Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tribute to Winter

This was originally going to be a tribute to New England's winter, but since it's been snowing for the past week...

Friday, February 27, 2015

What are we Afraid of?

Midnight Mist: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

As it turns out, the number one fear we have is... walking alone at night, at least according to a survey by Chapman University

  1. Walking alone at night
  2. Becoming the victim of identity theft
  3. Lack of safety on the Internet
  4. Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  5. Public speaking
The One Thing Americans Fear Most

I found that surprising, city or country I like walking at night alone or with company.  In fact none of the things on the list really bother me at all.  Public speaking used to be a fear of mine but after being forced to do it repeatedly it doesn't really bother me much at all (that's called exposure therapy by the way, although my exposure came through life not in anything formal).   I'm not particularly phobic about anything that I'm aware of, bugs, spiders, snakes, heights, flying, thunder/lightning, none of your standard phobia subjects are anything that bother me. I stumbled onto this study after reading a story about cetaphobia, the fear of whales, certainly an odd one yet one that supposedly hundreds of thousands suffer from.  Perhaps I'm just lucky, how about you?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Recovery?

In a recovery, you would expect to see higher median income. In Obama’s recovery, median incomes have actually dropped. Median inflation-adjusted household income in 2013 was $2,100 lower than when President Obama took office (and $3,600 lower than when George W. Bush took office). Productivity is up by 7.2 percent since the end of the recession, but hourly wages at the end of June 2009 were the same as they were at the end of October 2014: $22.15. Most Americans didn’t lose their jobs during the recession. But most Americans haven’t seen their incomes go up in this recovery.  This is the crisis known as “wage stagnation.”  Commentary Magazine - The Truth About Wage Stagnation

Bargaining power has shifted to employers, based on workers’ fears of permanent job loss.  Since 2000, it notes, a shrinking share of workers has changed jobs. In economics jargon, labor markets have “less fluidity”; workers are “moving less among jobs” than before. By reducing turnover, this defensiveness relaxes pressure on employers to increase compensation.  The study finds the tendency of people to shift jobs has dropped by almost one-third, from about 13 percent of the 16-and-over population in 2000 to 9 percent in 2013. Slower growth in compensation has, in turn, reduced labor’s share of the national income.  Washington Post -What's behind Wage Stagnation

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Uh, yeah, right.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits, citing new rules that make holding money for the clients too costly, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the plan.

J.P. Morgan is making the moves because certain deposits are less profitable to handle than they used to be. New federal rules essentially penalize banks for holding deposits viewed as prone to fleeing during a crisis or a stressed environment.

Market Watch
Wall Street Journal

Let's see.... I give you my money, you give me some trivial amount of interest, turn around and loan it out for 5, 10, 15%... and it's too costly?  I got news for you J.P, you're not doing it right.

How long do you think it will take for this to trickle down to retail accounts?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Government Monopoly on Information

Obama's FCC is set to vote Thursday on secret new Internet regulations and restrictions 

No transparency, no requests for comment, no debate on the Star Chamber's plan to clamp down on our Internet freedoms, and drag our internet quality and access down to Europe's level.

What?  You thought Europe's Internet was better?  Think again...

Pro-government regulation progressives have been making that claim based upon outdated studies.  Here are articles from this past year that cite newer studies and more recent data:

Financial Times:  Studies Show US Beats Europe on Broadband Speed and Access

Forbes:  The Grass Isn't Greener in Europe

Net Neutered

Progressives of all parties love attaching warm and fuzzy feel good names like "Net Neutrality" to their statist projects in order to mask their true intent: Power and Control.

Obama's first Internet power grab was back in 2008, but the courts slapped him down in 2010, finding his FCC Kommisars had no legal basis for demanding Comcast stop throttling BitTorrent transfers.  (for a constitutional scholar, he sure gets caught doing a lot of unconstitutional stuff)

Like all determined dictatorial regimes, the 0-Ministration has found another bludgeon:  The Communications Act of 1934.  As Homer Simpson would ask, "is that thing still around?"  Yes it is, and Papa's got a brand new bag.

Five years ago, the propaganda driver was hatred of Comcast (I'm not a customer).  This time around, leftwingers are rallying around...  hatred of Comcast!  Damn them for charging us money for their services!  The debate is confusing, Comcast could win or lose from Net Neutrality, and the company claims to be for it, while critics call Comcast's professed support a wolf in sheep's clothing.


The added twist big government leftists now put on the debate is that every little bit of data should be treated equally, regardless if she is a bit of e-mail emanating from a big millionaire CEO or a humble blogger's upload; a streaming movie or song, or just a  workaday bit carrying one piece of a useless fart joke or a Gawker video meme on whether Kim Kardashian's butt can fit inside a battery powered car.

This in itself betrays a fundamental ignorance of how networks works, but I won't bore you with packet switching theory, packet differences, QoS, and bandwidth.  Guess what?  ISPs, content providers and fat pipe infrastructure owners work this out on their own every day within existing commerce regulations without any help from Big Government.  Yes, Comcast now collects more from Netflix, because Netflix on its own accounts for over 33% of internet traffic, the rest is used up by TMZ, porn, and peer-to-peer sharing of pirated content, with about one percent going to legitimate business use.

The Obamanet

Does anyone really think the government laying its clumsy mitts on the internet will make it better?  Does government make anything better?  Do you want an internet run by the same bureaucratic sludge factory that bring you Amtrack and the Post Office?

The verdict on Obamacare is in:  Wildly more expensive than promised, it did help a few uninsurables and people at the bottom, but at the expense of everybody else, many of whom lost their doctors and their preferred plans.  Government penetration of the healthcare market goes back decades, and health care inflation runs double that of the CPI, or higher, and despite Obamacare it is rising.

Education is the other market suffering forcible government penetration, and it's products and services are triple the CPI, measured since 1978.

Do you believe government regulation can make the following two claims possible?

A Lexus for the price of a 4-cylinder Chevrolet sub-compact!

A porterhouse steak and lobster dinner for the price of burger and fries!

If you do, then you probably support Obama's Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?

James Simpson at has written an excellent article on Net Neutrality.

Here are some highlights:
Under contemplated net neutrality rules, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast would not be allowed to charge higher prices for more access.
Here is the true motive.  Just as Obamacare hopes to strangle what's left of the private insurance and health market, making it ripe for complete government takeover, Net Neutrality will do the same for the internet, making it a government utility under government control:
Net neutrality is a form of price control, and price controls everywhere distort the market. By affording equal access to all comers at below cost, demand will skyrocket while supply dries up. If an ISP cannot provide Internet access at a profit, it will go out of business. The government will then step in to take its place.
It's a great article with many useful links, so please go give it a thorough read.  The author ends by asking why people rightly upset at government spying on them would want to turn the internet over to that same government?

Related question:  Would you rest easy with the internet in the hands of a moralist GOP government?  It's a public utility, and we can't have it streaming filth into our public schools, can we?  It's for the children!

Monday, February 23, 2015

America: An Islamic Nation?

We must ask the question:  Is President Obama insane? 

He made this statement at his Summit on Countering Violent Extremism of Mysterious Origins:
"Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding." (Whitehouse.Gov)
Is he nuts?  That is an absurd statement.  Does he actually believe it?  I agree with his comments that follow.  Muslims have and continue to make contributions to our society.  There probably were Muslims in Colonial America, but they had nothing to do with the founding or weaving our national fabric. 

Who Died and Made Obama the Defender of Islam?

This statement from the same speech is not his to make.  The US President is not a spokesman or defender of any religion:
"Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders -- holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”"

"Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism." (Applause.)

Who is Barack Obama to make such a statement?  Is he an Imam?  A religious scholar?  The ISIL butchers are Islamic.  They are Muslims, and they are raping, burning and beheading based upon a literal reading of the Koran.  Islamic hate preachers are egging them on.  It is not the place of a President of a secular republic to characterize a religion, negatively or positively, to defend or attack it.

This statement from a UN speech is also inappropriate:  
"The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam"
Oh really?  Is he prepared to back that up with action?  I agree that the US President must stand up for tolerance of all religions and avoid giving offense, but he's beyond that.  Would it be appropriate for him to criticize Islam?  Of course not.  By the same token, he is not qualified to defend it either.  That is the job of Muslims.

"The Bible is a Cheap Copy of the Koran"

Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 7th Century, but Muslims uniquely believe that God created the world Islamic, and that from Adam and Eve on, we are all created Muslims.  Those of us who are not Muslims are corrupted.  Although parts of the Koran read like a fractured fairy tale version of Bible stories, Muslims insist Islam came first.  Before Christianity.  Before Judaism.  Allah forbid anyone make the suggestion that Muhammad cribbed Bible stories but got them twisted up.  No, Muslims believe that the Koran is the only correct and true Word of God.

This is the mindset of the Islamic faith, and the President and his amateur dog whistlers pander to its religious bigotries and self-important beliefs of unique supremacy with every ridiculous utterance about the religion of peace. I understand where the Obama Administration is coming from.  We are not at war with Islam, and we wish its peaceful practitioners no ill.  But Obama's folks find it impossible to make such simple declarations.

If only little Hadji had a Falafel Stand...

Obama's Sophmore Girls' Foreign Policy Club lecture us that we can't win a war by killing the enemy.  Another absurd statement.  Could you imagine Churchill or FDR spouting such inanities?  But Obama's Giggly Girls do it with a condescending smirk and allow that we are probably not sophisticated enough to grasp such nuance.

If those rapists and head-choppers only had jobs...  If Adolph Hitler had only scored his own art gallery in 1932...  If only there were more jobs down at the Wienerschnitzel plant, Heinz and his school chums would never have joined the Gestapo...

Our government is off the rails, Neonazis are on the rise in Iraq and Syria, and Obama is handing Iran billions of dollars, and his laughing gas girls from Foggy Bottom lecture us with sophomoric platitudes.

In Obama's Defense

Below are two of the best articles I could find that that touch on Obama's outrageous claims about Islam and our nation's founding.  They are heavy on claiming Deism is really "Christian Islam," and they overemphasize Islam's influence on the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, Classical Scholasticism and intellectual luminaries like John Locke, but the arguments cite facts and are well-presented. 
Salon:  Our Founding Fathers Included Islam

Founders' Indebtedness to Islamic Thought

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Law is Truly an Ass

The Artful Dodger - George Cruikshank

Salt Lake City, Utah (CBS LAS VEGAS) – A Utah woman has been granted the ability to sue herself for negligence in the case of a deadly accident that killed her husband in 2011.

The Utah Court of Appeals has ruled that Barbara Bagley will be allowed to proceed with a wrongful-death lawsuit against herself for alleged negligence in the Dec. 27, 2011 accident east of Battle Mountain, Nev., that killed her husband, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. Court documents show that Bagley will be suing the driver of the vehicle, Bagley, for an unspecified amount of money stemming from losses in medical, funeral costs and mental anguish.

Attorneys for Bagley say the widow is pursuing legal action for the benefit of the estate, and not just herself. Creditors will be paid prior to Bagley receiving the money she’d receive as her husband’s sole heir.  

Why not, the only people who have anything to lose are her insurers... who by the way, are defending her.

Just... WOW

* For those wondering about the engraving above, it is from Oliver Twist, the most commonly referenced work in which the statement "The law is an ass" appears.  An earlier work in which the statement appears is in Revenge for Honor, a play by Henry Glapthorne published posthumously in 1654.  So it is established that the Law has been an Ass for a very long time.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Say it ain't So...

Funny how old songs can gain new relevance.  Here's Roger Daltry singing Murray Head's Say it Ain't so Joe. Lyrics are below.

Here are the lyrics...

Say It Ain't So, Joe (1975)
by Murray Head

Say it ain't so Joe, please, say it ain't so.
That's not what I wanna hear Joe, ain't I, got a right to know?
Say it ain't so Joe, please, say it ain't so.
I'm sure they're telling us lies Joe; please tell us it ain't so.

They told us that our hero has played his trump card;
He doesn't know how to go on.
We're clinging to his charm and determined smile,
But the good ol' days have gone.

The image and the Empire may be falling apart;
The money has gotten scarce,
One man's word held the country together,
But the truth is getting fierce.
Say it ain't so Joe, please, say it ain't so.
We pinned our hopes on you Joe and they're, ruining our show.

Ooh babies, don't you think; we're gonna get burned?
Ooh babies, don't you think; we're gonna get burned?
We're gonna get turned, we're gonna get learned,
Yes, we're gonna get turned.
We're gonna get burned, we're gonna get learned,
Yes, we're gonna get burned.
We're gonna get burned, we're gonna get learned,
Yes, we're gonna get turned, we're gonna get burned.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flat Earthers Rejoice

 In what seems like what has turned into pick on Islam week the following video is somewhat amusing... not that Islam has a monopoly on idiots or anything...

This was a position previously stated by Saleh Al-Fawzan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars who stated that there is no doubt that the sun revolves around the earth:
There is no doubt about it. The Koran says: "The sun runs…" Nevertheless, they say that the sun stands in place and the Earth moves. This contradicts the Koran. Ignoring the Koran and adopting modern theories is not something a Muslim can do. A Muslim must follow the Koran. MemriTV

I said it was flat, I never said it wasn't Round!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The President's Op-Ed

Just the other day (Feb 17th) on the eve of the Islamic Terrorism Conference the President published an Op-Ed column in the LA Times. We'll address a few points here, but feel free to read the article and chime in on anything you want about it.

The United States has made significant gains against terrorism.

Well that's an interesting perspective since it seems to be more out of control than ever as indicated in his following paragraphs:

The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. Since 9/11, terrorists have murdered U.S. citizens overseas, including in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Here in the United States, Americans have been killed at Ft. Hood and during the Boston Marathon. In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians. In recent months, we've seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen.  Elsewhere, the Pakistan Taliban massacred more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers. From Somalia, al-Shabaab has launched attacks across East Africa. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.

If the current state of affairs are "significant gains", I'd hate to see what losing looks like.  I'd also like to ask why if the President recognizes (as indicated by its inclusion here) the Fort Hood shootings as terrorism why the DoD continues to categorize it as "workplace violence", a categorization that has allowed Nidal Hasan to continue to draw ($278,000 since Nov 5, 2009... and that figure is almost two years old) salary and denies benefits to the victims of the shooting. Snopes

Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies.

Islamqa  run by Muhammad Al-Munajjid who at least Al Jazeera identifies as "one of the respected scholars of the Salafist movement" (page three of Al Jazeera link) has this to say about democracy:

Democracy is a man-made system, meaning rule by the people for the people. Thus it is contrary to Islam, because rule is for Allaah, the Most High, the Almighty, and it is not permissible to give legislative rights to any human being, no matter who he is. Undoubtedly the democratic system is one of the modern forms of shirk, in terms of obedience and following, or legislation, as it denies the sovereignty of the Creator and His absolute right to issue laws, and ascribes that right to human beings. Islamqa

There are of course additional supporting and opposing viewpoints with the Islamic world.  The President goes on to talk about pluralism:

Finally — with al Qaeda and ISIL peddling the lie that the United States is at war with Islam — all of us have a role to play by upholding the pluralistic values that define us as Americans. 
Of course the falsehood in that statement is the naive belief that Jihadists or Salafists (not all Muslims) accept pluralism.  The Islamic views on pluralism is as divergent as its views on democracy depending on what particular sect one belongs to.  Given the Sunni ISIS treatment of Shia, I don't think you can expect to see pluralism out of them any time soon.  From Libya to Nigeria to Pakistan, Indonesia to the Philippines I dispute anyone that asserts that a lack of tolerance and pluralism is strictly an Arabic problem within Islam.

With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity. 
Obama's position reminds me of a friend of mine that used to joke that after he retired he was going to start an Amish Internet Dating Site.  So I have to ask, what makes him think they want what he's peddling? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Isis Really Wants...



The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam...

...But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.

From an excellent article by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Last week in response to an Obama speech that called for us to "remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ" I posted a list of invasions and battles committed by Islam in the four centuries preceding the 'First' crusade; the historical context in which that crusade occurred.  In the ensuing discussion it wasn't long before someone resorted to the Pee Wee Herman defense (I know you are but what am I?) citing an article referencing all the occasion of incitement to genocide in the Bible. I responded with "forget the books, judge them by their actions".  Jez wisely asked me "But who is "them," exactly?"

Since that post ISIS has beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on the beach of the Mediterranean and threatened to invade Rome and "Break the crosses of the infidels".  

My reference to 'them' at the time was primarily to ISIS, one need not judge them by their religion but solely by their actions which are damning enough, their motives are irrelevant.  In retrospect 'them' can also be in regards to the entirety of Islam, to the Ummah.  In honesty one can not judge all of Islam by the actions of ISIS, but one can certainly judge the Ummah by their responses and reactions to ISIS.  In 1933 there were only 850,000 members of the Nazi Party, at its peak it only claimed a membership of eight million a mere 10% of the population of Germany.  In the end, all of Germany and the German people paid the price for the actions of a relatively small minority of radicals.

Is the Ummah waking up to the threat posed by ISIS, not just internally but in the context of the global geopolitical situation?  So far Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Jordan, and Iran have committed themselves militarily in opposition to ISIS.  Following the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians Egypt has also committed itself militarily, launching airstrikes against the ISIS stronghold of Derna in Libya.  While Christians, Yezidi, and western hostages get the news coverage, by and large the greatest victims of ISIS have been their fellow Muslims.  In the end it is the Ummah that must police itself lest in the long run they pay the price for the actions of a relatively small minority of radicals.

What are your thoughts?  Is the Ummah doing enough? If not, what should it be doing?  

Monday, February 16, 2015

To the People of the United States of America, Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust...

This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all...

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. 

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts...

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. 

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. 

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another...

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. 

A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. 

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.  

Just Sayin'

If you would like to read more, the full text can be found here.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Milk of Human Kindness

Here's a feel-good story that warmed my heart:
“I didn’t expect the kindness of strangers,” Audrey Mark, who took the photo, told ABC News. “You don’t expect humanity on aisle 11 of a big-box store.”

The quiet 15-year-old in the black suit was looking for a clip-on tie for his first job interview, but Target only sells regular ties. That’s when Dennis Roberts, Cyndi Moore and Cathy Scott came to his rescue.

“When Dennis was tying the tie, we took the time, ‘Look presentable, tie your shoe laces, tuck your shirt in,’ we were giving him pointers,” Cyndi explained of their interaction. “He was just soaking everything in, taking it all in."

This is more than just good customer service. Yasir Moore learned how to shake hands and look his interviewer in the eye.

"They could have just sold my son a tie," Moore's mother, Najirah Parrish, told ABC News station WTVD-TV in Durham, North Carolina. "But they took the time, helped him tie the tie and talked to him. They treated my son with dignity, respect."  (Good Morning America)
Yasir Moore is a black teen, and probably has no father around.  He was shopping for a tie he needed for a job interview, and three white store employees helped him out and coached him to success.  You can watch the short video segment at Good Morning America.  It will make you feel good.

As I always do, I perused the comment thread, bracing for the haters to throw cold water on it all, but I was pleasantly surprised.  No racist invective or ignorant comments about his mother wearing a hijab; just happy, positive comments.

I think we are hungry for news like this.  But, is it really news?  That was the debate in the thread.  Unless you live in a cold, hateful place, you probably see and participate in such life events all the time.  Neighbor helping neighbor, stepping in to help someone you don't know.  Being helped by others when something goes wrong.  At least that was the view of many.  Further afield, what about Lassana Bathily, the Muslim man who saved the lives of Jewish shoppers when Islamic extremists attacked the Jewish deli in France?

So, is such kindness the norm here in America? Or have we become a nation of Lady MacBeths, contemptuous of those "too full o' th' milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way?"

Has popular entertainment/news media skewed our view of ourselves and others?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Isn't it Ironic?

“It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” ~Barrack Obama

A random terrorist walks down a random street, wanders into a random deli, and shoots four people at random. Isn't it ironic that that the terrorist was Islamic, the deli was Kosher, and the shoppers were Jews? Imagine that, the four people shot in a Kosher deli were Jews... what are the odds of that happening?

Next thing you'll be telling me is that of the fifteen to twenty million people randomly imprisoned by the Nazi's from 1938-1945 that of the eleven million people that were randomly killed, six million were coincidentally Jewish and five million just happened to be homosexuals, communists, Roma, Poles, Soviets, mentally or physically disabled, or just downright undesireable.


*And before someone (FT) corrects me on the use of the word ironic, no it isn't ironic any more than the shooting at the kosher deli was random. ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hubble Space Telescope finds God

Actually it is galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+8949, the edges of the face and the smile are caused by gravitational lensing... but I hope it made you smile nonetheless.

Because it can't always be about politics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Striving in the way of God.

"Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," the president said.
Well Mr. President, if you want to talk about the Crusades, why stop there?

633 - The Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia (Iraq). 

635 - The Muslim conquest of Damascus.

637 - The Muslim conquest of Syria. 

638 - The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

639 - The Muslim conquest of Armenia.

639 - The Muslim conquest of Egypt.  

641 - The Fall of Alexandria.

642 - The Muslim conquest of Persia.

651 - The Muslim conquest of North Africa.

654 - The Muslim conquest of Cyprus.

674 - The First Muslim siege of Constantinople.

691 - The Dome of the Rock is built.

711 - The Muslim conquest of Sindh (Pakistan).

711 - Muslim invasion of the Caucasus.

713 - The Muslim conquest of the lower Indus Valley (India).

717 - The Second Muslim siege of  Constantinople.

718 - The Muslim conquest of Hispania.  

719 - The Muslim conquest of Septimania (Coastal France).

734 - The Muslim conquest of Provence (France).

736 - The Muslim conquest of Georgia.

751 - The Muslim conquest of Transoxiana (Turkestan). 

809 - The Muslim conquest of Sardinia.

820 - The Muslim conquest of Crete.

827 - The Muslim conquest of southern Italy.

827 - The Muslim invasion of Sicily.

831 - The Muslim conquest of Palermo.

870 - The Muslim conquest of Afghanistan 

902 - The Muslim conquest of Sicily.

1060 - The Muslim conquest of Anatolia (Turkey)


From its founding to the modern age Islam has been spread at the point of a sword.  The first crusade was the first organized pan-European response under the auspices of the Vatican to a four century old Muslim invasion. So Mr. President, as the saying goes ...and the high horse you rode in on.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Real King?

Rumors abound on whether or not King Abdullah II of Jordan is personally leading strikes against ISIS. A Major General in Jordan's Special Forces and a Cobra Attack Helicopter pilot before his coronation, several stories emerged that he was leading the attacks although a Jordanian governmental spokesman denied the rumor... which they would probably do anyway, even if he was flying sorties.

When I first heard the story I thought, they don't make many men like that anymore and I was somewhat disappointed to hear the Jordanian spokesman deny the rumor, my respect for King Abdullah would be magnified ten-fold were he actually leading the attacks. What do you think?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Church and State

Pope Francis has accepted John Boehner's invitation to address a joint session of the US Congress, and President Obama is cool with it.  What's Up?

I am a libertarian with conservative values, and I love Pope Francis. He is admonishing the haughty, punishing the pedophiles and their protectors, and he is bringing Christ to people where they are, just as Jesus himself did 2,000 years ago.

What about his leftwing pronouncements on secular matters? I don't give them much attention. I respect his authority when he speaks on matters of faith and morals, but he's not an economist or a climate scientist, so I look to other sources for information on such secular topics.

Boehner is Wrong

I am a Catholic and I am against Pope Francis addressing the US Congress in September. Allowing a leader of any religion to speak before congress sets a horrible precedent, unless the circumstances are very narrow and the topic pointed and urgent. For example, a Jewish leader addressing Congress in the 1930's about growing antisemitism in Europe, or the Dalai Lama speaking about the plight of Tibetan Buddhists suffering under Chinese Communist subjugation.

What the hell is he going to say?

As a successor to Saint Peter, the Pope's job is to teach the word of God and lead Christ's Church on earth. Is he going to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our politicians? Lord knows they need it, but it is not appropriate for any religious leader of any faith to exhort and proselytize in the US Capitol.

Is he going to preach on hot-button political issues like gay marriage, climate change, immigration and economics? Cuba? Socialized medicine? Again, not appropriate. So, I don't know what he could say.

The only way this is appropriate is if he addresses congress as the Vatican's head of state and talks about the plight of Christians and religious minorities hemmed in on all sides by packs of rabid Islamists hell-bent on the destruction of all who don't share their backward, barbaric beliefs. I would also enjoy hearing him address poverty and inequality, but without the socialist rhetoric. If he dives into partisan politics, even obliquely, he's over the line for trodding on our sovereignty and for engendering disdain for our Catholic faith from people who rightly believe foreign religious leaders should butt out of domestic politics.

Slippery Slope

Even if he confines himself to what I wish he would say, I still don't like it. A Pope addressing congress establishes a slippery slope. What next? A Phredd Phlapps fiery fundamentalist preaching homosexuals into hell and damning my church as The Whore of Babylon? What if Satanists and Wiccans demand equal time? Imagine a Wahhibi preacher extolling Big Mo's virtues and scolding The Great Satan from our own seat of government.

Granted, none of this would do us any harm, but government is already a big enough farce as it is...

If Pope Francis is the smart man I judge him to be, this will be a fluffy, feel-good speech full of innocuous sentiment that leaves everyone with a pleasant afterglow.

Related:   Foreign Leaders and Dignitaries who have addressed Congress

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dar al Islam Awakes?

Has ISIS sown the seeds of an internal Islamic housecleaning?
CAIRO (AP) — The horrific fate of a captured Jordanian pilot, burned to death by the Islamic State group, unleashed a wave of grief and rage on Wednesday across the Middle East, a region long accustomed to upheavals and violence. Political and religious leaders united in outrage and condemnation, saying the slaying of the airman goes against Islam's teachings.
Video of shouting Islamist butchers burning a fellow Muslim alive and pushing a gay Muslim off of a building so he can be beaten to death by wild animals in human skin.  Maybe that's what it takes to shock the umma out of its 7th century complacency.
Top Muslim body calls for 'killing, crucifixion' of IS militants

Cairo (AFP) - Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious centre of learning, expressed outrage at the Islamic State group for burning to death a captive Jordanian pilot, saying its militants deserve to be killed or crucified.

This "requires the punishment mentioned in the Koran for these corrupt oppressors who fight against God and his prophet: killing, crucifixion or chopping of the limbs."
It's answering barbarity with barbarity, and they took exception to burning, saying that it is reserved for God alone to burn sinners in hell, but at least its a start. The Egyptian Imams whose voices matter called ISIS "un-islamic."

Heroic Muslim Kurds are doing the fighting and dying against ISIS, and Westerners are joining them.   Iraqi Christians, fighting for their lives after being burned and bombed out of their homes and churches, are joining the fight as well.  It will mean little until Muslim countries in the region commit a serious amount of ground troops to go in there and slaughter every last ISIS pig.

They're trying to in Africa.  Christian Cameroon, and the mixed Christian-Muslim countries of Chad and Nigeria are going after Boko Haram with troops and planes because they know what to do when they identify a threat:  Kill it.

Modern-Day Fascism

Militant Islam is the fascism of our time. We are witnessing modern-day Hitlers and Mussolinis, Maos, Stalins and Pol Pots torturing, raping, burning, bombing and killing, and King Abdullah of Jordan is mad as hell and apparently ready to go all Clint Eastwood on their asses:
Jordan’s King Abdullah made a reference to Eastwood’s tough, violent Western, “Unforgiven,” in a meeting with members of the United States House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
The Jordanian monarch “said there is going to be retribution like [IS] hasn’t seen,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) of California, according to the Examiner’s well-connected Byron York.

In particular, King Abdullah apparently said he would deal with IS in the way Eastwood’s character acts in “Unforgiven.” At one point Eastwood's character says, “Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any [expletive] takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”
The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets,” he (Abdullah) said, according to the Examiner. (Christian Science Monitor)

Anyone who has studied the Middle East knows Arabs are given to fiery bombast, and who knows what the King's agenda is, but he looks pissed, like he's ready to go there himself and tear them limb from limb.  He's not just posing.  The king is a special forces veteran who knows what we are up against, but could he rally other nations?  Are Muslims really fed up with these horror shows being carried out in the name of Islam?

"It's not our war"

We'll see.  The dead pilot's father, a man from a powerful tribe, does not support Jordan's participation in the fight against ISIS, and Jordan's King is in a precarious position, as is his country that spills over with more than 2 million refugees fleeing wars, dictators and Islamic butchers.

So, my question to you is, do you think anything good will come of this, or do you predict more of the same?  Will the US again find a way to make the situation even worse?


In Unison, Muslim Clerics Lash out against Islamic State  

Jordan's King thrusts country to center of Islamic State War

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Big Lie


Or as Mark Twain said "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics".

Jim Clifton, President and CEO of Gallup recently posted an article on how the Department of Labor is misleading the American people and the media is cheering them on.

The unemployment rate is not really 5.6%.

If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%
Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%.

What the government likes to trumpet from the rooftops is the U-3 rate or "Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force".  Please take note however that they get to define what the civilian labor force is and they exclude the long term unemployed who have just given up or those who are marginally employed or underemployed.  The U-3 rate  for Dec 2014 trumpeted above is 5.6%, the U-6 rate or "Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force" was 11.2% for the same period.  

It's also very important to always read the fine print:

NOTE: Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.

Wait... it gets better:

Fewer Americans born in the U.S. have jobs now than were employed to November 2007, despite a working-age population growth of 11 million.  Almost one in every two jobs added since 2009 have gone to foreign-born workers. In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs in January 2010.  Since November 2007, the number of working legal and illegal migrants has risen by two million, from 23.1 million in November 2007 to 25.1 million in November 2014.  But the number of Americans with jobs has fallen by 1.5 million, from 124 million in November 2007 to 122.6 million November 2014. The DC

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Barack Obama: Criminally Insane or Dangerously Incompetent?

Obama's Rasputin, David Axelgrease, has a new book coming out.

From The Huffers' Post: 

President Obama Reportedly Wasn't Pleased With Mitt Romney's 2012 Concession Phone Call
President Barack Obama was displeased with Mitt Romney's 2012 Election Night concession call. [...]

Obama was "unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over," Axelrod writes in the book, scheduled to go on sale next week. Romney also reportedly told Obama that he had done a good job getting out the vote in Cleveland and Milwaukee, which Obama interpreted to mean black people.

"That's what he thinks this was all about," Obama said, according to Axelrod.
This is probably what really miffed The Thin-Skinned Kid:
Even though Obama beat him handily, Romney apparently told Obama that he was surprised he had lost the election.
Ungracious and sneering in victory, ignorant and angry in defeat.  Is Obama a narcissistic megalomaniac, or a megalomaniacal narcissist?

He is definitely detatched from reality. He refused to accept the complete repudiation voters gave him and the Democrats in the 2014 election. This despite the fact that the very same district-by-district math that gave him an ok overall 2012 victory but a near electoral lanslide, is the same math that gave his Democrat Socialist confreres in congress such a drubbing in 2014.  He was also the first president reelected with less popular and electoral votes than his initial win.

Incompetence or Malfeasance?

A related question: Is he destroying our nation on purpose according to a sinister plan hatched by Davos Men, Bilderbergers, or other nefarious forces?  Or is he simply incompetent?

We have the smallest workforce since Jimmy Carter's presidency, the worst economic recovery on record, wages are falling, the 5.6% unemployment rate is a lie, the oceans have not receded, the planet has not healed.  Even though the "greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street" gallops on despite his campaign pledges, he is indeed "fundamentally transforming The United States of America."  I'm sure the First Lady is still bursting with pride.

His plan to arm and train the ragtag band of Syrian rebels and then expect them to defeat Assad's Russian-backed regime while simultaneously vanquishing ISIS points towards gross foreign policy ignorance, outright stupidity, or both.

Consider the Obama trains full of foreign children steaming up from Central America to our border, dumping the kids on our side, where government agents then disperse them around the nation to spark outbreaks of diseases not seen here in decades, sickening, maiming and in some cases killing Americans. If some organization other than the federal government had done that, we'd call it terrorism.

Speaking of terrorism, why are we inviting in Somalis and other backward Muslims who are incapable of assimilating into western civilization and feel more loyalty to ISIS than America?

"America Cannot Do a Damn Thing"

That quote comes from one of the Turds in Turbans who runs Iran.  Obama's Amateur Foreign Policy Sorority Club responded by begging him to negotiate with them.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has taunted President Barack Obama, claiming that the U.S. no longer has the guts for battle.

Speaking at an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khamenei, the 74-year-old Shiite Muslim cleric proclaimed that 'military attack is not a priority for Americans now.'

He stood on a podium amid banners boasting 'America Cannot Do a Damn Thing' as he reacted to a speech President Obama gave to West Point last week. (Daily Mail)
What's the harm in talking, right?  But wait, there's more!  Obama has been bailing out the Mullahs who killed our troops in Iraq and who sponsor the Hezbollah terrorists.  The grand total gift from the citizens of the United States to the Murderous Mullahs will be over $11 billion when nuclear 'negotiations' conclude this June, when the Iranians will finally have a weaponized nuke.

If anyone wonders how this will turn out, simply recall how the great poker player Obama shouted to Boehner and Cantor, "Don't call my bluff!" (If I have to explain it to you, you probably think Obama is a good negotiator.)

The result was the budget sequester that is reviled by Obama and the Pelosicrats.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


With each passing act of complete and utter barbaric depravity

each surpassing the last

Daily Beast
One needs to ask, what is the appropriate response?

Go on... be the armchair General you always wanted to be...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I'm Sorry...

but you're all going to have to start 
reading a heck of a lot faster.

Okay, that's not me or my house, and my antenna is slightly smaller, just a tad... or so it seems perched on the ridge line of my home.  Western Hero, at least some of it has jumped into the latter part of the 20th century with both feet and is now coming to you via a microwave broadband link.  Now, I say late 20th century because if you have fiber or FiOS I don't want to hear it, and for the record... I hate you.

It wasn't all that long ago (okay it was a little more than a decade) that I moved from a little fishing village on the shores of the Yellow Sea (okay, it was really just outside Pyeongtaek, not to be confused with that worker's paradise - Pyongyang) trading my 11 Mbps connection for that greatest American invention since sliced bread... dial-up.  I was overjoyed a little less than a decade ago when I traded that dial-up for a 1.5 Mbps DSL line, a speed I have been languishing at ever since (best available).

Now I'll jump up on my soapbox and point out the the #1 country for internet speed at an average connection speed of 23.6 Mbps is, drum roll please... South Korea.  Guess who's #10...

Wrong again, it's Ireland... the US is currently sitting at number 11with a not so astonishingly fast 10.5 Mbps, although #2 Japan is only 14.6 Mbps.

Me, I'm currently sitting at 8 Mbps although they're coming back tomorrow with a taller mast and promising 18-20 Mbps.  Why you may ask...

Actually a couple of weeks ago my flat screen gave up the ghost and we wound up buying one of the new 4K Ultra HDTVs.  Now, no one is offering 4K video yet with the exception of NetFlix and a few other streaming sources and as my research has indicated you need a minimum of 15 Mbps to stream 4K video I've gone broadband.  Why do we need 4K video? Well you'll have to take that up with my darling wife ;)  That and the fact that I'll be saving $105 a month by switching all my data and communication services to a local company.  Heck, they're treating me right so I figured I'd give'em a plug.

For those of you that are interested, 4K Blu-ray is due out mid to late summer and Dish Network, who I also switched to, is due to have a 4K Ultra box also this summer. Strangely enough Direct TV does offer 4K service but apparently in some kind of proprietary format thing that only works with one TV currently on the market, the Samsung UHD/4K model which is "Direct TV Ready", well if your reading this Direct TV, wise business move... you've lost a ten-year customer.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I've been disconnected from the internet all day and unable to do any research.  How 'bout them Pats!

Revolutionary thought at a whole heck of a lot of bits per second. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Republicans Against Racism and Exclusion

Reading doctrinaire leftists like Matt Bai, who sit marinating in their progressive jacuzzi with fellow coreligionists and wrinkle their noses at the slightest whiff of conservatism, or even conservatism-lite, reminds me that Democrat hero and philanderer John Edwards was right.  There really are two Americas.

Jeb Bush (who has been deemed "reasonable" by the liberal poobahs) made a statement, and Bai and his fellow travelers are debating whether it constitutes a Sister Soulja Moment.  I don't criticize the vacuous debate; that's what pundits do, and the more meaningless the debate, the better.  It's the comparison they draw that puts them on the dark side of the moon.

But first, the Jeb Bush quote, pulled from a speech where he defied conservative opinion and argued for liberal immigration policies:
“Our national identity is not based on race or some kind of exclusionary belief.”
This made the progressives go all giddy, rear up on their hind legs, wag their little tales, and compare this to Bill Clinton's Sister Soulja moment, where candidate Clinton repudiated an obscure, hate-filled female rapper for making this statement:
“If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”
Sure, it was an easy target, and Clinton had already won the primary, but back to Matt Bai and his latte leftist lunacy.  Bai believes this wasn't really such a moment for Bush.  It was too tepid; Jeb didn't take a flamethrower to those on his right.
For Bush to make some grand gesture of disapproval toward the extremists in his own party, before the campaign in Iowa has even begun, wouldn’t simply be perilous; it would be suicide.
He also fails to tell us just who the hell on the right believe our national identity is based on race and exclusion.  Silly leftists!  Tricks are for... *er* ...silly leftists, I guess...  As well as carefully-calibrated candidates trying to thread the narrow way.

Borders, Language and Culture Define a Nation, except to the demented left, who equate that belief with racism... 

Yes, to Bai and his metrosexual chums, anyone who wants a sane and rational immigration policy is an extremist, no better than a klansman burning a cross, or a black woman who calls for killing white people.  In the fevered leftwing mind, we're just a hair-trigger away from armed, white, conservative, Christian domestic terrorists blowing up taco trucks, firebombing burrito stands, and forcibly marching foreigner women and children to the Mexican border after executing their menfolk.  It's crazy.

...and it's just beginning.  2016 cannot come and go fast enough.