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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fair is Fair

For John, BLUFWhat can I say?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a comment from an InstaPundit post:
The Soviets blamed the weather for 75 consecutive poor wheat harvests; it seems churlish to deny this excuse to the Obama administration after just 7 years.
The InstaPundit notes it is a "Fair point". Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Right to Dignity?

For John, BLUFThis could destroy civilization.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Atlantic Magazine has an article by Mr Jeffrey Rosen, "The Dangers of a Constitutional 'Right to Dignity'".  The sub-headline is "It may provide support for same-sex marriage, but it also empowers judges to decide whose 'dignity' they wish to prioritize."

Before even reading this I see problems.  If people have a right to dignity, must the police provide trousers for men in shorts?  What about women walking around in skimpy outfits?

Here is the lede:

If the Supreme Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans, it may well do so on the grounds that they violate the dignity of gay couples.  And although proponents of marriage equality may cheer a decision along these lines when it is delivered, the expansion of the constitutional right to dignity may produce far-reaching consequences that they will later have cause to regret.
Here is the concluding paragraph.
In suggesting that the expansion of the right to dignity is something that liberals may come to regret, I’m not arguing that same-sex marriage bans can or should easily be upheld in light of the Supreme Court precedents on the books.  In the same-sex marriage arguments, the liberal justices seemed drawn to the idea that marriage is a fundamental right that must be expanded to all citizens on equal terms.  A decision along those lines—although broader in some respects than a ruling based on dignity—might be easier to confine to cases involving marriage.  And given Justice Kennedy’s previous opinions for the Court ruling out of bounds moral disapproval and the preservation of tradition for its own sake, it’s hard to think of any other plausible reasons for upholding the marriage bans that don’t rely on what the Court has defined as animus.  Still, if the Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans on the grounds that they violate a right to dignity, liberals may have second thoughts about empowering judges to decide whose dignity trumps when the interests of citizens with very different conceptions of dignity clash.
I suspect Mr Rosen is confused about the difference between Liberals and Progressive, but that does not make him wrong about the possible consequences of a ruling based on "dignity".

If anyone cares, my view is that everyone gets a civil union, but marriage is left to those who have some religious affiliation, however tenuous, and it should be performed after the civil union.  Like they do in Europe.  Like Martha and I did, albeit first in Las Vegas and then later at MacDill AFB.  (Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.)

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

To The Edge of Space

For John, BLUFAt the link, a video of 6:07, but pretty boring.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In today's Houston Chronicle Reporter Eric Berger gives us "Blue Origin soars into space from West Texas".  That would be Jeff Bezos’ rocket company.
Powered by a BE-3 engine, the spacecraft flew to 307,000 feet, the edge of space, and returned smoothly to the ground.  The company said it was able to recover the reusable spacecraft.
But, not the rocket engine, this time.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Drones to the Rescue

For John, BLUFThere is a lot of suffering out there, especially in the Middle East.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A friend of mine, from Linked In, sent me "The Syria Airlift Project".  Brought to our attention by Joshua Steinman.

And, yes, I know USAF C-17 Pilot Mark Jacobsen, via the Internet.  He is working on a PhD at Stanford.

The Syria Airlift Project seeks to use humanitarian drones to deliver life-saving aid to besieged and hard-to-access populations in Syria.  Below are words from Warlord Loop member Mark Jacobsen.

For those interested, they are running an Indiegogo fund raiser at:

Imagine watching your child starve to death or die of a treatable illness, while supplies are available just a few miles away.  This a tragic and widespread reality in Syria, where armed groups routinely use starvation and medical deprivation as weapons.  More than 600,000 Syrians are estimated to live in besieged or hard-to-access areas.  Doctors are assassinated, hospitals are targeted, and smuggling medical supplies can result in torture or execution.  Syrians feel abandoned and hopeless.

What if it was possible to make a difference? What if modern technology allowed us to fight back against sieges?  What if we could eventually make the use of starvation and medical deprivation obsolete as weapons of war?

Those are questions I asked myself while visiting Syrian refugees in eastern Turkey last year.  As a US Air Force cargo pilot, Syrians asked me why the US government could not simply airdrop supplies.  The answer is that the risks to manned cargo aircraft are too great.  It seemed to me there might be another way.  If we couldn't fly one big airplane into besieged areas, maybe we could fly a lot of little ones.

I founded the Syria Airlift Project with the belief that small humanitarian drones can add up to a big difference.  If we could launch a plane every five minutes, we could deliver hundreds of pounds of cargo a night inside otherwise inaccessible areas.  The paradigm would be especially useful for high-value, low-mass goods like medical supplies, water purification tools, vitamins, and baby milk.  Operated at scale, we could even deliver meaningful quantities of food. We could overwhelm besieging forces with goodness, compassion, and the conviction that a better world is possible.  A generation of children that has only known war--that looks to the sky in terror of barrel bombs--will soon look up in anticipation of life-giving aid.  We will send a message that the world has not forgotten them (and with some perks, you can send your own personal message as well).  Our vision is to train Syrian refugees to operate these aircraft, giving them the opportunity to bring healing and hope back to their shattered country.

We have spent the past year developing the technology.  Our work culminated with an exercise in March 2015 in California, where we taught groups of Syrian and Iraqi families how to operate our aircraft.  Now we are ready to take our technology to Turkey, and we need your help to get there.  Mass starvation of innocents is not an inevitable tragedy of war. Through the Syria Airlift Project, you have the opportunity to fight back. Help us get to Turkey, and prove that our technology can work.  Join the movement.

The writer is correct, sending a $200 million dollar airlifter over some mud village to deliver food and meds does not seem like a good tradeoff.  A cloud of drones sounds a lot better.

Hey, they are looking for funding.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Send Up A Flare

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  This blog post will suggest that the Blue Model for running cities doesn't seem to work.

For John, BLUFThis brings up the perennial question of if the People can govern themselves, or if they need a "Leader" to tell them what to do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Perry de Havilland, writing from London, picked the following as the Samizdata "quote of the day":
I wish you all the luck in the world Baltimore.  And I truly wish you had the courage to change.  If you ever do, send up a flare. Until then, there is nothing anyone can do for you.  You are victims of your own choices, and no one can make choices for you but you.
The source is Breitbart, which doesn't make it wrong.

The other possible view is that the People of Baltimore are incapable of governing themselves and need to be shepherded by some higher political entity.  There are options, such as former mayor Thomas L J D'Alesandro, III, or the Daughter of another former mayor, now deceased, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr.  The Daughter now lives out in San Francisco, but still….

I sure hope that is not the truth.  If it is we should kiss democracy goodbye.

On the hopeful side, the City of Lowell seems to have done a pretty good job—not perfect—of moving forward from economic and social problems by the dint of its own efforts and the use of democratic tools.

Regards  —  Cliff

The President on Baltimore

For John, BLUFI thought the President did well.  Now we need the follow-through.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Someone I know, an 80+ year old Caucasian, originally from Kansas City, wrote the following to another individual:
Please tell me why I don’t understand the problem, so that I might help in some small way.  Otherwise, a slew of U.S. citizens lose rights that our Declaration of Independence promises:  “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.”
In response the person he addressed sent the following item from yesterday's Daily Beast, by Mr Michael Daly.  "The Most Honest 15 Minutes Of Obama’s Presidency".  The intro is "Addressing Baltimore’s systemic poverty and lack of opportunity, Obama suddenly was the president we’ve needed all along."

Here are a couple of paragraphs extracted from the article:

“In those environments, if we think that we’re just gonna send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there, without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not gonna solve this problem,” he said as he stood in the sunshine in the Rose Garden 43 miles from the epicenter of the previous night’s riot.

He went on, “And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets.  And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”

He made clear that there is no excuse for such violence.

“When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement, they’re stealing,” he said.  “That is not a protest, that is not a statement, it’s people—a handful of people taking advantage of the situation for their own purposes, and they need to be treated as criminals.”

But he made equally clear that the police cannot be the long-term solution any more than they were the immediate cause of the unrest.

“We can’t just leave this to the police,” he said.  “I think there are police departments that have to do some soul searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul searching.  But I think we, as a country have to do some soul searching.”

Here is the White House blog on the issue, from yesterday.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bad Laws and Bad Enforcement Make For Restive Citizens

For John, BLUFChange is needed in Baltimore, both at the Governmental level and by the People themselves.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Village Voice thinks the rioting (and looting and arson) in Baltimore exposes how our knife laws are antiquated and abused by the Police and Prosecutors with regard to the Black Community.  The reporter is Jon Campbell and the dateline is Monday.  The article is "Freddie Gray Arrest Exposes an Antiquated Knife Law Similar to New York's".

Here are a couple of key paragraphs:

But Gray's initial arrest may not have happened if not for an antiquated provision of Baltimore's municipal code, which prohibits the possession of a "switchblade" knife.  Gray had allegedly been running from the police, for reasons that still aren't clear, and after a brief chase, officers found the knife clipped to his pocket in a closed position — he was not alleged to have brandished the knife or threatened anyone with it.

The arrest charge recalls an issue we've been covering in New York City for months — the NYPD's enforcement of a half-century old law against so-called "gravity knives."  The law was the subject of a lengthy investigation we published last year which found as many as 60,000 questionable arrests in ten years, making the statute one of the top-ten most-prosecuted crimes in New York City.

Switchblades?  Reminds me of the 1963 book by David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade.  And, the fact that I was issued, early on in my Air Force pilot career, a switchblade knife, which also had a U-shaped blade for cutting parachute risers.

This, of course, goes to the issue covered by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in his short piece, Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime (Columbia Law Review).

The other thing that pops out of this is the rule of thumb that one should never run from the police.  It is not that I believe every claim by police that the suspect was running away, but I think the odds favor not running, and as it becomes the rule in a City like Baltimore it will be harder and harder for police to beat up suspects with impunity.

Of course, if the People of Baltimore are not able to pull it together then a more fascist regime may supplant the current democratic regime.  It will be fascist even if it self-describes as syndicalism or some such form of organization and overthrow of the current form of government and economic order.  Sadly, such a change will lead to (1) less freedom for individuals and (2) a less efficient organization of the economic side of life.  Even those Blacks currently feeling oppressed will not the greater oppression.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

US Attorney General on Baltimore Situation

For John, BLUFNot a bad initial statement on the riots in Charm City.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is what came out on Monday.  This is from the brand new Attorney General, Ms Loretta Lynch.  From the DOJ Office of Public Affairs.
Statement by Attorney General Lynch on the Situation in Baltimore

Attorney General Loretta Lynch released the following statement on the situation in Baltimore, Maryland:

“I condemn the senseless acts of violence by some individuals in Baltimore that have resulted in harm to law enforcement officers, destruction of property and a shattering of the peace in the city of Baltimore.  Those who commit violent actions, ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, do a disservice to his family, to his loved ones, and to legitimate peaceful protestors who are working to improve their community for all its residents.

“The Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful.  The Civil Rights Division and the FBI have an ongoing, independent criminal civil rights investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray.  We will continue our careful and deliberate examination of the facts in the coming days and weeks.  The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has also been fully engaged in a collaborative review of the Baltimore City Police Department.  The department’s Community Relations Service has already been on the ground, and they are sending additional resources as they continue to work with all parties to reduce tensions and promote the safety of the community.  And in the coming days, Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and Ronald Davis, Director of Community Oriented Policing Services, will be traveling to Baltimore to meet with faith and community leaders, as well as city officials.

“As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence.  In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents.  And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.”

Interestingly, Ms Lynch took over from Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, Monday, 27 April 2015.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 27, 2015

Leaking in Milwaukee

TRIGGER WARNING:  Article has material which calls into question the integrity of Democrat politicians in Wisconsin.

For John, BLUFThere is a reason to vote people out of office beyond incompetence and that is lack of integrity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Professor Elizabeth Price Foley seems to be the InstaPundit's go to guy regarding the John Doe case in Milwaukee, instituted by Democrat DA John Theodore Chisholm.  In today's episode she delves more deeply into the question of who leaked the "pre-dawn paramilitary-style raid of the home of Cindy Archer".  Yes, this so secret you can't even tell your mother or your lawyer raid made the newspaper, the same day.

Well, it is unlikely Cindy Archer leaked to the paper and we have the admission of Reporter Patrick Marley that he was on the front lawn of Ms Archer during the raid.  Apparently he didn't get the tip, based on Reporter Jason Stein, who actually wrote the article, saying he got the leak.

The thing about leaks is you get prosecuted (persecuted?) based on how the Government feels about you.  Ask Scooter Libby.

We know that leaking a Warrant prior to its execution is a Class I Felony in Wisconsin.  So, does it appear as though DA John Theodore Chisholm leaked the Warrant, but is home free because there is no one to go after him, or does it appear as though DA John Theodore Chisholm realizes there was a leak but is unwilling to see justice done in this case, presumably because he thinks that Ms Cindy Archer et al are the scum of the earth and therefore don't deserve justice in this issue of leaking.  I am going with "C"—All of the Above.


Even if Ms Archer is guilty of something, and it appears she isn't, this whole investigation doesn't rise to the protections of the Star Chamber and is an affront to the rights of Englishmen, as was won on Runnymede 800 years ago this year.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The thing to be aware of is that if you contradict yourself or say something that isn't true you can be brought up on charges of lying to a federal officer.  You have to be careful in an interview, especially if you are innocent.

Is Syria is About To Go Down

For John, BLUFRush-roh!  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter Liz Sly, of The Washington Post, tells us events are moving in the Middle East—"Assad’s hold on power looks shakier than ever as rebels advance in Syria".  Here is how the article starts off:
BEIRUT — A surge of rebel gains in Syria is overturning long-held assumptions about the durability of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which now appears in greater peril than at any time in the past three years.

The capture Saturday of the town of Jisr al-Shughour in northern Idlib province was just the latest in a string of battlefield victories by rebel forces, which have made significant advances in both the north and the south of the country.

As was the case in the capital of Idlib province last month, government defenses in Jisr al-Shughour crumbled after just a few days of fighting, pointing as much to the growing weakness of regime forces as the revival of the opposition.

The battlefield shifts come at a time when the Obama administration has set aside the crisis in Syria to focus on its chief priorities:  defeating the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and concluding a nuclear deal with Iran.

Yet the pace of events in Syria may force the United States to refocus on the unresolved war, which remains at the heart of the turmoil engulfing the Middle East, analysts say. Iran backs ­Assad, Saudi Arabia backs the rebels, and a shift in the balance of power in Syria could have profound repercussions for the conflicts in Iraq and Yemen.

So, here we are, with a foreign policy that calls for President Dashar al-Assad of Syria to go away, and we are not sure if his replacement will be better or worse.  Are the current insurgents our friends or the friends of others, such as Daesh?  Does the Administration have a secret plan to install someone in Mr Assad's place should the President go away?  What does Iran, Assad's friend, have to say about this?  Will this impact our negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons?

Someone wrote, "I hope no one is planning to use our intervention in Libya as a model, but it can't be dismissed."  Ouch.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Actually, the Beirut Bureau Chief of The Wash Post.

Equal Laws

For John, BLUFEqual drug laws might go a long way to bringing race peace.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Why do Blacks vote about 95% for Democrats?  PJ Media writer Walter Hudson suggests that it is disparities in drug laws, where the drugs of preference for Blacks have harsher penalties than those for Caucasians.

Here is the money quote:

However, when blacks are four times as likey to be arrested for drug-related crimes despite using drugs at the same rate as whites, there’s clearly some degree of injustice inherent to the system.
Yes, absolutely.  Some Republican think tank needs to look into this, publish a report and move to get Republicans to change the drug laws, Federal and State.  Now

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Real Movie Times

For John, BLUFYou have been warned.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My wife has been anxious to see the new movie, with Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold.  The move is about the fight of Ms Maria Altmann to recover a painting of her aunt, the Gustov Klimt Portrait of Adele Bloch- Bauer I.  No spoiler here.

The point of this post is that while you may think you know the time of a movie, from looking on the Internet, you may be misinformed.  My wife checked and found a 3:30 showing.  We arrived in time, but the show actually started (well, the previews and adverts and the first part of the show) at 3:00.  I talked to the theater manager and he said that you had to make sure it was the actual Showcase Cinema web site.

As for the movie itself, I thought it was wonderful and technically very good, especially the movement from the street scene of Germans coming into Vienna to the actors behind a pillar, talking.  On the other hand, the scene at the airport has the passengers boarding while the gust lock is still on the rudder, and the aircraft is a DC-3 and not a Fokker Tri-motor.  You probably wouldn't have noticed.  Well worth seeing, for the history and for the drama and for the realization that some just can't acknowledge how horrible WWII was for individuals, groups and nations.

Regards  —  Cliff

Blame The Christians

For John, BLUFIt is funny how assumptions about a person's place in society can change over time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Week we have an ambitious suggestion by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, "How Christianity invented children".

The basic thrust is that in society before Christianity life was a series of concentric circles, the privileged on the inner circle and privilege diminishing the further out you got, with children on the outer rim, or at least one of the outer rims.  The author suggests that under the influence of Christianity children became people.

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought.  In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was:  There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely.  Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care.  We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness.  Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures.  What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity.  If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.


While I can see Christianity spreading this view, I do think that the Jews saw this also.  It seems to me to be part of the argument in Maccabees.  Also maybe the story of Abraham and Issac.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Different Views of Political Culture

For John, BLUFNot everything looks like it does from Belvidere Village.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Wikipedia view of Mr Alexander Gelyevich Dugin. From World Affairs we have an article by Andrey Tolstoy and Edmund McCaffray, "Mind Games: Alexander Dugin and Russia’s War of Ideas"
Although Dugin has stated, “I support Putin because he declares and fulfills the goals and ideals that are essentially mine,” it is, in fact, Putin who supports Dugin because of the pathways he creates in national and foreign policy.

At home, Dugin energizes a conservative intellectual and voter base, while abroad he reinforces political networks that are disruptive to Putin’s adversaries.  Finally, synthesizing national and foreign policy, Dugin provides Putin with a Eurasian master narrative of Russia’s history—encircled and subordinated by Western liberalism—that provides a rationale and an imperative for expanding territorially at the expense of his neighbors.

Yes, the view from Moscow is different from the view from Lowell.

What we are seeing is a different view of how the world should be organized:

According to Dugin, while modern-day Atlanticists, led by the United States, have consolidated their position via international organizations and political hierarchies, their Eurasian opposition is disorganized and largely defenseless.  This is because Atlanticism, by prioritizing individual liberties above all else, dissolves social bonds and obligations and devalues cultural legacy, thus destroying the very fabric that allows traditional societies to exist.  Its hegemony is pursued by construing any opposition to its political or economic interests as an affront to freedom.

Dugin’s solution is for Eurasia to consciously become a Grossraum (“great space” in German), analogous in scope to the Atlanticist world.  Within this Grossraum, Dugin proposes a complex distribution of power between a “strategic center” and various subdivisions, based on culture and history, known as “autonomies.”  This center is responsible for basic economic and military coordination between the autonomies, which are otherwise left to organize their internal affairs in accordance with their own unique traditions.  Thus there is room for a range of different political, economic, and social systems, though it seems clear that Dugin imagines most will adopt a basically conservative and corporatist structure.

While Iran, and Daesh, are commanding our attention, there are other things going on in the world, things bigger than just the Ukraine.  China is trying to reorganize how the Western Pacific is organized and Russia would like to change how Europe is organized.  And, there are people who are thinking and writing about these various ideas.

Regards  —  Cliff

Health Care Insurance and Demographics

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

This is about a month old, but it is still an interesting question.  Do demographics doom the PP&ACA?  From PJ Media and Michael Walsh at the PJ Tatler the answer is yes.  Worth considering.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Educating Black Americans

For John, BLUFIf big groups are not getting education it is not just a blot on us, but a detriment to economic progress.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In today's edition of The Boston Globe, page A1, above the fold, is an article bylined by Laura Krantz, about Black students as minorities in local Boston area higher education institutions, Diverse campuses, but still few black students.  The sub-headline is:
With little representation, many battle culture shock at Boston-area colleges
Oh, I understand that.  It is like arriving in Lowell, from another planet state.  It isn't just being tagged a "blow in", but also the many new and different rituals, like squeaking through on a red at stoplights.  At least there are traffic lights.  It is the decent roads I miss.  The snow I don't mind.  I have a couple of years in Alaska.

I was a little surprised the reporter didn't note that with 15% of the student population across the nation, Blacks are actually over-represented.  The 2010 Census has Blacks at 12.6% of the national population, albeit only 7.02% of the Massachusetts population, making us 26th in the nation.

I found this interesting, quoting from the article:

BU devotes two admissions officers to recruit students deemed to be “under-represented minorities” — which includes Hispanic and Pacific Islander students.
What about students with a Portuguese background, students from Brazil?

And, the reporter talks about a student from Ethiopia.  I am probably mistaken, but I don't think of Ethiopia being populated by Blacks, who are from further south and west.  Are the Oromo and the Amhara, some 61.4% of the population of Ethiopia, racially Black, as are the people of, say, South Sudan?

OK, so my take-away is that Blacks in Boston who want to go to college and are not finding seats locally should come up here to Martyville.  With only 6.8% of the population of Lowell being African American the students would find their representation larger, proportionately, and thus more satisfying, and it would help us get over our own 4% hump.  That said, UMass Lowell has 15% minority and 4% foreign.  Interestingly, we have 21% "declines to state".  I wonder, being "blow ins", how my wife and I are grouped when we take classes?

I don't wish to make fun of this issue, just reframe it.  With Boston being 24% Black, per the article, the percentages in local colleges is abysmal.  One wonders if a significant number go off to other institutions?  Where would we go to get that data?

Regards  —  Cliff

Striking Back, with the Law

For John, BLUFRape needs to go back to being a crime and not an administrative problem for a university.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Times, under the byline of Benjamin Weiser, we have "Accused of Rape, a Student Sues Columbia Over Bias"
A Columbia University student who was accused of rape by a fellow student, who then targeted him in a very public campus action, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on Thursday against the school; its president, Lee C. Bollinger; and one of its professors.
Not mentioned in the headline or the lede, the student was found to not be guilty.

And why not sue?  Remember the famous Ray Donovan line, "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFGallipoli was a turning point.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today is ANZAC Day, a memorial day for Australia and New Zealand. The origin was honoring the travails of Australian and New Zealand troops, as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (thus ANZAC) in the Battle of Gallipoli.  This year is the 100th Anniversary.

Interestingly, on the Ottoman (Turkish) side, the hero is Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk).

Regards  —  Cliff

Justice in Secret is Justice Denied

TRIGGER WARNING:  This may reflect badly on Democrats in Wisconsin.

For John, BLUFSo, is this going to be "in camera".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Back in March the Wisconsin Supreme Court elected to not hold oral arguments in the infamous John Doe case brought by Milwaukee DC John Theodore Chisholm, citing secrecy problems. It is discussed here in an article by Andrew Beckett, 'Wisconsin Supreme Court will not hear arguments in John Doe case".
The state Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in a legal challenge to a John Doe investigation into potential illegal campaign coordination between conservative groups and Governor Scott Walker’s campaign.

In a 4-2 decision released late Friday afternoon, the high court said its decision was based on concerns about the impact of a secrecy order issued in the proceedings, which would prevent them from being able to publicly identify some plaintiffs in the case.  Several of the unnamed groups targeted by the probe have argued that their activity was not illegal, and a judge sided with that position more than a year ago in halting the investigation.

Have I mentioned that this has some appearance of corruption.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 24, 2015

Leaking in Wisconsin

TRIGGER WARNING:  Suggests certain Democrats in Wisconsin are corrupt.

For John, BLUFAbuse by our prosecutor folks can not be abided.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At the Althouse blog there is a further discussion of the "John Doe" issue and in this case the question of if the apparently corrupt Milwaukee DA, John Theodore Chisholm, was responsible for tipping off the press.  Since this is a "John Doe" action, and thus so secret one can not even have a Grand Jury,, or contact one's own lawyer, one would think that tipping off the press, the Fourth Estate, would be out of bounds.  Apparently not.

The original National Review article is here.

So, one question is if DA John Theodore Chisholm thinks that he personally incorporates justice and is above the law?  He must see himself in that way or he would resign, with an apology for allowing this John Doe action to go on and on.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Grand juries are a protection for the People against a central government, recognized 800 years ago in the Magna Garta.  It is incorporated in our US Constitution.

Good Service

For John, BLUFPositive people are better than negative people.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I went to the Election Commission and Census Office today for some business and I was quite impressed with the service and friendly attitude.  Friendly is always better than grumpy or sullen.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFHafa Adai (pronounced HALF A DAY) is "Hello" in Chamorro, the native language of Guam.

QUESTION:  Where does America's Day Begin?

ANSWER:  Guam.

REASON:  The International Date Line.  As one can see by checking a map, the Aleutians are not over the International Date Line because the line swings out west to keep them with Hawaii.  Guam is "over the line".  So, when it is late in the evening in Hawaii it is a brand new day in Guam.  Friday the 24th in most of the States is already Saturday the 25th in Guam.  Quirk of geography.

Regards  —  Cliff

Amazon Quarterly Report

TRIGGER WARNING:  Positive comments about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

For John, BLUFAmazon is pouring profit into setting up for future profit.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Wall Street Journal and Reporter Greg Bensinger we have "Amazon Swings to Loss Despite Jump in Sales". Inc. finally revealed financial details about its secretive cloud computing division, but it was otherwise business as usual in the first quarter for the e-commerce giant.

The Seattle company reported a loss despite rapidly rising sales, as it continued to spend heavily to fund a variety of projects such as drone delivery and streaming-video deals, as well as warehouse construction.  And while some investors fret that Amazon is spreading itself thin, such as with the unpopular Fire smartphone, the company reaffirmed it is investing for an ever-distant future.

I think Mr Jeff Bezos is doing the right thing—investing in the future.

Hat tip to Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 23, 2015

John Doe May Move to the National Level

For John, BLUFI have mentioned this before.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Instapundit Ms Elizabeth Price Foley gives us an update on the Wisconsin John Doe imbroglio. Today she notes that Friday the US Supreme Court may look into this:
WILL SCOTUS AGREE TO HEAR WISCONSIN “JOHN DOE” CASE?:  The Supreme Court will decide Friday whether to grant review on a case relating to the infamous Wisconsin “John Doe” investigation of conservative groups that supported Governor Scott Walker and his reform of public sector union collective bargaining.
What DA Chisholm did is disgusting.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ms Clinton's Four Big Fights

TRIGGER WARNING:  Mocking of those who would suppress ideas different from their own.

For John, BLUFIn this campaign for president we need to ask the "then what" questions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Thanks to The New York Daily News, here is where Ms Clinton outlines her "four big fights".  One of them is to overthrow Citizens United v FEC, in an effort to suppress free speech.  After corporate speech, what next?  Incidentally, this is what George Will was referring to in his speech at the first annual Disinvitation Dinner.

Regards  —  Cliff

Japan's Demographic ShiftSlide

For John, BLUFMaybe this is how the human race ends, in a nursing home without anyone to run the operation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [Manchester] Guardian we have an Agence France-Presse report, "Japanese population falls to 15-year low".
Japan’s population has shrunk for the fourth year running, falling back to a level it was last at in 2000, the government said.  More than one in four people are now 65 or older.

The population dropped by 0.17%, or 215,000 people, to 127,083,000 as of 1 October last year, according to the data released on Friday.  The figure includes long-staying foreigners.

The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 33 million and now outnumber those aged 14 or younger by two to one.

The demographic shift is due to a combination of a low birthrate and long life expectancy.

Japan’s rapidly greying population poses a major headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for the growing number of pensioners.

I guess I don't really care, but I think how the nation of Japan deals with the demographic shifts will be interesting, especially out in 2060, when 40% of the population will be over 65.

Regards  —  Cliff

Iran Negotiations—A Positive View

For John, BLUFThe Administration is working on an unforced error.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a key paragraph from an OpEd by Ambassador Dennis Ross, "How to Save the Iran Deal".
For me, the deal is acceptable — provided that the transparency is real, we have assured response mechanisms to any noncompliance that cannot be blocked, and we establish in advance what the consequences or price will be for every category of violation.  I also believe that for the period during which the Iranians can build an industrial-size nuclear program, starting after 15 years, the Obama administration should establish now the principle that would bind its successors — namely, if the Iranians move to create a nuclear weapon, we will be prepared to use force to prevent it from doing so.
So, there is hope for an agreement.  And there is hope that it will buy us time to move forward on other fronts.  As an aside, the Administration is not doing a good job of selling it.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Once an Ambassador always an Ambassador.

Destroying Coal

For John, BLUFThis is where people have to decide.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Instapundit, Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, must be out of touch, because the post we examine was done by Elizabeth Price Foley at 10:12 AM.  This is a collection of links with solid explanations.  The issue is the EPA deciding that it has authority to close coal fired electric power plans.
PUNCH EPA BACK TWICE AS HARD:  The Obama Administration’s EPA has recently discovered, buried in obscure language (section 111(d)) of the Clean Air Act, that it has authority to demand drastic reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.  The net effect of its demands would be the shut-down of many of the nation’s coal-fired electricity plants, which are by far the most common and cost-effective means of generating our nation’s growing electricity needs.  The Obama Administration’s goal of shutting down coal-fired plants is no secret, and the EPA Administrator has admitted that its proposed rule is not designed to reduce pollution, but in fact to kill America’s coal sector by “investing” in the Administration’s favored “renewable” energy sources, such as its disastrous solar energy “investment” in Solyndra.
Remember how, back in 2008, President Obama promised to bankrupt the coal industry?  I remember the clip.  On the other hand, The Washington Post gives it two Pinocchios.  I think they are letting him off the hook.

Go to the Instapundit link, because it goes on quite a bit more.

So, on this clean up after Earth Day we should ask ourselves:  Is it really bad and time is limited?  If so it is time to shut down ALL the coal fired electric power plants.  Ration electric power.  Go on the rotar, as the English did in 1974.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Frank About TARP

For John, BLUFBarney isn't always wrong.  Always brash but not always wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Salon, we have writer David Dayen talking about former Representative Barney Frank and his new book, Frank.  The focus of the article is TARP and how it failed to help the people with mortgages while it was helping the banks who were foreclosing on the mortgage holders who had fallen behind.  The headline is "Barney Frank drops a bombshell: How a shocking anecdote explains the financial crisis".
The anecdote comes on page 295 of “Frank,” a title that the former chair of the House Financial Services Committee holds true to throughout the book. The TARP legislation included specific instructions to use a section of the funds to prevent foreclosures. Without that language, TARP would not have passed; Democratic lawmakers who helped defeat TARP on its first vote cited the foreclosure mitigation piece as key to their eventual reconsideration.
What happened?  Per the article, the Bush Administration Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson said for tranche two he would pressure the banks to reduce the pressure if incoming President Obama asked.  The President balked.  Understandably, Representative Frank was and is not happy about that.

Read the article.  Maybe even read the book.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Misunderstanding

For John, BLUFI think I must have been soft peddling it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was critiqued, off line, on my post on the Milwaukee DA, Lawyer John Theodore Chisholm:
For one it makes no sense?  What are you trying to say?
Just so I am clear:
  • The Prosecutor appears to be corrupt.
  • The Prosecutor seems to have gone after Republican activists in the Milwaukee area because they were threatening the Democrat stranglehold.
  • The Prosecutor, having told the folks raided that they couldn't even talk to their lawyer, leaked it all to the press.
  • Did I mention the Prosecutor appears to be corrupt?
  • I figure the judge was likely also, from the reports.
And DA Chisholm makes former IRS Executive Lois Lerner look like a choir girl.

We do all know who Ms Lois Lerner is, don't we?

Regards  —  Cliff

Students Exercising "Privilege"

For John, BLUFIf it wasn't so sad it would be funny.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a pretty obscure issue, discussed in the Lawfare blog.  It is about Law Professor, and former Obama Department of State Lawyer, Harold Koh.

Students are protesting that Professor Koh was a supporter of drone kills when in fact he was a voice against promiscuous use of drones to further the "war on terrorism".  To make it worse, the students protested when they got pushback, claiming “intimidation”.

The astonishing sense of entitlement on the part of a group of students to peddle false information and not be disagreed with or corrected—and to regard any expression of disagreement as intimidation—beggars belief.
The real irony is that John Yoo (of the Bush Administration Department of Justice), who Professor Koh used to oppose, is coming to his defense.
While I don’t agree with Harold on many issues, the protest strikes me as silly.  A university should bring forth all points of view, even those — especially those — that students, alumni, and faculty do not like.  How better could law students learn than from someone like Harold, whose role as a government lawyer may have run counter to his views as a legal scholar and activist?  If there are students, faculty, and alumni who think Harold should be excluded from the NYU community, they may want to go to a university that cares more about protecting their feelings than improving their minds.  But they will be worse off for it.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Suppression of Rights

For John, BLUFThe only good news out of this is that DA Chisholm was not able to sabotage Scott Walker's run for governor.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in USA Today Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds gives us "Wisconsin's dirty prosecutors pull a Putin".

Corrupt prosecutors.  Corrupt.  unAmerican.  Ugly and scary.

And here is his 20 April Blog post.

“HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT!”:  But it’s not your stereotypical white-officer-in-minority-neighborhood situation, where we are admonished by the political left that “Black Lives Matter.“  Instead, it’s in America’s Heartland, Wisconsin.  And the targets are–gasp!–conservatives who supported modification of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining rules for public employees.  In this terrific new piece at National Review Online, David French breaks down the shocking excessive force used against conservative targets of the so-called “John Doe” investigation.  In the words of one target, “Anne”:

“It’s a matter of life or death.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name).  Someone was pounding at her front door.  It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

“It was so hard.  I’d never heard anything like it.  I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos.  “People came pouring in.  For a second I thought it was a home invasion.  It was terrifying.  They were yelling and running, into every room in the house.  One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers.  Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family.  Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers.  The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals.  They were law-abiding.  They didn’t buy or sell drugs.  They weren’t violent.  They weren’t a danger to anyone.  Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside.  They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid.  Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent.  This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination.  They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

Don't call your lawyer?

OK, to restate, this is from an article in the National Interest, to be found here.

Let us name names.  We are talking about Milwaukee District Attorney, John Theodore Chisholm.  His actions, as reported by the National Interest make him sound worse than Ms Louis Lerner, formerly of the IRS (You do know it is Day 712 of the IRS Scandal).  No, this is more like Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s, when the Prosecutors and Judges thought they were doing the right thing, but in fact they were doing the most awful things.

There is nothing more dangerous in politics than certitude.  Certitude has given us not just the Holocaust, whose machinery killed more than Jews, but also the Armenian Genocide, the deaths of hundreds of thousand of Greeks and Turks in a population exchange, the Ukraine Holodamor, other Soviet purges for millions of people, the German/Soviet effort to destroy the intelligentsia of Poland, the Great Leap forward in China, Pol Pot and the Killing Fields, Rwanda and now what Deash is doing in the Middle East.  I am sure I missed some.

Here is Blogger, and Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse back in September of last year.  Yes, the Deep State.

Did I mention that Milwaukee District Attorney John Theodore Chisholm presents as scum, an anti-democracy putz?

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anniversary of the Magna Carta

For John, BLUFHolding Government to account.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is an item from The New Yorker on the Magna Carta.  This is coming up on the 800th Anniversary of that great and wonderful document.  On the other hand, the author of "The Rule of History:  Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and the hold of time," Ms Jill Lepore, is not that enthused.  That said, she is at Harvard, down county.  Poor Jill.

That said, I do like her concluding paragraph:

The rule of history is as old as the rule of law.  Magna Carta has been sealed and nullified, revised and flouted, elevated and venerated.  The past has a hold:  writing is the casting of a line over the edge of time.  But there are no certainties in history.  There are only struggles for justice, and wars interrupted by peace.
I worry that Democracy is tenuous and that we need every anchor we can find.  For me, the Magna Carta is one of those anchors.

Remember, 15 June 1215, at Runnymede.  Every school child should know this.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hillary VEEP Pick

For John, BLUFIt is a long time to November 2016, so speculation will just get wilder.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Breitbart we have this item on Former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown on Ms Clinton's possible running mate.  When Willie Brown speaks I sit up straight and pay attention.  In my mind he is only rivaled as a politician by "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh.
Willie Brown, Jr. made the suggestion in a recent op-ed he penned in the San Francisco Chronicle, to which he is a regular contributor:
Think about it.  Brown has a command of national, international, economic and environmental issues that is equal to or greater than almost any other Democrat.  There’s no learning curve needed for him.  He has the independence that independent voters will be excited about, and he’s run for president more times than anyone I know.
Why not?

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 20, 2015

Is It Still Your Founding Fathers' First Amendment?

For John, BLUFWe have to resist, even if it costs us friendships.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From City Journal we have Editor-at-Large Myron Magnet talking about "Free Speech in Peril".  The sub-headline is "Trigger warning:  may offend the illiberal or intolerant".  And so it may.

This is about James Madison's view of the First Amendment and what we are doing to it.  The author makes the valid point that we are the only nation with a First Amendment.  Even the Canadians lacks one.  How sad.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wrinkle in Iran Negotiations

For John, BLUFThe Iran nuclear negotiations look like a mess  I guess we just have to hope.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Yahoo News we have a report, "Iran Guard rejects inspection of military sites".
A senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Sunday that inspectors would be barred from military sites under any nuclear agreement with world powers.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guard's deputy leader, said on state TV that allowing the foreign inspection of military sites is tantamount to "selling out."

"We will respond with hot lead (bullets) to those who speak of it," Salami said.  "Iran will not become a paradise for spies.  We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy."

So we are the enemy?  Well, there is the theory that you don't negotiate with your friends, but with your enemies.

Someone noted:

In US-Soviet nuclear arms negotiations, the US was able to achieve effective on-sight inspection provisions only after a liberalizing regime—Gorbchev's—came to power in 1985.  If Brezhnev's regime had stayed in power, such inspections would likely not have been possible.  If the USSR is an analogy, such transparency in Iran may not be possible until it undergoes a liberalizing change of governance.
The question is, is this just bluster or does SecState Kerry have to work this in the negotiations?  Given that the Revolutionary Guard is responsible for the nuclear program, this assertion by General Salami would be a bit of a stumbling block.

Frankly, I expect that the sanctions will crumble.  So we should get what we can and move on, but at the same time doing something to signal to the Iranians, like taking action to beef up our nuclear deterrent, including theater nuclear capabilities.  But that is just me.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Anti-Semitism Alive and Evil

For John, BLUFPeople need to be treated like People.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Victor Sharpe, writing in The American Thinker, gives us "There Is a Storm Coming".

Anti-Semitism has persisted for millennia and is no less a problem today than it was a thousand years ago.  Germany in the 1930s showed that assimilation was not a solution.  Israel in the late 1940s showed that having their own homeland was not a solution.  If someone of Jewish blood takes the long view, there is no place that is guaranteed safe.  Heck, the Jewish Community in the US supported Blacks in the Civil Rights struggle and then the Black Community turned on them.  And the situation in France these days is not good.  Of course some see a storm coming.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Not all Presidents Great in Wartime

For John, BLUFHow did he get all that celebration in schools?  A Progressive.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Oh, this is ugly.  The National Interest picks Woodrow Wilson as the worst US Wartime President.  "America's 5 Worst Wartime Presidents".  I thought it was bad enough the way he treated Black soldiers, and segregated DC and abrogated civil rights of all people.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chief Justice of Wisc Sues the People

For John, BLUFBiting the hand that feeds you.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Professor and Blogger Ann Althouse gave us a look at happenings in Wisconsin, where the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Ms Shirley Abrahamson, has filed a suit against the state in Federal Court, seeking to defer implementation of a recently passed voter initiative, which would change the way the Chief Justice is selected.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorializes, "Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson should drop her lawsuit".

I think it is pretty interesting, a Chief Justice suing his or her state over a ballot initiative, although we do have sort of an example in Massachusetts with the Clean Election Law.  In this case the Speaker of the House thwarting the will of the People.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 17, 2015

Those Mean Republicans Don't Want Hillary Elected

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

Over at the Althouse Blog we have this Post Title:  "These guys are ready to do whatever they can" to get Hillary!.  Here are the first two paragraphs:
Email, yesterday, from the Democratic Party.  Guys are ganging up on Hillary.  They'll do whatever they can, those meanies.  I'm filing this under "gender politics," but it's rather weak gender politics, deniable gender politics.

It's not like it says "These guys are ready to do whatever they can to make sure that a woman isn't the 45th President"... but "These guys are ready to do whatever they can" is... well... for the sensitive... trigger-warning-worthy....

And, of course they are, just as Ms Clinton is prepare dot do whatever it takes to make sure none of them is elected President.  Notwithstanding the imprimatur of the Democratic Party, this is the way the game is played. Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Blow to Republican Concerns

For John, BLUFIt is only going to get worse.  We need some humor in the race.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Charles M. Blow, writing for The New York Times, gives us "Woe of White Men, Again?".

This column is about those tired old "white men" bemoaning their loss of position, and then a swipe at the top ten percent of the top ten percent.  But, it is really about Ms Hillary Clinton being President.  The lede is:

Hillary Clinton’s entry into the race for the presidency has goosed the egos of some conservative ganders.
Surprisingly, while Mr Blow mentions Ms Carly Fiorina and Governor Bobby Jindal, as well as Dr Ben Carson, he doesn't mention Senator Ted Cruz as part of the Republican field.  Mr Blow does admit that the Republicans have a diverse field.  I am thankful for that.  Although it is said a little begrudgingly.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Doesn't The Old Grey Lady's Style Book say "Caucasian" is preferable to "White"?  I would hope so.  Or maybe sensitivity is just a one axis thing.

Learning About Daesh

For John, BLUFWe don't understand all we know about Islamic Terrorism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the blog The Lobelog we have a discussion of "The Islamic State’s Supposed Theology", by Mr Musa al-Gharbi.

I think that Mr al-Gharbi has some good points in his contribution, and they are worth discussing.  Here are the first two paragraphs, without the embedded links:

It is problematic to assert that the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) is not “Islamic” in large part because the assertion presupposes there is a “true” and a “false” Islam—one by which Barack Obama or liberal Muslim intellectuals can judge whether others are “authentic” believers or not.  This is the same takfir (excommunication) doctrine that animates IS and its precursors, a dogma that most IS critics are eager to condemn when turned on religious minorities (especially Christians) in the Middle East.

Instead, one could argue that IS’s doctrines are far outside the mainstream beliefs and practices of contemporary and historical Muslim communities.  By virtue of its fundamentalism, which relies heavily on fringe interpretations, cherry-picking Quranic verses, and revisionist history, IS rejects and does violence to the rich, diverse, and pluralistic Islamic legal tradition.  IS tries to be as provocative as possible, especially in relation to other jihadist groups—often deliberately and cynically evoking Islamophobic and Orientalist tropes to goad its Western enemies.  Many of its aspirations and tactics, moreover, have modern, secular roots.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jackie Robinson Anniversary

For John, BLUFHistory is mostly written by the Academics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today is the 68th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming a major league baseball player.  And a good thing it was.  To honor him, and that event, all MLB players will wear number 42 today.

But, did you know that Mr Robinson was an OpEd writer for The New York Post.  Let go in November 1960 for being too Republican.  At the link is part of Mr Robinson's response, published in the New York Amsterdam News.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Equal Pay

For John, BLUFHow are funeral homes in this area?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at The Five-Thirty-Eight blog is a discussion of gender inequity with regard to pay.  This is a complicated subject and one with some degree of nuance.  It is also a subject where how much you earn may impact the pay ratio between males and females.

For example, the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit think tank, looked at the hourly wages for men and women across income percentiles and found that at every decile, men outearned women in 2014.  The gap is largest at the 95th percentile, with women earning only 79 percent of what men earn in the same income level.  The narrowing of the wage gap for low-income earners is largely due to the minimum wage, which is the same for men and women.  But the lowest-wage occupations remain disproportionately female.
Wouldn't you think it would be the women in the lower brackets who would be most hurt, percentage wise?  Turns out to be women with, theoretically, more power who are hurt the most.  Like White House staff.

But, it doesn't make it right.

Regards  —  Cliff

Measuring Health Care in Microcosms

For John, BLUFIt isn't so much the average as it is the variations from the average that gives us trouble.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH Dean and Professor, Boston University School of Public Health, in a note from 29 March, points out that we have problems of health inequities—"Health Inequalities in Boston by T-Stops:  A Pictorial Essay"

In the overall statistics Massachusetts is well off health care wise.  We have less than half as many uninsured people as the national average.  Our physician density, thanks to Boston, is the best in the nation.  Even so, by comparing T-Stops we can see differences in health, life expectancy and also health knowledge.  Not every problem is amenable to universal health care insurance and money.  Some of it is life style.  If your Mother didn't teach you to wash your hands and to walk around the block once in a while, you are likely to be not so well off, health wise.

More needs to be done, but we are at the point where money, per se, is not the solution.  Education and change in life style is what is needed.  Can we do that without impinging on individual freedom, without saying that this or that culture is deficient in some way?  I am open to ideas.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ukraine—Another View

For John, BLUFDo we believe in spheres of influence for freedom for all nations?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Nation of Change we have a different look at what is happening in Ukraine.  The author of the OpEd is Mr Michael Payne.  The headline is "Ukraine:  Putin Slams the Door in NATO’s Face".

The lede:

What’s been going on in Ukraine represents a monumental turning point in the balance of world geopolitical/military power.  Why?  Well, it’s simply this:  Ukraine will very likely go down in history as the country where America, the supposed sole superpower in the world, was checkmated and met its match at the hands of the other superpower in the world – Russia.
Mr Payne's view is that NATO should not have expanded East, perhaps not even to nations like Poland and the Baltic Nations.  Further, he sees the West arming Ukraine as encroaching on Russian interests.  And, Western European nations are backing away from confrontation.

I don't think I agree with 90% of what he says, but it is always useful to review the views of others.

One question is, should Russia be allowed to dominate its neighbors, like the Soviet Union did.  Contrast that with President Barack Obama's promise that "days of meddling" in Latin America are over.

Regards  —  Cliff

  They swallowed the Baltic Nations and took land from Finland and swallowed half of Poland at the beginning of WWII.  Then there was the subjugation of Poland and East Germany and other nations after WWII.

Religious Freedom Laws

For John, BLUFThe Government is effective to the degree it can maintain a balance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner is this headline (and article) "Flashback:  Hillary Clinton defended husband Bill's religious freedom law".

I am guessing our definition of religious freedom is on a sliding scale and the scale is marked in terms of degree of "minority" status.  In terms of majority rule and minority rights, we need to work to prevent minority rights restricting the rights of middle groups, neither the majority or the minority.

Regards  —  Cliff

No Restrictions, No Definitions

For John, BLUFAt some point we have life.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Well, it is The Daily Caller, but it interesting to me that Candidate Rand Paul called out Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz regarding late turn abortions, where the child is viable, or reasonably expected to be viable.
In a press release, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that she did not support any government restrictions on abortion: “period.”
What about abortion at birth?

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Treaties v Executive Agreements

For John, BLUFWe still aren't sure about what is hidden in the folds of the Constitution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at the Instapundit we have a short look at the Senate Corker-Menendez bill.  Lots of questions.

Of course, one of the questions is if the Senate Minority, led by Senator Harry Reid, is more interested in the Constitution and Constitutional Government or more interested in President Obama's Agenda and (short term) Legacy.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Free Range Parents

For John, BLUFChildren need some freedom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

When I was young I walked to and from school on my own, over a double train track.  I walked, or rather rode my bike, to the lake, across the Town's main drag.  I played in the woods and even more.  On the other hand, we didn't have any Meth dealers in the area.

How times have changed.  And Maryland must be an especially dangerous place.  From Hot Air Ms Mary Katherine Ham gives us "Maryland free-range kids held by protective services for being at a park alone".

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  A good reason to worry about former Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland as a Presidential Candidate, although I am sure he would be a better Candidate than Ms Clinton.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Firing Pins Prick Old Grey Lady

For John, BLUFYou need a diversity of news sources.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, writing in USA Today, says "When newsrooms run with stories too good to be true, they should diversify their ranks."
"So, basically, my butt refuted The New York Times."

That's what I heard in the press room at this weekend's NRA convention in Nashville, from gun-blogger SayUncle (real name:  Chance Ballew).

The Times had editorialized that the NRA was a bunch of hypocrites because although attendees with gun permits were allowed to carry guns on the convention floor, those guns were actually neutered by having the firing pins removed:  "Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association's convention opening (last Friday) in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot.  After all the NRA propaganda about how 'good guys with guns' are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend's gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy."

A damning assertion of hypocrisy — except that it wasn't even close to true.  The only guns with firing pins removed were the display guns on the convention floor. In fact, several gun bloggers tweeted a photo of themselves carrying fully functional firearms from the press room, forcing The Times into an embarrassing — though still incomplete — correction.  It was especially embarrassing because a simple check of the NRA website or The Tennessean would have revealed the truth.  But The Times' editors saw a chance to score a cheap shot and got carried away in their excitement.  (MSNBC got burned, too.)

Then Professor Reynolds moves on to Rolling Stone and then Bloomberg.

And then he wraps it up:

Even so, I don't think that big news outlets such as The Times, Bloomberg or Rolling Stone will start hiring people with different backgrounds and political views.  Instead, I think they'll simply lose audiences, and trust, to people who do.  In the marketplace of ideas, you can only go so far when you're one-sided.  Though these humiliations should be a wake-up call, I expect them to keep snoozing.
I can't really take seriously critical comments about Fox News with this kind of thing going on.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  I don't actually get the "butt refuted" thing.

Encouraging Violence

For John, BLUFIt is bad when one group declares it will kill critics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in The Washington Post, Law Professor Eugene Volokh talks about Cartoonist Garry Trudeau, creator of the cartoon "Doonsbury", and Mr Trudeau's criticism Friday of the Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo, "Adherents of Islam, second largest religion in the world, are a “powerless, disenfranchised minority”?".

Mr Trudeau talked about how Charlie Hebdo was picking on the powerless:

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence.
One of Professor Volokh's point is that Islam isn't some "powerless, disenfranchised minority", but a reviving religion of 1.6 Billion adherents [and with surging social-political threads oppressing or threatening minorities over much of the world].

Here is the Professor's conclusion:

I would have thought that one of the most prominent and (at least in the distant past) iconoclastic cartoonists in the world, receiving an award for his lifetime achievement as a cartoonist, would have explained in a bit more detail just which sorts of ideologies should now be immunized from ridicule, and which sort of cartoons should indeed be criminalized or at least condemned by the cartooning elites.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Limited Free Speech

For John, BLUFWe believe in Free Speech.  Why do outsiders have to keep poking us, and insiders swoon?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The cartoon Doonesbury, which is currently in reruns in the Regional Newspaper, is drawn by Cartoonist Garry Trudeau.


Less than four months after Islamic fanatics stormed the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and butchered 12, while accepting the George Polk career award Friday, left-wing cartoonist Garry Trudeau blasted the dead with the claim that they had “wandered into the realm of hate speech.”  He also added that “free speech… becomes its own kind of fanaticism.”
Did I mention that Mr Trudeau offends people every day with his cartoon?

Here is Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse on the issue.

Blogger and Law Professor Glenn Reynolds just refers to Mr Trudeau as a Putz.  Fair enough and obscure enough.

Here is a cartoon on the issue.

You can't really have "Limited" Free Speech.

Regards  —  Cliff

Announcement Today

For John, BLUFMs Clinton has inevitability stamped on her forehead, but I am not buying it.  I have more faith in the Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Nation of Change, a Progressive web newspaper, we have former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Ms Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce her candidacy today.  The article is headlined "The Defining Moment, and Hillary Rodham Clinton".

Here is the conclusion:

If she talks about what’s really going on and what must be done about it, she can arouse the Democratic base as well as millions of Independents and even Republicans who have concluded, with reason, that the game is rigged against them.

The question is not her values and ideals.  It’s her willingness to be bold and to fight, at a time when average working people need a president who will fight for them more than they’ve needed such a president in living memory.

This is a defining moment for Democrats, and for America.  It is also a defining moment for Hillary Clinton.

Actually, it sounds like he is looking to Senator E Warren.

Regards  —  Cliff

While Back on Capitol Hill…

For John, BLUFWhat does your Audience think?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It isn't just the US Senate with an interest in the President's negotiations with Iran.  Per , "House Democrats Forced to Choose Sides in Iran Debate".
House Democrats on the fence about the White House’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran will be asked next week to close ranks and get behind the president.

With the House and Senate getting back to work on April 13 after a two-week recess, most of the legislative action is set to be in the Senate, where the Foreign Relations Committee will begin marking up its bill giving Congress power to override President Barack Obama’s emerging deal to disarm Iran.

But Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has made it clear that, short of the White House dramatically changing course, he would support the House acting on similar legislation, perhaps even taking up the Senate’s product (assuming it passes).

I hope we don't get into some Woodrow Wilson/League of Nations kind of thing.  While this isn't a great agreement, if we couple it with improved Theater Nuclear Forces (TNF) it might work over time.  Other options are not really attractive.

For those who wonder, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi fully backs the President.  The test is those Representatives in Districts that don't favor the agreement.  The Members are just back from a two week vacation, so they probably have a sense of how it is going out on the hustings.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Dissing American Jews

For John, BLUFThe Administration may have underestimated views of American Jews on the Iran deal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Jewish magazine The Tablet we have "Honey, I Shrunk the Jews!".  The question the article asks is "Why did Obama send a lowly vice-presidential adviser to inform American Jewish leadership about his Iran deal?"

Frankly, I think it is always unwise to assume a voting block has nowhere else to go.

Regards  —  Cliff

  As opposed to the English Catholic magazine of the same name.
  I am not sure this is such a lowly position, given the way recent Administrations, and especially this one, has merged the Vice President's Office into the White House.  It is possible that when it comes time to Impeach and Convict the President that the Veep will have to go with him, for being too closely tied to the President and his problems.
  I have seen Jews at Tea Party meetings.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ban Trebuchets, Not Guns

For John, BLUFYou should build one.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Beeb we have "Warwick Castle trebuchet fireball 'sparked boathouse blaze'".
A blaze thought to have been caused by a fireball which was launched from a trebuchet at Warwick Castle has destroyed an historic boathouse.

Sparks from the projectile are believed to have ignited the blaze.

About 300 spectators were watching a demonstration of the weapon, described as the "world's largest working siege machine", when the thatched building caught fire on Friday evening.

"No-one was ever at any risk," a castle spokeswoman said.

Regards  —  Cliff

Reforming Asset Forfeiture

For John, BLUFThis is a step in the right direction.  New Mexico leads the way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Rob Eno's Facebook page I got this link to The Daily Caller and an article about "New Mexico Gov Abolishes Civil Asset Forfeiture".  That is, Governor Susana Martinez signed the legislation.

Well, it doesn't actually "Abolish" Asset Forfeiture, but it does reform it.  Here is the lede:

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill to abolish civil asset forfeiture Friday.

She signed just before the noon deadline that would have pocket vetoed the legislation.

“As an attorney and career prosecutor, I understand how important it is that we ensure safeguards are in place to protect our constitutional rights,” Martinez said in a letter announcing her decision.  “On balance, the changes made by this legislation improve the transparency and accountability of the forfeiture process and provide further protections to innocent property owners.”

Asset Forfeiture was a wonderful tool for going after the Mob, but as with most things, the question is, can we keep it that narrow lane or will those who have only a hammer view every problem as a nail.  As I recall, someone wanted to use Asset Forfeiture to go after those protesting abortions.  And, as it is now, if you are driving to Florida for a vacation and have $3,000 in cash and an expensive camera in the car and you get stopped by police that could all be seized as possible illegal results of drug trafficking.  It has happened to others.  You have to hire a lawyer and sue to get your assets back.

Regards  —  Cliff