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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Terrorist Threat in US

For John, BLUFBe careful out there.

On 24 October of this year the Defense Force Protection Agency issued a SECURITY ADVISORY, NO. 14-01, titled "Recent Threats and Individual Protective Measures".
Recent threats, revealed through various intelligence and law enforcement sources, indicate that terrorists, directed or inspired by the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), view U.S. military members and law enforcement officers as legitimate targets for attacks.  Targets in recent ISIL-linked terrorist plots included places of public gatherings, government entities, mass transit nodes, and religious facilities.  Attacks would most likely involve edged weapons, small arms, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and could be perpetrated with little-or-no advanced warning.  In light of these threats and recent attacks in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, remaining vigilant is paramount.
Note:  ISIL, not ISIS.

Another Note:  This is not really a big deal.  I spend a year in the UK, on an RAF Station, when the Provisional IRA was blowing up RAF targets.  And, it was an "open" base, in that a public right of way went through one corner of the base.  We were not allowed to park in certain areas.  We couldn't leave briefcases (back packs today) anywhere.  We had a base pass for the windshield, but it was removed when we left the base.  Simple precautions.

Final Note:  You can help the police sort through the possible threats by not making yourself a problem.  Like at the airport, don't leave your packages and wander off.  Don't park where you are not supposed to.  Follow directions from police or others.  Stay calm, but think about a plan when in malls or other places with lots of people.  Staying calm may be your best protection in the event of some untoward event.  Remaining up tight all the time, when the odds of you being at the target at the time are very small, just means the other side is winning.

Regards  —  Cliff

Better Training Required

For John, BLUFFire arms are a very controversial issue in these United States.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is an interesting story, which one of my acquaintances forwarded to me.  The Maryland Transportation Authority Police pulled over a guy with Florida Plates, returning home from New Jersey, for a check to see if he was violating Maryland Gun Laws.  The source is the blog Joe [the Plumber] for America.

Lessons Learned:

  1. When your spouse doesn't trust you, it can cause a lot of trouble.
  2. Gun control laws vary by state, thus impeding interstate commerce.
  3. The Police, in putting emphasis on the enforcement of this law or that, may go to extraordinary efforts to find possible crime.
  4. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is correct, we are facing Ham Sandwich Nation:  Due Process When Everything Is a Crime
The police are our friends and they protect us from those who can't or won't follow the rules of a civilized society.  When some poorly trained police officer violates your rights, be polite and be respectful.  Later on you can sue his or her department.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Tampa Tribune version.
  It isn't about the money.  It is about encouraging better training.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mayor Thomas Menino RIP

For John, BLUFA fighter.

It is sad news that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has passed beyond this vale of tears.

I was impressed that he was so strong so long.  The five term mayor just launched a book tour, 15 days ago.

Here is the story in today's edition of The Boston Globe on line.L

Regards  —  Cliff

ID Required for Blood Draw

For John, BLUFI am not troubled by asking for ID to Vote.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So here is a short item on La Raza pushing a handbook on where some form of Identification is NOT required to vote.  While it is La Raza, it is readily available information.

Then there is this about non-residents voting.  One example is Residents of Fredrick County, Maryland avoiding jury duty by saying they are not US Citizens, but then going on to vote in elections.  Per the law, you either are or your aren't.

Regarding voter ID, I wonder about why there is opposition to such requirements.  We are told it is an imposition.  Poor people and minorities supposedly find it hard to get a photo ID.  So, how about Lowell General Hospital asking me for my new Mass Driver's License?  What, I asked, do you do if someone doesn't have a Driver's License?  Ask for another form of photo ID.  If you can't get your blood drawn without a Driver's License, why should you be able to vote without one?  And, more important, why hasn't the PP & ACA fixed this?  People need medical care more frequently than they need voting.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  If one reads the Wikipedia article, they claim they are not a subversive organization, that they are not advocating the Reconquista.
  Massachusetts is one of those states that authorizes voting personnel to ask for ID.

Troubles With Western Traditions

For John, BLUFNo, not about pigs.  That would be oinkopobia.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Word of the day—Oikophobia

Here is the word as used by Law Professor Glenn Reynolds:

TO OIKOPHOBIC LEFTIES, THAT’S NOT A BUG, IT’S A FEATURE:  Why Middle-Class Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Liberal Cities.
Here is an example from Wikipedia:
An extreme aversion to the sacred and the thwarting of the connection of the sacred to the culture of the West is described as the underlying motif of oikophobia; and not the substitution of Judeo-Christianity by another coherent system of belief.  The paradox of the oikophobe seems to be that any opposition directed at the theological and cultural tradition of the West is to be encouraged even if it is "significantly more parochial, exclusivist, patriarchal, and ethnocentric."  Scruton described "a chronic form of oikophobia [which] has spread through the American universities, in the guise of political correctness."
Again, from Wikipedia we have a reference to Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault and their "assault on 'bourgeois' society result[ing] in an 'anti-culture' that took direct aim at holy and sacred things, condemning and repudiating them as oppressive and power-ridden."
Derrida is a classic oikophobe in so far as he repudiates the longing for home that the Western theological, legal, and literary traditions satisfy. . . . Derrida's deconstruction seeks to block the path to this 'core experience' of membership, preferring instead a rootless existence founded 'upon nothing.'
My question is, if we make all that "Western Tradition" go away, what do we have left?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The sub-headline of the article, from The Atlantic, is "Blue America has a problem: Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing."  I wonder what Senator E Warren thinks of that.
  Not meant as a pun.

Be Sure to Vote

For John, BLUFYou I wrote in for State Senator, and included your address.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My wife and I have to be out of town on Tuesday, so we went to City Hall yesterday and voted.

It was quick and painless.

If you think you are going to be on the road, go and vote at City Hall today.  Voting is important.

While I want my choice of candidates to win (including a write in for George Anthes for District Attorney), I also want our Democracy to work and want you to vote, if you are a legal voter.  If not, don't vote.

Regards  —  Cliff

  But, I left an adult child in the house, along with Fred the dog.  Fred is big and protective.  Not as big as the Great Dane I saw yesterday, but still pretty big.
  City Hall, Basement, Southeast Corner.  Near the Snack Bar.  The paperwork is simple and the ladies behind the counter are very helpful.  I would say ten minutes, and that included time for friendly banter.
  George W Anthes, 64 Trull Lane, Lowell, MA.  You need the address.

Developments in Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race

For John, BLUFOK, so these are the numbers, bust I have been told to expect a big surprise on the evening of 4 November.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is political junkie level stuff.  Wisconsin is way out there in fly over country.  It has given us Progressives and people like Senator Joe McCarthy.  Republican Representative Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin (Janesville).

From the Althouse blog

Scott Walker opens up a big lead against Mary Burke in the new Marquette University poll.

Suddenly — after tying in the last poll — it's 50% Walker, 43% Burke.

So who cares?  Maybe those looking for a Republican candidate in 2016.  On the other hand, Governor Walker did not graduate from one of the better colleges.  In fact, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, he never graduated from college.  You can see where that gets you.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He of the quip, when asked about Impeachment of President Barack Obama, responded "Have you met Joe Biden?"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Proper Response to Islamic Violence

For John, BLUFWe can't solve Islam's problems for them, but we can hold them to the standards we expect of others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In The Wall Street Journal, dateline Sunday evening, Mr. Aly Salem, an Egyptian writer based in New York, says "Let's Talk About How Islam Has Been Hijacked".  The sub-title is "I'm appalled by what is done in the name of my religion. Yet my American friends don't want to hear it."

Yes, the question is, what are we as Americans doing right and wrong in discussions of Islam.

Here is the conclusion of the article:

Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask:  Why?  Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral:  The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don't represent Islam, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.

This is delusional thinking.  Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a "religion of peace."  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.

In the U.S., we Muslims are handled like exotic flowers that will crumble if our faith is criticized—even if we do it ourselves.  Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike would apparently prefer to drop bombs in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, because killing Muslims is somehow less offensive than criticizing their religion? Unfortunately, you can't kill an idea with a bomb, and so Islamism will continue to propagate.  Muslims must tolerate civilized public debate of the texts and scripture that inform Islamism.  To demand any less of us is to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations.

There it is again, that dangerous phrase, "...the soft bigotry of low expectations."

The more subtle point is that ISIL (or ISIS or IS or da'eth) is not going to go away until Islam has its own internal dialogue and those of us outside the faith walk a fine line between unjustly condemning Muslims and mollycoddling Muslims.

And, at the end of the day it is their problem to fix.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday Question in The Sun

For John, BLUFEveryone gets to put forward their position.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In Sunday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun we have a man with questions, but his presumed answers sometimes seem off the beam.  I am referring to Mr Michael Goldman and his piece in the Focus section.  The piece is Can someone please explain these matters to me? 

  • First, about Republicans thinking they can win in 2016 while "opposing commonsense national immigration policies".  I am not sure legal immigrants favor opening the flood gates.  Of course, if The Wash Post is to be believed, up to 6% of non-citizens vote in our elections (how do they do that?), so in a close election that could make a difference.
  • Re Kim Kardashian, I have NO explanation.
  • I am not sure about what a "virtual high school" is, but Home Schooling seems to work fine.
  • I don't understand "nude selfies" either.
  • Why are Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska the five happiest states?  Away from the two Coasts and thus way from the bien-pensant, and maybe hunting.
  • I think ALL police shootings should be treated like an aircraft mishap, with there being an independent investigation.
  • I didn't understand the Grassy Knoll paragraph.
  • Re the Robert F Kennedy Junior like folks regarding inoculations, I am not sure what the question is.
  • Mitt Romney in 2016?  President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid, Representative Nancy Pelosi.
  • Re "The War on Christmas", the folks who are so apoplectic about Crèches.  I get the need for separation of Church and State, which has been good for our nation, but sometimes those looking for separation are a little strident.
  • Now we have a series of items about President Obama being "so hated".  Attitudes toward our President vary from very loved to very hated.  I am in the camp who feel sorry for the President because I think he may be in over his head.  Let us not overstate the degree to which "hatred" is involved in those who have legitimate concerns about the leadership of the President.
    • Gas prices down?  The market.  Oil production is up.
    • Deficit is not Debt.  Federal Debt continues to rise.
    • Christmas sales up—good.
    • 401Ks up?  Good.
    • Re the Health Care numbers, the number of uninsured is finally lower than what it was at the low point during the Bush Administration.  And that is recent.  The PP&ACA is not working very well.  This will not help Republican candidates, who have no solution, but it will hurt Democrat candidates.
  • Re sick time, I think the statement obscures the issue.
  • Snorting cocaine?  The illegal drug industry isn't being supported by the ghettos.  It is a different demographic.  Maybe the point is that one got over it and one didn't.
  • "Upskirting"? Why was it legal for ever in our Commonwealth and then the General Court and the Governor, instead of thinking about all the second and third order effects, jumped to a "solution" in 72 hours?
Final Question:

Can someone please explain to me why despite his Sunday OpEds, Mr Michael Goldman is still a paid political consultant for Democrat candidates?

UPDATE:  I just realized that I confused The Globe and The Sun in the title.  Now corrected.

Regards  —  Cliff

  On the web page the question mark is in an interesting font.  Kudos to whoever does the type face selection.

The Chinese Economy

For John, BLUFYou will likely live to see this new China.  You will live in interesting times.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

China's economic growth is slowing, from around 7.7% per annum, to 5.5% from 2015 to 2019, and then down to 3.9% on out toward 2025.  One key question is if this slowing of economic growth will allow the economy to accommodate the population as it continues to grow, before leveling off around 2030 AD, and if it will allow for the absorption of those coming in from the farms.

In the long run China will again be the dominant economy in the world, at least as projected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Things are getting back to the way they were 500 or more years ago.  At the end of the Ming Dynasty (1644 AD) China accounted for about 55% of the global economy.

Would an economically stronger China be a better China, or would it want to be in charge of everything, be the world's policeman?  On the other hand, if the Chinese economy were to go into some degree of collapse would it be better.  My guess is not better, since a nation with economic problems might look to the outside for solutions.

At any rate, what sparked this is an article in The Wall Street Journal, which anticipated a Conference Board estimate showing a slowing growth rate for the Chinese economy.

Regards  —  Cliff

Military Recruitment SNAFU

For John, BLUFLife is tough, it is tougher if the bureaucracy is in charge.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

No good deed goes unpunished.

The Department of Defense started, in 2008, a recruitment program for undocumented immigrants with special skills.  This is "Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest" (MAVNI).  The DoD tried to expand the program to include young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, shielded from deportation via an Obama Administration program known as DACA.  Now the bureaucracy has ground to a halt trying to figure out the criteria for recruitment.

An article in Politico looks at this mess.

Regards  —  Cliff

Japan's Economy is Still Stalling

For John, BLUFJohn Maynard Keynes may have been wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reuters we have a report on the Japanese economy—not good.  For some time Japan has been following the Keynesian approach to coming out of a dip in an economy (be it recession or depression).  Lots of infrastructure built, but no real recovery.

The headline is "Japan's economy floundering, BOJ to widely miss inflation goal:  poll".  The idea is to stimulate growth by a mild inflation through manipulation of the money stock by the Bank of Japan.

Japan's economy is floundering and analysts polled by Reuters cut their annual growth forecast for a fifth straight month, saying there is no chance the Bank of Japan will meet its 2 percent inflation goal by the next fiscal year.

With demand still suffering from an April sales tax hike and disappointing factory output, most analysts expect the BOJ to ease policy further before the fiscal year ends in March.

The majority expect that to happen early in 2015.

The BOJ launched an unprecedented burst of monetary stimulus last April aimed at reflating the economy, pledging to double the monetary base to 270 trillion yen ($2.50 trillion) over two years, which has helped to send the yen down about 15 percent against the dollar.

Frankly, the "disappointing factory output" suggests lack of sales, not lack of production.  No one is buying, not withstanding the economic stimulation.

Regards  —  Cliff

  By the way, as Senate Candidate Brian Herr noted on City Life on Friday last, there are no shovel ready projects.  It is a myth that ignores all the effort it takes to put together a project, including permitting, environmental approvals and design.  All those construction projects in Japan are because this has been a long recession—years and years.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Your Neighbor as Yourself

For John, BLUFLove God, Love your neighbor as yourself.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Gospel for today, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is from Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

That is a little tricky.  If you don't love yourself you are not going to be very loving toward your neighbor.  So, our spiritual journey needs to include learning how to accept, and reform, oneself.  Not always easy.  But necessary.  A humble acceptance.

Regards  —  Cliff

You Shall Not...

For John, BLUFRemember that once your family were aliens here in Lowell.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time and today's First Reading is from Exodus 22:20-26
Thus says the LORD:
"You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.

"If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people,
you shall not act like an extortioner toward him
by demanding interest from him.
If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge,
you shall return it to him before sunset;
for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body.
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate."

"You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt."

How does that speak to us, today?

The molesting part seems strait forward.  I take it to be in terms of abusing them in some way.  They should be safe in mind and body.  That makes good sense to me.

But, what about oppressing an alien?  I think that means no sweat shops.  No taking advantage of aliens in the economic arena.  No gray [or black] economy where they are hidden and exploited.

I don't think it means that we can't ship them back to from whence they came.  I think that means we can't abuse them in the process.  It must be fair and legal.  But, if they are here, and not here seeking legitimate refugee status, then helping them to return home makes sense.

In sum, illegal aliens are to be treated as human beings, and awarded all Constitutional guarantees while here, but may be returned home, unless we see that they have a legitimate refugee status.

I would add that illegal immigrants should not be favored over those who came here in a legal manner.  The legal immigrant followed the rules, pays his or her taxes, pays the fees, and maybe even their lawyer, and this should not be disrespected by favoring illegal immigrants in terms of citizenship.

Regards  —  Cliff

Firestone Rubber Confronts Ebola

For John, BLUFEbola spread can be controlled.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The CDC cites Firestone Rubber as having put together, on the fly, a fairly effective program for controlling the outbreak of Ebola in its area of operation in Liberia.

Patient Zero:

On March 30, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) of Liberia alerted health officials at Firestone Liberia, Inc. (Firestone) of the first known case of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) inside the Firestone rubber tree plantation of Liberia.  The patient, who was the wife of a Firestone employee, had cared for a family member with confirmed Ebola in Lofa County, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia during March–April 2014.
Firestone has 8,500 employees, plus spouses and children.  Overall the Company provides health care for about 80,000 people in the area.  While the mortality rate amongst victims is high (68%), the overall spread of the disease was low.  From the CDC Report:
During August 1–September 23, a period of intense Ebola transmission in the surrounding areas, 71 cases of Ebola were diagnosed among the approximately 80,000 Liberians for whom Firestone provides health care (cumulative incidence = 0.09%).  Fifty-seven (80%) of the cases were laboratory confirmed; 39 (68%) of these cases were fatal.  Aspects of Firestone's response appear to have minimized the spread of Ebola in the local population and might be successfully implemented elsewhere to limit the spread of Ebola and prevent transmission to health care workers (HCWs).
So, some good news on Ebola.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 25, 2014

John Doe Investigations

For John, BLUF:  Sort of like our Attorney General, Martha Coakley, going after Tim Cahill.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

George F. Will: "The nastiest political tactic this year", from The Washington Post.  It is about the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race.  Incumbent Scott Walker vs challenger Mary Burke.
Gangster government — Michael Barone’s description of using government machinery to punish political opponents or reward supporters — has stained Wisconsin, illustrating this truth:  The regulation of campaigns in the name of political hygiene (combating “corruption” or the “appearance” of it) inevitably involves bad laws and bad bureaucracies susceptible to abuse by bad people.
There is this from PJ Media.

It could always be worse.  Ms Mary Burke could win and the Republicans could unleash the dogs of warlawyers.

By the way, did someone mention Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Non-Citizens Vote—Wash Post

For John, BLUFSome people think winning is more important than preserving the game itself.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I have been told, by people I trust more than I trust Ms Donna Brazile, that voter fraud is a myth and bringing it up is just a "dog whistle" for Republicans.  Here is a short article on non-citizens voting.  The source is the Blog Public Secrets, but they do link to this Wash Post "Monkey Cage" item from yesterday.
"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."
-- H.L. Mencken
Then there is this sympathetic item from MSNBC about a 62 year old woman who doesn't get it that your driver's license should be for the same state as where you claim residency.  At any rate, she claims she was so upset by a Texas State Trooper explaining to her that she could go to jail for driving without a valid license that she left without getting her Texas ID so she can vote.

My question is, why is she still driving around with a California Driver's License a year after making Texas her place of residence?  On the other hand, maybe in our Commonwealth of Massachusetts there is no requirement for new Residents to have a Mass Driver's License to drive around.  And, with our A/G ("It isn't illegal to be illegal"), maybe you don't even need a Driver's License, unless of course you are from the oppressor class.

And, because Halloween is approaching, here is a scary item on a member of the Federal Elections Commission wanting to further regulate the internet, including possibly blogs.  To add to the fear factor, it is The Washington Examiner.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

UPDATE:  Footnote.

Regards  —  Cliff

  A catchall, including Caucasians, Asians, people from the India Sub-Continent, legal immigrants, well-off people from Latin America, Cubans in Miami and people with like minded attitudes.

Thierry Leyne RIP

For John, BLUFWhen you pass away, shouldn't it be about you?  I would think it is for whoever is receiving you on the other side.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is bad karma.  You die, at your own hand, and you make The International New York Times because you were a partner with the infamous DSK, Dominique Strauss Kahn.

May you rest in peace Mr Thierry Leyne.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hunting Season

For John, BLUFWe are a diverse nation, with diverse interests, as it should be.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this AM the "Guest" was US Senate Candidate Brian Herr.  One person Texted in asking about the Second Amendment.  Another contacted the Producer [Mr John McDonough] to ask about hunting.

I thought the Hunting question was interesting.  It touched on a cultural nuance, a segment of our society.  It brought to mind the book on how the Democrat Party had lost its roots and lost many rural voters, Dear Hunting With Jesus.  Both Brian Herr and I are originally from Western Pennsylvania and hunting is a big deal there.  Brian talked about how the first day of hunting season the local schools closed, as high schoolers went off with their Dads to hunt meat for the winter.  I am a couple of decades older than Brian, and I remember my Father telling me about how the Steel Mills in Johnstown shut down for the first day of bear season.

I am not sure what the person who asked the question was looking for, unless it was to make the point that in large parts of our nation hunting is a big deal and restrictions on Second Amendment rights can crush that part of our culture.

Frankly, I have never hunted, but I owned a 22 Rifle in High School (Rifle Team) and have shot skeet.  When I was young my Father took me out on the Atlantic for fishing.

I know a local woman with a Concealed Carry Permit, because sometimes she carries money and wants protection.  I know a local man who does competitive shooting as a sport.  There are many reasons to own a gun.  But, as Mr Herr noted, the Second Amendment is not about the right of every citizen to own a nuclear weapon.

That said, in my mind the Second Amendment is a sort of weapon of last resort in the event the Government goes off the rails.  I doubt there will be a need any time in the future.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Mr Herr, pronounced "her" told me that while his parents came to the US from Ireland, and thus they were Irish, at some point his forefathers, or some of them, had come from Germany and the "Herr Schmidt" type name had been contracted to "Herr".  Like my late friend, Bill Tuel, who was really Bill Toole, but his family had gone to France during the "Flight of the Wild Geese" and his name had taken on a French spelling.
  For the person in NSA who is looking at the print outs, I am not some sort of a gun cult person seeing tyranny just around the corner.  I don't see any threat from the US Government, now or in the foreseeable future.  On the other hand, if we lived in Mexico there might be some need of one kind or another.  For example the villagers who have armed themselves to fight the Cartels.  And in the last Century rebellion against dictatorship.  And in the Century before that the fight against the French, who had invaded and taken over the Government of Mexico.

The Political Woman Gap

For John, BLUFNot everything the Democrats tell us about women voters is well centered.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter and opinionator Ms Mona Charen talks about "What women want", in an article in The Washington Examiner.

Here is the paragraph out of the article that is most interesting:

If Americans were marrying at the same rate as they did in the past, this increase in the percentage of women voters wouldn’t help Democrats, because married women tend to vote Republican. Fifty-three percent of married women voted for Mitt Romney, for example, and 51 percent supported Ken Cuccinelli in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race. But marriage is declining. Whereas 65 percent of American adults were married in 1980, just 51 percent of adults were married in 2012. Among the 20- to 34-year-old cohort, 57 percent never married.
I wonder what local Lawyer Renee Aste would make of this?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Potential Ebola Growth Cureves

For John, BLUFContainment of Ebola is important or it could grow out of control.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a set of charts by The International New York Times on the spread of Ebola.  Below is an interesting section of the article.  The accompanying graphic is at the link.  Nice example of exponential growth in the right hand chart.
How many people could become infected?
The W.H.O. reported on Oct. 14 that the number of new Ebola cases could reach 10,000 per week by December.  The C.D.C. published a report in September that outlined a worst-case situation, in which the total number of cases could reach 1.4 million in four months.  The C.D.C.’s model is based on data from August and includes cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but not Guinea (where counts have been unreliable).  It also projects further into the future and adds ranges to account for underreporting of cases.
Ebola can be stopped.  Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization, in large measure thanks to a heroic physician, Ms Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, RIP.

Regards  —  Cliff

CNN News Coverage Error

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

Carol Costello apologizes.

It is a step in the proper direction.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beware the DA

For John, BLUFGood idea, needs to be thought through.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this morning there was a discussion of fighting crime and one of the issues was getting the District Attorneys to actually fight to put convicted criminals in jail.  This issue has evolved over the last few weeks, from what the police are doing to what are the judges are doing to, finally, what the DAs are doing.

That is the real locus of the problem.  The District Attorneys make the decisions to make the deals.  They often view these things through the lens of what is good for their office.  At the same time we find that with the continuing proliferation of laws we have truly become a "Ham Sandwich Nation", a nation in which Federal and Local Government Attorneys can indict just about anybody for this or that infraction of some obscure law.

Back to City Life, the suggestion was made that since other efforts are not getting the attention of the DAs, we need to talk to our Representatives on Beacon Hill and have them cut budgets.  At the end of the day money talks and mere rhetoric walks.  I think this is an excellent proposal, but we really do need to talk seriously with our Representatives, because often we just get MOTS, more of the same.

I would add a note of caution.  Way out in Texas the Governor, Rick Perry, used his line item veto to deal with a DA who had become a fairly notorious public drunk, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.  For that Governor Perry has been indicted on two felony counts of abuse of power.

Regards  —  Cliff

US Rep Debate, MA 3rd CD

For John, BLUFWe are getting a second debate, helping to explicate issues for the voters.  Good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There will be at least one more debate between our US Representative, Niki Tsongas, and her challenger, Ann Wofford.  This debate has been set up by The [Lowell] Sun (thank you Sun editors).

The date and time is Tuesday, the 28th, at 10:00 AM.

The venue is the Conference Center on Fort Devens.

31 Andrews Parkway
Devens, MA 01434

More details when I get them.

Regards  —  Cliff

Taxing the Internet By the Ignorant

For John, BLUFTaxes should be used to encourage new economic areas, not to freeload off them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at the blog site Samizdata blogger Perry de Havilland wants to know, "How do you say “astounding stupidity” in Hungarian?".  The cause of Mr de Havilland's outrage is the fact that the Hungarian Parliament has just voted to put a tax on the transfer of data on the Internet.

As the blog post points out, this is a way of stifling high tech industry and the creation of new ideas.  But, Hungary is drifting away from the ideal of a Liberal Democracy (not a Progressive Government, but a Liberal Democracy).

The reality is that taxes create social policy.  They can encourage or discourage economic growth in certain areas.  Taxes must be thoughtfully applied.  And, of course, they should not be so complex the rules and rulings take up a bookshelf of space in some lawyer's or accountant's office.

Yes, we absolutely need taxes, to pay for our government's actions, but we need to think about the impact of our taxes.

Hat tip to Samizdata.

Regards  —  Cliff

It Isn't Just the Koch Brothers

For John, BLUFIt isn't the amount you contribute, it is if you agree with my politics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This last weekend's New York Times Magazine had an article on big money in politics.  In this case about billionaire being willing to drop $50 million in the current election.  The title is "How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties".  The author is Mr Jim Rutenbergoct.
In August, Tom Steyer and seven campaign advisers sat in a small conference room in Coral Gables, Fla., trying to figure out how to save the world.  Steyer, who is 57, has a fortune of roughly $1.5 billion, and his advisers were among the most talented political operatives in the United States.  Steyer is especially concerned about climate change, and his immediate goal, the object of discussion that day, was to replace the sitting governor of Florida, Rick Scott, a Republican who has questioned the very existence of anthropogenic climate change, with Charlie Crist, the previous governor, whose environmental views hew more closely to Steyer’s.
Think of the outrage if Mr Steyer was supporting Governor Scott.

Regards  —  Cliff

Europe as Exemplar

For John, BLUFAlways beware of using Europe as a model.  That said, here Europe has the via media.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Instapundit I found this link to an item at the On-line Presence The College Fix.  The Instapundit framed it:
IF YOU SUPPORT BROAD ABORTION RIGHTS, you probably don’t want to suggest that America should become “more European.”
I do believe there is a reflexive response that Europe is more progressive than the United States.  It turns out that the European operationalization of human rights are not always the same as our own.

To save you have having to read the linked article, a number of European nations, Western European nations, let the "right to an abortion" turn on viability of the fetus.  But, then they had the Holocaust and the rounding up of people for the gas chambers on their own turf.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Next Two Years

For John, BLUFWhen it comes to leadership, the US President is never a lame duck.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here we have some leadership advice from President Clinton's former chief of staff, Mr Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, in The Wall Street Journal.
How Obama Can Salvage His Last Two Years

The president faces complex crises, including Ebola and Islamic State.

They require clear U.S. leadership.

Regards  —  Cliff

Boomers to Blame

For John, BLUFYes, John, folks of your generation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This headline from Salon says it all:
Baby boomers ruined America:  Why blaming millennials is misguided — and annoying
Regards  —  Cliff

Political Culture in Mexico

For John, BLUFHow quickly can this become a reality elsewhere?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On Saturday The New York Times had an article by Randal C Archiboldoct on the digging up of bodies in Mexico—Mexico, our next-door-neighbor.  The article title is "Mexico Finds Many Corpses, but Not Lost 43".  A number of secret burial sites were uncovered in an effort to find 43 university students who were disappeared by the police.  Here is the lede and following two paragraphs:
IGUALA, Mexico — With borrowed shovels and pick axes, the farmers drove their battered pickup trucks to a series of suspicious clearings in the countryside, jumped out and started digging.

“Hey, hey, it’s a spine,” one of the men, part of a citizen police patrol, called out last week, fishing out what appeared to be a piece of spinal column.  Soon came other fragments — a rib? a knee bone?

Five mass graves have already been discovered in the hunt for 43 students who disappeared last month after clashing with the local police — and another half dozen secret burial sites like this one are being tested to determine the origins of the remains inside.

This suggests a culture of political oppression, a culture where those who don't conform are murdered, or perhaps tortured and then executed, either by drug cartels or the Government.  Is this something that should concern us here in the United States?  What about down in the Desert Southwest of the nation?

Regards  —  Cliff

Defining Problems

For John, BLUFIf you get to define the terms you get to drive the discussion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

How do we define sexual assault?  The person with the chalk in their hand, the person writing down the definitions, gets to define the discussion.  Here is a discussion of the defining of the issue.

Given that we believe in the autonomy of the individual, we believe in individual freedom, these definitions and our understanding of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable is important for our society.  At its most basic level, the offering of a hand to shake seems perfectly acceptable all around.  How about kissing one another's cheeks (or just one cheek)?  I am not as comfortable with that as with shaking hands.  Then it goes from there up to and including the most intimate sexual contact.

The thing is, if something that offends you is not included, you are being dismissed, perhaps for someone else's political agenda.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Stuffing the Ballot Box

For John, BLUFI know it "never happens" but supposedly there is video.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Short and sweet.  Allegations of Ballot Box Stuffing in Maricopa County, Arizona.  With video to accompany the story.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, October 20, 2014

Going to the Well Once Too Often

For John, BLUFMost women I know think about more than birth control.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Earlier I mentioned Ms Tina Brown on MSNBC and her evaluation of President Obama and his impact on the Congressional races.

Now along comes blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse with a piece playing off a piece in Politico:

Manu Raju has a piece Politico called "Obama’s standing with women hurts Senate Dems," which studiously loads the blame on Obama for the flagging power of the old war-on-women politics:
Here is what Reporter Raju writes:
In battleground states across the country, Obama is underwater with female voters — especially women unaffiliated with a political party — and it’s making it harder for Democrats to take advantage of the gender gap, according to public polling and Democratic strategists....
"Take advantage of the gender gap"?  Is this the war on women meme?  Professor Althouse, who presents as a woman, refers to it as "hammering on the female organs".

After a decent discussion, Professor Althouse ends thusly:

What worked before might not work again, and when it seems not to be working, doing it more and harder might make it worse.  We may see your desperation, see what you are trying to do, and that's exactly what will make it not work.  Women have a full range of interests, not just the interest in maintaining control over our reproductive function, and once you've made it obvious that you think you can have us because we do care about that, we might find your approach insulting and offensive.
Oh, and Professor Althouse notes that the emphasis on "women's issues" in Colorado has resulted in Senator Mark Udall being mocked as Senator Mark Uterus.  That can't be good.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tina Brown Comments on the Race

For John, BLUFTina Brown, Brit born Magazine Publisher, not Tina Fey, former Governor of Alaska.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Out on MSNBC this AM Ms Tina Brown tells us why Democrats are in trouble—a bad economy.
It's a more sophisticated public.
But, listen to the whole thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, she does mention President Obama not making women feel safe.  That doesn't mean Republican are gaining votes, just that Democrats are losing women's votes.

Lowell LIcense Commission Alcohol Regulations

For John, BLUFThe truth is out there, you just have to let it find you.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this morning there was some question as to where to find the Alcohol Beverage Regulations for the City of Lowell.

Below is a screen capture of this web page, for the License Commission.  The "button" for the Regulations is on the left side, as shown below:

The reason this is important is that on Thursday of this week, the 23rd, at 7:00 PM, the License Commission will meet in City Council Chambers and listen to suggestions for additions, deletions and corrections to the Alcohol Beverage Regulations.  If you have an idea, or the germ of an idea, please come to our meeting.  If you are too shy to come to the meeting, please contact our Executive Secretary, Ryan Wynn, at 978-674-4156 (Phone) or 978-453-1510 (Fax).

Or contact me at crkrieger at me dot com.


Regards  —  Cliff

Battle Drum Drum Battle

For John, BLUFJust good clean fun.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Via Mediaite is this 5 minute 20 second clip of US Marine and Republic of Korea drummers facing off.  Especially impressive is the way the US Marine Staff Sergeant (three up and one rocker below) manages the event and his diplomatic grace.

Plus it is fun watching the enthusiasm of all involved.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Siri Helps Out

For John, BLUFMachines are very, very patient.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at The New York Times a Ms Judith Newman talks about her son Gus, who has autism, and how the iPhone App Siri is helping out.  The title of the article is "To Siri, With Love:  How One Boy With Autism Became B.F.F.'s With Apple’s Siri".  Here is the lede:
Just how bad a mother am I?  I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri.  Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his B.F.F.  Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn’t have to discuss them.  After a while I heard this:

Gus:  “You’re a really nice computer.”

Siri:  “It’s nice to be appreciated.”

Gus:  “You are always asking if you can help me.  Is there anything you want?”

Siri:  “Thank you, but I have very few wants.”

Gus:  “O.K.! Well, good night!”

Siri:  “Ah, it’s 5:06 p.m.”

Gus:  “Oh sorry, I mean, goodbye.”

Siri:  “See you later!”

That Siri.  She doesn’t let my communications-impaired son get away with anything.  Indeed, many of us wanted an imaginary friend, and now we have one.  Only she’s not entirely imaginary.

The Siri technology was developed by SRI International, where Mr William Mark is the Vice President for Information and Computing Sciences.  He noted:
See, that’s the wonderful thing about technology being able to help with some of these behaviors.  Getting results requires a lot of repetition.  Humans are not patient.  Machines are very, very patient.
Technology holds promise of helping us in many areas.  We just have to be careful about it being imposed irresponsibly.

Why my concern about misuse?  Because misuse and abuse are inherent in Government, and I don't mean one party or the other.  Both.

In today's Washington Post is an OpEd by Mr Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, titled "The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter".  It is about a Government Study being done by Indiana University, named, with a node to Steven Colbert, Truthy.

… and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”
Here is Mr Pai's pitch:
Truthy’s entire premise is false. In the United States, the government has no business entering the marketplace of ideas to establish an arbiter of what is false, misleading or a political smear. Nor should the government be involved in any effort to squint for and squelch what is deemed to be “subversive propaganda.” Instead, the merits of a viewpoint should be determined by the public through robust debate. I had thought we had learned these lessons long ago.
And, he is correct.  No business.

And, this is why seats at the FCC are divided up by political party, and on the local License Commission and Election Commission.  Diversity of thinking and interest.  Not perfect, but a fair approximation.

Regards  —  Cliff

This World and the Next

For John, BLUFWhat does God want of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Sunday's Gospel ends with this quote:
So give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.
Matthew 22:21b
With some people trying to drive God from the market place it is sometimes hard to recognize what is Ceasar's and what is God's.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sex on Campus

For John, BLUFDo you think it will apply to Undertaker College?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So, over at Mind the Campus we have "IS THE LEFT LOSING ITS MIND OVER CAMPUS SEX?", by K C Johnson.

The answer is Yes.

My question is, since my wife of 48 years and I are enrolled at UMass Lowell Continuing Education, are we subject to this Title IX Fascism?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Funding For Ebola Research

For John, BLUFThe Federal problem isn't so much total spending, but how it is allocated.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In this Day by Day cartoon (Chris Muir drawing) we see Damon and Jan discussing the accusation out there that the reason we are behind the power curve on Ebola is because the Republicans wouldn't provide the money the CDC needed.

This is one where I actually don't blame the President per se, but the many administrative units below him, each pursuing agendas that they have devised, in their belief that they have found the important points in need of study.

It is up to the members of the various Congressional Committees and sub-committees (and the ≈2,500 unelected staffers assigned to support such committees) to keep an eye on this.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Leading to the infamous "Sabre Dance".   Film Here.
  Yes, they do attempt to align with what they see as the current Administration's priorities, so as not to draw undue attention, or because of partisan alignment.  They are not dumb.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Name in Ring for 2016?

For John, BLUFUS Shale production is driving down the cost of gas at the pump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An Inexperienced Law-Professor President Got Us Into This Mess, And It’ll Take An Inexperienced Law-Professor President To Get Us Out!
Law Professor Glenn Reynolds considering possible slogans for a 2016 run for the White House.

The rest of the blog post is just about the price of oil.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ticket Splitting Likely Rare in November

For John, BLUFFew mix their votes, between Rs and Ds.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Pew Trust is out poking around in the psyche of potential American voters.  This Pew Report is wide ranging, but this section caught my attention, "Ticket Splitters Rare among Voters in Either Party".  In a somewhat biased article, Wikipedia describes "Ticket Splitting".  Here are the words from the article—graphics not included:
As voters become more polarized ideologically, fewer opt to select candidates from more than one political party when they go to the polls.  According to the American National Election Study, ticket-splitting reached an all-time low in 2012 with only 13% of voters selecting a different political party for the U.S. Senate than the U.S. House.

An analysis of voters living in areas with two or three major political contests this November shows that only 12% of registered voters say they are splitting their vote between multiple political parties.  About three-quarters of registered voters (74%) in these areas say they will select candidates from the same party for all major political races in their area, known as “straight ticket” voting.

When narrowed to those most likely to vote in the November election, about eight-in-ten voters (81%) choose a straight party ticket.  They are slightly more likely to select only Republican candidates than only Democratic candidates (43% to 36%).

Ticket Splitters and Ideological ConsistencyMajorities of Democratic (78%) and Republican (74%) registered voters are voting straight down their party’s ticket for major races.  Even among self-identified independents who are registered to vote, 65% say they will vote a straight ticket.  Independents are seven points slightly more likely to choose a straight Republican ticket than a straight Democratic ticket (33% to 26%).

Voters who hold consistent ideological viewpoints are highly likely to vote a straight party ticket.  Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) with consistently conservative views choose Republican candidates down the line, while 84% of those with consistently liberal views choose a straight Democratic ticket.

Even among voters with ideologically mixed views, most (61%) still choose a slate of candidates from one party; 18% split their tickets between parties.

And yet, Congress is split.  Is that due to the fact that it takes three election cycles (six years) for all Senators to come up for an election (vice one cycle, or two years for the whole US House of Representatives) or is the nation fairly evenly split and those few ticket splitters make a big difference?

And, does a state dominated by one party see more ticket splitting?  November may tell us.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Casinos on Ballot in Massachusetts

For John, BLUFPlease don't tell Mr Anthes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Pilot the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, we have an article urging us to vote YES on Question 3 in the 4 November Election here in Massachusetts.  The article, "Bishops urge support of ballot casino repeal", can be found at this Link.
Casino tycoons assure Bay Staters that they will bring jobs and revenue here, but opponents call their pledge a bluff.  The people opposed to expanded gaming in Massachusetts, including the four Catholic bishops, urge citizens to vote "Yes" on Question 3, which would overturn the 2011 law that establishes three casinos and one slots parlor.  Question 3 will appear on ballots statewide on Nov. 4.
Regards  —  Cliff

Your Name, Your Politics

For John, BLUFConservative, but not as conservative as me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at the Althouse blog is a link to a website that compares one's First Name to the first Name of campaign contributors and asserts one's degree of Progressive (which they mistakenly call Liberal) or Conservative orientation.

Have fun.

Hat tip to the Althouse blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, October 17, 2014

Freezing Eggs

For John, BLUFWhat DO women want?  No one knows?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at the Althouse blog we have comments on an article titled "Egg Freezing as a Work Benefit?  Some Women See Darker Message."  The Reporter is Ms Claire Cain Miller, of The New York Times.

Professor Althouse leads off:

I hadn't quite yet gotten around to blogging about this new work benefit, which we've just heard is getting under way at Apple and Facebook, and already "some women" have not only detected a "darker message," they've gotten their message out to the general public.  "Some women" are always getting the jump on me.  I had my perceptions — not dark, but optimistic — and I voiced them, within the confines of this house, and I can't believe that even as I blog so consistently and so earnestly and I'm ever-ready to catch new issues like this and put my opinions instantly right out there on the internet, that "some women" beat me to the punch... if one is allowed to use that expression in this woman-friendly world anymore.
Reporter Miller writes and Professor Althouse quotes:
For women whose circumstances have made it unrealistic to have a baby and who are considering egg freezing, the new benefit is likely to be a highly welcome surprise — even if in some sense it may seem a logical extension of employee-sponsored health plans that already cover pregnancy, childbirth and some infertility treatments.

Yet workplaces could be seen as paying women to put off childbearing.

Here is the nut of the problem as laid out by Reporter Miller:
Yet by paying for women to delay pregnancy, are employers helping them achieve that balance — or avoiding policies that experts agree would greatly help solve the problem, like paid family leave, child care and flexible work arrangements?

“Egg freezing seems to put a Band-Aid on the problem of how difficult it is for women to have a career and raise a family concurrently,” Seema Mohapatra, a health care law and bioethics expert, wrote in August in a Harvard Law & Policy Review article titled “Using Egg Freezing to Extend the Biological Clock: Fertility Insurance or False Hope?”

Professor Althouse asks:
Isn't that what the required coverage of birth control also does? Or is the coverage of birth control not really an incentive to put off childbearing, but a trick to ease women unwittingly into a life of childlessness? I hadn't thought so.  And if women need to use the young part of their lives to get educated and to advance their careers without sidetracks and distractions, then egg-freezing is exactly the benefit that supports workplace equality.

Women who choose to have babies earlier could be stigmatized as uncommitted to their careers.  Just as tech company benefits like free food and dry cleaning serve to keep employees at the office longer, so could egg freezing, by delaying maternity leave and child-care responsibilities.

But this stigma is already there to the extent that it is, and birth control (not to mention abortion) empowers women to show their commitment to their career by putting off pregnancy.

We need some consistence here.  What do women want?

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Race

For John, BLUFFrom the article, "A Tuck win would rock California's Democratic establishment, then reverberate nationally."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There are interesting races across the fruited plain, including that for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Per this article, "...the heart of the Democratic Party [in California] is up for grabs, making this a bit of a big deal."
Party operatives and the two candidates, Marshall Tuck and Tom Torlakson, would dispute that assertion.  But the race is, in fact, a battle between two distinct wings of California's Democratic Party — the labor-union side and the reformer side — and the race is about two very different paths for California's public schools and those who attend and teach in them.

Tom Torlakson, the incumbent from the San Francisco Bay Area, is backed by nearly every ring in the Democrats' big tent -— more than 300 endorsements from teachers unions, special interest groups and Democratic politicians and clubs.  He's shored up the pro-choice vote, the firefighters, the police, the Teamsters and environmental groups.  Yep, even Big Green is involved.

Meanwhile, Marshall Tuck of Los Angeles is backed heavily by billionaires — including the wife of Steve Jobs — and a much larger group of small donors.  Tuck has far fewer endorsements, but charismatic Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are on his side.

There you have it, a fight within the Party.  I wonder if the disappearance of Republicans has allowed this fissure to open?

Here is the way it would work out practically, depending on who wins:

If Torlakson wins, schools could use extra funds to make dramatic improvements, but there probably won't be radical changes. If Tuck wins, however, he'll have a mandate to give parents more charter schools and weed out and fire ineffective teachers.
As a Traditional Liberal, as a Republican, I favor Tuck.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fostering Innovation

For John, BLUFInnovation may mean cost savings or it may mean more business.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at War on the Rocks is a piece on innovation.  This look is by six middle ranking officers who are part of an annual event known as the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF).  The reason this forum is important is that the NIH syndrome, the "Not Invented Here" outlook, is strong.  But, it isn't just the Department of Defense, as the first two paragraphs point out:
In 1972, a young man dropped out of college after his first semester. He then lingered around campus as a “drop-in,” attending only classes that interested him.  For the next 18 months, he learned seemingly obscure skills like the art of calligraphy, a subject that had no practical relevance to his life.  The student, of course was Steve Jobs and a decade later his knowledge of calligraphy would help shape the groundbreaking user interface of the Macintosh computer’s operating system.

By studying calligraphy, Steve Jobs engaged in what Clayton Christensen and his coauthors call "discovery activities".  These lack immediately apparent value, yet broaden a person’s horizons, generate ideas, and develop relationships across multiple disciplines.  Discovery activities can include associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking.  In a study of private sector Chief Executive Officers, Christensen and his partners found that business leaders with a reputation for innovation spent 50% more time on discovery activities than their less-innovative counterparts.  Discovery activities bear valuable fruit in ways that cannot be anticipated, forging mental connections and suggesting ideas that would never occur without exploring beyond one’s usual domain.

On the other hand, maybe you don't want innovation in your organization.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola Marching North?

For John, BLUFAt least they are heads up about this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Inmate in Loudoun County, Virginia, being tested for Ebola.

Still a long way off.

UPDATE:  Looks like a false alarm, if you check the URL, which has been updated.

Regards  —  Cliff

Deficit Warning

For John, BLUFYou are OK, but others will be a drag on the economy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

First off, a review of the definitions:
  • DEFICIT—In an individual budget year, the difference between revenue collected and monies spent.
  • DEBT—The total debt of the Federal Government, accumulated over time, made up of many annual deficits.
In this article Bloomberg Reporter Megan McArdle yesterday gave us "Don't Care About the Deficit? Now You Should".  She links to this Bloomberg article.

There are two factors that seem to be in play here.  One is the fact that people are living longer, thus placing additional demands on "Social Security benefits, Medicare and, eventually, Medicaid to pay for their nursing homes."  My question is where are the actuaries who are supposed to give us warnings about these costs?  If the actuaries can't keep track of this, how can we trust that our insurance policies are of any value?

The second point is that unless there is economic decline we will eventually find the Federal Reserve Bank raising interest rates, which will make our debt servicing more expensive, increasing our annual deficit.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Where is the 2008 Obama?

For John, BLUFHope sustains us.  Hope seems to be down at this point.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at The Huffington Post is an article by Reporter Howard Fineman, "Remember The Fresh Promise Of Barack Obama?  What Happened To That Guy?".  The Link is here.

While traveling recently, I’ve been asked the same question in Beijing, Auckland and Rome:  “What happened to Barack Obama?”

This really is several questions:  What happened to that fresh, idealistic guy?  What happened to his power and popularity in the United States?  Why doesn’t he dominate the political stage the way he once did?  Why isn’t he as effective as we thought he would be?

From that point Mr Fineman goes on to answer those questions, at the link.

I didn't vote for the President either time, but I still had hope.  I had hope that the President would help lead us forward in areas like race.  I am not so sure he has.  Yes, I am disappointed, and we have two years and three months to go.  At least the Attorney General, Eric Holder, is announced to be on his way out.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hastert Rule

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

The Hastert Rule. This item is so long in the queue that I don't remember where I picked it up.

Does the Hastert Rule Make Sense? free polls

The real question with regard to the Hastert Rule is what about those who are a minority in the majority.  If they are sufficiently excluded, why don't they do go to the real minority?  There must be something in it for them that they remain a minority within the majority.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Power From Sea Water

For John, BLUFJohn, you didn't really expect NASA to come up with this, did you?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Per Aviation Week, the Lockheed Skunk Works has come up with a design to conduct cold fusion

A unit capable go generating 100-Mega Watts (sufficient power for 80,000 homes) would require less than 55 pounds of fuel for an entire year of operation.  The fuel, Deuterium, comes from sea water.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Helping Women

For John, BLUFThe California "Yes means Yes" law is a joke and an embarrassment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The National Review we have a humorous analysis of the recent California Law that is aimed at the concept of "Yes Means Yes".

Remember, this is the use of humor in an effort to critique the unhelpful California law.  The point of the law is lost on me.  Is it aimed at College Campuses because that is the only place the Legislators could impact, or because College Campuses have displaced the local police and thus need additional help, or because this is just the leading edge of a new Victorianism coming down the road?

Perhaps the real question is if those old fuddy-duddies from pre-1960s America, before the Counter-Culture, Free Love, America, were right all along?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Push on Saturday

For John, BLUFRepublicans emulating Democrats in Ground Game.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Saturday, the 18th of October, will be the Mass GOP “Super Saturday”.  The goal will be to support ALL of our candidates, including Charlie Baker, Karyn Polito, Brian Herr, Ann Wofford, John Miller, Mike Heffernan, David D’Arcangelo and Patricia Saint Aubin.

The center of operations will be the Region 4 Mass Victory office, located at “The Zeus Building”, 227 Chelmsford Street, Chelmsford, MA.  The Mass Victory office will be open on Saturday from 8:30AM until 9:00 PM.

Activities include a “lit drop” for as much of Lowell as possible, plus phone calling.

While this is the last big weekend of door to door, the plan is to be making phone calls for all until the polls close on election day.

Obviously, we need everyone now to get involved.

Please contact Katy at the office at (908)216-0703 if you have question.

And, as a bonus, Ms Mary Burns organizing standouts for Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito, starting Monday, the 20th of October.  Standouts nightly around the City of Lowell.  Looking for 4 or 5 folks for each night.  And, if you are backing candidates for other offices, please feel you can join in.  As a bonus, Mary is offering anyone who commits and shows up to 3 standouts or volunteers to help this weekend, a “Charlie for Lowell” t-shirt.

And, as an addition bonus, Ms Ann Wofford will be on City Life tomorrow, Thursday.  And for the Second Hour, it will be a solid hour of Evelyn Thoren and George Anthes asking questions.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Region 4?  Given that this is the 3rd Congressional District, why Region 4?  The Mass Department of States Elections Office also calls this Region 4.  Maybe, given the way Congressional District numbers changes (we used to be the 5th) it is the common thread.

Ebola Attracts Talent

For John, BLUFEbola is a problem and Department of State is Concerned.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Magazine Foreign Policy we have an article on the Pentagon's top WMD official leaving for the new Department of State Ebola Coordination Unit, stood up under Ambassador Nancy Powell in September.

Speaking of WMD, The New York Times has an article on American casualties from cleaning up Chemical Weapons in Iraq.  I expect these are all Republicans, as Democrats say there never were WMD in Iraq.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Weapons of Mass Destruction, which used to be nuclear weapons only, but was expanded to include Chemical and Biological Weapons.  The term originally referred to nuclear weapons and by the 1980s evolved to include Chemical and Biological Weapons.  After 9/11 it came to mean weapons that represented much smaller numbers of casualties, including Pressure Cooker bombs.  Not that the Boston Marathon Bombing wasn't both bad and evil, but if the Boston Marathon Bombing was with WMD, then what term do we use to talk about Nuclear Weapons, to distinguish them and to convey their massive destructive capability?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Low Information Voters

For John, BLUFPeople with passion tend to stay better informed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Instapundit sends us to the website of the Center for Individual Freedom, and this article, "Republicans More Informed Than Democrats, According to Pew Research".

The article does not provide a link to the PEW report, but I would guess it is this one.

The differences are generally not huge, but they suggest that condemnations of Republicans as ignorant voters is at best misleading and likely just ignorant.

Oh, and bonus from the CFIF article is a survey that found Tea Party folks better educated than those who don't attend Tea Parties.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Another Idol Crumbles

For John, BLUFWe are going through one of those periods when we try to straighten out the world [of sex].  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Oh, this is not the Simone de Beauvoir that I had heard of.  I am pretty sure that a number of decades ago I read Ms de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, but I didn't pick up on this thread.  Per Mr Stacey McCain, Ms de Beauvoir was a pedophile, and of the worst sort.  How blissfully ignorant I was at the time.

Maybe the Instapundit is correct and we need to teach women not to sexually abuse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I hadn't realized it was on The Index.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Not So Noble Response

For John, BLUFAre there some universal norms.  Are we endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This may fall in the area of obscure micro-facts, but a young Pakistani Woman, Malala Yousufzai, is the co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and is now under attack in Pakistan.

The thing is, the winner, Ms Yousufzai, is being belittled and ridiculed by segments of her native land.  Perhaps is is not unexpected, considering that Ms Yousufzai came to public attention when an Pakistani Taliban "soldier" fired three bullets at her on a school bus.  She was 15 years old and violating the Taliban ban on girls going to school.  One of the bullets hit her in the head.  She was in a coma for several days and eventually taken to the United Kingdom for treatment.  She is now back in school, in England.

On Columbus Day it is perhaps fitting to ask ourselves what we believe about interfering with other cultures.  Should the Taliban (and Boko Harem) be allowed to deny schooling to young women?  Should those cultures be allowed to engage in arranged marriages?  What right do we have to insert ourselves into such situations?  And if someone defines the norms of their own culture, perhaps acts under more "Western" attitudes or sensibilities, should we support that person or reject them?

Most important, if someone brings an alien culture to our shores should we embrace them and their culture or should we tell them they need to adapt?

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Indian child advocate Kailash Satyarthi

Our Lady of Fatima

For John, BLUFIt looks to me like we still need to be praying for the Conversion of Russia.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Cribbing from an EMail I received last week, here is the 'gen on the local Lowell celebration of the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima:
Monday night the Portuguese take to the streets in honor of the 97th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on October 13th 1917.   I'll be in the streets with them, 6:30 pm Mass and Procession afterwards, then Benediction.

Viva Nossa Senhora do Rosario de Fatima!

The "Miracle of the Sun", occurred during the last of the Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

Regards  —  Cliff

Happy Columbus Day

For John, BLUFEnjoy, but reflect.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Or Not.  I have been visiting my oldest son, John, and we had lunch at Bahama Breeze with some relatives.  While at lunch my Niece, Elizabeth Warren, asked why we still had to celebrate this holiday.

I am not sure.  Her view tends to be that Europeans coming to the Western Hemisphere brought serious medical issues that killed millions.  On the other hand, what were Isabella and Ferdinand going to do with their Armies, which had recently defeated the Moors, earlier in the year?

If Christopher Columbus had not sailed West would that have stopped exploration?  The Chinese had sailed with large fleets to the Arabian Peninsula and to the East Coast of Africa. One of the most famous was Admiral Zheng He.  If, instead of giving up far seafaring the Chinese had gone East and landed in North or South America would the result not have been the same?

Then, of course, there is the issue of if Africans came to the Western Hemisphere before Columbus.  I think it is quite possible.  For sure the Barbary Pirates were making slaves of European Fishermen in the fishing areas of the North Atlantic in the 1600s.

There is nothing magic about Christopher Columbus nor about the 12th of October.  However, it is a convenient date to reflect back on the long transition that started with the Columbus expedition sighting land in the Western Hemisphere.  It was the lookout for the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana who sighted land about 2:00 on the morning of 12 October.  This was an island in the Bahamas.

Given the major changes in the course of World History that came about due to events in 1492, it is appropriate to acknowledge and reflect on them each year.  We could pick 2 January, the fall of Granada and the completion of the Reconquista.  We could pick 31 March, for the issuance of the Alhambra Decree, expelling all Jews from Spain.  I think the date of Columbus' discover of land in North America seems as appropriate, and neutral, as any.

But, celebration should be in terms of reflection.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Heck, we are celebrating it on Monday, the 13th this year.
  This is sort of ironic, in that the discussion took place over lunch at the Bahama Breeze in Potomac Mills.
  If you look at maps of ISIL's vision of a new caliphate, it includes Spain and Portugal as back in the Muslim camp.