Sunday, May 28, 2017

Portland Murder Deplored

For John, BLUFI am sure there are wackos of all stripes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the lede plus one:
As Twitchy reported, three men were stabbed, two fatally, in a confrontation on a Portland commuter train with a man who was allegedly shouting anti-Muslim slurs at two young woman, one in a hijab.

The usual suspects weighed in on Twitter, including Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and eventually, Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate in 2016.

As the article goes on to explain, the perp didn't vote for Hillary Clinton, nor did he vote for Donald Trump.

No, he was a supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders and of Ms Jill Stein.  No wonder Ms Stein and her Green Party did so poorly, considering the way she disparages her supporters.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The FBI Use of Bad Intel

For John, BLUFThis should shake your confidence what is going on in DC.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill and Reporter Katie Bo Williams, 24 May 2017.

At some level this doesn't make any sense, but at another level it suggests the confusion within the Federal Government toward the end of the last Administration and within the Democrat Party in 2016.

Here is how the story starts out:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s controversial decision to detail the FBI’s findings in the Hillary Clinton email case without Justice Department input was influenced by a dubious Russian document that the FBI now considers to be bad intelligence, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The secret document, which purported to be a piece of Russian intelligence, claimed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information would go nowhere.

But according to people familiar with the matter, by August the FBI had come to believe the document was unreliable — and in fact may have been planted as a fake to confuse the FBI.

Comey made his announcement in July.

The document reportedly described an email supposedly written by then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and sent to Leonard Benardo, who is an official with the George Soros organization Open Society Foundations.

According to the document, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had assured senior Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the investigation would not go too far.

Yes, I added a bunch of links, since many of you may not be familiar with all of these people and organizations listed above. If this kind of thing was going on then the Federal Bureau of Investigation did, indeed, need new leadership and management.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And I don't think the DNC is on a better path under Chairman Tom Perez.

Freedom of Religion Limit?

For John, BLUFAre there any limits with regard to Freedom of Religion?  I would think the "first/nose" theory would apply.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the relatively new web-zine Circa.  The reporter is Ms Allison Maass and the dateline is 25 May 2017.

Here is the lede plus one.  There is more detail on the defense arguments at the link.

For the first time in 21 years a law making it illegal to cut young girls' genitalia will be challenged, claiming freedom of religion as a defense, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Three people have been charged with cutting the genitals of two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota in February.  The defendants, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, his wife Farida Attar and Dr. Jumana Nagarwala are members of the Indian-Muslim sect Dawoodi Bohra, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, outside of Detroit.

The balancing act here is difficult.  There is the freedom of religion issue.  There is the question of granting consent.  There is the question of when a child should have his or her path for his or her adult life chosen, and by whom.  There is the child abuse issue.  And there is the issue of different cultures.

My personal view is that FGM should be illegal in these United States.

It is just my Anglo-Saxon cultural heritage showing through.

Regards  —  Cliff

Montana Rep Race Larger Question

For John, BLUFThere seems to be a belief within the "Resistance" that at some point the American People will wake up go Democrat.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Old Gray Lady, 26 May 2017, by Reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.

Here is the lede plus four:

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Democratic defeat in a hard-fought special House election in Montana on Thursday highlighted the practical limitations on liberal opposition to President Trump and exposed a deepening rift between cautious party leaders, who want to pick their shots in battling for control of Congress in 2018, and more militant grass-roots activists who want to fight the Republicans everywhere.

Rob Quist, the Democratic nominee in Montana, staked his campaign on the Republican health care bill, but he still lost by six percentage points, even after his Republican opponent for the state’s lone House seat, Greg Gianforte, was charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election.

The margin in this race was relatively small in a state that Mr. Trump carried by more than 20 percentage points last year.  But Mr. Quist’s defeat disappointed grass-roots Democrats who financed nearly his entire campaign while the national party declined to spend heavily on what it considered, from the outset, an all-but-lost cause in daunting political territory.

This tension — between party leaders who will not compete for seats they think they cannot win and an energized base loath to concede any contests to Republicans — risks demoralizing activists who keep getting their hopes up.  It also points to a painful reality for Democrats:  Despite the boiling fury on the left, the resistance toward Mr. Trump has yet to translate into a major electoral victory.

First let us deal with the lede.  It is a one sentence paragraph.  A sentence of 58 words.  Based on the admonitions I received on Staff Course, that should have been three sentences.  The theory being that no sentence should be more than 20 words.  Only the most skillful writers, the James Joyce's and William Faulkner's of the world, should write sentences of more than 20 words.

Living where I do in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts I have some sympathy for the Democratic Party Activists.  National and State Committees that will not spend money, or cannot, are just frustrating creatures to deal with.  Down at the grass roots we always believe that this time the voters will see the light, if only we spend enough on advertising.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, May 26, 2017

Christians Are Not Safe in Middle East

For John, BLUFThis isn't a war between Islam and the rest, but there are some out there killing Christians.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady, this morning, by Reporters Declan Walsh and Nour Yussef.

Here is the lede plus two (Photo at the Link):

Gunmen opened fire on vehicles carrying Coptic Christians in southern Egypt early Friday, killing at least 26 people, according to a church official, in the latest deadly assault on the country’s embattled religious minority.

Bishop Makarios of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Minya Province said the assailants, traveling in three sport utility vehicles, had opened fire on a pickup truck carrying workmen, and two buses transporting worshipers, as they traveled in a convoy to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor.

Bishop Makarios said many of the victims had been shot at close range. The dead included children, elderly people and laborers, he said, and 23 others were wounded.

A friend of mine commented:
If we wanted to “get tough” on ISIS, on radical islamic extremism, we need to go beyond simple condemnation and “our prayers go out to the families.”

I think the President needs to talk about the attack today and pose these questions:

  1. Do blasphemy laws ( in most of the Muslim world) contribute to these attacks?  What do these laws do to stifle debate and encourage hatred?
  2. Do Muslim majority countries, including Egypt, place discriminatory restrictions on the building of Churches? Why? (it is prohibited in Saudi)
  3. Are other holy books, the Bible, the Torah, etc… allowed in Muslim majority nations?  If they are forbidden, does that contribute to hatred?
  4. What are the efforts by each country to check hate talk, sectarian division?
[Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-]Sisi has called an emergency meeting, and I am sure there will be calls for more security. But do Egyptians think that is enough?

These are important questions for the region.  I agree with the President that we should not lecture, not impose our system on others.  But it is time to go beyond the platitudes and get to the factors underlying the atmosphere that tolerates terrorism.  It is time to put this on their plate.

Note the comment, "It is time to put this on their plate."  That is to say, the Sunni majority countries need to own this as their own problem.  This is not the last vestiges of colonialism but a modern day phenomenon that needs to be dealt with by the people living in the area today.

From the American Magazine (with web presence) Defense One we have an April article on ISIS and Egypt, "Why ISIS Declared War on Egypt’s Christians".

If this war spreads, to be neutral will be to be to be complicit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grade Levels in School

For John, BLUFWould school have been more interesting?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from half a year ago, by Blogger Daniel Lattier, on 4 November 2016.

Here are excepts:

Over the past five years I’ve looked at countless student performance numbers, and almost always, my attention goes to the large percentages of students who are performing below grade level in reading, math, history, etc.  I see these numbers as evidence of the failure of the current education system.

But a recent policy brief (titled “How Can So Many Students Be Invisible?") has brought something else to my attention—something equally, if not more, damning of the education system.  It’s the fact that large percentages of American students are performing ABOVE grade level.

After looking at data from five different, nationally-respected assessments of student performance, the researchers found that “20-40% of elementary and middle school students perform at least one grade level above their current grade in reading, with 11-30% scoring at least one grade level above in math.”

. . .

You see, because the system arbitrarily separates students by age, students of varying academic abilities get put on the same track.  The low performers remain consistently behind, in a constant struggle to play catch-up.  And they’re the ones who get the majority of the attention of today’s schools and education reformers.

But the high performers are also suffering in this system, too.  They’re forced to sit in a classroom for seven hours a day going over simple material and concepts at a snail’s pace. Eventually, intellectual atrophy sets in.

. . .

In their recommendations, the professors who wrote the brief concluded that “the U.S. K-12 context, which is organized primarily around age-based grade levels, needs serious rethinking.”

Our educational approach needs serious rethinking?  You think?  We are in the post-industrial age and we are still using a German industrial age approach to educating our youngsters.

Things to ponder.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What Roger Ailes Wrought

For John, BLUFThere is only one Fox News and their are no suitable substitutes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


This is from Reporter Kelefa Sanneh and The New Worker, 24 May 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Twenty years ago, Roger Ailes launched Fox News with a simple but effective premise: most news outlets were liberal, and most Americans were not. “I think the mainstream media thinks liberalism is the center of the road,” he once said. “I really think that they don’t understand that there are serious people in America who don’t necessarily agree with everything they hear on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.”

Ailes was right about this in 1996, and he was still right about it last summer, when he resigned from the network in disgrace, amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The stories about Ailes that emerged, from a number of women of who had worked for him, suggested that he created, at Fox News, a culture of extraordinary sexual cruelty at the same time that he was creating an extraordinarily successful business: last year, Fox News was the most-watched network on basic-cable television.

But, later the author gets to the key question, which I have tried to extract:
The authors concluded that “Republicans are turning off ESPN.”

But where are they going? Even now, during a period of instability, Fox News finds itself with a surprising dearth of competitors.

Yes, as Fox fades, where are the viewers going?  I am thinking they are moving away from television, toward the Internet.  Is that an opportunity for The New Worker?  I think not, except for me, since I already have a subscription and have not had enough time to read all the articles.  For one thing, The New Worker is implacably opposed to President Trump, or the idea of President Trump, or the outcome of the election back in November 2016, or the Electoral College vote.  They are not going to be picking up those viewers who are leaving Fox News because they perceive it as drifting left, drifting toward Shepard Smith, who used to be perceived as part of the Fox main thread.

This may be Breitbart's opportunity.

Regards  —  Cliff