Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Wish I'd Said This...

Once again I am in the weeds with work-related activities, but I did have just enough time today to read one thing. An article of a 3-day interview with Camille Paglia by Dave Daley at Salon. Now, I don't always agree with Ms Paglia, but this particular article expresses exactly the way I think about all the subjects she hits. So, because of lack of time and the brain-stifling heat of late July, I thought I would just share it with you...

Camille Paglia takes on Jon Stewart, Trump, Sanders: “Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!”

I particularly like the comments section as it just proves her main point expressed in the title of article. I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't, you are always free to change the subject. I'm going to get some sleep for my next big push tomorrow.
[+] Read More...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

For months, I've had to endure the sports networks, which are stunningly packed with ex-Patriots employees, telling me how wonderful dreamboat Tom Brady is and how the NFL will be sorry for not bending to his will. And NO ONE DENIES THIS! Tom's just the greatest human being alive. Again, NO ONE DENIES THIS! Deflategate is a conspiracy meant to damage the reputation of Tom Brady to help the NFL somehow somehow!!

But now Tom's suspension has been upheld... not because Goodell is an ass, but because Tommy Terrific destroyed his cell phone the same day he met with NFL investigators, and he lied about it. Insert sad clown here ==><==. So excuse me as I laugh my butt off and I happily celebrate Deflategate 2, which is when the balloon filled with the flaming BS of Patriot's dupes everywhere got deflated by the act of their hero. Sadly, though, today is not entirely perfect. I got a speeding ticket today despite being white. What has this world come to?
[+] Read More...

Caption This!

Okay, I don't drive much since I don't own a car and live in NYC, but what the heck does this street sign mean exactly? Or more importantly, what were the sign designers thinking when they made this sign? I am stumped...


If you have actually seen a sign like this before, maybe you know. If you don't, just make something up. But most of all, let's have some fun on this hot, humid July day.

Btw, tt was posted on Twitter by one of my favorite "tweeters" - Justice Don Willet, a Texas Supreme Court justice, all-around funny guy, and unofficial "Tweeter Laureate of Texas". Even he couldn't figure this one out and he's a Judge!
[+] Read More...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Inventing White Privilege

Wow. I just read something at Huffpo that can only be described as sheer idiocy, lies and hate of the lowest caliber. It’s written by someone calling himself “Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer,” the President of the United Church of Chirst. The UCC has been bleeding members for decades and is down below one million members, most of whom are recovering circus clowns with antisemitic impulses. Let us call our letter writer Dr. Turdburglar, shall we?

The best way to handle this will be to present you with Dr. Turdburglar’s letter in brown... because what he writes is crap. My response will be in italics... in black because I'm probably a racist. Take a couple pain killers, because this is going to get ugly.


Dear White Men,

You are persons of privilege.

You didn't earn it. More than likely aren't yet prepared to either admit to it or lose it. This letter, written by one of you, is offered to invite you on a journey of insight, honesty, hard truth and just living.


Whoa! Hold the phone, turdboy. First of all, you don’t know me. So you don’t get to judge me. Secondly, to judge an entire group of people by race is called racism. Third, casting your sins on others is called “projection,” and that’s a psychological issue. Fourth, if you want hard truth, let’s start with the fact that your theology is twisted and sick. Your views are antisemitic. The race views you espouse in this letter are lies or so reckless as to count as lies. Enough truth for you?

Privilege can be hard to see, mostly because of what doesn't happen to us when we have it.

Right. It blinds us to the truth, like that other whites who aren’t sucking off the teat of a fake church aren’t living in privilege.

One of the four reasons James Cone offers in his landmark essay "Theology's Great Sin: Silence in the Face of White Supremacy" for why men of privilege remain silent in the face of so much racial injustice is: "They don't have to speak."

Landmark essay? Too bad nobody but the likes of you has read it. In terms of silence in the face of white supremacy, let me site you to the massive amount of civil rights legislation, juries that convict racists, and the sheer numbers of whites who condemn white racists. I don’t think silence is the word.

We aren't getting arrested at four times our population rate.

That’s because whites aren’t committing crimes at four times our population rate.

We aren't being followed when walking through a department store wearing a sweat shirt with a hood.

Actually, yes, we are because that’s suspicious behavior which brings the watchful eye of those who suffer when people in hoodies rob them.

Real estate agencies didn't write codes, rules and laws that kept us out of the high rent districts and middle class neighborhoods.

Oh, you want to go back a hundred years? Don’t you have anything newer? As an aside, we also don't have to deal with “well-meaning” lefties pushing out all available housing by foisting rent control on us.

Property values don't go down when more than 10 percent of our neighborhood is saturated with people of our race.

Yep, because whites don’t tend to move into declining neighborhoods because they can afford to move to rising neighborhoods.

Our children aren't sitting in classrooms with teachers who are likely not to have even a minor degree in the courses they are teaching.

So true. Why? Because schools in white areas don’t lower standards so they can hire teachers of a certain race. White parents also tend to be much more proactive about making sure their kids are getting good teachers or they yank their kids out of school. Interestingly, blacks who flee the public schools in crappy inner city neighborhoods where the parents don’t care about education tend to place their kids in schools that are as good (if not sometimes better) than average white schools. Why? Teacher quality is about parent involvement and cronyism, see e.g. Atlanta.

Young white men are not being gunned down by black police officers in epidemic numbers.

Interestingly, neither are blacks. According to the liberal New York Times, there are not enough statistics for you to make this claim in any way because such statistics have not been kept by race. IN OTHER WORDS, you made that up... liar. Also, despite calling this an epidemic, I’m pretty sure the left tries to turn every police shooting of a black person into a nationwide crime, yet we only hear of about one per month tops. That’s hardly an epidemic.

Our churches aren't being burned to the ground, nor or our church members in danger of being gunned down in prayer meetings.

Neither are black churches. Nice job exploiting the Charleston shooting though... that must have made you so happy. Too bad more whites died in movie theaters in the past two years than blacks in churches.

We are not saying to ourselves as part of a white man's code of conduct that when a police car drives by us without pulling us over even though we are exceeding the speed limit something like: "Well, once again I didn't get pulled over because I'm white."

Nope. We say, ‘Whew. Good thing I wasn’t breaking the law.’ Because when we are, we get pulled over.

We are not saying to ourselves when our child didn't get her college application rejected with a questionable GPA something like: "Well, thank God she's white and that her mother graduated from that school 25 years ago."

You’ve wrongly rammed two issues together here Turdburglar. First, kids of people who went to a college and donate are getting privileges that the rest of us po’ honkeys aren’t. So stop mixing that. On the other part, white kids with questionable GPAs get denied... because they don’t get affirmative action bonus points and they aren’t athletes.

We are not saying to ourselves when the prosecutor reduces our son's charges from aggravated assault to loitering and sets him free with a small fine and time served: "Wow, that white prosecutor made sure my white son got a break that the black man who got convicted of that crime last week didn't get."

True, we never say that because race has nothing to do with it. Prior records do that and our white sons don’t have prior records, unless they are white trash in which event they say something like, ‘That f**ing proscuter is bias and always hate me jus ‘cuz I sells meth.'

The journey to seeing and understanding the pernicious consequences of privilege includes the harder work of seeing what isn't there to be seen.

You mean like the truth that everything you’ve just written is a pile of steaming crap?

I have started practicing this as a discipline.

I see no evidence of that. Perhaps you should try harder? Perhaps do some research? Maybe stop sniffing your own junk and come see that the rest of us aren’t you.

When I walk into a convenience store to get a receipt for my gas and the young woman at the counter greets me with a smile and a kind word, I tell myself "She felt comfortable doing that because I'm white."

Nope, she does that because it’s her job... it’s called ‘customer service.’ And if you think she does it because she feels comfortable with you... because you’re white... then you’re creepy as sh*t, weirdo. Oh, and the rest of us get our receipts at the pump, we don't use that as a pretext to see if the old “I'm white” line will work on the unsuspecting convenience store clerkette.

When I see a highway patrolman pass me by while I'm exceeding the speed limit or, as actually happened two weeks ago, I get pulled over for that and let off without a ticket, I say to myself: "That happened because I'm white."

No, it happened because they don’t ticket people in Prisuses for driving 2 mph over the limit. Try racing down the street at 50 over and see if you can escape the ticket then. What’s more, I’ll bet you never once raised the issue of race with the cop did you? No, I doubt it. Instead, you acted very meek and waved around your ‘I’m a preacher’ credentials. Try it again in a hoodie, while packing heat after chugging a ‘fifty and see if the cop lets you off when he sees your five priors and you can’t produce insurance. That’s the more authentic experience for the people, white or black, who scream bias.

When I drive through the many border checkpoints we have set up here in the Southwest along the Mexican border, and as I roll down my window and make my stop at the guard gate, and as the border patrol agent simply glances at my face before waging me on with a perfunctory "have a good day," I say to myself: "That is the result of my being white."

LOLOLOLOL! Idiot. Of course the border patrol agent waves you through because they are looking for MEXICANS... and you don’t look Mexican, idiot. I’ll bet they don’t pull you over either when they are looking for Asians, do they? Or escaped tigers from the zoo. Moron.

I don't know in the end if any of those were in fact true statements. That isn't the point of this exercise. The point is to create a consciousness from which I can no longer let myself escape.

Whoooooa! First, no, none of those are facts. They are all untrue. Secondly, your admission is truly a travesty. That tells me that you are intent on creating an escapist fantasy without any knowledge of what is true and what is false. That’s called fiction. And the fact you would pimp fiction as fact and then use it to justify a political solution tells me that you are one sick turd, Turdburglar.

I want to be clear about something. This solves nothing. I can notice, and still be happy and content with the privilege I am afforded.

Of course you can because this entire argument has been a fraud. But what if it wasn’t? Well, then your current statement is about as immoral as one can get. It is the equivalent of ‘I know people are suffering for the privileges I enjoy, but hey, I do like those privileges.’

That’s it. I can’t take anymore. This guy is a fraud.

Thoughts?
[+] Read More...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday's Thoughts: Gawker & Rick Perry's Trump Speech

By Kit


Gawker & the Gossip Press

As Gawker continues to decline in the sights of our cultural elites, I happened to come across a passage in Theodore Dalrymple’s Our Culture —What’s Left of It, a book I highly recommend, on the British tabloid press that reminded me of Gawker, and various other gossip outlets such as TMZ and National Enquirer.

———————————
The boundless prurience of the British press concerning the private lives of public figures, especially politicians, has an ideological aim: to subvert the very concept and deny the possibility of virtue, and therefore of the necessity for restraint. If every person who tries to defend virtue is revealed to have feet of clay (as which of us does not?) or to have indulged at some time in his life in the vice that is the opposite of the virtue he calls for, then virtue itself is exposed as nothing but hypocrisy: and we may therefore all behave exactly as we choose. The loss of the religious understanding of the human condition—that Man is a fallen creature for whom virtue is necessary but never fully attainable—is a loss, not a gain, in true sophistication. The secular substitute—the belief in the perfection of life on earth by the endless extension of a choice of pleasures—is not merely callow by comparison but much less realistic in its understanding of human nature.
———————————

One of the most contorted passages in the Bible is Christ’s rhetorical question to the pharisees, “Whoever is without sin?” When referenced today, such as in the song “La Vie Boheme B” from the god-awful, pretentious, Shame of Generation X, hit Broadway musical Rent, it is generally used as a call for the permissiveness of any and every form of sexual vice (among other vices). If everyone has lusted at some point in their lives, then who can critique it in others. Who are you to judge me for having sex with every 20 people in one night?

Of course, in the actual passage that is not the meaning of it at all. If it was, then it would be strange for Jesus to immediately afterwards implore the woman “to go and sin no more.” Rather, like many other statements by Jesus it is a call for humility, for us to remember our own sins and not use the sins of others to deflect from them, something you saw in 33 AD and today as well, in many forms. I may have lusted at the pretty young girl in the Jewish market stand but at least I’m not selling my body for sex, I may have cheated on my wife several times but I’m no Homo-queer, or Yeah, I’m in prison now for beatin’ my girlfriend’s stupid son because the little brat attacked me while I was smackin’ his mum up for makin’ me soup too hot, nearly burned me face off, and, yeah, I do have a thousand or two pounds worth of back-payments in child support for 5 kids with 3 other women, each of who I’d hit a few times, but at least I’M NO GODDAMNED PEDO!

That last one is quite common in the prison systems of many western countries.

Evil may have standards, but often its just another way of deflection. And that, after all, is the purpose of gossip, whether in the pages of the National Enquirer or it’s the lady at the salon.

Gawker was a site that allowed people who thought themselves above the petty gossip of the vulgar masses to indulge in petty gossip while, due to the site's constant attacks against the “right” targets, stroking their sense of moral superiority. It cannot depart quick enough.


Rick Perry's Trump Speech

I was going to post something on Donald Trump but Rick Perry nailed it in a speech titled, “Defending Conservatism Against the Cancer of Trump-ism.”

A passage:

———————————
In times of trouble, there are two types of leaders: repairers of the breach and sowers of discord.
The sower of discord foments agitation, thrives on division, scapegoats certain elements of society, and offers empty platitudes and promises. He is without substance when one scratches below the surface.
He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.
Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.
It cannot be pacified or ignored, for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world – the cause of conservatism.
I feel so strongly about this because I believe conservatism is the only way forward for this country.
———————————

Read the whole thing:
LINK

Discuss what you wish. Gawker, Trump, or the Iran Deal. Have a nice weekend.
[+] Read More...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another Open Thread - Help Needed

Again I apologize, but I've got nothing for today. But I do want to refer back to part of Andrew's post of yesterday about Obamacare because we really didn't address it and add a question.

So, my dear Mother called me in a semi-rage earlier this week and wanted me to do research on why one of her persciptions could cost her $225 at one pharmacy (a regional chain pharmacy) and $25 at another pharmacy (Sam's Wholesale/Walmart). Does anyone have any kind of explanation or had a similar experience? I have done some cursory research, but I have not been able to locate much info, or any agency to which she can direct an inquiry. Any help would be appreciated...

Otherwise, let's talk about tiny donkeys!


Okay, true confession, I have kind of an obsession with miniaturized barnyard animals...
[+] Read More...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

More Stuff...

Just a couple quick thoughts tonight...

Drag Queen Ban: And so it begins. In a gay pride parade in Scotland, the organizers have banned drag queens because they are “insulting” to transgenders. Oh oh.

What this means is that the gay coalition is starting to break because they no longer have a single purpose to hold them together. Because of this, their natural differences will now lead their thinking, which means that groups like the transgenders and the drag queens will no longer be friends. Gay males and lesbians are likely to turn on each other too. And hangers on like the child molesters are likely to be dumped entirely.

This is exactly what I’ve been talking about regarding gays and it’s amazing how quickly it’s happening. A couple weeks back, I told you how many gays were worried that they had nothing to hold them together politically now that they had won the gay marriage issue, and now we see an even more practical aspect of that as their differences start to blow them apart.

More ObamaCare Numbers: ObamaCare numbers tend to be in the eye of the beholder. This is because there are more than enough numbers to make almost any argument, especially if you pick and choose which you will rely upon. As I showed a couple weeks back though, sometimes numbers do appear which cut through all the propaganda. In that case, it was a number showing that few additional people have been insured by ObamaCare.

This time, the numbers in question come from a report which examined what ObamaCare plans cost compared to pre-ObamaCare plans and what kind of access they provide. Here are the key figures:
● Before ObamaCare, high deductible plans with low premiums were widely available. In Iowa, for example, $5,000 deductible plans cost around $442 annually. Under ObamaCare, under the cheapest Bronze level plan with a matching $5,000 deductible, those plans now cost around $3,500 annually.

● ObamaCare plans offer access to 32% fewer primary care doctors than commercial plans.

● ObamaCare plans offer access to 24% fewer hospitals than commercial plans.

● ObamaCare plans offer access to 42% fewer oncologists and cardiologists than commercial plans.
Disney Was A Prophet?: For those who missed it, NASA just did a flyby of Pluto and you will never guess what they found. Pluto has a spot on it that seriously resembles Disney’s dog Pluto. Holy cow! How did Disney know?
Thoughts?
[+] Read More...

Open Thread - Planned Parenthood

Sorry for the inconvenience of a quasi-Open Thread, but I have been a little preoccupied with a huge work-related project and haven't had time to even think about anything to write about. But I am sure that you have been paying attention, so the floor is open.

But if you can't think of anything either, there's always the big kerfluffle at Planned Parenthood. If you missed it, the issue surrounds an "undercover" video shot during a meeting between Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and representatives of “Biomax,” the fake tissue procurement company set up by anti-abortion activists. Dr. Nucatola waxes poetic how PP abortionists manipulate the soon-to-be aborted fetus', to maximize retrieving intact vital organs that can be turned over for bio-research.

None of this surprises me, but I am sure it does surprise others. What else did people think that they were doing with the aborted fetuses, burying them? But what is most disturbing to me is the casualness in which Dr. Nucatola explains the procedures between bites of her salad and sips of red wine. It reminds me of the movie "Conspiracy" with Kenneth Branagh based on the Wansee Conference. In the movie, a group of Nazi officials sit around a lovely dining table in a beautiful country estate discussing the practical application of Zyclon-B as the most efficient method to implement the "Final Solution" as casually as Dr. Nucatola discusses her technique in protecting the vital body parts during an abortion.

Anyway, here is a clip posted on the Daily Beast Link and a link to the video and an op/ed piece posted on CNN - LINK. I must say that I agree with CNN's Timothy Stanley in how it "appears to reveal about the reality behind America's sanitized image of abortion; the reality of what an abortion is and how it morally compromises us all."

Of course, Planned Parenthood's response was to try and shoot the messenger - LINK

Anyway, the floor is open. Since I understand most here are not pro-choice, feel free to change the subject.
[+] Read More...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crazytown

Sometimes, the world seems a little nuts to me. Well... a lot nuts. Right now, we live in an Alice in Wonderland-like period where the world is determined to believe something impossible every day before breakfast. Consider these examples of insanity:

The Terminators Are Coming: Lately, the doomsday types have crept out from beneath their rocks to rail against artificial intelligence. To hear these people talk, some of whom were once-reputable computer designers, is like listening to S/M porn involving robots. Seriously. For whatever reason they keep framing this debate in quasi-sexual terms, even going so far as to talk about this resulting in a world in which machines become our “masters” and run the world while turning humans into “pets.” The only thing missing from their speeches at this point is the words “heaving bosoms.” I guess if you spend too much time working on computers, your fantasies change huh?

Anyways, artificial intelligence is not dangerous unless someone decides to give it weapons. Let Siri launch nuclear missiles and, yeah, we might have a problem. But as long as one human can find a club or a magnet or a glass of water, the machines will not take over the world. In fact, it’s even easier than that... unless these machines are given the authority to make decisions for us, then they will never be more than frustrated advisors. And no human being, except these computer fetishists, is ever going to turn over their decision making power to machines.

Only Black Lives Matter: The loony left continues to show just how nuts they can be. This time, it was Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley who found themselves shouted down by clowns from Black Lives Matter. When O’Malley tried to show his support for these ’tards, he made the mistake of saying, “black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.” That seems pretty noncontroversial, right? Wrong. The ’tards booed him until he left the stage. Can you imagine what kind of asshole boos the idea that the lives of people of another race matter? That’s beyond racist. That’s pretty much akin to Nazism.

Fail... Repeat... Fail... Repeat: Obama just got smacked down by the Supreme Court pretty much across the board. All the policies he put into place by Executive Order were wiped out by the Supremes. Before that, all of his recess appointments were reversed, which wiped out all the work they had done. Essentially, as far as implementing Obama’s environmental, labor and immigration policies go, Obama has made 0.0% progress at this point.

So this weekend, O’Malley promised that he would use Executive Orders to push even further than Obama did. Interesting. Twice nothing is still nothing, Martin.

Failure Is The Only Option: Obama just made a deal with Iran, which has never kept a deal for even a few minutes. In this deal, Obama will play Ray Charles as Iran builds a nuke. Meanwhile, the MSM is pretending not to notice the problems with this little “agreement.” They did this with Copenhagen too and that essentially killed global environmentalism even while they pretended it had brought us to environmental Valhalla.

And Then There Was Reality: This is funny. It turns out that Google has “lost control” over its advertising software. Snicker snicker The problem is this. Google has all these policies against discrimination and the such, but a recent test of their ad delivery system found that Google’s own software is violating those policies. Examples include giving men and women different results when they search for jobs, with men being shown executive positions and women being shown menial positions, handicapped people being steered toward more expensive products, and racial disparities. Everyone was shocked and is trying to figure out how this could have happened.

The reason for this is actually pretty funny. Google’s software considers the billions of choices made by people who use the software (like a Google search) and it correlates that with things like race and gender. That means that what it spits out will reflect the real world rather than the liberal fantasy of sameness for all. Thus, the reason it give women inferior job search results is that those are what women have been looking for.

Said differently, while all these liberals want to believe in sameness and Google’s policies require sameness, by letting its computers adjust to how the human race actually behaves, Google has found itself violating its own policies because the natural human condition conflicts with their fantasy view. And now they are all trying to figure out what is wrong with the software. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Idiots.

Thoughts?
[+] Read More...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chattanooga & ISIS, Gawker's Woes, and the Communist Crucifix

By Kit

Sorry for the lateness, it has been a busy week. I decided to forego my planned post on Donald Trump in light of the events of the past 48 hours. And, to apologize for my lateness, I will give you two, nearly-full length posts on the Chattanooga Shooting and another on Gawker's recent woes, with a small third one on the Crucifix given to Pope Francis.


Chattanooga Shooting & Lone Wolf Terrorism

The Chattanooga shooting that killed four marines is only the latest in a spate of jihadist-inspired, small lone wolf attacks in the US and the West, nearly always on very soft targets; the attempting hacking of four NYPD officers, the recent shooting in Texas, the hostages in Australia, the attack on the National War memorial in Ottawa, etcetera. The plan for each of these was similar to those of your typical mass shooter, grab a gun (or hatchet) and kill as many people as you can before you are taken down. Very simple.

They also have a low body count, except for Charlie Hebdo, never racking up more than 5 dead, and that is assuming they manage kill somebody. But, a low body count does not make it any less terrible, or less frightening to a society. Even if they were stopped by armed citizens.

The anarchists of the turn of the century, who, like the modern jihadists, were nearly always lone wolves with even less ideological or material support than these terrorists have today (apparently, anarchists aren’t very good at organizing themselves) and, though their attacks were deadly, the body count was still low. That didn’t stop their attacks, including assassinations of world leaders such as US President McKinley and French President Sadi Carnot and the bombing of cafés that included women and children (anarchist Émile Henry said, “There are no innocent bourgeois”) and tram lines, from gripping the city of Paris in fear in the Sin de Ficlé. Everyone lived in fear because anyone could be in an attack.

And, like with the Anarchists, the world has been trying to respond. Like in the late-19th century, we have declared a “War on Terrorism”, with world leaders vowing to hunt them down and bring them to justice. And, if there is any lesson to be learned from the anarchist attacks of the Turn of the Century it is that there is very little you can do to stop them.

It is hard to imagine what immigration reform can do to stop these attacks if Muslim youths become radicalized already US citizens, naturalized or born. Perhaps, we could further slow down and bureaucratize what is often an already very slow and very bureaucratic system and hope that when they are radicalized they are still deportable. Of course, given that non-US citizens can own guns and even acquire a Concealed Carry license (rights we should feel queasy about ending), it might do very little.

Arrest the radical imams inspiring them? The Smith Act, the only law under which they could be prosecuted, has been long since gutted by Supreme Court rulings in the 1950s. And, given our value of free speech, and the potential for certain members of the Left to try and use such a law, it might be wise to let the Imams rant.

I’m afraid the only thing we can do is go to the source. These young men are being inspired to launch these attacks because every day they look at the Middle East and see ISIS conquering more land, expanding their caliphate, and executing or enslaving nonbelievers, all while flipping a finger at civilization. People are drawn to the winning team and right now, that is ISIS.

You want to stop attacks like this. Stop ISIS. Defeat them, push them back. If you want to stop losers like the young man who killed the four marines from being inspired to carry out such attacks, destroy what is inspiring them.


Gawker's Woes

Gawker is in trouble. They published a story accusing David Geithner, CFO of Conde Nast, brother of former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and a married man with a wife and kids, of soliciting sex with a gay porn star/escort. Immediately, some people noticed some problems. First, he had never engaged in advocacy against gay rights so there was no charge of hypocrisy (see, Ted Haggard) nor was he a major public figure, or even a minor one, the Chief Financial Officer of Condé Nast is not someone who appears even irregularly in the news. So, why run the story?

And it gets worse from there. The porn star/escort was not only the sole source for the story, and a conspiracy theory crackpot to boot, but it appears that this was all part of a shakedown he was trying to carry out against Mr. Geithner. Apparently, and he admits this in the story, the porn star wanted help from Mr. Geithner with a housing dispute along with money for the sexual services. Help him and he will kill the story, don’t help him and the story will run.

Immediately, there was a backlash. Everyone from Christina Hoff Sommers to Lean Freakin’ Dunham have attacked them for the story. In response, Gawker has taken down the story. Many on the left seemed surprised and shocked by this behavior.

What is surprising by all this is that people are surprised. Gawker is a gossip site that has since its birth run stories that the most deplorable super-market tabloid would find beneath their standards. They make TMZ seem like a bastion of journalistic excellence in comparison. Yet for years this behavior was over-looked, meriting only the occasional criticism.

Your average gossip magazine or site, which Gawker and its readers sneered at, behaved like that lady who leans over the table or counter and whispers “I heard John Smith had an affair with Jane Doe.” Lurid with a touch of self-righteousness, after all, that lady would never have an affair. Gawker has always been different. They outed gays for no reason other than it seems to compel other high-profile gays into coming out lest they find themselves in Gawker’s sights.

But the writers and editors at Gawker got away with this for years by fashioning themselves as a progressive news outlet who repeatedly condemned racist and sexist online harassment and peddled progressive causes. They might be outing gays left and right but they, owned by a gay man, advocated for gay rights and viciously attacked those who did not. Though they published leaked nude photos of celebrities, Gawker and it’s sister site, the far left feminist Jezebel, attacked Reddit for the nude photos leaked on its site during the “Fappening.” Yes, they doxxed politicians like Sarah Palin (and sent a daughter of her’s messages using the leaked information) and egged on social media shame campaigns against individuals but they praised Marxist radicals like Anita Sarkheesian, John McIntosh, et al in accusing groups like Gamergate and Sad Puppies of the same activities and then viciously attacking them.

In short, they were rank hypocrites.

And for years, the media indulged in and abetted this hypocrisy because they toed party lines on those progressive causes they held dear. Now, it is nice to see that at least some in the left-wing media have standards.

Communist Crucifix

Recently, Pope Francis was given a Crucifix by President Morales of Bolivia, a marxist, adorned upon a hammer-and-sickle. A disgusting gift, considering how many Christians were imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Communist regimes but the Pope accepted the gift graciously. Many conservatives are angry, shouting that the Pope should have rejected the gift, maybe clubbing that Marxist Head-of-State with it. But he didn’t so they are angry.

Now, I have my own critiques of the Pope on Climate Change (I’m skeptical) and economics but in this case, I saw his face when he was first presented with it. He did not look pleased.

In fact, his reaction to the gift was a lot like the reaction we all have when we receive a really bad gift for Christmas or our birthday (like clothes, when you were a kid).

Your first reaction: Horror/Shock/Disgust.
Then, you gather yourself and put on your poker face.
You smile.
You graciously accept the gift and say thank you.

Later, you find out if the giver checks eBay often. If not, you sell it. If he does then you find throw it out or donate it. Or, if even that is not available, you put it in the attic and let it gather dust, eventually giving it away 10 or 20 years later when he has long forgotten about the gift (or moved away/died).

But in this case eBay and donating it to Goodwill that is not an option for the Pope so into Vatican attic it goes, along with all the other tacky gifts Popes have received.

[+] Read More...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New York, New York, It's A Hell of a Town..

As that famous Sinatra song goes - New York, New York it's a hell of a town..crime is up and the subway service is down...oh, wait that's not right, but true. It's amazing how well our Mayor Bill De Blasio has managed to set a course for a steady decline right back to the good ol' days when I moved the "The City" in 1989, the year that crime was at its highest. And he has done it with impressive lightening speed - murder is up 20%. Oh, he's had help. Our Mayor along with our even more impressive City Council are on the fast-track to undo pretty much everything that Mayors Guiliani and Bloomberg spent 20 years working to improve.

Our police department is so confused as what they can and cannot do, that they don't even bother with the small stuff anymore. Of course, the "small stuff" was what Guiliani and Bloomberg focused on in their "Broken Windows" philosophy of lowering crime neighborhood by neighborhood. Focusing on stopping the small, "quality of life" non-violent crimes (breaking windows, graffiti and other vandalism, purse snatching, small time drug offenders, public urination, etc) kept small-time criminals from becoming more emboldened to escalate their criminal behavior. And it worked well. Crime levels went down dramatically, especially the murder rate which went from 2245 murders in 1990 to just 328 by 2014. But now the City Council wants to decriminize all of those "quality of life" crimes that were all but snuffed out. They blame disparate impact is filling our jails with too many offenders because too many of the offenders are African-American and Hispanic. So, their plan to clear out the jails is to do away with the laws that made them crimes.

The way it worked during the golden years of the Guiliani/Bloomberg era, was strategically going neighborhood to neighborhood narrowed the area that criminals were active and pushed the big time criminals to more easily controllable areas. Then the personnel could be concentrated into these more narrow areas. And "Stop, Question, and Frisk" got more guns off the street and saved more lives than any other aspect. But rightfully so, the police focused too much on that aspect and it did target more low-income minorities because these ares were also where the highest crime occurred. So, the issue made it to the federal courts. Decision were made, appeals were dropped and the bottom line is that our wise courts and De Blasio/City Council decided to all but scrap the entire operation...and imagine...crime has risen dramatically.

And in this decision, it was ruled that the police could be held personally responsible for any stops that could be perceived as harassment. So as you can imagine, the police are being sued right and left. And these lawsuits in the most aggregious cases are proving to be quite lucrative for victims of this harassment. Our latest settlement this week for the death of Eric Garner who died of a heart attack when the police, acting on repeated complaints from the community, tried to arrest him for selling illegal cigarettes. Using an illegal choke-hold to bring down Mr. Garner who was vigorously resisting arrest, he died. When the Grand Jury declined to indict the police officers for his death, riots ensued and the family filed a wrongful death suit against the city. And this week before the case could even make it to a trial on the facts, the the Mayor and the city settled for $5.6 million. It is a tragedy and a travesty all around.

Right or wrong, the fact is that NYC is in steady decline again. Crime is up, the aggresive homeless of our past are once again taking over the parks and doorways, and the Mayor doesn't care. He seems downright pleased with all of his handywork. But the blame is increasingly falling on the ever increasingly tone-deaf Mayor De Blasio. Even his most ardent supporters are beginning to wise up about what is at risk. And don't get me started about the subway system...

Comments or diversions are welcomed...
[+] Read More...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More-jority

I have pointed out in the past how leftists use misleading headlines and the such to sell you on an idea that they want you to believe, even if it isn’t true. This time, I’ve run across something similar at the Washington Examiner of all places.

Here’s the headline (LINK): “Poll: More Americans want states to ignore Supreme Court”. What does that imply to you? It’s the word “more” that is tricky here. The word “more” by itself is largely meaningless because it cannot be understood without more information. All it really tells you is that there has been an increase over some prior period. But at the same time, the way “more” is used in this sentence essentially implies a majority.

Now obviously, it doesn’t actually say that – nowhere is the word majority used. But the word “more” implies it here because what it asks you to do is to find the thing in the sentence that “more’ is modifying. In this sentence, the only thing it could be modifying is the word “Americans.” And since there is no time period placed on this, as there would be if it said “more Americans than before,” it becomes a reasonable interpretation of this ambiguous word to think that “more Americans” means “more Americans do than those who don’t.” Consequently, the headline gives the impression that a majority of Americans want their states to ignore the Supreme Court.

If I told you that “more Americans eat ice cream,” apart from shooting me for crimes against grammar, wouldn’t you think that I meant “a majority of Americans” rather than “more now that in the past?”

What’s more, the timing of the article and the mention in the second sentence of the article that this poll was taken after the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, further imply that this “more” result is attributable to the gay marriage ruling.

Hence, if you just read the headline and maybe the first paragraph, you are quite likely to leave this article with the impression that a majority of Americans found the gay marriage ruling so repugnant that they want their states to ignore the ruling. And that is exactly what some conservatives want you to believe.

But is that true?

Well, no. As you read further, you are told that the Rasmussen poll in question found that only 33% of Americans take this position... one in three. That’s hardly a majority. By the way, this 33% is up from 24% in the prior poll, which is where the “more” comes from.

So compare the headline above with a more fair headline and tell me if the one above still seems honest:
“33% of Americans now want states to ignore Supreme Court rulings.”
Nor really as striking, is it? Doesn’t quite seem like the mob is coming, does it?

Even worse, you need to realize that this 33% is not because of the gay marriage issue. This 33% comes from both right and left, with only 9% of that being added since the gay marriage ruling. Given the fact that the left has been at war with the Supreme Court for about 20 years now, I would suspect this number breaks down to 20% leftists, 4% “conservatives” plus 9% temporarily being added because of the gay marriage issue.

That’s hardly the image the headline sought to portray, is it?

This is the kind of stuff you need to watch out for. The article is truthful. Not a single word in it is false, and it does present the real numbers so that you will walk away gully informed... if you stop to think. At the same time, however, the article also creates an impression of something that is not even close to true: that the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling has a majority of Americans ready to overthrow the court. Unfortunately, too many people will walk away after skimming the headline and the first few sentences with that very impression and they will wonder why those evil RINOs don’t just do what “the majority” wants!

Thoughts?
[+] Read More...

The Rise of Smartphones and the Fall of Good Manners

Say what you want about Victorians, but they had good manners. They knew how to dress for any occasion and the difference between salad fork and dessert fork. [Just watch "Downtown Abbey" if you want a crash course] Of course that was in Great Britain where one's class dictated one's manners in all things. Unfortunately for those Brits, the common person not "to the manner born" had a very hard time rising above their station even with the best of manners.

As the 20th Century progressed, proper etiquette and deportment filtered down to the burgeoning middle class. In the US where one's station in life was not necessarily dictated by birthright, proper etiquette played a very important role in one's social mobility. Books, magazines and other periodicals were common sources to learn how to comport oneself in polite society and one was judged by the same. Starting in the 1920's, Emily Post's books were considered the Bible of Proper Etiquette. Moving up the corporate or social ladder meant knowing how to dress, how to speak and converse, and how to comport oneself in public (and of course which fork to use for which course). Children were drilled all of these good manners and how to say "Yes, ma'am" and "No, sir" when addressing adults. It may have appeared stuffy, but there was comfort in knowing how you were expected to act in public so as not to draw undo attention or to guarantee another invitation.

You may remember these days when one dressed for events like church (putting on your Sunday best), parties, or the theatre. These were event that required respect. And though you may not connect this, dressing properly for events was how one showed respect to your host or hostess.

Then came the '60's when things like manners and dress began to slowly fall out of favor for a more relaxed atmosphere and the slow, steady decline of manners began. Denim became appropriate for all occasions with shoes optional. Dressing for dinner out to restaurants with dress codes gave way to the fast growing casual dining establishments that began to spring up all over the country where it was "come as you are". Quaint things like knowing the difference between "Afternoon tea" attire, "After-5" clothing for friendly dinner parties (think Rob and Laura Petrie's "at homes") and "Black-tie" events became muddled and have all but fallen by the wayside. Believe it or not, putting "Black-tie Only" on invitations is a late 20th Century addition.

Oh, but let's skip the end of the 20th Century and fast-forward to the 21st and the Age of Electronics!! Woo-hoo! Now, not only does one not dress for a nice dinner out, but with that handy smartphone permanently in hand, conversing with your dinner companions who are sitting right next to you has become quaint and old-fashioned. I walk the streets of Manhattan every day and am just amazed at how people can't even look up from their phones to order coffee from the nice polite purple-haired Barista at Starbucks. People today can't even put their phones down to enjoy a very expensive Broadway play. And if that phone needs to be charged up, any old electrical outlet will do even if it is a dummy outlet on stage.

Yeah, three such incidences happened in the last few weeks at Broadway theatres. First there was the guy at a recent production of "Hand of God" who jumped on stage before the performance to plug his phone in not knowing that the plug was dummy. Then there was Madonna, that icon of rule-breaking, at a recent production of "Hamilton" (that guy that is being removed from the $10 bill soon...). Much to the annoyance of the actors on stage, she just couldn't stop texting throughout the entire show. [Apparently, Madonna has been banned from a movie theater chain for doing the same thing] And the last was at a Lincoln Center production of "Show of Day" starring Patty Lapone, never known for her patience with audiences who don't pay attention, who walked out into the audience and grabbed some audience member's phone when this stellar patron of the arts just couldn't stop texting. Just for the record, Ms LaPone has made a habit of stopping shows to berate audience members.

I think that it is sad that people do not know how to comport themselves in public. But I also think that it is kind of ironic that the liberal-ati of the art world are whining about all of these ill-mannered patrons. After all, artists have always been the champions of the counter-culture that created our more relaxed, manner-free society and only have themselves to blame. Don't get me wrong, these examples of smartphone abuse are just a symptom of a much bigger problem. The real problem is the over-all decline in basic respect and good, old-fashioned manners.

And then there's Facebook...
[+] Read More...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mass Movement? Think Twice

Something came up a couple weeks ago that I think is important to discuss. In the modern age, it is very easy for people to wrongly believe that a mass movement is afoot when the reality is very different. Let’s discuss.

Here’s the deal. When people live in a bubble, they tend to lose track of reality. They start to see the things that are important to the bubble as being important to the public generally. They lose track of the things the bubble does not care about. And they start to equate public opinion with whatever the bubble favors.

The internet makes this worse because it allows people to pick their own bubbles and never leave. What’s more, it allows a very small group of people to give the appearance of being a mass movement.

Consider this. If you lived in 1980 or 1984 or even 1990, it was nearly impossible to fake a mass movement because you couldn't provide confirmation. For example, you could see the popularity of The Simpson’s if you followed the ratings AND you saw everyone wearing Bart Simpson shirts. You might have recognized the Cabbage Patch Kid trend or the Rubik’s Cube trend because of the number of news articles telling you there was such a trend and because everyone around you participated in those fads. You might have seen the rise of Reagan as he won election after election and polled amazingly no matter what the press said. But could a single magazine create a trend? No. Why? Because no one would buy it because they wouldn’t see any confirmation. Suppose a small group held a protest to try to make you think the public was with them. Once you failed to see more than a small number of protestors, the lie was exposed. Fashion magazines wanted you to believe you could wear shorts with a suit... but no one did. Walter Mondale was the second coming, except he lost 49 states. And so on.

Today is different.

If you look at Conservative/Liberal Website 1, you may see a group of articles pushing a particular idea as a mass movement. Soon, other Conservative/Liberal Websites will cover it as well. The opposition will too. Then Drudge will link to it and talk radio talks about it too. Suddenly, what appears to be a massive number of “news” sources are reporting on this movement. The truth, however, is that you’re really only talking about maybe 10-15 writers tops, and they tend to survive by aping each other in the first place.

So you look for confirmation, right? That’s what told that the article in Time in the 1980’s was bullship, right? What do you see now? You see the comments sections of these same websites PACKED with confirming comments! Must be a mass movement! Wrong.

What you’re looking at really is again perhaps a couple hundred people. These people might just be mindlessly repeating what they have been told by the writers, or they might be genuinely believers... indeed, people with an interest are much more likely to start commenting on the things that interest them. But even if they are all genuine believes what does this mean?

Well, think about this. Say you have 200 people at any one website and 10 websites total all spewing the same bit about “real Amerikans” standing with them. Assuming it isn’t the same people (which it likely is), you are talking about 2,000 people. Heck, let’s multiply that number by 10 just to give them the benefit of the doubt and then by another 10 for the silent majority everyone claims. Now we’re dealing with 200,000 people. Woo hoo. That’s a lot, right?

Not really. That works out to 0.06% of the population. Said differently, in a football stadium, that equates to 37 people out of 60,000. Still think it’s a mass movement? Do you really think those 37 people can fairly be said to speak for the other 59,963 in that stadium?

This is the problem. Something like 200 to 2,000 people can use the internet to flood you with the same idea to make you think there is some sort of movement afoot. Campus rape? We’re ALL taking about it. End the death penalty? Feminism now! Raise the minimum wage!! Get rid of them damn Mexicans! Yes, everyone is talking about it... just look, it’s everywhere you go online and everyone is saying it. Essentially, a handful of people, not even noticeable if they were mixed in with a football crowd, are making you think that this is what “everyone” is talking about, that it’s a hot button issue... and that this is what “everyone” thinks.

See the issue?

Don’t be too quick to believe that “everyone” is really talking about the things the political world tells you that “everyone” is talking about. And most importantly, don’t believe any of this without real world confirmation. I think you will find that nothing you hear is “ruining America” actually exists beyond a small number of people.
[+] Read More...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday's Thoughts: Greece & Sanctuary Cities

Well, the Greeks had a referendum and voted Oxi! Or, “no” in Greek. To figure out how we got here, a bit of back-story and I've been waiting all week to discuss where things will be going and we still have only a dim idea about what will happen next.

Also, a Superman review will be up by Noon tomorrow. So check by the Film site often. When it is up, I will post the link both in the comments and here.

Update! Superman the Movie Review up! LINK

First, Greece

As so many other conservative and libertarian pundits have pointed out, the Greeks are being taught (but, it seems, not learning from) a hard lesson in Margaret Thatcher’s famous dictum: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

The Greeks, like the Nordic states, have created a massive welfare and entitlement state but, unlike the Nordic states, they don’t produce, well, anything really. The the Nordic countries, which Andrew describes fairly well here, have long since learned that in order to fund a welfare state you need a growing and prosperous private sector to grow and increase in wealth, thus increasing the amount of taxable revenue (that can be used to fund the welfare state). The Greeks, however, have a large public sector that consumes wealth the same way a Lovecraftian eldritch abomination consumes worlds and the minds of mortals.

Only the private sector can create and grow wealth in a substantial way. Yes, the public sector can, on occasion, give it a boost here and there but, that is limited by both special interest groups lobbying for favorable treatment from the government (see, Greece) and the simple fact that no one person or small group of people has the know-how to properly plan an economy in a way that it will grow. Only the free market, driven by prices and the Laws of Supply and Demand, can truly increase and, if you like, spread the amount of wealth in a society (and societies) to many people at every income level*.

Of course, it doesn't help that Greece's two national past times appear to be cheating on your taxes and welfare fraud.

The Euro

When the Euro was introduced most people praised it, it would promote trade and could even lead to greater political unity across Europe (it’s ultimate aim). However, there were a few dissenters, among them, famed Chicago economist Milton Friedman, who predicted that a common currency would, by preventing individual countries, with a wide variety of legal, economic, and financial structures, from adjusting their inflation.

If Greece were on the Drachma they could increase inflation by lowering the Drachma’s value, which would Geece to pay off its debts easier and quicker. Of course, this would be hell for the Greeks. Those of you who were old enough (or even alive, unlike me) during the Seventies may remember what it was like when the United States did this. The value of the money in your wallet goes down while the prices on products, foods, gas, everything, goes up. It is, as many on the right correctly called it, an invisible tax.

But it does make paying off the public debts easier. And it has some side benefits. Such as boosting tourism, an American tourist’s dollars will take him much farther in a Greece with massive inflation, And, as in Japan, it caused a boost in exports. Though that would require Greece to actually start producing things other than footage of public sector riots.

Bailouts, Governments, and Referendums

To quote Amy Pond, “This is where it gets complicated.” I have neither the time nor the space to get into all the events that led up to this. Nor do I have all the details. But I can give you the short of it.

The 2008 Global Financial Crisis hit, starting a tumble in the house of cards built upon massive public spending and a common currency. From what I can tell, just about every European country underwent a change of leadership after the financial crisis except for Germany’s Angela Merkel. The UK’s Gordon Brown lost his seat to David Cameron, France booted Sarkozy in favor of the left-wing Francois Hollande, Italy’s famous playboy septuagenerian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi finally fell from power (for now, at least), and Greece cycled through 4 prime ministers before reaching its current and 5th since the financial crisis began, the far-left socialist Tsipras, who was elected earlier this year on a platform of ending austerity measures.

A few weeks ago, negotiations broke down when Greece rejected the current debt terms, which would have resulted in austerity measures in Greece, demanded mostly by the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the various German private creditors, as well as the EU leadership as a whole. Tsipras called a snap referendum and took the deal to the Greek people. Greece defaulted (the first Western developed country to do so), causing banks across Greece to close down, and Tsipras took the deal to the Greek people.

The Greeks were given two choices: “Nai”, or Yes for the bailout terms or “Oxi” or No against the bailout terms. Last Sunday the people voted resoundingly “Oxi”; 60% to 40%. So that is where we are today.

What Now?

Banks across remain closed at least until Monday.

Whatever the deal is, we will have some idea Sunday, which is apparently the deadline for the deal.

Some interesting developments. Within 24 hours of the election, Tsipras fired his Financial Minister Yanis Varoufakis, a a firebrand and self-proclaimed “libertarian Marxist” (how is that possible?), who famously accused Greece’s creditors of “terrorism” and replacing him with someone who was less inflammatory.

Updates will come in as I receive them so stay tuned!


Sanctuary Cities Thoughts

I've long contended that Sanctuary Cities are a symptom, not the disease. They are a product of a situation involving large numbers of illegals where the responsible body, the federal government, is either unable or unwilling to stop them.

Further it is often forgotten by conservatives that Rudy Guilliani made New York City a sanctuary city, as have many other cities that were dealing with both high crime and a large number of illegal immigrants. And they found some measure of success —provided it was combined with other measures. 

An illegal immigrant in Guilliani's New York knew he was safe from the INS but he also knew there were rules, rules that were enforced. A situation that I'm not sure exists in the People's Republic of San Francisco, who I don’t think made their city a sanctuary for illegals out of concern for high crime.

In any event, if we want to bring an end to sanctuary cities our national government must first show it is serious about dealing with the issue of illegal immigration.


OPM Hack

21.5 million people have had their personal information accessed by the hackers. And no, no one has been fired over this.
[+] Read More...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Non-Political Question - Food

Now that Andrew is on vacation and he can't stop me (not that he would), let's switch gears from politics while waiting for Kit's well-written analysis of what's happening in Greece.

So to get us starting, I was just at home in Texas with my family over the Independence Day weekend, and, well, we love to cook and eat in my family. While I there, my 14 year old neice planned and set up a "restaurant" called The Wild Cafe in the backyard with a painted sign, printed menu, walky-talky set up to the "kitchen", and a cafe table she bought with her own money. She enlisted my 11 year old nephew to serve as "Chef" and ran the kitchen like a pro as the "owner/manager/hostess" of her restaurant. [Yes, I am a very proud Auntie]. It was amazingly fun, creative, and, might I say, delicious! [See photo]

For those of you who don't know, I am a "foodie" and am proud to say that I have a Grande Diplome in the Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Not bragging, just one of the many things that I have challenged myself to do in my life to increase my knowledge of the world around me. Needless to say, I love cooking, perfecting old and creating new recipes, and mostly I love feeding people who like to eat. [No offense, but vegetarians, vegans, and finicky eaters annoy me...]

To me, food is the embodiment of family, culture, but mostly love. My fondest memories are wrapped up in food. I think most of us will agree that food and family go hand in hand. I regret not being old enough to appreciate those wonderful things my Southern Grandmother would make because every time I have good Southern fried chicken, I think of my her. But, as we develop our tastes bud, there are certain foods we just do not like (the much maligned lima beans, brussel sprouts, or liver).

Fortunately for me, my mother was very good at not serving foods that we would not eat, but she was adamant at impressing on my brothers and me that we should try everything. We were free not to like a certain food, but we had to at least try it first before passing judgement.

So, just for fun on this steaming, hot July day, let's talk food. Here's my question:

What is the one food or style of food that you just will absolutely not eat?

Or, on a positive note, what is your absolutely favorite go-to food or style of food or just a special food-related memory? And I wouldn't complain if you wanted to impart some special recipe that I can add to my repertoire or a cooking tip either.

But if the NY Stock Exchange electronic trading floor should crash again or something equally as traumatic should happen, feel free to change the subject.
[+] Read More...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Castro, Iran, and Obama's last grasps for a legacy

By Kit

Note: Since Andrew wrote up the Iron Man 2 review, I wrote this little bit. Now, since I am waiting for a clearer picture to emerge from Europe I am waiting until Friday to write about Greece. So instead, here is my take on a recent event that may have slipped under the radar.

Raoul Castro has presented his terms for a normalization between the United States and Cuba: Close the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba and shut down TV Martì and Radio Martì, the two anti-regime broadcasts blasted onto Cuban airwaves from Miami.

To agree to both of these terms would be to grant a huge gift to the most brutal regime in the Western Hemisphere an enormous gift in exchange for opening up an embassy and allowing American businessmen the opportunity to set up a couple of factories in Cuba. In the former it would be scuttling one our country’s most important overseas naval bases in the Western Hemisphere (overseas meaning “not based in the United States”) and in the latter it would involve removing from the Cuban populace their best opportunity for hearing news contrary to the regime’s propaganda.

Given the overly-generous honor system nuclear deal he offered to the Iranians, among certain grassroots and in the comment threads of many right wing sites you can already see the theories: Obama hates America, he is a Communist with Muslim sympathies, or, as Dinesh D’Souza postulated, he is a “neocolonialist” who thinks America needs to withdraw from the world and become “less arrogant”. All of these have their claims but none fit. If Obama was, say, a secret Muslim why does he spend so much time blasting them with drones? And if he thinks Americans should withdraw why has he sent tanks into the Baltics?

To better answer the question we should probably turn to a quote by Thomas Sowell on racists in a free market, “Racists prefer their own race to other races but prefer themselves to everyone else.” By which he meant that even racists want to make money and will make exceptions in certain cases if they think it will benefit them financially. If they will not, they will lose money. Even bigots have self-interests.

So do Presidents.

What does this have to do with his foreign policy? For 6 years he has treated that issue as either a distraction or something to use to craft his image as the opposite of Bush. The results have ranged from amusing to disastrous, he has continued Guantanamo because closing it became too hard but withdrew from Iraq, trumpeting it as a success until ISIS declared a caliphate, and has tried to make it appear that he has withdrawn from Afghanistan (he hasn’t). Obama’s foreign policy has often seemed to follow a certain line: If he can make himself look “more judicious” and “more cautious” than Bush he grabs a microphone and holds a Rose Garden press conference on the matter, if he cannot then he launches a couple of drone strikes and tries to pretend nothing is happening. Or, if it involves a major power, he just tries to pretend nothing is happening.

Now, however, things have changed. In the 6 years he has been president all he has been able to achieve is a signature healthcare bill that remains vastly disliked with even problems unrelated to the law being blamed on it, an Iraq that is even worse than the one he inherited (which was then by and large secure), and the recognition of same-sex marriage, a position he only supported after it had achieved a plurality of support among Americans. He has nothing, and the clock is ticking.

President Carter, despite presiding over probably the most dismal 4 years in post-war American history, at least had the START Treaty and Camp David Accords for his legacy. Those two items allowed his idiotic pronouncements on foreign policy to be treated as sage advice. Perhaps he can achieve something similar.

Perhaps he can achieve what Bush never did. A nuclear deal! And a normalization with Cuba, to boot! So he sends Kerry to Iran eager to offer whatever the Iranians demand. Nuclear inspectors can only inspect areas approved by Iran (I.e., areas that Iran has made sure are “clean”)? Check. Iran gets to deny it has ever worked on nuclear weapons? Check. Complete lifting of all sanctions? Check.

So, now Raul Castro sees these capitulations and has begun making demands as well. Close Guantanamo naval base and stop the Martì broadcasts. Under most American presidents this would be the beginning of haggling. Our President would say “No” to both of those and then Castro might offer something else and back-track on a demand or he would walk away and the President would bid him a pleasant adieu.

But with Obama, we’re not sure, he may very well take up the deal. The question will be: How much does he think his legacy needs a deal?


[+] Read More...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Let's Talk About Flags...

Suddenly there is all this controversy about flags. The good news is that flags now have meaning to people. I have wondered for a long time if the US flag actually meant anything anymore. Since the 60's, burning the US flag has been all the rage for the "counter-culture" advocacy groups to rally around to call out xenophobia, and for the patriots to rally around in response.


But suddenly there have been flags that have been flying for generations that are causing all sorts of trouble. Since the shooting in Charleston that left 9 people dead in Charleston, the Conferate flag is being vilified even though it has been flying for 150 years in the South. You would have to really understand real Southerners to get why they see it as not racist, but...Southern.

And then there's the Rainbow flag flying high for LGBTQWhatevers. Since the Supreme Court's recent decision it has sprung up everywhere on social media as a "rallying cry" for those to show solidarity and, frankly, to persecute those who dared not change their avatar***.

Which brings me to several points. First is, wow, now flags suddenly have meaning and everyone seems to be rallying behind their flag like some feudal English "War of the Roses" which is weirdly refreshing. Refreshing in that flags now have meaning.

But here is another point for which I give credit to a friend that I spoke to over the Independence Day weekend celebration in my beloved Texas. If flags have meaning, why does the US flag, the symbol of our country, get subordinated to the flag of another country on our own soil? The Supreme Court recently upheld a 9th Circuit opinion that displaying the American flag on Cinco de Mayo at an American High School was "not safe" because of threat of violence from Mexican students. The Washington Post called it a "heckler's veto", in that those who threaten violence have dominion over the display of our own flag in our own country.

Ultimately, we have become more divided because flags have meaning now and none unite us. If we can only rally behind one flag as one people united in making the world better for all as our Founders envisioned. Let's discuss.


***As for the social media persecution, recently I have been a victim. And yes, I am using the word "victim" of this persecution because I chose to "unfriend" one of many of my Facebook "friends" because of the evil comments making the rounds in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision. I have a broad spectrum of "friends" on Facebook who differ wildly in political/social opinion. When I chose to "unfriend" one of them (among many), he branded me a "homophobic bigot" and you can imagine how that went over with me. I have always thought I have been very careful about limiting my political opinion to political websites and this blog. I made the mistake of "friending" a person at work who took umbrage that I not only did not change my avatar in support, but that I had the temerity to "unfriend" him for his assault. So I warn you, if you are on any kind of social media, do NOT "friend" anyone you work with. Facebook, in particular, is not the venue for any kind of political discourse. One day soon, I will expand on my thoughts on what "friend" means these days...
[+] Read More...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bingo! Obamacare Is Failing...

Trying to figure out exactly what is going on with Obamacare has been rather difficult. This is because Team Obama has flooded the media with unreliable numbers and the media has run with these. But now we have a number which zeroes right in on the truth, and it shows that Obamacare has indeed been a colossal failure. Observe...

Here's the deal. One of the keys to determining whether or not Obamacare is/will work is looking at the number of enrollees. The original estimates of what were needed were rather significant and obviously unobtainable, so Team Obama quickly downgraded that number significantly. The MSM put on their amnesia caps and ran with that new number, pretending the original number never existed. The new number required that Obamacare enroll more than 8 million people in the first year and then 15 million in the second.

Well, the best Team Obama could do in the first year was a fake number around six million, so they blurred this number with people being added to Medicaid, which was never part of the projection. Combining those numbers, they just barely beat the 8 million number and declared victory. Then they just started making stuff up, claiming that 16 million or more had really signed up. Most recently, they claimed that 32 million were signed up through the exchanges (and Medicaid) and thus the program was a smashing success. Eat it, doubters!

The problem was that there was no way to verify any of this and the MSM was busy putting out their own fake studies to confirm all the BS Team Obama was spewing. Hence, no one knew what was really going on, but the MSM was busy painting the program as a stunning success.

Now we can prove differently.

According to some recent polls, which the left is touting, the percentage of uninsured adults in the US "is at a record low of 11.9%, down from 18% in 2013." Ok. Let us now consider what this means, shall well. First, the 18% figure is obviously fake. Eighteen percent of the population works out to around 57 million people. That's not a true figure. The number of uninsured has been steady at right around 43 million. That is the number that was used to sell us in the need for the program and that is the number that has come up time and again as "those without insurance." So the 57 million figure is a lie. But what interests me is not that figure. Look at the other figure: 11.9%. That works out to just over 38 million people. Subtract 38 million from 43 million and you get 5 million people. That means that since the passage of Obamacare, only 5 million more people got insurance... not 8 million, 9 million, 16 million or 32 million... just 5 million.

What's more, many of those are new Medicaid enrollees. I can't say for sure, but I estimate about 3 million fall into this category based on date Team Obama originally released. What that means is that only 2 million NEW people signed up for private insurance. The rest in the exchanges are people who previously had insurance and just jumped to the exchanges.

That is a HUGE failure of Obamacare's original purpose.

What's more, despite hearing that young people signed up in amazing numbers that were much higher than anyone expected... oh thank the Maker!, we now know that young people signed up at a rate that is 41% below the target rate. That means the program is not self-sustaining.

We also know, by the way, that 10% of the total premiums paid to insurers in the program last year were transfer payments from the government to insurers to balance out unexpectedly high costs run into by insurers in the people they enrolled. That means that the population of enrollees is 10% sicker/more expensive than expected.

None of this bodes well for the health of the program. It doesn't mean the program will die, but it means that it will cost a lot more than expected and it hasn't really put a dent in the number of uninsured. That's a major fail.

Thoughts?
[+] Read More...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thanks....

I wanted to take today to thank our contributors...

People may not realize the amount of time and effort that goes into blogging, especially when you produce original content rather than just repeating headlines with a three or four second blub attached. Some articles can literally take hours to write. Sometimes it takes hours to find something to write about. And often, the things we write can draw quite an unpleasant response (see, anything circa 2012).

So with that in mind, I want to offer my truly heartfelt thanks to Kit and Bev for their hard work in turning out exceptional articles every week to keep this wonderful little community going.

I'd also like to thank everyone who has contributed to the film site with excellent articles as well, like the Major-Minor Studio series or guest reviews. And I'd like to thank everyone who contributes their thoughts in the comments. Comments keep blogging fun and keep the community active.

Thanks everyone! :D
[+] Read More...