Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mr Brian Williams to be Rehabilitated?

For John, BLUFIf NBC brings him back it reflects badly on everyone else.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

CNN, gossiping, tells us "NBC trying to keep Brian Williams - but maybe not as 'Nightly News' anchor".

Well, that last part is good news.  That is where he stubbed his toe.  He may well have talents and contributions to make, but I think it would be damaging to the reputation of NBC Nightly News for Mr Williams to return to the desk.

I just hope there is no similar movement to rehabilitate former Speaker Denny Hastert without an exoneration.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

A String of Affairs

For John, BLUFWhat is the line?  "Let him who is without sin…?"  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Orin Kerr, writing in the "Volokh Conspiracy" column in The Washington Post, "If I understand the history correctly…".
If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.
I guess the question is, should we be surprised?

I do admit to be a bit surprised and very disappointed.  That is the problem with being hopeful.  There is always someone out there to disappoint you.

Oh, and to be clear, we are talking about a string of Republicans here.  Folks who sometimes claim to have a higher standard.  And, assuming there are actually some folks down in DC, from either party, who have not cheated on their spouse, they will get tainted in this process.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Beau Biden (RIP)

For John, BLUFSome deaths seem to be worse than others, although all are a loss.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Post is this look at the story about the death of BwU Biden, husband, father, former Delaware Attorney General and son of the Vice President, Joe Biden.

On top of the tragedy for Beau Biden's family, there is no doubt that Vice President Biden's life has been stalked by tragedy.  He lost a wife and a daughter in an automobile accident back in 1972.

Our condolences to Attorney General Biden's family.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gun Rights Supporters

For John, BLUFIt makes sense.  Guns for protection.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I know it is Brietbart, but still, it is worth considering.  For both Progressives (Dems) and us true Liberals (GOP).  "Women are a Driving Force in Nation's Shift From Gun Control to Gun Rights.  The lede:
Women have emerged as one of the fastest-growing demographics of new gun buyers and concealed carry permit holders in the country, and in the process, they have become a driving force in the shift in American attitudes from pro-gun control to pro-gun rights.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Magna Carta 800 Next Month

For John, BLUFNot perfect, but yes, pointing in the direction we should wish to go.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Wall Street Journal, which is often behind a paywall, we have, for Saturday, "Magna Carta:  Eight Centuries of Liberty".
June marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter’ that established the rule of law for the English-speaking world.  Its revolutionary impact still resounds today, writes Daniel Hannan
Those of us old enough to remember the 1950s TV show, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Mr Richard Greene, know that Prince John (later King John) was a very bad guy.  The Barons, however, got him to sign the Magna Carta, which has been good for us ever since.
Eight hundred years ago next month, on a reedy stretch of riverbank in southern England, the most important bargain in the history of the human race was struck.  I realize that’s a big claim, but in this case, only superlatives will do.  As Lord Denning, the most celebrated modern British jurist put it, Magna Carta was “the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”

It was at Runnymede, on June 15, 1215, that the idea of the law standing above the government first took contractual form. King John accepted that he would no longer get to make the rules up as he went along.  From that acceptance flowed, ultimately, all the rights and freedoms that we now take for granted:  uncensored newspapers, security of property, equality before the law, habeas corpus, regular elections, sanctity of contract, jury trials.

There it is.  Limits on Government.  What a wonderful concept.

William Penn published the first copy of the Great Charter on American soil in 1687 and had these words about what made Englishmen unique:

In France, and other nations, the mere will of the Prince is Law, his word takes off any man’s head, imposeth taxes, or seizes any man’s estate, when, how and as often as he lists; But in England, each man hath a fixed Fundamental Right born with him, as to freedom of his person and property in his estate, which he cannot be deprived of, but either by his consent, or some crime, for which the law has imposed such a penalty or forfeiture.
Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Purchase of Birth Control for Women

For John, BLUFRepublicans can't please Progressive Women no matter what they do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill Ms Sarah Ferris writes about a proposed bill on birth control pills.  "GOP senators call for over-the-counter birth control".  Sort of the way it works for me. 

“Most other drugs with such a long history of safe and routine use are available for purchase over the counter, and contraception should join them,” Gardner wrote in a statement.  He said his bill would benefit women in rural and underserved areas, while also saving people money and time by “increasing competition and availability.”

The Colorado Republican’s push to make birth control available over-the-counter is not winning him more allies among women’s reproductive health groups, however.

Groups like Planned Parenthood have opposed the idea, which they argue could drive up contraception prices.

Per the InstaPundit
Actually they’re unhappy because it threatens their gatekeeper status.
I believe it is the case that if the Republicans went out on the steps of the Capitol one sunny day and said the sky is blue, certain folks would say that, No, it was green and besides calling it blue is all part of the GOP war on women.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Sure, artificial birth control is a sin, but this is America and if women want birth control that is their right.  The US Supreme Court says so.  We countenance a lot of sin here in America.

Carry the Weight

For John, BLUF"He said, she said" is always a problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The case of Columbia University Students Emma Sulkowic and Paul Nungesser is probably not a story that is well known, but it is an example of two important things, maybe three.
  1. Universities seem like poor vessels for adjudicating sexual crimes.
  2. Nevertheless, the cost of this Administrivia is running up student costs.  And,
  3. We may be tinkering with our culture in ways that will have adverse impact into the future, as men become chary of women in University settings.
Here is an item from this weekend's New York Times Magazine, "Have We Learned Anything From the Columbia Rape Case?".  I am not sure it is such a good article.  I would suggest that it doesn't look down the road and consider the consequences.  If men on campus believe they have to steer clear of women due to concerns for false allegations, or even misunderstandings that turn into administrative proceedings, that will change relationships, perhaps driving us back toward what we might view as the Victorian period.  And, with men taking to Title IX to sue universities for their rights, the cost of education will continue to go up, and universities will have an incentive to return to the doctrine of in loco parentis as it was practiced back in the Dark Ages, say the 1950s.

As my middle Brother would point out, the solution is to teach men not to rape.  How is that to be done?  And, should we not also teach women not to lie about rape?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Although I am not sure the Victorian Period was as we view it today.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Freeing Innovators

For John, BLUFWhy is Boston Government beating down Uber?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Even before we kill all the lawyers, we need to kill all the headline writers.  This item from The Hill is a prime example, "Warren:  Explosion of contract workers 'a problem'".

Senator E Warren is concerned about unemployment benefits for Uber workers and their ilk.  This is a legitimate concern and we need creative solutions.  What worries me is that a too quick jump to a permanent solution will stifle innovation and thus (1) hurt consumers and (2) result in people who might otherwise have chances at employment being unemployed.  This is another problem for Dr Hernando De Soto.

Here is the last paragraph of the article.

The Republican National Committee has said that sharing economy companies like Uber and Airbnb are evidence of the kind of innovations they say can be stifled by regulation.
Hat tip to Mr Rob Eno, of Red Mass Group, via Facebook.

Regards  —  Cliff

Seven Reasons for Walker

For John, BLUFA successful governor, in a Blue State, because he does what he promises.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Back in early March I said that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be the Republican nominee in 2016.

From the PJ Tatler, we have Mr Scott Ott and "The 7 Reasons Scott Walker Should Get the Republican Nomination for President".

I would add that Governor Walker's spouse's given name is Tonette.  She is fascinating of and in itself.

Mr Ott notes that in Wisconsin, under Governor Walker, class sizes are now smaller.  It is just a problem the children of Wisconsin are going to have to deal with.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Perkins Flag Returns to Place of Honor

For John, BLUFSunday, 31 May, at 10:00 AM—see you there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Return to Old Glory will be banner day"

Reporter Grant Welker, from The [Lowell] Sun talks today to "Restored Civil War flag to be unveiled Sunday at Lowell Memorial Auditorium".  Here is the lede:

LOWELL— The flag has certainly been through a lot in its 150 years.

It flew over a battle between Union troops and Confederates in Louisiana in 1862, a fight that included many from Lowell.  One of them, Solon Perkins, a lieutenant, may even have worn the flag as a sash when he was shot to death in battle.

It was beat up, and then it was almost lost for good.

The flag was donated to Lowell Memorial Auditorium in 1929 but appears to have been moved to the basement when a flood in 1936 reached all the way up to the building’s Hall of Flags.  That's where it sat for decades until early 2014, when employees of Global Spectrum, the operator of the auditorium, found it behind a piano.

That is when the Greater Lowell Veterans Council was invited in to help and restoration began.  Restoration complete, there will be a formal return of the flag to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium's Hall of Flags this Sunday (31 May), at 10 a.m.

So, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium's Hall of Flags is the place to be this Sunday.

By the way, if you wish to EMail Reporter Grant Welker, you can use

See you there Sunday morning.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Health Care Reform

For John, BLUFBreaking up monopolies is a good thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I fairly often hear defenders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act throw out the "so what is your solution?"  Frankly, as I have been saying, the answer is to fund the Public Health Service to bring into uniform some 80,000 new physicians, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners and assign them to those areas where the density of physicians is low.  Part of their charge would be the education of the population as to modern health practices and how the population should interact with the medical profession.

So, I was happy to see, in the blog Marginal Revolution, this item, "Is there a creeping deregulation of health care?"  It is short, so I recommend you take a peek.

This is the kind of thing that Economist Hernando De Soto would approve. Regards  —  Cliff

  The number is probably not 80,000.  It may be less.  I leave the final number to the health economists.

Poor Ben Franklin

For John, BLUFCan we say it is Kerry being Kerry?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From a posting on Facebook I ended up at Cybercast News Service, with this item, "Kerry:  Ben Franklin Could Not Be Confirmed to Office If He Lived Today".

Our Secretary of State, John F Kerry, might be correct.  I am sure the late Senator John Tower would agree.  Since SecState Kerry was talking in the Benjamin Franklin room, perhaps he recalled his own Nay vote on Senator Tower's nomination for Secretary of Defense.  The nominee had a reputation for drinking and womanizing, and for not suffering fools gladly.

Regards  —  Cliff

  When I was on Staff Course I was counseled by the Commandant that "you do not suffer fools gladly'.  Ever since then I have tried to put up with fools with a good sense of humor.  As an aside, I do wonder who Senator Tower had in mind.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dr Carson Wins Straw Poll

For John, BLUFThe GOP faithful want a winner.  He or she could be purple, if they were seen as a winner.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Listening to Fox News this AM I heard that Dr Ben Carson had one a recent straw poll.  So I checked Memorandum and then The New York Times.  Even Drudge. Nota.  So, to the Fox News website and from there following a link to NewsMax.
Republican presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson on Saturday won the straw poll of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City — beating last year's winner, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Maybe he won because he is a physician.

It would be interesting if the first Black President whose ties go back to slavery is a Republican.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFDon't let freedom slip away.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My Buddy Neal has the following tag line on his EMails this month.
When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. 
 When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.
— journalist Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961)
Perhaps I am just in a "Dorothy" period.

Regards  —  Cliff

Memorial Day

For John, BLUFIt is an attitude of thanksgiving.

Today is the day to remember those who signed up for military service and gave the last full measure.  Mostly in war, but sometimes in peacetime training, and sometimes in peacetime of trauma suffered in war.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Bin-Laden Library

For John, BLUF"If you think of Osama bin Laden as a thrifty, frustrated, nth-year graduate student, this all makes sense."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a piece on the Osama bin-Laden books found when we went to take him prisoner (or as some would have it, assassinate him).  An excerpt:
[I]f there is a common theme to his English-language library, it’s great power war and imperial decline.  That fits both his conspiracy books and his more conventional selections.  Such a theme would be unsurprising for bin Laden, as he’d naturally be very interested in any insights into how to bring down what he viewed as the American empire.

What’s interesting, however, is the scattershot nature of these texts.  There were other quality books on empire that bin Laden should have had in his possession given that he was so invested in this topic.  Why this odd mix?

See the Bottom Line, Up Front.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Strong Women Stand Out

For John, BLUFI suspect strong women come from encouraging Fathers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday my blog post was about a Daily Mail article on feminism in the Victorian Era.  After I published it I thought of novelist and defender of Christianity, Ms Dorothy L Sayers, who was born in the Victorian era, in 1893.  She finished up Oxford before women could get degrees from that august institution.  She had a child out of wedlock, and provided for him.  She wrote mystery novels and Christian polemics and associated with the likes of C S Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.  She translated The Divine Comedy.

It isn't easy being a strong woman, at any time.  Then it isn't easy being a strong man.  There is a lot of "go along to get along' in this world.  Look at how the war crimes at Haditha, Iraq.  On the other hand, you do have your Molly Pitchers down through history.  By the way, Ms Pitcher is my nominee to replace President Andrew Jackson on the Double Sawbuck.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Interestingly, to me, Dwight David Eisenhower, and other West Point Graduates of his era, did not receive degrees.  That started in the 1920s.  On the other hand, probably no degree could beat being a member of the class the stars fell on.
  Reminds one of Dorothy Day.  Like Dorothy Day, Dorothy L Sayers was a Distributionist.
  I read the three volumes during my tour at Korat RTAFB and thought them great.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Feminism A Century Ago

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  Myths debunked.

For John, BLUFThere is always someone pointing out that the past wasn't actually what we thought it was.

"'Marry well if you can but satisfactory at least': The 19th-century guidebook offering advice to Victorian women... that's still relevant to singletons today!".

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, May 22, 2015

Women in the House

For John, BLUFThis is staffers, not Congresscritters.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"The 20 Most Powerful Women Staffers on Capitol Hill"

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maybe This "Event" is Over

For John, BLUFTruth has given way to theater.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On Democracy Now, just now, News Reader Amy Goodman runs a clip of the Columbia University Mattress Woman taking her mattress to graduation, mentioning that the Mattress Woman, Ms Emma Sulkowicz, is doing this in protest that her alleged attacker should be expelled.  (Here is the article in The New York Times.)  No mention of the fact that the alleged attacker, Mr Paul Nungesser, was exonerated. Here is an item from the newspaper article, not mentioned by Ms Goodman:
Until seconds before the student, Emma Sulkowicz, walked onstage, Columbia officials had asked her to leave the mattress behind.  President Lee C. Bollinger turned away as she crossed in front of him, failing to shake her hand, as he did with the other graduates.
Also not mentioned by Ms Goodman was the lawsuit, mentioned in the NYT article:
Mr. Nungesser, who was cleared by the university and has maintained that their sexual encounter was consensual, filed a federal discrimination suit last month against the school, Mr. Bollinger and the professor who approved Ms. Sulkowicz’s thesis project, saying he has been the victim of a harassment campaign.
The outcome of the suit will be interesting.  And, it could cause things to flow in a different direction after the decision.

Regards  —  Cliff

Measuring Small Items

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

From the Comments at an Instapundit post:
Col. Wasabi
I hear that within about 10 years, the Large Hadron Collider might be able to help physicists measure the half-life of leftist media interest in Democrat scandals.
Large Hadron Collider?  Here is the Wikipedia discussion.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Freedom to Opine

For John, BLUFOnce we start limiting speech there is no limit to the limiting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has said, en banc, there is no Copyright violation excuse for pulling Innocence of Muslims from the Internet:
"The appeal teaches a simple lesson—a weak copyright claim cannot justify censorship in the guise of authorship."
Another victory for the First Amendment.

As an aside to this story, the Administration told us and held to the position that this video trailer was the cause of the Benghazi attack.  However, in USA Today Mr Oren Dorell reports:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  At a comment on a different InstaPundit post "LeftCoastMole" said, "Yep.  The Southern [R]eps (Democrats to a man, I'm pretty sure) were quite insistent on making criticism of their peculiar institution a crime."  Free speech is the great oxidizer, breaking things down.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

IRS Scandal, Diving Deeper

For John, BLUFIf the IRS had just followed the rules and not gotten fancy, this would not have been a problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It now appears the IRS scandal regarding tax exempt status for Tea Party organizations was much more complex than we have been thinking.  It started out as a routine action by an IRS employee following the Internal Revenue Manual.  IRS Employee Mr Jack Koester flagged an application.  Per National Review:
In an e-mail written on February 25, 2010, Jack Koester, a revenue agent, told his boss, John Shafer, that “recent media attention” made the application at hand a “high-profile” case.  In doing so, he was following the Internal Revenue Manual’s directive to agency personal to elevate to senior managers cases that fall into several categories, including those “that are newsworthy, or that have the potential to become newsworthy.”
The article from National Review is "Conservative Group Uncovers New Roots of the IRS Scandal".

For those of you worried, Ms Lois Lerner doesn't get off the hook.  She and her ilk are why a routine action that should have been a blip of a delay became the imbroglio that it has.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Military Exercises

For John, BLUFTempest in a tea pot.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Just to keep you up to date on Operation JADE HELM 15,

Hat tip to Reporter Carl Prine.

Regards  —  Cliff


The Governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott, directed the Texas National Guard to monitor Operation JADE HELM 15, as a way of assuring those citizens of Texas concerned about this particular Army Special Operations Command exercise.  Contributing to citizen concerns was an information session in Bastrop, Texas.  A friend of mine, with experience from South America to Africa, says it was very poorly done on the part of the Army.  Meanwhile, others just added to the mess.  From Wikipedia—On May 7, 2015, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Governor of Virginia, called Abbott's mobilizing of the Texas State Guard in response to the training exercise "one of the dumbest things I have ever heard".  Apparently Governor McAuliffe has led a very sheltered life.  And doesn't know that US1 in Virginia is name the Jefferson Davis Highway.

The joke is that training ammo, even bombs, are painted blue, to distinguish them from live ammo.

Acceptable News Information

For John, BLUFAs Army Counsel Joseph Welch asked, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Just now, on Democracy Now, the Host, Ms Amy Goodman, engaged in cheap gossip with regard to some Congressman.  Talking about someone's sex life, someone's acts of infidelity, doesn't add to any debate, unless the topic is infidelity, and even then, to expose the errors of another in such an area seems so tacky.  I guess I expected more.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thomas the Tank Engine

For John, BLUFThere are some things from that past worth preserving.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I have always thought Thomas the Tank Engine was a great children's story and I am happy my Grandchildren like the stories and the videos.  Now comes some suggesting it is 'nasty' and 'sinister', that the series is "authoritarian and conformist".  What was a great story 70 years ago is not acceptable to certain British Progressives, today.

The son of the original author jumped to the defense of his Father's work, explaining "why sour Lefties are wrong about Thomas the Tank Engine".

Maybe those 70 year old ideas aren't all bad.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, May 18, 2015

Death Penalty—Boston Marathon Bombing

For John, BLUFOn killing (executing) Mr Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, opinions differ.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is an article from The Pilot by Reporters Gregory L Tracy and Christopher S Pineo, on the sentencing in the Boston Marathon Bomber trial. "Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death".  As The Pilot is the official organ of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, its position should not be a shock or a surprise.  The death penalty is a mistake.

The Boston Globe, today, has an article that looks at the issue, under the headline "Religious Leaders Conflicted on Death Penalty".  The writers are Ms Jan Ransom and Ms Jacqueline Tempera, described as "Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent.  One wonders to whom The Boston Globe would turn to examine this issue if there was no religion in this nation?

If, after his automatic appeal, Mr Dzhokhar Tsarnaev does not submit additional appeals he will be gone quickly, like the Oklahoma City bomber, Mr Timothy McVeigh.  On the other hand, if he pursues a number of appeal options this could go on for ten or twenty years.  That caused me to wonder if perhaps options for execution might dwindle in the time period, given how various courts have gone against the three drug cocktail and how European nations are reluctant to provide us drugs for lethal injections—the death penalty not being operative in Europe.

Someone I know opined that Federal law provides that the method of execution be that method used by the state in which the Federal conviction was returned.  In the case of Massachusetts, which lacks a death penalty, the judge will designate the state in which the execution will take place and the method used by that state will determine.  The "lethal injection" method is not the same in all states.  Most states utilize the "three drug method", which has come under criticism.  A few states utilize a one-drug protocol.  Some states have alternate methods (gas, electric chair, firing squad).  The most recent Federal executions all took place at the federal facility in Indiana, using lethal injection.  Mr Tsarnaev will go to Indiana.  As an aside, the Federal Government is said to have a sufficient stock-pile of the three drug protocol, which they have declined to share with any state.

My view is that I gain nothing from the execution of Mr Tsarnaev.  For one thing, it will be more expensive, for me as a taxpayer.  Tens of thousands of dollars.  You can argue that the cost for the Government is sunk costs—those Government Attorneys will be paid regardless.  However, they could be doing something useful, like trying other cases, that otherwise might be plea bargained down based on over-charging.  Alternatively, they could be trying to free those behind bars who were put there because of bad science out of FBI Labs.  Then there is the whole question of giving Mr Tsarnaev time to realize his crime is monstrous and to repent of it.  Metanoia.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting a Little More Formal

For John, BLUFWithout debate it is hard to get out all the facts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From USA Today we have this column ("Democrats sic identity politics on their own") from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds.  Here is the sub-headline: "The left has handicapped its ability to debate policy, even among themselves."  And here is the beginning of the column:
They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, we'd have a condescending president who looked down on his female critics as "little ladies" who didn't understand how the world works.nbsp; And they were right! I voted for Romney, and, well, keep reading.

Sure, we wound up with President Obama, not with Mitt.nbsp; But that didn't change how things turned out.nbsp; Just ask National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill.nbsp; Right before Obama's trade bill cratered in the Senate last week, Obama complained that its chief Senate critic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn't understand the real world.nbsp; O'Neill then chalked Obama's attitude up to sexism.

O'Neill told The Hill she took issue with Obama calling Warren by her first name during an interview with Yahoo News published May 9.

"Yes, I think it is sexist," O'Neill said.nbsp; "I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Sen. Warren's concerns are not to be taken seriously.nbsp; But he did it in a sexist way."

O'Neill said Obama's "clear subtext is that the little lady just doesn't know what she's talking about."

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined the chorus, also suggesting Obama's remarks were sexist, and then refused to apologize. Now some are tittering over Obama's supposed "seven-year history of sexism."nbsp; This caused Twitter humorist David Burge to joke:nbsp; "NAACP president:nbsp; NOW president's critique of Obama's critique of Elizabeth Warren is racist."

Read the rest at the link.

When being touchy is rewarded, the ability to be less than formal goes down.  I suspect we are headed back to the time when we used Mr and Mrs and other titles.nbsp; I expect Ms will remain as a useful addition.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, May 17, 2015


For John, BLUFI guess risk is subjective.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am apparently missing something with regard to this test of one's risk taking.  In the situation you are given both $100 and a coin.  You are now $100 richer.  Put another way, a minute ago you had what you had and now, out of nowhere someone has given you $100.  You are now in a game, playing with someone else's money.  You are asking to wager that [free] $100 on the flip of a coin.  It seems to me that unless you need that extra $100 for medicine for your ailing mother or for baby's new shoes, you take the shot.

Am I wrong here?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Understanding What the Pope Really Said

For John, BLUFIf it can be translated wrong it will be translated wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at PJ Media writer Stephen Kruiser gives us "Contrary to Popular Outrage, Pope Francis Didn’t Call Mahmoud Abbas ‘an Angel of Peace’".
Another day, another misquote.

I hate to get into a public disagreement with a colleague here, but the outrage du jour seems to be based on a translation that may or may not be deliberately wrong.  As the BBC and the Associated Press are at the root of it, I’m leaning towards the former.

A BBC reporter in the room claimed that Pope Francis said “you are an angel of peace” while presenting a gift (which is Vatican tradition) to Abbas.

The Vatican reporter for the Italian newspaper La Stampa has it differently:

As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting:  “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war.  I thought of you:  may you be an angel of peace.”
Calling someone something and exhorting him to be that something are two entirely different things.

What has befuddled me and several of my conservative friends who are also devout Roman Catholics is the willingness of our conservative friends to take news about this pope at face value from MSM outlets that aren’t trusted for anything else.

I would guess Zenit is a partial solution.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Boomlet for E Warren

For John, BLUFIt seems Senator Warren is irritating the President.  And perhaps visa-versa.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

But on the other hand, would Obama’s ego allow him to entertain the thought that his presidency is a debacle?  But on the gripping hand, would Obama have to know? Obama’s growing frustration With Elizabeth Warren. with Elizabeth Warren.  “For weeks, the White House has been fending off attacks from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on trade negotiations, and now the president seems to be growing more impatient, dismissing one of her objections as ‘pure speculation.’”
Then there is the President calling Ms Warren by her first name, inflaming Progressives on both coasts and across the fruited plain.  For example, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).  This was enough to get White House press secretary Josh Earnest to comment.  Speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe Mr Earnest, while calling Senator Brown “a stand-up guy”, also said:
I’m confident after he’s had a chance to look at the comments he made yesterday that he’ll find a way to apologize.
I don't think he has found a way to apologize.

This dustup is all about the President's trade deal, the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  back to the Politico story:

Brown, one of the top Democratic senators leading the charge against the president’s trade effort, suggested Tuesday that Obama was being “disrespectful” and hinted that Warren’s gender might have been a factor.
And, it doesn't help that the President wants to do it the old fashioned way, in private.  There has been all this talk about transparency and now some are being hoisted on their own petard.  With regard to most things in Government, transparency is a good thing, and allows us to have confidence when some particular things are kept in secrecy, as they should be.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Victory Party

For John, BLUFThere is always someone who is unhappy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for The Nation, Mr Martin Sieff asks "Why Is the US Failing to Honor Russia’s Victory Day Anniversary?"  And here is the sub-headline:  "Instead of honoring shared sacrifice in the fight against the Nazis, the president has taken another cheap shot at Russia over Ukraine."  Here is the lede:
The 70th anniversary of Victory Day offered a wonderful opportunity for world leaders to come together and celebrate the triumph of international cooperation.  Unfortunately, this opportunity has been squandered by President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other Western leaders who have refused to participate in the May 9 celebrations in Moscow.  Rather than acknowledge and honor the Soviet role in the great victory of 1945, these leaders are deliberately distorting the historical record and treating the anniversary as yet another occasion to spurn Russia over the Ukraine crisis.  By doing so, they are not only dishonoring the memories of the millions of Red Army soldiers who died in the fight against the Nazis.  They are also rejecting an opportunity to ease East/West tensions in favor of raising them even further.
So, maybe it hinges on "acknowledge and honor the Soviet role in the great victory of 1945.  Let's not forget that the Soviet Union also took part in starting WWII by invading Poland along with the Germany. Then in 1940 it manufactured a crisis that led to a war with Finland. Add to this the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania plus Romania's Bessarbaia province. Then we have Katyn and the Warsaw Uprising with regard to grinding Poland into the ground.
In fact, the Soviet Union did far more than the United States and Britain combined to destroy Nazi Germany and the Wehrmacht.
There is much debate on who won the war.  I have seen experts dispute this issue.  I don't like to see America's contribution minimized.  Yesterday down two I was looking for a checker board at a Pool and Toy store (Rogers Pool and Patio) on Middle Street.  There was a model for sale of a P-39 Airacobra in Soviet Livery.  I remember my Late Father noting the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and commenting that he helped build some of those flat cars being used—in Johnstown, PA.  Then there was the fact that Britain stopped the germans and Italians from getting to Egypt, keeping the Middle East open as a supply line into Russia.  And the Combined Bomber Offensive played its role.

Someone noted that a quick google for the author finds plenty of anti-US and pro-Russia writings by Mr. Seiff.  For Seiff, the U.S. is neo-Trotskyites and Russia and China are 'led by pragmatic governments guided by the traditional concepts of profit and self-interest' that 'support and want to do business with existing governments and governing systems around the world.'  For Seiff, this puts the U.S. on the far left and made Russia and China 'the 21st century's major global powers of the new Right.'

Regards  —  Cliff

  "Don't give me a P-39, with engine mounted behind…Give me Operations, way out on some lonely atoll."  We delivered 4,719 P-39s to the Soviet Union.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

War as Part of History

For John, BLUFSome things are worth fighting about, and some aren't.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is some bad news out of The Washington Post late last night.  Professor Ian Morris gave us "In the long run, wars make us safer and richer".  Here is the lede:
Norman Angell, the Paris editor of Britain’s Daily Mail, was a man who expected to be listened to.  Yet even he was astonished by the success of his book “The Great Illusion,” in which he announced that war had put itself out of business.  “The day for progress by force has passed,” he explained.  From now on, “it will be progress by ideas or not at all.”

He wrote these words in 1910. One politician after another lined up to praise the book.  Four years later, the same men started World War I.  By 1918, they had killed 15 million people; by 1945, the death toll from two world wars had passed 100 million and a nuclear arms race had begun.  In 1983, U.S. war games suggested that an all-out battle with the Soviet Union would kill a billion people — at the time, one human in five — in the first few weeks.  And today, a century after the beginning of the Great War, civil war is raging in Syria, tanks are massing on Ukraine’s borders and a fight against terrorism seems to have no end.

The best line of the article is:  "So yes, war is hell — but have you considered the alternatives?"

I think it was Neal Crossland who wrote, just a week or so ago, that war is civilization's reset button.  Let us hope we don't need it anytime soon.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ian Morris, a professor of classics at Stanford University, is the author of “War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots.”

Red Ed

For John, BLUFThere may be lessons to be learned from this month's elections in the UK.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Why is Mr Ed Miliband, the recent leader of the British Labor Party, known as "Red Ed"?  I thought Red was the color of the more conservative, for example the GOP.  Ah, the Main Stream Media decided one day to use red to signify the GOP on election maps.  For the majority of the people on earth red is for revolution.  If it was someone with insight on the production staff who came up with this, it was, I am sure, for the humor of it.  On the other hand, in the United States the Republicans are the party of change.

All that said, here is Breitbart with an article looking at the British elections this month.  The headline is "ED’S DEAD:  WHERE THE BRITISH LEFT WENT SO HORRIBLY WRONG".  The author is Mr Milo Yiannopoulos.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dressing Up Helps

For John, BLUFDress up.  Make guys wear ties on City Life.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Social Psychological and Personality Science we have "The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing".  The answer is positive.


Drawing from literature on construal-level theory and the psychological consequences of clothing, the current work tested whether wearing formal clothing enhances abstract cognitive processing.  Five studies provided evidence supporting this hypothesis.  Wearing more formal clothing was associated with higher action identification level (Study 1) and greater category inclusiveness (Study 2).  Putting on formal clothing induced greater category inclusiveness (Study 3) and enhanced a global pro- cessing advantage (Study 4).  The association between clothing formality and abstract processing was mediated by felt power (Study 5).  The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.
Stands to reason.

Hat tip to Carl Prine.

Regards  —  Cliff

College Costs Growing Out of Control

For John, BLUFWanting to do good is not necessarily the same as actually doing good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It the "Sunday Review" (OpEd) section of 4 APril 2015 edition of The International New York Times was this article on the cost of college:  "The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much".  The author is Law Professor Paul F. Campos, from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  I would have forgotten about this if Professor Reynolds hadn't relooked at it at 0800 this morning.

ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs.  Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed.  These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

This is the story college administrators like to tell when they’re asked to explain why, over the past 35 years, college tuition at public universities has nearly quadrupled, to $9,139 in 2014 dollars.  It is a fairy tale in the worst sense, in that it is not merely false, but rather almost the inverse of the truth. . . .

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education.  If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

Some of this increased spending in education has been driven by a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who go to college.  While the college-age population has not increased since the tail end of the baby boom, the percentage of the population enrolled in college has risen significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs has increased by almost 50 percent since 1995.  As a consequence, while state legislative appropriations for higher education have risen much faster than inflation, total state appropriations per student are somewhat lower than they were at their peak in 1990.  (Appropriations per student are much higher now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, when tuition was a small fraction of what it is today.)

As the baby boomers reached college age, state appropriations to higher education skyrocketed, increasing more than fourfold in today’s dollars, from $11.1 billion in 1960 to $48.2 billion in 1975.  By 1980, state funding for higher education had increased a mind-boggling 390 percent in real terms over the previous 20 years.  This tsunami of public money did not reduce tuition: quite the contrary.

For example, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in 1980, my parents were paying more than double the resident tuition that undergraduates had been charged in 1960, again in inflation-adjusted terms.  And of course tuition has kept rising far faster than inflation in the years since: Resident tuition at Michigan this year is, in today’s dollars, nearly four times higher than it was in 1980.

State appropriations reached a record inflation-adjusted high of $86.6 billion in 2009. They declined as a consequence of the Great Recession, but have since risen to $81 billion.  And these totals do not include the enormous expansion of the federal Pell Grant program, which has grown, in today’s dollars, to $34.3 billion per year from $10.3 billion in 2000.

It is disingenuous to call a large increase in public spending a “cut,” as some university administrators do, because a huge programmatic expansion features somewhat lower per capita subsidies.  Suppose that since 1990 the government had doubled the number of military bases, while spending slightly less per base.  A claim that funding for military bases was down, even though in fact such funding had nearly doubled, would properly be met with derision.

The real problem is that all colleges are competing with the Ivy League (schools that are funded COMPLETELY differently from most colleges…

Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor.  Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970.  Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration.  According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

I believe the reasoning of Professor Campos is pretty persuasive.  We have, through a series of policy errors, taken something that was affordable and made it unaffordable.  And I don't think my Adjunct Professor friends are making a pile of money, although I will grant you that Harvard, a private institution, does better by its professors.

So, if this problem exists in Higher Education, where else in Government underwritten programs may it be found?

UPDATE:  Clearing up some typos.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Professor Campos is the author of Don’t Go to Law School (Unless).
  For example, now Senator E Warren earned $429,981 in 2010 to 2011.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Something Even More Bizarre..."

For John, BLUFAll this effort just to squeeze in a good quote.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Out on Facebook Reporter Carl Prine said:
I've decided to invoke the "Tom Ricks" Rule for We Are The Mighty.  Until you say something that's not slack-jawed idiocy, I pretend that you don't exist.
Mr Tom Ricks, is a former Washington Post reporter and a current author (e.g., Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq).

Well, moving on, we find a comment from Ms Fiona Fisher, who quotes a passage from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
Ms Fisher then asks:
So how do we know that you are the Real Carl Prine?
I am going with we can't be sure, but all the signs are there.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I must confess I have not yet read the first book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Greening of Energy

For John, BLUFEvery solution has the seeds of a new problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review we have an article by Mr Bob Zubrin: "Germany’s Green-Power Program Crushes the Poor".  Here is the money quote that The InstaPundit picked:
According to EU data, Germany’s average residential electricity rate is 29.8 cents per kilowatt hour.  This is approximately double the 14.2 cents and 15.9 cents per kWh paid by residents of Germany’s neighbors Poland and France, respectively, and almost two and a half times the U.S. average of 12 cents per kWh.  Germany’s industrial electricity rate of 16 cents per kWh is also much higher than France’s 9.6 cents or Poland’s 8.3 cents.  The average German per capita electricity consumption is 0.8 kilowatts.  At a composite rate of 24 cents per kWh, this works out to a yearly bill of $1,700 per person, experienced either directly in utility bills or indirectly through increased costs of goods and services.  The median household income in Germany is $33,000, so if we assume an average of two people per household, the electricity cost would amount to more than 10 percent of available income. And that is for the median-income household.  The amount of electricity that people need does not scale in proportion to their paychecks.  For the rich, $1,700 per year in electric bills might be a pittance, or at most a nuisance.  But for the poor who are just scraping by, such a burden is simply brutal.
Or, as InstaPundit says:
"Green” programs are merely another way for the rich and near-rich to wage war on the poor and the middle class.
That may be a bit of an overstatement.  On the other hand, it would be interesting to see a social audit of efforts toward "green" energy.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Paying Attention, or Not

For John, BLUFSome just don't wish to understand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Before we get into whether Professor Juan Cole is a real college professor or just a polemicist masquerading as a college professor to draw money from the University of Michigan and the Michigan taxpayers, I would like to clear up a couple of points:
  1. Back in the day I was against the invasion.  I am a big believer in deterrence, although you have to be plain about it.
  2. I am against Jeb Bush on principle.  There should be no dynasties in our Executive Office.  None, no matter the reason.
  3. For this blog post I cheated and actually listened to the video clip, which Fox gives us here.
  4. Senator Clinton and a couple of other Democrat Party Senators voted for the invasion, so it wasn't like President Bush was the only person so stupid he was duped.
  5. I expect that I would be against an attack on Iran over its nuclear program.  They key is to (a) promise to turn their land into glass and (b) invite to our weaponeering program here in the States some of their key folks, so they can fully understand what nuclear weapons can, and cannot, do.
So, back to Mr Juan Cole, and his article in Nation of Change.  Apparently not having listened to the clip, or not having understood it, Professor Cole misses that Governor Bush says, given the circumstances, he would do it again, just like Senator Clinton.

On the other hand, knowing what we know now, no.

As for the Reagan Administration helping President Hussein in his war with Iran, I think that might have been a balance of power kind of thing, after President Saddam Hussein stupidly started the war and then found that Iran was not a push over.

But, back to the issue, Professor Cole says:

Small men from small states routinely proclaim that the Unites States of America will go to war against whomever it pleases whenever it pleases without let or hindrance from those pesky international tribunals.
Maybe he was referencing the former Senator from Massachusetts, who said "we will go anywhere, pay any price….".

But, let us think about the run up to the invasion.  There was the belief that President Hussein was actually working on weapons of mass destruction and that no one wanted to wake up to a mushroom cloud near their residence.  As I said, I think deterrence was the better option, but others disagreed.  Then, I am sure, there were those who thought that Iraq represented a hope for democracy in the Middle East.  An educated population with a somewhat secular outlook.  Unfortunately, there was no Iraqi Konrad Adenauer.  And the Iraqi people were more divided than we realized.  And there was the desire to settle scores.  And the Kurds.  Those who held out hope for the Arab Spring should understand.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For one thing, as someone said, "War is like childbirth.  The outcome is always uncertain."
  Didn't Professor Cole get the memo about using first names being insulting and denigrating, like when President Obama did it to Senator E Warren just recently?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dangers in Blogging

For John, BLUFWe have to resist efforts to make things "hate speech", which is just another justification for murdering those you don't agree with.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This time from Nation of Change, we have an article on continuing attacks on (or better, murders of) Bangladeshi Bloggers.  Have I just been asleep, or has there been a recent increase, world wide, in murders of those who would voice their opinions in one form of media or another.  I am sure glad I live in the United States, where we have both a First Amendment and police forces that pay attention (e.g., Garland, Texas).  On the other hand, I worry about police forces that overly intrude on our privacy as a way of keeping us safe.  That isn't good either.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ending Homelessness

For John, BLUFIt can be done—ending homelessness.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is important stuff.  And it is not one single thing, or one single cause.  It is complex.  "New Orleans Ends Veteran Homelessness, Proves It's 'Not An Impossible Problem'".  The source is The Huffington Post.

While I have a twinge of doubt, given it is New Orleans, this is, really, good news.

The reason this is good news is that it means saving money.  While housing the homeless, especially those with mental disturbances, is expensive, caring for those on the streets in Emergency Departments is more expensive.  Housing the homeless results in a significant reduction in costs.

Regards  —  Cliff

  One is reminded of Dr Freud:  "The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'"  Hat tip to Law Professor Ann Althouse.

Comparing Resumes

For John, BLUFNot every political cartoon, no matter how funny, is fact based.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I have just gotten around to looking at the "Focus Section" of Sunday's Lowell Sun.  The cartoon, by Mr Lee Judge from the Kansas City Star was hilarious.

The people in the cartoon sort of remind me of when Herblock was drawing cartoons.  The cone heads.

The thing is, if Mr Judge meant this as serious political commentary he has misplaced his marbles.  Dr Ben Carson has been a highly successful neurosurgeon, leading a team performing complicated and delicate procedures.  He learned to integrate that team and to make timely decisions.  I am sure some of his patients didn't make it, but I am betting Dr Carson extracted important lessons from those events, making him and his team even better.  In contrast, President Obama was a Community Organizer in a city that just had its bonds downgraded by Moody's to Junk status, with a Negative outlook, per CNBC.  And his effort to get the Olympics for Chicago didn't go so well.

But, back to the "Focus Section", I thought that Miss Michelle Malkin did a good job talking about Domestic Terrorist Joanne Chesimard, who is now residing in asylum in Cuba.  Ms Chesimard was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.  She escaped prison and fled to Cuba.  The thing is, Ms Chesimard's specialty was police officers.  Nasty business, that.

While I don't believe improving our relations with Cuba should be held hostage to Ms Chesimard, I do believe there should be no pardon and if she steps foot on US Shores she should be put back in the slammer, to finish her sentence.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Herbock won three Pulitzers over his career outright, and shared one with someone else.  On the other hand, Mr Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Positioning Matters

TRIGGER WARNING:  Photo with bad words.

For John, BLUFIt is funny.  In a creative way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Instapundit. WITH JUXTAPOSITIONS LIKE THIS, I almost wonder if Matt Drudge is moonlighting as a bookstore clerk in Washington, DC.

"Thanks to reader Elliott Davis for the pic."

Here is the link to the blog post.

Yes, Kramer Books is an excellent book store.  Been there any number of times.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, May 11, 2015

Record Numbers Leaving US

For John, BLUFMostly probably penny wise and pound foolish on the part of the US Congress or the bureaucracy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Often The Wall Street Journal has no link for the hoi polloi, without our payed subscriptions, but this is an exception.  Reporter Laura Saunders gives us "Record Number Give Up U.S. Citizenship".
A record 1,335 people were listed as renouncing their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency in the latest quarterly disclosure from the Treasury Department, released on Thursday.

The total is the highest quarterly number of expatriates since a law requiring the publication of their names was enacted in the 1990s, according to Andrew Mitchel, a lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tallies the lists of names. The previous quarterly record was 1,130 for the second quarter of 2013, he says.

The new figure puts 2015 on pace to exceed the total of 3,415 renunciations in 2014, which was itself a record. That was up 14% from 2,999 individuals in 2013, the previous record.

Here is the explanation from the Department of Treasury.  On the other hand, this is what you might expect.
Experts link the growing number of renunciations by citizens and permanent residents to a tax enforcement campaign against U.S. taxpayers with undeclared offshore accounts. The campaign began after Swiss banking giant UBS UBSN.EB +2.53% admitted in 2009 that it had encouraged U.S. taxpayers to hide assets in secret Swiss accounts.

But the campaign has made the financial lives of more than seven million Americans living abroad more difficult, because the U.S. taxes nonresident citizens on income earned anywhere in the world, and U.S. tax liabilities can apply to the children born to Americans abroad. In many cases, there are only partial offsets available for double taxation.

This raises the question as to if our tax policies, probably designed to capture the high rollers, really just squeezes the middle class.  Well, and there are those who just don't like the US and wish to return to from whence they came.  I wish them the best, but believe they are misguided.

While we use the term "record numbers" we probably receive this many illegal immigrants in a day.  People just want to come here as economic migrants.  I wonder what attracts them?

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chinese Authorities Cross

For John, BLUFSure, it might just be aesthetics, but this is a reason government powers should be limited.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The International New York Times, via Reporter Michael Forsythe, we have "Chinese Province Issues Draft Regulation on Church Crosses".
HONG KONG — Cities in Zhejiang, one of China’s most prosperous provinces, are studded with Christian churches, Protestant and Catholic alike. Until recently, many of them had been topped by large crosses soaring into the sky, often illuminated with neon lights at night.

Under a new draft regulation made public this week by the provincial government, such crosses — those that have not already been removed by government order — will most likely have to come down.

Well, it isn't the war on Christmas.  For one thing, China's economy would suffer a noticeable dip if Christmas went away.  Not Christmas in China, but Christmas outside China.

Here is the province, in red.

This has apparently not gone down smoothly, nor without some dissension.

Zhejiang’s new regulations were issued weeks after a Christian pastor in the province was sentenced to a year in jail after speaking out about the removal of crosses.  The pastor, Huang Yizi, who served at a government-sanctioned church, had questioned why the police last July beat more than 50 parishioners who had tried to stop the authorities from taking down a cross at the Salvation Church, a Protestant place of worship.

Mr. Huang was arrested last August, and the church’s cross was removed several days later.  He was charged with “gathering crowds to disturb social order,” a charge commonly used in China to imprison people who speak out against government policies.

I bet Ms Pam Geller would drive the Chinese Authorities crazy.  I suspect they would have to put her away for a long time, or shoot her.  Not just a short stay in prison, like Mr Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In China there is a difference between a "sanctioned" church and other forms of organization, as discussed here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Terrorism is Tickling the United States

For John, BLUFOne always has to be alert.  A "misplaced" back pack can be a bomb.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, Ms Barbara Starr, we have this Friday evening story, "ISIS activity prompts threat level increase at bases".
Security conditions at U.S. military bases have been increased over growing concerns about terror threats, officials said Friday.

A U.S. official confirmed to CNN that U.S. military bases are now at "Force Protection Bravo," which is defined by the Pentagon as an "increased and predictable threat of terrorism."  It is the third-highest threat level on a five-tier scale used by the Department of Defense.

U.S. military officials added Friday that the announcement, which comes in the aftermath of the shooting at a Texas cartoon contest featuring drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, was not the result of a specific threat but because the military had become concerned about several recent incidents.

The military became alarmed when one of the jihadists linked to the Garland attack tweeted the name and address of a U.S. military officer connected to the military's Syrian rebel training program, a U.S. military official told CNN.

I can report that yesterday (Friday), while the front gate to Hanscom AFB looked calm and business as usual, when I got to the Clinic I saw that the parking row closest to the Clinic was coned off.  Further, when I got to the entrance there were two young Airmen doing spot checks on ID Cards.  They let me through without any questions, but then I probably look like I am not a threat.

Read more of the article at the link.

NB:  This was not Fox News hyping something, but a report from the well respected and sober CNN.

Regards  —  Cliff

China the Model?

TRIGGER WARNING:  I wouldn't think this needs a Trigger Warning, but just in case, I bring into question the idea that the UN and UN officials are always right.

For John, BLUFI am guessing that since many people see themselves as just workers, or academics, their form of government and the economic model don't seem that important.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Elizabeth Price Foley, posting at the Instapundit, gives us a look at one opinion on climate change, "Australia PM advisor says climate change a UN-led ruse.  (PM being the Prime Minister.)  There is also the original article, but it is a pay to play site.
Figueres [executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change] is on record saying democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming.  Communist China, she says, is the best model.  This is not about facts or logic.  It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN.  It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.

Figueres says that, unlike the Industrial Revolution, “This is a centralised transformation that is taking place.”  She sees the US partisan divide on global warming as “very detrimental”.  Of course.  In her authoritarian world there will be no room for debate or ­disagreement.

Make no mistake, climate change is a must-win battlefield for authoritarians and fellow travellers.  As Timothy Wirth, president of the UN Foundation, says:  “Even if the ­(climate change) theory is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

Having gained so much ground, eco-catastrophists won’t let up.  After all, they have captured the UN and are extremely well funded.  They have a hugely powerful ally in the White House.  They have successfully enlisted compliant academics and an obedient and gullible mainstream media (the ABC and Fairfax in Australia) to push the scriptures regardless of evidence.

Of course Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe would tell you it is beyond stupid to believe that some UN official (in this case Ms Christiana Figueres) would say the Chinese system of Government and Economics is better than that of the US.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meddling in the Affairs of Others

For John, BLUFPlank in one's own eye kind of thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Talking Points Memo, "McAuliffe:  Possible Texas Takeover 'One Of The Dumbest Things I've Ever Heard'".  The lede in the Catherine Thompson story:
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said Thursday that his Texas counterpart's decision to ask the State Guard to monitor a planned U.S. military training exercise was "one of the dumbest things" he's ever heard.
I picked this up on Facebook.

Do you think Governor McAuliffe is the smartest kid in the room?  He was Chairman of Ms Clinton's Presidential Campaign in 2008.  But, I think the best example of his being more craven than smart is that US Highway 1, the first link from Maine to Florida, is named, in Virginia, Jefferson Davis Highway, after the worst Democrat President in the history of the nation.  Once he fixes that, and cleans up some other highway and school names, I will be interested in what he has to say.  For now I think he needs some down time.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Visit From Paul Ryan

For John, BLUFAs Republicans we gain hope from successes elsewhere.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I went to the Mass Fiscal Alliance reception for US Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) on Tuesday.  He is from my wife's home town, Janesville.  More important, he is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

It was a nice event.  I enjoyed myself.  Met people, including Mr Chip Faulkner, from Citizens for Limited Taxation.  I also met Ms Catherine Roman, Chairman of the North Attleboro Republican Town Committee

A couple of the items covered by Rep Ryan:

  • As Republicans we should be pro-market, rather than pro-business.
  • There is a certain immorality to the minimum wage.  If a kid can't get a summer job at $8.00 per hour, how is he going to get one at $15.00.
  • Common Core is dead in the water.  The Feds should work on funding the unfunded mandates the local schools face.
  • Because of his position in funding the next race (helping out) he was unwilling to opine on this or that candidate.
  • And, he bragged that Congress has passed a budget.
The item on the budget was timely, as noted by The Hill  This was the work of both Rep Paul Ryan and Senator Mike Enzi, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Budget.
Republicans pass a budget, flexing power of majority.

Congressional Republicans scored a major legislative victory on Tuesday as the Senate adopted the first bicameral GOP budget agreement in a decade.

The 51-48 vote capped weeks of work by Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who shepherded the blueprint through a messy debate over defense spending that at times threatened to split their conferences.

The blueprint passed the House last week, and will not require a signature from President Obama.

I hope he takes another look at the top office some time.

Regards  —  Cliff

  A problem with the Minimum Wage law is that there is much value to youth employment.  A living wage for adults is a different issue.  We need to creativity in this area.
  The Ranking Member is Bernie Sanders (S-Vermont) and another minority member is Angus King (I-Maine).  One Republican from our region, Senator Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)

Views on Government

For John, BLUFIt is Entertainment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this AM, about 6:35, Host George Anthes declared that Democracy is a waste of time.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Brit Election Addendum

For John, BLUFI am guessing Northern Ireland.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In an EMail exchange just now I learned that one of the daughters of one of my wife's cousins is married to a man whose cousin is standing for parliament.  "Standing"?  Yes, that is Brit Talk for running for office.  I will get details Saturday, as there is a conclave down in New York City.

Regards  —  Cliff

GOP Woman Candidate Announces

For John, BLUFChances not good, but would be a good President.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"The CEO and the CIA"

Ms Carly Fiorina and the Intelligence Community, by Reporter Jim Geraghty, of National Review.

One week after 9/11, Michael Hayden, the director of the National Security Agency, the electronic surveillance arm of the U.S. government, had a long list of problems.  High on the list was the fact that the NSA needed a ton of new high-tech equipment, particularly servers, right away, to handle a vastly expanded, critically important workload.

Hayden called up the CEO of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina.  “HP made precisely the equipment we needed, and we needed in bulk,” says Robert Deitz, who was general counsel at the NSA from 1998 to 2006.  Deitz recalls that a tractor-trailer full of HP servers and other equipment was on the Washington, D.C. Beltway, en route to retailers, at the very moment Hayden called.  Fiorina instructed her team to postpone the retailer delivery and have the driver stop.  An NSA police car met up with the tractor-trailer and the truck proceeded, with an armed escort, to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

When Michael Hayden moved to CIA he created an external advisory board, which included Ms Fiorina.  She rose to be chairman.  And she was a consensus builder.

I don't think Ms Fiorina is a light weight.  At this point I will avoid invidious comparisons.

Read the whole thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Voting Tomorrow—In The United Kingdom

For John, BLUFAnd, they are still a testing lab of democracy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Brookings Institution, down in DC, we have a report from Mr Jeremy Shapiro on the elections in the United Kingdom tomorrow "Little England: Why the British election matters to the United States"
Foreign elections don’t get a lot of attention in the United States.  These days, particularly, we are a bit caught up in our own imminent presidential election—it is a mere 18 months away.  And, honestly, from an American perspective, such elections tend to feature poor production values, mind-numbingly substantive debates, and endless banging on about pensions, health care, and other extremely parochial issues.  But on May 7, there is an election in the United Kingdom that might just merit putting aside that latest exposé on Hillary Clinton’s hairstyle.

Why is the British election worth diverting ourselves from such weighty issues? Well, first, it’s in English (more or less) which makes it at least plausibly comprehensible for interested Americans.  But perhaps more importantly, the British election will have important implications for the United States and may well be a harbinger of things to come.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) has long been the United States’ most stalwart and visible ally.  Indeed, more than an ally, the United Kingdom became, in foreign policy terms, a sanity check. In the halcyon days of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, the U.K. was the first place American policymakers went to understand how U.S. foreign policy would be received beyond their shores.

The U.K. was never an American poodle, but it was fair to say that if you couldn’t sell a policy in Britain, it was unlikely to do well in France, India, or China.  The U.K. was America’s most sympathetic critic, its most willing collaborator, and its most able partner.  Indeed, it was the only large country in the European Union that maintained its defense spending at 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) as all NATO members are supposed to do.

Frankly, we owe the UK a lot.  We are who we are because of England.  We also owe Germany and Ireland, and Mexico, and France (Louisiana Purchase and immigrants from Canada), and the West Coast of Africa, but it is England that shared with us the Magna Carta and the Common Law and the "rights of Englishmen" and the idea of little shop keepers, and who, 85 years ago, held the line for us against a distorted and corrupted Germany, until we could get our act together.

I don't care who you are or where you come from, what the color of your skin and your sexual orientation, they are our British Cousins and they should matter to us.

Regards  —  Cliff