column we have:
Now Hillary says she is unsure about the pact and would likely oppose giving President Obama the special authority to negotiate trade deals for an up-or-down vote in Congress.  As a future president, of course, she would want the same authority to negotiate trade deals that Obama is seeking in the messy Capitol Hill donnybrook.

But as a candidate pressured by progressives like Warren and Bernie Sanders and by labor unions, she turned to Jell-O, shimmying around an issue she had once owned and offering an unpleasant reminder of why “Clintonian” became a synonym for skirting the truth.

It depends on what your definition of trade is — and trade-off.

Hat tip to Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday Morning


For John, BLUFFor all the Fathers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Happy Fathers Day.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Not Every Vanity Plate is Equal


TRIGGER WARNING:  .
For John, BLUFSCOTUS said no to Confederate Battle Flag on Texas license plates.  Seems reasonable to me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I was reading the "Opinion" pages of The Boston Globe and saw Scott Lemieux Walker v Sons of Confederate Veterans.  I immediate thought of Governor Scott Walker.  But, the Picture has a cut line that talks to Michigan and the reference to The [Manchester] Guardian says Texas.

It turns out that Mr Scott Lemieux Walker is the Texas is the Chairman of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board.  And the case is, indeed, WALKER, CHAIRMAN, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES BOARD, ET AL. v. TEXAS DIVISION, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS, INC., ET AL..

Up front, I am not keen on Government limiting free expression, even stupid free expression.  Let's face it, a lot of scientists would have to be shunned, eventually, when their visualization of how things work was replaced by a new visualization.  It is the way of the West.

However, the US Supreme Court found that Texas has the right to say no to certain proposed designs for individualized license plates.  The majority included Justice Clarence Thomas.  I guess this is a signal that the New York case, where the Department of Motor Vehicles say no to a pro-life plate, will be sustained.  In the New York case the argument turned on whether people would find pro-life views offensive.

And, in the end, free speech is not being limited.  One can still put a decal of the Stars and Bars in one's rear window or on one's bumper.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Perhaps this Walker is related to the famed Texas Ranger, Cordell Walker.  But, that Walker has a partner for eight years, Ranger James Trivette, who was Black.  Check it out.
  Of course some people would find pro-life advocacy offensive. s; It suggests that they are for the casual murder of innocent human beings.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Getting the News Straight


TRIGGER WARNING:  Potty language.
For John, BLUFRead the news with a question mark on your shoulder.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the international news organization, Vice, we have Mr Ryan Faith advising us on "How to Cut Through the Bullshit and Read the News Like a Defense Analyst".  While I don't much care for the use of the term "bullshit", the article is useful.  Here is the lede and following:
Leading up to the midterm elections in 2014, the FBI published a report that cited statistical evidence to make the claim that mass shooting incidents were dramatically on the rise in the US.  The overall impression was that bloody rampages like the Sandy Hook massacre and the Colorado movie theater shooting could be expected to occur more frequently in the coming years.

Several major news outlets ran with the story, reporting without much skepticism on findings that happened to dovetail nicely with a push by the White House and Democrats to enact stricter gun control measures and boost voter turnout.  You can probably guess what happened next.

As noted recently by the Wall Street Journal and others, the authors of the study — Texas State University academics J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale — have been forced to backpedal, acknowledging that their data was "imperfect" and asserting that the media coverage of their findings "got it wrong."

The author suggests:
There are basically two ways of reading the news and consuming any kind of information.  Sometimes people read to confirm their beliefs.  The other way of consuming news is to scrape it for tidbits of data and information.  In practice, people usually do a bit of both.

So, how can you tell if you're being spoon-fed bullshit?  It starts with second-guessing yourself.  If you accept or reject data, ask yourself if you're doing it because the data is accurate, or because it confirms your biases.

People tend to reflexively assume that quantitative data is axiomatically bullshit-free, but be beware that those numbers you're looking at might be "advocacy research" — purely political opinions dressed up with data.

Even the Old Gray Lady, The New York Times, our newspaper of record, is not immune from publishing information that should not be taken at face value.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Federal Data Breach Massive, Preventable


TRIGGER WARNING:  .
For John, BLUFHas the cyber war begun?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The Hill, Reporters Jordan Fabian and Cory Bennett tells us "Obama has confidence in OPM chief despite hack".  Why, I don't know.
President Obama is standing by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta despite a series of massive data breaches that have shaken the federal government, the White House said Wednesday.

“The president does have confidence that she is the right person for the job,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

Sometimes a statement like this is just a prelude to a firing.  And, she needs to be fired.  We need for the Federal Government to restore confidence in the protection of our personal data.  Retaining the current Director, and her team, suggests no major step forward.  Some people get that:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is leading a growing bipartisan chorus of lawmakers calling for Archuleta’s firing in the wake of the mega breach at her embattled agency, which has exposed the personal data of as many as 14 million government employees.

[Presidential Spokesman Josh] Earnest said updating OPM’s cyber defenses has been one of Archuleta’s top priorities since she assumed her post in late 2013, but that is “obviously an ongoing process.”

He said Archuleta and OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour have cooperated as best as they can with a congressional inquiry into the hacks.

“They understandably faced some tough questions and they have tried to provide as much information as possible to the United States Congress,” he said.  “This is an issue they have been working on for some time.”

Here is the problem.  "Military clearance OPM data breach 'absolute calamity'".  I expect it includes my data.

And, this should not have been a surprise.  Mr Michael Esser, the Agency’s Assistant Inspector General for Audit testified to Congress that the problems had been reported a year ago.  This is not good.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Anyone remember Mr Michael Brown?

CRS Ripoff, Due to Congress


For John, BLUFWhy should we pay twice for Congressional Research Service reports?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Their Lordships, the Editors of The New York Times, have spoken on the fact that "Congressional Research Belongs to the Public", and they are correct.  And the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a gem lodged in our Nation's Capitol.  From the lede:
In Washington, the reports have become commodities traded and sold by policy wonks.

Every day, the Congressional Research Service, a little-known government agency attached to the Library of Congress, churns out papers on issues as varied as the defense budget, the farm bill and nuclear weapons.  They’re not classified.  They’re nonpartisan.  And unlike many government reports, they’re fairly easy to understand.  Yet it’s hard for most people to get copies of reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as an in-house think-tank for lawmakers.  That is absurd.

As the Library of Congress, which will soon get a new leader, takes long-overdue steps to modernize digital access, lawmakers and library officials must find a way to make the service’s valuable work readily available.  These expert reports give taxpayers a richer understanding of the issues and choices their representatives deal with.

And there is more, four paragraphs more, including the fact that there is someone in suburban Maryland who makes copies and forwards for $399 a year.  That would be $399 on top of the taxes one pays to fund the CRS.

Here is a sample from the Penny Hill Press web page:

  • Small Business Administration Microloan Program
  • Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
  • The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration
  • Small Business Administration HUBZone Program
  • Rules and Practices Governing Consideration of Revenue Legislation in the House and Senate
  • SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program
  • Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation
  • Recess Appointments Made by President Barack Obama
  • Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy
  • The Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and Federal Funding
  • National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends
  • Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions
  • The "Islamic State" Crisis and U.S. Policy
  • U.S. Grain Standards Act: Potential Reauthorization in the 114th Congress
  • State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism-Legislative Parameters: In Brief
  • Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
  • FY2016 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief
  • EPA and the Army Corps\' Proposed "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
  • Sudan
  • U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners
  • Trends in the Timing and Size of DHS Appropriations: In Brief
  • Comparing DHS Appropriations by Component, FY2016: Fact Sheet
  • DHS Budget v. DHS Appropriations: Fact Sheet
  • Department of Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2016
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) FY2016 Budget Request and Funding History: Fact Sheet
  • An Overview of the Employment-Population Ratio
  • Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 114th Congress
  • LIHEAP: Program and Funding
  • Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
  • Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
  • Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits
  • Procurement Debarment and Suspension of Government Contractors: Legal Overview
  • Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
  • The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues
  • Iraq: Politics, Security, and U.S. Policy
  • Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt
  • Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
One can purchase the report on An Overview of the Employment-Population Ratio (R44055), something of interest to me (it is down from 62.9% in November 2007 and now back up to 59.3% in April of 2015).  The cost from Penny Hill Press, in PDF format, is $19.95.  A report prepared at the expense of the US Taxpayer.  For $20.00.

On the other hand, if we had to purchase it from the Government Printing Office it might cost twice as much.  In the electronic age, this is out of control.

Regards  —  Cliff

Waterloo—200 Years On


For John, BLUFThis was shortly after we concluded the War of 1812 with the British.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The Battle of Waterloo was 200 years ago today.  It was an important turning point in history.  If the Duke of Wellington (UK) and Gebhard von Blücher (Kingdom of Prussia) had lost, Bonaparte would have likely gone on to rule Europe as Emperor and democracy would have been delayed for decades in those lands.  Put another way, tyranny would have reigned.

From The Wall Street Journal, a few days back, is an article by Mr David Marcelis, titled "When Napoleon Met His Waterloo, He Was Out of Town".

It seems that at the 200 years mark the Belgian village of Braine-l’Alleud wants credit for the French emperor’s defeat.  After all, they have the big monument, a pyramid-like manmade hill, with a lion on top.

According to Belgian Historian Bernard Coppens,

Most of the Battle of Waterloo took place a few miles south, in Braine-l’Alleud and Plancenoit.
The battle got its name because the victor, the Duke of Wellington, penned his official report from his Waterloo headquarters.

More than a hundred places world-wide are its namesakes. ABBA’s “Waterloo” ranks among the best-selling singles ever.  It abides in English, French and other languages as an expression for one’s final, insurmountable challenge.

But, regardless of where it happened, the important thing was that Bonaparte was defeated and the French Revolution, and the struggle for Democracy across Europe, could continue.  We ourselves, here in the United States, benefited because of the refugees from the 1848 Revolution, who came here in time to help fight and win the American Civil War.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tipping Point?


For John, BLUFHigher Education is heading for a big crash.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In a way I am surprised that The Washington Post would allow Law Professor Eugene Volokh to post this item:  "UC teaching faculty members not to criticize race-based affirmative action, call America ‘melting pot,’ and more".  The article gives us an overview of the University of California position on microaggression as a form of a hostile learning environment.

Here is how it wraps up:

So let’s see if I understand it.  “Microaggressions” are defined as “send[ing] denigrating messages” based (in relevant part) on race.  Unsurprisingly, they are labeled as potentially leading to “hostile learning environments,” which the university and the federal government views as legally actionable.  The university as an employer is telling its employees, including many employees who don’t have tenure, that expressing certain views is a “micro aggression.”

But then the university insists that it’s “preserving academic freedom and the free flow of ideas.”  Because, you know, lecturers, adjuncts, not-yet-tenured faculty members, and so on, will read this and say, “sure, I can express my ideas condemning affirmative action, and be labeled by UC as engaging in ‘microaggressions’ — of course UC isn’t going to retaliate against me for that.”  Doesn’t seem to reflect how actual employees behave in the face of such statements from the employer’s Office of the President, Academic and Personnel Programs department.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Well, the newspaper has been taken over by Mr Jeff Bezos.
  Actionable under Title IX, which is driving not only an unfortunate growth of Administrators in Higher Education, thus driving up cost, but also driving various sources of insanity.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Voter ID Denial a Sham


For John, BLUFDo you require some sort of an ID from your customers?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Over at The Hill Reporter Juan Williams notes "Dems should not be losing voting-rights fight".  But, apparently, Ms Clinton, et al notwithstanding, they are.
Why are Democrats losing the debate over voting rights?

The biggest political fight shaping the 2016 campaigns for the White House and Senate is over limiting the Democrats’ base of likely voters.

President Obama twice won the White House by bringing more young people and minorities, his biggest supporters, into the political process — and into the voting booth. Republicans are now pushing back to increase their electoral chances in 2016.

And they are winning.

Even most black Americans — people who, overwhelmingly, don’t vote Republican — currently favor new requirements for voters to have photo identification. Three-quarters of all voters — people of all races and political parties — favor such laws, according to polls.

The black support for photo identification of voters can only be described as amazing.

Why is this amazing?

I suspect that there are lots of Black people, who, if you stripped out their race selection and zip code, would appear to be just regular middle class people.  Fairly strong religious orientation and a dislike for crime.  A belief in hard work and fairness.  People who believe that “the most qualified person should get the job.” and “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

The real question about Voter ID is how those without a Photo ID exist in our society?

  • They apparently don't drive cars or motorcycles.  And can't get jobs as Cabbies or truck drivers.
  • They probably can't cash checks.  (I had a bank that at one point required two forms of ID.)
  • They can't get a legit job since they can't provide a Photo ID and proof of citizenship.
  • They never leave the country, since they have no passport.
I suspect what we are seeing is two economies in one territory.  One economy is above ground and moving along and another nation underground, avoiding taxes and perhaps engaged in what the above ground economy thinks of as illegal activities.  Two different groups, socialized in two different ways.

But, back to Mr Williams' question, I don't think they are losing the likely voters.  In Texas the new voting laws have seen an increase in participation.  Maybe folks now feel that their vote is real and counts and won't be diluted.

But, back to the folks without a Photo ID.  From US News and World Report, from two years ago there is an article with this item:

Economists estimate the size of the underground economy at somewhere between 8 percent and 14 percent of total GPD, which could amount to as much as $2 trillion worth of economic activity. Authorities in California say off-the-books transactions cost the state $6.5 billion in lost tax revenue every year.
So, 8 to 14 percent of our GDP is off the books, which suggests that something like a tenth of our population is off the books.  They probably don't need a Photo ID and don't wish to highlight themselves by getting one.  Yes, there are the very poor, but they can get a free Photo ID, but they need to be educated about it.  There is the place for the whinging Democrats to look for voters.  Although those folks may actually blame Democrats for their situation.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hillary Spanish Website


For John, BLUFMs Clinton's Staff needs to brush up its Spanish.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I believe the InstaPundit captures a truth here.
MAYBE SHE SHOULD HAVE ASKED JEB, OR TED, OR MARCO TO GIVE IT A QUICK READ-OVER:  Hillary’s Spanish-Language Website Filled With Mistakes.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Legal Immigration SNAFU


For John, BLUFFood prices are probably going up.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The Wall Street Journal we have this news on immigration, "Visa Glitch Stalls Workers, Straining U.S. Farms".
A computer failure has prevented the U.S. from issuing thousands of temporary and immigrant visas since June 9, leaving agricultural workers stranded at the border just as the summer harvest gets under way.

“It’s a crisis,” said Jason Resnick, general counsel for the Western Growers Association, which represents farmers in California, Arizona and Colorado.

He said that more than 1,000 workers who expected H-2A agricultural visas are stuck on the Mexican side of the border, where motels are overflowing. The workers are overdue to start harvesting berries and other crops on U.S. farms. Mr. Resnick estimated that California agriculture, already stressed by drought, is losing $500,000 to $1 million for each day of delay.

If we can't get the legal immigration system to work properly, what are the odds we will be able to deal with illegals?  Or, is this just a cover?

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 15, 2015

All Hail the Barons at Runnymede


TRIGGER WARNING:  I give praise to Englishmen for helping to bring forth freedom and liberty.
For John, BLUFWe owe those Barons a lot!  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Today is the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. Here is Columnist George Will, of The Washington Post, writing about "The 588-year path to limited government".  This is the line from the Barons meeting with [Evil] King John at Runnymede to Chief Justice John Marshall publishing the US Supreme Court Ruling in Marbury v. Madison on 24 February 1803 read aloud at Stelle's Hotel.  That was when it was established "the power to declare a congressional act null and void."

Incidentally, fittingly enough, it was Americans who erected the first monument to the Magna Carta at Runnymede.

It wasn't so much that we can trace a direct solid line as it was that the Barons established a principle and those who followed them continued to establish that principle.  If we do not continue in that tradition, freedom will be lost to overpowering government.

All Hail the Magna Carta.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Trust is Needed, But Not Always Wise


For John, BLUFRepublican Candidate has staffer who lies to the press just before the election.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



So, this guy's staffer put out the word, just before the election, that the Candidate was guilty of sexual harrassment.  The Candidate lost.  Turns out that the staffer lied. "Former Staffer For California Republican Admits to Lies That Ruined Campaign".

I hope this was not a coordinated effort.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Metric Isn't Always the Answer


For John, BLUFMeasurement should allow people to understand their environment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



"America Uses Fahrenheit.  The Rest of the World Uses Celsius.  America Is Right.  The Rest of the World Is Wrong.".

Well, the source is Mother Jones.  The writer is Mr Ben Dreyfuss.

The accompanying chart at the Link is an excellent example of how the American system is superior.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Maybe Tom Didn't Do It


For John, BLUFI wonder what is the real story?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I picked this up from Facebook, but it is The New York Times, which is supposed to be our Newspaper of Record.  It is from the "Sunday Review", by two American Enterprise Institute employees, Mr Kevin A. Hassett,director of economic studies, and Mr Stan A. Veuger, resident scholar.  The article is "Deflating ‘Deflategate’".

Is our Quarterback, Tom Bradey, owed an apology?

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 13, 2015

PC Run Amok


TRIGGER WARNING:  Wherein I deride the idea of micro-aggression.
For John, BLUFThis is going to set us back a long ways.  Not even in the Victorian Era was there such sensitivity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From PJ Media and Writer Debra Heine we have "Totalitarianism on Campus:  UC Professors Instructed Not to Say ‘America is the Land of Opportunity’".  She quotes:
“America is the land of opportunity,” “There is only one race, the human race” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” are among a long list of alleged microaggressions faculty leaders of the University of California system have been instructed not to say.

These so-called microaggressions – considered examples of subconscious racism – were presented at faculty leader training sessions held throughout the 2014-15 school year at nine of the 10 UC campuses. The sessions, an initiative of UC President Janet Napolitano, aim to teach how to avoid offending students and peers, as well as how to hire a more diverse faculty.

At the gatherings, deans and department chairs across the UC system have been instructed to be careful using (read: instructed not to use) phrases such as “America is the land of opportunity” or even use forms that provide only “male” and “female” check boxes, among a long litany of supposed microaggressions listed in a document underlying the “Faculty Leadership Seminars.”

UC President Janet Napolitano has been ill advised in this.  Bless her little heart.  She is a Democrat.

One of the items that is seen as micro-aggression is asking someone where they are from.  Funnily enough I think that is a good ice breaker because most folks are proud of where they are from.  I am.  Aren't you?

This kind of thing is going to be very bad for the nation.  A hundred years ago women didn't show their ankles because it would be risqué.  Today we dare not talk about a woman's ankles for fear of violating some sensibility, for fear of some micro-aggression.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Originialy from Johnstown, PA, graduated High School in Long Beach, California (our 55th reunion for R A Millikan High School is this fall) and now from Lowell, Mass (no, not Boston.

We Were Hacked and Our Data Stolen


For John, BLUFThe theft of personal data from OPM is terrible.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Daily Beast Reporter John R. Schindler we have "China’s Spies Hit the Blackmail Jackpot With Data on 4 Million Federal Workers".  This articles from 11 June.  Still, 13 June, no firings for this terrible loss of personal information.  That is to say, if you ever filled out an SF 86 in pursuit of a security clearance, the data is now in the hands of the hackers.  Here is the lede:
If you’ve ever held a security clearance with Uncle Sam, Chinese hackers now have all your personal info—and from debt to dirty money, they won’t be shy about causing mayhem with it.

With each passing day the U.S. government’s big hacking scandal gets worse.  Just what did hackers steal from the Office of Personnel Management? Having initially assured the public that the loss was not all that serious, OPM’s data breach now looks very grave.  The lack of database encryption appears foolhardy, while OPM ignoring repeated warnings about its cyber vulnerabilities implies severe dysfunction in Washington.

This should be the top headline everywhere, but doesn't even make Drudge, which means it is not making news across the fruited plain.

So, what will this stolen info provide to the thieves?  They can use it for blackmail.  They can use sell it to marketing operations.  They can increase your paranoia.

What should the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (Federal Government) be doing?  They should be replacing managers who let this happen.  They should be looking for ways to impede hackers, including by air gapping some information.  They should be investing in modern hardware and software and investing in computer monitoring.

What should the US Congress be doing?  Investigating.  On a bipartisan basis.

UPDATE:  A 12 June AP story, from The Blaze.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Probably including if you went for a Security Clearance as an employee of a private company, like LockMart or Teledyne or DRC.
  If this were the UK, perhaps the head of OPM, Director Katherine Archuleta, would resign.  At least that used to be the way, with Members of Parliament shouting Shame! Shame!.
  Sorry, it is what popped up first when I searched on the lede.

Gridlock Broken


For John, BLUFIdeas do matter and sometimes trump party affiliation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The headline at Drudge is "SNEAK:  REPUBLICANS PLAN NEW OBAMATRADE PUSH".  OK, I admit it is Breitbart and that the author is Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), but there it is, Republicans and Democrats cooperating.  Not that I think the President will express much gratitude over the long run, but there it is, gridlock broken between Republicans and Democrats, but a certain degree of gridlock within the Democrat Party.  For example, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voted against the President.

Because of the fact that the Republican Leadership is trying to work with the President, there will be another try at passing the Trade Authority.  Which brings us back to Senator Sessions, who writes:

Americans do not want this, did not ask for it, and are pleading from their hearts for their lawmakers to stop it.
Think about it.  Senator E Warren and Senator Jeff Sessions on the same track.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 12, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders Smeared


For John, BLUFThe blot of Antisemitism has perhaps reared its ugly head.  If not directly, then indirectly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I have been wondering how to deal with this creepy question from Ms Diane Rehm of NPR.  Fortunately, Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse helped me out.

Did NPR host Diane Rehm just make an honest mistake when she said to Bernie Sanders "Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel…"?

Sanders corrected her, and she immediately stepped back saying, "I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list, forgive me if that is…."

Why would she say something wrong like that and embarrass herself if she weren't making an honest mistake? Why would she float an accusation right in front of Sanders, if she knew it was wrong, when he'd smack her down instantly?

First, dealing with dual citizenship.  It is a real thing.  The US Supreme Court says if you hold dual citizenship you can vote in foreign elections without giving up your US Citizenship.  The thing is, for the President of the United States to have dual citizenship just seems unsatisfactory.

All that said, I think the US Congress should pass legislation eliminating dual citizenship.

Moving on, Senator Bernie Sanders rocked the Clinton Campaign with a Wisconsin straw poll last week of 41% to Hillary's 49%.  That makes him a threat to Ms Clinton.

So, what was Ms Rehm's motivation here?  Was it just her age?  She is 78, but frankly, I would find that agism repulsive.  Was she trying to knife Senator Sanders?  For Ms Clinton?  Because of her Arab heritage?

The motto for the 2016 Campaign appears to be "Go Ugly Early".

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, our youngest was born in Germany, but he has not retained dual citizenship.

State Budgets and Deficits


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



Former Paul A Volcker is worried about how the individual states are dealing with their future liabilities, like pension funds.  Here is his ideas as reported by Ms Mary Williams Walsh in The New York Times"Volcker Sees Hidden Peril in State Budgets".
Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman widely credited with taming inflation in the 1980s, has found what he considers a new economic scourge to battle:  shoddy state budgets that he contends push costs into the future for other generations of taxpayers to pay.

When the states live beyond their means in this way, Mr. Volcker said on Monday, their budgets may seem balanced every year, but they are in fact piling up hidden mountains of unpaid bills.  The invisible mountains grow bigger every year and eventually become crushing — something that seems to be happening in several states this summer as lawmakers find themselves at a loss to close their deficits.

“The never-ending sense of crisis leads to stop-and-go funding of vital programs,” Mr. Volcker said in his first report on state finances since establishing the Volcker Alliance, a foundation devoted to rebuilding public trust in government at the federal, state and local levels.

I commented on someone's Facebook page that I thought our Commonwealth was headed in the proper direction.  I noted how I was concerned that Mr Volcker might be pushing us in the direction of a more uniform way of doing business across the fruited plain and that such a thing would undermine what makes the United States different, our test lab of different ideas, the individual States.  I suggested we didn't want to end up like France, for example.

Now comes The Boston Herald, with an article by Reporter Joe Battenfeld, "Hidden junket funds:  How Deval Patrick secretly diverted millions to off-budget accounts".

Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Herald investigation has found.

The maneuver to fatten the hidden “trust” 

accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession, the Herald found.

PDF:  Tracking ex-gov.'s money stash

State lawmakers never approved the funding plan, and it’s not clear who even knew about it, but it is clear who orchestrated the end-around the budget and got state agencies to contribute.

“The (Patrick) administration asked us to,” said Katie Hauser, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which kicked in the largest amount to the trusts, $23.5 million.

Senator Harry Reid?  The man who, on the floor of the US Senate, lied about Governor Mitt Romney?  That Harry Reid?

Hat tip to an unnamed Facebook friend.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There are six things that the LORD strongly dislikes, seven that are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.  —Proverbs 6:16–19

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Border Patrol


TRIGGER WARNING:  Murderers are on the loose.
For John, BLUFContext is always important and hypocrisy always abounds.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Yesterday I was listening to a News Conference on the radio and a New York State Trooper was talking about two escaped convicts and how, in the search, they had secured the border with Vermont.

What kind of an unAmerican comment is that?

I thought we didn't do that sort of thing, because it discriminates against minority groups.  Certainly we aren't doing it in the Desert Southwest?

And Governor Cuomo was at the Press Conference and didn't say anything about this unAmerican kind of activity.  Is this a further example of the Police out of control?  Has anyone contacted Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby?  Has the Department of Justice been rung in?

Regards  —  Cliff

Learning From Mistakes


For John, BLUFMistakes happen, even with the Police.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Sometimes even the Progressive Press gets it, as with this article by Ms Candice Bernd, in Truthout, "Wisconsin Passes First State Law Requiring Independent Investigations of Police-Custody Deaths".  As you read you will note that the person pushing this rock up hill was a former Air Force pilot, who understood the importance of independent mishap investigations to find out what went wrong, so corrective actions could be taken for the future.  In my mind, this is not about punishment, but about the search for the truth.

In case you don't fancy Truthout as a news source, here is an article by Ms Gina Barton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"Gov. Scott Walker signs police custody deaths bill".

And, this took place a little year ago, in early 2014.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ms Clinton and Libya


For John, BLUFBenghazi isn't Ms Clinton's real Libya Problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



At CNN on Monday, Reporter Stephen Collinson talks to "Hillary Clinton's real Libya problem".  Note, not FOX News, but CNN.

Hillary Clinton has another Libya problem.

She's already grappling with the political headaches from deleted emails and from the terror attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi.

But she'll face a broader challenge in what's become of the North African country since, as secretary of state in 2011, she was the public face of the U.S. intervention to push out its longtime strongman, Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya's lapse into the chaos of failed statehood has provided a breeding ground for terror and a haven for groups such as ISIS.  Its plight is also creating an opening for Republican presidential candidates to question Clinton's strategic acumen and to undermine her diplomatic credentials, which will be at the center of her pitch that only she has the global experience needed to be president in a turbulent time.

I do think the real issue with regard to Benghazi is the violation of the First Amendment.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Which used to be known as the "Clinton News Network".

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Watch What You Say


For John, BLUFJust because comments are nasty is no reason for the Government to suppress them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the InstaPundit (Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds) to The Wall Street Journal to the blog Popehat"Department Of Justice Uses Grand Jury Subpoena To Identify Anonymous Commenters on a Silk Road Post at Reason.com".

So, no anonymous comments if you upset the Department of Justice.

Bullies.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff