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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Who Can Vote?

For John, BLUFYes, voting should not be suppressed.  However, those who aren't good citizens shouldn't be joining the rest of us in voting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

These state laws are another form of voter suppression – like gerrymandering, voter ID requirements, and bars on anyone with felony convictions from voting.

From Nation of Change, by Professor Robert Reich, 21 November 2017.

I was reading with an open mind until I got to the "like gerrymandering, voter ID requirements…".

Here is the lede plus one:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being denied the right to vote because they are poor.

In nine states, Republican legislators have enacted laws that disenfranchise anyone with outstanding legal fees or court fines.  For example, in Alabama more than 100,000 people who owe money – roughly 3 percent of the state’s voting-age population – have been struck from voting rolls.

Dealing first with Gerrymandering, it is an issue and it exists everywhere, including here in Lowell and Chelmsford.  This isn't a Republican issue.  This is a power issue.  That is, those who are in power, working to stay in power.  Professor Reich should understand this, having twice lived in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

As for Voter ID, there is the fact that if the folks checking you in to vote don't know you, an ID is the quick way to confirm you are who you are.  If you go to a hospital or a physician's office, you are expected to present an ID.  Why is voting different?  Besides, why isn't Professor Reich urging all those Democrats on Beacon Hill to repeal our Commonwealth's Voter ID Law?

As for felons, they lose their rights.  Should they get them back once they are out of prison and they are past all post-release encumbrances?  Maybe.  Should they then have the right to obtain a Commission in the US Army Reserve or the National Guard?  I wouldn't object to them getting their vote back after they have fully paid back their debt to society.  But, not before.

I would say that if there are small amounts owed to courts or government, then the person should be allowed to vote.  However, there should be a limit to this.  If large amounts are owed then the person should lose their right to vote.  I would draw the line somewhere between $1,000 and $10,000.

The "poll tax" line is just another Democratic Party dog whistle.

Regards  —  Cliff

Risk Assessment and Driving

For John, BLUFRegulating for the idiots may make all of us less safe.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is:

We need more intelligence and less attempted engineering of preferred outcomes.

From the Foundation for Economic Education, by Mr Jeffrey A. Tucker, 26 November 2017.

Here is an excerpt, with the lead-in being a woman who saw a green light and got in trouble for acting on it:

Green gives her the legal right to drive forward.  It doesn’t guarantee that doing so will be safe.

Traffic engineers need to rig the signaling system to let people know that most basic condition of driving:  for your sake and others, be safe.  Increasingly, in Europe, they are addressing the problem in an unusual way:  fewer lights, stops, rules, and signals are better than more.  Some cities are eliminating signs and signals at major intersections completely, based on the realization that individual, on-the-ground rationality works better than top-down rules.

When we lived in the Naples, Italy, area there was a tough intersection, and with no traffic lights or traffic control signs.  It was a free-for-all and known to the Americans stationed in Naples as "Chicken Corner".  The priority road was the Via Antonio Beccadelli, coming up the hill from the South and, past the intersection, going down the hill to the north.  Coming up the hill from the east (and Naples) was the Via Provinciale San Gennaro.  Leaving the intersection and going up hill was the Via San Gennaro Agnano (becoming, eventually, the Via Domitiana, all the way to Rome).  This road was named after Saint Januarius, who was martyred up where he highway bends around the mountain, near the Italian Air Force Academy.  By the way, Antonio Beccadelli was a Fifteenth Century Poet associated with Alfonso V of Aragon, who ruled Naples at the time.

But, back to the story.  After we left, the Italian authorities put in traffic control devices and reports are that traffic was a tangle from that point on.  In the old days, coming up one of the hills the driver would lift his or her foot off the gas, slowing just a tad, look at the traffic and then accelerate forward.  No sweat.

Another example, lost in the 1950s, was that when neighborhood signs made the speed limit 25 MPH and the average speed was 37 MPH, increasing the speed on the signs to 30 MPH resulted in a drop in average speed to 33 MPH.  When the drivers found the speed limit to be reasonable, they tended to follow it.

Drivers are, as a group, a population with a certain risk assessment capability.  We should be aware of that and take advantage of that to create safer streets.

UPDATE:  Provided information on Antonio Beccadelli, after whom one of the roads in Naples was named.

Sometimes less is more.

Regards  —  Cliff

Opioids to Kill the Physical Pain

For John, BLUFGiving folks with chronic pain medical attention could reduce opioid overdoses by a significant amount.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from United Press International (UPI) and their HealthDay News, 28 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

More than 60 percent of opioid overdose deaths involve people who suffer from chronic pain, a new analysis reveals.

Many of them also struggled with depression or anxiety, the investigators found.

The findings stem from a study that examined the medical backgrounds of more than 13,000 men and women who died from an opioid overdose between 2001 and 2007.

Another study says that a factor in not getting off drugs, and thus being at risk for overdose is isolation.  A story in NPR in 2015 said that a study showed that 95% of returning Vietnam Veterans, who had been using "in theater" did not pick up the habit again once returned stateside.  I am not sure we really understand all there is to know about drug addiction and drug overdoses.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

For DC Metro the 25th of December Doesn't Exist

For John, BLUFThese kinds of things are why folks talk about a "war on Christmas".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media, by Stephen Kruiser, 28 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) rejected a Christmas advertisement from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese on the grounds that it ran afoul of guidelines for religious advertising.
Go to the Link and view the advert.  Doesn't seem that "offensive" to me.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Those Pesky EMails

For John, BLUFI think SecState Clinton was careless in caring for classified information and folks around her covered for her.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Pajamas Media item is by Ms Debra Heine, 28 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

A former government watchdog says Hillary Clinton's campaign threatened retribution against him and his loved ones when he raised concerns about classified info on Clinton's private email server while it was being investigated in 2016.

“There was personal blowback.  Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III told Fox News' Catherine Herridge on Monday.

He said the Clinton campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if Clinton won the 2016 election.  Democrats in Congress also mounted what he thought looked like a coordinated campaign to intimidate him.

McCullough, an Obama appointee, became inspector general after "more than two decades at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community," Fox News reported.  He explained how the probe was quickly politicized and his office marginalized by Democrats in Congress.

Oh goody.

My view is that if you are not paranoid about classified, you shouldn't be handling classified.  An example—when I was the Squadron Intelligence Officer for the 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Bulldogs—"You Bet Your Sweet A__ I Am") I went into work one Sunday and when I left the base I turned around and drove back on base, unlocked the squadron front door, unlocked the Intel Office and rechecked the safe, relocked the Intel Office door, relocked the squadron front door, then went through my steps in my mind and then reentered my car and drove off the base and went home.  Like I said, paranoid.  And we didn't have any SAP stuff, as mentioned in the article.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Dark Future

For John, BLUFSarah has a head of steam today.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From her eponymous blog, According to Hoyt, Science Fiction Writer Sarah Hoyt wrote this piece for 27 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

No, that’s not my life.  Why would you ask, other than the fact that I woke up with a non-functional computer and then got sidetracked into a million other things?  And this is really late.

Okay, fine, massed confusion IS my life, but it is not the kind of confusion I wanted to talk about.

Richard Fernandez was talking about the death of prestige on PJMedia.  He viewed it as a side effect of the recent sex scandals, but I think the sex scandals and the disintegration of our “respect” for people and institutions are more the result of two twin things:  first the fact that the left has been undermining established society for a long time, initially because once “capitalist” (which is to say normal) society vanished, paradise would magically appear, and since 91 in a sort of mad fury that they can’t have their little red wagon*; second the same left was, at the same time taking over all the institutions.

Their lack of respect for the institutions they took over, their complete inability to see what’s in front of their eyes, and the fact that their entire philosophy is based on resentment and envy — which means they’re convinced everyone else, everywhere else is getting away with stuff, and so they might as well — results in the “take over a respected institution; kill it; flay it; wear its skin and dance in front of the horrified people involved in that institution, demanding respect.

For the footnotes, go to the original.

Ms Hoyt fears the left would destroy civilization in order to save humanity, and would thus kill humanity along with it.  And, I think she is correct.  And, judging by Russia and China and Cuba and Cambodia and Venezuela, it would be ugly to boot.  Not that Chancellor Hitler did any better.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

What A Mess

For John, BLUFThe corruption of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and Hollywood East (DC) continues still.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Rob Eno, in the daily mailout from Conservative Review, 28 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Cokie Roberts stunner … Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” veteran broadcaster Cokie Roberts said something that, if true, means the Washington press corps covered for Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who has recently been accused of being a sexual predator.  Regarding Conyers, Roberts said, “Don’t get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole— every female in the press corps knew that, right, don’t get in elevator with him.  Now people are saying it out loud.  And I think that does make a difference.”  You need to see it to believe it.

Wait, what?  Roberts is admitting that at the very least she “knew” it wasn’t safe to be in an elevator alone with Conyers.  Roberts covered Congress for ABC News primarily 20 years ago in the 1990s.  Conyers has been in Congress for 52 years.  Roberts’ job at ABC was to hold members of Congress accountable.  If we are to believe Roberts, she knew that Conyers was a danger to women and she did nothing about it.  Why?  Is it because he held views she liked?  This is a stunning admission of bias.

And, if you don't like the opinion of a local man gone to the big time, there is, from New Jersey, Emeritus Law Professor Ann Althouse, Madison, Wisconsin, asking the hard questions.  And the Comments at the post are great.

Her Blog Post is titled (based on what Reporter Cokie Roberts said):

"Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference."

So Professor Althouse asks:

The question, of course, is why didn't she or any of the other women in the press corps say it out loud?  And what are you still not saying out loud?  Are you just waiting until somebody else exposes one of the politicians you have been protecting or is there no one else you're just hanging back not talking about until the day comes when you'll be saying, once again, oh, yeah, we all knew that?
It isn't like this is new.  It is like Ms Linda Tripp said.  Nothing has changed, except some of this is now out in the open.

In the 1980s I had a couple of tours in the Pentagon.  On one of them I was there with two of my cousins, also in the Air Force.  One of them, EE, told me that her fellow female officers, who worked on Capitol Hill, told here there were three people one did not get into an elevator with alone—Senators Bob Packwood, Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy.  Two questions:

  1. Why didn't Ms Roberts mention those three senators?
  2. Did you ever vote for Senator Ted Kennedy?
And remember Hollywood (and Broadway) with the phrase "casting couch", which was current when I was young.  In fact it goes back to the 1920s and 1930s.

So, is it much deeper, but all of us are covering for someone, or is this it?

Regards  —  Cliff

  I blame Donald Trump, God Bless Him.

Lights of Confusion

For John, BLUFIf they don't make sense, should we ignore them?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

If you are running down Andover Street, toward downtown Lowell, and cross over the Concord River, where the street magically becomes Church Street, you will soon come to a "Y", with Westbound traffic splitting to the right and becoming Green Street.  At the intersection of Green and George there are a set of traffic lights for the two lanes of traffic.

Here is the closeup, so you can see that BOTH lanes have both a straight ahead and a right turn arrow.

Does that make sense?  I could see the left lane with a straight ahead arrow and the right lane (Number 2 Lane) with a straight ahead and right turn arrow.  I could also see the left lane with a straight ahead arrow and right turn arrow and the right (Number 2) lane with just a right turn arrow.  I don't see the current setup.

Back when I first got to the City, Mr Brian J Martin was the City Manager.  At the time he lived on Fairmount Street, near where I lived.  I didn't know City Manager Martin from Adam's Odd Ox, but I did use his name.  I called the City about the light situation and said that I lived down the street and around the corner from the City Manager and some day he was going to be going down Green Street, in the right hand lane and I was going to be in the left lane.  At the traffic light at George Street I would make a right hand turn and bang the City Manager's fender, defending myself by pointing to the traffic lights.

That worked.  The traffic light in the left lane was changed.  But it was only a temporary victory.  Eventually it was changed back.  State highway and all that.

I will admit that I don't really expect anyone to try and make a right turn out of the left lane at this intersection, except perhaps in a moment of absentmindedness.  On the other hand, that is not a reason to not do away with non-sensical traffic signals.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 27, 2017

Adjusting Highway Signs

For John, BLUFAs you would say, moving at the speed of Government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

If you are Eastbound on the VFW Highway, at the O'Donnell Bridge and Mammoth Road (McDonalds and Pawtucket Congregational Church) you have this aerial view.

Now put yourself at street level.  Looking to the East, we have this view.  Notice anything wrong?

Here is the closeup. As you can see, the highway sign for Route 113 has turned upside down, so it now reads E11.

Why yes, I did call this in.  To the City, which noted it is a State Road.  And to the State, a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe it is just in the queue, awaiting action, but so far, no feedback.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Actually Riverside Street going East from the Intersection.
  E11 is a North/South highway in France.  Driving along is almost like a vacation in France.

Slavery Today

For John, BLUFI blame the press.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

'We came, we saw, he died,' she joked. But overthrowing Gadhafi was a humanitarian and strategic debacle that now limits our options on North Korea.

An Opinion Pice by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, in USA Today, 27 November 2017.

Here is how the article begins:

Black Africans are beingsold in open-air slave markets right now, and it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. But you won’t hear much about that from the press or the foreign-policy pundits, so let me explain.

Footage from Libya, released last week by CNN, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off as farm workers in slave markets.

And how did we get to this point? As the BBC reported back in May, “Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Oct. 2011.”

And who was behind that overthrow? None other than then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Under former president George W. Bush in 2003, the United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. The deal: He would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, and we wouldn’t try to depose him.

That seemed like a good deal at the time, but the Obama administration didn’t stick to it. Instead, in an operation spearheaded by Clinton, the United States went ahead and toppled him anyway.

Frankly, I hope Ms Clinton is frosted by this article.  She may not have foreseen this outcome—Black Africans being sold into slavery—but it was her job, or the job of the State Department Director of Policy Planning.  Sadly, Ms Anne-Marie Slaughter had left the office by January 2011 and it was up to Mr Jake Sullivan to speak truth to power.  He failed, but he is still Ms CLinton's foreign policy advisor to this day.

And African-Americans of all stripes should be outrage by this.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Trump Foreign Policy

For John, BLUFIt isn't a safe world out there, but it wasn't two years ago, either—plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Atlantic Monthly and Analyst Uri Friedman, 25 November 2017.


The Trump administration "has handled things in a ... measured and firm way that will prevent North Korea from miscalculating," Han argued.  "I do not know if it is wise to push North Korea to the extent they feel they have to react in a non-peaceful way.  But North Korea has shown some degree of restraint as far as deeds are concerned, although their rhetoric has also been quite blustery."

"The most important thing is not to make the situation worse," he continued.  "We can't expect to resolve the problem in a short period of time.  But we have to patiently work on it while all the time maintaining deterrence and defense capabilities, and that the United States [under Trump] has done."

"So far," Han noted, "the present U.S. administration hasn't really made any major mistakes."

After the Thanksgiving meal, with the politically inclined at one end of the table, one person brought up Judge Roy Moore, looking, I expect, for a reaction from his staunchly Democratic Party inclined Father-in-Law.  With some deftness, and a lot of luck, I diverted the conversation to North Korea, where I figured months of reading daily proffered about North Korea gave me escalation dominance.  The Democrat, let's call him Jim, wanted to do something about Kim Jung-un.  I argued for patience, deterrence and propaganda (propaganda like the folks using balloons to send information filled USB Thumb Drives over the north).  Put me down as favoring the stats quo.

But, I am happy to hear arguments about WWHD.  Any opportunity to learn.

Regards  —  Cliff

At 8:50 This Morning

For John, BLUFPerhaps a new form of transgenderism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A short, but insightful comment from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:

IF I WERE SOMEBODY ELSE, THIS COULD BE A TEDIOUS 3000 WORD THINKPIECE IN THE NEW YORKER.  INSTEAD, YOU GET A BLOG POST.  But I was pondering the weird behavior of people like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose.  This isn’t just about using the power of your position to get women.  Instead, there was this weird stuff about walking around naked or in a bathrobe and expecting women to be impressed.  So my thought:  Instead of exercising traditionally male power, they were trying to exercise the traditionally female power of being desirable and desired.  Maybe it’s because they were in industries where that power is especially prominent, but pathetically, they were acting like they hoped someone would find them . . . beautiful.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Google is Naughty

For John, BLUFActually, Google is evil, but I am going with a Christmas theme here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At this link Google Refuses to go away.  I have, a dozen times, returned to my interesting article, only to have Google pop up again.  Allowing the Advert "timer" to run out didn't help.

It is almost like someone is trying to prevent me from reading the article, suppressing free speech.  I am reasonably doubtful it is Federal, State or Local Government (since Ms Clinton isn't President), but it might be a violation of some FCC Rule.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Giving Thanks

For John, BLUFYes, with the First Amendment we do have a "Civil Religion" but believers understand and non-believers are sometimes upset about it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Washington Post OpEd is by Mr James K.A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich, 23 November 2017.

The lede:

Thanksgiving has always been one of the high holy days of American civil religion.

Its rituals are surprisingly widespread — pilgrimages home through packed airports; gatherings of family and friends (and attendant tensions that are the stuff of Hollywood rom-coms); the dining room altar on which the turkey is supped, then a long day of drifting in and out of consciousness while hours and hours of football flicker in our darkening dens.

Our Thanksgiving traditions reflect the country’s mix of secularization and religious fervor — what theologian William Cavanaugh calls “migrations of the holy.”

In a secular age, our religious impulses aren’t diminished; they just find new devotions: consumption, the self, the nation. Now, the NFL — in all its popularity and current controversy — sets the script for our Thanksgiving Day litany. It gives us something to worship.

Of course, the typical symbols and traditions of Thanksgiving have their own vague history, which has become both assumed and contested. Those who observe the holiday maintain a baseline spirit of gratitude and pause to “give thanks.” But to whom?

Historically, this gratitude was expressed to God, to the Creator, the Lord of the Harvest, the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Establishing our national observance, Abraham Lincoln commended the nation to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

But in a secularized, naturalized world where we are at least officially agnostic about such a being, to whom shall we give thanks? Here’s where the liturgies of football on Thanksgiving provide an alternative.

And on it goes, but it does end on this note:
We might not thank God anymore, but that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving isn’t still religious.
. Even so, I was arrested by this phrase:
…secularized, naturalized world where we are at least officially agnostic about such a being…
That may be the view from the "Lilly Pads", but it isn't the view out across th Fruited Plain.

There are a lot of folks out there who are successfully integrating Thanksgiving and Football, thank you very much.&Nbsp; And many who are taking a knee on football.

With this being Christ the King Sunday, maybe it is time to remember we are all citizens of a higher kingdom, and are Thanksgiving is to Christ, our King.

You want more Trump?  This is how you get more Trump.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

New to the Zoo

For John, BLUFThe real question is how it all works out when the barrier comes down.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter Laura A. Oda, Mercury News, 25 November 2017.

The lede:

Oakland Zoo’s older female zebras, Jumoke and Stormy, are slowly being introduced to a pair of energetic young males, Beaker and Beetlejuice, 1 and 2 years old, that arrived in October.
Later in the story we learn that Jumoke (and her friend Stormy) can be a real jamoke.

Hat tip to My Brother Lance

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Divorce Hurts Society

For John, BLUFDivorce and remarriage actually decreases diversity in marriage, overall.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Assortive:  denoting or involving the preferential mating of animals or the marriage of humans with similar characteristics
A Marginal Revolution Blog Post by Mercator Center Economics Professor Tyler Cowen, on 25 November 2017.

Professor Cowan has an abstract of a paper on unilateral (easy or no fault) divorce and its (adverse) impact on society.

Remember the 1921 song by Ray Egan and Gus Kahn and Richard Whiting, Ain't we Got Fun?

There's nothing sure
The rich get rich and the poor get poorer
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Human Nature Hasn't Changed

For John, BLUFI attribute the recent revelations of sexual misconduct, facilitated by unequal power relationships, to the election of President Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

American Conservative Columnist Rod Dreher, gives us excerpts from Mr Peter Boyer's Weekly Stanard Article, "Linda Tripp: 'It's a Day Late, and It's a Dollar Short'", and an admonishment, "Read the whole thing.  It’s harsh … and it’s correct."

The lede Plus two:

Tripp has a quiet life in Northern Virginia horse country, avoiding the public attention that was so unwelcome in the late 1990s.  But the unending flow of headlines about the bad behavior of powerful men, she says, “is forcing me to relive a lot of it.”  She’s unconvinced by recent calls in the press for Clinton’s deeds to be reconsidered in a more critical light.  “They have nothing to lose, and this is now permissible,” she says.  “The fact that the Clintons are dead in the water gives [the media] tacit approval to act like human beings. . . .  It’s disingenuous.”

She finds it particularly galling to hear former Clinton defenders attributing their latter-day awakening to evolving social mores.  In a November 16 interview with the New York Times, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that she now believes that Bill Clinton should have resigned because of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.  “Things have changed,” she said.

“What information do they have at their fingertips today that they didn’t have 20 years ago?” Tripp asks.  “What information has changed?”

Nothing has changed.  But at least they have awakened somewhat to the fact that people of all stripes exploit power differentials.  Now, if they can just be "woke" to Uncle Joe and Chairman Mao.

I offer one more paragraph from Mr Dreher's excerpts:

The record would seem to support Tripp’s assessment of the relationship.  Lewinsky’s grand jury appearance revealed that between November 1995 and March 1997, she met the president furtively in a hallway, a bathroom, and, once, while he talked on the phone with a member of Congress.  They had six sexual encounters before they shared any meaningful conversation.  “I asked him why he doesn’t ask me any questions about myself,” she said, “and . . . is this just about sex . . . or do you have some interest in trying to get to know me as a person?”
Sadly, for Ms Lewinshy, it was just about the sex.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

NFL v Taxpayers

For John, BLUFThe NFL is big business, not really just local folks playing a pick up game.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from retired correspondent Don Surber, 24 November 2017.

The lede plus one:

Let us cut to the chase:  the NFL owns the players' protest because not only has the league failed to hold players accountable, its owners joined in the anti-American protest.

Well, virtue signaling has a price. Americans are about to pull tax breaks that the league enjoys.

Here is what Colin Kaepernick says it is all about:
I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
So the House (Republicans) have axed local communities issuing tax-exempt, public-purpose bonds, for sports stadiums, in their new tax bill.  I support this.  And, apparently, so did President Obama, when he was in office.

I expect that people who enjoy and follow and support sports teams also support their local police.  Besides, Mr Kaepernick either hasn't studies the data or doesn't understand it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 24, 2017

No Way to Run a Railroad

For John, BLUFMr Mueller seems unable to keep his business private.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Special counsel focuses on links to Turkey as legal team’s move signals possible cooperation with investigators

From The Wall Street Journal, by Reporters Dion Nissenbaum and Rebecca Ballhaus, Dateline 24 November 2017.

I am less impressed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, now that I find he is either incapable of, or indifferent to, running a public investigation in private.  Worse would be to find that it is his style to do his investigating in public, with innuendo being publically splashed around.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

This is Embarrassing

For John, BLUFThat would be Philly Mayor Jim Kenney.  I am glad this is not a Lowell Mayor being this impolite.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

Kenney questioned Trump's upbringing saying "his family didn't do a good job raising that guy."

From NBC News Philadelphia, by Reporters Vince Lattanzio, Rita Portela-Lopez and Christian Cazares, 22 November 20117.

The lede:

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney unleashed an insult-laden tirade against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, denouncing the Trump administration's decision to end protections for Haitians and other immigrants living in the United States.
Hat tip to Memorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Why Are There Overdoses?

For John, BLUFI think there is a lot of Pop Psychology driving Government Policy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

Right-wingers tend to think of addiction as a moral failing, and leftists tend to think of it as a disease. It looks like both positions might be wrong.

This Foundation for Economic Education article by Mr Jon Miltimore is datelines 17 November 2017.

The lede:

In his bestselling book Chasing the Scream, British journalist Johann Hari highlights a different study from the 1970s conducted by Bruce Alexander, a psychologist and professor from Vancouver. Alexander noticed something peculiar: the rats in these experiments were always solitary.

What would happen if the rats weren’t alone? he wondered.

Eager to find out, Alexander created an environment he called Rat Park, a happy home where rats enjoyed playgrounds and the company of other rats.  He discovered these rats “had much less appetite for morphine than rats housed in solitary confinement.”  Importantly, none of the rats in the happy environment died from overdose.

Alexander’s research is just one of the many pieces of evidence Hari cites in his book, a three-year project that led him to a startling conclusion:  “Almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong.”

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFThe question in the subject is "twilight for Chanellor Merkel of German?.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-heading:

Ask a European about strong and stable leadership and, up until this week, they'd have pointed the finger at Germany.

Ms Katya Adler is the Europe editor for The Beeb and her article is dated 22 November 2017.

The lede plus three:

A country proud of its post-war record of political stability and careful consensus-building.

Until, that is, Angela Merkel won the dubious honour of becoming the first German Chancellor since World War Two to fail to form a government.

"What next, Germany?" is the favourite screaming front page headline of the moment here; the question ricocheting across the country from the federal parliament to queues at local bus stops and on endless TV chat shows.

Germans have been rubbing their eyes, still not quite able to believe that their normally staid mainstream politicians may now be hurtling towards an unruly, unexpected snap election.

This doesn't raise much dust in the US, but it could have major consequences in Europe and thus for the UK and the US.

Hat tip to El Supremo.

Regards  —  Cliff

Happy Thanksgiving

For John, BLUFThis Democracy thing is a string of good fortune.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Opinionator Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe, 22 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

Driven far off course by gales and rough seas as they crossed the Atlantic in the fall of 1620, the Mayflower’s 102 passengers made landfall at a spot much farther north than they had planned.  They anchored at the tip of Cape Cod in what is now Provincetown, hundreds of miles from the Virginia territory they’d been aiming for — and well beyond the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company of London, which had issued the patent authorizing them to build a settlement.  It was a setback, but not enough to weaken the resolve of the ship’s Protestant Separatists, who had come to America to create a community true to their religious beliefs and would stick together no matter what.

A majority of the Mayflower’s passengers, however, were non-Separatist “Strangers,” some of whom now insisted they were no longer bound by the original plan.  William Bradford, who would become the foremost Pilgrim leader, wrote that several Strangers began to make “discontented and mutinous speeches,” announcing that when the ship anchored they would go their own way.  The Virginia patent was now void, they said, and “none had power to command them.”

Something had to be done to keep the group united.  That something turned out to be the Mayflower Compact, the foundation stone of American democracy.

Interesting that the majority of the MAYFLOWER passengers were not separatist Pilgrims, but rather "Strangers".

I worry that we think of the idea that all men (and women) get an equal say in government is considered common place and not the revolutionary idea that it was just four hundred years ago.  If we don't respect and nourish it we could lose it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Caring for the Less Fortunate

For John, BLUFI want to turn the homeless into tax payers, but there is support needed along the path, and jobs.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Pilot, Father Ron Rolheiser, 15 November 2017.

Here is the key teaching paragraph:

St. Augustine teaches that we can never be morally neutral, either we are growing in virtue or falling into vice.  We never have the luxury of simply being in some neutral, holding state.  There's no moral neutrality.  Either we are growing in virtue or sliding into virtue's opposite.  That's true for all of life.  A thing is either growing or it's regressing.
That general comment then leads to a specific comment:
So too with our attitude towards justice and the poor:  Either we are actively reaching out to the poor and being more drawn into concern for them or we are unconsciously hardening our hearts against them and unknowingly sliding into attitudes that trivialize their issues and distance ourselves from them.  If we are not actively advocating for justice and the poor, it is inevitable that at a point we will, with completely sincere hearts, downplay the issues of poverty, racism, inequality, and injustice.
Which brings us to Ms Diane Waddell and the Living Waters location behind St Ann's downtown Lowell.  Ms Waddell moved her operation down town a few years back, when she needed a new place for her operation and St Ann's helped out.  Concerns were raised about the operation Tuesday last in the City Council Meeting by Councilor Bill Samaras and Councilor Jim Leary and Councilor Jim Milinazzo and Councilor John Leahy and Councilor Corey Belanger.

You can watch that City Council meeting via LTC.  It is the 14 November 2017 Meeting and the issue runs from about 1:03:30 to 1:13:00.

One of the things to keep in mind is that the Federales shut down the Bridgewell Drop In Center earlier this year.  Thus the additional people on the street during the daytime.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Vibrant Shade of Purple

For John, BLUFI think it isn't so much an anti-Democratic Party mood as an anti-Government mood.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An Opinion Piece by Writer Salena Zito, The Washington Examiner, 19 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

The outcome for the race for county commissioner in this northwestern Pennsylvania corner didn’t get much national scrutiny or post-election analysis because the incumbent Democrat, Kathy Dahlkemper, ultimately won.

But it should have.  Why?  Because it is worthy of at least diving into what is happening to this once reliable stronghold for Democratic candidates; it may not be red, but it sure is a vibrant shade of purple.

Dahlkemper's narrow victory – she won by 300 votes – is something both parties should dive into to discover where the voter’s sentiments are heading.

It did not all go the Democrat way earlier in the Month.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Unseal The Records

For John, BLUFWe need to hold Government Officials, especially ones drawing a pension, to a higher standard.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This from The Tax Prof Blog, and Dean Paul L Caron, 21 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

In his courtroom apologia in the film “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan Jessup made the words famous.  Now, in her bid to keep her testimony in a recently settled tea-party lawsuit against the IRS secret, Lois Lerner has picked up the Jessup argument:  “You can’t handle the truth!”

They used different words but the meaning is the same. Here’s how lawyers for Ms. Lerner and her former IRS deputy, Holly Paz, put it in a filing aimed at persuading a judge to keep their testimony from becoming public:  “Public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm.”  They’re not just thinking of themselves, they add.  Young children, family members, might be hurt too.

That’s quite an argument. So enraged would the American public become upon learning what Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz said that they and those around them would be in physical peril.  Which probably makes most people wonder what the heck must the two have said that would get everyone so agitated? ...

Yes, this is outrageous.  Government officials, acting under the color of their office, do bad things, and then get to hide the details from The People.  It isn't, aside from President Obama and a few around him,  that we don't know what happened.  It is just that the seamy details need to be kept quiet, perhaps so people won't look for other such actions and draw conclusions.

Now I do very much want to know what terrible things Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz did that they fear the People will pick up their pitchforks and visit their homes.

Then there is this aspect.

[W]hat a crippling precedent it would be if government officials from powerful agencies such as the IRS were permitted to keep their abuses secret on grounds they fear that the people whom they are supposed to serve might be upset if they found out.
And, finally, there is the fact that from time to time records sealed for a good reason (private divorce) are improperly unsealed.  Just ask Mr Jack Ryan.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That would be "the little people", folks like you and me.

Empty Dossier?

For John, BLUFInvestigations can be pernicious things.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Opinionator Byron York, 19 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.

The FBI received the first installment of the dossier in July 2016. It received later installments as they were written at the height of the presidential campaign, which means the bureau has had more than a year to investigate the allegations in the document. The dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

That does not bother me as much as the fact that the Mueller Investigation seems to leak like a sieve.  I realize that some may feel this is off topic, but it is one of the bothersome parts of the current ongoing investigations.

What is it with Special Council Robert Mueller that he can't seem to keep his people in line?  Or, is that how investigations are done these days, by leaks?  I will allow that there is an alternative storyline, which is that the Press is just making this stuff up as it goes along, figuring that President Trump is guilty and it will come out, or if Mr Trump is exonerated, they can still make him look sticky.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ripe For Abuse

For John, BLUFWhere area the ethics of the lawyers going along with this?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is:

A couple of busted windows can result in a bill for thousands—even tens of thousands—of dollars.

From Reason Magazine, by Reporter Scott Shackford, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

A couple of cities in the California desert have found a novel and remarkably cruel way to make money—force citizens to pay for the privilege of being prosecuted by the attorneys contracting with these cities.

We've seen cities across the country abuse their own citizens—particularly its poorest residents and visitors—with vicious enforcement of petty laws designed to create a revenue stream via a cascade of fines and fees.

But I don't think we've seen an enforcement mechanism as nasty and cruel as the one the Desert Sun has uncovered out in California's Inland Empire. The cities of Indio and Coachella partnered up with a private law firm, Silver & Wright, to prosecute citizens in criminal court for violations of city ordinances that call for nothing more than small fines—things like having a mess in your yard or selling food without a business license.

Those cited for these violations fix the problems and pay the fines, a typical code enforcement story. The kicker comes a few weeks or months later when citizens get a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars from the law firm that prosecuted them. They are forcing citizens to pay for the private lawyers used to take them to court in the first place. So a fine for a couple of hundred dollars suddenly becomes a bill for $3,000 or $20,000 or even more.

I think my our Mother, who lived in the Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage area for a couple of decades, would be outraged by this.  I know I am.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hope on Korean Peninsula

For John, BLUFSome regret the lack of continuity in US Foreign Policy under President Trump, but the old ways weren't working.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This article, from The Korean Times, is authored by Kim Hyo-jin, (, dateline 20 November 2017.

Under the leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump, the two Koreas have a better chance for reunification, activists and Korea watchers said Wednesday.

Their view, presented at the International Forum for One Korea international forum held on Nov. 14 to 15 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, is an assessment of the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid the war of words between North Korean and U.S. leaders.

They pointed out that Trump has put the peninsula high on the United States’ foreign policy agenda, unlike the previous Barack Obama administration whose approach of strategic patience had led to the U.S.’s inaction; they said the attention Trump brought shed light on advocates of the reunification of the two Koreas, who are seeking larger support for their campaign.

Then there is the fact the President Trump's poll numbers are running ahead of the three M's, Merkel, Macron and May.

Regards  —  Cliff

Equality of the Sexes?

For John, BLUFDon't you hate it when the facts run counter to the narrative?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

New CDC report reveals troubling equality when it comes to sexual assault rates.

From USA Today and Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 20 November 2017.

Read it yourself at the link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Charlie Manson (Gone)

For John, BLUFEvery death is a loss, the closure of an opportunity for redemption.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


From The Old Gray Lady, Reporter Margalit Fox, 20 November 2017.

Charles Manson, one of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century, who was very likely the most culturally persistent and perhaps also the most inscrutable, died on Sunday in Kern County, Calif.  He was 83 and had been behind bars for most of his life.
Amongst the victims, Actress Sharon Tate, eight and a half month pregnant.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Touch Me Not

For John, BLUFAre we going back to a Victorian sensibility?.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Dr Helen Smith (The InstaWife), 15 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

Interesting article describing the lack of physical touch that is absent in many men's lives:
Not on a bet.  Everyone keep your hands to yourselves.

And the author ends:

What man in his right mind would touch anyone these days?

In light of all the sex abuse accusations and # MeToo hashtags, this phenomenon will only get worse.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm Taking a Knee on Taking a Knee

For John, BLUFI hope that no one is expecting me to respect NFL Players who take a knee for our mutual National Anthem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Ed Driscoll, of PJ Media and InstaPundit, today.

NEWS FROM TODAY’S PRE-GAME WOKE OLYMPICS:  “The Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots are playing in Mexico City today, but the kneeling protests did not stop at the border.  Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch, who has been kneeling for the U.S. national anthem all year long did so again Sunday afternoon, but then he stood up while Mexico’s national anthem played in the stadium.”
If it had been Beijing, China, there would have been severe consequences if he had knelt during the Chinese National Anthem.

On the other hand, I expect that here in America, where Lela Lee is selling a tote bag like the one below…

…they will be taking a knee until Soccer surpasses American Football as our Fall/Winter pastime.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Sadly, the local paper doesn't carry the Comic Strip "Angry Little Girls".

The Current Crisis

For John, BLUFIf all crimes are equal, then everyone deserves the same harsh punishment, but that is foolishness.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here are two articles that suggest we should be careful not to go on a witch hung with regards to sexual impropriety and in particular sexual harassment and sexual abuse.  It is easy to say "always believe the accusser" but the accuser is not always truthful.  The other thing is that if the accusation is wrong, where does the accused go to get his (or her) reputation, job, and savings back?

From The LA Times and Author Brendan O'Neill, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

I want to praise Jeremy Piven.  That’s a risky thing to do, I know.  Piven is one of Those Men.  One of those big entertainment figures who has fingers pointed at him.  He has joined Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and many others in facing accusations that he abused his power to sexually abuse women.

Yet Piven has also issued a principled statement that should give pause to all those taking pleasure in the #MeToo movement’s instant-destruction of men’s careers.

After describing the accusations against him as “absolutely false,” Piven laments the fact that “allegations are being printed as facts” and “lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence.”  He wonders what happened to “the benefit of the doubt.”  To “tear each other down and destroy careers based on mere allegations is not productive at all,” he says.

He’s right.  In defending himself, Piven is also defending one of the core principles of an advanced society: the presumption of innocence.

The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.

It is now astonishingly easy to ruin a celebrity or near-celebrity.  You can do it with a social media post.  Spend five minutes writing a Facebook entry about how so-and-so in Hollywood once did something bad to you and — boom — that person is done for.  You can dispatch him from polite society with a press of a button on your cellphone.The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.

I guess I would change the headline by deleting "legitimate" and replacing it with "actual".

From The New York Post and Author Andrea Peyser, 17 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s gone far enough.  What started as a necessary mass-rejection of sexual harassment and assault is sliding into absurdity and irrelevance.  A backlash is looming against the very people the spontaneous battle against sexual villainy was meant to help: powerless women and men.

The fight is being waged not with force, but with the rather bland Internet movement, #MeToo.  The battle by hashtag conflates genuine sex crimes with mere childish behavior — blending the Harvey Weinsteins and Kevin Spaceys with the Al Frankens and George H.W. Bushes.

How long before we stop taking victims seriously?

Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer and now staunchly liberal senator from Minnesota, has been tossed into the guillotine without a trial.  And while I reject his leftist politics — even more so his inability to be funny — I don’t think confusing childish, even lewd, behavior with clear, intimate violations helps anyone.  Rather, it threatens to make accusers, many of them women, appear unserious.  Or “hysterical,’’ to use a term commonly wielded against humans bearing XX chromosomes.

On Thursday, former Playboy model-turned-radio host Leeann Tweeden claimed Franken stuck his tongue in her mouth.  He claimed he doesn’t remember the tongue-lashing that evidently occurred as they were “rehearsing” a scene for a skit on a USO tour to the Middle East in 2006, before Franken was elected to office.  But there exists photographic evidence that he took things a few notches further.  Franken was snapped, with a doofusy grin on his face, groping Tweeden’s flak jacket-covered breasts as she slept.

Lewd and crude?  For sure.  Grounds for public censure?  Perhaps.  But potentially career-ending?  I don’t think so.

So, before we gin up another set of witch trials, we need to calm down a bit.

And, besides, I am tired of every week, or a couple of times a week, The Instapundit writing another blog post about some female school teacher having sex with one or more students.

It would be nice if we could all have a sense of proportion.  As cadish as Senator Al Franken was with regard to Ms Leeann Tweeden, he was no Harvey Weinstein.  And Actor George Takei is no Actor Kevin Spacey.  It is not about liberal or conservative principles, but about a sense of justice.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Second Pass of the Basket

For John, BLUFWhere does the second collection go?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This item is from The Lapanto Institute, Author Michael Hickborn, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s that time of the year again, and the second collection at Masses across the country will be going to fill the coffers of Saul Alinsky’s mechanism for the socialization of the Catholic Church.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the USCCB’s most recent list of organizations funded by the CCHD was published, and on the list are some of the worst offenders I have exposed over the years.  Without including any new information (which we will do as we are able to conduct a complete and thorough review … the USCCB didn’t give us much time to work with before this year’s collection), here are some of the organizations we have already exposed, which are continuing to receive funding from the CCHD.  This list will briefly touch upon the issues we found with the organization, and then you can click the link for greater details.

This is one of those "judge for yourself" kind of issues.

By the way, at The Immaculate today the Second Collection was for support of the retired Sisters.  A worthy cause.

Hat tip to my Wife.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Value of the Free Market

For John, BLUFIf you want to know what could go wrong without free markets, think of Venezuela.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My Middle Brother, the Progressive, was conducting an EMail exchange with his younger and older Brothers and one of the points he made was that when he listened to the readings at Mass they didn't seem to talk about Capitalism.  I think the point he misses is that the freedom provided by Christianity, halting though it may have been in implementation, allowed for the growth of free markets.  And, the Protestant Reformation was a further impetus to economic growth.  While this article in Bloomberg View doesn't approach the question from a religious point of view, it does make the point that poverty is reduced through free markets.

The sub-headline is:

Few things in human history have done so much to reduce absolute poverty.

The author is Professor Noah Smith.

Here is the lede plus one:

Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has a long and thoughtful essay about the shortcomings of neoliberalism -- the economic program of free markets and free trade. He writes:
Economists’ contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favor of more trade, more finance, and less government.  That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire.  The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.
As someone who has done decades of pioneering work in the field of trade and growth, and who has been intimately involved in practical policy-making, Rodrik is as much of an expert on this topic as anyone.  But although his criticisms are accurate, he overlooks much of the good that neoliberalism has done.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Implemented by men, all of whom have fallen short of the Glory of God.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Figuring the Future of Sen Franken.

For John, BLUFMaybe they will throw Bill Clinton to the wolves to spare Senator Al Franken.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Nate Silver, from the FiveThirtyEight Blog, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

At about 11:15 this morning, an hour or so after Leeann Tweeden published an allegation that Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota had groped and kissed her without her consent in 2006, I assumed that Franken was headed toward resignation.  I didn’t necessarily expect Franken to resign immediately or without putting up a fight.  But barring some highly exculpatory evidence, I expected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democrats to be pushing Franken out the door.
I would go with Mr Silver here, for the reason stated below:
In other words, I thought the Democrats had an opportunity to maintain the moral high ground without having to pay a political price for it.  They could keep the pressure up on Moore, who has put Republicans in a no-win situation in Alabama.  And they could help to establish a precedent wherein severe instances of sexual harassment warrant resignation.  In the long run, that might create more of a problem for Republicans than for Democrats, because the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment is conducted by men, and there are 265 Republican men in Congress compared with 164 Democratic onEs.
Bou, the women in Mr Silver's office didn't see it that way.

Maybe they would rather have a reliable progressive voter, who they have to slap away from time to time, than some Republican, no matter how clean his record.  It is an "economic" choice, with some things prioritized higher than others.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting Value

For John, BLUFWhen does impersonation increase the brand value of the person or product being impersonated?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Is this snarky on the part of The Wash Post and Opinion Writer Erik Wemple, from 16 November 2017?

Here is the lede plus two:

Dress professionally.  Show up at a lofty-sounding panel discussion.  Stand up when the moderator opens the floor to questions.  Grab a microphone.  Ask a semi-decent, relevant question.  Identify yourself as being from the New York Times, even though your byline has never graced its pages.

Who’s going to call you out?

Well, the New York Times, eventually.  According to a suit filed by the newspaper last week, one Contessa Bourbon has diluted the company’s trademarks by impersonating a New York Times reporter at think-tanky events over the past four years or so.  The alleged misuse of the newspaper’s name, contends the civil action, is a ploy used by Bourbon to “gain admittance to news conferences and other events and to attract followers on social media, when she is not and has never been a reporter for The New York Times.”

I am wondering if the Contessa can sue The Old Gray Lady, claiming she has increased the value of the Brand by just showing up and should thus be compensated?

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Job Gains Among Startup Firms in 2017

For John, BLUFThis is good economic news.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 November 2017.

The number of startup firms—firms that are 1 year old or newer—rose to 415,226 in the year ended March 2017. The number of new firms has recovered from a low of 326,091 in 2010. For the last 2 years, the number of startups has been above the 1994–2017 average of about 400,000.

The data itself can be found at this link.

This upturn started under President Obama, but the important news is that it continues.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bike Lane Resistance

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I suggest we have to learn to share.

For John, BLUFSometimes the urge of Government to "nudge" us into doing what they see as the right thing comes up against the will of the People.  It shouldn't, but it does in the hands of those who "know what is right" for us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The article in Cambridge Day is by Reporter Marc Levy, Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Fired up by protected bike lanes they feel are hurting local retailers, a group of residents and business leaders are vowing to take over citywide transportation planning by forming a grassroots group.

“We’re trying to take it out of the political arena and really take it to the grassroots level, because from the top down it hasn’t worked.  It’s the top-down [approach] that put us in this position that we’re in right now,” said Denise Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, at a Monday “Safe Streets for All” meeting held at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall in East Cambridge.  “[We] can lay blame – and yes, I do say blame – on the City Council and on the city leadership that we’re in this conundrum, because certain things happened that were inappropriate.”

The meeting drew more than 60 people, seemingly split evenly between people angry over the bike lanes installed on Brattle Street in Harvard Square and on Cambridge Street, and bicyclists who expressed some bewilderment over what city streets should get instead to ensure the safety of people using all forms of transportation.  The meeting was moderated by Robert Skenderian, who runs an apothecary on Cambridge Street and has said he has firsthand experience with how bike lanes hurt business and a front-row view of reckless behavior by “bicycle bullies.”

Skenderian was evenhanded in his choice of speakers at the two-hour meeting, though, and Jillson said the event was convened after discussion with Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.  The grassroots group Jillson sees arising from the event would “work together hopefully under the leadership of the City of Cambridge,” with the city bringing back Toole Design Group – the company behind the Brattle bike lanes – under contract to reconfigure the street.  The lanes were presented to the HSBA as “preordained,” she said, with “no vetting from the business community … What we do want is to get it right.”

Couldn't happen to a nicer city.

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Adding to a Long List

For John, BLUFDeval for President?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be Boston Attorney Jeff Robbins, who is former US Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.  An OpEd in The Boston Herald, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

With Democrats claiming victory in the 2017 elections and Donald Trump’s approval ratings mired in the mid-30s, political chatter has turned predictably to 2020 and who could, or should, be the Democrats’ presidential nominee.

The chatter has intensified with Joe Biden’s book tour; in Massachusetts, the buzz hovers over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

But the Massachusetts resident who may have the clearest path to the nomination is one who has kept a low profile: former Gov. Deval Patrick.  If he wants the nomination — and so far he shows little lust for the limelight — Patrick would have certain distinct advantages over other potential candidates.

I am not seeing it, but considering other names that have been put forward, it is not totally unreasonable.  On the other hand, if folks think that President Trump won't run in 2020, or be a pushover in that race, they might be surprised, again.  Just saying….

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Misreading the Tea Leaves

For John, BLUFI don't think the "Liberal Media" wants to understand Trump voters.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am not sure about the provenance of this story.  I got it as a link from The New York Times, but it is actually from Politico and only mentioned in The New York Times in a column by Mr David Brooks.  The actual author is a Mr Michael Kruse and the dateline is 8 November 2017.

The sub headline is:

In a depressed former steel town, the president’s promises don’t matter as much as they once did.

Here is the lede plus one:

Pam Schilling is the reason Donald Trump is the president.

Schilling’s personal story is in poignant miniature the story of this area of western Pennsylvania as a whole—one of the long-forgotten, woebegone spots in the middle of the country that gave Trump his unexpected victory last fall.  She grew up in nearby Nanty Glo, the daughter and granddaughter of coal miners.  She once had a union job packing meat at a grocery store, and then had to settle for less money at Walmart.  Now she’s 60 and retired, and last year, in April, as Trump’s shocking political ascent became impossible to ignore, Schilling’s 32-year-old son died of a heroin overdose.  She found needles in the pockets of the clothes he wore to work in the mines before he got laid off.

Desperate for change, Schilling, like so many other once reliable Democrats in these parts, responded enthusiastically to what Trump was saying—building a wall on the Mexican border, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, bringing back jobs in steel and coal.  That’s what Trump told them.  At a raucous rally in late October, right downtown in their minor-league hockey arena, he vowed to restore the mines and the mills that had been the lifeblood of the region until they started closing some 40 years ago, triggering the “American carnage” Trump would talk about in his inaugural address: massive population loss, shrinking tax rolls, communal hopelessness and ultimately a raging opioid epidemic.  When Trump won, people here were ecstatic.  But they’d heard generations of politicians make big promises before, and they were also impatient for him to deliver.

So far he has the picture right, but he seems to be missing something.  What he is missing is that the voters he interviewed are with President Trump because they think he is with them and that he is fighting a monumental battle with the powers that be in DC, both Republican and Democrat.  They don't think he can work magic, but they do believe he is trying.  And, they believe the Swamp People are trying to tear down President Trump, so they (the Swamp People) can go back to business as usual.

It isn't that I didn't learn something new.  For example, I always thought the borough of Nancy Glow had a one word name.  Now I know that it is two words, or three if you go back to the Welsh.

But you learn as you go along.  I have always thought the line in Oh My Darling, Clementine was "wearing boxes without topses", but this morning I found out it goes "herring boxes without topses."  Over half a century overturned, thanks to the internet.  I blame my Fifth Grade Teacher.

Mr Kruse wrote this otherwise good piece through the lens of "these people are being betrayed by President Trump."

The other problem is Mr Kruse tries to make all those Trump Supporters in Johnstown out as racists.  He closes his story off with a comment by Mr Dave McCabe, a retired High School Basket Ball Coach.  Mr McCabe had come up with a clever turn of phrase for the meaning of NFL, and while he wouldn't share it with Writer Kruse, his wife did.  It is what we would call "racist".  So, Mr McCabe, and his wife, and all the Trump Supporters in Johnstown end up looking, in the article, like Les Deplorables.  Easily dismissed for their backward ideas, including being upset with football players who take a knee at the National Anthem.

Mr Kruse had a chance to present some good information, but in the end he whiffed.  We are left to view these Western Pennsylvania "bitter clingers" as ignorant racists, based on someone trying to be clever and ending up being awkward.  Mr Kruse doesn't ask if this kind of word play goes on in other communities in the Hillary Lilly Pads, nor does he ask if it goes on in Black communities.  No, it is just those retarded Trumpies.

And here is a Link to the original David Brooks article in The New York Times.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder if that is the high school my paternal grandfather was helping to build when he had a heart attack on the job site?

The Progressive Loss

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I suggest progressives have lost their way.

For John, BLUFThe Left is unmoored.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from Opinionator Richard Fernandez and The Belmont Club, 10 November 2017.

Mr Fernandez talks to the Santa Muerte cult in Mexico, Kevin Spacey and The Communist Manifesto

Mr Fernandez then goes on to mention this recent event:

On Nov. 8, thousands of concerned Americans will commemorate the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump‘s election by screaming helplessly into the sky.
The Opinion Piece ends on this note:
What they were mourning was not some conservative's sublunar fallibility, but their own.  Whatever happens now, the progressives have lost decades of "gains," not to the alt-right, which is nothing special, but to the realization of their own human frailty.  They will find equality intolerable.  But they might in consolation remember the classic lines from the movie Unforgiven.
The Schofield Kid:  Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

Will Munny:  We all got it coming, kid.

Sadly, we do.
Well worth a read.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 11, 2017


For John, BLUFDiplomacy is almost always better than war.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the Reuters Staff, 11 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South’s presidential office said.
As Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds said this morning, "Sounds like the North Korea diplomacy is working."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Judge Roy Moore

For John, BLUFWhy we have statutes of limitation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This blog post from Neo-Neocon, is dateline 10 November 2017.

Here is the lede, plus one decimal two paragraphs:

The accusations against Alabama’s Republican candidate Roy Moore are the talk of the day.

First let me get this out of the way: I’m not a Roy Moore fan and never have been.  But this story is particularly disturbing to me, and for the same reason I’m often disturbed by sexual allegations against candidates of all stripes and persuasions.  It’s especially true of sexual allegations that are raised long after the fact—in the Moore case long long after the fact—and that are raised in the heat of a political race or political appointment.

That doesn’t mean such allegations are false.  But it certainly doesn’t mean they’re true, either.

Yes, this smells in all directions.

But, the question is, must our politicians all be as Pure as Caesar's Wife?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff