Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obama Beats Romney... At Insulting the British

Yesterday, our friend Ducky, fresh from the liberal echo chamber full of cawing boobies and nattering nuthatches, spouted the propaganda of the day:  Mitt Romney has insulted the British!

It laughable.  First off, the British reaction was typically British.  They love flaming and lampooning others, especially when they perceive a slight, and most especially when it's from a foreigner, and it is truly rich when they can have fun at America's expense.  So it's all very understandable.

Romney had his CEO hat on and provided a hard-eyed analysis when he should have merely given a positive, politically-correct pablum-filled platitude, but it's hardly an earth-shattering insult.  You should read what the British press was saying leading up to the games.

Here is what the GOP presidential hopeful said:
"It's hard to know just how well [the 2012 London Olympics] will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging." (TNR)
The Obama fangirls in the press dutifully fanned the flames of manufactured outrage.  It was not a gaffe.  It wasn't an insult either, but Prime Minister Cameron's riposte was: "Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."

Cameron's bombast was a return-volley wrought up with all the high dudgeon of a slighted third-world potentate who knows the heady days are over but still clings to the flotsam and jetsam of pride and faded glory.

You want to see what insulting the British looks like? 

Here are just a few of the many examples.  And keep in mind, the highly intelligent Barack Hussein Obama committed these stumbles, gaffes and contumelies with the benefit of foreign policy advisers and a protocol staff:
1. Siding with Argentina over the Falkland Islands

4. Betraying Britain to appease Moscow over the New START Treaty

6. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office, and then lying about it
7. Placing a “boot on the throat” of BP

8. DVDs for the Prime Minister

9. Insulting words from the State Department

A State Department official said,

"There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment."
10. Confusing England with Great Britain

Perhaps less of an insult than an embarrassing indictment of Barack Obama’s Columbia and Harvard education, the president’s extraordinarily ignorant response to the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran last November, dubbing it the “English” Embassy, was the kind of elementary mistake that would have had America’s liberal press howling with derision had it been made a few years earlier by George W. Bush.
So clearly, Obama is the master of ignorant gaffes and bald-faced insults to Great Britain.

Monday, July 30, 2012

What the Frack, Over

We may never reach energy independence (There is no good economic reason to do so anyway), but North America is becoming a fossil fuels powerhouse:
The oil story is also being rewritten. Net petroleum imports have fallen from 60 percent of total consumption in 2005 to 42 percent today. Part of the reason is on the demand side. The improving gasoline efficiency of cars will eventually reduce oil demand by at least a couple of million barrels per day.
The other part is the supply side — the turnaround in United States oil production, which has risen 25 percent since 2008. It could increase by 600,000 barrels per day this year. The biggest part of the increase is coming from what has become the “new thing” in energy — tight oil. That is the term for oil produced from tight rock formations with the same technology used to produce shale gas.
Tight oil is redrawing the map of North American oil. At the beginning of this year, North Dakota overtook California as the nation’s third largest oil-producing state. It didn’t stop there. It just overtook Alaska, to become No. 2 after Texas. Tight oil could reach more than four million barrels per day by 2020.
What really brings home the new reality is a milestone attained last year: In 2011, the United States registered the largest increase in oil production of any country outside of OPEC. (NY Times)
Fracking and Water

The fight is now over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. I talked to a geo-engineer a few weeks back and he told me the biggest issue with fracking was not accidentally drilling into an aquifer and polluting the groundwater, but that it was a water-intensive process. It uses a lot of water, and it’s got to come from somewhere, usually a fresh water source. He said the smart way to go is to tap brackish aquifers when available since they contain unusable water.

The other issue is what do you do with the sand and chemical-tainted water once fracking is complete? If you used a brackish source, you could pump it back in. Right now, they dispose of it in an EPA-approved well, treat it in municipal water treatment facilities where approved, or recycle it to be used in other fracking operations.

Here are some facts taken from the pro-fracking EnergyFromShale.org:

The drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a horizontal shale gas well may typically require 2 to 4 million gallons of water, with about 3 million gallons being most common.
"To put shale gas water use in perspective, the consumptive use of fresh water for electrical generation in the Susquehanna River Basin alone is nearly 150 million gallons per day, while the projected total demand for peak Marcellus Shale activity in the same area is 8.4 million gallons per day."
When the Ground Water Protection Council studied the environmental risk of hydraulic fracturing, they found one complaint in the more than 10,000 coalbed methane wells reviewed – an Alabama well where problems were not related to fracturing according to the EPA. The EPA initiated its own study of environmental risks from coalbed methane hydraulic fracturing and, again, no significant environmental risks as a result of proper hydraulic fracturing were identified.
So, like everything in life, I see fracking as a tradeoff. Sometimes it is worth making, sometimes not, depending on the place. In an arid area that has population centers that sometimes must endure water restrictions, it does not make sense unless an alternate water source can be found. Also, if there is a reasonable risk of damaging a water supply, that too should be avoided. Finally, contracts should include strong liability language. If the drillers mess it up they must clean it up.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Woody Guthrie turns 100

This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ours, cause we don't give a darn. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do. (Wikiquotes)
Those are the words of Woody Guthrie, America’s most prolific songwriter and an icon of Americana. He made almost no money off of his work, freely bequeathing his uniquely-American music to the country he loved.

Jeffrey Weiss has written a nice essay commemorating the 100th birthday of American folk hero Woody Guthrie.
He was a staunch if unconventional American patriot who risked his life for the nation. He was totally willing to work for an honest dollar, even if that dollar had capitalistic ties. And he was a lifetime respecter of religion, while not much willing to get pinned down to any particular faith.
About that patriotism part: during World War II, he served as a Merchant Marine, cleaning pots and pans. Two of his ships were blown up from under him. And he got back on the third. Few of his current critics can offer a comparable record of bravery for the nation.
And capitalism? While he sang plenty for free or little, he got paid when he could. In 1941, he took a one-month government job. He got paid $266.66 to write a song a day about the Bonneville Power Administration, which was selling new hydroelectric electricity to municipalities and industries in the Pacific Northwest. Woody was hired to create what amounts to pro-power propaganda. The songs from that month included several that ended up classics: "Grand Coulee Dam," "Pastures of Plenty," " Roll On Columbia" and "Jackhammer Blues." (Most writers go a lifetime without penning that many memorable songs. Woody did it in a month.) (Happy Birthday Woody Guthrie)
I love Woody’s music. It is raw and real, you can taste the dust of the roads he traveled, hear the click clack of the trains, and see the vast landscapes he sings about. I like his gritty, dusty songs like Hard Travelin', but he shows his diversity of subjects with his sea chantey, What did the Deep Sea Say, which I also appreciate.

Recordings of him are unrehearsed and unenhanced by modern studio technology. His voice is not pretty, and everything is not always pitch-perfect, but it is a true slice of America, especially with Lead Belly backing him with that masterful, thrumming 12-string that never misses a lick. And that’s not to take anything away from his fellow merchant marine and frequent musical sidekick, Cisco Houston. They all made a lot of music and it has become a part of our national heritage.

Fun Trivia – Woody Guthrie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hateful, Intolerant Liberals Attack Chick-Fil-A

Here’s where we’re at in America...

People can stand up and make sound arguments for gay marriage, while bashing Mormons and Catholics. All well and good, it’s a free country, and no one on the religious right has shouted for them to be shut up. We respect the rights of others to disagree loudly and publicly with what we believe. It’s a free marketplace of ideas, and lively debate is good for society.

But a dark presence overshadows that marketplace of ideas. It is the noxious, pustule-covered presence of the doctrinaire, dogmatic, un-liberal left.

Mr Cathy, owner of Chick-Fil-a, made comments supporting traditional marriage. Nowhere in those comments did he disparage gay people, yet he and his company now have a baying pack of rabid progressive hounds on their trail, determined to shut him up and shut down his business. How liberal is that?

Meanwhile, gay provocateurs are determined to rub our noses in it, promising in-your-face agitprop in the form of gay “kiss ins” in front of Chick-Fil-A’s across the country.  That’s sure to get the hated rightwingchristians on their side!  And are they really so disconnected that they think such an immature idea is  going to outrage anyone?  We've been inundated with Hollywood sewage for decades now.  Nothing shocks anymore, especially something as innocuous and pedestrian as two guys or two gals kissing.

Idiots like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emannuel insist Chick-Fil-a is not Chicago values. Mr Cathy should take that as a compliment. Right after that pronouncement, Rahm embraced hatred-spewing serpent Louis Farakkan, who does reflect corrupt Democrat Chicago values.

Then comes the Mayor of Beantown, Thomas Menino saying it will be very hard for Chick-Fil-A to get a permit to operate in Boston unless they change their policies. That is both un-American and ignorant. Chick-Fil-A discriminates against no one, and so far as we know, follows all labor laws, so what could he be talking about?

This is the new, illiberal, intolerant left, folks. You’re not allowed to hold an opinion that deviates from their dogma. You will be anathematized and driven from the public square. Meanwhile, they are free to spew dirty hatred upon the unorthodox heretics and shove their beliefs in everyone’s faces, and it’s all OK.

Not only is Boston and Chicago’s posturing stupid, it's probably illegal as well. Imagine the opposite: A conservative mayor tells a restaurant owned by a loud gay rights advocate who attacks Christianity that it is not welcome in his city and he won’t get a permit.

So who’s intolerant and hateful? It sure as hell ain’t the Christian Right. It is the noisy, illiberal left.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leave Mass Murder to the Professionals, Obama tells Holmes

  Satire by Hugh Farnham

In a fit of disgust with the Colorado "Batman" shootings, President Obama exclaimed: "James Holmes needs to keep his day job. Who does he think he is? The ATF? He's a piker!"

President Obama was at Camp David putting the final touches on the UN Arms Trade Treaty, a progressive wish-list of worldwide gun control diktats.

"I want to be perfectly clear," the President said in a recent interview, "We need Rwandan-style gun control. Only the police and military will have weapons. Period. So slink off and be bitter, but you can't cling to your guns. We need to take those - for your own safety."

A reporter asked about guns for home defense. "Our police and emergency responders need to be as well armed and funded as the military" he said. "You won't need to protect your family from intruders - we'll send professionals to do that."


All satire aside, the tragic fact is that disarming victims leads to great bloodshed. I'm referring to the millions of people who died at the hands of their government over the past century. Most of these mass murders were preceded by a cynical and calculating "gun control" program, leading to eventual disarmament. Genocide followed soon thereafter.

Governments are the greatest mass murderers, not amateurs like James Holmes

The UN Arms Trade Treaty seeks to impose an international regulatory regime of tracking certain firearms, and outright banning of others - except for those guns in the twitchy and murderous hands of the State. Obama intends to sign this treaty within the week. The Senate has then to ratify it for it to become law.

Unfortunately, the UN Vienna Convention prevents legislative bodies from subverting a treaty from the time it is signed by a President until it is ratified by the Senate. It is in a quasi-state of ratification - just the justification that enemies of the Constitution like Schumer need to ramrod through laws that support the treaty. Obama is well aware of this.

If you remain unconvinced about the wickedness of disarming victims, I only need to point you to the Rwandan Genocide. Civilian disarmament set the stage for the 800,000 - 1,000,000 violent murders that took place there. Prior to the outbreak of violence, Rwanda was a model of UN disarmament and gun control. Eventually only the Hutu State had firearms. The rest of the story followed a predictable path, ending with Tutsis clogging rivers with their dead bodies.

Gun control advocates have innocent blood on their hands

If you still trust in the government's wisdom with firearms, I point you to the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, which transferred US firearms to Mexican drug lords. Over 200 Mexicans have been murdered with these weapons.

Fast and Furious was designed to demonize U.S. gun shops - and provide statistics in time to justify signing the UN Arms Trade Treaty. It was a false flag that went sideways. (Note to the Administration: If you are going to attempt a false flag, get sharper tools than the ATF.)

Contact your Senator here. Let your congress-critter know not to ratify or vote for any law that supports Obama signing this treaty.

The life you may save might be your own.

- Hugh Farnham

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No Man is an Island

Poor President Obama and his liberal worshipers are still howling like scalded dogs over conservative criticism of Obama's "You didn't make that" speech. How dare we take him in context!

Two points previously made:

1) Yes, we all benefit from infrastructure, but only Steve Jobs made the iPhone

2) Cuba and North Korea have infrastructure too: School teachers, roads and bridges, so there must be something else that drives an economy.

An Un-serious President

The President was engaging in campaign rhetoric, tossing some "red" meat to the proles and stoking their resentments. Look at his face and listen to the crowd reaction and you'll see what I mean. It's clear he is in the throes of theatrical populist hyperbole.

But how can we take someone like him seriously? How many anti-infrastructure rallies has the tea parties hosted? He's attacking strawmen. Everybody this side of the most fervent Randoid knows that No Man is an Island. Government worked fine when it was consuming 18% of GDP--it now consumes closer to 24%. How much is enough?

If government would limit itself to just funding that infrastructure liberals are constantly whining about, we would not be having these arguments, and we would not be mired in this economic morass.

And if he wants to yap on about who pays what in this country, let's have that conversation.

Business owners and working people benefit not at all from the cawing aviary of special interest rent-seekers now roosting in thousands of government agencies and gobbling billions of dollars in taxpayer contributions. Also, those rich factory owners, along with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and even famous tax dodger Warren Buffet, paid far more for those roads than did the other 99% of America.

Push Back on the Give Back

And let's expose the "Give something back" argument for the leftist guilt trip that it is. "Give back" presupposes that someone took something. That is why it is an absurd statement. So until demagogues like Obama can give us details on just what exactly "the rich" took from us, (and which ones? Name names!), I'll continue to ignore them.

Speaking of the Absurd notion of "Taking..." and "Giving Back..."

What have all those recipients of government-subsidized student loans and government grants given back?

How are welfare recipients, government housing residents and food stamp users giving back?

At the next DC-NY taxpayer-funded orgy, Obama should ask GE CEO Jeffrey HeMelts when GE will "give back" all the damned tax money they have scammed us out of. When will Obama-owned GM give back the $50 billion he took from us and gave them in a fit of crony crapitalism that would make FDR blush? When will Solyndra and all of Obama's other failed venture socialist projects "give something back?"

And didn't effete millionaire jet setters Michelle and Barack Obama use government-subsidized student loans and grants to attend Ivy League schools? And don't those schools receive millions each year in government funds? Have the Obama's given it back?

If liberals really want to go down this road of "give something back," we conservatives and libertarians should take them all the way.

IMAO - Hatred of Earned Success
What Obama Doesn’t Get

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Senseless Killings are Nothing New

I made a blunder Sunday in my post entitled Integrity is Destiny . I still believe the Heraclitus quote applies, to the individual and the society. What we voluntarily allow into our consciousness affects us, negatively or positively. My mistake was paraphrasing Denver talk show legend Peter Boyles and agreeing with his observation  (which he corrected on Monday) that we didn’t have this kind of random violence 40 years ago. He is a student of history, but he was speaking off the cuff the morning after the shooting.

Steve went ballistic and called me a lying liar who lies and lies, blustering at me at two different blogs. OK, so I didn’t have data to back up my agreement, and anyway, it was a post more about ruminating on what had happened and why. I readily admitted I had no answers, but Steve just huffed and puffed all the louder.

Then Finntann stepped in and set me straight, as he is wont to do.  The murder rate has gone down over the past 40 years, and rampage killings have remained flat.  A glance at Wikipedia's list of rampage killers reveals that it is not a recent phenomena and the US does not have the market cornered.

 It was a stinging rebuke, but he did it with facts and without the name-calling. So without further ado, here is a repeat of what Finntann said:

@"Murder rates are worse now that 40 years ago, and we are now seeing more random killings."

Per 100,000

In 2010 the US Murder Rate 4.8

Forty years ago in 1972 it was 9.0

There were 14,748 murders in 2010 in a population of 308 million.

In 1972 there were 18,670 murders in a population of 208 million.

So much for that theory.


They are called Rampage Killers and they are sprinkled throughout history.

In 1875 Alexander Keith killed 83 and wounded 200 with a bomb on a dock in Bremerhaven Germany.

In 1887 an unidentified assailant shot and killed 11 people and then committed suicide in Karachi Pakistan (then India).

In 1903 Gilbert Twigg killed 9 and wounded 25 in Kansas.

In 1913 Ernt Wagner killed 14 and wounded 11. He killed his wife and four children in Degerloch Germany, drove to Muhlhausan an der Enz and shot 20 people, nine of whom died.

In 1915 Monroe Phillips killed 7 and wounded 32 in Brunswick Georgia.

In 1927 Andrew Kehoe killed 44 and wounded 58 in the Bath Consolidated Schoolhouse in Michigan.

In 1938 Mutsuo Toi killed 30 and wounded 3 in Kaio Japan, starting with his grandmother who he beheaded with an axe. The rest of the victims succumbed to shotgun, axe, and sword.

In 1949 Howard Unruh killed 13 and wounded 3 in Camden, NJ.

In 1954 William Unek killed 21 people with an axe in the Belgian Congo and fled. Three years later in 1957 he killed 36 in Tanzania.

In 1958 an unknown arsonist killed 95 and wounded 100 in the Our Lady of the Angels school fire.

I've left off mob action as well as "Mob" action, political, terrorist, and military attacks, as well as more recent events.

There is a term "running amok" in which amok or amuk comes from the Malay language meaning "mad with uncontrollable rage". The Malay believed that it was caused by an evil tiger spirit entering one's body.

"It would be misleading to suggest that there was some long-term upward trend in mass shootings since 1976," said Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University. "The exact number are highly unstable, but ignoring small, year-to-year fluctuations, there was no trend one way or the other from 1976 to 2009. Further, if these figures were computed on a per-capita basis, taking into account population increases, the long-term trend in the rate would be downward."

• 1976-1980: 20.6 incidents annually
• 1981-1985: 16.8
• 1986-1990: 18.2
• 1991-1995: 23.0
• 1996-2000: 20.0
• 2001-2005: 21.0
• 2006-2009: 25.5

(Source:  (Politifact)

Digital rags like Hufpo make broad sweeping statements like "Mass Murder Up, Even While Gun Violence Down" and use the following statistics:
"the total number of people dying in attacks that claimed four or more victims has climbed from an average of 161 a year in the 1980s to 163 between 2006 and 2008, according to FBI statistics."
""The Dark Knight Rises" Friday underscored a chilling trend: While gun violence has plummeted over the decades, mass murder has increased slightly."
Yeah, and the population climbed from 226 million to 308 million.


In 1980 the rate was .07 per 100,000 and in 2012 the rate was .05

If anything, it is statistically flat remaining at 20 per year for decades, and the article acknowledges that... which you couldn't tell from their headline.

Face it, no matter what we do, a small percentage of us will remain Bat-Shit Crazy.

And don't let the fact get in the way of your headlines.


See also:
The Decline of Violence
Assigning Blame for Aurora

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lies, Damn Lies and Liberal Statistics

Liberals never let a good tragedy go to waste.  The bigger the better.  The latest shooting in Aurora, Colorado has the gun-grabbers again railing against our liberties while the blue staters confect dubious statistics to make themselves feel better.

First came the liberals' favorite go-to pseudo-conservative, David Frumble.  Mr. Frumble compiled data that showed, among other things, that voting for John McCain caused gun violence, and voting for Barack Obama prevents it.

All his "data" really showed was that where there are more guns, there are more incidents involving them.  More cars = more accidents, more free speech = more people being offended, more unprotected sex = more venereal disease.  Earth shattering, isn't it?

There are many problems with his numbers, which to be fair, he admits don't prove causation (but let's get them out there anyway to feed the frenzy!)

For example, Illinois voted for Obama and Mr. Frumbles claims it has a lower than average gun death  statistic (more on that lie in a minute).  However, if you disaggregate the data, it reveals just the opposite.  Chicago voted overwhelmingly for Obama and it has some of the worst gun violence in the nation.  Crime centers Springfield, Decatur, Peoria and East St Louis also voted heavily for Obama.  The rest of the state went for McCain or for Obama just narrowly, but is almost free of gun violence.  Add in that Chicago has a severe gun ban, while downstate Illinois does not, and you see just how meaningless such liberal twaddle is.

Massachusetts is More Violent than Colorado

But let's get down to the hard numbers.  What liberals conveniently avoid is overall violent crime statistics, because they do not correlate with gun laws or number of guns per capita.

A liberal from Massachusetts snarked that she was glad she lived there and not Colorado. If she was referring to crime rates and gun deaths, she is deluded:

2010 Firearm Murders per 100,000

Colorado: 1.28
Massachusetts: 1.78
New York: 2.64
Illinois: 2.81
US Average:  2.84

2009 Violent Crime Rates per 100,000

Colorado: 340.9
New York: 385.5
Massachusetts: 465.6
Chicago:  1041
US Average:  439.7

While Colorado does have more gun assaults, Massachusetts, Illinois and New York all have more more overall assaults of all categories.  So I guess they feel better being assaulted by bludgeoning and stabbing than with a gun.  

Those states also have more gun murders than Colorado.  

The gun control cities of New York, Boston, Chicago and DC also have overall murder rates higher than Denver...

2011 Murder Rates per 100,000

Denver: 5.4
New York: 6.3
Boston: 10.1
Chicago: 15.9

So these progressive cities may console themselves that even though they have higher murder rates than Denver, at least they have good gun control laws.

So no matter how you slice it, the progressive, enlightened, liberty-emasculating, gun-fearing states of Massachusetts, New York and Illinois are more violent than gun-loving, cowboy Colorado, even in the category of gun violence. The truth hurts, libs.

Examining the empirical evidence and hard statistics from the FBI and the US Census Bureau reveals a weak correlation at best between strict gun laws and lower gun violence, and there are many outliers on both sides.

More importantly, there is no correlation between strict gun laws and overall crime and violence.

Instead of letting someone explain it to you, go investigate for yourself!

FBI - Crime in the US
IL Atty Gen
NY Times - Colorado Gun Laws
Atlantic - America's Most Dangerous Cities
Crime Rates by State
Gun Crime 2010
Wikipedia - US Cities by Crime Rate 2010

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Integrity is Destiny

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.
Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day.
The content of your character is your choice.
Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become.
Your integrity is your destiny ... it is the light that guides your way.
-- Heraclitus (?535 BC-475 BC) Greek Philosopher
Driving in to work Friday morning, I was listening to Peter Boyles, a Denver talk radio legend discuss the breaking news about the gunman who shot all those people at an Aurora movie theater. It was a search for answers. Caller after caller asked why.

Pete, who’s almost 70, brought up that we didn’t see stuff like this 40 years ago, and he’s right. We’ve always had violence, but this random stuff is a fairly new phenomenon. Many posited that it was generational—some blamed violent movies or video games, while others pointed to a lack of discipline and poor parenting.

No Respect

Me? I don’t know. We’re not a serious people anymore. Everything is an big f’ing joke.

We have no respect anymore, for anything. We have lampooned and demeaned every last institution in the country, a slow motion French Revolution where even the highest offices of government and church leaders do not escape the rhetorical torches and pitchforks. We've set it all ablaze and we dance with glee as we watch it burn.

Granted, government and church have earned it with their serial malfeasance. Their leaders don't appear to respect the institutions they were supposed to be guarding, so why should we?

We respect nothing but our own needs and our overinflated sense of self importance. Back in the day, people had more respect because the culture taught it to them. A person with little or no respect for anything was ostracized to the fringes with other malcontents, but it was a long trip there with plenty of opportunity to repent along the way.

No Cultural Norms

Punishment and guidance at school, getting fired from jobs, being shut out of polite society, getting punched in the nose for insulting something dear to someone or for impugning someone's character. These things taught us lessons and instilled virtues, if nothing else, just knowing when to shut your mouth. A person could learn, or not, by degrees.

Nowadays, there are no stop signs, no guardrails to block a person's free-wheeling descent to hell. Be as stupid as you wanna be. The football coach who used to teach respect has adorned the back window of his pickup with a cartoon character peeing on a Detroit Red Wing logo. How funny! It's in your face 24/7.

So yeah, its the video games, its the violent movies, its war without end, inspiring every jackass and he-man wanna-be to dress up in camo and act stupid. It's our trashed-out, stand-for-nothing, anything-goes culture  

Most importantly, it is what we allow into our collective societal consciousness. If the mind can conceive it, man can achieve it. Heraclitus knew it. It's the same now as it was 2500 years ago. Think up new inanities and novel modes of violence, and all your dreams will come true.

Garbage In, Garbage Out...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Power Trips

Human nature is timeless, and its study brings wisdom 

The Greeks knew it but left the knowledge pasted inside the pages of philosophy.  The founding fathers knew it and crafted a system of government based upon a keen insight into man's fallen nature.

For those of you who love government having all that power, I ask you:  What if Republicans controlled everything?  Would you still grant the federal government carte blanche?

The works of William Shakespeare are a goldmine of human nature on display: Love and hate, lust, greed, anger, abuse of power... it's all there.

Justice and Mercy

In The Bard's play, Measure for Measure, Claudio is condemned to die for knocking up his betrothed before the nuptials.  In act II, Isabella, Claudio's holy and virginal sister, pleads for mercy to Angelo the magistrate.

Angelo rightly reminds her that True Justice lies not in some sappy sentimentality or misguided empathy.  True Justice, God's Justice, Nature's Justice, is blind to emotional appeals and always balances the scales.

Adam Smith, who no doubt was familiar with Shakespeare, summed it up succinctly:
"Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent."
Isabella:  Yet show some pity.

Angelo:  I show it most of all when I show justice;
For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismiss'd offense would after gall;
And do him right that, answering one foul wrong, 
Lives not to act another. 
Be satisfied; Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.
That last line sounds callous, but the deeper meaning is that each of us should be satisfied when justice is done, even when it is done against us, for that is the cosmic order, and it protects the rights of others.

Abuse of Power

Counterpoised against a righteous exercise of justice is abuse of power.  Isabella laments how men harshly wield the power lent to them by God:
O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength;
but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant.
Abuse of power is timeless...
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder.
Nothing but thunder!
She reminds us that God loans power and authority to man so that we many model our societies upon His justice.  But "proud man..."
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he 's most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep
who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
So it's not just an abuse of power and authority man engages in, but a usurpation of God's gifts that are loaned to us.  We forget we are "dust and to dust we will return."  Flush with pride and earthly arrogance, we forget we are fit for infinity, and we end up as angry apes who make the angels weep.  Were the angels mere earthly creatures like us, they would spare the pity and simply laugh derisively at us.

* - Jove:  King of the Gods in Roman mythology, god of sky and thunder

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Demagogue in Chief

Obama humble-bragged last week that he’s focused so much on policy that he forgot to tell us stories. So he stole some urban lore from the Democrats’ favorite storyteller, Chief Spouting Bull, aka Elizabeth Warren.

We're all familiar with Il Douche's famous speech, but I'll provide the text as a reference:
look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (AEI)
Then his sneering attack became totally unhinged, worthy of a Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez tirade:
If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. (AEI)
That's right.  In his world, government gave it to you, and left unsaid, as a hanging implicit threat, government can take it all away, so don't get too cocky.

He’s a smirking smartass

Look at the derision on his face and in his tone of voice at the 00:57 point when he says "You didn't get there on your own."  Keep watching as see how he says “so smart.”

Why the demeaning tone?

Because he resents the success of others, especially if they made it on their own and not through the corrupt cronyism of government payoffs or academic ass-kissing. Obama is one of those clueless ignoramuses who thinks he’s the smartest person in any room he walks in to, and that’s a dangerous person to have in the White House, especially when his staff is equally clueless and incompetent.

Why the attitude? 

Because in his egotistical mind, nobody is as smart as he is, which is why he mocks all those stupid business owners. After all, he’s president and they’re not. That proves it! How many of those big business owners have ever been president? Huh? Huh? Thought so…

This from a man whose only accomplishment was ingesting radical leftist propaganda and crapping BS, and doing it so well that he fooled enough sheeple into voting for him.

John Sunnunu said it best:
He said that Obama’s comments show three related things:
1) The President doesn’t understand how America and business work. No wonder his administration has failed to create jobs.
2) Obama’s crony capitalism: he thinks the way to create jobs is for the government to pick winners and losers, and slide money to Obama’s bundlers and allies.
3) Obama’s attitude toward small business also reflects where he comes from, the “murky political world” of Chicago where politicians and felons are interchangeable. (Powerline)
It’s clear Obama and his statist minions hold us all in contempt

I’ve upset some fellow Right Blogistanis by dismissing their conspiracy theories about Obama purposefully destroying this country, but I’m rethinking my skepticism. Nobody can be that dumb and that incompetent. Could this really be a calculated strategy to tear us down and build us back up in their own statist image?

Either way, as long as this bumbling fool is in the White House and being advised by political manipulators and academic eggheads who’ve never held a real job, we are in real danger.

James Pethokoukis
Business Leaders Strike Back

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obamanomics has Created a Lot of Homeless People

It’s hard times in America, with the ranks of the poor increasing...

In a classical political pincers movement, Bush’s piratical banksters busted the economy, and the Obamunists are prolonging the misery. The result is more poor people on the streets.

I have sympathy for those down on their luck, but there is a dedicated core of homeless bums who don’t want to conform to society’s rules while nonetheless mooching off of it. They were bums in the boom times. These are the hardcore drunks who won’t enter a shelter because they can’t bring their hooch with them. They are the odorous hordes lounging in the beautiful Monument Valley Park here in my fair city, conveniently next to the Marian House Soup kitchen. They hoist themselves up and flock to its doors three times a day like crows on a carcass.

Well, some cities are getting fed up…
Philadelphia recently banned outdoor feeding of people in city parks. Denver has begun enforcing a ban on eating and sleeping on property without permission. And this month, lawmakers in Ashland, Ore., will consider strengthening the town's ban on camping and making noise in public.
And the list goes on: Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City and more than 50 other cities have previously adopted some kind of anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. (USA Today – Cities Crack Down)
And it’s about damned time. My city passed an anti-camping ordinance back in 2010, and we’re better for it, although the most incorrigible “campers” now lounge tentless in many of the same areas. To the dismay of liberals, not one homeless person died of exposure due to our new law. Many went into shelters, and we bussed others back to their hometowns or to kin who could take care of them, as it should be.

My wife and I donate to charities, and the good ones help willing people get back on the path to self-sufficiency. Bob Kote’s Step 13 is one of the best, helping people clean up and help themselves. They only take in people willing to stay sober and go to work. If you’re not willing to do that, they can’t help you.

For a clear-eyed take on all this, I recommend George Orwell’s short essay, The Spike...
At six, the gates swung open and we shuffled in. An official at the gate entered our names and other particulars in the register and took our bundles away from us. The woman was sent off to the workhouse, and we others into the spike. It was a gloomy, chilly, limewashed place, consisting only of a bathroom and dining-room and about a hundred narrow stone cells. The terrible Tramp Major met us at the door and herded us into the bathroom to be stripped and searched. He was a gruff, soldierly man of forty, who gave the tramps no more ceremony than sheep at the dipping-pond, shoving them this way and that and shouting oaths in their faces... (George Orwell, The Spike)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Protecting the Franchise

Democrats love screaming that there is no voter fraud, until you link to verified cases, then they scream that it is insignificant, and go back to calling you racist.

In a little-noted ruling at the end of June, a federal judge sided with Florida in its efforts to purge the voter rolls of non-citizens and felons:
MIAMI — A federal judge on Wednesday rebuffed the Department of Justice’s emergency request to stop Florida’s attempt to remove people who are not American citizens from its voter registration rolls
Judge Robert L. Hinkle of United States District Court in Tallahassee said federal laws did not bar the state from identifying and removing ineligible voters from its rolls, though the Aug. 14 primary is less than 90 days away. The laws, Judge Hinkle said, are to block the removal of legitimate voters: people lawfully registered to vote before being eligible for removal, like felons or the deceased. They do not apply to people, like noncitizens, who never should have been on the rolls. (NY Times)
In response to the judge's ruling, the Obama Administration has temporarily ceased abetting criminal activity and is now expanding access to its data

Here in Colorado, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, with the backing of Attorney General John Suthers, is trying to clean up our voter rolls, but he’s being met with the same loony left protests…
Opponents of Gessler's efforts say they amount to voter intimidation and could keep eligible voters — particularly Latinos, who are expected to play a big role in deciding the election in states such as Colorado — from going to the polls. Those voters lean heavily Democratic. (Denver Post)
If you are a US citizen and you are not sure that you are allowed to vote, you are too stupid to vote and you never should have gotten your citizenship because you should not have passed the citizenship test. This is a red herring, like most liberal arguments.

If they wanted to combat voter intimidation, they could post poll watchers and act as advocates to keep mean republicans from telling the little brown people that they can’t vote. You can’t swing a cat in Denver without hitting a liberal lawyer or some kind of social agitator, so there are surely enough people to do this.

Gessler’s office has already been going through registration records and finding questionable voters:
Gessler asked DHS to verify the status of roughly 4,500 people who provided a noncitizen document such as an alien-registration card, or "green card" when they applied for a Colorado driver's license and who also are registered to vote. Suthers' letter sent Monday notes that number has now grown to more than 5,000.
About 2,000 of those people have cast ballots in recent elections, spokesman Rich Coolidge said.
Suthers and Gessler acknowledge those 5,000 could include people who have since become citizens. (Denver Post)
The Voter Registration System is Broken
Gessler acknowledges he doesn't have a stack of confirmed cases of voter fraud, but he points to 430 cases where non-citizens self-identified their presence on the voting rolls and asked to be removed.
Letters provided by Gessler's office and reviewed by 9NEWS show non-citizens apologizing, often in broken English, for mistakenly ending up on the voting rolls when they registered for a driver's license as a resident alien.
"What it shows is that we don't have a system in place to properly screen people to make sure only eligible voters are voting," Gessler said. (9 News Colorado)
How to do voter registration

Voter registration should be a deliberate act initiated by the voter. No SEIU crooks with clipboards filling out bogus registration forms, no signing up pot smoking out-of-state college students at rap concerts, no mailing pre-filled voter registration forms to people's houses, no motor voter that allows eager Democrat public union employees to fraudulently register non-citizens.

You present yourself at the county office with proper documentation and you register yourself. Deputized county officials could go register people in old folks homes as well as the shut-ins. After the election, the rolls are zero'd out and you start all over. A simple face-to-face confirmation that you are still alive and still live where you did two years ago would suffice for those who had previously proven their citizenship status and address. Any government employee caught improperly registering someone should be fired and prosecuted.

This is not discrimination because it applies to all citizens equally. It is not a poll tax, as inJustice Minister Heinrich Holder ridiculously claimed, but then again he could probably get Chief Justice Roberts to agree with him...

Putting such laws in place would go a long way towards ending the destructive cycle of one side or the other attempting to delegitimize someone's election with charges of voter fraud or voter intimidation.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Obama's Pinocchio Campaign

The hooting loonies on the left think they've got something on Mitt, focusing in on how he said he relinquished operational control of Bain Capital in 1999, but held stock as the owner until 2001 or 2002.

Our Left Blogistani friend Shaw Kenaw spills it all in garish detail at her blog, Progressive Eruptions.

The lefties think they've found a lie: 

He said he left the company, but his SEC filings show he still held ownership. There is no lie, and there is no inconsistency. His words, his actions and his official paperwork all agree that he held stock in the company but took no part in operational decisions. He also stated this in his Public Financial Disclosure Report he had to file to run for president.

It's a simple matter, but the left doesn't let a few facts get in the way of a good mudball fight.
The part about lying to the SEC is absurd, since the SEC doesn't require an owner to be the operational decision-maker (Romney delegated such responsibilities, as is his right). (CNN Money)
For ordinary, rational people, that ends it, which is why the press, when they cover this, do so as a side-show, not potential criminality of a presidential candidate. But we're not dealing with ordinary, rational people; we're dealing with Obama voters who inexplicably plan to pull the lever for him again.

Conn Carroll quotes George Mason University law school corporate law professor J.W. Verret:
The Boston Globe seems to be confused about the SEC filings. They refer to Bain Capital VI, an investment distinct from what we commonly know as “Bain Capital.” Saying that Governor Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital VI is like saying that I am the CEO of my retirement account… its a silly bit of legalese but it doesn’t mean I am CEO of all the companies in which I invest.
As a securities lawyer, if the former CEO of a private equity fund had asked me for advice about what to say in an SEC filing of this type, who had retired from a company and who maintained an ownership stake but otherwise had no involvement in its management or investment strategies, I would have advised inserting the language referenced by the Boston Globe in the filing out of an abundance of caution. (Conn Carroll)
Washington Post and Fact Check also debunk the Leftist Lies

The Washington Post gave the Obama Campaign Three Pinnocchios for it brazen lies and shameless smear campaign. Much of this can be chalked up to slobbering Obama-worshipers not pausing to understand Securities and Exchange Commission legalese, preferring instead to stubbornly maintain studious ignorance and fan the flames in order to mislead as many voters as possible.
In the Massachusetts document, Romney is also listed as 100 percent owner of “Bain Capital Inc.” But there is less than meets the eye here. Bain Capital Inc. was the management firm, which was paid a management fee to run the funds and actually made virtually no profit, since it existed to pay salaries and expenses. After Romney formally left Bain in 2001, a new entity called “Bain Capital LLC” took over the management function.
By virtually all accounts, Romney was focused on Olympics in the 1999-2002 period. Yet because Romney had not legally separated from Bain, his name is littered across Securities and Exchange Commission filings concerning Bain Capital deals during this period. The crazy quilt of private-equity structures, in some ways, makes his ownership appear even more ominous, as the filings list hundreds of thousands of shares controlled by Romney.
Even so, it is a real stretch to claim that Romney — himself! — “closed” these stores. No evidence has emerged that he was involved in the KB Toys transaction. Indeed, when creditors sued over the dividend payment, they named six Bain-controlled entities and three Bain executives who had served on the board of KB Holdings.
They go on to say Romney was not listed in the lawsuit, concluding...
In other words, creditors apparently had determined Romney was only a passive investor. (WaPo)
FactCheck.org, hardly a rightwing propaganda outlet, has an excellent debunking of this idiocy, complete with lots of links to source documentation.

Here's the best conclusion I've read, given the unhinged Obama campaign's penchant for over-heated rhetoric.
But if it is a felony, then why isn’t the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Obama, prosecuting Romney?
Either Obama’s Bain attacks are all lies or he has granted amnesty to a Wall Street felon. Which is it? (Conn Carroll)
Outsourcing Schmoutsourcing...

In the end, all the lefties will be left with is a sniveling charge that Romney outsourced jobs. Well, Obama did too. The WaPo gives the GOP 4 Pinocchio's for making the charge, while backhandedly admitting the charge is kinda true given the Obama charges against Romney. The valuable part of the article is their defense of oursoursing.

Go read it for yourself: A Guide to the GOP's Charges

For extra credit, read this, also from WaPo: Off-Shoring Creates as Many Jobs as it Kills, Study Finds

Here's the study: Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs

This campaign will be a long, muddy slog, and the unhinged left will stop at nothing to keep their messiah on the throne. Information is our ammo.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bible Stories

Is Exodus a True Story?

Some people are sunshine, others are lugubrious rainclouds. Then there are those who enjoy sowing seeds of dissention and doubt...

Exodus did happen. The Bible and other Jewish writings provide the greatest details, but it is possible that some of it was allegorical.

Here is a simple rebuttal to the "It never happened" crowd who point out that no Egyptian history of the time mentions the Jewish people:
The question can be asked however: How complete are the Egyptian records from this period? There is no real literature, no actual books or chronicles, which have survived from that period of Egyptian history. (Actually the Bible is by far man’s earliest chronicle.) We have only a very limited number of inscriptions that have been recovered and translated.

The eruption of the Thera volcano c. 1600 BCE can help to illustrate the problem. The eruption was perhaps four times as powerful as the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. The eruption occurred 450 miles from the Nile delta with the force of a 600 megaton hydrogen bomb.
There would seem to be no question that the sound, smoke, ash and tsunami had a major impact on Egypt. However there is no reference to it, “not even a single clue”, in surviving Egyptian records even though we know from geological evidence that this certainly did happen.

It therefore seems silly to draw any conclusion from the gaps in Egyptian records. Obviously, in this case an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (Torah Philosophy)
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that references to the Jewish People and Israel can be found inscribed on Egyptian monuments. Israelites and their eventual settlement in Palestine are mentioned on the inscriptions, so there are Egyptian historical records, although the timelines are muddled. It's a short article but not easy to excerpt. I invite you to go read it yourself: Merneptah I

Finally, here is something from a Rabbi who says the Exodus probably did not happen, at least as explained in Exodus, but he goes to to explain why that doesn't matter. Biblical literalists will disagree with it, but it is based upon solid scholarship.

He bases his view not on absence of evidence in Egypt, but on archaeological evidence in Israel:
Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites'.) There was no population explosion.
The probability is, given the traditions, that there were some enslaved Israelites who left Egypt and joined up with their brethren in Canaan. This seems the likeliest scenario, a beautiful one that accords with the deeper currents of biblical tradition. The Exodus was a very small-scale event with a large, world-changing trail of consequences.
Knowing the Exodus is not a literal historical accounting does not ultimately change our connection to each other or to God. Faith should not rest on splitting seas. At the Passover Seder we declare: "In each generation, each individual should see himself as if he (or she) went forth from Egypt." The message does not depend upon whether 3 or 3 million individuals left.
He quotes an orthodox rabbi who believes that Jeremiah's prophesy that the Jewish liberation from Babylon would be more important than their liberation from Egypt also has something to do with it, and why the story is not repeated in Chronicles.
In the future the very story of the exodus is omitted, for it is not the specifics of history, but the theme of liberation and of God's providential care that is the theological center.
The Torah is not a book we turn to for historical accuracy, but rather for truth. The story of the Exodus lives in us. Standing at the Passover Seder, I see in my mind's eye the Israelites marching out of Egypt, the miracles at the sea, and the pillar of fire leading them through the fearful night. I feel an enormous gratitude to God. For although we cannot know exactly how God has saved our people, we have been saved (Rabbi David Wolpe)
So sneering smartasses can make the stupid statement that "The Exodus never happened," but Christians and Jews know it ain't so simple.

As a final note, it is useful to see how educated people of God discuss controversial issues.  No one used curse words or vulgarity, all comments were based upon scholarship and references to sacred texts, with personal feeling and trends of the time blessedly absent.

See Also these excellent sites that examine archaeological evidence of the Exodus, courtesy of Elmer's Brother (who I believe is a sola scriptura literalist):

Biblical Chronologists
Bible Archaeology - The Exodus Controversy
Christians and Archaeology
Biblical Archaeology
Biblical History

Friday, July 13, 2012

Natural Economies

Government: A Herd of Bulls in Search of the next China Shop

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
-- H.L. Menken

Liberal fanboy Michael Tomasky made this silly comment in one of his insufferable propaganda pieces:
"The fact that Romney has no actual jobs plan beyond letting the free market work its magic..."

It's not magic, it's the natural way things work. Markets are nothing more than human beings exchanging goods and services. They work well until governments intervene, masking price signals and other organic information that guides free people. Governments and the oligarchs who control them make it even worse by inventing money out of thin air and calling it wealth. 

See the crashes everywhere? All man-made disasters triggered by government trying to spin straw into gold, straighten every curve and flatten every hill.

International Interventions have also Failed

Then I read Realism Prism: US Power and it's Discontents. Nikolas Gvosdev explains how US unpredictability can have unintended consequences...
This sense of exposure is heightened by what appears to them to be the unpredictable way in which the U.S. exercises its power. In other words, the question they all must consider is, what will “set Washington off”?
How and why the U.S. intervened in Libya when Washington routinely ignores humanitarian crises elsewhere raises the unpleasant notion that the United States does not operate according to any fixed set of criteria.
We should butt out. Our unpredictability causes some poor souls to tragically wait for us instead of stringing up the bastards on their own.  It has caused others to act rashly in the vain hope we would join in on their fight.  

Worst of all, we have given the benighted, the superstitious, and the stupid of this world ready-made excuses for their own misery:  US interventions, the Jews, Stalinist dictatorships...  

Eventually they will run out of excuses and be forced to look themselves in the mirror.  We can't do it for them.

We are interrupting the natural flow of humankind. Yes, I know, our natural state is not luxury and technology, with flush toilets and sewer systems literally shielding us from having to deal with our own crap. As Hobbes stated, mankind's natural state is...
"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."
We owe it to ourselves to improve our lot, but we should refrain from doing it for others. I know, conservatives are worried about Islamist takeovers in Libya, Egypt and Syria, but I say let it roll. Those people want Islam? We should give it to them good and hard.

Same goes for the international financiers and businessmen. They need a free market. Free most of all from the taxpayer-funded safety nets.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Krugman's Economic Fictions

Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. (Daniel Okrent, NY Times Public Editor)
Progressive arguments usually go something like this:
Aha! Paul Krugman said it, and he’s an Ivy League economics professor and a Nobel Prize winner, so there! Game, set match!
That is what’s known as the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. The next time a lefty trots out a Krugman talking point, ask him or her to explain the data behind it. They won't be able to, because Krugman's specialty is confecting arcane metrics with odd slices and perpetrating chart scale distortions to make his partisan points.

I often use the arguments of Thomas Sowell and Friedrich Hayek, but I don’t just say they said it so it must be true. I roll out their arguments and pit them against the real world, and that is what you must do if you’re going to employ the work of others. I like the back and forth, but the Krugmanites on the left either give you a dumb stare or vituperation of you dare to question The Bearded One.

There’s another little problem. Krugman has a reputation for making imperiously unacademic statements and he’s a partisan hack, who is frequently challenged by others in his profession. Sowell and Hayek do not get seriously challenged in such a way because they keep their studies and theses confined to the subject at hand, investigating economic and social questions in search of the truth rather than throwing partisan tomatoes at their enemies. Indeed, Hayek dedicated one of his books “to the socialists of all parties,” and wrote a short essay explaining why he is not a conservative.

Also, I do not discount everyone I disagree with. Brookings Institute leans left, but their studies are valuable and impeccably done, so much so that they’ve got even CATO and Heritage Foundation talking about structural income inequality. I also like Market Watch’s Paul Farrell, a lefty who often raves about end of the world scenarios, but amid the often hysterical tone, he points out how we’ve lost our way and that the system is broken.

Where Krugman, Keynes are Vulnerable
Krugman’s Statistical Cherry Picking
Obamanomics in One Lesson

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Social Mobility

Do you want a 98% chance of not being poor? Do these three things:

$ Complete high school
$ Get a full-time job
$ Wait until you're married to have children

America's sterling record of social mobility had taken some dings over the past few decades. It hard to measure precisely, and country to country comparisons are not easy due to differences in measurements and methodologies from nation to nation.

Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins have done some excellent research on poverty in America on behalf of Brookings Institution.  Their work is the most often cited when climbing the ladder is discussed:
Recent research shows that in the Nordic countries and in the United Kingdom, children born into a lower-income family have a greater chance than those in the United States of forming a substantially higher-income family by the time they're adults. (Five Myths)
Some would try to convince us that “the system” in the United states stacks the deck against the poor, but there is absolutely no evidence of that. Immigrants who literally come here with nothing, for example, fare quite well…
The United States is exceptional, however, in the opportunity it offers to immigrants, who tend to do comparatively well here. Their wages are much higher than what they might have earned in their home countries. And even if their pay is initially low by American standards, their children advance quite rapidly. (Five Myths)
Social ills are to blame. We have more single parenthood, divorce and societal dysfunction than do the countries researchers compare us against:
A more important reason for our lack of progress against poverty and our growing inequality is a dramatic change in American family life.
Almost 30 percent of children now live in single-parent families, up from 12 percent in 1968. Since poverty rates in single-parent households are roughly five times as high as in two-parent households, this shift has helped keep the poverty rate up; it climbed to 13.2 percent last year.
If we had the same fraction of single-parent families today as we had in 1970, the child poverty rate would probably be about 30 percent lower than it is today.
Among women under age 30, more than half of all births now occur outside marriage, driving up poverty and leading to more intellectual, emotional and social problems among children.
In addition, we have seen a growing tendency among well-educated men and women to marry each other, exacerbating income disparities. (Five Myths)
How does a poor person climb the ladder?
Our research shows that if you want to avoid poverty and join the middle class in the United States, you need to complete high school (at a minimum), work full time and marry before you have children. If you do all three, your chances of being poor fall from 12 percent to 2 percent, and your chances of joining the middle class or above rise from 56 to 74 percent. (Five Myths)
Liberals got all hissy last time I raised this issue, accusing me of blaming and shaming single parents.  That's not the point.  We should be teaching our kids based upon this data.  Sex is not to be taken lightly, nor is marriage.  School is important.  Keep things in their proper place and in the right order, and you can grow up to be a self-sufficient adult in control of your own life.

See also:  Western Hero - Child Poverty and Single Parenthood

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Faith, Logic and Reason

I made some people angry this past weekend, with some outraged interlocutors asking how dare I question their Christianity, etc.
Well, first off, it’s a debate, not a witch trial, and I am not an inquisitor.

Secondly, I am in no position to question anyone’s legitimacy before God. I am a sinful man humbly working out my salvation "in fear and trembling," but I do enjoy a debate, especially with self-identified Christians who stake out a position in direct opposition to something printed in the Bible in black and white.

The Bible plainly states in many OT and NT passages that homosexuality is a sin, right up there with murder, stealing, adultery, slave trading, prostitution and spreading lies about others. I wrote not to condemn, but to hear how the dissenters justified their position.

I hate to throw more gasoline on the fire, but I have a few final points to make, and as always I invite flaming criticism.

God is Intolerant and He Cares Nothing for Man's Wisdom

Christianity is not Zen Buddhism. God revealed himself and his laws, and asked humans to cooperate in spreading his message. It's not a logic puzzle--it is a list of rules on how to behave so society can grow and prosper. Yes, there is room for debate about such issues as what constitutes a violation of the Sabbath, or how much support should you provide to your parents in their old age, or if God meant those rules for everybody for all time, or for just that one group of people.

Jesus told that one rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor, but he interacted with other rich people without telling them that. So was it a universal command? Or was it directed just at that man?

But other issues are pretty iron-clad. Adultery ain't right. Yes, in Abrahamic times it went on, sometimes with God's apparent approval, but he issued a pretty clear statement to Moses when he engraved those tablets. There's just no way to make adultery OK.

Jesus was not tolerant

I also want to dispel the myth that Jesus was tolerant. He was not. Go read his words. He loved everyone and was always reaching out, not to pat a sinner on the back and tell them "it's all cool," but to embrace them and pull them back to the bosom of God. He forgave sins that the religious authorities at the time said could not be forgiven so easily, but then he left the repentant sinner with the admonition to sin no more. Inherent in Christ's forgiveness is a rejection of one's sinful ways.


Various interlocutors brought up logic. OK. It is illogical to impugn the Bible and then use it as a basis for your argument.

A common line of argumentation is to say God gave people boils on their backsides, or ordered the Jews to slaughter their enemies and kill homosexuals, so he's bloodthirsty or crazy, and anyway we don't follow his most murderous laws anymore, just the "civilized" ones.

First off, those are historical accounts of a specific time and place. God did not issue a universal commandment to kill all your enemies or to put homosexuals or adulterers to death. There is no contradiction in God's laws if you understand the context.

Also, such farragoes casts stones upon the attackers' faith and basis of argumentation as well. If God is crazy or bloodthirsty and his book is riddled with error and inconsistency, why are you worshiping him?

Still a sin, but not punishable by death...

Homosexuality and prostitution are mentioned in other places besides Leviticus as sinful and keeping one from entering God’s kingdom, but without the Levitical death penalty. Indeed, Jesus stopped the stoning of the woman caught in adultery, yet he still commanded her to sin no more. 

Using logic and our light of reason, this leads us to conclude that the act is still sinful, but that it is no longer punishable by death, so the death decree must have applied specifically to the Hebrews as they left Egypt and entered into Canaan. Paul’s restatement of these Old Testament prohibitions but without the death penalties further reinforces this conclusion.

Restating a Biblical truth is not a tautology...

FreeThinke accused me of employing tautologies, which was actually a category error on his part. God's laws conform to nature and a right ordering of society, so in a sense they are self-evident. But they are not mathematical theorems to be proved; they are commands from Our Creator. How is "Love your enemies" logical? It is not a tautology to say murder is wrong because God said so. You are simply restating what God has commanded.

Be Brave! Defy your Creator!

"Times have changed," seems to be the other common argument for reinterpreting God's word. Did anyone hear him say "Go ye forth and reinterpret my words based upon eroding human morality!"

Of course not!  This approach is as cowardly as it is specious. It is making God in our own image to satisfy ourselves instead of having the courage to stand up in defiance of Him and his commands.

I'm not making a religious argument here, but an evidentiary one. God doesn't think xyz is a sin anymore? Where is your proof?

How do you know?

Religious arguments rarely get anywhere because religion itself is outside the realm of pure reason, but we nonetheless use logic and inferences to draw conclusions from what we read.  Indeed, parts of the Bible could be wrong (I don't believe so), so I understand people making that point.  

Now, I ask you, which parts?  And what leads you to that conclusion?  Does it shake your faith in other parts?  In God himself?  Do you think it matters?

Now, as a peace offering, I invite you to Read an article by America's Rabbi, Shmuley Boteach:  My Jewish Perspective on Homosexuality

Monday, July 9, 2012

Obama's War on America

At what point will President Obama man up and take responsibility for the mess he has created?
This continues to be the longest streak — 41 months — of unemployment of 8% or higher since the Great Depression. (Pethokoukis)
Thanks to government fudging and statistical manipulation, our official unemployment rate is 8.2% instead of the being over 10% where it really belongs. Obama and his team of the economically ignorant promised us 5.6% by now, and the hopium smokers believed them..

 Why does Obama Hate Black People?
The unemployment rate for white men and women was unchanged at 7.4 percent, while 184,000 more black American's went without a job in June, for an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent. (Business Insider
Why is Obama Punishing Latinos?
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks (14.4 percent) edged up over the month, while the rates for adult men (7.8 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (11.0 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.3 percent in June (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.(Weekly Standard
Why is Obama Waging War on Women?
The number of women unemployed in June was 5,785,000, an increase of 780,000 from when Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 – at that time, the number of unemployed women in the United States was 5,005,000. (CNS)
We need jobs, Mr. President, not billowy rhetoric and constant campaigning. You and your party shout angry diatribes against George Bush and the Republicans while bribing the various constituency groups, but how about getting government out of the way and allowing the private sector, hard working men and women of all colors and creeds, to drive this recovery?

"It doesn't have to be this way"

We need a president who understands job creation. Mitt Romney has created jobs, Obama has been a miserable, Carteresque failure, which is unfair to Carter, since he was actually a better president.

Here's Romney's plan. You can argue that it is just words, but that is what campaigns are about, and he has the track record to back it up...
"I have a plan," Romney said. "My plan calls for action that will get America working again and create good jobs.
Both near and long-term. It includes finally taking advantage of energy resources and creating energy jobs and convincing manufacturers that energy will be available and low cost in America.
It means opening up new markets for American trade, particularly in Latin America where the opportunities are extraordinary and cracking down on china when they cheat and making sure they don't steal our jobs and bringing tax rates down.
Cutting out the exemptions and deductions and loopholes that are unfair in many cases. In other cases we will limit the deductions so that we maintain our revenue through growth and limning of special deals and bringing tax rates down so they are competitive and attractive for jobs to come back to America." (Romney quoted in the Weekly Standard)
Obama's response? Another BS-fueled campaign outing. He launched his "Betting on American Stupidity" reelection tour, commandeering a foreign-made bus and driving it through states and municipalities destroyed by progressivism...