Thursday, April 30, 2015

His mom is his rock.

The Denver Broncos might have just improved their pass rush.

Go here to see him with his "rock," his mother.

White female millennials are not having babies

Susan Goldberg writes at PJ Media,
Camille Paglia once suggested that real sex education would involve sitting a tween girl down and giving her a stark reality check. Forget condoms on bananas. The real issue would be: Do you want to have babies or not? Then, let the life planning begin.

Instead, what the majority of millennial students received via public education were the basics on how to avoid pregnancy and STDs (as if you can lump a new life in with a gross disease) along with a strong push to plan for a career before thinking about having a family.

In a new report, the Urban Institute think tank writes that in 2012, there were only 948 births per 1,000 women in their 20s, “by far the slowest pace of any generation of young women in U.S. history.”

Overall, the report paints a positive picture for women of color and a neutral one for white women. On one hand, women might be enjoying living carefree and childless into their 30s. On the other, a nationwide shortage of babies hasn’t worked out well for places like Germany, Denmark, or Japan, where aging populations threaten economic growth and the sustainability of pension funds.

Eighty-one percent of white women are experiencing a decrease in birth rate because they simply aren’t marrying. These career women are living out their Carrie Bradshaw or Hannah Horvath fantasies without realizing that they are de-funding the very socialized economy for which they so heartily advocate. All that free birth control won’t be so free if they don’t produce a new generation of babies to pay for it down the road.
Read more here.


writes at Bloomberg View,
Do we know how to make fathers present in their kids' lives, or how to make up for their absence? No. Are we sure how we should respond to the decline in manufacturing employment? Or how to stop people from getting involved in drugs? No and no.

...Some people are confident that more funding for early education will yield benefits for poor kids. Others look at the same evidence and think that the few examples of success can't easily be replicated. Even if the first group is correct, there's no reason to think that early education will, even in tandem with other reforms, "solve" the problems of Baltimore. And federal efforts at job training don't have a sterling track record.

If I were president and thought I knew an obvious way to bring peace and prosperity to troubled cities -- and felt pretty strongly about it -- I'd maybe mention it before my seventh year in office. Drop it into a State of the Union address, for example. But it just isn't the case that we're a new federal program away from fixing the problems Obama identified. It isn't the case that conservatives are standing in the way of what everyone knows would work because we just don't share Obama's compassion.

To the extent Obama truly believes these premises, though, it surely goes a long way toward explaining why he has so often seemed frustrated during the course of his presidency.
Read more here.

How the left might end up crippling itself

Robert Tracinski writes at The Federalist,
If you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost?

...More recently, the actress Alice Eve got into trouble for stating the obvious fact that Bruce Jenner is not a woman. She, too, was forced to recant, concluding: “I felt confused and now I feel enlightened and like I know what education I need to move forward.”

What gives this a creepy totalitarian feel is the way she found it necessary, not only to change her views, but to express gratitude for her re-education.

...The Onion, as usual, manages to encapsulate the whole thing in a headline: “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea: Students, Faculty Invited to Freely Express Single Viewpoint.”

...If I were to come up with one idea for how the left could cripple itself over the long term, it would be: teach your young adherents that ideological debate is an abnormal trauma and that it is a terrible imposition to ever expect them to engage in it. It is a great way of raising a generation of mental cripples. And that is exactly what they have set out to do.

...The most powerful historical precedent for this is the totalitarian creed of the Soviet Union—a dogma imposed, not just by campus censors or a Twitter mob, but by gulags and secret police. Yet one of the lessons of the Soviet collapse is that the ideological uniformity of a dictatorship seems totally solid and impenetrable—right up to the moment it cracks apart. The imposition of dogma succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the right slogans, even as fewer and fewer of them understand or believe the ideology behind it.

This is the Paradox of Dogma. To return to the question we started with: if you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost? The answer is: both. It might ensure that you win in the short term. But over the long term, it abandons the field to those who do believe in ideological debate.
Read more here.

Disgraceful orders for cops to disappear or stand by and watch

Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post,
Here’s hoping Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t too busy playing political games and barnstorming the country to absorb the right lessons from the Baltimore riots. If he’s paying attention, he’ll learn a thing or two about policing and that the bloody price of failed leadership is paid by innocent families and businesses.

The disgraceful orders for cops to disappear or stand by and watch as rioters, looters and arsonists had their way should never be repeated anywhere again. Nor should any mayor talk, as Baltimore’s foolishly did, about giving “those who wished to destroy space to do that.”

Those painful lessons are especially relevant to New York now because de Blasio pal Al Sharpton and wackos on the City Council are pushing the mayor to roll back “Broken Windows” policing.

...Baltimore should be his wake-up call. It shows that handcuffing the cops ultimately leads to more violence and crime, not less, and ends up with the National Guard patrolling the streets like a war zone.

...Smart, aggressive policing tamed New York, and the “peace dividend” that Bratton talks about was earned by the leadership of Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg over 20 years and the brave men and women of the NYPD.

Those mayors and cops changed the culture of New York by recognizing that, just as nature abhors a vacuum, criminals and opportunists will take advantage when society drops its guard.

...What America is witnessing in Baltimore is what happens every day in neighborhoods that are under-policed. Violence spirals out of control and doesn’t stop until someone stops it.
Read more here.

The real powder keg

Daniel Henninger writes in Wall Street Journal,
‘No justice, no peace.”

In Baltimore now, they’ve got both.

When Al Sharpton popularized the chant, “No justice, no peace,” it was unmistakably clear that “no peace” was an implicit threat of civil unrest.

Not civil disobedience, as practiced by Martin Luther King Jr. Civil unrest.

Civil unrest can come in degrees. It might be a brief fight between protesters and the cops. It might be someone throwing rocks through store windows. Or it might be more than that.

...As to his contribution, Mr. Obama said, “We’re making investments so that they can get the training they need to find jobs.” But one has to ask: What jobs?

On Wednesday morning the year’s first-quarter GDP growth rate came in—0.2%. Next to nothing. For the length of the Obama presidency, with growth significantly below norm, unemployment for blacks aged 24 and younger has hovered between 30% and 50%. That’s the real powder keg, not the police.

As to Baltimore, familiar support will materialize from New York when the Sharpton retinue arrives in the burned out Baltimore neighborhoods on his way to a meeting in Washington with the new attorney general. What this means is that when Reverend Al walks out of the neighborhood, Baltimoreans will be in the same place they were this week before he showed up. No justice. Less peace.
Read more here.

Migratory professional instigators

Jonah Goldberg writes at National Review,
...migratory professional instigators think it’s bold and revolutionary for thugs to burn down middle class black shops and the chain drug stores low income people buy their medicines from.

But ultimately these losers aren’t responsible for making the conditions ripe for such instigation, either. They’re opportunists. And the opportunity was created by corrupt one-party rule in Baltimore — and other Democrat-monopolized cities across the country.
Read more here.

The hour of conservative populism has arrived

John Fonte writes at National Review,
April 2015 is the month that conservative populism broke out and reached the major leagues of American politics.

...Wisconsin governor Scott Walker articulated a populist-tinged message, declaring that our legal-immigration system “ultimately has to protect American workers and make sure American wages are going up.” This set off a firestorm of controversy and placed conservative populism directly into the 2016 presidential race.

...Today, the conservative populist immigration coalition has reached a critical mass. It consists of three elements: an articulate and persistent political leadership; intellectual firepower from policy wonks, journalists, and media figures; and boots on the ground in the form of committed activists. Most important, these three pillars of the coalition are articulating a compelling narrative to the public at large.

This January, Jeff Sessions released the 23-page Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority, in which he noted the negative effect of mass immigration on American workers in both low-skilled and high-tech sectors. In a Washington Post op-ed, Sessions quotes our nation’s foremost labor economist, Harvard professor George Borjas, as reporting that the mass immigration of overwhelmingly low-skilled workers from 1980 to 2000 resulted in a 7.4 percent wage loss for lower-skilled Americans. In the construction industry today there are approximately seven workers for every job opening, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Census Bureau data revealed that between 2000 and 2014 the U.S. admitted about 14 million new immigrants, while the population of U.S.-born workers increased by 16.4 million. Nevertheless, “all net employment gains went to immigrant workers” rather than to American-born workers.

...In July 2014, five leading academic experts published in USA Today an article (“Bill Gates’ Tech Worker Fantasy”) demolishing Silicon Valley’s “worker shortage” argument. The scholars (Ron Hira, Howard; Paula Stephan, Georgia State; Hal Salzman, Rutgers; Michael Teitelbaum, Harvard; and Norman Matloff, UC Davis) declared: “None of us [independently] has been able to find any credible evidence to support the IT industry’s assertions of labor shortages. . . . If a shortage did exist, wages would be rising. . . . Instead, legislation that expanded visas for IT personnel during the 1990s has kept average wages flat . . . [since 1998]. Indeed, guest workers have become the predominant source of new hires in these fields.” Using U.S. Census data, the scholars note that three out of four Americans (74 percent) with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees do not have a STEM job. This means that 11 million Americans with STEM degrees are not working in STEM employment. Further, American colleges annually graduate twice as many young people with STEM degrees as are currently working in STEM jobs. Specifically, among recent college graduates with STEM degrees, 55 percent in technology, 35 percent in science, 30 percent in math, and 20 percent in engineering cannot find jobs in those fields.

...In that USA Today article, Hira et al. wrote, “The facts are that, excluding advocacy studies by those with industry funding, there is a remarkable concurrence among a wide range of researchers that there is an ample supply of American workers . . . who are willing and qualified to fill high-skill jobs in this country.” One of the authors of that article, Professor Salzman, notes that “guest workers make up two-thirds of all new IT hires.” Another of the authors, Professor Hira, bluntly states: “Most of the H-1B program is now being used to import cheaper foreign guestworkers, replacing American workers, and undercutting their wages.”

...Sessions wrote: “What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.”

Like the conservatives Jeff Sessions and Scott Walker, liberal icon Barbara Jordan was a patriot, who emphasized putting the economic interests of American workers at the center of immigration policy. Contrary to some hysterical responses to Sessions and Walker, no one today (nor anyone serious in the past) is (or was) talking about ending legal immigration; they simply advocate reasonable reductions. The Jordan commission’s report resulted in immigration legislation proposed by Representative Lamar Smith and Senator Alan Simpson (R., Wyo.) that would have cut legal immigration by about one-third, or back to Reagan-era levels, reversing the 1990 increase backed by George H. W. Bush. The Jordan–Smith–Simpson project was derailed by a Republican coalition of Big Business lobbyists (wanting cheaper labor) and Jack Kemp–style utopians (who waxed lyrical about increasing immigration). Barbara Jordan became seriously ill and soon died; President Clinton, who had originally favored cutting legal immigration, changed his mind; and the initiative failed. Twenty years later, we are stuck with the fruits of the anti-Jordan victory: wage stagnation and a weakening of the American working and middle classes.
Read more here.

Keep voting for the same thing, keep getting the same thing.

Kevin Williamson writes at National Review,
American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit. Money can paper over some of the defects of progressivism in rich, white cities such as Portland and San Francisco, but those are pretty awful places to be non-white and non-rich, too: Blacks make up barely 9 percent of the population in San Francisco, but they represent 40 percent of those arrested for murder, and they are arrested for drug offenses at ten times their share of the population. Criminals make their own choices, sure, but you want to take a look at the racial disparity in educational outcomes and tell me that those low-income nine-year-olds in Wisconsin just need to buck up and bootstrap it?

...Yes, Baltimore seems to have some police problems. But let us be clear about whose fecklessness and dishonesty we are talking about here: No Republican, and certainly no conservative, has left so much as a thumbprint on the public institutions of Baltimore in a generation. Baltimore’s police department is, like Detroit’s economy and Atlanta’s schools, the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics. This is entirely a left-wing project, and a Democratic-party project.

When will the Left be held to account for the brutality in Baltimore — brutality for which it bears a measure of responsibility on both sides? There aren’t any Republicans out there cheering on the looters, and there aren’t any Republicans exercising real political power over the police or other municipal institutions in Baltimore. Community-organizer — a wretched term — Adam Jackson declared that in Baltimore “the Democrats and the Republicans have both failed.” Really? Which Republicans? Ulysses S. Grant? Unless I’m reading the charts wrong, the Baltimore city council is 100 percent Democratic.

...The other Democratic monopolies aren’t looking too hot, either. We’re sending Atlanta educators to prison for running a criminal conspiracy to hide the fact that they failed, and failed woefully, to educate the children of that city. Isolated incident? Nope: Atlanta has another cheating scandal across town at the police academy. Who is being poorly served by the fact that Atlanta’s school system has been converted into crime syndicate? Mostly poor, mostly black families. Who is likely to suffer from any incompetents advanced through the Atlanta police department by its corrupt academy? Mostly poor, mostly black people. Who suffers most from the incompetence of Baltimore’s Democratic mayor? Mostly poor, mostly black families — should they feel better that she’s black? Who suffers most from the incompetence and corruption of Baltimore’s police department? Mostly poor, mostly black families. And it’s the same people who will suffer the most from the vandalism and pillaging going on in Baltimore, too.

...The evidence suggests very strongly that the left-wing, Democratic claques that run a great many American cities — particularly the poor and black cities — are not capable of running a school system or a police department. They are incompetent, they are corrupt, and they are breathtakingly arrogant. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore — this is what Democrats do.

And the kids in the street screaming about “inequality”? Somebody should tell them that the locale in these United States with the least economic inequality is Utah, i.e. the state farthest away from the reach of the people who run Baltimore. Keep voting for the same thing, keep getting the same thing.
Read more here.

Failure Theater

Ace of Spades, in no uncertain terms, urges Republicans to vote against the Corker bill. I'll excerpt some of the sentences that are not X-rated:
Without this bill, Obama needs 67 votes to approve the Iran treaty.

With the bill, the treaty is presumptively approved, and it takes 67 votes to disapprove of the treaty.

...Maybe Corker has good reasons for wanting this treaty passed. Maybe, if I heard those reasons, I'd agree that it should be passed.

But Corker and McConnell fundamentally despise and disrespect Republican voters. That is why they never have an honest talk with us. They never explain "This is why we're retroactively approving Obama's executive amnesty. Do you agree with our reasons?"

No, they lie, they pretend they're opposed to it, and they stage productions of Failure Theater to trick conservatives into thinking they're opposing it -- but are just being outfoxed, by gum! -- when in fact they've voted in advance to lose on the issue.

They are lying to us, they are corrupt as the worst whores of hell, and they are leading this country into destruction.

Do not go gently on this Corker bill.
Read more here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Progressvism and urban rioting

Elizabeth Price Foley writes at Instapundit,
The rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore isn’t driven by poverty, race, or even police brutality. It’s driven by progressive culture, which teaches that successful business people “didn’t build that,” accepts abortion/divorce/children out of wedlock as normal behavior, proclaims that poor children (particularly minorities) cannot succeed, that police and authority in general are the “enemy,” and that law is rigged against minorities. Urban music, “leaders” like Al Sharpton, and a Democrat strategy of balkanizing Americans through identity politics–echoed daily by mainstream media–has created a culture that has no respect for the rule of law. In the eyes of progressives, the American Dream is dead, and they are literally dancing on its grave.

Until this progressive culture changes (if it ever can) or is marginalized politically, we will have lawless behavior every time these destructive, sociopathic cultural expectations are reinforced by tragedies like the deaths of Michael Brown or Freddie Gray.

Self-serving bias

Dan Hannon writes in the Washington Examiner,
A couple of years ago, Thomas Sowell tracked down the origin of the phrase "trickle down". It turns out to have been coined by FDR's speech writer, Samuel Rosenman, who attacked "the philosophy that had prevailed in Washington since 1921, that the object of government was to provide prosperity for those who lived and worked at the top of the economic pyramid, in the belief that prosperity would trickle down to the bottom of the heap and benefit all."

Then, as now, the notion was a left-wing fantasy. What actually happened in the Twenties under Calvin Coolidge, as Amity Schlaes showed in her biography, was that tax rates were cut in order to boost revenue. The taciturn old congregationalist had grasped the logic of the Laffer Curve avant la lettre. As a result of his rate reductions, the wealthiest Americans ended up contributing far more in both absolute and proportionate terms.

We free-marketeers believe, not in trickle-down, but in trickle-up. Capitalism, uniquely, rewards people who sell to the mass market. I am typing these words on a program that I bought from Bill Gates. My purchase enriched him, adding fractionally to his net wealth; and it also enriched me, making my life more convenient. Like most successful people, Bill Gates became rich by persuading lots of poorer people to buy something from him; in consequence, we are all better off.
Read more here.

More bird flu to come in the fall?

The New York Times cites a report from Reuters that
U.S. agriculture officials say it is “highly probable” that the virulent avian flu viruses that have hit U.S. poultry operations hard in recent weeks will return next fall when wild bird populations migrate south, potentially spreading the viruses into new regions of the country.

Officials with the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said the H5N2 virus, along with two other highly pathogenic strains of bird flu, would probably be passed among birds at breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canada through the summer.

The strains are difficult to control, say scientists, in part because wild birds can carry the viruses without appearing to be sick.

The statement marks a shift in tone in the agency’s assessment of the likelihood for a renewed outbreak tied to fall migration. More than 15 million commercial birds nationwide have died or are expected to be killed in the current outbreak, and exports of U.S. poultry and eggs have slowed sharply.

A key concern has been whether the viruses will become endemic in the nation’s wild bird population, eventually spreading them to the East Coast and down into the heart of the nation’s chicken broiler production states in the South and Southeast.

What effect the virus would have on chicken farms in the South is not known. But the nation’s poultry industry, which is taking an economic hit from the rapidly escalating outbreak, is alarmed at the prospect of wider exposure.

One turkey processing plant in Willmar, Minn., has reduced its operations to four days a week because “they don’t have enough birds,” Representative Collin Peterson, a Democrat from Minnesota, told reporters on Tuesday.

The outbreak’s reach expanded to 14 states on Tuesday, when the government reported that highly pathogenic H5N2 was identified in two wild birds in Kentucky.

Based on evidence gathered so far from tracking wild and domestic birds between December and April, “it is highly probable” that the viruses will be maintained in some of the North American wild duck populations through the summer breeding season, officials from the agriculture department said in an email.

Playing the fool - again

At National Review Jonah Goldberg quotes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who notes, the “best-case scenario” is that the Clintons have been “disorganized and greedy.” Goldberg summarizes,
The standard is that public servants should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Not only is there three decades of evidence that the Clintons don’t think that standard applies to them, but there’s growing evidence that his biggest supporters are happy to play the fool — again.


Has Obama been treated worse than his predecessors? Jay Cost doesn't think so. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Cost takes a historical look at past presidents.
The point is that politics ain’t beanbag -- and it never has been. That is because our political divide is rooted in enduring class, social, and religious cleavages, as well as profoundly different views of the good life. A lot is at stake in our politics, and the First Amendment offers a wide latitude for political speech. Unsurprisingly, the two parties hit each other quite hard.

For President Obama to imply that criticisms of his presidency are worse than usual, or not reducible to fundamental ideological and cultural differences, betrays a stunning, self-serving ignorance of American history. But then, what else could we expect from this president?
Read more here.

How to stop a riot

What stops rioting? Jack Dunphy writes at PJ Media,
It was clear from the television coverage that “restraint” was the order of the day for the police officers forced to stand idly by as stores were looted and burned. Even worse, cops stood like so many cigar store Indians as thugs showered them with rocks, bottles, and bricks from as little as 20 feet away. None of their commanders, it seemed, wanted to be the one to give the order to take control.

If there was a lesson the LAPD learned in 1992, it is that if you do not respond decisively to lawlessness, you will quickly have much more of it. That lesson was learned the hard way, when timid police supervisors (one of them in particular most egregiously) failed to act when violence first flared near the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues. I would argue that had the LAPD responded as it should have in those first hours of the riot, much of the devastation and loss of life that followed could have been averted. Proof of this came in the following months when a number of incidents in South Los Angeles threatened to break out into rioting but were quelled with a swift and sure response by police.

It is clear that authorities in Baltimore have not heeded this simple lesson. In showing restraint, in sending the clear message that lawlessness will not be swiftly and harshly met, they have allowed their city to descend into chaos. And in so allowing, they have ensured that a greater level of force will be required to restore order than would have been had they taken action at the first sign of violence. At the time of this writing no one has yet been killed in Baltimore, but that will likely have changed by the time you read this.

Witness the events in Miami in 1989, Crown Heights in 1991, Los Angeles in 1992, Oakland in 2009, and just last year in Ferguson, Mo. In these riots and in too many others to list, we saw political leaders unwilling to take the actions necessary to maintain order in their cities, with the harvest being the destruction of businesses, injuries and deaths, added to which are economic consequences that have endured for years.
Read more here.

The importance of diversity

Jason riley writes at the Wall Street Journal,
The racial makeup of city leaders, the police department and other municipal workers in Ferguson, Mo., played a central role in the media coverage and analysis of Michael Brown’s death, which is worth remembering as history repeats itself in Baltimore.

The Justice Department’s Ferguson report noted that although the city’s population was 67% black, just four of its 54 police officers fit that description. Moreover, “the Municipal Judge, Court Clerk, Prosecuting Attorney, and all assistant court clerks are white,” said the report. “While a diverse police department does not guarantee a constitutional one, it is nonetheless critically important for law enforcement agencies, and the Ferguson Police Department in particular, to strive for broad diversity among officers and civilian staff.”

Broad diversity is not a problem in Baltimore, where 63% of residents and 40% of police officers are black. The current police commissioner is also black, and he isn’t the first one. The mayor is black, as was her predecessor and as is a majority of the city council. Yet none of this “critically important” diversity seems to have mattered after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died earlier this month in police custody under circumstances that are still being investigated.

Some black Baltimoreans have responded by hitting the streets, robbing drugstores, minimarts and check-cashing establishments and setting fires. If you don’t see the connection, it’s because there isn’t one. Like Brown’s death, Gray’s is being used as a convenient excuse for lawbreaking. If the Ferguson protesters were responding to a majority-black town being oppressively run by a white minority—which is the implicit argument of the Justice Department and the explicit argument of the liberal commentariat—what explains Baltimore?

Tensions between the police and low-income black communities stem from high crime rates in those areas. The sharp rise in violent crime in our inner cities, which dates to the 1970s and 1980s, happened to coincide with an increase in the number of black leaders in many of those very same cities. What can be said of Baltimore is also true of Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where black mayors and police chiefs and aldermen and school superintendents have held sway for decades.

Chicago’s population is 32% black, along with 26% of its police force, but it remains one of the most violent big cities in the country. There were more than 400 homicides in the Second City last year and some 300 of the victims were black, the Chicago Tribune reports. That’s more than double the number of black deaths at the hands of police in the entire country in a given year, according to FBI data.

Might the bigger problem be racial disparities in antisocial behavior, not the composition of law-enforcement agencies?

City Council President Jack Young pointedly recalled the Baltimore riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “We cannot go back to 1968 where we burned down our own infrastructure and our own neighborhoods,” he said. “We still have scars from 1968 where we had some burnt out buildings and businesses did not want to come back to the city of Baltimore. We have to stop the burning down and the breaking in of these stores because in the end it hurts us as a people.”

The violent-crime rate in Baltimore is more than triple the national average, and the murder rate is more than six times higher. As of April, city murders are 20% ahead of the number killed through the first three months of last year. But neither Mayor Rawlings-Blake nor Mr. Young needs any lectures from the media on Baltimore crime. The mayor lost a 20-year-old cousin to gun violence two years ago. And earlier this month Mr. Young’s 37-year-old nephew died from a gunshot wound to his head. Even the families of black elites in a city run by black elites can’t escape this pathology.
Read more here.

The only change will be the first name on the door

1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, mostly from foreign sources

Joshua Green and Richard Rubin report at Bloomberg Politics that Canadian mining financier, Frank Giustra, who gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, isn't happy.
Giustra strenuously objects to how he was portrayed. “It’s frustrating,” he says. And because the donations came in through the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP)—a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation he established with the former president—he feels doubly implicated by the insinuation of a dark alliance.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” he says. There are in fact 1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, Giustra says, most of them non-U.S. residents who donated to CGEP. “All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified,” he says.
Read more here.

"For there is nothing more powerful and dangerous than unapproved thought.”

Coming soon: The Department of Thought.

Giving thanks

Ann Voskamp reminds us,
God says to give thanks, to do this in remembrance of Him — because in the remembering to give thanks, it’s our broken places that are re-membered — and we are the ones made whole.

...When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks, we stop thinking there are reasons to live.
Read more here.

Being transgender is one thing...

Prediction: Bruce Jenner will soon be off the covers of the supermarket tabloids. Why? Go here to read the startling words that came out of his mouth.

Progressive totalitarianism

Ed Whelan writes at National Review that he hopes
that reporters will ask President Obama if he is going to direct or allow his Administration to deprive religious schools and other nonprofits of their tax-exempt status for holding the same view of marriage that he professed to hold when he was first elected president.
Read more here.

Give the kids the choice to choose a better school


Don't forget medical care.

Thanks to Bill Rogan


The White Sox and Orioles are playing a baseball game in Baltimore today in an empty stadium.

Thanks to Bill Rogan

On the take

Two days have gone by without a new Clinton scandal. Dick Morris comes to the rescue with a video. As Secretary of State she had sole power to approve the Keystone Pipeline project development. Bill got $8.4 million giving speeches to Canadian groups backing the pipeline, while she was Secretary of State.


"It's my home. It's Mama's house. I ain't gonna let you do that."

Do not drink anything while watching this or you will choke!

Posted by Cliff Elrod on Monday, August 25, 2014

Thanks to John Rush

"We've got an idea. We're not sure if it's a good one."

Ping Pong Trick Shots 2

Posted by Dude Perfect on Thursday, February 19, 2015
Can you tell I am the father of four boys?

Thanks to John Rush


Seth Godin writes,

My friend Alan came over to dinner the other night. Unbeknownst to me, he had a few plastic scorpions in his pocket (a reminder of a recent adventure).

I saw a plastic scorpion on the bowl of nuts, but I didn't see it, I just moved it aside and went ahead preparing dinner. A few minutes later, I saw a second plastic scorpion on the counter, but again, I didn't actually see it, didn't pause or consider it, I just moved on. It took until the third plastic scorpion before I said, "huh."

This is one reason we feel the need to yell 'surprise' at a surprise party. Because we all have blinders on.

The people who are the very best at noticing what's happening notice it because they're looking.

"You can see a lot just by looking."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mom sets boundaries for son in Baltimore

Old news?

Victor Davis Hanson notes that the Clintons'
obfuscation worked well with Troopergate, Travelgate, Whitewater, the cattle futures scam, Monicagate, the pardons, and Bill’s serial and sometimes coercive sexual conquests. The scorched-earth protocol has already largely dispensed with the “what difference does it make” and “we came, we saw, he died” Libya/Benghazi scandals. That the ex-president of the United States often flew on a private jet with registered sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, known for supplying underage women to his guests, is, as the Clintons say, “old news.” Hillary Clinton’s serial lies about her email accounts and the Clinton Foundation shakedowns will likewise fade — despite the national-security implications of both transgressions for the United States.

...Despite the dozen or so ethical scandals that will inevitably arise over the next two years, Hillary Clinton will be nominated by the Democrats and has at least a 50/50 chance of being elected president. The Democratic elite will call her survival “fully vetted” and “time tested.”

...Wall Street and corporate American know there is no deal considered beneath the Clintons. If they will, as reported, wheel and deal off the human tragedy of the Haitian disaster, then they will indeed do anything. If they are willing to defame and destroy women abused by Bill Clinton, they will not only do that, but proclaim themselves feminists. They have created a huge shakedown conglomerate in the Clinton Foundation in Machiavellian fashion: the philanthropy brilliantly masks the cynical tapping of such funds for personal aggrandizement. Quid pro quos go through the foundation to “help” the helpless while providing the family the moral veneer to moonlight and rake in huge fees from foundation donors, who do not give such largess for nothing. Hitting up corporate finaglers for $70 million in tag-along private jet travel would be burdensome; but creating a tax-free “philanthropy” to provide such corporate one-percent travel for the three Clintons (whether to lecture on global warming or the unfair tax policies of the one-percent) is brilliant in the Medieval sense.

The utter moral collapse of the House of Clinton is, of course, a national disgrace. But the shame is not because the Clintons are what they are — grifters in ties and pantsuits. Rather, the liberal community’s neglect of three decades of their amorality reminds us what progressivism has become: a psychological squaring in which abstract caring allows privileged people to enjoy their material bounty without guilt over where it came from or how it is used.
Read more here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Give them space to destroy!"

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: "We gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well."

Preserve, protect and defend

Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review,
The Founders, moreover, thought oaths of office were serious business — having pledged their own lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause of liberty against great odds and a great power that would have put them to death had the revolution failed. They therefore required (in Article II, Section 1) that the president take an oath to execute the laws faithfully, and to preserve, protect, and defend a Constitution that Mr. Obama takes less seriously than his NCAA brackets. Beyond that, the Founders mandated (in Article VI) that oaths to support the Constitution also be taken by senators and executive-branch officers, among others.
Read more here.


Kurt Schlichter, writing at Town Hall, urges conservatives to unleash the awesome power of "No."

Our mean-spirited President

John Hinderaker writes at Powerline about our mean-spirited President.

Long live the smelt!

Allysia Finley reports in the Wall Street Journal,
In California, it takes about 1.1 gallons of water to grow an almond; 1.28 gallons to flush a toilet; and 34 gallons to produce an ounce of marijuana. But how many gallons are needed to save a three-inch delta smelt, the cause célèbre of environmentalists and bête noire of parched farmers?

To protect smelt from water pumps, government regulators have flushed 1.4 trillion gallons of water into the San Francisco Bay since 2008. That would have been enough to sustain 6.4 million Californians for six years. Yet a survey of young adult smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last fall yielded just eight fish, the lowest level since 1967. An annual spring survey by state biologists turned up six smelt in March and one this month. In 2014 the fall-spring counts were 88 and 36. While the surveys are a sampling and not intended to suggest the full population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warns that “the delta smelt is now in danger of extinction.”

Herein is a parable of imperious regulators who subordinate science to a green political agenda. While imposing huge societal costs, government policies have failed to achieve their stated environmental purpose.

The smelt population has been shrinking since the 1970s, with a few intermittent rebounds. In 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a 396-page “biological opinion” identifying delta pumps, which export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California, as a major culprit in the smelt’s decline. The agency imposed stringent restrictions on water pumping based on regression models—for measuring variables—that purportedly correlated water flows with smelt killed.
Read more here.

Do you vape?

Did you know that 60% of New York's cigarette sales are bootlegged in from states like North Carolina, because New York taxes cigarettes $4.35 per pack - plus New York City adds another $1.50, while North Carolina taxes the same pack only 45 cents? That's just one of the things I learned from reading George Will's column in the Washington Post.

Here is another fact I learned from reading the same column:
King James might have been less censorious about “vaping,” which almost certainly is less harmful than inhaling chemicals produced by the combustion of tobacco. Users of e-cigarettes inhale vapors from electronic sticks containing a liquid with nicotine, which is addictive and perhaps particularly unhealthy for adolescent brains. Between 2013 and 2014 the use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students tripled, and now it exceeds that cohort’s use of traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, sometimes flavored to tempt the immature (“Unicorn Puke,” “Stoned Smurf,” “German Chocolate Beefcake”), might be “gateway drugs,” leading to tobacco cigarettes. Currently, however, e-cigarettes often are substitutes for them. So, prepare for regulations combining high-mindedness and low cunning.

States addicted to tobacco taxes need a large and renewable supply of smokers, so they wince whenever an e-cigarette displaces a traditional cigarette.
Read more here.

Why didn't the psychiatrist seek to lock this loon up?

Today the trial began in Aurora, Colorado. What trial? Remember James Holmes, who killed twelve people and injured seventy others, while they were watching a Batman movie? Yes, that was two and one-half years ago on July 20, 2012. Now we will see if those victims get justice.

Today the lawyers made their opening statements. The prosecution is led by George Brauchler, a solid conservative Republican who is very articulate. He did some talk radio before he was elected D.A. of Arapahoe County. I got home from work too late to hear Brauchler's remarks today.

I did hear the remarks of one of the Public Defenders who are defending Holmes. She argued that he had a "diseased" mind, and that there were "psychological stressors" he experienced that exacerbated his disease. He was having hallucinations in which he saw shadows. His girlfriend broke up with him. He came to believe that by killing others his life would have value. To cope with his bad feelings, he focused on his school work, played video games, and listened to music.

He sought mental health counseling. First, he met with a social worker on March 16, 2012. He tells her he wants to kill people. She refers him to a psychiatrist, a woman named Dr. Fenton. He sees Dr. Fenton 7 times in March, April and May, telling her in each session that he wants to kill people.

Here's my question: Why didn't Dr. Fenton seek a court hearing to lock this fool up? He's telling her he wants to kill people. Isn't that enough to get a mental health hold?

Holmes develops this theory: If you "take away human capital," by killing people, your future is limitless.

Instead of trying to get this loon locked up, Dr. Fenton prescribes Zoloft for him. She increases the anti-anxiety medication two times. He comes to believe the medication will fix his brain. One of the side effects of Zoloft may be mania. He dramatically increases spending on things like putting money in a retirement account and buying a computer, then buys all kinds of weapons.

Supposedly his social anxiety reduces in May. He communicates with others, including females, with ease. He signs up for, then escalates to He continues to see Fenton. In one session he gets angry at her because she won't share with him her purpose in life, after he has shared his purpose with her. He becomes silent and sullen, giving incoherent answers. He goes out on May 10 and purchases tear gas, guns, ammo, handcuffs, and takes motorcycle classes.

Holmes's mind becomes dominated by the thought that the way to get out of his life struggles is to kill others and thereby accumulate their value!

On May 30 he meets with Fenton and another psychiatrist named Feinstein. Holmes places great significance on these therapy sessions and the medication. However, during the May 30 session Dr, Feinstein tells him that there is no way to stop someone from committing suicide. This statement devastates Holmes. He cuts himself off from others, and has his last meeting with Fenton in June. He becomes consumed by his "disease."

Why didn't Dr. Fenton seek a court hearing to lock him up? Probably because she didn't have any confidence in the efficacy of that procedure. After a 72 hour hold, the person is right back in the community, crazy as ever.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Are you charitably-inclined?

Francis W. Porretto reprieves a post at Liberty's Torch he wrote in 2003 about charitably-inclined Westerners.
Read it here.

Nuanced subtleties and smart smartness

Collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder

Have you noticed that Bruce Jenner is on the cover of many of the super market magazines?

Reliapundit writes at The Astute Bloggers,
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder. Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. ... This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.” The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh. The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.” Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”
Read more here.

Subjecting our troops to morale-destroying mantras of diversity and apologetics for Islamic terrorism

Caroline Glick writes at Jewish World Review,
In testimony last week before the House committee in charge of State Department funding, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged that the Obama administration intends to abandon the US's 50 year policy of supporting Israel at the United Nations.

After going through the tired motions of pledging support for Israel, "when it matters," Power refused to rule out the possibility that the US would support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council to limit Israeli sovereignty and control to the lands within the 1949 armistice lines — lines that are indefensible.

Such a move will be taken, she indicated, in order to midwife the establishment of a terrorist-supporting Palestinian state whose supposedly moderate leadership does not recognize Israel's right to exist, calls daily for its destruction, and uses the UN to delegitimize the Jewish state.

In other words, the Obama administration intends to pin Israel into indefensible borders while establishing a state committed to its destruction.

Moreover, the world has changed since 2009. The Middle East is far more volatile and lethal. The US military is far less capable than it was before Obama slashed its budgets, removed its most successful commanders and subjected its troops to morale-destroying mantras of diversity and apologetics for Islamic terrorism.

In light of these changed circumstances, there are in essence two major principles that should guide our leaders today. First, we need to reduce our strategic dependence on the US. Second, we need to expand our policy of openly and unapologetically making the case for our positions to the American public.

due to Obama's commitment to nuclear accommodation of Iran, at this point unless Iran's nuclear installations are destroyed through military force, it will become a nuclear power. Israel's survival will be compromised and a nuclear arms race throughout the region will ensue.

Given this reality, Israel's public diplomacy should no longer be viewed as a means to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Rather, Israel should view it as a means to empower American lawmakers and others to stand with Israel in the event that it carries out military strikes against Iran's nuclear weapons.

Open support for Israel by the US public and by politicians and media organs will make it more difficult for the administration to harm Israel in retribution for such action.

As for the strike itself, both the operational and diplomatic aspects of a military action must be calculated to make the most of the changing regional dynamics.

Last summer, in fighting Hamas in Gaza, Israel found itself acting in alliance with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates against Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and the US. The Arab states served as Israel's blocking backs. They enabled Israel to withstand massive pressure from the administration that sought to coerce Israel into ending the fighting on Hamas's terms.

In recent weeks, the media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed support for an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. This support will be helpful in the aftermath of any such strike as well, and will again make it difficult for Obama to take revenge on Israel. Moreover, Israel must capitalize on these states' opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program in order to convince them to provide operational support for Israeli forces attacking Iran.

...Netanyahu would do well to appoint a Muslim Arab minister to his government charged with integrating the Arabs more fully into Israeli society.

The world has changed since 2009. America has changed. The Middle East has changed. Israel faces an array of challenges and threats it has never faced before. The next government must understand the dynamics of the situation and quickly forge policies based on the world as it is, not as it was or as we would like for it to be.
Read more here.


Elizabeth Price Foley writes at Instapundit,
“Diversity” is a just a politically-correct label for discrimination against whites, especially white males. And it most certainly does not include diversity of viewpoint (i.e., conservative thought).
Read more here.

Forecast dujour

Thanks to Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated

More men are raped than women in the US

Daily Mail reports that
More men are raped in the U.S. than woman, according to figures that include sexual abuse in prisons.

In 2008, it was estimated 216,000 inmates were sexually assaulted while serving time, according to the Department of Justice figures.

That is compared to 90,479 rape cases outside of prison.
Read more here.

God bless the USA

This flag still stands for freedom, and they can't take that away!

Thanks to Curt Dale

Prime time

Public Television knows its audience. They were having a fundraising drive, featuring folk music of the 60s. I have the bad habit of turning on the t.v. while flossing my teeth. I heard the music, and looked at the program. It was embarrassing. Grown liberal men in the audience had tears flowing down their cheeks, while listening to some old guy singing Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Yes, in the 60s I was a devotee of Peter, Paul and Mary, but not because of Peter and Paul. I was captivated by Mary Travers' sexiness (before she got fat). Those lips, that hair, that voice...where was I?

I was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, but did not support the anti-war movement.

I believe we older people ought to stay active, alert, and involved. But please, don't go up on the stage and sing folk songs of the 60s. We can go to You Tube and watch and listen to Mary Travers in her prime. Also, please let Roberta Flack be the one who sings Killing Me Softly and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, not some old guy who looks like me!

I have no doubt that Public Television raised lots of money from old liberals last night. Pathetic!

Price control

Team Aleteia reports at Newsmax, Bad news: a document released by ISIS
says that "the market for selling these spoils has declined precipitously." The tumbling market for the sales of the women and children has had an effect on Islamic State revenues and their ability to finance the operations of the Mujahideen, according to the document.

In order to benefit the Islamic State, "financial institutions must consider setting up controls and prices with regards to the prices at which these spoils are to be sold," and vows that anyone violating these controls and prices will be put to death, the document reads.

...Here are the prices the Islamic State has set for Yazidi and Christian women and children, according to the document:

Women 40 to 50 years old are to be sold for 50,000 dinar, or $42 in U.S. dollars.
Yazidi and Christian women 30 to 40 years old are 75,000 dinar, or $63 in U.S. dollars.
Women 20 to 30 years old are 100,000 dinar ($85).
Women and children 10 to 20 years old are 150,000 dinar ($127).
Children ages 1 to 9 are 200,000 dinar ($169 in U.S. dollars).

The document stated that no one is allowed to buy more than three women or children from the list — with the exception of Turks, Syrians, and those from the Gulf states. They are permitted to buy more.
Read more here.

Coldest and snowiest

Joseph D’Aleo writes at Ice Cap,
Though the media wants to focus on the western warmth and drought, the bigger story has been the cold and snow to the east the last two winters.

Chicago had its coldest December to March in the record back to 1872 and third snowiest winter in 2013/14, Detroit had its snowiest winter since 1880.

2015 was the coldest January through March in the entire record in the 10 Northeast States and DC
Read more here.

Thanks to Bird Dog at Maggie's Farm.

Environmentalism: about saving the plant, or controlling the populace?

Don Surber writes,
On the celebration of Lenin's Birthday under the guise of Earth day by socialists everywhere, President Obama made a theatrical appearance in the Everglades to expound upon the virtues of the government taking charge of industry in the name of ecology.

Not only is his physical science wrong on global warming junk (surface temperatures of the Earth are in a decline, even as carbon dioxide levels reach 800,000-year highs), but his political science of federal protection of the Everglades is ridiculous.

The biggest threat to the Everglades came from Washington.

...Environmentalism is not about saving the planet; it is about controlling the populace.
Read here more about the Everglades.

Moral relativism

Frederick Meekins writes at Intellectual Conservative,
By the moral vision and worldview of ISIS, it is perfectly acceptable to not only brutally eliminate the infidel but to enjoy carnally defiling the women of the targeted population while engaged in such genocide.

Meekins goes on here to write about the left criticizing Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, who at a prayer breakfast in Florida
took direct aim at the ethical bankruptcy of moral relativism.

How about an Earth Day and a Capitalism Day?

Mark Perry suggests at AEI that perhaps we should have a Capitalism Day to balance Earth Day.
students nationwide will get a heavy dose of the anti-market, pro-government message that motivates Earth Day. They’ll probably hear all about the evils of free market capitalism and its role in harming the environment, and learn that the only solutions to environmental issues are market-suppressing, heavy-handed government regulations. As Steven Landsburg observed, the messages about the environment delivered in most schools today inculcate the very dangerous substitution of biases for analysis.
Actually, the suggestion originated at Investors Business Daily. IBD editorialized about the environmental movement:
We won’t discount the movement’s contribution. Four decades ago, it helped show the world the value of global stewardship. But that movement is no longer interested in a cleaner world. Filled with extremists and anti-capitalist crusaders, its primary goals have changed. Topping the agenda of today’s environmentalist groups is the pulling down of market economies, the raising up of central planning for egalitarian goals, forced lifestyle changes and the vilification — in hopes of the elimination — of signs of wealth.

None of these advance the planet’s environmental health. But capitalism has. Through wealth generated by the free market, we have enough resources to move beyond the subsistence economies that damage the environment, enough disposable income to fund clean-up programs, enough wealth to scrub and polish industry. Only in advanced economies can the technology needed to recycle hazardous waste or to replace dirty coal-fired power plants with cleaner gas or nuclear plants be developed. That technology cannot be produced in centrally planned economies where the profit motive is squelched and lives are marshalled by the state.

There’s nothing wrong with setting aside a day to honor the Earth. In fairness, though, it should be complemented by Capitalism Day. It’s important that the world be reminded of what has driven the environmental improvements since Earth Day began in 1970.
Read more here.

How's your mental health?

Stuart Schneiderman gives credit to Time Magazine for writing about bad habits that contribute to bad mental health. Among the bad habits we need to overcome are these listed by Schneiderman are these:
1. Slouching.

Agreed, how we feel influences the way we walk. Yet, if we improve the way we hold ourselves when we walk, we can elevate our mood. Walk like you feel proud of yourself and you will feel more proud of yourself.

Aside from basic military training, the best way to improve your posture is: Pilates.

2. Taking too many pictures.

If you believe that no experience is complete unless you have taken a picture of it, think again. Putting a camera between you and the world diminishes the quality of your experience and your ability to remember it. Life does not need a filter.

3. Being bullied.

If you allow someone to disrespect you, demean you, defame you, insult you… with impunity… you will not feel very good about yourself.

If such is your case, check with a professional who understands how to manage complicated relationships.

4. Lethargy and sloth.

Other terms for insufficient exercise. Everyone now knows the value of exercise, even to your mental health. You no longer have a good excuse for not doing it.

5. Procrastination.

Being anxious about completing a task often causes people to delay and defer. It’s a bad idea.

How can you overcome a tendency to procrastinate? Try writing down a daily agenda, a schedule of your activities. Follow your agenda, not your bliss.

6. Toxic relationships.

This is another way of saying that you should choose your friends well. Those who treat you badly or whose bad behavior reflects poorly on you should be dismissed… without prejudice.

7. Too much texting, not enough conversation.

It’s a modern malady. We write all the time and have lost the art of engaging in a real conversation with someone who is present to us. When we do not have face-to-face conversations, we lose face and we feel disconnected. I don’t need to tell you how to overcome it.

8. Multitasking.

Doing too many things at the same time means that you do not have focus. When you do not have focus you do not work as effectively.

The rule applies to conversation. When you are involved in a conversation be present to the conversation. If you are distracted by your phone or even the people around you, you will be rude to your interlocutor and will feel increasingly isolated.
Read more here.

Earth Day explosion

Leslie Eastman points out at Legal Insurrection that
While environmental activists around the world were celebrating Earth Day by racing around in private jets, our planet responded…by unleashing thousands of cubic feet of greenhouse gases.

An ash cloud from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile that erupted unexpectedly on Wednesday was blowing into Chile and Argentina on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of flights from nearby cities in both countries and blanketing residents in ash.
Read more here.

How will they vote in 2016?

Philip Bump writes in the Washington Post about the Democrats' white voter problem. First, he shows us this presidential preference map:

Bump writes,
While there were 2,126 counties that voted Republican all four elections and only 461 that consistently voted Democratic, significantly more people live in those fewer -- and more populous -- Democratic counties. So there is a base of 132 million people (using 2014 population estimates for counties) that have backed Democrats four elections in a row. 117.2 million have backed the GOP.
Go here to read the whole thing.

Good grace and character

Salena Zito writes at Trib Live,
We all face hard decisions and revelations in our lives; some we have direct responsibility for, some we do not. Yet, no matter from where the arrows come, most of us have the good grace and the character to look in the eye of whomever we wronged and to apologize.

We all make mistakes. But how we handle those is what defines us.
Go here to read what she is referring to.


Glenn Reynolds links to a story about white people and men being banned from an "anti-racism" diversity rally at a British university.

It reminds me of a time I went to a national conference on domestic violence in Denver. After the opening convocation, participants were allowed to pick and choose what individual workshops they wanted to attend. I made my way up to the group I wanted to attend. When the room was filled and the workshop was about to begin, the leader announced to me, the only man in the room, that the meeting was closed to men.

A large, dependent, easily-mobilized underclass

As he links to an article on welfare reform by Megan McArdle in Bloomberg View, Glenn Reynolds makes the astute observation that
Yes, but the Democrats’ political strategy requires a large, dependent, easily-mobilized underclass.
Megan reprints the chart the U.S. Census Bureau publishes each year, showing the historical path of the poverty rate:

Read Megan's analysis here.

The death penalty may be dying a slow death, by litigation.

Elizabeth Price Foley writes at Instapundit that
The death penalty may be dying a slow death, by litigation. The Republican-controlled unicameral Nebraska legislature voted 30-13 (with 17 Republican “yes” votes) to repeal that state’s death penalty. The reasons for lost Republican support are varied: the inefficiency (and cost) of years of litigation to carry the penalty out; perceived incongruity with pro-life beliefs; fear of wrongful executions; and a shortage of drugs needed to carry out executions.
Read the whole thing here.

Habits are more powerful than fears

Seth Godin has another wise post for us today:
To overcome an irrational fear...

replace it with a habit.

If you're afraid to write, write a little, every day. Start with an anonymous blog, start with a sentence. Every day, drip, drip, drip, a habit.

If you're afraid to speak up, speak up a little, every day. Not to the board of directors, but to someone. A little bit, every day.

Habits are more powerful than fears.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Let's go get some exercise!

Book burners who are afraid of matches

Bill Whittle's commencement address to the class of 2015.

Earthquake in Nepal kills hundreds

Locals rescue a dust-covered man from the the rubble of a destroyed building, as they work to find and rescue any survivors of the disaster (Mail Online)

BBC News is reporting that
Nearly 1,000 are known to have died in a powerful earthquake in Nepal, with many more feared trapped under rubble, officials say.

The 7.8 magnitude quake struck an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest.

The government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

A national police spokesman told the BBC that 970 people had died in the quake, and that more than 1,700 had been injured. At least 539 people were killed in the Kathmandu valley, he added.

Nepali Information Minister Minendra Rijal said there had been "massive damage" at the epicentre, from where little information is emerging.
Read more here.

"Pack your sh#t folks, we're goin' away"

George Carlin's thoughts about Earth Day. Why are we here? Plastic! "I think we're part of a greater wisdom, a higher order. Call it what you want."

Thanks to Gerard at American Digest.

Country roads

While visiting the American Digest blog this evening, I came upon this video. Apparently John Denver remains popular among the Japanese youth. Ah, memories. Many times this was the song I played on my car stereo driving around western Colorado in the 1980s.

Social justice bullies

Aristotelis Orginos writes in Medium that
...if history is read as a book, the supporters of social justice are typically deemed the heroes, the opponents of it the villains.
However, Orginos notes that today's social justice warriors
have warped an admirable cause for social, economic, and political equality into a socially authoritarian movement that has divided and dehumanized individuals on the basis of an insular ideology guised as academic theory. The modern social justice movement launched on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Jezebel, Slate, Huffington Post, et al. is far more reminiscent of a Red Scare (pick one) than the Civil Rights Movement.

... In order to uphold the sanctity of this viewpoint, adherents ostracize dissension. It’s nothing new — it’s a tactic as old as religion itself. Instead of holy texts, though, the millennial social justice advocate bows at the altar of the currently-in-vogue ideological Trinity: Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism.

...Let’s talk about racism. The mantra of the movement is thus: It is impossible to be racist against white people because racism is the equivalent of prejudice and power. Since white people have social and economic institutional power and privilege (in America), those who are racially oppressed cannot be racist toward whites since those who are racially oppressed do not have power.

...A millennial social justice advocate can discount an opinion simply because it is said or written by a group they feel oppresses them. It is a logical fallacy known as ad hominem whereby one attacks the person saying an argument rather than the argument itself. But this logical fallacy has become the primary weapon of the millennial social justice advocate. It is miasma to academia, to critical thinking, and to intellectual honesty. Yet it is the primary mode of operating on college campuses nationwide.

...The version of millennial social justice advocacy that I have spoken about — one that uses Identity Politics to balkanize groups of people, engenders hatred between groups, willingly lies to push agendas, manipulates language to provide immunity from criticism, and that publicly shames anyone who remotely speaks some sort of dissent from the overarching narrative of the orthodoxy — is not admirable. It is deplorable. It appeals to the basest of human instincts: fear and hatred. It is not an enlightened or educated position to take. History will not look kindly on this Orwellian, authoritarian pervision of social justice that has taken social media and millennials by storm over the past few years.

But the fact of the matter is — anyone unwilling to engage in productive, open, mutually critical conversations with people they disagree with under the moral protection of liberalism and social justice are not liberals, are not social justice advocates, and are not social justice warriors; they are social justice bullies.
Read more here.

Are you an individual, or merely a member of a group?

Is it possible that we are more than our income percentile rank? Professor James Otteson of Wake Forest University has written a new book entitled, The End of Socialism. Socialism sees people as members of classes. Otteson says,
Once you start thinking about human beings as members of classes–so, even if it’s classes that sound initially plausible or neutral, like the rich and the poor, immediately what you begin to do is to see human beings within those classes as being more or less interchangeable.

But the danger that has actually issued real and horrible consequences in human history–once you begin to see people as being interchangeable, at least among classes, this religion, this nationality, this ethnicity, then you begin to dehumanize them. They don’t seem to you like individual centers of human dignity. And I think, looking at a lot of the horrible episodes of human history, that’s what you see. You see one group of people looking at another group of people as mere members of a group, mere members of a class.
Read more here.
Thanks to Instapundit

Friday, April 24, 2015

Giant volcano in Yellowstone is very much alive

Joel Achenbach reports in the Washington Post that
Yellowstone National Park is the home of one of the world's largest volcanoes, one that is quiescent for the moment but is capable of erupting with catastrophic violence at a scale never before witnessed by human beings. In a big eruption, Yellowstone would eject 1,000 times as much material as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. This would be a disaster felt on a global scale, which is why scientists are looking at this thing closely.

On Thursday, a team from the University of Utah published a study, in the journal Science that for the first time offers a complete diagram of the plumbing of the Yellowstone volcanic system.

The new report fills in a missing link of the system. It describes a large reservoir of hot rock, mostly solid but with some melted rock in the mix, that lies beneath a shallow, already-documented magma chamber. The newly discovered reservoir is 4.5 times larger than the chamber above it. There's enough magma there to fill the Grand Canyon. The reservoir is on top of a long plume of magma that emerges from deep within the Earth's mantle.

According to Wikipedia, magma
is a mixture of molten or semi-molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets.
Read more here.

100 times more potent than Hubble

Jean-Louis Santini reports at that
As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space this week, NASA and its international partners are building an even more powerful tool to look deeper into the universe than ever before.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times more potent than Hubble, and will launch in 2018 on a mission to give astronomers an unprecedented glimpse at the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.

"JWST will be able to see back to about 200 million years after the Big Bang," NASA said on its website.

It described the telescope as a "powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe."

Even more, the telescope should further the search for life elsewhere in the universe by opening a new window on planets outside the solar system—known as exoplanets—that might have water and orbit their stars at a suitable distance to prevent freezing or boiling.

Already, NASA's Kepler Space telescope, launched in 2009, has helped astronomers identify thousands of exoplanets. JWST is expected to propel that research even further.

The heavy telescope is scheduled to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket, made by the European Space Agency, from French Guiana in October 2018.

"Just as Hubble rewrote all the textbooks, Webb will rewrite it again,"

..."We have sensors on board, equipment on board that will enable us to study the atmosphere of exoplanets spectroscopically. So we will be able to understand the composition of those atmospheres," he added.

"We can make big progress in the search for life."
Read more here.

A revolutionary idea: children are treasured human beings!

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes at The Week,
We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.

...But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.
Read more here.

Connecting events from a century ago to today

Raymond Ibrahim writes at Pajamas Media,
Today, April 24, we remember how exactly 100 years ago the last historic Muslim caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, tried to cleanse its empire of Christian minorities — Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks — even as we stand by watching as the new caliphate, the Islamic State, resumes the genocide.

And in both cases, the atrocities were and are being committed in the name of Islam.
Read more here.

Obama administration to Americans trapped in Yemen: Good Luck!

Josh Rogin writes in Bloomberg View,
For weeks, the Obama administration has maintained that using U.S. government resources to evacuate its citizens in the middle of the Yemeni crisis would be too dangerous for the U.S. personnel sent to help as well as for the citizens themselves. Without any embassy or military presence inside Yemen, U.S. assistance for the thousands of Americans seeking to leave has amounted to giving them sporadic information, wishing them good luck, and dealing with them if and when they reach another shore, usually Djibouti in Africa.

...Several other governments have arranged evacuations for their citizens, and even aided Americans trying to flee Yemen. India alone rescued 4,500 people from Yemen this month, including some Americans. Ayoub said that the Russian Federation sent out a notice to U.S. citizens in Yemen this week offering to help evacuate them on Russian ships. Desperate Yemeni-Americans are taking any offer they can get to leave.
Read more here.

Handing the baton to Iran

Charles Krauthammer shows in the Washington Post how the new strategic reality of the Middle East
is clear to everyone: Iran rising, assisted, astonishingly, by the United States.

...Obama’s initial Middle East strategy was simply withdrawal. He would enter history as the ultimate peace president, ushering in a new era in which “the tide of war is receding.” The subsequent vacuum having been filled, unfortunately and predictably, by various enemies, adversaries and irredeemables, Obama lighted upon a new idea: We don’t just withdraw, we hand the baton. To Iran.

...(Iran is radical, clerical, rabidly anti-imperialist, deeply anti-Western. The regime’s ultimate — and openly declared — strategic purpose is to drive the American infidel from the region and either subordinate or annihilate America’s Middle Eastern allies.

Which has those allies in an understandable panic. Can an American president really believe that appeasing Iran — territorially, economically, militarily and by conferring nuclear legitimacy — will moderate its behavior and ideology, adherence to which despite all odds is now yielding undreamed of success?

Iran went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil prices. The premise of these talks was that the mullahs would have six months to give up their nuclear program or they would be additionally squeezed with even more devastating sanctions.
Read more here.

The other elephant in the room

Joshua Green reports at Bloomberg that Peter Schweizer, author of the forthcoming book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,
is also investigating the other elephant in the room. He is working on a similar investigation of Jeb Bush’s finances that he expects to publish this summer. “What we’re doing is a drill-down investigation of Jeb’s finances similar to what we did with the Clintons in terms of looking at financial dealings, cronyism, who he’s been involved with,” Schweizer told me on Wednesday. “We’ve found some interesting things.”

As he did with the Clinton book, Schweizer is hoping to partner with media organizations interested in reporting on and advancing his examination of Bush’s finances—an arrangement Schweizer feels has been mischaracterized in the media. “With the Clinton book, we didn’t just give it to reporters with the expectation that they would report on the book,” he says. “We shared it early on with investigative reporters at ABC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post because we wanted that additional scrutiny [of the book’s subjects]. And we want similar scrutiny for this project.”

...On May 5, Clinton Cash will finally hit bookstore shelves and people will be able to form their own judgments. By then, Schweizer will no doubt be very busy, fending off attacks not just from Clintonites, but from Bushies, too.
Read more here.

Sticking with its captors

Kimberley Strassel writes in the Wall Street Journal,
It is as if the Clintons have—filed within easy reach on a shelf—a book titled “Clinton Scandals for Dummies.”

Chapter One: “Pick Your Spots.” The Clintons flourish in that hazy interface between legal and lawless. Their dealings always stink, but are rarely blatantly or provably (or traceably) corrupt. Consider this week’s news. Yes, tons of donor cash flowed to the Clinton Foundation at the same time Mrs. Clinton’s State Department was greenlighting deals helping those donors. But prove there was a quid pro quo! The Clintons dare you.

They know you likely can’t, since Chapter Two is “Limit Those Paper Trails.” Remember those “misplaced” 1990s documents, but also reread the 2000 report from the House Committee on Government Reform titled “The Failure to Produce [Clinton] White House E-Mails: Threats, Obstruction and Unanswered Questions.” The Clintons learned it took effort to keep documents secret. These days, they make sure there are no documents at all. (Mrs. Clinton, which emails would you like us to delete? Just search for key words “yoga,” “wedding” and “uranium.”)

Chapter Three: “Remember, the Press Has ADD.” Pixar’s “Up” features Dug, a cute dog with a serious attention problem (“squirrel!!!”). This is how the Clintons view the media. Pettable. Unfocused. When caught, the Clinton communications team will issue lofty dismissals—calling charges baseless or old news—and wait for the press to believe it. If it doesn’t, Team Clinton will hold one press conference—a la Mrs. Clinton’s email event—and wait for the media to call the case closed. If it doesn’t, they will change the subject (Hillary is running for president! Squirrel!!!) and wait for the press to lose interest. It often does.

Still, if all else fails, there is Chapter Four: “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”—or VRWC. Mrs. Clinton’s conspiracy shtick is today a bit of a joke, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. It works to cast any serious investigation of Clinton behavior as a partisan witch hunt, and therefore illegitimate. And it does work. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is going to jail on dubious claims of trading favors for money. Could an enterprising prosecutor cobble together a similar case against Hillary? Undoubtedly. But no one will for fear of being accused of doing a Republican hit job on the Clintons.

The rest of the book falls under the heading “Stockholm Syndrome,” and consists of tactics for convincing fellow Democrats that the Clinton machine is inevitable. The Democratic Party has for so long been held psychologically hostage to the Clinton scandal factory, a part of it—albeit an aging part—has forgotten there is happy, normal life. So (for now at least) it sticks with its captors.

The question is whether this model, perfected in an earlier age, can hold—especially under the cascade of scandals. Times have changed. There’s more competition in the media these days (blogs, cable, podcasts) and that’s kept pressure on traditional outlets to keep digging into the Clinton Foundation money story. So much so that this week Mrs. Clinton had to escalate to VRWC.

The Democratic Party has changed. It’s now more Obama than Clinton, its left dominated by progressives who didn’t grow up under Hillary, and don’t much like her. They want Elizabeth Warren, and what surely terrifies the Clintons is the potential party explosion were the Massachusetts senator to jump in at this moment of vulnerability. Would it take much to send the party bolting to a fresher female firebrand—without the baggage?

Maybe not, because Mrs. Clinton isn’t putting on the best show. She never had Bill’s political charm, and her years out of elected politics are showing. She looks grim. She looks cautious—hedging her bets, refusing to take positions. She looks out of touch, in the Scooby-Doo van. Mrs. Warren doesn’t have any of these problems.

The most likely scenario is still that the Clintons prevail—the media lets go the stories, the party sticks with the $2.5 billion woman. But as the Clintons replay the scandal script, and keep adding liabilities to Hillary’s campaign, you have to imagine a growing number of Democrats are wondering: what if? The Clintons might, at the very least, want to consider updating that manual.