Monday, August 31, 2015

Shut Down That Lemonade Stand


For John, BLUFThere are some things one just doesn't do in tony neighborhoods.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Nanny of the Month is going out of business, but doing it with a big splash.  In East Hampton (Long Island) Police shut down Jerry Seinfeld's Lemonade Stand.

I am hoping this is a fake, but I fear it isn't.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is It Paranoia or Is It Real?


For John, BLUFProbably Both, in Ms Clinton is involved.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Reporter Bradford Richardson of The Hill gives us "Sanders:  DNC using debates to rig primary".

The Instapundit notes "Hillary performs badly in debates, so the process was structured to protect her."  Then he excerpts:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes the Democratic Party is using its meager primary debate line-up to rig the nomination process.

“I do,” Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate schedule is “rigged.”

The two Democratic presidential candidates were speaking at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in Minneapolis on Friday.

“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” O’Malley said in his speech earlier Friday.

The DNC has drawn criticism for scheduling only four debates before the early primary states cast their votes, and six total throughout the election cycle.

At least the Republicans are having a free for all that is interesting and exciting.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Science Proves [Something]


For John, BLUFI have confidence in science.  I have even more when it appears as engineering.  But even that isn't a guarantee.  Remember Galloping Gertie?  (Video)  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In the Science section of The International New York Times, Reporter Benedict Carey gives us Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed, Study Says

From the lede:

The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences.  A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers.  A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP that was widely criticized.  The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior because of concerns about faked data.

Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested.  The analysis was done by research psychologists, many of whom volunteered their time to double-check what they considered important work.  Their conclusions, reported Thursday in the journal Science, have confirmed the worst fears of scientists who have long worried that the field needed a strong correction.

The vetted studies were considered part of the core knowledge by which scientists understand the dynamics of personality, relationships, learning and memory.  Therapists and educators rely on such findings to help guide decisions, and the fact that so many of the studies were called into question could sow doubt in the scientific underpinnings of their work.

This is a follow-up to a 15 June 2015 article by the same Reporter, Benedict Carey, "Science, Now Under Scrutiny Itself".

Science needs to do better.  These days, when I hear that this or that is bad for you I always project ahead 15 or 20 years and ask if the findings will have been reversed by then.

Of course, climate change is "proven science".

Regards  —  Cliff

Lost Data


For John, BLUFAs good an explanation as any.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the InstaPundit himself a discussion of what happens when a star collapses into a black hole and then further decays.  The question is, is all that "information" that existed, lost?  Here is the crux of the problem as reported in The Washington Post.
[Stephen] Hawking focused on something called the information paradox, which continues to puzzle scientists who study black holes.  In a nutshell, the paradox involves the fact that information about the star that formed a black hole seems to be lost inside it, presumably disappearing when the black hole inevitably disappears.  These things cannot be lost, according to the way we think the universe works, and physicists generally believe that they aren't really lost.  But where does the information go when the black hole that's absorbed it goes kaput?
Stephen Hawking, believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes. But, the InstaPundit has his own view:
ACTUALLY, WHEN A STAR BECOMES A BLACK HOLE, THE “LOST” INFORMATION APPEARS ON A THUMB DRIVE IN HILLARY CLINTON’S LAWYER’S OFFICE.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, August 28, 2015

Death by Bureaucracy


For John, BLUFI wonder if there was some "not my responsibility" thinking in the system.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



It is The [Manchester] Guardian, so it is Progressive sensationalism, but Reporter Jon Swaine gives us Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell.  The sub-headline is "Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake."  Turns out there was no bed available in the local mental health facility.

A young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, Virginia, on the same day that one of the city’s officers fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old, has been found dead in jail after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing groceries worth $5.

Jamycheal Mitchell, who had mental health problems, was discovered lying on the floor of his cell by guards early last Wednesday, according to authorities. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death was not being treated as suspicious.

This should not pass for justice no matter the findings of the autopsy.

Per a comment in Professor Althouse's post, "It sounds like Mr. Mitchell died of bureaucracy."

Too right.  The laws and the process needs to be improved.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Boxcars?


For John, BLUFThis isn't just micro aggression, this is prejudice.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Hot Air Writer ALLAHPUNDIT leads us to Mediaite, which has this paragraph:
She continued, saying it was “the height of irony that a party which espouses small government would want to unleash a massive law enforcement effort—including perhaps National Guard and others—to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up, put them, I don’t know, in buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border.”
For its headline to an article by Reporter Alex Griswold, Mediaite titrates this down to "Clinton:  Republicans Want to Round Up Illegal Immigrants, Shove Them in Boxcars".

Thus, Godwin's Law has been fulfilled, and very early in the campaign.  Ms Clinton appears to be the winner.

Sometimes we get our historical metaphors mixed up.  Neither Donald Trump or any other Republican Candidate is advocating rounding up American Citizens and deporting them a strange land, there to be gassed and cremated.  There are some who say that illegal immigrants should be returned to their current homeland.  There is a difference.  To not recognize this distinction is to suffer from Invincible Ignorance

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brazile on Bush re New Orleans


For John, BLUFJust a nice story.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The Hill Reporter Benedict Carey gives us "Donna Brazile praises Bush’s Katrina response on flight with Obama".  There are the parts The InstaPundit quoted:
Donna Brazile, a prominent Democratic political operative, praised President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina on Thursday, just hours before President Obama’s speech in New Orleans marking the storm’s 10th anniversary.

Brazile, a Louisiana native, has applauded Bush’s Katrina response before. But she made her latest comments on board Air Force One while flying to the Big Easy with Obama, who has previously criticized’s his predecessor’s handling of the storm recovery.

“Under President Bush’s leadership, we got it right,” she told reporters.

Brazile said Bush’s initial response to the storm was “slow,” but chalked that up to chaos plaguing state and local governments along the Gulf Coast.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ms Donna Brazile is a Democrat, but I have thought of her as a straight shooter, and still do.

It is nice when someone from one side says something nice about someone from the other side.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Civilians Must Be Ready to React


For John, BLUFWe are now the "First Responders".  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Some thoughts from Jane the Actuary on the train takedown over in Europe.  Here headline is “First Responders” or “Second Responders”? “Heroes” or “Role Models”? Reflecting on the train attack.

Her point is that after 9/11 we talked about Police and Fire Fighters as being the First Responder.  As she notes, on that train ordinary citizens, a French Banker, an American College Professor at Le Sorbonne, a Brit and three relative young Americans were the First Responders.

From our time when an aircraft hijacking meant a quick trip to Cuba, we have been accustomed to letting the "authorities" handle it.  Since 9/11 we have more and more had to make do as civilians.  For example, it was a civilian who initially dealt with the "underwear bomber".

We must face up to the fact that we are now the first responders.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Following the Money


For John, BLUFYes, Amy is not all that popular amongst the more old line liberal (as opposed to progressive) types.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



So, Nation of Change wants me to give to their monthly campaign.  The problem is, in my mind, I wrap them up with the TV Show Democracy Now.  To which you ask, so what?

The so what has to do with Host Amy Goodman.  She keeps burying the lede.  Today she was talking about the shooting, yesterday, down in Roanoke, Virginia.  She tells us the shooter was Black, but she neglected to tell us he was Gay.  That is news that has been out there since yesterday.  Here is the money quote picked up by Law Professor Ann Althouse—"The fact that he kept his job was because he was an African-American gay man.  That’s pretty hard to say no to."  That is a quote in a Daily Beast article, taken from former news producer Greg Sextro.

The point is, the shooter identified as a Black Gay man.  He is making a point about who he is, in a Black Community that is fairly anti-gay.  Was the shooter disturbed?  Maybe, but I am always careful of asserting that too quickly, in that I would never wish to encourage a Government to use "insanity" as an excuse to put anyone away.  However, it is clear a crime was committed.  Punishment or rehabilitation must follow.  In this case, the shooter took his own life, so that is moot.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  LTC Channel 8 at 0800, to 0900, right after City Life.
  The shooter, addressing a Judge in 2013, in a discrimination lawsuit, said:  "I am hereby requesting a trial which will be heard by a jury of my peers.... I would like my jury to be comprised of African-American women."

Job Opening:  City Auditor


For John, BLUFBetter too often than not often enough.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Wednesday's edition of the [Lowell] Sun we have news that the City Council has approved former Cambridge City Manager Bob Healy as interim Lowell Auditor.  The reporter was Mr Grant Welker.

Mr Healy will serve for up to 90 days, while the City Council looks for a new Auditor, to replace outgoing Auditor, Ms Hannah York, who has served for 15 months.

I am sorry to see Ms York leave us.  My sense is that Ms York has been doing a fine job.

That said, I expect Mr Healy will do a fine job as the "Interim".

Regards  —  Cliff

Don Orsillo Moving On


For John, BLUFWhat with Tom Brady and other moves it is like self-destruction on the part of sports management.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I am not a big baseball fan.  That would be my wife.  That said, I like the announcing of Sportscaster Don Orsillo, so I was disappointed to hear that he is out at NESN at the end of this season.  "Don Orsillo out as voice of NESN’s Red Sox telecasts".  That is the headline in The Boston Globe, in an article by Reporter Chad Finn.
Don Orsillo, the affable and popular play-by-play voice on NESN’s Red Sox telecasts since 2001, will not return next year, according to multiple industry sources.

His contract expires at the end of the season and he will not be offered a new one by NESN. NESN wrote on Twitter that Orsillo will be replaced by Dave O’Brien, who currently is part of the Red Sox radio broadcast team on WEEI and also has a high-profile, multi-sport play-by-play role at ESPN.

Of all of the bad moves this year with regard to the Red Sox this is the worst.

Kudos to "Dennis and Callahan" for breaking the story.

Hat tip to my Wife.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Chicago Way?


For John, BLUFHardball in the Nation's Capitol.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



One of the big issues before the US Congress is the multilateral agreement with Iran regarding Iranian nuclear programs, the Joint Action Plan.  This is an agreement (not a Treaty) between the P5+1 (the UN Security Council Permanent Members plus Germany) and Iran, to provide a short term freeze on Iranian nuclear programs.

From The New York Daily News we have "Sen. Robert Menendez may have had sex with underage hookers in Dominican Republic: prosecutors".  As the first three paragraphs of the story point out, Senator Menendez brings this on himself by asking the question.  But still, it looks funny, given that the Democrat Senator from New Jersey has gone against the President on the Iran Deal.

Federal prosecutors said Monday that they aren’t convinced claims U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez cavorted with underage hookers – widely seen as discredited – are false.

Lawyers for the New Jersey Democrat last week asked a federal judge to dismiss charges that the senator took bribes from a Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, and in exchange used his power to do business and personal favors for him.

The defense said the case is bogus because it sprang from "easily disprovable" claims that Menendez slept with underage prostitutes while hosted by Melgen at a Dominican Republic villa.

Yes, it does look like the Administration is messing with Senator Menendez.  Punishing him for opposing the President on a President high priority issue.  It is the Chicago Way.

Regards  —  Cliff

Health Care Consensus Still Lacking


For John, BLUFI think we need change, but the PP&ACA isn't it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



My Middle Brother, who lives in California, sent me a URL to a chart in the San Jose Mercury News showing that there is strong support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts (PP&ACA).  As one might expect, there is strong support for the program.  The way the Mercury presents it, there are strong contrasts between Democrats and Republicans in terms of support.  But, that may just indicate that those who favor tend to be Democrats, not that Democrats favor.

At the same time we have an OpEd in The Daily Caller"Obamacare Gives Big Windfall To Insurance Companies As Quality of Healthcare Declines".  The author is Mr David Williams, who is president of some Political Action Committee, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That would be "Obamacare" to some.  If we are going to provide it a name I would go with "Reid / Pelosi Care".

Immigration Overseas


For John, BLUFImmigration is good.  Major disruption of the economy is not.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, writing in USA Today, yesterday, gave us "Europe's immigration drama has nothing to do with Donald Trump".  And immigration issues in Europe, and the UK, are a big deal.  See this New Republic item.

Here is the lede:

From following the news, you’d think that immigration was strictly a U.S. problem, one brought to the fore by Donald Trump.  But although Trump has certainly moved the debate to a new level here at home, other parts of the world are facing an immigration crisis that is, if anything, worse.  And there are lessons in that.
So read the whole short OpEd.

And think about how uncontrolled immigration can disrupt a nation economically and politically.  Immigration of the poor to more prosperous nations will not provide a better standard of living for all.  At the same time, if there are pockets of poverty across the globe it is our responsibility to ease those problems, if the poor areas are prepared to cooperate in their own advancement.  If an area believes Communism is the only solution, they are going to suffer, and it is not our responsibility to force them to change their approach, or let them immigrate to our country to bring their economic errors.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Objective Journalism


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



On Democracy Now Ms Amy Goodman just use a quote by David Duke in a piece on Candidate Donald Trump?  I am no fan of "The Donald", but that was a below the belt hit.  She slimed Mr Trump.  It was in a manner that brings all media into disrepute.

Then she said that Turkey had just opened up a base in the United States.  It did?  The Turkish involvement in the fight against Daesh is very confusing, including the fact that Turkey is taking advantage of the Daesh (ISIL, George) problem to deal with the Kurds.  Taking and Ms Goodman elided this whole thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lois Lerner, Multi-tasking


For John, BLUFRemind me, Monday, to ask George about if Ms Lerner should be debarred here in Massachusetts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



By Reporter Stephen Dinan, of The Washington Times we have this Monday article—"IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account".  Another?  Yes, besides the two already found, there is an account for ‘Toby Miles’, linked to government business.
Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting.

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency.

It is Day 838 of the IRS Scandal.  That is a long time.  The good news is that the Courts in our system of Government are allowing this to go on and not shutting it down, like we were some sort of dictatorship, without the protection of a separation of powers.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The McCarthy Era, Again


For John, BLUFTail Gunner Joe was over the top, but he had a kernel of truth in his hand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The late Senator Joe McCarthy has been considered a demagogue since the 1950s.  On the other hand, his concerns about Communists in the Federal Government should not be dismissed out of hand.  For example, here is Mr Ron Radosh providing another example, "British MI-5 Files Reveal Another Cold War Soviet Agent".  Here is the sub-headline:
Yet another who claimed to be a victim of "McCarthyism" was exactly the traitor he was believed to be.
I am for civil liberties, but I also realize that not everyone who is on our side is on our side.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Black Lives Matter a Distraction?


For John, BLUFDr Ben Carson, Straight Shooter.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Republican Candidate Dr Ben Carson:
The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy.  The ‘BlackLivesMatter’ movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.
In USA Today, today.

Read the whole short article.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 24, 2015

North Korea Girds For War


For John, BLUFThe North Korean Leader is a bit unstable and war is a possibility.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I am assuming this is just normal saber rattling, but North Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea—DPRK) seems to be under some stress and this might be more than that, which would be unfortunate. From Yonhap News (South Korea) we have "50 N. Korean submarines away from base".
SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- More than 50 North Korean submarines are apparently away from their bases for operations, a sign that the North is gearing up for combat while participating in high-level talks aimed at easing tension, an official here said Sunday.

"Seventy percent of North Korea's submarines left their bases, and their locations are not confirmed," the South Korean military official told reporters.

Again, from Yonhap News (South Korea) we have "N. Korea forward deploys amphibious landing crafts carrying special forces".

Special Forces are a big deal in the North Korean Army.

Here is something from China (PLA is China's Peoples Liberation Army), "PLA troops head to DPRK border as North-South tensions mount".

So, is this move to (1) deter ROK-US forces, (2) restrain DPRK forces, (3) join DPRK forces, or (4) some combination of the three?  The thing to keep in mind is that deploying troops any distance is not a free lunch.  It costs money.  It disrupts the free flow of commerce (which costs citizens money and the Government taxes).  It is disruptive of normal training activities.

One of the problems for DPRK Leader Kim Jung Un is the question of if he mobilizes and gives guns and ammunition to all military personnel he will not be sure who the guns will be pointed at.  Kim Jung Un has killed many of the military elite in the last 3 years because he did not trust them, but now he will have to give ammunition to people who he can not trust at all, and who may not trust him.  Then there is the pressing 10 Oct event, where North Korea may need excuses as to why they can not meet what they promised.  That could be ugly.  War may be easy.

Then there is this:

DPRK News Service ‏@DPRK_News
Foreign Ministry weighing offers from Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump, and Kim Kardashian to mediate present crisis with south Korean puppets.

[It is a fake Twitter site.]

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 23, 2015

TSA to the Rescue


For John, BLUFI think we need to keep TSA at bay for a while longer.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I celebrate the action by three Americans, and a Brit "Cousin", to tackle and hogtie a terrorist on a high-speed rail train traveling in Europe.  What we should know we need to do in this new age of terrorism.  It isn't like the airplane hijackings of old, when it was a free trip to Cuba and then a safe return home.  Now it is mass murder.

The good fallout from the incident is the idea that we can resist, fight back, and win.  Not always, but if you are going to die you might as well fight back and try to prevent it.

The bad news is that people are thinking that TSA should step in and make us safe on trains.  Here is an article from The International New York Times.  The headline is "Train Attack in Europe Puts Focus on Vulnerability of U.S. Rail".

I like the Acela.  Let us be very clear about this.  The Acela is NOT high speed rail.&nbssp; All that said, I can leave my home, drive to the local "128 Station", park, walk to the elevator, ride down to ticket area, pick up my ticket, walk out to the platform five minutes before the train is due, and call my wife on my cell phone, talking to her as I board and while the train is pulling away from the station for the ride to New York, Philly or DC.  Once in a while I see a policeman and his dog.

The article catches this:

Amtrak, particularly on its high-speed train, the Acela, has cut into the airlines’ share of passengers in the busy Northeast corridor because of frustrations with airport screenings.  Between New York and Washington, Amtrak said, 75 percent of travelers go by train, a share that has grown steadily since the Acela began service in 2000 and airport security tightened after 2001.
The intervention of TSA to "make us safer" will ruin this situation.  I will again consider driving.

How much safety do we want and at what price?

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Departure Benefit Packages


For John, BLUFDoes the job market really require us to give this huge contract payout packages?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The [Lowell] Sun, via Reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey, we have "Lowell's payout to Lang: $91G in unused days".  That would be "outgoing Lowell Deputy Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang leaves the city with a $91,256 payout."  This amount comes from unused vacation and sick days.

To start off, it is Mr Lang's fair and square.  It is in his contract.

On the other hand, when I was in the Air Force I had no sick leave—although my duty location could be the hospital or "sick in quarters".  As for vacation (leave as we called it), I earned 30 day a year between June of 1964 and June of 1970, which would be 180 days.  But, you could not "carry over" more than 60 days of leave.

Frankly, after pilot training I had little time for leave—Two F-4 courses, Viet-nam and then Germany, where the squadron had 24 backseat pilots (PSOs as we were known, Pilot System Operators).  In addition to flying, our squadron pulled five lines of alert for a month and then for the next month six lines, followed by a month with five lines of alert with half of the squadron at Gunnery Camp, in North Africa (alert every other day for two weeks, then 1,000 miles away for two weeks)..  Basically, you were on alert every fourth day throughout the year.

By law, at the end of the Fiscal Year, one could carry over 60 days of leave.  Needless to say, losing leave was a normal event for everyone in the squadron, but especially the backseaters.  With no compensation.  Not even a kiss on the cheek.  That said, when you retired, or otherwise terminated, you got to take all the accumulated leave, and you could work at your new job while on leave, much like Mr Jay Lang.

Needless to say, I don't grieve for those who don't take their leave, if they can.  In fact, knowing the value of vacation in helping people recharge their batteries, so they can do a better job going forward, and in a more healthy condition, I think taking leave is important.  There should be a punishment for not taking leave.  In fact, as I recall, taking leave was considered a military duty, even if the military might prevent you from doing it ("needs of the Service" and all that).

The thing that should give people pause is that this is a public employee and his severance pay is $91,256.

Going to the interactive map (City-Data Dot Com), we have some crude numbers.  From the bar graph, the overall City number for 2013, median household income, was $42,270.

Salary Dot Com has the median teacher income as $57,437 (as of August 2015).  So, Mr Lang is taking out of the system the median salary of a Lowell Teacher.

The question is, is this a wise use of our money.  Put another way, do we have to offer what looks like a Public Servant golden parachute to attract talent?

Back to the article,

Mayor Rodney Elliott, a vocal proponent of eliminating the sick-time buyback benefit for school employees, said the payout is another example of valuable resources going out the door to "huge compensation packages."

"It's a significant financial burden, and it's past time for us to put a cap on this buyback and vacation," he said.

Mayor Rodney Elliot is not wrong here.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Thus the question, what is more worthless than one PSO?
  That is five aircraft on alert, for a 24 hours alert period, aircrews and crew chiefs eating and sleeping at the Alert Facility, seven days a week.  Gassed up and ready to go.  For a while we even had college classes in the alert dining facility.
  Because of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, for Fiscal Year 2008 and up through FY 2015, Congress eased the limit to 75 days.
  I always wonder about the categories used.  Do the Portuguese get their own group?  I don't think so.  What about Brazilians?  Where do those who trace their parentage back to the Indian sub-continent fit it?  I assume they are Caucasian, but does some demographer in Washington, DC, think they are Asian?  Or are they part of the best off group, American Indians, at $62,549.  No, I don't think so.
  Which is the "bottom line".

Friday, August 21, 2015

Charter Schools Score in NYC


For John, BLUFDo parents really prioritize their children's future success?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The New York Post we have an Editorial headline (and story) that presumes the reader has prior knowledge—"Mayor de Blasio’s war on the best public schools in New York".

The point of the Editorial Board is that the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, with 11,000 students across the City, is now the top system in the State.  The hidden point is that Mayor de Blasio is fighting Charter Schools, notwithstanding their success, even with disadvantages students.  Maybe Mayor de Blasio recognizes that the Success Academy Charter Schools are skimming the best students.

These scholars didn’t start off as the cream of the crop: The only thing that set them apart from any other child in the city public schools is that their families applied and won the lottery to enter Success.
Yes, parental involvement.  Yes, Success Academy Charter Schools have parents who are, in some way, to some degree, involved in the education of their children.

For me this is one of the reasons Ms Kim Duggan Scott's effort to revitalize the Lowell Citywide Parent Council is so important.  You can follow the Lowell Citywide Parent Council on Facebook.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Automobiles of Choice, By State


For John, BLUFThe environment shapes auto purchases.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Popular Mechanics "The Unofficial State Cars of America".

Reporter Jake Swearingen claims "We combed through data to find the auto each state secretly loves."

The result for our fair Commonwealth:

In Massachusetts, the Volvo XC70 sells at 305 percent the national average.  Another four Volvo models, the V60 Cross Country, S80, XC90 and XC60, each have market shares equal to more than twice their national market shares.
For our neighbor to the North, New Hampshire, which is suffering from an influx of people from Massachusetts this is the report.
In New Hampshire, the Volvo V60 Cross Country sells at 597 percent of the national average.
As for Maine, our former colony, set free in 1820:
In Maine, the Volvo V60 Cross Country sells at 554 percent of the national average. In addition, five Subaru models, including the Impreza, Forester, XV Crosstrek, Outback and Legacy, all have market shares more than twice their national market shares.
Looking immediately South, to Rhode Island:
In Rhode Island, the Hyundai Elantra Coupe sells at 452 percent of the national average. In Rhode Island four Volvo models, including the V60 Cross Country, XC70, S60 and XC60, all sell at a rate more than twice their national averages.
Going Southwest, toward NYC, we have Connecticut:
In Connecticut, the Subaru Impreza sells at 441 percent the national average, while five Volvo models, including the XC70, V60 Cross Country, S80, S60 and XC60, all have market shares in Connecticut more than twice their national averages.
Then there is Vermont:
In Vermont, the Volvo V60 Cross Country sells at 841 percent of the national average.  In Vermont three Volvo models, including the V60 Cross Country, XC70 and S80, each sell at a rate more than four times their respective national averages.
In this quick survey I ignored New York, which is a whole different world, and not really part of New England.  It is obvious from this unofficial survey of sales that New England is Volvo country.

I like Volvos.  We bought one in 1970 and kept it for almost ten years and then gave it to our Daughter, who rolled in onto its top on a dirt road in Alaska.  Fortunately a troop of Soldiers were passing by and rolled it back over.  And it drove back out and you had to look to see the indentation on the roof. 

Me?  I once owned a Morgan +4.  Today I drive what my wife drove before her new car.  Works well for me.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Reminds me of Orange County, California, which was very conservative in the 1950s, and then became fairly progressive in the next two decades, as people moved in from LA County.
  We did have it checked out and replaced all the fluids, but it was fine.
  Owned it for ten years, but sold it when our Volvo went down for eight weeks.  We had to do a "short block" in Naples, Italy, which took a couple of days, but the original offending part, a pot metal bracket for the distributor, was not available in Italy.  Fortunately I had to go to Oslo, Norway, to give a briefing on TASMO to NATO's Above Water Warfare Working Group (BARBARA) and when I arrived in Oslo I went straight to a Volvo dealer and purchased the needed part for installation upon my return.  But, we couldn't afford, with three teenage sized kids, to be down to a two-seater if the other car broke down.  Fortunately our friends the Tuels helped us out with the loan of their Beetle for part of the time.  Bought a Peugeot station wagon.

Wikipedia As A Source


For John, BLUFPapers?  I don't write no stinking papers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This article shows why students should not use Wikipedia as a source in a paper.

"Socially controversial science topics on Wikipedia draw edit wars".  The sub-headline is "The accuracy of what you see depends on whether people are happy about a topic."

I think using Wikipedia for a quick overview is good.  It is also a good source for looking for references to check out.  But, as the story shows, it is not a guaranteed reliable source.  Wikipedia "truth" can change from one minute to the next.

NATO has a good expression with regard to Doctrine, "It is authoritative but requires judgement in application".  I feel the same way about Wikipedia, except to add, don't cite it as an authoritative source in a paper—exploit it for all you can, including the footnotes, but don't cite it in your paper's footnotes or endnotes.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  AAP-6(V) NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"The Road Not Taken"


For John, BLUFI guess I didn't understand it from my time in school.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Mr Stephen Lynch, of The New York Post we have a re-look at Robert Frost's famous poem—"The Famous Robert Frost poem we've read wrong forever."

From Mr David Orr, who has written a new book, The Road Not Taken (Penguin Press), we get the following quote:

Orr writes that “The Road Not Taken” is “a thoroughly American poem.  The ideas that [it] holds in tension — the notion of choice, the possibility of self-deception — are concepts that define . . . the United States.”

It is also, as critic Frank Lentricchia writes, “the best example in all of American poetry of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

At the end of the day you have to decide for yourself what something means.  Critics are helpful, but they are only an input and not the people to dictate understanding.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation


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



From The [Boston] Pilot we have this article by Ms Cindy Wooden, "Pope Designates Sept 1 as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation" Here is the lede:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Like their Orthodox brothers and sisters, Catholics formally will mark Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis has decided.

The day of prayer, the pope said, will give individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God's help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God's forgiveness "for sins committed against the world in which we live."

Pope Francis announced his decision to add the annual prayer day to the Catholic calendar in a letter to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

For those of you who are all up in the trees over the Pope's recent Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si', On Care For Our Common Home, I have read it and the focus is not so much on the specifics of climate change as it is on our mutual responsibilities toward our fellow human beings as we share our limited global resources.  I would say that the Pontiff has less faith in the operation of free markets to raise people out of poverty than I have.  That said, the belief in the ability of governments to make things better, like the poor, will always be with us.  The true problem is that often, when people lose faith in the Marxist Communist dream they turn to unhelpful alternatives.  For example, Benito Mussolini created Fascism when he lost faith in Communism.  We know how that worked out.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The title comes from a line from Saint Francis of Assisi, “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”.  This is part of his Canticle of the Sun.  I have sung this at Prayer Meetings (as much as I sing).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

IRS Scandal Goes On and On


For John, BLUFShouldn't George be outraged by this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



As Pepperdine University School of Law Tax Law Professor Paul Caron reminds us, It is Day 832 of the IRS Scandal.  And Ms Lois Lerner is still walking around.  She did retire from the IRS almost two years ago.  The thing is, Wikipedia claims she is a member of the Massachusetts bar.  I hope that isn't true, and if true, that someone will challenge her membership.

But, with this item from Ars Technica (Reporter Sean Gallagher), we have two scandals running.  Should they run in parallel or should the days be additive?  Anyway, here is the headline:  "IRS’ estimate of tax records stolen by fraudsters soars to over 300,000".  The sub-headline is "Using data from previous corporate breaches, fraudsters frolicked in IRS transcript data."

Regards  —  Cliff

Official Preliminary Election Names


For John, BLUFI think the Lowell School Committee Race will be interesting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



It is an image and thus the print is small.  EMail me or leave a comment requesting, and I will forward the original.

Yes, if you read it, there will be no School Committee names (either Committee) on the Preliminary Ballots.  Thus, no chance for those candidates to get a hint as to their ranking, although for Greater Lowell Technical High School it will be like an election in the Old South—where the Primary WAS the election.  With two seats and two contestants, it is pretty much a wrap.  Congratulations to Ray Boutin and Curtis J. LeMay.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trump and the Republican Establishment


For John, BLUFThe local Democrat establishment seems pretty secure in believing it will be Ms Clinton.  Maybe not.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



It is Mr Ezra Klein, writing in Vox"The Republican Party doesn’t want to believe its voters agree with Trump.  But they do."
Does Donald Trump's appeal have anything to do with his policy positions?  Republican political consultant Matthew Dowd says it doesn't — Trump's rise, he argues, is all personality, no policy:
trump's voter support has nothing to do with any issues.  it has to do with gut and bravado.
This is, for Republicans, the more comforting interpretation of Trump's emergence — he's a candidate powered by a potent mix of celebrity, outrage, and chutzpah, but he's not really a Republican, and as the primary grinds on, Republican voters will figure that out.
Well, how do we understand it?  Here is Mr Ezra Klein's shot at it:
But there's another possible interpretation — this one more worrying for Republicans.  In this interpretation, part of what makes Trump dangerous is that he's willing to cater to the opinions of the Republican base in ways that the Republican establishment wouldn't dare.  And in doing so, he can exploit longstanding cleavages between the Republican Party and the voters it represents.
There is a slight problem with this explanation.  It stands on two legs.
  • The first is Mr Trump is "willing to cater to the opinions of the Republican base".
  • The second is the "longstanding cleavages between the Republican Party and the voters it represents.
The problem is, if there are "longstanding cleavages" between the Party Establishment, including many leaders in Congress, and the Republican Voters, then the Party Establishment does not, in fact, represent those voters.  Nobody does.  Of course, it is the purpose of elections to try and determine if those voters are a big enough group to deserve representation.  If this was one of those European nations, with a Parliament, then those voters would be represented, albeit as a minority party.  Or as a party strong enough to form a coalition with one or more other parties to run the government.

But, this is the United States.  Aside from the odd individual (e.g., Bernie Sanders in the US Senate), you are either a Democrat or a Republican.  A very Anglo-Saxon way of organizing things.

One of the issues Mr Klein hammers in his article is immigration. I thought this item, "Floodgates Open:  Top Democrat Professor says 'I've Never Seen Any Politician' With Better Immigration Plan Than Trump", from Brietbart made an interesting point.  That "top Dem Prof" would be Norm Matloff, a professor at UC Davis, who has written extensively about H-1B visa abuses. 

Matloff, a self-described Democrat and “longtime admirer of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT),” gave Donald Trump’s H-1B policy “an A+”...
Then there is this view put out by Mr Ron Radosh, "Populism Is Back, on Both Left and Right".  Note that he says "Populism", not "Progressivism".  The sub-headline is "Will the ideas of Trump and Sanders guide the election just as prior populist movements have?".  Good question.

Here is the lede:

Populism from both the right and the left is sweeping the country, represented by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  Trump says he is a conservative while Sanders says he is a democratic socialist, but labels aside, the issues they are emphasizing which are drawing the big crowds often parallel one another.

This week, Trump unveiled his immigration plan.  Emphasizing “jobs, wages, and security” in a section titled “Put American Workers First,” Trump writes:

The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans — including immigrants themselves and their children — to earn a middle class wage.

. . .

We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.

If you check some of Sanders’ speeches, he says the exact same thing.

In an interview with Ezra Klein in Vox, Sanders rejects “open borders” as both a Koch family desire as well as that of those he calls “the right-wing.”

Interesting.  Sometimes candidates don't so much articulate their ideas as allow us to project our ideas onto them.

Then there is this from Mr Kurt Schlichter, writing in Town Hall"The GOP Establishment Will Learn the Wrong Lessons from Donald Trump".

Let's be absolutely clear – Donald Trump is entirely the fault of a GOP establishment that lied to conservatives and refused to do what it promised it would do.  Trump is no secret Machiavellian genius cunningly outmaneuvering his enemies from his super-classy Atlantic City volcano lair.  He's a finger-to-the-wind charlatan who will say whatever he needs to say to maximize his own personal adulation.  And he would still be merely a tiresome reality TV catch-phrase generator if the GOP establishment had not treated the rest of us like dirt.

Donald Trump will be beaten, but it sure as hell is not going to be the establishment that does it.  Instead, it is hard-core conservatives like me and you who are getting out there and making the case that serious conservative renewal requires actual serious conservative candidates.  You know, ones who never voted for Obama or gave money to Hillary – conservatives who were conservative before conservatism was cool.

Bonus:  Mr Schlichter talks about drinking Glenlivet with John Boehner.  I am not so impressed with the John Boehner thing as with the fact that Mr Schlichter was at a party that served Glenlivet.

Hat tip to the blog Memorandum.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The article says "his work is widely cited in the H-1B reform community".
  I wonder if local Lawyer Jim Hall, also an Army War College Graduate, knows him.

City Life Questions


For John, BLUFAudience participation was hard today.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I have been watching City Life on the Internet today and it has been a terrible experience.  The video and audio are not matched up and interruptions are every few minutes.  As an indication, the audio of City Life continued to 0809, while the video of Nation of Change, came up at 0800, as expected.

Yes, I called LTC a minute ago.  Got the operator's recorded message.

On City Life, yesterday, the issue of colonialism came up, regarding Puerto Rico, and eventually slid over to the Philippines.  It was suggested that we colonized the Philippine Islands as a racial thing—we were "White" and the people of the Philippines weren't.  Perhaps at some level that might be true, if you believe that Caucasians of both the Christian and Muslim persuasions, as religious people, wish to spread their understanding of God to others.  And, if you believe that urge is inherent in their Caucasianness.  Interestingly, Jews don't have this same urge.

But, when we won the Spanish American War there were those in the US, including in the US Congress, who felt it was our duty to bring Christianity to the Peoples of the Philippines.  That would be the Protestant version of Christianity, given that many Filipinos were Roman Catholic  As a result of the Philippines being colonize out of Mexico in 1565, under the explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, the Philippines gradually became Catholic in the northern island, while remaining Muslim in the Southern Part.  Mexico was the Colonial master until 1821, when Mexico broke away from Spain.  From that point on, Spain ruled the Philippines directly.  And Roman Catholicism was the state religion.

We paid Spain $20 million in compensation for them losing the Philippines, and later paid $7.2 million to the Vatican for large tracks of land owned by various friaries.  Back in those days that was real money.

So, the exit question is, why are Filipinos not Hispanic?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

UPDATE:  I called LTC about 1000 and got through.  I explained the problem and asked them to call me back when they had resolved it.  Ten minutes later they called back.  They had made adjustments to synch up the audio and video.  Excellent.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 17, 2015

Value of the Market


For John, BLUFPrice is a signal and people adjust.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From USA Today, Sunday, we have Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds suggesting "Fast moving bad news builds prosperity".  The sub-headline is "Free markets automatically create and transmit negative information, while socialism hides it."

The lede:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted:  "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.”

This drew a response:  "The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news."  These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.

Well, there is more at the link, but that is the basic story.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Anniversary of End of WWII


For John, BLUFA peaceful Japan is good for Asia, and the United States.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The end of World War II, VJ-Day is reckoned differently in different nations.  In some it is 14 August (or 15 August, accounting for the International Dateline) and in others it is 2 September, with the signing of the Surrender aboard the USS MISSOURI.  In the US it will be 2 September.  However, in Japan the annual apologies have been given.  Here is the report by Mr Jonathan Sobleaug, dateline 14 August, from The New York Times"Shinzo Abe Echoes Japan’s Past World War II Apologies but Adds None".  The sub-headline is "The Japanese prime minister delivered a statement on the 70th anniversary of the announcement of the country’s surrender in World War II, expressing “profound grief” at the loss of life."
TOKYO — Using the carefully chosen words that govern reckonings with Japan’s militarist past, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his country’s official remorse for the catastrophe of World War II on Friday, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

In a nationally televised address, Mr. Abe described feelings of “profound grief” and offered “eternal, sincere condolences” for the dead.  He said Japan had inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” when it “took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.”

But in a potentially contentious break with previous expressions of contrition by Japanese leaders, he did not offer a new apology of his own.

The decision, a product of months of deliberation, appeared calibrated to draw a line under what Mr. Abe and many Japanese see as an endless and enfeebling cycle of apologies for decades-old offenses.  But Mr. Abe sought to do so while still addressing lingering resentment in China and South Korea, nations that bore the brunt of Japan’s often brutal empire building in the first half of the 20th century.

Then there is the Emperor, who is still respected in Japan.  Here is a Wall Street Journal article on the Emperor's statement.  The reporters are Mssers Alexander Martin and Peter Landers.
TOKYO—Japanese Emperor Akihito expressed “deep remorse” over World War II at a memorial service, deviating from his customary script in what could be seen as a veiled reproach toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative policies.

For many years, the emperor had delivered a virtually identical address at the annual Aug. 15 service for the war dead.  But this year, marking the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, he made several additions, including the mention of remorse and a statement that Japan’s postwar prosperity rested on the people’s “earnest desire for the continuation of peace.”

The remarks Saturday came just 18 hours after Mr. Abe, in his own statement marking the anniversary, declined to deliver an explicit apology for the war in his own words, alluding instead to apologies issued by predecessors.  The prime minister also said he hoped future generations wouldn’t have to apologize.

The war-anniversary statements came in the middle of a vigorous debate in parliament over Mr. Abe’s push to expand the role of Japan’s armed forces by reinterpreting Japan’s postwar constitution.  A majority of voters oppose that move, according to polls.

An interesting question is how long will the rest of the world hold Japan down for its activities before 1945?  At the WSJ link is a chart of attitudes amongst various Asian and Western Pacific nations.  This question is a two edged sword, in that Japan has grown and prospered under its Constitution, renouncing war, and under the US Nuclear Umbrella.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hidden Beauty


For John, BLUFSure, there have to be some limits, but limits can kill the value.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From the Twitter feed of Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Author of The Black Swan) we have:
The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits.  All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.
But then I like the free-market system.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rape Justified by Theology


For John, BLUFThe Administration may be gearing up to go back into the Middle East.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Yesterday would have been Ms Kayla Mueller's 27th Birthday.  The New Yorker, through Writer Lawrence Wright, asks why she was where she was when she was killed, and who killed her.

It appears she was being held in an ISIL weapons warehouse that was attacked by Jordanian Air Force F-16s.  The Jordanians had attacked the warehouse previously, partly damaging it.  The Writer asks why they would go back.  I respond, to finish the job.  While for the targeteers 50% area coverage may be good enough, for the fighter pilot flying the mission, 50% area coverage isn't really good enough.

But, the story touches on the fact that the Daesch leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was repeatedly raping Ms Mueller.  She was his sex slave.  If you read The Washington Post story from today, Mr Baghdadi was also torturing Ms Mueller, and the FBI has told her parents.

These stories follow a story in The New York Times, by Mr Rukmini Callimachi, from 13 August of this year.  A long read, some 14 minutes, it details how Daesh has been raping its way through new territories, with the theological belief that it is what God authorizes and wants.  A young Yazidi women who escaped quoted the ISIL fighter who kept her and a 12 year old girl as sex slaves as explaining his repeated rape of a 12 year old with:

"And having sex with her pleases God," he said.
But, why these three stories, now?  To these three outlets (Old Gray Lady, Wash Post and New Yorker)?

I wonder if this is providing preparation for the public for an announcement that we are going to take new actions in Iraq or Syria or both.

The President's base doesn't want boots on the group, but if this kind of inhumane activity is ongoing it could justify the United States taking a strong hand.  We will see.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gore Option If Ms Clinton Craters


For John, BLUFAl Gore would be so bad.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



University of Wisconsin (Madison) Law Professor Ann Althouse has a post on the boomlet for former Vice President Al Gore as an alternative to Hillary.

The Althouse bottom line:

Isn't it obvious?  They're going to have to play the Elizabeth card.
In the unlikely event Senator E Warren were elected President we would have to have someone to run for the US Senate in 2017.  I recommend we consider co-oping Lawyer Marisa DeFranco.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Abortion May Not Be Going Away As An Issue


For John, BLUFAnd partly because the issue has been suppressed in politics for too long.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Kirsten Powers:  "I've got news for Democrats. It's a baby!".  OK, so Ms Kirsten Powers is selling her book, The Silencing:  How the Left is Killing Free Speech.  But, that doesn't make her wrong.

The sub-headline is:

Democrats on wrong side of history when it comes to Planned Parenthood's crimes against innocent unborn.
Here is the lede:
Democrats like to talk about the importance of being on the “right side of history.”  This phrase was invoked frequently during the same-sex marriage debate.  Yet when faced with a series of videos detailing grotesque human rights abuses against unborn children by Planned Parenthood Federation of America doctors, Democratic Party forces have eschewed all concern for historical or moral rightness.

Pope Francis has correctly described the unborn as “the most defenseless and innocent among us.”  But in the sordid tale of strategic crushing of the unborn to better harvest their hearts, lungs and livers, many Democrats have incredibly cast an organization with a roughly $1.3 billion annual budget in the role of the innocent and defenseless.  Hillary Clinton emerged as Planned Parenthood’s highest profile protector Monday, decrying the “assault” against her allegedly helpless campaign donors.

Yes, I get that the videos are questionable with regard to the ethics of journalism.  I have read what Reporter Carl Prine has said about that.  And Carl is a pro-life kind of person.

That said, there is a problem here.  Ms Powers sees it.  I think even The New Yorker sees it.  On 13 August of this year they had an article by Jedediah Purdy, headlined "Environmentalism’s Racist History".  It is focused around Mr Madison Grant (Yale College 1887, Columbia Law School) and talks about how early Twentieth Century Environmentalists were also Eugenics fans and were concerned about the future of mankind.  For example, in 1916 Mr Grant published his The Passing of the Great Race, or The Racial Basis of European History.  I was amused at how The New Yorker described the book:

...a pseudo-scientific work of white supremacism that warns of the decline of the “Nordic” peoples.
Funny how something we now reject is considered "pseudo-science", as though there was no real scientific effort put into it.  I bet Mr Grant's work was considered "settled science" by the Bien-Pensant of the day.

Of interest, Mr Grant was involved in the writing of the Immigration Act of 1924.

No, Ms Margaret Sanger was not mentioned in article by Mr Purdy.  On the other hand, there is this, perhaps based on the idea that her work was "pseudo-science".  Actually it is a group of Black Pastors, led by a Harvard Law School Graduate.  The Breitbart headline is "Remove Bust of Racist Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger from National Portrait Gallery".  Makes sense to me.

As a final thought.  The abortion issue may be a case of groups not being willing to take yes for an answer.  While I am personally opposed to abortion, this is a Democracy and everyone gets a vote.  A large majority of us believe abortion should be legal.  A large proportion of us believe that late term abortions, except for the life of the Mother, are wrong.  I would think there is a compromise at about 20 to 22 weeks.  Not all I want, but also better than the current approach.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I was surprised as to the number of different versions of this almost 100 year old publication that is probably of questionable taste.  Although reading it might help us understand how we got to where we are.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mass Republican [Official] View of Presidential Race


For John, BLUFThere will be a lot of trash talked before this Presidential season is over.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In today's edition of The [Lowell] Sun is an article from the State House News Service (By Reporters Matt Murphy and Colin A. Young).  It is headlined "Mass. GOP looking beyond Trump".

The problem is, the article is about Republicans in the State House (of course, it IS the State House News Service).  Well, they did mention National Committeewoman Chanel Prunier, who backs Senator Rand Paul.

Here is a sample from the fairly long article (1760 Words):

Gov. Charlie Baker, in a radio interview on Thursday, criticized Trump, who has been in the news for days after initiating a spat with Fox News host Megyn Kelly over her pointed questioning during the debate.  In the aftermath, Trump has made several comments considered to be disparaging toward women.

Though Baker has been reluctant to share his opinions on national politics in great detail, and is unlikely to endorse before the general election, he served up a pointed admonishment of Trump on Boston Public Radio.

"I was raised by my parents, you know, in a certain way and I find a lot of those comments to be reprehensible, outrageous and ridiculous, and I wish he would take them back," Baker said.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones is equally unimpressed with his party's surging frontrunner at the moment.

"To me, Donald Trump is the letter to the editor you write late at night and hopefully put in your top drawer and never send," said Jones, who called himself "not the biggest Trump fan."

In reading this offering we should keep in mind "the latest figures put together by political scientists at Georgetown and Princeton universities", as reported in The Boston Globe (9 August 2015):
It’s not that Massachusetts Democrats are particularly left wing.  Relative to legislators in a number of other states, they’re fairly moderate.  In New York and Vermont, the Democratic caucuses lean further left, and the same is true in a handful of redder states, like Arizona and Wisconsin.

The reason Massachusetts ranks so high on the list of liberal legislatures is that there are almost no conservative members.  Not only do Democrats control about 80 percent of both houses, but the few Republicans who do hold seats are pretty centrist.  They have roughly the same political preferences as Democrats in Oklahoma, and they’re actually further left than Democrats in Arkansas.

That should tell you something right there.  And, you should ask, what are the real Republicans thinking?  What we are seeing is the views of the "down town [Boston]" Republicans, who hope the "grass roots" Republicans will just fall into line.  The problem is, those of us out in the sticks may not be like those on Beacon Hill.  If you are looking for a watchword, it might be that Mr Donald Trump is the replacement for Andrew Breitbart, mining the seam of unhappiness that is out there.  The unhappiness with Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and with the PC Police.

As you read the article, ask yourself where were the comments from the Chairpersons of Town and City Committees?  Where were the comments from the Greater Lowell Tea Party?  Where were comments from MARA, the Massachusetts Republican Assembly?

Will there be companion pieces talking to what local Republicans think?  I would hope so.  When you look at the article you note that not even Lowell's surrogate Republican Legislator, David Nangle, was mentioned.

Actually, it is worse.  When the folks from Beacon Hill come to Lowell they don't bother to meet with the folks in the trenches, the folks who are part of the official Lowell Republican City Committee.  It is truly the "down town" Republicans vs the "grass roots" Republicans.

As a side note, I am not for Mr Trump.  I am for Governor Scott Walker.  Just saying.  And, back on 5 March of this year I picked Governor Walker for the Republican nominee.

Not everyone sees it that way—Talking to you, Rick.

Regards  —  Cliff

  If you read The New York Times, that would be "Governor Scott".

Preliminary Election Update


For John, BLUFBe sure to vote.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From a Press Release from the Lowell Election Commission (Joseph Mullen, Chairman, Pat McCartin, Tom O'Brien and Thel Sar) we know that there will be a Preliminary Election, to winnow down the number of Candidates for City Council.  Preliminary Election as opposed to a Primary Election.

The Election will be Tuesday, 29 September 2015.

That means the deadline to register to vote is Wednesday, 9 September 2015.

That means the deadline for an absentee ballot will be Noon Monday, 28 September 2015.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, it would be nice if we had same-day registration.  But, like everything else it will cost us money to do that.  So, what is the trade-off?  How many people would take advantage of this opportunity?  Why didn't they behoove themselves to register by 9 September?  And, of course, there is always the integrity-of-the-election question.  What is the chance someone could exploit this to stuff the ballot box?

Russian Propaganda Against Ukraine


For John, BLUFA war of words is better than a shooting war.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Sputnik, part of RIA Novosti, we have Reporter Ekaterina Blinova and "Holodomor Hoax:  Joseph Stalin's Crime That Never Took Place"
Playing into the hands of Ukrainian nationalists, a monument to the so-called Ukrainian "Holodomor," one the 20th century's most famous myths and vitriolic pieces of anti-Soviet Propaganda, has been erected in the US capital.
Well, we know that New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, winner of a Pulitzer, denied the existence of the Holodomor.  But then he denied everything and whitewashed Joseph Stalin.

Memories are long in Eastern Europe and denial is strong.

The Russian line (remember, Russia has recently occupied part of Ukraine, notwithstanding recent treaty agreements) is that the Ukrainian nationalists are really the Nazis come back to oppress Russia and that the Russian oppression of Ukraine, while Dictator Joseph Stalin tried forced collectivization of Ukrainian farms, never happened.

Regards  —  Cliff

  It reminds one of the North Koreans starving due to mismanagement of the economy, and especially the farm economy.  Centralized planning, while promising efficiencies, tends to be very inefficient.  Centralized planning is a code word for Communism (and Fascism).

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Knowing When To Shift Paradigms


For John, BLUFHenry Ford was far from a perfect man.  On the other hand, he hung out with the likes of Thomas Edison, which must have pushed his imagination.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Someone out there posted this as their favorite Henry Ford quote:
If I would have asked them what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
It is important to pick the proper people to write requirements.  Having someone in there with a little vision is always helpful.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hillary and Bernie Compared


For John, BLUFNothing to see here; just move along.



From the Instapundit, on the 12th:
TWEET OF THE DAY: “The earnestly naive Bernie Sanders is who the Democratic party wants to be. The corrupt and venal Hillary Clinton is who they are.”
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bridges to Somewhere


For John, BLUFWe have one new bridge, the Howe Bridge, but now we need more.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



LIVE BLOGGING:  Transportation Subcommittee, 11 Aug 2015

1732—Folks are filtering in.

1734—City Councilor Jim Milinazzo calls meeting to order and recognizes City Manager, who introduces the presenters.

1735—City Traffic Engineer introduces the topic and talks to the intersection of VFW Highway and Bridge Street.

1740—City Coucilor Bill Martin asks about when traffic is congested.

1741—There is some discussion of dealing with the traffic and the lights.

1745—City Councilor, not on the subcommittee, asks about southbound on Bridge, turning east on VFW Highway.

1746—Response is two left turn lanes there.

1749—Councilor Leahey, of the subcommittee, asks if these will be smart lights.

1749—Each lane will have its own detection, helping to run the "phases".  It runs through a complete cycle, but it adjusts.  A long gap between vehicles may terminate that specific phase.

1752—City Councilor Leahy asked about the down ramp at the Hunts Fall Bridge rotary.

1752—Told that the merge is either at the top of the ramp or the bottom.  No advantage to a two lane down ramp.

1755—CC Kennedy asks about the problems during construction.

1755—September to September 2016. Originally an exclusive and a concurrent phase, but going to an all concurrent phase.

1758—CC KennedyLength of Light Cycle.

1758—About 90 seconds.

1759—CC Samaras asks if the High School student traffic was considered

1759—Yes.  And we have extended the signal time.

1801—What happens with smart lights when emergency vehicles interrupt the light cycle?

1801—The main line will typically come back.

1802—Contractors will remove the asphalt medians, the monument will come out, going back in different location.  Islands will be rebuilt.

1805—MassDOT promises one lane in each direction and two during rush hour.

1806—Gas folks are doing their work now.  Storm drains are being tied it.

1807—Michael Harrington.  Currently work now being done at night but soon switching to daytime.  Only sign re work time has only one sign, under the rotary bridge.  [Promise to move signage.]  Alternate route is is down 1st Street, which is crowded.  Anything being done to help? What about the old down ramp Reed Street exit?  Can someone come to our next Centerville Neighborhood Meeting?  [Promise to attend.]

1813—Sarah White.  My interest in the Lord Overpass, especially as it impacts local peds.  Need walkability between East and West Dutton Street.  And the railroad tracks and those hazards regarding Peds.

1817—City Manager says item on City Council Agenda for tonight re Lord Overpass, so presentation in the offing.

1818—Ann Marie Page.  Merging and yielding is something that people have trouble with.  Parking?  [No spaces lost.  Illegal parking is another issue, for the City.]  I remember the Hunts Falls down ramp.  Problem was no route for emergency vehicles.  Re the monument, we were promised it would be cleaned and refurbished, with a black wrought-iron fence.

1824—Paul Early.  Count down light for Peds?

1824—Motion to accept report.  Made and Passed.

1824—Motion to adjourn.  Made and Passed.

Regards  —  Cliff

Vaclav Havel vs the Bureaucracy


For John, BLUFToo many bureaucrats with good ideas for you.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This item is not straight forward, and it recommends more reading, but Vaclav Havel is an important thinker and leader from the last century.  The headline is "Vaclav Havel’s ‘The Power of the Powerless’ Endures; His history-changing thoughts define the West's struggle today."

The source is PJ Media and the writer is Mr J. Christian Adams.  It was published on 10 August.

Commended to you.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Minimum Wages


For John, BLUFIf you jack your prices, folks will look for alternatives.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Reason Magazine (libertarian) has an article by Reporter Brian Doherty about the decision by Seattle to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Mr Doherty raises the question of if the bump in the minimum wage is resulting in a drop in employment.  The post references a chart at an American Enterprise Institute that shows a definite down-tick in employment in Seattle this Spring.

The InstaPundit notes that "The Laws of Economics haven't been repealed."

I think the minimum wage increase works for food servers and others if we, the customers, are willing to pay.  However, some customers have to actually budget their money, even if it is only in a rough way.  When someone says to themself (or to their spouse) "I think the prices at X are just a little too high" that is an economic decision.  The person is going to look a little down scale or is going to look for another option or is going to eat at home.

The fundamental question is if the Middle and Lower Middle Class families have the marginal dollar free to pay the extra wage.  The cost per person is going to be small, but when it becomes noticeable it may change spending habits.  Time will tell.

For those who say it should come out of company profits, I like that idea, but if the investors find that there is more profit in other investments, then that will adversely impact jobs, over the long run.  Everyone is looking for an edge.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 10, 2015

Race and Acceptance


For John, BLUFWe need a conversation on race but it can't be just a lecture.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



While checking out a different article I stumbled across this OpEd from The International New York Times.  The headline is "‘Black Lives Matter’ and the G.O.P.".  The writer is NYT staff opinionator Charles M. Blow.

The writer focuses on the Republicans and passes over the incident with Candidate Bernie Sanders.  That was fine.  You can only cover so much of the waterfront within the word limit of the OpEd Page.  That said, I think he should go back and look at that issue at some point.  Why Senator Bernie Sanders?  Less security?  More news benefit?  Something else?

Back to what Mr Blow did write, here is what I take to be the two key paragraphs (in the first of them he is referencing Governor Scott Walker's response to a question):

Both the question and the answer focused an inordinate amount of attention on police conduct and not enough on revealing that they are simply the agents of policy instituted by officials at the behest of the body politic.

This deficit of examining systems exists all across this debate.  It fails to indict society as a whole, as I firmly believe it should.  It puts all the focus on the tip of the spear rather than on the spear itself.

I like the idea of examining the overall system and not just this or that part.  This isn't just taking the car in for an oil change.  This is asking about how the car as a whole, as an overall system, as part of a larger system of roads and parking and traffic controls, works.

We need to ask what is going on in our nation.  A friend of mine, whose Parents are from China, says he sees racism in some circumstances.  On the other hand, the quotas at Harvard didn't keep him out.  I wonder about it in Lowell, with our 20% of the population from Southeast Asia.  I don't see it in the trenches, but then I don't live in the trenches.  I am on the License Commission, but I am thinking we are working hard to help minorities, especially those who are recent immigrants.  On the other hand, we as a nation obviously have problems, as the one year anniversary of the Furguson Incident shows.

Mr Blow calls for us "to indict society as a whole".  I agree, but that is going to be hard.  Part of that examination needs to be to see if underclass culture is compatible with the rest of society.  This touches on what Daniel Patrick Moynihan discussed way back in the Johnson Administration.  That phase of the indictment would look like blaming the victim, something that is currently very unpopular.  But, it is an issue to be faced.  When I drive through Washington NE I am not concerned about safety.  When I drive through Washington SE, or parts of it, I am.  I see Black culture in both, but different Black cultures.  Why has one prospered and one not?  Or am I missing something?  This problem is too important to not ask questions and to not speak up.

Remember, a systems approach.  Examine the whole system.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Where There is a Thaw In US-Russian Relations


For John, BLUFNot every deal is a bad deal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In The Washington Post Reporter Ryan Schuessler, back on 31 July, talks about a "Small thaw in U.S.-Russian relations at the Alaska frontier".

The beginning:

ANCHORAGE – The United States and Russia are in the midst of their most tense relations since the Cold War, but for a small number of residents of both countries, things are warming.

It will now be easier and cheaper for Native residents to travel across the Bering Strait to visit relatives on the other side.

Last week, officials announced updates to an agreement that allows Native residents of Alaska and Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula to travel between the two countries without a visa, for stays of up to 90 days.

This will mean that some Alaska Natives will be able to visit friends and family in Russia without having to pay for a visa — a cost of at least $160 — or wait for that application to be processed.

The agreement requires that a traveler be a Native resident of the designated areas in Alaska or Chukotka, and have a documented invitation from a resident on the other side.

The indigenous people of the region share cultural, linguistic and family ties with their counterparts on either side of the maritime boundary between the two countries.  After the end of the Cold War, the Russian and American communities started to reestablish ties long cut off by the so-called “ice curtain.”

This is actually good news.  At some level we know how to cut a deal that benefits everyone.

Oh, and remember when folks said that Governor Sarah Palin was divorced from our foreign policy?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Yes, you CAN see Russia from Alaska.  Granted, not from Willow, but that was Tina Fey anyway.

Regards  —  Cliff