Monday, November 30, 2015

A Good Idea Regarding Climate Change

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

In today's issue of The Boston Globe is this letter from Mr Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy, Mass Audubon Society, "Massachusetts needs a climate plan".

While I am not sure that the "end is near", the point Mr Clarke makes is excellent.  It is prudent for us to work to determine what is needed in the future and to move to make those projects "Shovel Ready".  Prior planning is prudent.  It allows us to develop insights with regard to the issue of a rising sea level, but also it will reveal insights into other issues.  As the saying goes:

Plans are nothing, planning is everything.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Even if you think Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change is rubbish, you might find it prudent to invest in some forward planning.  And, such planning represents a reasonable political compromise with those who believe the sky is fallingfilling with climate warming gases.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is Borrowing a Better Idea Really a CrimeSin?

For John, BLUFNever start a fight until you have considered where it is going to end.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Everything the World Has Culturally Appropriated from the West".

The author is Mr Allum Bokhari, who claims to be half-Pakistani, so feels some guilt about this.  The source is Breitbart, for whom Mr Bokhari does quite a bit of writing.

The headline says it all.

Not mentioned by Mr Bokari is the horse.  One wonders if the Native Americans should turn in all their horses?

I, for one, say no.  But then I am one of those evil folks who is all for cultural appropriation and practice it whenever I see a better mouse trap.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who is Giving the Most to Politicians?

For John, BLUFIf you think it is bad now, wait until you abolish political parties.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is one of those Tinkers to Evers to Chance kind of stories.  I found it at Instapundit, who sent me to News Alert, who sent me to Open Secrets, who gave me the scoop, the Federal Data.

The InstaPundit notes "Top Political Donors: SEIU #1, Koch Brothers #49."  I am sure there is a mistake in there somewhere.  Surely the Koch Brothers are number one in giving, aren't they?

And, Open Secrets kindly notes.

NOTE:  Federal law prohibits the use of contributor information for the purpose of soliciting contributions or for any commercial purpose.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Who Cares About the FITBIT Data

For John, BLUFDiet and exercise still matters.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Well, this is a shock, "Your Doctor Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Fitness-Tracker Data".  I would have thought that just from an encouragement point of view the Primary Care Physician would want to hear that his or her patient is now up and about, logging those steps and "active minutes" on their FITBIT or other device.

Not so much, says Reporter Andrew Rosenblum of Technology Review.  In fact, his sub-headline is equally discouraging, "Some patients are bringing troves of fitness-tracker data to their checkups, but the doctor might not find it all that helpful."

Here is the lede plus one:

You may think your smart watch or activity tracker can help you keep tabs on your health, but don’t be shocked if your doctor is more skeptical.

Wearable producers such as Apple, Fitbit, and Pebble will ship more than 76 million of the devices by the end of the year, according to market research firm IDC. Some doctors and researchers, however, remain unimpressed, They question the value of the particular metrics tracked, as well as the validity of the deluge of data these gadgets produce.

And after buying my wife a FITBIT.  Oh well!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Illegal Immigration Back Up

For John, BLUFI note The New York Times has used the Non-PC term "illegal" to refer to what is happening.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On 26 November Reporter Julia Preston, of The New York Times wrote that the "Number of Migrants Illegally Crossing Rio Grande Rises Sharply"

From the beginning of the article.

The numbers of migrants crossing the Rio Grande illegally have risen sharply in recent weeks, replaying scenes from the influx of Central American children and families in South Texas last year.

Once again, smugglers are bringing hundreds of women and children each day to the Mexican banks of the river and sending them across in rafts.  In a season when illegal crossings normally go down, “The numbers have started going the other way,” said Raul L. Ortiz, acting chief of the Border Patrol for the Rio Grande Valley. Since Oct. 1, official figures show, Border Patrol apprehensions of migrant families in this region have increased 150 percent over the same period last year, while the number of unaccompanied children caught by agents has more than doubled.

The new flows here are smaller than the surge in the summer of 2014, but come after a year of declines in illegal crossings across the southwest border.  The increases come as Americans’ concerns about border security are heightened after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris raised fears that terrorists would try to sneak into the United States.  And they are complicating the Obama administration’s efforts to reassure the country that the border is under control.

It is basic capitalism.  You get more of what you reward.  Sometimes it is profit.  Sometimes it is Bureaucratic adjustments.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Same Sex Marriage Meets US Constitution, Again

For John, BLUFIn a complex society there are bound to be differences of opinion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am sure that this is a test of the issues of assimilation, culture and cultural appropriation and a dominant culture imposing its will on a minority.  Straight from The Associated Press we have an article by Miss Felicia Fonseca, "GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL BUT NOT ON TRIBAL LANDS".

While there may be a small amount of humor in this predicament, I don't think it is really funny.  We are looking at people's lives here.  We are also looking at how our society judges and prioritizes rights and privileges.

Here is the lede plus one.

Cleo Pablo married her longtime partner when gay weddings became legal in Arizona and looked forward to the day when her wife and their children could move into her home in the small Native American community outside Phoenix where she grew up.

That day never came.  The Ak-Chin Indian Community doesn't recognize same-sex marriages and has a law that prohibits unmarried couples from living together.  So Pablo voluntarily gave up her tribal home and now is suing the tribe in tribal court to have her marriage validated.

We are talking arcane provisions of the US Constitution here.  Or, specifically, Native American tribes have sovereign lands, where the U.S. Constitution does not apply.  It is an interesting concept.

But this issue is bigger than the relationship of the US Government to Native American tribes.

When our society allows greater freedom to do as one wishes, we run the risk of offending more people.  When we don't have cultural assimilation we have the problem of groups of people not being happy with some of these new freedoms.  On the other hand, there are those who are against cultural assimilation.  Should Muslims of whatever stripe, coming from the Eastern Hemisphere, be treated as intolerant for being opposed to modern American sexual mores.  Or should they be expected to suck it up and live with it?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Heck, there are non-Muslims who think some of our sexual mores are in bad taste.

Watch Your Carbon Footprint

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

From Agence Press-Frnce, via Yahoo, we have an article by Joshua Melvin.  The point of the article, "What's the carbon footprint of an email?", is that if you do anything you are increasing your carbon footprint.

Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective, the carbon output of hitting "send" on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile).

The culprits are greenhouse gases produced in running the computer, server and routers but also those emitted when the equipment was manufactured.

It gets worse when you send an email with a large attachment, which puts about 50 gCO2e into the air. Five such messages are like burning about 120 grammes (0.27 pounds) of coal.

Receiving a spam message -- even if you do not open it -- has an environmental impact of 0.3 gCO2e.

There you have it.  Opening a can of soda increases your carbon footprint.  Our best bet is to do nothing.  No EMail, no TV, no driving, no work.  Of course that means we all need to have an few acres on which to farm, so we can eat  Or we can just die—but no cremation and no trip to the cemetery.  Greenhouse gases, you know.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 27, 2015

Getting to the Bottom of Things

For John, BLUFso much for "the most transparent Administration in history".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady Reporter Eric Lichtblau speculates that "Tighter Lid on Records Threatens to Weaken Government Watchdogs".
“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in an interview.
US Inspectors General are discussed here.

Regards  —  Cliff

Time to Push Back on PC Talk

For John, BLUFResist Political Correctness.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is an item on Political Correctness I missed yesterday, from The National Interest.  A three minute read, it talks to the current activist efforts to changes names on University Buildings.  The author is the magazine's editor, Mr Jacob Heilbrunn, and the Headline is "Political Correctness Goes To War on American History".

A friend of mine, a PhD Historian, noted:

[In graduate school] we had to study something we historians call Historiography—a course about how history is written.  It was really a philosophy course dressed up as a methods course.

One of the post-modernist books we read took the question "what is history" and turned it into "who is history for?" (by Georg Iggers)

But, back to the article, here is the lede.
George Orwell once remarked that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a place yesterday’s weather could be changed by decree.  America, it seems, is not wholly immune to this totalitarian impulse either.  It increasingly manifests itself in political correctness, a phenomenon that is flourishing at elite American universities.  Make no mistake: the authoritarian implications of this movement, as Jonathan Chait points out in New York magazine, should not be pooh-poohed.  Quite the contrary.  The tribunes of political correctness, Chait notes, “ are carrying out the ideals of a movement that regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal.”
Regards  —  Cliff

More on Cultural Appropriation

For John, BLUFIt is all fun and games until someone gets hurt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Way back on Wednesday Law Professor Ann Althouse wrote a column on cultural appropriation.  It is "When is it appropriate to appropriate?"

Here is the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on cultural appropriation:

Cultural appropriation, or cultural misappropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon.  Generally, an assumption that the culture being borrowed from is also being oppressed by the culture doing the borrowing is prerequisite to the concept.  This view of cultural borrowing is controversial, both in academic circles, and in general society.  According to proponents of the concept of cultural appropriation, such cultural borrowings are problematic for a variety of reasons, ranging from group identity, and questions of cultural oppression, to claims of intellectual property rights.
It seemed like a lot of silliness, except when Ms Althouse described the artists Picasso and Matisse, quoting from the culturally insensitive Old Gray Lady as the "Gold Dust Twins".  OK, it is meant as an accolade, but still, go to the link above for the printing on the packaging for the washing powder.

The thing is, this is a game.  It is a game in which the self-identified minority argues that it is being exploited.  However, the issue is not allowed to go the other way, because the majority is the oppressor, even when the majority is a minority.  It is all about power and getting some for yourself.

I did address this a couple of days ago, here.

Before you dismiss this too quickly, there are people who feel strong on both sides of the question of if a major NFL Team can call itself the Red Skins.  When you go to Wikipedia and enter in Search the term "the Red Skins" you get a long list of items for the Sheboygan Red Skins, a basketball team.  Now I realize it is a long time since Coach Joe Gibbs and Quarterback Joe Thiesman electrified the crowds in DC, but sill, the Sheboygan Red Skins?  Is this political correctness run amok?  When I change the search to "the Washington Red Skins" the eighth item down is for the Washington footpad team.  And, there is a separate page for the cultural appropriation issue, here.

Remember, there is no limit to people who are offended.  About a decade ago the Syracuse Teams had to change their names due to real Irish descendants (vs descendants of Irish Protestants, or "Orangemen") objecting.  I was one.  But, I only cared because it was a case of whose ox was being gored.  On this issue the University crumpled, thus setting a bad example for everyone else.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Note how Wikipedia is a "cultural appropriation", from the Hawaiian word Wiki, which talks to speed.
  I can remember, back around 1968, my F-4 Front Seater, the late Carl Altman, and I being called the Gold Dust Twins by some colonel up at the Wing level.  We at the time being lowly Squadron Captains.  I remember we were on the first floor of the Wing Headquarters building, and I remember nothing.
  Wait, maybe "run amok" is a term that I, as a Caucasian of Western European extraction, may not use.  It came to these shores from the time the US Army battled the Moros, after defeating Spain in the Spanish American War.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Screening Refugees and Following Up

For John, BLUFThere are reasons people are nervous about refugees.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Telegraph, by Reporters Matthew Holehouse, and Henry Samuel in Paris, in Brussels.  "Terrorist ringleader got into EU as 'refugee'".  The sub-headline is "Thousands of jihadists not being monitored".  Interesting.

The lede is:

The mastermind of the Paris attacks was able to slip into Europe among Syrian migrants, it emerged last night, as police on the continent admitted they are unable to monitor thousands of suspected jihadists.
This is different from the idea that he was a "home grown" terrorist.

And, it brings us to Republican Candidate Marco Rubio, who noted today that maybe we should prioritize those coming from Syria in terms of the threat to their lives, Christians, etc being at most threat.

Regards  —  Cliff

Cultural Appropriation

TRIGGER WARNING:  Discusses Cultural Appropriation.
For John, BLUFCan you ever be too cynical?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"If Westerners can't do yoga and Cinco de Mayo parties, can we have our polio vaccines back?".

Tongue in cheek, but still an interesting question.  Where is Mr Harry Lime when you need him to explain these things?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Obscure Lowell connection?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Climate Change a Problem for 75 Years

For John, BLUFNothing ever changes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Powerline Mr Steve Hayward links us up with Mr Steven Goddard’s Real Science, and the fact that there was early analysis showing that "CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSED HITLER!".

This is from the 27 March 1941 edition of The Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa).

So, maybe Senator Bernie Sanders isn't so off the beaten track when he blames climate change for Daesh.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Princeton University and President Wilson

For John, BLUFYour friends who are Democrat have some apologizing to do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Michael van der Galien, and Pajamas Media, yesterday, we have "'Black Lives Matter' Gets One Right:  Woodrow Wilson Was a Terrible Racist"
The Black Lives Matter movement has frequently been criticized by conservatives, and for good reason.  The organization is undeniably radical and practices race-based intimidation.  For instance, slightly less than two weeks ago, activists attacked white students studying in a library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.  Their "sin," apparently, was their skin -- the white students were born racists and criminals per the eyes of Black Lives Matter.  The innocent students were slammed against the walls, cursed at, and berated for their supposed racial privilege.

Having said that, even a broken [analogue] clock is right twice a day.  In subject matter, if not tactics, Black Lives Matter got it right for once:

Black Lives Matter activists at Princeton University have taken over the president’s office and say they won’t leave until the school acknowledges former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson as a racist and renames all buildings currently honoring him on campus.

Then the article goes on to detail how President Wilson reversed racial progress in the United States and notes that Mr Glenn Beck was correct in...
...claiming that Wilson "was part of the Margaret Sanger, 'let's kill off the inferior race'" movement.
But, here is the twist, and you knew there was a twist:
But to be consistent, the university must also make an effort to explain to the Black Lives Matter students that Wilson's racism was intrinsically linked to his Progressivism. The dangerous political ideology believes all individuals are servants to the state; I don't expect that correcting this side of the Wilson story will be prioritized over there anytime soon.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Reusable Rocket

For John, BLUFNow this is a big deal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writers Dave Mosher and Kelly Dickerson tell us "Jeff Bezos just made history with a reusable rocket test".  Yes, Mr Jeff Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post (and of Amazon).

The story has accompanying video.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket lifts off on Nov. 23, 2015.

Blue Origin, the commercial spaceflight company founded by Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, claims to have flown and landed the world's first truly reusable suborbital rocket.

"Rockets have always been expendable.  Not anymore," Bezos wrote in a blog post.  "Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket."

The New Shepard rocket lifted off from Blue Origin's launch facility in Van Horn, Texas, on Nov. 23, 2015, flew about 2,800 mph, and soared to more than 62 miles above the Earth, the company said in a press release.

After deploying a space capsule, the rocket then plummeted back toward the ground, reignited its booster, and — in a world first — gently and safely touched down in the middle of a landing target.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

College Students Not Learning

For John, BLUFNothing good will come of this kind of thinking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reporter Bobby Soave, of The Daily Beast, "College Students Say Remembering 9/11 Is Offensive to Muslims".  The sub-headline is "How a proposed moment of silence to honor 9/11 victims became the latest victim of the would-be despots of America’s campuses."

And the lede:

The everything-is-offensive brand of campus activism has struck a new low:  Students at the University of Minnesota killed a proposed moment of silence for 9/11 victims due to concerns—insulting, childish concerns—that Muslim students would be offended.
So, it looks like the war is basically over, and the West—Western Civilization—has lost.  We seem to be moving to "submission".

But, as this rolls on, one wonders what these students are learning in college.  Heck, what did they learn in High School?

But, this is not new.  This is something from 2006.  From World Net Daily, a report on the University of Washington student senate which...

...rejected a memorial for alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington of “Black Sheep Squadron” fame amid concerns a military hero who shot down enemy planes was not the right kind of person to represent the school.
Regards  —  Cliff

  Pappy Boyington's son enuciated the academic law that "All points pro[ficient] are points wasted".  If that is too complicated, think of it this easy.  You only have to do well enough to go on to the next level.  Anything more is just distracting you from other important activities.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Defending Israel

For John, BLUFThe leading edge of hatred and voices should be raised.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Someone sent this to me this evening and it seems appropriate.
Blood libel against Jews has a long and ugly history.  Sadly, it continues in many forms.  Incitement against Jews is reaching new heights in the Middle East and in Europe.  Jews are being assaulted, stabbed and murdered.  Here in Boston the MBTA, bullied by the ACLU, has joined in that incitement by accepting and posting vicious ads which accuse Jews of killing Palestinian children.

The purpose of the ad is not to inform Bostonians about the complex conflict in the Middle East; it’s to demonize Israelis and Jews.  This is a shameful act by the MBTA - a direct incitement to hate Israelis and the Jews of Boston who overwhelmingly support the Jewish state.

Attempts to place countering ads have been rejected by the MBTA with no reason given. MBTA’s double standard and bigotry must end.  The public officials responsible for permitting these hateful ads in MBTA properties must be held accountable.

The Boston Jewish community will not be silenced.  Our voices will be heard.

Please come to the MBTA board meeting at the MBTA November 23, 2015 1:00 pm MassDOT Boardroom 10 Park Plaza, Suite 3830, Boston, MA

This is the United States and the First Amendment protects all forms of stupidity.  But that doesn't mean voices can't be raised in response, proclaiming the truth.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ms Clinton Explains the Enemy

For John, BLUFIs it sufficient to ID our enemies simply as "terrorists"?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Hot Air Columnist AllahPundit talks to the "New DNC ad:  Why can’t these Republicans be respectful of radical Islam, like George Bush was?".

Here is the DNC Video, "Inciting Fear Isn't Presidential".  I found the link at Mediate.

Back to Hot Air, here is the lede:

Via Alex Griswold, who cites a new Rasmussen poll showing that 56 percent of Democrats — Democrats — think we’re at war with “radical Islamic terrorism.”  I’ve played this three times and still can’t believe I’m watching an ad from the Democratic Party pointing at George W. Bush as a role model on how to think about terrorism.  The punchline is, Bush himself mentioned “radical Islam” in his presidential rhetoric; he even used it in the State of the Union, for cripes sake.  He used the adjective “radical” because he wanted to suggest a distinction between “real” Islam and the version preached by jihadis — which is the same thing the Republican candidates featured in the ad are doing.  It’s these DNC imbeciles, not the GOPers in the ad, who are effectively equating Islam with “radical Islam” by refusing to acknowledge the distinction.
The New York Post notes about The Honorable Hillary Clinton's foreign policy speech Thursday at The Council on Foreign Relations:
Finally, like Obama, Hillary refuses to call “radical Islamic terrorism” by its rightful name, saying it plays into ISIS’s hands.  Same old, same old: After all, it’s not as if Obama’s refusal to do so has made things better.
From the transcript:
We want to isolate and defeat terrorists and counter violent extremists while reaching out to Muslims around the world.
No ISIS, no ISIL, no IS, no Daesh, no radical Islam.

And what is the difference between a terrorist and a violent extremist?

At the end of the day the image that comes to me is that of DWS, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Penetrating Terrorist Cells

For John, BLUFThe fight against Daesh will be a long, hard, slog.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Soufan Group we have "The Family Ties of Terror".  The head of The Soufan Group is former FHI Agent Ali Soufan.
Bottom Line Up Front:
  • Several members of the terrorist cell that attacked Paris on November 13 were related to each other—the latest in a long line of family terror ties
  • Small terror cells made up of mostly relatives or close friends are the greatest challenge for intelligence services seeking to infiltrate with human sources
  • Smaller and more family-based cells provide an intense feedback loop of radicalization and reinforcement, resulting in plots of intense commitment, as well as intense disagreements when they occur
  • The younger the relative in a terror cell, the more likely he or she is under the sway of an older sibling, adding a level of familial obligation and fear to the radicalization process.
One can see how inflation of such small cells can be very hard for intelligence services.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 20, 2015

Republican Minority Candidates Denied

For John, BLUFI think the Democrats are concerned.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I may have previously blogged about this News Busters item by Reporter Ken Shepherd, "Chris Matthews Not Sure If Cruz, Rubio Really Hispanic; They're 'Cuban Nationals' Though", but if I did it is worth repeating.

I don't actually care that they are Hispanic, but let us not be denying that fact because their families came from Cuba.  That just shows a total lack of understanding about that it means to be Hispanic.  It would be like saying folks from Brazil, the Azores or Portugal were Hispanic, when they are actually Lusitanians.  If we are going to use these ethnic categories we should understand them.  I wonder if Mr Matthews will soon deny that Dr Ben Carson is Black or that Ms Carly Fiorina is a female?

On the other hand, lets face it, Mr Chris Matthews is an Englisher.

Regards  —  Cliff

Another View on Paris

For John, BLUFOne thing relates to another.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Nicki, writing in The Liberty Zone, is not happy.  There is the attack in Paris and there are the refugees and there is all the activity on campus.

While I don't agree with Nicki totally, I think she raises some interesting points.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Facing Our Past

For John, BLUFCurrent Activities are over the top.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

While there is little doubt, at least on this blog, but the folks at Mizzou and Yale, and out in Amherst, Massachusetts, are pursuing a line that is not long term helpful in healing rifts in America based on race.  That said, we are illuminating some historic issues that have been swept under the carpet.  A prime example is that Democrat Party favorite, President Woodrow Wilson.

From Writer Dylan Matthews, of Vox, we have "Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist — even by the standards of his time".

The Vox article is about students demanding that the name Woodrow Wilson be eliminated from Princeton University, where Dr Wilson was President for eight years.  It should be noted that he probably didn't learn his racism in New Jersey.  But, racist he was.

I don't agree on scrubbing off the names of former racists or former slave owners.  Where will that end?  Should we eliminate the names of Massachusetts government leaders prior to the early 1800s for their blatant anti-Catholicism?  I doubt it.  Learn the history.  Draw the appropriate lessons.  Go forth and sin no more.

Then there is Amherst College, where folks want to do away with the unofficial mascot, Lord Jeff.  It might be a good idea, but Lord Jeff is Lord Jeffery Amherst.  I would think that if the mascot has to go, then the name of the college has to go, for the same reason, and the name of the town as well.  If we are going to clean up this mess, we need to clean it all up.  My proposed alternative is to acknowledge the past and learn from it.  Would that be so hard?

And, as for Harvard Law School, have there not been sufficient graduates who have worked for human rights to justify letting them keep three sheaves of wheat on their emblem?  However, in this case I say abolish it.  We will still have Suffolk and Boston College and New England School of Law.

What we don't need is the destruction of a semester of university education over this issue.  Or worse, that we find free speech going into eclipse and ideas become more bound to some politically correct vision of the Social Justice Warriors.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Such as in the Commonwealth's Constitution.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Climate Change Causes Terrorism"—Bernie Sanders

For John, BLUFHe doesn't get it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Nation of Change and Author Stefanie Spear, we have "Bernie Sanders:  ‘Climate Change Is Directly Related to the Growth of Terrorism’"
“Absolutely,” Sen. Sanders replied.  “Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world, this is what the CIA says, they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.  But, of course international terrorism is major issue that we have to address today.”
I believe Senator Sanders missed the whole point of Daesh (and al Qaeda and Boko Harem), which is that they wish to return to the "Golden Age" of Islam, by force if necessary.  The state of the climate is immaterial to the leaders of Daesh.  It is all about the state of your relationship with Allah.

If Senator Sanders cannot grasp this fundamental point he will not be effective as a President in the realm of foreign policy and nation security.  And that is before we get to his socialist economic views.

That said, climate change does play a role in the 60 million displaced persons across the globe.  But, that is only part of the issue regarding displaced persons.  A minor factor should not be seen as a major factor.  Radical Salifist terrorism goes away and then maybe we can talk about climate change as a factor to worry about.  I advocate policy priorities over politics.

Regards  —  Cliff

What is Daesh—Nation State or Terror Group?

For John, BLUFA wrong choice means unnecessary loss of lives and money.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

When going to war it is important to know who you are fighting, what kind of an entity with which you are engaged.  Reporter Yaroslav Trofimov, writing for The Wall street Journal, gives us "Response Against Islamic State Hinges on Whether to Treat It as a State".  As an analogy, are you at war with Italy or with the Mafia?  The sub-headline is "Western leaders divided on the question".  That isn't helpful.

Here is the key part of the article:

The difference is critical.  If Islamic State is treated mostly as a terrorist network, then the effort against it is essentially a counterterrorism operation in which the goal, as often stated by Mr. Obama, is primarily to undermine the group's narrative and its appeal to Muslims world-wide.  Militarily, this means focusing on narrow targets, such as its operatives, and taking utmost care to avoid civilian casualties.

But if Islamic State is treated as an enemy state, then the primary goal is the same as in conventional wars—first, destroy its ability to operate, including its infrastructure and economic base, and then eventually conquer its real estate.

The ability to run a de facto state—the group has called on all Muslims to move there—is a crucial part of Islamic State's narrative.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yaroslav Trofimov writes a weekly column, Middle East Crossroads, about the region stretching from West Africa to Pakistan.  He joined the Journal in 1999 and previously served as Rome, Middle East and Singapore-based Asia correspondent, and as bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He is the author of two books, Faith at War (2005) and Siege of Mecca (2007).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Those Refugees

For John, BLUFIt is about helping those being threatened with death.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This whole refugee issue has the nation talking.  At the Blog Duck of Minerva Mr Josh Busby of Texas takes one approach—"Get a Grip America:  Stop the Anti-Refugee Hysteria".

On the other hand, at The Washington Post their writer for "The Fix", Mr Chris Cillizza, says "You might not like Republicans calling for a ban on refugees. But it’s smart politics."

Then there is the President employing ridicule to deal with Republican reluctance regarding refugees.  From The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama said Tuesday in Manila that those who want to halt the acceptance of Syrian refugees are feeding “the ISIL narrative,” “fearful of widows” and “worried about three-year-old orphans.”
Of course the problem is that the vast majority of refugees, at least those going to Europe, are unaccompanied young men.  If you were doing some crude profile of Daesh terrorists wouldn't you think first of unaccompanied young men?  I would.  The President's comments were just sarcasm in the place of intellectual argument.

Also the President was dismissive of those who said we should give priority to Christians in Syria.  Rhetoric that misses the situation on the ground in Syria..

So, my position is that:

  1. Someone (The President?) needs to talk to us seriously about the whole displaced person issue, all 60 million of them.
  2. The President, or people within his Administration, need to give us a true understanding of how Daesh is able to move terrorists into the US regardless of refugees and how there is ongoing recruitment of fighters already in the United States, including US Citizens.
  3. The US Congress needs to hold hearings on this, with the goal of providing the funds needed to help refugees stay in or near their tribal areas.
  4. The President needs to join US military forces with those of other nations to provide protection for those who are being displaced.
  5. The Department of State needs to privately and publicly make distinctions between refugees and economic migrants.  Not everyone with a desire to leave their nation is a refugee fleeing oppression and chaos.
  6. The President needs to make clear that the view of the United States is that those who elect to come to the United States are doing so with the understanding that we expect them to become Americans and not to build a replica of their homeland.  While we can allow these kinds of isolated communities on a limited basis, are are a melting pot nation, and while we value our diversity, we expect all to be committed to the principles of our Declaration of Independence and adherence to our Constitution.
  7. The Federal Government needs to ensure that State and local Governments know what is happening with refugees and to be open and transparent about it.
  8. State Governors need to step up take responsibility for settling refugees and encouraging their People to make this settling work.
  9. We, the People, need to keep our hearts open and welcome refugees from oppression.  We need to be helping these new people become part of America.
Regards  —  Cliff

  Which I discussed here.
  The President misses the point that at this point Daesh is particularly going after religious minorities in their areas, Christians and Druze and the Yazidis.
  Per Wikipedia.  A refugee, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees[1][2] is a person who is outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country;[1][2] or in the case of not having a nationality and being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of former habitual residence.

"Lois Lerner was Incompetent"—Attorney General

For John, BLUFHigh crimes and misdemeanors?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Well, that isn't EXACTLY how she said it, but that is the conclusion that would be drawn by the man on the Clapham Bus.  To quote from our Attorney General, Ms Lois Lerner:
Our review found that the management of the process by which tax-exempt applications were handled at the IRS was characterized by mismanagement and inefficiency in numerous circumstances.
The terms "mismanagement" and "inefficiency" are bureaucratize for "incompetent".

The quote from Ms Lynch came from a National Review article by Mr Joel Gehrke, "Lynch: Lois Lerner Protected by DOJ’s ‘Prosecutorial Discretion’"

This comment came during a Congressional Hearing that included Representative Darrell Issa questioning of the Attorney General.  Representative Issa read to Ms Lynch the applicable federal statute regarding congressional contempt citations (one was issued to Lois Lerner):

it “shall be [the U.S. attorney’s duty] to bring the matter before the grand jury”
The Attorney General stuck to her guns:
In the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, that decision was made.
Representative Issa went on:
“You have no respect for laws passed if you don’t like them,” Issa replied. “You think you have discretion when something says ‘shall,’ is what you’re testifying to, today.”
I have always taken a "shall statement" to be a mandate.  What the Administration is doing is wrong and it is also wrong for them to bind Ms Lynch to this breaking of the law.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GOP Field Shrinks Again

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

Over at Hot Air AllahPundit gives us the bad news.  "Bobby Jindal drops out of presidential race".

I like Governor Bobby Jindal and I think he has the experience many of the others lack.  But, money speaks and Governor Jindal doesn't have it.  Bad luck for us.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

France and Beirut

For John, BLUFBeirut is a pocket of the West in the NearMiddle East.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I don't often agree with things coming out of Nation of Change, but this article by Dr Thomas Magstadt, makes sense—"Paris: Beirut in the Heart of Europe?".

The writer points out that terrorism is going on in man places and he draws valuable similarities between Paris and Beirut.  Here is his concluding paragraph:

France stood with us after 9-11.  The time has come to return the favor.  We can start by recognizing the mistakes of the past and resolving never to repeat them.  Vanquishing terrorism is a win-win for the planet.  Ask anybody in Paris or Beirut.
Regards  —  Cliff

Halting Refugee Resettlement

For John, BLUFWe need to be active in dealing with refugees.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for The Hill, Jordan Fabian, Alexander Bolton and Scott Wong, tell us "Pressure builds to block refugees".

I can understand how folks can think this way.  This was a topic on City Life this morning.

However, this may be something that makes us feel good at the moment, but doesn't actually keep us safer.  I expect Daesh can slip terrorist operatives into the US regardless of our refugee resettlement program.  So, this is not a solution to our problem, but a feel-good act on the part of politicians.

That said, given the current situation, the voters seem to want a slowdown in immigration.  If we do that, then to prevent uncontrolled migration by desperate people from Syria and Iraq will require that the West (the US and Europe, in particular) invest more money in taking care of refugees where they are.

People who have been driven from their homes, who have had relatives and friends murdered by this or that group, whose method of earning a living has been destroyed, who have had co-religious murdered for their faith, will take to the road.  The question is where they will end up.  At this time there are some 60 million such people displaced from their own homes.

This is another case of pay me now or pay me later.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For George, ISIS.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Daesh Expanding

For John, BLUFDiFi is not wrong here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mediaite and Reporter Alex Griswold at 2:04 pm today.

"Feinstein Contradicts Obama: ISIS ‘Is Not Contained,’ It’s ‘Expanding’".

The lede:

Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein contradicted President Barack Obama‘s statement Thursday that the U.S. had “contained” ISIS, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that they were actually gaining strength.
There is a nice 5 minute video in which she talks with Andrea Mitchell about her views on Daesh, or ISIL, as she says.  DiFi is the ranking minority member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  She should know, and if she doesn't, there is something wrong in the Administration.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fixing The Middle East

For John, BLUFMatching Objectives, Threats and Opportunities, in a Resource limited environment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing from Des Moines, Iowa, Reporter Rick Klein, gives us "Analysis: Debate Reveals Democratic Uncertainties on Foreign Policy".

Bernie Sanders again cited the Iraq war – which Clinton supported, and Sanders opposed – as a key reason for ISIS’ rise, and as a lesson for how to confront the threats.
Frankly, Senator Sanders does not have the big picture here.  We are seeing a contest within Islam and it has many facets.  Senator Sanders has a two dimensional view of a three dimensional problem.

The first thing to keep in mind is that in the Middle East the consequences of First World War, "The Great War", are still not fully worked out.  And, the idea of fixed borders was foreign to the former Ottoman Empire.  And probably are, today, to Daesh.

The idea that Daesh is the result of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 is to miss the turmoil that has been ongoing in the Middle East for some time.  The strong men dictators have kept it under control, but it has been there.  For example, there is the 1964 book by Sayyid Qutb, Milestones.  In the book Mr Qutb calls for a rebirth of Islam.  Then there is Wahhabism, out of Saudi Arabia, with its desire to return to what it believes is early Islam.  And, don't forget we have the apocalyptic Shia clerics in Iran, who believe these are the end of times.

Another thought.  If we are going to blame Iraq, and the turmoil therein on President George W Bush, should we not blame the turmoil in Libya, the presence of Daesh, on Secretary of State Clinton?

As we contemplate the future we have the proposal from the former French President, Nicholas Sarkozy—team up with Russia.

But, what will Russia want in exchange?  Protection of Syria's Assad?  A private agreement to give Russia its way in Ukraine?  A private agreement to give Russia its way with Poland and the Baltics?  There is no free lunch.

Then there is Turkey and the Kurds.  Do we support the legitimate aspirations of the Kurds, or do we support the Turkish desire for national integrity?  Do we need bases in Turkey?  Will we sell out the Kurds to get them?

Finally, is anyone prepared to confront the King of Saudi Arabia about the role his Kingdom has played in the ongoing use of terrorism to establish the new Caliphate?

A good strategy is hard to find.  Suitable.  Feasible.  Acceptable.

Regards  —  Cliff

Making Your Mark

For John, BLUFNot for everyone.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In an unsigned article in The [Lowell] Sun "No strain, no gain for Lowell woman's photo quest"
A Massachusetts agency is letting a Lowell woman who belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head in her driver's license photo after she cited her religious beliefs.

Mill City resident Lindsay Miller said Friday that she "absolutely loves the history and the story" of Pastafarians, whose website says has existed in secrecy for hundreds of years and entered the mainstream in 2005.

I love the First Amendment and our ability to adapt to new expressions of faith.

Regards  —  Cliff

Second Amendment Goes Abroad

For John, BLUFThere is the theory that an armed society is a polite society.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter Matt Sandy, writing for Time Magazine, gives us "Brazil Seeks to Copy U.S. Gun Culture" Here is the start of the story:
Congressmen in Brazil, one of the most violent countries in the world, are proposing to dramatically loosen restrictions on personal gun ownership, bringing the country much closer to the American right to bear arms.

The politicians say the measures are necessary to allow embattled citizens the right to defend themselves from criminals armed with illegal weapons.  But opponents say the move will only increase the country’s toll of nearly 60,000 murders in 2014.

The draft law, which is set to be voted on by the lower house of congress this month, introduces a right for citizens to own firearms for self-defense or the protection of property.  Currently, citizens must apply for a gun permit and justify why they need a gun, meaning that applications can be easily denied.

The bill also reduces the minimum age for the purchase of weapons from 25 to 21, removes a ban on those under criminal investigation owning or carrying weapons and allows citizens to buy nine guns and 600 rounds of ammunition a year.

“Brazil is an extremely violent country and the state has failed to resolve this problem,” the law’s author Laudivio Carvalho of the powerful Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, says in a telephone interview.  “The population needs the right to defend themselves, their family and their property as they are the ones being attacked.  Ninety percent of assaults are being carried out with illegal weapons.”

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Other Side of Paris

For John, BLUFOpportunists of the Left.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Salon is an article by Writer Chauncey Devega (of Alternet), "And so the hate speech begins:  Let Paris be the end of the right’s violent language toward activists".  And the sub-headline is "Real terror unfolds in Paris.  Perhaps this will convince the right to tone down their incessant violent rhetoric".

Are these people actually living on the same planet as Barney Frank?

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

In a still developing situation, the city of Paris, France, is under attack by terrorists armed with guns and explosives.  Many dozens of people have been killed.  A still undetermined number of people have been wounded.  The terrorists took dozens of hostages in a concert hall.  French police and military forces have been deployed. There is mayhem and blood in the streets of Paris.

President Obama has correctly described this day’s horrific events as “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

Terrorism is politically motivated violence against a vulnerable population that is designed to intimidate, sow fear, create panic and alter public policy.

Terrorism is serious business that kills people, breaks bodies and alters lives.

It is not a game.

In the United States, the right-wing media and movement conservatives have for decades consistently used eliminationist and other violent rhetoric to describe liberals, progressives and other people with whom they disagree.  As was seen in the recent attacks on a Charleston-area black church, and other violence by right-wing anti-government militias, such rhetoric does not float in the ether of the public discourse, harmless and unacknowledged.  No, it does in fact lead to action.

There you have it.  The terrorist attack in Paris isn't about a violent branch of Islam, it is about shutting down those who think differently from the Social Justice Warriors here in the United States.  It is about condemning those who are concerned that the students (and supporting faculty) are acting to deny free speech at places like Yale and the University of Missouri (and UMass Amherst).

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Presidential Choice

For John, BLUFHere is a chance for the President to shine.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There has been some comment on the President's Comments on CNN Friday morning (yesterday) about Daesh.

In my mind this is not about the President and being unlucky in what he said to CNN on Friday.

It is about the fundamental question of if we really have a grounded understanding and a strategy for dealing with a group that has a totally different view of how to govern and what is acceptable in governing.  Further, it is if we can defend ourselves from such a group without becoming who they are.

The President has been trying for some time to keep things calm and avoid the kind of "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that leads to abuse of civil rights and needless casualties.

As Dead Carl tells us, "The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking."

So, the President must answer the question as to if this is this just a one-off event.  If yes, the it must be dealt with, but it should not change our overall strategy?

If it is not, then the question is if President Obama can now shift the approach of the US Government to crush Daesh and win the peace.  A large bureaucracy, going one way, is sometimes difficult to orient in a new direction.

And how he would go about crushing Daesh.

As a final thought, except for a mad few, terrorism is just a tactic for achieving a higher goal.  This is not about fighting terrorism, except to the extent it is about defending ourselves from this tactic.  Defeat of the enemy does not come about from fighting terrorism, but from fighting the enemy and his strategy.

Hat tip to the Lani Kass, for the list of quotes from Dead Carl.

Regards  —  Cliff

Everyone Except Henry L. Stimson Spies On Everyone Else

For John, BLUFGlenn Greenwald, call your office.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Henry L Stimson?  Secretary of State for President Herbert Hoover.  Justifying closing down the Black Chamber.

From Reporter Andrea Germanos and Common Dreams we have "Germany's Spy Targets Included FBI, UNICEF, US Weapons Makers".

The sub-headline is "New reporting adds to controversy over intelligence agency's activities".

The lede plus two:

While Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed in 2013, "Spying among friends is never acceptable," a new media report alleges that the lengthening list of targets of Germany's intelligence agency included the FBI, the UN children's agency, and a German diplomat.

The German public radio station, RBB Inforadio, said Wednesday that the agency, the BND, also spied on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, weapons maker Lockheed Martin, and the World Health Organization.

Reuters described the new reporting, which does not identify the source of the allegations, as "the latest twist in a growing scandal over the activities of Germany's BND stemming from revelations in 2013 by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden."

I feel sorry for Chancellor Merkel, being caught out this way, but hypocrisy is a way of life at the highest levels of government.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tragedy In Paris

For John, BLUFNot good news.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

If Matt Drudge picks CNN, I pick CNN.

"Paris attacks:  At least 153 killed in gunfire and blasts, French officials say".  That number is going to grow.  And more with wounds, some of which may be superficial, but may include the loss of limbs or serious internal injuries.

From the look of this, and here I follow Fox's Catherine Herridge, this was something that might have been a while in planning.  That said, the executive might have been moved up, given the report Thursday, "Police in Europe Launch Coordinated Swoop on Terror Suspects With Links to Islamic State".

I commend President Obama for getting on the air early, pledging our support to our French Cousins.

Good evening, everybody.  I just want to make a few brief comments about the attacks across Paris tonight.  Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.  This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.

We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond.  France is our oldest ally.  The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again.  And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

It being Friday the 13th, the President did have a bit of bad luck, having said, in the morning, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America that ISIS has been "contained.".

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

Hat tip to Fox News.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Latest Poll

For John, BLUFOne sees some sorting out, but Trump and Carson still leading.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the polling outfit, Rasmussen, dated Friday the 13th, we have "Here’s How the GOP Race Looks Now".
The outsiders are still leading the pack in Rasmussen Reports’ latest look at the Republican presidential primary race following Tuesday night’s debate.

Our latest national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters shows Donald Trump with 27% support. Twenty percent (20%) say they would vote for Dr. Ben Carson if the GOP presidential primary were held in their state today.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida picks up 16% of the vote, while 13% prefer Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Eight percent (8%) say they would vote for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, while support for ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has fallen back to four percent (4%). Seven percent (7%) say they would choose one of the other candidates in the race. Five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

I know the professional politicians say that (1) those who support Mr Trump and Dr Carson won't show up to vote in the Primaries and (2) everyone will sober up and go for a professional who can beat Ms Clinton.  Maybe.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A True Hero, Recognized

For John, BLUFWhat would it cost them to put "President" in front of "Obama"?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Reuters New Service, Reporter Ian Simpson, out of Washington, gives us "Obama to award Medal of Honor to wounded U.S. Army captain" The lede plus one:
A U.S. Army captain who was badly wounded thwarting a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on what he has called the worst day of his life will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama on Thursday.

Retired Captain Florent Groberg, 32, will receive the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for valor, in a White House ceremony. He is the 10th living recipient to be awarded the medal for heroism in Afghanistan.

More on Captain Florent Groberg here.

Note that Captain Groberg is a poster child for immigrants who are great Americans.

Regards  —  Cliff

Victory for the Parents

For John, BLUFThere are different understandings of the use and value of School Vouchers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Politico, Reporter Caitlin Emma gives us "Jindal scores a win with appeals court voucher ruling" Here is the lede plus one:
The Justice Department suffered a setback Tuesday when the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in effect ruled that the feds don't have the authority to regulate Louisiana's school voucher program.

In a 2-1 decision written by Judge Edith Jones, the appeals court says a district court had no jurisdiction to let DOJ collect data and monitor the voucher program.

My first question is why does the lede paint this is a defeat for the Department of Justice?

Then we move on to vouchers.  Why do we not see vouchers for what they are, a chance for parents to exercise choice with regard to their children's school.  Rich folks have school choice because they have the money to send their child where they wish.  When I was young the meme was that the truly rich sent their children to school in Switzerland, sort of like Kim Jong-un.

In Louisiana the State Government is offering that same school choice to all parents, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or nation of origin.

So, the Department of Justice, in fear that some might suffer under this program, would scupper the whole thing, depriving all middle and lower class Louisiana parents of the chance to exercise choice in the education of their children.

Vouchers are about options.  As for taking money away from public schools, vouchers do, along with taking the students.  The use of vouchers are a sign that parents are not happy with the public school in the area.  Vouchers are a sign that the school is not doing the job their customers, the parents, are looking for.

Of course here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the idea of Vouchers, at least for parochial schools, is unconstitutional.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Concern about the Papist hordes overrunning the fair Commonwealth.

Civil Rights for All

For John, BLUFThis may be a worthy cause, but the execution seems lacking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In today's edition of The [Lowell] Sun we have a State House News Service item by Reporter Matt Murphy.  It is headlined "Congressional delegation pushes transgender vote".

The lede is:

A majority of the state's Congressional delegation has written to the leaders of the Massachusetts House and Senate urging votes on legislation to extend non-discrimination protections in public places to transgender individuals before the Legislature recesses in a little over a week.
Yes, 7 out of 11, including our own Rep Niki Tsongas, and Senator Ed Markey.

But, is it their place to be bullying the members of the General Court?

Moving on, I don't wish to deprive any group of their civil rights.  Laws against discrimination with regard to public accommodation seems settled, although some, like our Attorney General, Maura Healey, feel Massachusetts laws do not apply to the transgendered and that she has no tools to deal with this.  The problem is the scope of a public accommodation law, but at its writing and as it is applied down the years by this or that prosecutor or civil trial lawyer.  I am with those who don't wish to see it creeping into bathrooms and showers.

Should cisgender people have to give way to transgendered people in terms of privacy in public accommodations?  I can see transgendered folks, who dress in their new gender, slipping into bathroom stalls and never causing a problem.  Even Caitlyn Jenner, if discrete, can slip into the Damen bathroom.  But, if they wish to make a federal case out of it there could be issues.  One would hope not.  Making such accommodation legal makes sense, but so does making it a crime to blatantly flaunt one's gender in a place of public accommodation.

What about showers in high school?  I would think that some cisgender (or their parents) might be uncomfortable having someone who looks like the opposite sex showering with them.  If transgendered are uncomfortable with the current arrangement for being in a private place with the cisgender, perhaps we need a third or fourth location for showering.

Let's not make some uncomfortable to ensure that others are not.  We can not expect all cisgender to think alike on some of these issues, to all be comfortable with the actual execution of some of the proposed changes.

Let us see some of the compromise the Democrats are always talking about.

In the mean time, in an apparent act of cowardice,

In mid-September, as supporters of the transgender bill rallied at the Statehouse, [House Speaker Robert] DeLeo said he planned to try to organize a caucus, a closed meeting of House members, so that lawmakers could discuss the issues.
What is it that can't be talked about in public?  Will there be minutes of this "executive session" that will ultimately be made public?  The rest of us have to, so why not the General Court?

Regards  —  Cliff

Halloween Remembered

For John, BLUFA lot of creativity out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Cleaning up from Halloween, here are two photos from the neighborhood.

Of course this first photo needs no explanation regarding the fate of the Wicked Witch of the East.

In the second photo one wonders about who the sailors might be.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Bright Spot

For John, BLUFLooking for the positive.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is in front of the Lowell Housing Authority building at the corner of Merrimack and Cabot, from a couple of weeks ago.  A lingering remembrance of Summer.

Bright and sunny and cheery, and not overcast and gloomy, like today.

Regards  —  Cliff

University of Missouri System—Self-Destructs

For John, BLUFThe inmates are running the asylum.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Bonfire of the Academy".  The sub-headline is "As liberal adults abdicate, the kids take charge on campus."

Somewhere in this article is a discussion of how the hunger strike by Grad Student Jonathan Butler against the cutbacks in University Health Care was based on an inability to read the fine print.  Per the WSJ it is verboten by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PP&ACA).

Less noted in the news coverage is that an August posting on the website of the university’s division of graduate studies explains in detail that the health-insurance cutbacks are the explicit result of the Affordable Care Act.  ObamaCare’s regulations forbid employers, such as universities, from paying for their grad students’ health insurance.  Another case of progressives eating their own.
As we know, President Tim Wolfe resigned.

And, fortunately, so did Professor Melissa Click.

So, just who is running the zoo out at Mizzou?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Cynic that I am, I am figuring Mr Wolfe got a golden parachute.
  Here is the part I don't get.  Ms Click, ironically, from the Journalism School, was trying to run off a journalist, and The Washington Post makes fun of Republicans who find it wrong.

No Republican Minorities

For John, BLUFThere are Dems who hate the idea of Minority Republicans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Ms Amy Goodman, on Democracy Now, just now, has been doing a hatchet job of Dr Ben Carson and now moving on to Sen Ten Cruz and Sen Marco Rubio.


Regards  —  Cliff

Armistice Day

For John, BLUFEvery one who put on a uniform.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today, 11 November, is Armistice Day, Veterans Day since 1954.

The "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

A photo from 1982, Mr Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War

Thanks to everyone who served, regardless of Service and regardless of the job they did.  We need each and every one.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Unit Cohesion

For John, BLUFWorking together can bring people together.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Web Presence Task and Purpose we have an article from Mr James Clark, "8 Things I Miss About The Marine Corps".

Regards  —  Cliff

Where Do We Come From

For John, BLUFNot all science is equal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review we have an assertive article by Mr Wesley J Smith, "Evolutionist:  Humans are NOT Apes".

A plea for human exceptionalism.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 9, 2015

Democrats Want to Change PP&ACA

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

From The Hill we have "Reid, Pelosi pushing for repeal of ObamaCare's 'Cadillac tax'".
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are working behind the scenes to repeal one of the most controversial taxes in ObamaCare, multiple sources tell The Hill.

Reid and Pelosi have been talking since the spring with President Obama about repealing the “Cadillac tax” on employer healthcare benefits, a senior Democratic aide confirmed on Friday.

“Point is, they both want to get this done,” the Democratic aide said.

Opponents of the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans believe 2015 is their last, best chance to get the provision repealed before presidential politics grind the legislative process to a halt.  With just two months left in the year, sources say the most ideal option for Democrats is attaching repeal to the package known as “tax extenders.”  The cost of the extenders bill is typically not offset, making it an attractive vehicle for ending one of ObamaCare’s biggest revenue generators.

And where is this drive to repeal the tax on certain healthcare plans coming from?
Powerful labor groups such as the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers vehemently opposed the Cadillac tax from the start.  They say repeal needs to happen soon, before employers begin trimming back healthcare benefits.
There is a problem with this plan.  Cost.  The PP&ACA is predicated, in part, on the Federal Government reaping $87 billion (Billion) a year in revenue from taxing the "Cadillac" health care plans.  Repealing the tax is just more money added to what at this writing is a US Federal Debt of $18,560 Trillion.  Per the article,
Health officials and economists close to the law are dead set against abandoning the tax, which they argue should nudge employers and employees toward cheaper insurance plans with less waste.
In English that says that if you have a decent health care plan you should pare it back, to avoid medical health care waste.  Frankly, this is just manipulating the marketplace in contravention of the economic rules that have been exploited to pull millions out of poverty.

But, Pelosi and Reid are the minority party in Congress and the President is dead set against repeal.  What to do?

To get Republicans to the table, Leibfried said Reid and Pelosi might have to agree to the repeal of the medical device tax — another unpopular funding mechanism for the healthcare law that many Democrats oppose.
That is pretty much the only mention of the Republican side of the aisle.  And, cutting the medical device tax will only add to the deficit, and the debt.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Tax Extenders…This is the Wikipedia discussion:  "The Act increased the statutory limit on the public debt by US$700 billion to US$11.3 trillion. However, the legislation is designed to have a net zero long-term cost, and includes language that mandates the President and Congress to develop a plan to recoup any money that is not recouped within 5 years."  Of course it does.

Gun Control Laws Discriminate

For John, BLUFDoing bad trying to do good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in USA Today, Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds gives us "How gun laws put the innocent on trial" The lede is:
Police are horrible, racist monsters who want to lock up minorities over even trivial violations of the law!  And police are also the only ones who should have guns!
The is the progressive thesis as interpreted by Georgetown Law School Professor Robert J. Cottrol at a recent conference on 5 November.

Of course police are not and of course police are also not the only ones who should have guns.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Adverse Trends for the Privileged Class

For John, BLUFThere are questions worth asking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Dr Helen Smith asks about recent studies which show an increase in suicide rates amongst Caucasian males between the ages of 45 and 54, "Why are middle-aged whites dying at such high rates?".

The Comments are interesting, with some telling their stories and a few questioning if this is real of just a put-up job from the CDC.  That is a wood question.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Red vs Blue

For John, BLUFI don't think we really know.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Columnist John Cassidy and The New Yorker we have "Obama and the G.O.P.’s Red Sea".

With a headline like that, one would expect at least one comment on "parting the Red Sea", but nota.  I was disappointed.

This was a he said, she said kind of discussion.  I was surprised by two things.  The first was the mention of Richard Nixon and the "Southern Strategy".  For one thing, there was no strategy involved.  It was just going to happen.  The other is, if I can't bring up the racist tradition of the Democrat Party, and Democrats tell me I can't, why do we go back to the Nixon Era, almost half a century ago?

The second thing is the minimum discussion of minorities.  The article does talk about "white working class" voters, but while it mentions Hispanics once, it skips over Blacks.  I wonder if the author privately thinks Blacks may go back to voting Republican if Dr Ben Carson is on the ticket?  If there is a growing class of Black entrepreneurs out there they might well wander over to the other side, the side that has the values that is probably present in Northeast Washington, but not necessarily Southeast.

I read this article so you don't have to.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I have noted that the Press is making up stories to try to damage Dr Carson, stories the likes of which they would not make up over Candidate Senator Obama.  In fact, the MSM is still covering for the earlier life of President Obama, and that is fine, but one should never suggest it is equal coverage.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Accident Investigation

For John, BLUFIt is still too soon to tell.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At this blog post I speculated on what might have brought down the Russian Airliner out of Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt.  Here is some additional thoughts, from Maram Mazen and Nour Youssef of the Associated Press: "Noise in last second of Russian plane's cockpit recording".

To reprise, a 31 October flight out of the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh came apart at 30,000 feet and provided a debris field stretched over 8 miles.  There were 224 souls on board (SOBs), most of them Russian tourists.  The aircraft was an Airbus A321-200.

Here is an important paragraph out of the article:

"All scenarios are being considered ... it could be lithium batteries in the luggage of one of the passengers, it could be an explosion in the fuel tank, it could be fatigue in the body of the aircraft, it could be the explosion of something," said [Ayman] El-Muqadem, who is Egyptian and leading the investigation committee that includes experts from Russia, France, Germany and Ireland, where the plane was registered.  El-Muqadem appeared alone at the news conference in Cairo.
While we await the findings, TSA is going to be trying to tighten up.  Some action will be effective and some won't.

UPDATE:  A friend who monitors Russian media noted this AM that "One of the early speculations in the Russian media was the plane broke up during evasive maneuver to avoid colliding with a Western fighter jet."

Regards  —  Cliff

Is Bill Gates Athenian?

For John, BLUFWorry about those who would "save us".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Jim Geraghty, writing in The National Review, gives us Mr Bill Gates' view on Democracy.  "Richest Man in the World:  'Representative Democracy Is a Problem.'"
When I sat down to hear his case a few weeks ago, he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it.  “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.”
And so it is.  The subsequent problem is the alternatives.  We have the system under scientific materialism, which gave us Stalin and Mao.  We had Bonaparte.  We had that brand of socialism known as Fascism.  And we have had the example of strong man, of the Caudillo.  While some were satisfactory for a short period of time (Juan Perón), none have been very satisfactory over the longer run.

And it isn't just Mr Gates who is unhappy with Democracy.  Look at Greece.  Here is a 5 November article in The Old Gray Lady by Reporter Steven Erlanger—"Resistance to Authority in Greece as Pessimism Takes Hold".

The Article finds the Greeks, or at least the New York City born mayor of Athens, Mr Yiorgos Kaminis, to be looking to a bleak future.  As Mayor Kaminis says in the article:

Greeks no longer believe, if they ever did, he said, in the functionality of politics.
So, the Greeks are losing faith in representative democracy.  What we have is public unhappiness, demonstrations, rising crime, increasing abuse of alcohol and drugs and a continuing exodus by younger Greeks.  The question is if and when someone decides bringing back "The Colonels" is the solution?

I am not sure I see a solution for Greece.  And it is sad.

As for the US, perhaps the problem is those who have talked about climate change.  Back in the 1970s it was global cooling.  Today we are told that no one really believed in global cooling, but it was the popular meme of the time.  Then we had global warming, with dire predictions of problems soon, with soon being pushed back over time.  This kind of thing leads to skepticism, and rightfully so.  If you are talking and you don't have your stuff together, if all you can do is say "believe me, I am a scientist", then you have problems.

Don't get me wrong.  There probably is climate change of sort coming our way.  I am doubtful the "experts" actually know what is going to happen.  I do think we need to be doing the planning needed to make projects to deal with rising oceans "shovel ready".  Fixing our power grid would be a good idea.  Not doing the Keystone Pipeline is just more propaganda.  The oil will be sold and more men like Rafael Bienvenido Cruz will go to Canada for work, since it won't be here.

Of course, Mr Gates and others of his ilk could stop using private jets.

In the mean time, we need to protect our Democracy from those who promise a better way, a way guided by those who can do math, or science, or something.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff