Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Conform or Die


For John, BLUFI am not sure the left can hold it together.  The path of catering to an ever increasing number of "minority" groups will eventually pit one against the other, although before that happens some will trip themselves up over trying to cater to all groups, which will not be possible.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Under the heading "ZEITGEIST", Writer David Cole, and Taki Magazine, look at what is happening "on the left".  The dateline is 2 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

Her name was Nari and she was the tallest Korean girl I’d ever seen. Six foot, at least.  It was 1996 and we were on our second date when she started talking politics.  Naturally, I assumed she’d be leftist.  She was a student at UCLA…’nuff said.  But I wasn’t prepared for just how leftist she was.  “I plan to devote my life to hegemony,” she told me over dinner.  I asked her what she meant by that.  “At school they call me ‘Red Emma,’ after Emma Goldman.  But I’m far more radical than she was.  She believed in free expression, the right of the oppressed to find their own voice.  That’s a mistake.  We need hegemony.  One party, and one set of ideas, enforced vigorously, with swift action taken against any non-hegemonic thoughts or expressions.  Everyone needs to be in lockstep, or we can’t move forward.”

I’d grown up surrounded by leftists, mostly Jewish, and almost all cut from the Emma Goldman cloth.  In other words, people who at least paid lip service to the notion of free thought and expression.  I’d never before encountered someone who I could so clearly envision running a Stalinist gulag or a Maoist reeducation center.v Someone who wanted to enforce “thought hegemony,” and who wanted to visit that nightmare upon not just the ruling class, but the “oppressed” as well.  And it startled me how quick she was to brag about it.

These days, Nari is a degreed academic (of course) who runs a think tank at a major U.S. university.  I don’t know if she’s still battling for her beloved hegemony, but I do know that the ideas she espoused that night have steadily grown in popularity among American leftists.  Mind you, leftism has always been marked by purity purges.  Communism, the definitive expression of leftist ideals in the 20th century, was as brutal to its own adherents (and to its supposedly beloved “oppressed”) as it was to its “reactionary” enemies.  The party loved nothing more than to continually police its own for signs of “counterrevolutionary thought,” sending incorrect thinkers to reeducation camps, or sometimes just executing them outright.  This practice of seeking ideological purity found its logical conclusion under the Khmer Rouge, which routinely put children in charge of labor camps and death squads, due to a belief that the very young were pure and uncorrupted by “reactionary” ideas.

The Soviet Union, Maoist China, Cambodia…hegemony.  One party, one goal, one way of thinking.

“With fewer and fewer fresh victims to bully, the left is being forced to attack its own.”

While the Progressives, or at least the Democrats, see the second half of 2018 developing into "the happy times" ("Die Glückliche Zeit"), it is possible that they will end up, as the author suggests, as a time of cannibalism.

Time will tell.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hate Group Errors


For John, BLUFI guess we just have to use our own common sense to sift through all the groups that claim to protect us from bigotry and hate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




A "hate group" list loved by the media is bogus.

A summary of a POD Cast from Reason, by Reporters John Stossel and Maxim Lott, 16 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

There are dangerous hate groups in America. So a group called the Southern Poverty Law Center promises to warn us about them. They release an annual list of hate groups in America.

The media cover it, but John Stossel says they shouldn't.  It's a scam.

It lists Ayaan Hirsi Ali—who grew up Muslim in Somalia and suffered female genital mutilation—as an "anti-Muslim extremist." Just because she now speaks out against radical Islam.

I have listened to Ms Ali on TV and she seems pretty reasonable and far from being a "hater".  And, given that she doesn't buy into FGM, it is possible that she is justifiably unhappy with those who do that sort of thing.

Then there is the conservative Family Research Council, listed as a "hate group."  that is the group attacked by a shooter, who later told law enforcement that he picked the group because he saw they were on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate map and he wanted to fight bigots.

And no, they don't list Antifa as a hate group, strangely.  Or not.

The SPLC is just another progressive group that wants to make sure you think the way they want you to think.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of course, if she is a hater, then so are the rest of us who reject that form of dealing with female sexuality.  One wonders if Mr Morris Dees, the Center's founder, had his own wife and daughters suffer FGM, in solidarity with Somali Muslims?
  Think of Lenin or Stalin.

A Theocracy Threatened


For John, BLUFThe Iranians may be fomenting trouble abroad (Syria, Iraq, Germany) but they also have trouble at home.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Well, they might be if they were Anglo-Saxon identifying folks here in the US.

From Pajama Media, by Reporter Robert Spencer, 15 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

“We should have an Iranian republic, not an Islamic republic,” said one Iranian protester.  “Islam cannot address our needs.”

The protesters chanted:  “We don’t want an Islamic republic! … Clerics, shame on you, let go of our country!”  Some even chanted:  “Reza Shah, bless your soul!”, referring to the former Shah of Iran who had set the nation on a secularizing, pro-Western course.

All of this raises the question: in the U.S., we are constantly told that opposition to Sharia constitutes bigotry and “Islamophobia.”  So how did Iran come to be filled with bigoted “Islamophobes”?

Here is a further excerpt:
Julie Lenarz of Britain’s Human Security Center observed in December 2015: “It is astonishing that the West cultivates an ever-closer alliance with a theocratic regime widely known for its abysmal human rights record and aggressive behavior in the region. They hang men for the ‘crime’ of writing poems; or engaging in peaceful protest; or loving someone of the same sex. Women are stoned for being raped and Iranian law even allows for juvenile executions. Iran is averaging three hangings per day at the moment and remains a pariah state with no regard for human life. In a despicable form of moral myopia, the gold rush for business, as the international sanctions regime begins to unravel, has made Western governments blind to the suffering of ordinary Iranians at the hands of the Ayatollahs.”
While I won't try to characterize Iran, it is not a place I would wish to live.  Would you?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  You know, those who believe in the Rights of Englishmen, common law, the Declaration of Independence, private property and capitalism and the concept of subsidiarity and similar ideas.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Offending Everyone


For John, BLUFI wonder what the people in Carlisle think about the Acre?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Wash Post and occasional contributor Mr Gary Abernathy, 15 January 2018.  Mr Abernathy lives in Hillsboro, Ohio.

Here is the lede plus two:

HILLSBORO, Ohio — If I had realized, over the years, that when people referred to places I have lived as “sh*tholes” they were being not only rude but racist, I could have been even more offended.

Indeed, that particular description has been used so often to refer to parts of southern Ohio and most of West Virginia that residents practically wear it as a badge of honor.  Many West Virginians take particular delight in the fact that their state has a northern panhandle that serves as a symbolic middle finger to the rest of the nation.  This unique shape suffices as their standing response to the insults that regularly come their way.

But thanks to media coverage of President Trump’s alleged use of the word, they will from now on be aware that being called a “shithole” place to live is a racist insult, which will be a little confusing to the overwhelmingly white population.  No matter, because Trump’s haters never lack the ingenuity necessary to define his every utterance as a racist rant.

But, here is a line from the story that we should all keep in mind:
In 2006, Mormon elder and author David Bednar said, “To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”
Too right.

Hat tip to my buddy Steve.

Regards  —  Cliff

Paying for "The Wall"


For John, BLUFSenator Dick Durbin is a prig who doesn't want a deal.  He would rather have the fight than help the Dreamers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



A friend of mine sent this out in an EMail this morning:
Somewhere over the weekend I saw an interview with a wizard of analysis.  Sorry, that’s all I remember (I was engaged in a very important discussion with my wife….) EXCEPT the dollar figure cost of every illegal immigrant.  This organization did an in-depth analysis and determined that over an individual’s lifespan, each illegal immigrant cost us $75,000 each.  They included all the puts and takes – taxes paid, etc.

Bottom line: Worst case scenario, the wall pays for itself in 10 years.

Allowing for errors and inflation and cost growth and illegal immigrant leakage, let us stay 12 years.  Still, a bargain.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 15, 2018

Prejudice Flows in Many Directions


For John, BLUFWe are still a polarized nation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is from a year ago, but I don't think this kind of prejudiced thinking has much changed.

This is from The Daily Caller, by Mr Robert Donachie, 8 January 2017.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Playing Fair At Work


For John, BLUFI think there is a new book out on this, Treating People Well:  The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Atlantic, and Ms Olga Khazan, the September 2017 Issue.

Yes, this is a couple of months old, but it raises issues about how the workplace really works.  The very bad part is that bosses are supposed to be mentoring their subordinates, so those subordinates are (1) prepared to move up and (2) very productive workers, helping the organization grow and prosper.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Martin Luther King Jr Holiday


For John, BLUFPrejudice gets in the way of progress, and of our humanity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




I had thought we were making progress on race relations, at least compared to my youth, when there were sundown towns and restrictive covenant.  It seems the Reverend King was a sort of high water mark in our progress.  Sadly.

I still hope that we can achieve Reverent King's vision:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
We need to all be working in that direction.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Threat From North Korea


For John, BLUFWishing won't make North Korea's nuclear capability go away, and neither will blaming President Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is a Tweet by Ms Jamie Lee Curtis, yesterday, 13 January 2018.
This Hawaii missle scare is on YOU Mr. Trump.  The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU.  It is on YOUR ARROGANCE.  HUBRIS.  NARCISSISM.  RAGE.  EGO.  IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY.  Shame on your hate filled self.  YOU DID THIS!
Well, thanks to Ms Curtis we now know who was responsible for the Hawaii false alarm.

Here is the other bit of news.  The North Korean nuclear capability, such as it is, is not going away.  It is there to provide protection for North Korea from an American response to North Korean incited incidents and acts of aggression.

The other thing to think about is that the North Korean nuclear capability is not sufficient for a disarming first strike against the United States.  Rather, it is a capability held in reserve, to deter the United States.  Striking first means, for North Korea, giving up the deterrence and going straight to the elimination of the Kim Family Criminal Regime in response.

To make the North Korean nuclear capability go away there must be motivation for China to pay attention.  The only thing I can think of that could do the trick would be for South Korea or Japan to start to obtain their own nuclear weapons capability.  Of course, it could turn out that we end up with three nuclear armed nations, not just one.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Questioning Those Who Question Trump


For John, BLUFPresident Trump's problem is that he actually blurts out what he is thinking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is disappointing.


My headline modification.

From The Washington Examiner, Opinion Writer Mr Eddie Scarry, 13 January 2018.

From the article:

Among the celebrities who said they would move if Trump won the election were: Chelsea Handler to Spain; Lena Dunham to Vancouver; Barbara Streisand to Australia or Canada; and Snoop Dogg to Canada.

Notice that none of them identified their final destinations as the slums of El Salvador.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Cleaning Up Veterans' Health Care


For John, BLUFThere was a joke, when I was young, that the Vanguard Project should be renamed Civil Service.  The argument was that the rocket couldn't be fired or made to work.  Today that seems a little odd in construction, but it made sense at the time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Military Times, Reporter Leo Shane III, 8 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

Employee firings at the Department of Veterans Affairs jumped in the second half of 2017 after new accountability legislation was signed into law last summer, results that administration officials insist show a renewed commitment to cleaning up the agency.

But critics say more firings don’t mean better results for veterans, and the rising rate of dismissals may not be significantly different than past years for the massive government bureaucracy.

“I don’t think this has accomplished what they want it to accomplish,” said Marilyn Park, legislative representative for the American Federation of Government Employees.

In June, President Donald Trump signed into law the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation he has subsequently touted as one of his biggest accomplishments during his first year in office.

Among other provisions, the legislation shortened the appeal time for VA employees protesting their dismissals and expanded VA leadership’s ability to remove most workers, including senior executives, for misconduct or poor performance.

It will take more than a year to tell the full results.  Part of the issue is that there is also Balkanization in the VA, with each Hospital its own fiefdom.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Italian Elections In Less Than Two Months


For John, BLUFSure, we can see it as comic opera, but it could be very important for the future of Europe.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is from the Canadian paper The Globe and Mail, by Reporter Eric Reguly, 12 January 2018.

Here is the lede:

Fans of wild and nasty election campaigns will enjoy the spectacle of Italians going to the polls on March 4.  The wide-open election could see the comeback of Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister whose outlandish mix of politics and "bunga bunga" partying almost landed him in prison.  The other outcome is the election of the populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), led by firebrand comedian Beppe Grillo.  This week, with voters in mind, each party has been fine-tuning its position on Italy's place in the European Union and whether to use the euro.  Mr. Grillo is dialling down his euro skepticism and Mr. Berlusconi is embracing the EU, the opposite of their previous stances.  Entertainment value aside, all European eyes are on the Italian election, the continent's biggie for 2018.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Those Other Places


For John, BLUFYes, he should have chosen his words more carefully.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Da Tech Guy, by the Novelist Ms Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, AKA baldilocks, 13 January 2018.

Here are the last three paragraphs:

But I’ve seen only one immigrant — a Nigerian — talk about going back home and making a difference there.  Good luck, bro.

Most of the immigrants from the Third World thrive here and do not return to their countries of origin because it’s a lot easier and more profitable to stay here, have their children born as Americans, and raise them in relative safety and prosperity.  And who can blame them?  I certainly don’t.

But let’s stop pretending that they left some idyllic Trump-less places of beauty and peace.  They left places that were dirty, stinky, dangerous and which have leader who are blatantly corrupt.

I find it likely that if we have totally open immigration the result will not be to turn the rest of the world into an American paradise, but rather to turn America into a third world nation, even though most of those coming to this country would be looking for the benefits of being an American, with the willingness to pull their weight.  We here in America are just not that good.

Hat tip to the Da Tech Guy Blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

Progressives vs Democrats


For John, BLUFNo, she won't be running against Ed Markey.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Washington Post, by Reporters Justin Jouvenal and Jenna Portnoy, 13 January 2018.

While Ms Chelsea Manning filed for the Democratic Nomination Race, US Senator from Maryland, she is otherwise saying "No Comment".

Here is one of the story paragraphs:

Manning’s first column for The Guardian said Obama’s election in 2008 was a political awakening for her. Manning wrote Obama left behind “hints of a progressive legacy,” but very few permanent accomplishments.
From this I take it that Ms Manning sees herself as a Progressive.

This should be an interesting year.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

`

Friday, January 12, 2018

Senator Kamala Harris and Legal Ethics


For John, BLUFIs she of Presidential Timber?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Ms Elizabeth Nolan Brown talks about Senator Harris in Reason, on 11 January 2018.

Here is the sub-headline:

Harris only cares about other women's rights when those rights don't conflict with her career ambitions.

And here is the lede:

Kamala Harris has long positioned herself as a feminist crusader.  But both as attorney general of California and now as a member of the U.S. Senate, she has actively championed policies that deny women's agency, ratchet up female incarceration, and endanger those most vulnerable to sexual abuse.  Along the way, she has shown an utter disregard for civil liberties and constitutional law—a tendency she will now get to take to the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
Read the whole short article.  It is worth it.

OK, so Ms Brown believes that Senator Kamala Harris was a tad unethical as the California Attorney General.

What really worries me is her defending dishonest prosecutors, as show in this three paragraphs also at the original InstaPundit blog post:

What prosecuting attorney Robert Murray did was produce a translated transcript of the defendant’s interrogation to which he had added a fraudulent confession.  The defense attorney got a copy of the audio tape of the interrogation, but it “ended abruptly.”  Eventually, Murray admitted to falsifying the transcript, presumably in the hopes of either coercing a plea deal, or ensuring a victory at trial.

When the trial judge found out, charges against the defendant were dismissed.  Incredibly, the State of California, via Attorney General Kamala Harris, decided to appeal the case.  The state’s key argument: That putting a fake confession in the transcript wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality, like chaining someone to a radiator and beating him with a hose.

Well, no. It just involved an officer of the court knowingly producing a fraudulent document in order to secure an illicit advantage.  If Harris really thinks that knowingly producing a fraudulent document to secure an illicit advantage isn’t “outrageous,” then perhaps she slept through her legal ethics courses.

This is Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds quoting his own OpEd in USA Today, back on 8 March 2015.

Don't those in Government understand that they are destroying, slowly, the credibility of Justice in the United States, by destroying the credibility of Prosecutors, Prosecutors who have sworn an oath?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 8, 2018

Follow the Law


For John, BLUFLess laws and more clarity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is basic civics stuff, but it seems to have eluded a lot of legislators who decided to fire off tweets instead of make real change.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds (The InstaPundit, 8 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

Article I, Section 1 of the United States Constitution provides that:  “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

Legislative powers are the power to make and repeal laws.  Those powers are not vested in the executive branch, which includes the president and, more relevant to this discussion, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recently announced that he will no longer follow an Obama-era policy of not enforcing federal laws against marijuana.  Some states have repealed their own laws against marijuana, but marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and will stay that way unless Congress legislates otherwise.

This is basic civics stuff, but it seems to have eluded a lot of people.  People such as Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who exploded in response to Sessions’ announcement, saying that marijuana laws should be left to the states, and who vowed to “take all steps necessary” to secure a reversal of Sessions’ announcement, including holding up nominees to the Department of Justice.

Many other members of Congress — from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., were also critical.  But if you want to leave marijuana decisions up to the states, there’s an easy way to do that:  Repeal the federal marijuana law.  Legislate, which is supposed to be the job of ... legislators. Like Gardner, Sanders or Lieu.

Yes, this is what happens when public schools don't teach civics.  When the students grow up and get elected to Congress those civics deprived students don't know their responsibilities as legislators.

And, by the way, the same goes for the treatment of illegal immigrants.  Rather than having state-level Democrats acting like the second coming of Vice President John C Calhoun, Federal Legislators should take up the issue of immigration, should legislate and should then hold hearings on what the Executive Branch is doing to enforce the laws just passed by the Congress.

At this point it seems rather hit or miss.  How Federal Laws against marijuana are enforced depends on the Federal Attorney in the area, in our case, US Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling. Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

UPDATE:  And this just in from The Boston Clobe, US attorney throws future of legal pot in Mass. into doubt

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Unbalanced


For John, BLUFThere is a lot of talk about Trump mental stability, on the Democrat side and amongst reporters, but I repeat myself.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




That should read "members of Congress", about a dozen of them, out of 535 (including Senators).  But, revolutions and coups usually begin with a small number of bold members.

The Vox article is by Ms Eliza Barclay (eliza.barclay@vox.com), on 6 January 2018.

Commentator Byron York tweeted about it, here:

Yale psychiatrist who briefed Hill Dems wants to physically restrain President Trump, force him to submit to evaluation, declare him unfit for office.  But she worries:  'This really will look like a coup.'  You think?  From Vox:  (link: http://ow.ly/fdlG30hCyqa)
Here is an excerpt from Ms Barclay's article:
Leading this call is Bandy Lee, an assistant professor in forensic psychiatry (the interface of law and mental health) at the Yale School of Medicine who has devoted her 20-year career to studying, predicting, and preventing violence.

She recently briefed a dozen members of Congress — Democrats and one Republican — on the president’s mental state.  And this week, she, along with Judith Herman at Harvard and Robert Jay Lifton at Columbia, released a statement arguing that Trump is “further unraveling.”  The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, a collection of essays from 27 mental health professionals that Lee edited, was published in October.

Sigh.

Doesn't anyone remember "The Goldwater Rule" (Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics).  Anyone besides my wife?

Then, from The Washington Examiner we have this 6 January 2018 piece by Eddie Scarry:

Here are some Instapundit excerpts from Mr Scarry's article about Mr Wolff's new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House:

In the book, Trump has an impossibly short attention span, refuses to learn from policy briefs and fails to grasp the fundamentals of U.S. government.

Where was this version of Trump when giving one of his dozens of interviews, hosting his rallies, or delivering public remarks at any point between 2015 and now?

Yes, Trump mostly spoke extemporaneously during the campaign, often repeating words and themes, a phenomenon otherwise known as speaking aloud.

But he’s also delivered dozens of speeches off teleprompters, proving he can actually read, frequently going off-script to offer commentary and then returning to the prepared remarks.

During the campaign, from January to September in 2016, he hosted more than four-and-a-half hours worth of press conferences, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 38 minutes worth.

Here’s an experiment:  Put a truly mentally slow older person, like Dana Milbank, for example, on stage in front of reporters to answer a succession of questions for one hour.  Then compare it to the multiple times Trump did it, and see who comes out sharpest.

As president, Trump frequently approaches the press pool in order to answer a range of questions, something former President Obama rarely did.

In Wolff’s book, he says Trump is perpetually distracted, can’t train his mind on substance, and couldn’t recognize his own friends.

Contrast that account with the transcript of a 30-minute interview Trump gave at his golf club in Florida on Dec. 28 to the New York Times.  It shows him talking at length about the Russia investigation, the threat from North Korea, and immigration.  He even interrupts his thoughts to speak with guests he presumably recognizes.

Here is what Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds had to say:
You never see dementia-Trump in public because he only lives in the heads of Democrats and reporters — but I repeat myself — who are desperate to believe, and who are making fools of themselves in the process.
Yup.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of course, eleven of those dozen are Democrats and they don't even have what it takes to replace their House Leader, Ms Nancy Pelosi, who I judge to be further along than President Trump.  But, she is a Democrat.  And older, although not as old as my wife, who I would put in charge in a heartbeat.
  Don't look for me to be reading the book for you and posting extracts.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Good News, and Bad


For John, BLUFI wonder how the numbers break out for Lowell.  And who would we ask?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From CNBC and Reporter Liz Moyer, 5 January 2017.

The good news is that Black unemployment is at its lowest point since the Federal Government started keeping stats 45 years ago.

The bad news is that Black unemployment is at 6.8%, vice an overall rate of 4.1%.

We have to do better.  This represents real people looking for work and not finding it  Back in the Middle Ages, when I studied economics at the college level, 4 to 4.5 percent was considered full employment.  That number allows for folks changing jobs.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hero Archbishop Damaskinos


For John, BLUF"There is neither Jew nor Greek" (Galatians 3:28).  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Archbishop Damaskinos was already a hero of 20th-century Greece. And then the Nazis came.

From the daily newsletter of the Foundation for Economic Education, 4 January 2018, by Michael Iakovidis , Lawrence W. Reed.

This is about Greek Archbishop Damakinos:

Dimitris Papandreou was born March 3, 1891, to a very poor family in rural Greece.  He nonetheless managed to attend both theological and law school simultaneously, graduating from both before being drafted to fight in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913.  He was ordained as a minister in 1917, taking the name Damaskinos.
Having assumed the position of Archbishop of Athens upon the German invasion in 1941, Archbishop Dmakinos lead resistance to German deprivations, to include protecting Jews in Greece.  That action earned him a place in Yad Vashem, as noted in the article:
The legacy of Archbishop Damaskinos was not forgotten.  He was honored by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, as “Righteous Among the Nations,” an important designation given to non-Jews who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.  He is prominently featured in a permanent exhibition at the International Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
Regards  —  Cliff

The Pike


For John, BLUFPeople love going to the shore and enjoying amusements.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From KCET Broadcasting, Reporter D. J. Waldie, 8 February 2017.

This is great and interesting history from a year ago.

Here is the lede plus one:

Beginning in the late 1880s, the Southern California coast sprouted piers that fronted new beach resorts made accessible by rail.  Most of the piers were connected to amusement zones – miniature Coney Islands – where ballyhoo, fakery, and slightly naughty entertainment brightened working class lives.  This is the story of one of largest of those playgrounds by the sea.

In 1925, Sarah Bixby Smith, who had grown up on the nearby ranchos of Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos in the 1880s, remembered picnicking on the deserted shore at what would become the crowded amusement zone called the Pike.

By 1900, Sarah’s lonely beach had become part of Willmore City (a brief failure) and then Long Beach (which had incorporated, disincorporated, and reincorporated).  The little town – Long Beach hardly more than 2,500 residents then – already had some seaside attractions:  the usual wood-frame hotels, a municipal pier, and “bath houses” for swimmers to button themselves into their flannel “bathing costumes,” as they were called then.

And then it goes from there.

I remember the Pike from the 1950s, with the roller coaster, the Cyclone Racer, and various stalls catering to sailors on shore leave.  One of the things that remains with me is sailors getting the cuffs of their jumper tops embroidered on the inside—"Liberty Cuffs". : One design I remember was a Chinese Dragon.

The location of the "Liberty Cuff" is on the inside, at the light blue ring:

Rolled up, the cuff reveals the dragon, or other design:

I didn't realize, at the time, what a wonderful world I was exploring and learning about.

As a side note, Long Beach is, today, the other big Cambodian-American City in the United States.

Hat tip to my Middle Brother.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ed Market Jumps on the [Nuclear] Football


For John, BLUFThe football is the 45 pound briefcase that accompanies the President everywhere, with the options and the ability to transmit a nuclear release message.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




By Reporter Joe Gould, 3 January 2018, in Defense News.

Here is the lede plus three:

U.S. lawmakers are offering legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to launch a nuclear first strike after he heckled North Korea’s leader about the comparative size of his “nuclear button.”

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, and Rep. Ted Lieu, of California, have sponsored legislation that would require the president to receive congressional approval before initiating a first-use nuclear strike from the United States.

The two took to Twitter to rally support for their legislation after Trump bragged in a tweet Tuesday evening that he had a “much bigger” button than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“No one person should have the power to decide when the U.S. will be the first to use nuclear weapons,” Markey’s tweet reads in part. Retweet, if you agree, he asked; and as of Wednesday morning, more than 3,800 had.

I wonder why our Junior Senator didn't stumble upon this "No one person" thing when Mr Barack Obama was President?  Senator Ed Markey has been in office since July of 2013.  Did it take the election of President Trump to awaken him, or maybe the continuing outbursts from Korean Leader Kim Jung-un?

I do wonder if this rule should apply only in peacetime or if Senator Markey (and Rep Lieu) intend for the President's hands to be tied even if we are in a war with a nuclear power.  I bet the Chinese would see something like this as undermining deterrence on the part of the United States.  That wouldn't be good.

Then there is this:  "Bill Clinton once lost the nuclear codes for months, and a 'comedy of errors' kept anyone from finding out".  I think we are referring to the "biscuit", the codes the President keeps with him to identify himself for sending out signals to begin transmittal of the "release message" (EAM or Emergency Action Message).  As opposed to the "football".

The overall process is described by The Old Gray Lady in a 3 Jan 2018 article.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bannon Dumps on Trump


For John, BLUFWhat took Bannon so long to speak up?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




David Smith in Washington @smithinamerica Wed 3 Jan ‘18 11.32 EST.

Here is the lede plus one:

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.

Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted:  “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

I am dubious about this, but it is another rabbit hole that needs to be examined.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

New Mayor


For John, BLUFOoops!  I started this yesterday AM and then dropped the ball.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




A Sun Staff Report, from 2 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

William Samaras, a member of the City Council since 2013, was narrowly elected the city's new mayor Tuesday morning during the City Council's first meeting of 2018.

Voting for Samaras, besides himself, were councilors Karen Cirillo, Edward Kennedy, James Milinazzo and Vesna Nuon.

The other councilor in the mayoral battle, John Leahy, voted for himself, along with councilors David Conway, Rodney Elliott and Rita Mercier.

Councilors failed to make the mayoral vote unanimous, which is traditional.

Vesna Nuon, a former city councilor elected in November with Cirillo and Conway, was elected vice-chairman on a 7-2 vote. Councilor Rita Mercier and Leahy voted for Mercier for the post.

Congratulations to Mayor Bill Samaras and to Vice-Chairman Vesna Noun.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Changes Out There


For John, BLUFWhat might be out there is forever fascinating.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




By Lauren Tousignant December 31, 2017.

Here is Item 5:

5.  The fact that the universe shouldn’t even exist

The latest study into the existence of the universe revealed that there’s no logical reason for us to be here.

The Big Bang is believed to have produced equal parts matter and antimatter — but since the only difference between these two is their opposite electrical charges, the reaction should have resulted in a violent eruption.

There is more for this topic, including a link to a larger sub-article.  And the four other topics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff