The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Latino Vote in 2012—One View

This post over at Pajamas Media is interesting in what it tells us about the Latino vote. San Diego Union Tribune newspaperman Ruben Navarrette Jr. Starts off with
There’s more news on the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Mr. Obama and Latinos. A constituency that, just two years ago, handed over 67 percent of their vote to Obama is now protesting in the street, as occurred during President Obama’s recent trip to Los Angeles.
He then goes on to list six points about why wise Latinos might stay home in November 2012.

I wonder if Analyst Larry Sabato factored this into his map?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Wrath of God?

Over at the Althouse blog we have a link to a Think Progress comment on the devastation wrought by the recent rash of tornadoes in the South.
Storms Kill Over 250 Americans In States Represented By Climate Pollution Deniers.
I wonder if the folks over at Think Progress believe, as say the Rev Pat Robertson might believe, that these tornadoes are an act of an involved and caring God, trying to chasten His children?

I sure am glad I didn't say something like that.

Regards  —  Cliff

Truth in Politics

Here is an American talking To Brits about facts and politicians, and the public.  It is an interesting article and hits all the usual suspects, like Senator John Klye and Birtherism.  But, it also hits Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel.  This was a shock to me because when I have seen Ms van den Heuvel on TV I have always been impressed by her.
On the Democratic left, non-factual statements about campaign finance reforms abound.  Some reflect ignorance or misunderstanding of complicated campaign finance legislation and equally complicated systems for funding campaigns.  But sometimes, advocates of campaign finance restrictions simply misstate simple facts of which they have every reason to be aware.  Recently, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel declared that liberal Democrat Russ Feingold lost his 2010 Senate race because of corporate spending unleashed by the recent Supreme Court decision striking down key provisions of campaign finance laws that restrained corporations.  To substantiate this claim she linked to an interview with Feingold in her own magazine in which he directly contradicted her, explicitly stating that he did not lose because of spending unleashed by the Court’s ruling.  When I pointed out this bold and shameless misstatement of fact, she repeated it, noting that Feingold’s statement should not be taken at face value: he denied being defeated by corporate spending because he didn’t want to ‘complain’.  In other words, vanden Heuvel suggested, Feingold was not intending to make a factual statement.
But, then, they are politicians.  Having said that, I would go with Senator Feingold's view, his having been fetched up in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Regards  —  Cliff

Neo-Liberalism Reviewed

Neo-Liberalism?  Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Here is an interesting review of a book by a Marxist anthropology professor over in the UK.  The venue explains the use of the term "neo-liberal" rather than "Tea Party".  The book is The Enigma of Capital, by David Harvey.  Let it be noted that I have read the review, but not the book.

What makes the review interesting to me is the way the review looks at economics and the role of government.  Incidentally, the review author is not much impress with the idea of President Obama being some sort of radical in this area, but he is looking at it as a Brit.

Here is the final paragraph of the review.
The prevailing outlook of austerity is not neo-liberalism but green anti-capitalism.  Mainstream notions of environmental restraint are far more influential than belief in the free market.  Anyone wishing to defend popular living standards first needs to challenge this Malthusian dogma, even when - or rather especially when - it is dressed up in the language of Marx.
A chance to broaden one's horizons and pick up new debating points.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 29, 2011

What is the Core Problem Here?

As the sentient world well recalls, on the morning of September 11, 2001, “agents of the al Qaeda terrorist organization hijacked commercial airplanes and attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the national headquarters of the Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia.”  Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557, 567-68 (2006).
Thus reads part of an opinion from the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, on the Ms April Gallop suit, decided 27 April 2011.

Kad Barma and I have been conducting a discussion on whether Birthers are racist, pure and simple.  Here is, I think, the Kad Barma argument.
African Americans attest that it's race-based.  White Americans sympathetic to birthers' other politics deny the possibility.  I have to believe one of two things:

Either almost half of republicans aren't fit to vote based on their inability to understand the primary source evidence, or birthers are racists. you pick.  I'm ok with either one.
The argument put forward by Kad Barma is a strong one.  It is rooted in what some call "America's Original Sin".

My problem with it is that racism doesn't seem to explain the thinking behind the above mentioned April Gallop suit claiming the US Government decided to stage the 9/11 event (Crash of American Airlines Flight 77) at the Pentagon that resulted in the death of many US citizens.  Nor does it explain all those other "Truthers" out there.

Then there is the "Trig-o-nometry" problem.  Just this month Wonkette had a piece disparaging Sarah Palin and her Downs-Syndrome son, Trig.  (The post was later taken down and this replaced it).  Several years ago The Virginian put it down to anti-Christian bigotry.

OK, so maybe it is just bigotry, which comes in many forms, but that doesn't seem to explain the "Truthers".

Nor does it explain why people continue to insist on saying that President Obama is the first President to face this kind of accusation, when President Chester A Arthur went through the whole thing from his time as a candidate for Vice President through becoming President and to the end.

Maybe it really is the Paranoid Style in American Politics, as Professor Richard Hofstadter put it, back in 1963 (Full Harper's Article here).

Regards  —  Cliff

Language and Context Are Important

Over at Government Executive is a short post by Fedblog blogger Tom Shoop, "A Rather Extreme Approach to Downsizing".

I also thought the cited ratio of 6 to 1 for contractor personnel to Civil Servants was interesting.

Thanks to my youngest Brother for this item.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Race Card?

I am a bit bemused by this assertion of race being the key to questions about President Omama's citizenship.

There is, of course, the historical ignorance on some networks.
Both CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell incorrectly asserted that President Obama is the only president in U.S. history who has had his citizenship doubted.
I don't watch either one, so I don't know.

Then there is the question of who talked about the Birther issue most.  This on-line article says it was MSNBC and CNN.  But, they cheated and pulled the Data from the Pew Trust.

Regards  —  Cliff

Madame Nhu Dies

Another piece of the Viet-Nam War passes from the scene.  The Dragon Lady of The Republic of Viet-Nam passed away in Rome on 24 April.

From the Was Post obit
Mme. Nhu saw herself as a patriot and revolutionary surrounded by enemies.
I think that she was.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lowell Film Festival, V 4.0

Lowell Film Festival starts tonight, Thursday, the 28th.

Here is the schedule. Tonight is the movie Glory.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Decline of Multiple-Culturalism

Over at Yahoo News we have this item about one group trying to impose it's mores on another group in the name of protecting some of their members.

What are the limits to such intervention?  Floating around the Internet is a piece by a US Marine about the abuse of females in some parts of Afghanistan.  It may be bogus reporting, but it captures a culture.  What, if anything do we, as US Citizen, owe those women?  Currently the Executive Branch keeps such questions inside their fence, as has almost every Administration back to Christopher Columbus.  Is the US Congress discussing such issues or is it in the "to hard" box?

As a democracy we can't truly say that it was all just "the Government". We are the Government.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Gets the Credit?

Who gets the credit for the White House putting up on the World Wide Web the "Long Form" birth certificate?
The White House
The Obama Reelection Operatives
Supplemental question:
Does this sink the campaign of "The Donald"?
Regards  —  Cliff

The Problem With Democracy

The problem with democracy is that not everyone thinks the way you do.  For the United States, in the Near and Middle East, that means that sometimes the nations obtaining some form of democracy will want to do things differently from how they were done in the past—old ways that we found congenial.

Here is a note from Night Watch on Egypt and Hamas (toward the bottom of this web page).
Egypt:  The Supreme Military Council and Foreign Ministry have discussed opening offices for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Cairo, similar to the offices of Fatah for the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, several news services reported.  A delegation from Hamas will visit Cairo to discuss the idea at a later date.

Comment:  Under Mubarak, Egypt never permitted Hamas to have representation on an equal footing with the Palestinian Authority, which has international stature.  The interim Egyptian administration, which has not been elected or approved in a democratic referendum, is acting as if it has a mandate to craft a new foreign policy that moves Egypt out of the pro-US camp, politically, and more towards the anti-Israel camp, led by Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.
I do think that the interim Egyptian authority is responding to what it thinks the People of Egypt want.  The complicating thing is that a disturbance in the political balance that is Near East could result in war and the death of hundreds of thousands.  It could draw the United States in, one way or another.

These are the kinds of things that test one's adherence to the idea that individual nations should have the right to pick their own path.  They test the idea that others deserve democracy as much as we do—the right of the locals to make their own decisions.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

5000 Years of Middle Eastern History

Well, actually a lot more than Middle Eastern History.

This is the quick 90 second review of Empires.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Lawyer's Duty to His Client

I have always been proud to be a lawyer, for one reason:  even mediocre lawyers fight like hell for their clients.  You may not have a friend in the world, but if you hire a lawyer you get his or her undivided loyalty.  No matter what the rest of the world thinks of you, your lawyer is on your side.  Period.  And it is remarkable how often a lawyer's vigorous representation of a client who was despised, and whose position was thought hopeless, has carried the day.  When a major law firm like King & Spalding puts politics above its duty of loyalty to its client, it is a sad day for our profession and for our country.
Thus wrote John over at Powerline yesterday.

Remember John Adams, before he was the President, before the Declaration of Independence, represented eight British Soldiers involved in the 1770 Boston Massacre?  Got six of them off and two charged with capital murder were found guilty of manslaughter.

Not quite the same thing, but we can say, as Americans, with some pride, that the former Solicitor General Paul Clements, who took the Republican controlled House of Representatives' case in defense of the "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA).  Actually, his firm, King & Spalding, of which he was a partner, took the case and then dropped it.  Yesterday the Chairman of King & Spalding, Mr Robert Hays, Jr, pulled the plug for his firm, announcing:
"In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate," Hays wrote.  "Ultimately, I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created."
They were facing a protest by Human Rights Campaign and Equality Georgia and there was a full page ad set to run in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  I am betting they would never touch a defense of anyone publishing the Muhammad Cartoons of Jyllands-Posten.

Mr Clements resigned from his firm.
"I resign out of the firmly held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters.  Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do...  I recognized from the outset that this statute implicates very sensitive issues that prompt strong views on both sides.  But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it."
That is from Law Professor Ann Althouse at her eponymous blog, in which she quotes herself from a previous blog post:
I would like to see the Defense of Marriage Act go, and I encouraged the Obama administration to decline to defend it, but I don't think it's "indefensible," and in fact, it deserves to be defended, and the House Republicans did the right thing in hiring Clement.  The country deserves a well-briefed, well-argued case presented to the Supreme Court.  The other side is already represented by Theodore Olson, another former Solicitor General.  I hope Olson wins, but not because he's the better lawyer.  It is absolutely fitting that he be matched with a lawyer of equal stature, skill, and will to prevail.
And Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is all over this subject, which is only right.  It is the job of professors to teach and this is a "teachable moment".

Kudos to former Solicitor General Paul Clement.  Win or lose, he is a standup guy.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tea Party and the Constitution

Way out at Northwestern University there are a series of items on the Tea Party and the US Constitution.  I thought it was kind of interesting.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tetris Nostalgia

I got this link to a cartoon by xkcd and it is about the old computer game, Tetris.

Don't let your young kids mouse over the cartoon.

But, then, they are probably so young they won't get the cartoon anyway.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 25, 2011

New MLF Web Site

The Move Lowell Forward Municipal PAC has updated its website.

And, yes, we have submitted a paper to the City Council, through the City Clerk, talking about our ideas for Renewed Economic Growth.  Gerry Nutter claims to have attached it to his blog post on it.  I am actually a little surprised that Gerry knows so little about us, given that he knows a number of us personnally.  Invite me to have hot chocolate with you, Gerry.

And, I am even more surprised that Mr Nutter has not suggested an alternative for us to all get together and express ourselves, given that we are such a diverse group in terms of our ideas at the State and National levels.  We couldn't possibly all be in the LRCC, nor could we all be part of GLAD.  Some of us are even Unenrolled.  What venue would Mr Nutter suggest?

But, so Mr Nutter knows about my background, I spent a year as the Chairman of the Budget Committee for United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), at the time an organization spread across Europe from England to Turkey and in active duty Air Force "head count" the size of Lowell, and that not counting the resident military dependents and other civilians.  And, we had lots of money issues, such as whether to build a second fire station at Ramstein AB, to cover the part time squadron areas or buy child care centers.  Showing our practical side, we went with Congress, which was buying child care centers that year.

I was also the Chief of the Strategy Division (J-5) on the Joint Staff.  Strategy is often described as matching Ends, Ways and Means.  Put another way, Strategy is about figuring how to use limited resources to achieve the desired aims.  While I don't have a PhD in finance, I did take an accounting course at UMass Lowell a few years back, because I was a Business Unit manager at Dynamics Research Corporation.  And, I don't have a PhD in Economics, but then Paul Krugman does and that may speak for itself.

In my humble opinion, while MLF may believe in Professional City Government, we are not against citizens, singly and together, having opinions on issues, especially when the have a direct impact on us.  If Mr Nutter runs for office I hope he will be open to the inputs of citizens, singly and in groups.

More than you wanted to know.  More than I wanted to know.  Now, on to the movie for class this week, Le goût des autres.  Just two more class periods to go, including the final.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of which, perhaps, John McDonough will take note.  I need to practice with the password before I will be able to post to it.  Change is good, but change also sometimes means work.  Thus I say thanks to Lynne Lupien for all her hard work on this new version of our website.

Speaking of Sarah Palin

I remember how flat footed many were caught when Sarah Palin emerged in 2008 as the VP choice for the Republicans.  Just so that won't happen again, I will again mention South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.  I mentioned her in a comment a few minutes ago, when someone tried to push Senator Jim DeMint, also of South Carolina.

At Dinner yesterday, only three of of the 20 were Republican in their leanings, and the name Nikki Haley was largely unknown as those of use in the side of Lincoln were asked who might possibly run for President in 2012.  (As you might imagine, I said it was too early to tell.)

But, back to Ms Haley, here is a headline from The Hill, "Gov. Haley's advice to GOP presidential hopefuls:  Change your message".

As reported by Mr Jordan Fabian, the message from Governor Haley is to have a more positive message, to show where we should be going and not just talk about how bad things are.
There is a group … that has come through South Carolina. They are trying to tell me how they are going to win. I don't care how they are going to win, I want to know how they are going to fix our country.
Probably not the person to emerge in 2012, but in 2016 she may be a player.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to Ann Althouse, in a way, since she recommended the website MemeOrandum, which had a link to the article from The Hill.

Gov Palin for the Fed?

I realize that the thought of former Governor Sarah Palin as President of these United States makes some people physically ill.  So, what about this idea from yesterday's New York SunPut her on the Federal Reserve Board.  The idea is that she seems to have more insight into the economy than Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at least with regard to quantitative easing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Greater Lowell Tea Party at Shedd Park

Yes, I went.  It was cold and windy and I wasn't dressed for it.  But, I enjoyed myself anyway and saw lots of folks I knew.  That said, I thought Lowell Sun reporter Lyle Moran's estimate of 100 was high  But, for a State with so many neo-liberals, it wasn't a bad turnout and it was an enthusiastic crowd.

Someone asked me about how many tea bags were hanging from hats at the event.  The fact is, the tea bag has gone out of vogue and been replaced by the tea pot.  The tea pot can be seen in the banner for the Greater Lowell Tea Party (we have quite an artist in the group).

And, some who seek to denigrate the Tea Party movement tend to us the "tea bag" term in ways suggesting disreputable things.  And, since the fracus in Madison, Wisconsin, the new term is "flee bags", for those Democratic Party members of the State Legislature who fled to Rockford, Illinois, rather than be present and argue their points and then vote.

Here is a patriotic "Tea Pot" pin.  The woman wearing it said her husband saw it and bought it for her.  A very nice piece of jewelry for providing an opportunity to talk about the Tea Party movement.  And, it would be appropriate to note that there is not monolithic "Tea Party", but rather a collection of individual, local Tea Parties.

Here is Patches the Clown entertaining the children during the rally.  This is not to be confused with Patches Kennedy.  Part of the entertainment was balloons, a couple of which popped as they were being inflated.

"Being inflated" reminds me of the reason for the rally.  There are folks out there who are concerned about our economy and the possibility that current spending will lead to galloping inflation.  The Tea Party is a small government movement.  The various Tea Parties, if members knew the term, would subscribe to subsidiarity.

And speaking of "Tea Parties", the idea of a monolith known as "the Tea Party" is to miss the decentralized nature of the movement.  There may be some Tea Parties being financed by "powerful forces", but the Great Lowell Tea Party was holding a bake sale to help pay for what was going on.

Further, there is diversity of opinion within the movement.  At the Rally there were two petitions being circulated for signing.  One was for a requirement to show ID to vote.  Frankly, this seems like a no-brainer.  I show my ID at various times and places, especially when using a credit card to pay for things while shopping.  It is mandatory if I am going to board an airplane.  It should not be such a hard thing for those voting.  Here is a Facebook Page on the issue of showing and ID to vote.

The other petition was to send a message to Senator Scott Brown, expressing disappointment in some of his votes.  A participant sidled up to the table and looked at the petition and said that he wasn't going to sign because, in his opinion, Senator Brown was doing a remarkable job for a Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and he didn't want to give him a hard time for not being someone he couldn't be anyway.  I fully agree with that position and the person behind the table was gracious in accepting that explanation.  "Gracious".  That defined the interactions of the people at the Rally.

Sure, the speakers tried to give us stemwinders, but that is the job of a Rally speaker.  Ms Sandi Martinez, from Chelmsford (GREATER Lowell Tea Party) kicked things off and then set a timer and introduced Tom Wirtanen. 

Don Feder, former Columnist for The Boston Herald, was the keynote speaker.

Holly Robichaud, from The HBoston erald, where she blogs as "The Lone Republican", talked.

Dick Patton, who had a forefather in the original Boston Tea Party, spoke about Estate (Death) Taxes.

Loren Spivack, the Free Market Warrior, talked about economics.  Mr Spivack is a graduate of UMass Amherst, out in the hinterlands of Massachusetts.

Others who spoke included Capt. Jim Dixon, an Airline Captain (and former Naval Aviator (S-3s)), who is running for the 10th Middlesex Rep seat in a 10 May Special Election.  That is Jim on the right.

There was even some Blue Grass music, from Fiddlin' Ed.

Considering it was the deadline for filing Income Tax Returns, it was a pretty fine day.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That was for any Immaculate Children's Choir members following this blog.
  From the Wikipedia link:  "Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, cybernetics, management, military (Mission Command) and, metaphorically, in the distribution of software module responsibilities in object-oriented programming. Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism, where it asserts the rights of the parts over the whole."
  This is about dead people voting, and folks voting for their neighbors.  But, it could be about a father/son mixup, as happened about ten years ago.  I was registered to vote and my son moved up here from Virginia and did the register by mail.  When I showed up to vote there was only one Clifford R Krieger on the voter roll.  Since I was the early bird I voted.  My son Clifford R (R) Krieger, was livid that he was not going to vote (and no one offered him a provisional ballot).  If he had gotten there before me he would most certainly have voted.  I am not sure showing an ID to vote would have saved me, but it would be part of a process that would raise the awareness of all of us about voting and keeping the rolls correct.  My supposition is that in the Elections Section they looked at the registration card, and the name, and decided that it was a duplicate, and put it in the circular file.  Why, yes, my son went down to City Hall that very morning and complained.
  This may be an inside joke, in that Tom has a propensity to go on and on.  The timer was Sandi's polite way of telling Tom there was a limit to his time—others needed their chance to talk.

Easter Meditation

Here is an Easter Meditation from Reporter Carl Prine.

I liked it.  Next stop is his Facebook page to say same.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Real Holidays

I am late to this but thought the comment to Julie D at Happy Catholic was interesting.

It seems we are not the only state to celebrate local events in our history.  The 21st of April is San Jacinto Day in Texas.  This is the battle where General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Ana, revenging the Alamo, but more important, setting in train a series of events that would bring to these United States a third of our territory.

The comment to Julie D was:
I try to remember all of these good Texas holidays.  They really bring home how unique the state–and future Republic—truly is.  This one is a real holiday, not like Cinco de Mayo.  I mean, if you have a holiday to celebrate beating the French, then every day would be a holiday!
Actually, that is a little harsh toward the French.  We will have to judge after we see how Libya works out.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Bystanders

Remember Kitty Genovese?  For those of you too young to remember events in 1964, she was attacked by a man with a knife as she arrived home very early one morning from work.  Her screams attracted the attention of neighbors, who did not intervene.

The received lesson is that the neighbors were callous to not get involved.  I blame the Sullivan Act.

Now we have a man murdered for intervening to stop a fight in a line at a McDonald's in Brixton (South London).  From The Daily Mail we have this report of the incident.

The basic outline is that a Mr Raymond Mitchell, 34, stepped in to stop a fight in a line at the fast food joint and one of those fighting told him he would be dead by morning.  As he stepped out of the establishment he was chased into a dead end, where he was pistol whipped and then shot three times.

Of course, the question is, with the UK's strict gun laws, how could that possibly happen?  Gun control laws are supposed to stop this kind of thing.  I think that perhaps Mr Mitchell forgot he was in England when he stepped in to stop a fight.  The people who didn't rush into the streets when Kitty Genovese was being stabbed and then raped were not stupid.  On the other hand, if one of them had opened a window and brandished a handgun, a 75 year old Kitty Genovese might be walking around this very Easter Weekend, a proud Grandmother.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

PS:  For those wondering what I meant by "Leading to the Next Post" as the title of a recent post, this was the post that was supposed to immediately follow.

  It's the "Sullivan Act".  You have no right to a real link.  It is a "may issue" act.  I have "discretion" and I judge you may not be safe with an actual link.

ACLU to the Rescue

I am a supporter of the ACLU.  The reason is that it stands up for folks with unpopular ideas and that is part of what our liberty is about—folks with unpopular ideas being allowed to express them.  Here is one more example, from The Volokh Conspiricy.  "ACLU Fighting Attempts to Suppress Anti-Islam Speech".  I am not saying I agree with the content of the speech, just the right to express the views contained therein.

I support the ACLU, just like I support the NRA.

It is about our Bill of Rights and our freedom.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

How Many Choices?

In honor of Good Friday and Easter we have this photo and a question.  The photo was taken on Route 110 where Lowell becomes Tewksbury.
The Three Crosses is obvious—Jesus and the two rebels (leading to the story of the "Good Thief")

It is the "Two Choices" that is a question. I guess that if one thinks that choosing Jesus or rejecting Jesus are two choices, then it makes sense.  However, my dictionary says...
an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities:  the choice between good and evil.
So, it seems to me there is only one choice and two possible responses.

I think this all goes back to the King James version of the Bible.  This verse from Moses, found in Deuteronomy (30:19) might lead one to think there are two choices:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Or not.  Frankly the New American Bible isn't much different.

The other "choice" line that comes to mind is from Joshua (24:15):
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Here the New American Bible uses the word "decide".

I am going with three crosses and one choice, with two options.  But, still, the message is clear.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 22, 2011

2012 Election

I think Political Analyst Larry Sabato is saying that it is Obama's to lose in 2012, based upon the likely flow of the Electoral College.

In the mean time, Professor Althouse blogs on Commentator Charles Krauthhammer's predictions on possible Republican nominees.

The thing to keep in mind is that the nominating conventions are still over a year away.  That is a lifetime or two in politics.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to the Instapundit for the item from Professor Sabato.

  I like to Professor Althouse for the comments.

Leading to the Next Post

Today Commentator Rush Limbaugh noted during his monologue that it was Earth Day.  He then went on to note that one of the people who claimed to be a founder of Earth Day was later found to have murdered his ex-girlfriend and then composted her body.  The thing that caught my attention was that he was from Philly and had the family name Einhorn, which made me wonder if he was related to someone my Father used to work with at the then Naval Aviation Supply Depot, in North Philly.  Maybe, as children in the late 1940s or early 1950s our paths crossed.  I doubt it, but it is possible.  Since my Father has been gone for a while now, I can no longer check out these theories.  The passing of parents is a sad thing in many ways.

The other interesting thing about this case is that there were problems involved in extraditing Mr Ira Einhorn from France, where we was sojourning while on the lam from Pennsylvania authorities.  At the time he slipped out of the country his lawyer was a Mr Arlen Spector.  For sure, our many states and our Federal legal system with the death penalty makes extradition from Europe difficult in capital cases.  European nations will not extradite to the US someone who might face the death penalty.

Regards  —  Cliff

Solar Highways?

My middle brother sent me this video about an R&D project to embed solar panels in highways.  Pretty cool.

But, having watched the video, I do have questions.  Can it be plowed?  Can it be salted?  Is it heated?  These are, however, engineering challenges, to be overcome.

But, we can expect opposition to this idea.  If our fellow citizens are against transitioning to wind power on the Cape, I am sure they can find reasons to be against this.

Of course, there is always nuclear power.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More to Come

As you may recall, yesterday I said "more to come on this front" on the recount issue in Wisconsin.

Here is more, but definitely not the last.

Regards  —  Cliff

New VP in 2012 Race?

If Willie Brown says it, I tend to pay attention.

Funny that they (NBC's Bay Area affiliate) would think of Mr Brown as the former Mayor, rather than the former Speaker of the State Assembly.  Maybe that falls under all politics being local.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tea Parties

I owe a blog post in the Greater Lowell Tea Party rally at Shedd Park on Monday last.  Tomorrow, I hope.

In the mean time, there is this from blogger Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Recount in Wisconsin

Do we all know that there is an important election in Canada a fortnight from now?  I should blog about that.

But, in the mean time, Ms JoAnne Kloppenburg has asked for a recount.  Ms Kloppenburg is the Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General who ran for a seat on the State Supreme Court, perhaps with the hope of voting to overthrow the recent actions of the Wisconsin Legislature.  She was ahead by about 200 votes when about 7,000 uncounted votes were found.  She is, of course, crying foul.
Kloppenburg also called on the board to appoint a special investigator to probe the "actions and words" of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.
Her opponent in the race was Justice David Prosser, who is seen as being favorable to the actions of the Legislature.

Politics is the greatest sport; the tension, the drama, the instant recounts.  Well, not quite "instant" but recounts.

More to come on this front.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Catch It While You Can

My Letter to the Editor of The Lowell Sun was published Monday.  Of course, I missed it.  But, I found it today.

The one thing I noted was that I WAS EDITED!  There isn't much you can do about such a thing.  No police will respond to take down your story.

What was edited out was a short comment that said I expected the President to face up to the same situation as Representative Paul Ryan.
I have no reason to think the President's speech on Wednesday will do any less.
Fair and balanced, you know.  Speaking of fair, it would be fair to note that my letter was finally published after the President's speech.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 18, 2011

Military Brats

This is, apparently, the Month of the Military Child, also known as a military BRAT.  Having said that, at one time those children whose parent(s) was in the Navy was known as a Navy Junior, but I think the term Brat has made it into our language.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Michael M. Dunn tells this story about this wife challenging him to have the National Defense University Library research the origin of the term, and he being the President of NDU, they oblidged:
Well—it turns out my wife was right—and the NDU library came through.  A researcher there found a book written in 1921 which described the origins of the term.  It came, like many of our military traditions, from the British Army.  It seems that when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly in India), the family went with the member in an Admin status entitled: BRAT status.  It stands for:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member (the wives of the British Army [who were all males] objected to the term referring to them).  And the term not only stuck, but in many cases was adopted world-wide.
I am betting I know the researcher and thus am not surprised that they found the answer.

Someone else, in the same venue, provided this comment on the story:
Quick survey from Afghanistan:  I just asked four Americans, two Canadians, two Brits, and two Australians, who happen to be in my immediate vicinity here right now.  All but one have children, two are themselves the children of servicemen.  The result: 100% of the Americans, Aussies, and Canadians (and that includes the Quebeqois Canuck) use, or acknowledge (if they don't personally use the term) the term as common parlance.  (One Canadian variant: Base Rats)

Interestingly, the term in the British Army is now "Pad Rats."

And most curiously, the Norwegian term for children who grow up moving base to base, because their father is in the service, is "NATO bairn" (Pronounced, by my Norwegian Major, something like, "Naaaahtoe Barn".  Which means, "NATO Kids" (As in North Atlantic Treaty Organization.)

Italy and Romania apparently, have no similar term.
But, from my time in Italy I noted that service members tended to not move around as much and families tended to not go with the Service member when he did change assignment locations.  While not an iron-clad rule, wives from Northern Italy did not accompany their husbands to a staff assignment in Naples, Italy, such assignment being of a relatively short duration of one, two or three years.

I note in passing that, thanks to my wife, I have three "brats" of my own, who I have dragged from Florida to Germany to Florida, to the Pan Handle of Florida, to England, to Italy, to Fairbanks, Alaska, to the Philippines, to Pennsylvania (where I discharged one via marriage), to Virginia, to Germany, to Virginia.  One even followed me to Massachusetts for six months, before going out to San Diego.  Good kids.

Regards  —  Cliff

Never Lost on the Internet

It is very infrequent that something posted to the Internet is lost for ever.  This means that once you have said or done something stupid on the Internet it is there for ever, or until the Apocalypse.

This problem for people posting includes even the United Nations.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dinner Out

While having dinner at "Brand X" we learned that two of our favorite restaurant people were now at what used to be known as the Bainbridge Restaurant and is now known as "Aprile's European Restaurant"—European with an Italian approach.

So, we decided to check it out.  It was a good decision.  We thoroughly enjoyed out time at dinner there on Saturday evening.  The food was good and the conversation was good and the atmosphere was good and the service was good.

The new owner of the restaurant is Mr Eddie Aprile.  We met him and found him to be interesting to talk with.  His father owned the restaurant of the same name in the North End of Boston.  Eddie's Father was a cook in the Navy and then started out as a cook in a North End Restaurant, moving up to Chief and then partner.  The business may be in the genes.

I dropped off my wife and daughter and parked the car.  Walking in I ran into Karl, who is the manager and someone I knew from his previous incarnation here in Lowell.  Karl and his wife and daughter moved up here from Connecticut to manage a restaurant and he was doing an excellent job, IMHO, when the chain ownership moved him aside.  That was our loss and the owners' loss.

Also there at this new restaurant was our friend Joanne, the "manager in training", someone we also knew from before.

Ricky (Rixk on the printed bill), was our waiter.  He too is someone we knew from before, at a different venue.  Rickie is a sophomore at Middlesex, and studying "business".

We had the Fried Mozzarella for an Appetizer and my wife thought it was as good as what we used to get in Naples, Italy.  Then we had salads, which were huge.  That was followed by Chicken Marsala, which was very generous.  Up to that point it had all be delicious.  Finally, deserts, with my wife having Creme Carmel and I had chocolate cake.  We both enjoyed our deserts.  Our daughter, who was with us, had Minestrone soup, a big salad and a vegetable pizza, much of which came home with us.  This morning I was talking about the restaurant with someone and he noted that he had taken his kids (grandkids?) there on Wednesday and they had all had pizzas, which they all enjoyed.

Yes, it was more expensive than "Brand X", but the portions were bigger and the taste was great.

Except for deserts, they have a "scratch kitchen", which means it is being prepared for you as you wait.

Looking at ambiance, the lighting is good and one can read a book in the restaurant (but not the bar).  A bonus is that no one came around and turned down the lighting as the sun went down.  The level of chatter is just right.  It is constant, but it does not intrude and drown out one's own conversation.  Our last time there, as Bainbridge, my wife had noted that it was quiet as a morgue.  I think the high ceiling makes for an open feel and allows the conversation to move up and not across, to intrude on others.  Last night, as we got up to leave I looked around at those dining and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The Restaurant is open for lunch and open until 10 in the Evening during the week and 11 PM on Fri and Sat.  Brunch buffet for Sunday, from 1030 to 2:00 and then dinner from 3:00 to 9:00 PM.

They have their own Web Page, which includes menus and hours.  There is also a link to the sister restaurant, Gaetano's, in Stoneham.

Aprile's European

"Fight Like a Girl"

I guess I could have passed this by, but the cow bells got me.  Brings to mind driving through the Swiss countryside.

Sissy Willis blogs about the Tea Party Rally out in Madison, Wisconsin.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tea Party Rally Here

No, Sarah Palin is not going to be there, but the Great Lowell Tea Party is having a Tax Day Rally anyway, at Shedd Park, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Shedd Park Pavallion

Rain or Shine

And Blue Grass Music

And a clown (Patches—not that Patches) for the Kids

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Connectivity Demands in Asia/Pacific Area

It appears that "the Asia Pacific's regional internet registry APNIC has placed its members on stringent IPv4 address rations, conceding it was now unable to meet IPv4 demands in the region." APNIC covers 56 countries, "from Afghanistan to Antartica". (Althought Antartica really isn't a country.)
APNIC has just 16.7 million remaining IPv4 addresses which it said were reserved for “essential connectivity” with the superseding protocol IPv6.

Rationing was part of APNIC’s “Final /8” plan to deal with IPv4 exhaustion, which many Australian operators had already accounted for by stockpiling IPv4 addresses. Optus recently told iTNews that it had a reserve for business continuity purposes.

The allocation that finished off APNIC's dwindling pool occurred this week, after it issued nearly 500,000 IPv4 addresses to the Chinanet Fujian Province Network, according to Davidson.   

There were signs earlier this month that IPv4's D-Day was near after APNIC knocked back Microsoft's request for temporary addresses to support its annual TechEd conference. 

"There is no IPv4 address space available for temporary allocation," APNIC told Microsoft.
In it's way, this is another argument against a too rigid central planning function.  Markets don't always expand the way Central Planners think the will or should.  The millions, the hundreds of millions of consumers sometimes want to go a different way, and that should be their right.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ironic Death

I first saw this news story in The Internation Tribune, but the new rules from the Mother Ship in New York allowed only one viewing.  But, the overall decline in the newspaper business seems to have given a new lease on life to the wire services.  So, from Reuters, via Yahoo, we have this story on an Italian activist in Gaza, who was beaten and murdered by a violent fringe group that feels Hamas is not fringy and violent enough.

Journalist Mr Nidal al-Mughrabi tells us:
Hamas found the body Friday of a pro-Palestinian Italian activist who was killed by al Qaeda sympathizers in the Gaza Strip, raising questions about Hamas's control over the beleaguered enclave.  Two men were arrested and others were being sought for the abduction and killing of Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, who was found strangled in an abandoned house Friday, Hamas officials said.

A group of strict Islamists aligned with al Qaeda, known as Salafists, had threatened Thursday to execute Arrigoni unless their leader, detained by Hamas last month, was freed.

It was an unprecedented challenge for Hamas, an Islamist group whose diehard hostility to Israel has deepened the isolation and poverty of Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.
The kidnappers claimed to want the release by Hamas of their leader and gave a 30 hour deadline.  But, the autopsy suggests the death was 24 hours before the deadline expired.

Lesson number one is that politics is about compromise and not enforcement of one's own views through violence.

Lesson number two is that confidence in the basic independence and fairness of the judicial system is fundamental to effective politics.

Lesson number three is that within any group there are those who are willing to resort to violence.

Regarding lesson three, fortunately, in these United States such people are in a minuscule minority, and often are more identified with mental illness than political ideology.  Not so in other parts of the world.  And, with lack of compromise, with lack of justice and with violence present it is hard for a region to pull itself up, thus engendering a cycle of poverty and violence.

Our condolences to The family of Vittorio Arrigoni.

A hat tip to Mr Brutally Honest.

Regards  —  Cliff

Cameras Should Be Banned

Over at Five Feet of Fury we have a link to a Fox News item on an student engineering team being suspended by a Canadian University.
The University of Waterloo in Canada has suspended a team of students who built a racecar after a female member was photographed posing next to the car in a bikini and high heels.

University spokesman Michael Strickland said the temporary suspension is in response to an "inappropriate and denigrating" photograph that appeared online, as well as in Tuesday's edition of the Waterloo Region Record.
After you look at the picture at the second link you will doubtless agree with me that it is the hidious colors that prompted the suspension.

Regards  —  Cliff

Presidential Signing Statements

Here is Law Professor Ann Althouse talking about Presidential Signing Statements.  Remember them?  Those are those things that President George W Bush would sign when he thought the US Congress had overstepped its bounds.

The ABA (the American Bar Association) thinks that signing statements are not a good thing.  Do you think they are not a good thing?
Presidential Signing Statements
Are a bad thing and Candidate Obama was right to reject them.
Since the US Congress is Wacky, signing statements are necessary.
As long as it isn't "W" it is OK. free polls
Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 15, 2011

John MacDonald Declares

Enroute to Class on Thursday, I stopped by the VFW for the early part of the John MacDonald party to declare his candidacy for City Council.  I saw the new Blogger, Jack Mitchell there, as well as other folks I know from both parties and no parties and people from out of town.  The City Council race is non-partisan and that may well be a very good thing.  People I saw included Tom O'Brien from the Lowell Republican City Committee, as well as Pat McCartin from same.  Sam Meas was there, as was Sam Poulten, who apparently doesn't know me from Adam's Odd Ox, but has a beautiful wife.  I saw Paul Sweeney, perhaps checking out the operation for local non-partisan PAC Move Lowell Forward.  Local Lawyer Jay Gaffney was there as well as City Councilman Kevin Broderick (we talked about ENEL and the dam).  But I was only there for a short time.

Here is a photo of John at the VFW, in the upstairs meeting room.

John's last name is close to my wife's family name, McDonald, so that allows me to warm to him a little more.  He has that extra "a" in his name.  I also like that he is an Air Force Veteran—both the Veteran part and the Air Force part.

Here is John's Web Page, with a nice photo of him, his wife and their daughters.

I also like John's call for Respectful Leadership.  Anyone in an elected position in City Government needs to be providing leadership.  Leadership is often about providing a moral look at things, not just down, but laterally and upward.

As for a Vision, John says:  "I offer a vision that honors the past, but focuses on the bright future of Lowell."  I like it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Why Bother in 2012

My Middle Brother posed a question to me:
Why don't you consider blogging on this:  since once Obama steals the deficit issue from the Republicans (whether or not it is via Stockholm, it will be like Clinton stealing the issues of welfare reform and other things to grab the center and keep the left) there is no chance for a Republican presidential nominee, so why bother to spend the money, alienate the population, fill the air waves, and come up a loser?  Is it only because of tradition?  Do you have a campaign so that you get money and publicity for Congressional and Senate contests?   Do you do it to raise the money?  Does it help you impact the state elections?  Do those things balance out being a losing party on the national level with perhaps less than 40% of the vote?
Since I have been blogging along about how it is going to be hard to beat President Obama in 2012, this seems to be a natural follow-up.

The first thing to remember is that in politics the half-life of a political memory is 90 days and six months is a lifetime.  While "The Donald" may be in the news today, who will remember that he was making Presidential noises come Christmas?

There is little doubt that if President Obama were to pull a President Clinton, as Lance suggests, he would have a safe ride back into the White House.  On the other hand, President G H W Bush looked to be in good shape going into the 1992 campaign.  His son, George W Bush, not so much.  We see how those campaigns came out.

Incumbency has its advantages and is usually the way to bet.  The Runyonesque answer is that President Obama will be returned to office in 2012.  On the other hand, it is worth looking for those little discontinuities that could disrupt that path to re-election.  There is the economy.  There is the budget and the deficit (and debt).  There is Libya.  There is the whole Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Egypt, Syria thing.  There is North Korea.  There is the immigration issue.  None of them should be a problem, but, each could pose a problem if it got out of control.

While the Republican Party didn't do all that well in 2008, and the McCain/Palin ticket went down in flames (365 to 173 in the electoral college and 53% to 46% in the popular vote), it did provide work for operatives and also experience for the folks just breaking into Republican politics.  Building experience for the next election seemed worth while then and it does now.  In the 2010 election the Republicans did modestly well.  People were elected; a House changed hands; States changed hands.  All of this is good stuff.

Yes, the Republicans will spend tens of millions of dollars in 2012 and probably come up empty handed, but to not spend that money, to abandon the field of battle, would be to set the party back quite a bit.  And, more important, it would invite others to step forward.

The real question has to do with if the Republican Party has exhausted its ability to provide a meaningful and united view of the future.  Put another way, is the Republican Party of today the Whig Party of 1860?  I don't think so, but it is worth considering.

So, while I do think the Republicans should mount a campaign for the White House, and I don't mind if they nominate a woman for the job, I am not convinced that 2012 will be a Republican year.  However, to abandon the playing field will be to invite some other group to step up and assume the mantel of Loyal Opposition.

Regards  —  Cliff

"A Line in the Sand"

I blame President George H W Bush from putting the subject expression into common usage.

It is a dumb expression.  It seems to me that when I was young the expression was "draw a line in the dirt".  A line in the dirt would last long enough for any purposes us kids would have.  But sand, that is ever changing and is never permanent.  Let's face it, sand drifts, is blown about, and lines quickly disappear.

I expect the President was trying to make a point and draw in the geography, but I think he missed the mark.

Should we not move on?

Regards  —  Cliff

Updating the Blog Roll

Following the example of Blogger Dick Howe, I am updating my Blog Roll.  I have included both the Pollard Library blog and one from the Lowell National Historic Park.  I thought about trimming some, but decided to keep Mr Mill City, just for old times sake.  I am keeping Jackie Doherty's blog, even though she has been playing submarine (Run Silent, Run Deep) for half a year.  And, Come to Lowell has been silent for a while also, but I am hanging on, hoping.

Outside of Lowell, I think that Blogger Ron Smits (And Then There is This...) has given up.  I wonder if it is because I stuck him with all that work when I retired?  Well, he is a fellow F-16 driver—we have flown the same airspace and bombed the same bombing ranges, at different times—so he gets to hang in there.  Scildweall has totally gone away, and I know the Blogger, Matt Matthews, is deep into other projects.  As for What's Next and Caroline's Comments, even though they have been silent for nine months, I am going to hang on for a while longer.  They both lost their husbands to Alzheimer's about a year ago and they may be back to blogging, or not.

I am keeping The Valley Patriot, because while the news is stale, the weather is current.

Yes, the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus is in need of updating, but at least they picked up some seats in the last election and that suggests they may be busy.  They get a pass for now—and I pimped the Minority Leader (and the State Committee) about the site just now via EMail.

So Scildweall is the one I am striking.  Farewell Matt and hope to see you again.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kad Barma On Foreclosures

It has been a while since I have seen the word "jamoke" used, but it resonates with me.  Over at Kad Barma's blog it is used today in discussing our "Housing Bubble", and a recent Dick Howe comment on foreclosures, with the example of Japan thrown in.
choosing a soundtrack:  i'll give you "crippling"
Do you think that the 9.0 Earthquake and Tsunami might be the thing to bring the Japanese economy back?  If it does it could give us a Lord Keynes 2.0.  I am of the opinion the 1.0 Version is not working, either in Japan or here.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Budget Proposals

Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank gives his take on the Congressional Progressive Caucus Federal spending option “The People’s Budget”.

Mr Milbank notes that Economist Jeffrey Sachs was at the announcement and concludes with this paragraph:
So, if Obama is on the right, where does that leave the left? “This proposal is in the center,” Sachs maintained.   “We have the far right, we have a president that is to the right of center, and we have a broad center that is represented by this proposal.”
A little later the President spoke.  The President quickly made the point that the budget is the execution of the agreed strategy to achieve the nation's vision of the future.
What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways.   This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending.   It’s about the kind of future that we want.    It’s about the kind of country that we believe in.   And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.
Here is the President's big picture:
So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years.    It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget.  It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion.    It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures -- spending in the tax code.    And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors, and protecting our investments in the future.
From The New York Times (Blog) we have Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman talking about Medicare reform and "death panels" (his words).   The President calls for enhancing the role of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in controlling Medicare costs.
As I understand it, it would force the board to come up with ways to put Medicare on what amounts to a budget — growing no faster than GDP + 0.5 — and would force Congress to specifically overrule those proposed savings. That’s what cost-control looks like!   You have people who actually know about health care and health costs setting priorities for spending, within a budget; in effect, you have an institutional setup which forces Medicare to find ways to say no.

And when people start screaming about death panels again, remember: you can always buy whatever health care you want; the question is what taxpayers should pay for.   And compare this with a voucher system, in which you have insurance company executives, rather than health-care professionals, deciding which care won’t be paid for.
That there would be medical providers outside "the system" would be a good thing, but would "single payer" allow it?  The Progressive Budget calls for "Single payer".

All this in reaction to the US House of Representatives Budget Plan (Rep Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee).   Here is the US House web page with all the extra data, as the Majority sees it. Here is the Minority web page, with their own Budget Plan. And here is the President's 2012 Budget.

The aforementioned The New York Times gives us what it sees as a side-by-side comparison of the House (Ryan) Plan and the President's Plan.

Finally, a link to the heretofore ignored Bowles-Simpson panel, the 2010 Presidential National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.
Senator Everett Dirksen
US politician (1896 - 1969)

Regards  —  Cliff

   Here is the expanded Committee Print, with Minority views.
  Maybe I am growing cynical in my old age, but do you think that table came from the budget analysts at The New York Times or from some other source?


I would have thought that the "Style Manual" of The New York Times would have declared that "Hocus Pocus" was unacceptable language in the "Newspaper of Record".  I would have been wrong.

Nobel Laureate Dr Paul Krugman uses it here.

Maybe because it is a "blog" the use of the term is acceptable.

On the other hand, it is Dr Krugman and his incantations reminds one more of theology than science.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse for the article.  The disappointment is all mine.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Handicapping 2012 (The White House)

Over at Politico Opinionator Roger Simon talks about challenges to President Obama in 2012.
I don’t think Barack Obama will have a hard time defeating his Republican opponent in 2012, barring a financial meltdown or a major foreign crisis.  It’s a Democratic opponent he should worry about.
Mr Simon talks about the options on both side.Regards  —  Cliff

The Drinking Age

Over at The Wall Street Journal the Instapundet, Law Professor Glenn Reynolds writes about allowing the individual states to lower their drinking ages from 21 to a lower age, such as 18.  It is the old argument that if they are old enough to go to war they should be old enough to (Fill In The Blank).  From the lede:
"If you get shot at, you can have a shot."  That's the rationale behind Alaska State Representative—and Vietnam veteran—Bob Lynn's effort to establish a drinking age of 18 for active-duty service members.

It's an idea that has gotten consideration in other states, and it makes sense. Unfortunately, Mr. Lynn's proposal would violate the 1984 Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act, costing Alaska federal highway money.  This is a battle that Republicans—and fair-minded Democrats—in Congress should join.

The "old enough to fight, old enough to drink" argument has force.  In fact, 18-year-olds in America are old enough to do pretty much everything except drink. Along with joining the military, 18-year-olds can vote, marry, sign contracts, and even take on a crippling lifetime burden of student loan debt in pursuit of an education that may never land them a job.  Yet we face the absurd phenomenon of colleges encouraging students to go into six-figure debt—which can't be discharged in bankruptcy—but forbidding them to drink on campus because they're deemed insufficiently mature to appreciate the risks.
Professor Reynolds notes that over 130 college presidents have joined together to propose lowering the drinking age, through the Amethyst Initiative.

But, that isn't the full story.  My friend and classmate Jeff Levy, a retired Air Force fighter pilot and the head of the Joint Staff's Middle East/Africa Division when I was chief of the Strategy Division, lost his son, Jonathan, when his son was a freshman in college.  Jonathan was in a car being driven by a very drunk classmate.  I remember when it happened and it was a terrible blow to the family.

In an ABC News report from 2008 Jeff, who has been associated with MADD since the loss of his son, argues against lowering the drinking age and for college and university presidents to do more.  (I would quote several paragraphs here except ABC puts the report up in a format that does not allow me to highlight and copy with my iPad.  Shame on ABC.)

Personally, I am torn about this.  The argument for bringing drinking out into the open and "de-glamorizing" it makes some sense.  On the other hand, we have this statistics based ban, but all the other laws conspire to limit the sway of parents and college administrators.  It appears something needs to be done one way or the other.  And, the ability of the individual states to experiment is thwarted by a Federal Government that insists that one size fits all.

With Lowell being a college "town" this seems an apt topic, made more so by our discussion of lowering the voting age to 17 for City elections.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have a $5 bet with someone over whether it will snow again this year.  I made the bet because I believe a discontinuity is possible.  I will blog on that at some point in the future.

This evening I want to talk about the weather the last few days.  I think it has been great.  But, then, weather is all relative.  I would describe these last few days as wonderful summer days (For the Eifel region of Germany.  But, then, one of the summers we lived there my wife never put away the winter cloths or got out the summer cloths.  Weather is all relative and the grass is always greener some other place.).

Regards  —  Cliff

The President in 2012

Over at Hot Air Ed Morrissey talks to president Obama's prospects in 2012, based on the Rasmussen daily tracking polls.  The President has hit a new low for strong support amongst neo-liberals.

Mr Morrissey provides this comment:
Still, these are not numbers that guarantee a loss in 2012.   The base may be unenthusiastic, but they will have nowhere else to go in a 2012 general election.   If their disaffection starts bringing down Obama’s approval numbers in a serious way, it could provide a signal for a primary challenge in the fall from a Democrat more aligned with the anti-war Left, perhaps especially if the GOP forces Obama to start proposing significant cuts to entitlements.   These numbers make that a remote possibility, though, and there isn’t any significant national figure among Democrats who could run to Obama’s left — certainly not Hillary Clinton, who ran to his right in 2008 and is most responsible for the decision to start a war in Libya that isn’t going terribly well now.   Bill Richardson may be the only non-fringe candidate on the scene with enough credibility to make Obama sweat, or perhaps Russ Feingold, who would be much less inclined to try it.
On the other hand, my wife thinks Hillary Clinton could pose a serious challenge to President Obama in the primaries.

So, we wait and speculate.

Meanwhile, over at the Althouse Blog there is this poll for you re Rep Michelle Bachmann running.  For those of you who aren't sure who she is, she is the former IRS attorney now in the US House of Representatives from Minnesota.  Everyone can vote, but unlike Chicago, only once a day from the same computer.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Brain as a Predictor

This item has been out on Facebook and now it is here in this blog.  "Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study"

It remains unclear whether the structural differences cause the divergence in political views, or are the effect of them.
Put another way, we don't know which way this thing flows.  And, of course, this little fact is buried.

Of course the article also plays to my belief that we don't understand the titles we assign in politics and my belief that often the titles obscure agreements and accentuate differences.

It is fun to read, but I don't think the reporter gives us any insight and understanding.  On the other hand, if folks try to take this to some logical Darwinian extreme we will end up where we were in the first half of the 20th Century, play with Eugenics.  While the flexible minded neo-liberals might like that, the more concerned conservatives might find that a little much.

And, as I trail off I wonder about the subjects chosen for this experiment.  We are told 90 "healthy young adults".  That tells me nothing.  What exactly are they a cross section of?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Bottom Line Up Front.

Monday, April 11, 2011

City Life Update

I have a note from Blogger saying that Jack Mitchell posted a comment, but it hasn't shown up on the Blog Post it was sent to.  So, I am posting it here.
Jack Mitchell has left a new comment on your post "MoDo and Bob Dylan":

Yo, Cliff.

Based on our City Life talk were I called those fearmongers over at CAGW "scumbags," I figured I'd try to flesh out your point that China does not hold much of our debt.

Sorry, I leaned of The Wiki-
Foreign ownership
Composition of U.S. Long-Term Treasury Debt held by foreign states, Nov. 2005-Nov. 2010. June figures are results of comprehensive Treasury Department surveys.  As of January 2011, foreigners owned $4.45 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $9.49 trillion and 32% of the total debt of $14.1 trillion. The largest holders were the central banks of China ($1.1 trillion) and Japan ($885 billion).[28][29] The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 25% of the public debt in 2007[30] and 13% in 1988.[31]

If'in I kalkalates rightly, that means China holds $1.1 Trillion out of $14.1 Trillion or 7.8% of our debt. Japan holds 6.2%. Yet, no scary commercials about the Japs? Why not?

I'm sure even folks that graduate "land grant" colleges have heard of Pearl Harbor.

Lying scumbag fearmongers must be renounced.
Dealing first with "land grant" colleges (schools like MIT and UMass Amherst), those are the predominant colleges out across the fruited plain and are distinguished from those Ivy League schools which provide us much of our Government "leadership" (Judge that for yourself).  I do think that a graduate of a land grant college is more likely to have heard about and understand Pearl Harbor that graduates of some other schools—land grant colleges require ROTC.

The "fearmongering" is the Democratic term for when Republicans do what Democrats do.  I give you the editorial cartoon in our Newspaper of Record today.  That would be The Lowell Sun.

But, back to the issue at hand, while live on City Life this AM we agreed that the share of each citizen of the Chinese held part of our national debt (as opposed to our trade deficit) was about $3,333.  Examination this evening gives us a figure of $3,563 (1.1 trillion dollars divided by 308,745,538 people).

The problem on the show was the $14.1 trillion dollar debt gave a per capita figure of about $140K.  That was off.  My calculation this evening is $45,669.  I don't know where we went wrong.

As for why we are concerned about China and not Japan is that we were concerned about Japan back about 20 years ago, when writers like James Fallows were telling us about how Japan was the wave of the future.  Since then Japan has experienced a long lasting recession and this recent 9.0 earthquake hasn't helped them.  On the other hand, China has a much larger population and seems to be riding the crest of a great wave (and much of our goods come out of China).  As a nation mired in its own recession and concerned about several overseas wars that don't seem to be going away, we are further concerned about our place in the world.  Some think we are loosing our grip.  Maybe they even subscribe to Historian Paul Kennedy's thesis, laid out in his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.

For another look at our financial position here in the United States go to Wikipedia here.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Has anyone tried to buy a shirt made in the US lately, aside from at the Custom Shop?

Narrative Failure

The Inspundit has this post today on how those fire breathing Freshmen in the US House are not.
NARRATIVE FAIL (CONT’D):  “According to the caricature, the tea partiers elected a group of freshmen Republicans who want government slashed right now, can’t compromise, and are ready to let the heavens fall for the sake of ideological purity.  They are, to use E. J. Dionne’s unfortunate phrase in his column today, ‘fire-eaters.’  In reality, most freshmen voted for the continuing resolution.  Most of them voted for the last one, too–the one that the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and other conservative groups were whipping against. Maybe you’re disappointed by the way the freshmen are behaving, or maybe you’re pleased, but either way they’re not conforming to the storyline.”

I wish that E.J. Dionne were right — but, really, how likely is that?
In a way, I am happy with the Freshmen, because we have to start walking this deficit and this debt back.  Politics is the art of the possible.  And, it is about encouraging the other side to move.  We will hear from the President on Wednesday about his plans to deal with the growing debt issue.

Regards  —  Cliff

MoDo and Bob Dylan

I don't follow music the way Kad Barma does.  In fact, I am still stuck in the 1930s and 1940s.  I like The Chairman and the Little Sparrow.  I like Cole Porter songs.  And, aside from items being pushed to me by my Middle Brother, I have yet to look at Sunday's edition of The New York Times.  Because of this, I missed MoDo's column on Bob Dylan.

The truth is, in my mind I confuse Bob Dylan with that espionage agent, Roald Dahl.  But Roald Dahl is so much older, having been a fighter pilot in WWII, the Big One.

But, Blogger Ann Althouse did comment on MoDo's column.  In a post with a title quoting a line in another blog,
"I can hardly wait for The Althouse Woman to tear Maureen Dowd a new one today on MD's put down of Bob Dylan performing in China."
Professor Althouse gives me a whole new appreciation for Singer Dylan.

I love reading MoDo's work, but sometimes she does follow a false path, like Acting Pilot Officer Dahl when he crashed in the Libyan Desert
An RAF inquiry into the crash revealed that the location to which he had been told to fly was completely wrong, and he had mistakenly been sent instead to the no man's land between the Allied and Italian forces.
And, from Professor Althouse we learn that often history is mis-remembered.

Regards  —  Cliff

Those Found Votes in Wisconsin

The creativity of humans in lousing up instructions is infinite.
Or so says William M Briggs, Statistician.  He was talking about the recent election in Wisconsin, where a late discovery of votes gave the incumbent, Justice Prosser.  The Professor was going on about this and that at this blog post, "Wisconsin Election Statistics".

The Blogger also had this advice for helping to reduce the risk to the souls of reporters:
Some in the media took the updated results like a man, but the dejection in many of their voices was evident when asking Nickolaus “How?” and “Are you absolutely sure…?” Earlier, I argued that all journalists should preface their questions by naming their party affiliation or by admitting who they wanted to win, e.g., “Bob Boberts, ABC, Democrat, Kloppenburg hopeful. Do you think…?”
I like the idea.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Joke

Over at Happy Catholic we have the weekend joke:
A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."
Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Which DoD Four Star Owns What

I miss the old days, when Mexico and Russia were not assigned, under the Department of Defense Unified Command Plan.

Regards  —  Cliff

FY2012 Budget

The US House of Representatives will be busy late next week
On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

Begin Consideration of H.Con.Res. __ - Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan / Budget Committee)

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes for the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.Con.Res. __ - Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan / Budget Committee)
At least according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Establishing the Budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021.
On the Democratic Party side this is about the kind of society we have grown to be and are becoming (Health Care Insurance reform, Planned Parenthood and NPR, cf., Senator Harry Reid).  On the Republican Party side it has become about saving the nation by getting the debt under control (e.g., Portugal).

I hope it will be an interesting and informative debate.

UPDATE:  Here is the Sissy Willis take, under the title "It's official.  I must now hate the Paul Ryan budget.  David Brooks is in luv with it".  And Here is a link to Rep Paul Ryan's video on his budget proposal.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 8, 2011


Over at the Lowell Republican City Committee blog site I posted this short item asking about "Bipartisanship".  The post was in honor of our looming Federal Government shutdown.

I had been thinking I would get some relatively free labor out of the process, but it seems my two sons are going to keep on working through this event.  Drat.

The reason for this "cross posting" is that only signed up members of the LRCC (well the LRCC blog) can post comments at the LRCC blog site.  The rules are the rules and I was not sufficiently pursuasive during the debate.

Regards  —  Cliff


It actually isn't a surprise, but still, after all the promises that there will be no US boots on the ground in Libya, we find this item at CBS News.
The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.
That would be the Commander of US African Command, Army General Carter Ham.  He was speaking before a Congressional Committee.

Did anyone tell the President?

This does seem to be inching toward the criteria laid down by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, found here, and made available via The New York Times.  I note that it is not searchable, at least on my web browser.

In the mean time, here is news on current US participation.
Ham said recent bad weather and threats from Qaddafi's mobile surface-to-air missile systems hampered efforts to use aircraft like the AC-130 and the A-10 to provide close air support for friendly ground forces. He says those conditions contributed to the stalemate.
I wonder what he meant by mobile surface-to-air missile systems?  Are these hand held or are they larger systems, systems that one might have expected to have been taken out by an organized SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) effort?

So far this reminds me of the story unwinding in the book I am currently reading, Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  That war didn't end up so well, but it did end up with boots on the ground.

The assertions I see that because we are only now 15% of the effort and NATO is now in charge the effort is not doing well is just that, an assertion.  I would like to see data before I make such a judgment.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You Can't Pick Your Relatives

I thought this was a "happy" read.

UPDATE:  On the other hand, there is this, over at The Tax Prof blog.

Hat tip to the Instapundit in the second cases also.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Down to Defeat 90 to 10

The good news is that the two Senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, voted to support Senator Rand Paul's rider to a Small Business Bill:
the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
I found the article on the vote at The Washington Post.  I couldn't find an article on this in either The Lowell Sun or, surprisingly, The Boston Globe.

I suspect the Republicans ducked this because the outcome in Libya is still in doubt and accepted the argument that the amendment was not relevant to the bill.  Actually, I like that argument, if it is a precedent.  Even so, I am disappointed in our own two Senators.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.  His links led to Hot Air, where Allahpundit quoted California Senator Dianne Feinstein as calling the amendment "too cute by half".  And it is, which is not saying something bad about it.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The amendment offered is a quote of a statement given to them by a former Senator.
  Although some say we may be there for years.