Thursday, July 28, 2016

We have got to do better

Charles Barkley has doubled down on recent comments stemming from the shootings of black men by police and the sniper attack that left five officers dead in Dallas.

Barkley recently said black people have 'got to do better' and that police 'have made some mistakes' but 'that don't give us the right to riot and shoot cops.'

He was heavily criticized for his comments but he went on the Bleach Report Radio Tuesday and defended his stance.

'We in the black community, we need the cops. Cops are important,' he said on the show. 'They're very significant. We as black people gotta do a better job of policing ourselves.'

More here


Affirmative action prosecutor baffled as to why she lost her cases

Prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in a downtown courtroom on Wednesday morning, concluding one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Baltimore history.

The startling move was an apparent acknowledgement of the unlikelihood of a conviction following the acquittals of three other officers on similar and more serious charges by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who was expected to preside over the remaining trials as well.

It also means the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby will secure no convictions in the case after more than a year of dogged fighting, against increasingly heavy odds, to hold someone criminally accountable in Gray’s death.

More here


The decline of Yahoo

Yahoo is arguably the worst-run major company in the history of high tech. In 1998, Yahoo could have bought Google for a mere $1 million. Four years later, after Google was already crushing Yahoo’s search-engine business, Yahoo offered $3 billion for Google, and was turned down. Google wanted $5 billion, but Yahoo wouldn’t pay that much. Google is now worth more than $350 billion. In 2008, Microsoft offered $44 billion for Yahoo, an offer Yahoo rejected. And then on Monday, it was announced Yahoo would be sold to Verizon for a mere $4.8 billion:

Yahoo was once the king of the Internet, a $125 billion behemoth as big in its time as Facebook or Google are today. Now it’s being sold to Verizon for comparative chump change.

On Monday morning, Yahoo announced the end of the long process to extricate itself from a mess of its own making with a sale of its core operating business to Verizon for $4.8 billion in cash. The transaction ends the independence of one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic pioneering companies. Yahoo’s seventh and final CEO, Marissa Mayer, will reportedly depart upon the deal’s conclusion with severence pay worth more than $50 million.

The sale will unite Yahoo with another fallen star, AOL, the first web portal Verizon bought last year for $4.4 billion. The United States’ largest wireless provider is betting nearly $10 billion that combining the two formerly dominant websites will give it an edge in mobile content and advertising technology it can leverage across its more than 140 million subscribers.

Yahoo’s record of disastrous decisions is arguably the worst business bungling since Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage.



Hillary will legalize all illegals within first 100 days

A new Clinton administration would pursue a bill to legalize illegal immigrants in "the first 100 days" of her tenure, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine told Spanish-language network Telemundo in an interview Monday, presenting a deep contrast with Republicans.

Mr. Kaine also predicted that House Republicans, who stopped President Obama’s last bid for legalization in 2013, will reverse themselves next year and said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan will lead the GOP to embrace legalization.

"Paul Ryan and the other leaders of his party are going to understand that if they want a future for their party they are going to have to work together to find a solution to this," Mr. Kaine told "Noticias Telemundo," according to a transcript provided by the network.

More here


Texas and their lawsuits

Since President Obama took office in 2009, the state of Texas has sued his administration at least 42 times, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of state data a point of pride for the state's Republican leaders.

Former Texas Attorney General and current Gov. Greg Abbott filed 31 of those lawsuits. His successor, Ken Paxton, has mounted 11 such legal challenges since taking office in 2015. Paxton's office has provided cost estimates for 39 of those cases, which as of mid-2016 totaled about $5.9 million.

So what did Texans get for their money? So far, there have been seven cases in the win column for the state, with 12 losses, nine cases withdrawn and 14 pending. (Scroll down to see details on each case.)

In the state's most recent win, a split U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down Obama's executive order that would have provided relief from deportation to millions of people. But the outcome of that case could change after a new justice is appointed. Texas' most recent loss came in June, when a district judge in Dallas dismissed a lawsuit over the resettlement of Syrian refugees here. When the ruling came out, Paxton said that his office was "considering our options moving forward."

More here


Unfunded liabilities and pensions

When financial markets slumped in 2008, the assets in government-worker pension funds plunged and public sector retirement debt soared. Although pension officials rushed to assure the public that their funds would recover as soon as stocks rebounded, the long bull market that began the following year didn't do much to cut states steep retirement debt.

Now, 18 months of mediocre investment returns have sent the unfunded liabilities of state and local pension funds soaring to unprecedented levels and have raised new questions about whether some of these traditional retirement plans supported by tax dollars are sustainable.

Most state and local pension funds closed the books on their latest fiscal year on June 30, and during that 12-month period the bellwether Standard & Poor's 500 increased by less than half a percentage point. While many funds have yet to report their results for the year, early returns suggest that the industry fell well short of its lofty investment goals.

The nation's largest pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, earned a mere 0.6% in the last year, significantly below its 7.5% target. Its sister fund, the California State Teachers Retirement system, which also aims for a 7.5% annual return, instead notched a 1.4% gain for the year.

More here


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Yes to the border wall...

One of the largest newspapers along Mexico’s border with Texas is calling for a border wall with Central America, similar to the one being promoted by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump.

The editorial board of El Mañana, one of the largest newspapers in the border state of Tamaulipas, penned a piece called "Yes to the Border Wall ... but in Mexico's South." The piece praises the idea of border wall, not on the border with Mexico, but on the border with Central America.
 "Along the Mexican border peace and quiet came to an end, Central Americans played a large influence," El Mañana’s piece claimed.

"Mexico’s southeast has two borders; one with Guatemala and one with Belize, that do not provide any benefit, but on the contrary only problems are brought by these crossing points that are being used for the new invasion. The one use by Central American’s looking for a way into the United States. " El Mañana’s editorial board wrote.

More here


The new normal

Many have weighed in on whether Donald Trump’s agendas to the extent that they are different from what are now ratified Republican policies are crackpot, unworkable, or radical: e.g., building a wall to enhance border enforcement ("And make Mexico pay for it!"), renegotiating trade deals with China, promoting Jacksonian nationalism rather than ecumenical internationalism, suspending immigration from Middle East war zones (after Trump dropped his call for complete Muslim exclusion), and disparaging an Eastern-corridor elite that derives privilege from the intersection of big politics, money, and the media.

No doubt, some of Trump’s flamboyant invective is isolationist, nativist, and protectionist. Certainly, we are in the strangest campaign of the last half-century, in which members of Trump’s own party are among his fiercest critics. In contrast, the ABC/NBC/CBS Sunday-morning liberal pundits feel no need to adopt NeverHillary advocacy. They apparently share little "Not in my name" compunction over "owning" her two decades of serial lying, her violations of basic ethical and legal protocols as secretary of state, her investment in what can be fairly termed a vast Clinton pay-to-play influence-peddling syndicate, and the general corruption of the Democratic primary process.

Amid the anguish over the Trump candidacy, we often forget that the present age of Obama is already more radical than most of what even Trump has blustered about. We live in a country for all practical purposes without an enforceable southern border. Over 300 local and state jurisdictions have declared themselves immune from federal immigration laws all without much consequence and without worry that a similar principle of nullification was the basis of the American Civil War or that other, more conservative cities could in theory follow their lead and declare themselves exempt from EPA jurisdiction or federal gun-registration laws. Confederate nullification is accepted as the new normal, and, strangely, its antithesis of border enforcement and adherence to settled law is deemed xenophobic, nativist, and racist.

More here


Marine Corps in bad shape

The United States Marine Corps aviation wing is suffering from the burden of 15 years’ worth of fighting and budget cuts. Fox News ran an exclusive story about this predicament on April 17. The article reported that the vast majority of U.S. strike fighter aircraft are not airworthy. But it wasn’t just F-18s grounded due to a lack of parts, maintenance or other complications. "Only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy," Fox reported.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken their toll on combat aircraft. For more than a decade, the Marine Corps has been called upon to provide close air support, strategic bombing and air supremacy sorties beyond the recommended flight-hour expectation per aircraft.

Exacerbating the problem, budget cuts and sequestration have reduced anticipated budgets for repairs and maintenance to an inadequate level. Fox reported that "U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015." That is a 19 percent decrease in five years. Adjusted for inflation, it’s nearly 21 percent. (Other sources say the 2015 estimate is closer to $596 billion.)

Adding even more fuel to the fire is the replacement pipeline to meet the mission requirements heaped upon the corps. The Super Stallion helicopters (CH-53E) are to be replaced with upgraded "K" models. The MV-22B Osprey was to be the solution for the rotary-wing aircraft used by the corps. Yet the Osprey has failed to live up to expectations, and several accidents have degraded confidence in this "upgrade." The F-18 Hornets were to be replaced with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighterbut as the Trumpet has reported, known flaws, significant budget overruns, and delays in deployment have delayed the F-35’s release.

More here


Chinese students and the ACT

For many Chinese high school students hoping to get into a U.S. university, the pitch is hard to resist.

Take English-language courses in China in a program recognized by admissions offices at more than 60 colleges in the United Statesincluding state universities in New York, Michigan, Iowa and Missouri. Prepare for the ACT, America’s most popular college entrance exam. And take it in mainland China, instead of traveling elsewhere as other Chinese students must.

The program, known as the Global Assessment Certificate, also offers some students an advantage that isn’t advertised: At three different GAC centers, school officials and proctors ignored and were sometimes complicit in student cheating on the ACT, according to seven students interviewed by Reuters.

The GAC program, which can cost students $10,000 a year or more, has emerged as one of many avenues in Asia used to exploit weaknesses in the U.S. college admissions process.

But the most remarkable aspect of this program is that the ACT itself owns and oversees it.

More here


Hyenas of Malawi

In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a "hyena" once they reach puberty. The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual "cleansing". However, as Ed Butler reports, it has the potential to be the opposite of cleansinga way of spreading disease.

I meet Eric Aniva in the dusty yard of his three-room shack in Nsanje district in southern Malawi. Goats and chickens graze in the dirt outside. Wearing a grimy green shirt, and walking with a pronounced limp (he’s been lame in one leg since birth, he says), he greets me enthusiastically. He seems to like the idea of media attention.

Aniva is by all accounts the pre-eminent "hyena" in this village. It’s a traditional title given to a man hired by communities in several remote parts of southern Malawi to provide what’s called sexual "cleansing". If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with Aniva before she can bury him. If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required.

And most shockingly, here in Nsanje, teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood. If the girls refuse, it’s believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole.

More here


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Republican Party and the future

I left the Republican Party two years ago because I thought it too difficult to support Republicans in general after watching former House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (F, 42%) sell out the country repeatedly; and because I saw an organized effort to thwart conservative Christians from election.

Republican Country Club types populated the party’s ranks and liked the energy and enthusiasm people like me brought to the party in 2008 and 2009, but they didn’t want to talk about limited government, or pro-life issues. Many were baffled that so many people would be upset about Obamacare, as many of them lamented that they wished the Republicans had accomplished something like it; they were genuinely upset the Democrats beat them to it.

Campaign for Liberty types came into the party a short while after me, and they too didn’t want to talk about being pro-life, but their influence promoted Ron Paul, who was also very much against what I considered to be my wing of the party the Reagan and Lincoln wing. Mentioning either great Republican president in their company made them very, very upset, indeed.

So I thought of the party as primarily made up of these three factions well, four, if you count the party apparatchiks. They are the ones responsible for arguing in any manner necessary in order to keep the factions together while simultaneously undermining each of them to produce certain outcomes.

More here


Some comments are better than others

It's a "tell". Probably 15%-30% of humans are mentally ill. Most of them are functional. The majority would fall under the umbrella of bi-polar. But bi-polar is different for different individuals, sometimes very different. Serious symptoms usually become apparent at puberty but often are masked and difficult to identify. Typical situation is while everything is going well the individual is fine but when things aren't going well... watch out. Usually this is discovered after you marry them and usually it isn't pretty. One major confounding factor with bi-polar is the mentally ill person thinks that they are normal and YOU are crazy. Everything that happens including everything they do is YOUR fault. If you suddenly discover that your spouse is crazy there is only one safe choice to make: Apologize for whatever you did (or they think you did), promise to buy them something expensive and awesome, kiss ass and play nice... and rent a storage unit, move your shit out when they are gone one day and leave. If you fail to take this advise you will most likely one day be sitting in the back of a police cruiser in cuffs charged with domestic violence and mot likely you will not even have committed any violence. They will harm themselves, tear their clothes, hit you and deny it, etc. When you get to court your spouse who you have no experienced their craziness will be appear sympathetic to the court, be crying will have bruises or pictures of bruises, a good story and will cry on the stand. If you dare look up during this entire case expect the judge, jury, prosecutor and even your own attorney to be looking at you like you are shit. You will go to jail, she will sell or throw away all your stuff, you will lose your license to drive, your job, your dignity and good name and you will get to pay alimony, child support, fees for classes and shrinks, etc. Good luck. I told you how to avoid it but you didn't listen.

There is the chance of schadenfreude however. She will remarry (or more likely shack up so you have to keep paying alimony). And the guy who sleeps in your bed and plumbs your ex's depths will be all shitty to you when you try to see your kids. But his day will come. Sit back, wait, the shit storm will strike again....



Quote of the day

Boris Johnson, ex-mayor of London, on the EU....

"First they make us pay in our taxes for Greek olive groves, many of which probably don’t exist. Then they say we can’t dip our bread in olive oil in restaurants. We didn’t join the Common Market betraying the New Zealanders and their butter in order to be told when, where and how we must eat the olive oil we have been forced to subsidise."


China's economic woes

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump has claimed that China is stealing American manufacturing jobs.

In a speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Mr. Trump the party’s nominee for the presidency said that "disastrous trade deals" had hurt manufacturing jobs in the United States. Mr. Trump also argued that American support for China’s embrace of free trade had been a "colossal" mistake.

At one point, Mr. Trump’s argument had merit. With its large pool of workers who earned much lower wages than their American counterparts, China attracted manufacturers seeking to reduce costs, bolster profitability and keep prices low. Between 1999 and 2011, the United States lost at least two million jobs because of a surge in Chinese imports, according to a study published in The Journal of Labor Economics.

In today’s China, however, workers face a more troubled outlook than Mr. Trump suggests. They are losing their jobs because of a slowing domestic economy, rising costs and stiffer foreign competition including from the United States.

Presidential candidates "are screaming about yesterday’s problems," said Jim McGregor, chairman of the consulting firm APCO Worldwide’s Greater China operations. "Manufacturing for export is getting harder and harder" in China.

More here


Pushing back history

Archaeologists in Texas have found a set of 16,700-year-old tools which are among the oldest discovered in the West. Until now, it was believed that the culture that represented the continent’s first inhabitants was the Clovis culture. However, the discovery of the ancient tools now challenges that theory, providing evidence that human occupation precedes the arrival of the Clovis people by thousands of years.

According to the Western Digs, archeologists discovered the tools about half an hour north of Austin in Texas, at the site called Gault. They were located a meter deep in water-logged silty clay. The site contained more than 90 stone tools and some human remains including fragments of teeth.

The discovery changes everything people have been taught about the history of North America that is, that the Clovis culture represented the first inhabitants of the continent. The results of the research were presented at the meeting of the Plains Anthropological Conference in 2015. According to Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research:

"The most important takeaway is that people were in the New World much earlier than we used to believe. We were all taught [North America was first populated] 13,500 years ago, and it appears that people arrived 15,000 to 20,000 years ago."

More here


Monday, July 25, 2016

In decline

America is in decline. There are some that still attempt to deny this, but the reason why Donald Trump’s campaign slogan has so strongly resonated with the American people is because deep inside most of us realize that America is not as great as it used to be. Our economy is a mess, we are 19 trillion dollars in debt, our infrastructure is crumbling, crime is on the rise, moral decay is all around us, other countries don’t respect us as much anymore, and our nation is the most divided that it has been in decades. Anyone that believes that America is better than it has ever been in 2016 is either completely delusional or simply has not been paying attention.

As I write this article, the prepared text of Trump’s speech has already been released to the press. So the following remarks may differ slightly from how he actually delivered them, but the differences are not likely to be too great. At one point during his speech, Trump highlighted the rising crime and violence in our cities, and the numbers that he had to share were more than just a little bit alarming…

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.

In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.

More here


Idiot is a too kind description of John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

The Washington Examiner reported that Kerry was in Vienna to amend the 1987 Montreal Protocol that would phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, from basic household and commercial appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, and inhalers.

"As we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism," Kerry said. "It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what weyouare doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself."

Kerry said that most of the substances banned in the Montreal Protocol have increased the use of HFCs and claimed that the coolant was thousands of times more potent than CO2. He added that the increase of HFCs has lead to the trend of global climate change.

More here


When incompetents run the show

Judge Barry G. Williams once again handed the Freddie Gray lynch mob a decisive defeat, shredding the prosecution’s case against Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking police officer targeted by the mob.

Judge Williams stated firmly that, the court "cannot be swayed by sympathy, prejudice or public opinion." Instead he insisted that it had to follow the law. Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who became a national figure by heading the Freddie Gray lynch mob, did not even bother to show up. She knew what was coming. And she had no interest in following the law.

Unlike Mosby, who quickly became a national figure by championing the prosecution of six police officers after the accidental death of Freddie Gray, a drug dealer injured while being transported to the police station, or Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who supported giving the Baltimore rioters and looters supposedly angry over Gray’s death "space to destroy", Williams remains strictly local.

And there’s a very good reason for that. It’s the same reason why the media that helped cause the Baltimore riots with their non-stop coverage of the Freddie Gray death haven’t been covering the trials.

More here


I am your voice

‘My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: "I’m With Her",’ he mocked.

‘I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: "I’m with you, the American people. I am your voice.’

‘So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future,’ he said, ‘I say these words to you tonight: I am with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.’

‘Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.

‘I have visited the laid-off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals.

‘These are the forgotten men and women of our country. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice.

‘I am your voice.’

-- Donald J. Trump


Hot, hot, hot

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, surged Thursday to a blistering 129.2 degrees (54 Celsius). And on Friday in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 129.0 degrees (53.9 Celsius). If confirmed, these incredible measurements would represent the two hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters and weather historian Christopher Burt, who broke the news.

It’s also possible that Mitribah’s 129.2-degree reading matches the hottest ever reliably measured anywhere in the world. Both Mitribah and Basra’s readings are likely the highest ever recorded outside of Death Valley, Calif.

Death Valley currently holds the record for the world’s hottest temperature of 134.1 degrees (56.7 Celsius), set July 10, 1913. But Weather Underground’s Burt does not believe it is a credible measurement: "[T]he record has been scrutinized perhaps more than any other in the United States," Burt wrote. "I don’t have much more to add to the debate aside from my belief it is most likely not a valid reading when one looks at all the evidence."

More here


Advocacy rather than education

For almost thirty years, I have taught climate science at three different universities. What I have observed is that students are increasingly being fed climate change advocacy as a surrogate for becoming climate science literate. This makes them easy targets for the climate alarmism that pervades America today.

Earth’s climate probably is the most complicated non-living system one can study, because it naturally integrates astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology, geology, hydrology, oceanography and cryology, and also includes human behavior by both responding to and affecting human activities. Current concerns over climate change have further pushed climate science to the forefront of scientific inquiry.

What should we be teaching college students?

At the very least, a student should be able to identify and describe the basic processes that cause Earth’s climate to vary from poles to equator, from coasts to the center of continents, from the Dead Sea or Death Valley depression to the top of Mount Everest or Denali. A still more literate student would understand how the oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere driven by energy from the sun all work in constantly changing combinations to produce our very complicated climate.

More here


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Stuck in Russia

A group of adventurers, sailors, pilots and climate scientists that recently started a journey around the North Pole in an effort to show the lack of ice, has been blocked from further travels by ice.

The Polar Ocean Challenge is taking a two month journey that will see them go from Bristol, Alaska, to Norway, then to Russia through the North East passage, back to Alaska through the North West passage, to Greenland and then ultimately back to Bristol. Their objective, as laid out by their website, was to demonstrate "that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through."

There has been one small hiccup thus-far though: they are currently stuck in Murmansk, Russia because there is too much ice blocking the North East passage the team said didn’t exist in summer months, according to Real Climate Science.

Real Climate Science also provides a graph showing that current Arctic temperatures despite alarmist claims of the Arctic being hotter than ever is actually below normal.

More here


A Letter to the Editor that I liked

To the Editor:

A recent correspondent referred to President Barack Obama as a "professor" and stated that he is not a "divider." Without rancor, let me point out that the facts do not support either of these claims.

Obama has never been a professor. He was an adjunct lecturer without tenure. To describe a lecturer as a professor is much like referring to a 2nd lieutenant as a colonel. While we’re at it: Obama is not a lawyer. He surrendered his law license to avoid investigation into whether he lied on his application to the Illinois Bar Association.

As a divider, Obama has consistently acted out the leftist narrative of oppressed blacks against white oppressors, particularly white policemen. Regarding the arrest of a Harvard professor, he stated that he did not know all the facts, but that the police "acted stupidly." Before the Trevon Martin case was tried, he prejudiced that case by saying that his son "would have looked like Trevon Martin." He sent a representative to the funeral of the Michael Brown, even though his own Justice Department found Brown’s killing justified. Before Dallas, he did not honor deaths of policemen killed in line of duty. He has spoken repeatedly against police. Knowing that the Black Lives Matter narrative is false, he nevertheless hosted their representatives in the White House. He has also hosted Al Sharpton. He ignored the assassinations of policemen until the mass shooting in Dallas was too flagrant for him to ignore. There is more evidence, but that is sufficient.

Further, Obama’s role as community organizer was inherently divisive. The organizer pits one group of people against another for a larger slice of whatever pie is in question. The organizer operates in the Marxist vision that the size of the pie is unchanging and that the public is divided into different groups that compete for larger slices of it. In this vision there is no room for all to cooperate in growing the pie.

Conclusion: If we are going to have reasonable discussions, our opinions must be grounded on the available facts.


Hillary's spending

Hillary Clinton has outspent Donald Trump in unprecedented fashion. Her endorsements bury Trump’s. The Obama administration is doing its best to restore her viability. The media are outdoing their 2008 liberal prejudices. And yet in John Connally delegate fashion, Clinton’s vast expenditures of $100 million plus have so far earned her only a tiny, if any, lead in most recent polls. If each point of approval is calibrated by dollars spent, Trump’s fly-by-night campaign is ahead.

Nor has Trump matched Clinton’s organization or voter-registration efforts. He certainly has blown off gifts from a number of Clinton gaffes and misfortunes, usually by gratuitously riffing on off-topic irrelevancies, from the Trump University lawsuit to the genocidal Saddam Hussein’s supposedly redeeming anti-terrorist qualities. Pollsters, gamers, insiders everyone, really have written his political epitaph for over a year. Rarely have conservative voices at mainstream-media outlets vowed not to support the Republican nominee. And yet the longer he stays viable, the more likely it is that Trump has a real chance at winning the presidency, which may already be a veritable 50/50 proposition. So why is the supposedly impossible at least now imaginable?

When critics are not slurring Trump as Hitler or Mussolini, they write him off, in sloppy fashion, as a dangerous populist at worst an hysterical, demagogic Huey Long, at best a quirky Ross Perot: in other words, a flash in the pan who capitalizes on occasional but brief surges of Neanderthal isolationism, protectionism, nativism, xenophobia, and collective insecurity among the lower middle classes.

More here


Who monitors translators?

Alexander Stevens is a lawyer at a Munich law firm specializing in sexual offenses. In his recent book, Sex in Court, he describes some of his strangest and most shocking cases. One such case raises the question: What do you do when interpreters working for the police and courts lie and manipulate? As no one monitors translators, it is likely that in many instances, the dishonesty of interpreters goes undetected -- Stevens' book chronicles the devastating effects one dishonest interpreter had on a case.

The parents of a Syrian girl, "Sali," had promised their daughter to a man named Hassan, who, at the time, was still living in Syria. The arrangement was seen as mutually beneficial: Sali's parents would receive money and Hassan would be allowed to enter Germany. Sali would never willingly have married a man 34 years her senior, but the family's honor required it. However, Sali did not receive any benefits from this arrangement. Hassan's interest in Sali was apparently confined to her body. He forced Sali to perform all kinds of sexual practices several times a day, and brutally abused the girl in the process.

Sali was unable to hide the fact that she took no pleasure in these rapes and she became ill, so Hassan reproached her and "openly threatened to demand a large compensation payment from her family, for the cost of the wedding reception and lost pleasures of love." Sali sought help from a women's shelter, where an employee took her to a lawyer: Stevens. At the shelter, Sali described her misfortune, but was careful repeatedly to come to her husband's defense. She was more worried about her family's honor, should Hassan decided to divorce her, than about herself.

More here


Get rid of the Department of Education

The Department of Education (DOE) is one of the most destructive federal agencies because it attempts to control the flow of ideas and information by controlling public schools, including higher education. If a school does not comply, then it gets no federal money. Educators who rebel outright, such as home-schooling parents, are reined in by an ever-tightening net of regulations.

Defining people’s thoughts and beliefs is the ultimate form of social control. In the foreword to his dystopian novel, Brave New World (1946 edition), Aldous Huxley commented, "A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude." Public schools are both expressions of and a training ground for that army.

Happily, the DOE may be one of the easiest federal agencies to abolish because political arguments for abolition have the advantage of being backed by facilitating circumstances. That makes the DOE an agency to target by those who wish to roll back government wherever possible.

One circumstance that favors the abolition or severe reduction of the DOE is historical precedent. The Cabinet-level department is a comparatively new creation, which was signed into law in 1980 by Jimmy Carter. A Cabinet-level DOE had been established in the 1860s but it was quickly demoted to an Office and stripped of presidential prestige. Responsibility for education was then scattered across various government departments and agencies. Eventually, the Office of Education fell under the auspices of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

More here


FBI becoming less diverse

Over time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become even less diverseand its own director doesn’t know why.

During a speech on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey called a decrease in diversity a "crisis" during a time when racial issues are at the forefront.

"We have a crisis in the FBI and it is this: Slowly but steadily over the last decade or so, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing," he said, adding, "I will have failed if I don’t change this."

The numbers show that FBI diversity has in fact been on a steady decline for nearly 20 years. According to the FBI's website, as of March 8, 2016, its special agents are 83.41 percent white; 6.63 percent Latino; 4.37 percent Black; 4.48 percent Asian; and less than 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and multi-race.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Affirmative action has gotten everything twisted like pretzels

The American Bar Association is considering a new bar-passage standard that some law school deans believe contradicts an existing clause on diversity and inclusion.

According to the TaxProfBlog, the ABA will make a final decision in February on Standard 316, which requires all law schools "to prove that at least 75 percent of students in each class have passed a bar examination within two years of graduation." Opponents of the proposed policy, however, argue that it conflicts with Standard 206, which states that accredited law schools must "demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion."

The Deans of several historically black law schools claim that the 75 percent bar passage standard threatens their very existence because "minority law graduates, whether at predominantly white law schools or [historically black colleges and universities], tend to have a lower bar passage rate than their white counterparts." As such, they say, the new standard effectively punishes HBCUs, which have a higher concentration of minority students.

However, Robert Steinbuch, a law professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law, says that the lower passage rate of minority graduates is due to the relaxing of admission standards for some minority applicants.

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Muslim outreach

When President Obama entered office, he dreamed that his hope-and-change messaging and his references to his familial Islamic roots would win over the Muslim world. The soon-to-be Nobel Peace Prize laureate would make the U.S. liked in the Middle East. Then, terrorism would decrease.

But, as with his approach to racial relations, Obama’s remedies proved worse than the original illness.

Obama gave his first presidential interview to Al Arabiya, noting that he has Muslims in his family. He implicitly blamed America’s strained relations with many Middle Eastern countries on his supposedly insensitive predecessor, George W. Bush.

The new message of the Obama administration was that the Islamic world was understandably hostile because of what America had done rather than what it represented.

Accordingly, all mention of radical Islam, and even the word "terrorism," was airbrushed from the new administration’s vocabulary. Words to describe terrorism or the fight against it were replaced by embarrassing euphemisms like "overseas contingency operations," "man-caused disaster," and "workplace violence."

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Five cities

1. Detroit 54.6 murders per 100,000 people. Last Republican mayor, 50 years ago.

2. New Orleans 53.2 murders per 100,000 people. No Republican mayor ever.

3. St. Louis 35.5 murders per 100,000 people. No Republican mayor in 60+ years.

4. Baltimore 34.9 murders per 100,000 people. No Republican mayor in 45 years.

5. Newark 34.4 murders per 100,000 people. No Republican mayor in 50+ years.


Know nothings

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.

It’s difficult to gain admissions to the schools where I’ve taughtPrinceton, Georgetown, and now Notre Dame. Students at these institutions have done what has been demanded of them: they are superb test-takers, they know exactly what is needed to get an A in every class (meaning that they rarely allow themselves to become passionate and invested in any one subject); they build superb resumes. They are respectful and cordial to their elders, though easy-going if crude with their peers. They respect diversity (without having the slightest clue what diversity is) and they are experts in the arts of non-judgmentalism (at least publically). They are the cream of their generation, the masters of the universe, a generation-in-waiting to run America and the world.

But ask them some basic questions about the civilization they will be inheriting, and be prepared for averted eyes and somewhat panicked looks. Who fought in the Peloponnesian War? Who taught Plato, and whom did Plato teach? How did Socrates die? Raise your hand if you have read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Canterbury Tales? Paradise Lost? The Inferno?

Who was Saul of Tarsus? What were the 95 theses, who wrote them, and what was their effect? Why does the Magna Carta matter? How and where did Thomas Becket die? Who was Guy Fawkes, and why is there a day named after him? What did Lincoln say in his Second Inaugural? His first Inaugural? How about his third Inaugural? What are the Federalist Papers?

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Mexico deports illegals in their territory

While many Mexican politicians including President Enrique Pena Nieto decry GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s proposal for a border wall, the country reportedly deports nine in 10 Central American illegal migrants south of its own border.

Univision reports that Mexico strictly enforces its own immigration laws through strong border security which has led to the deportation of 87 percent, 92 percent, and 96 percent of illegal Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan migrants respectively. The deportation data is valid for the first four months of 2016.

A total of 43,506 Central American illegal migrants were booted out of Mexico in the first third of 2016. The illegal migrants were trying to get through the country before ultimately attempting to cross the Mexico-U.S. border.

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Democratic delegate gone wild

A Democratic National Committee delegate pledged to Hillary Clinton tried to murder her husband with a gun on Sunday, but the national media won’t talk about it.

Deanna Vicites, a 47-year-old Hillary Clinton delegate from Pennsylvania, was charged with attempted homicide after shooting her husband in the neck with a revolver over the weekend. The two admitted to authorities they had been drinking all day, and while Deanna initially told authorities it was a mistake, the district attorney said there was no way the shooting was an accident.

Democratic Party officials said the Clinton campaign would have to find a new delegate to replace her.

Killing someone isn’t the first time Hillary Clinton delegate Deanna Vicites committed a dangerous crime. In 2002, she pleaded guilty for conspiring to commit a burglary.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Odds and ends

Prime Minister Theresa May says the UK could benefit a great deal from Sharia teachings. (someone should give her a drug test)

Kalyn Chapman James, the first black Miss Alabama, said she wasn't "sad" for the white cops gunned down in Dallas, and expressed admiration for their murderer, saying, "A lot of us feel the same way."

Bernie Sanders supporters will hold a "fart-in" at the Democratic National Convention later this month.

More than one hundred women stripped and posed naked with mirrors in Cleveland in an attempt to portray Donald Trump as unfit for the White House.

Obama failed to win a single county in Oklahoma in the 2012 election.

No one has ever given Trump credit for his defeat of 16 experienced politicians during his campaign for the Republican nomination.

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..." Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The truck attack in Nice is the third mass casualty attack in France in just 18 months.

France is running out of options with their muslim immigrants. Coexistence no longer seems to be on the table. They can surrender to their new muslim overlords, or they can mass deport them to their original homelands, or they can choose mass elimination. It's up to you, France.

Citizens in Nice have built a makeshift "anti-shrine" out of stones and trash at the spot where the truck jihadi Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was stopped and killed by police. Pedestrians stop and spit on the pile when they walk past.

In the 1920s, Indiana had the highest number of Klan members per capita of any state and in 1923, the city of Kokomo drew tens of thousands of Klan members for the induction of a new Grand Dragon. The ceremony, on July 4, 1923, "is considered by many scholars to be the largest single Klan gathering in the nation’s history."

"Civilizations are created by religion, and destroyed by politics."

It must be lovely living in fucking La La Land.

Erdogan is said to have fired 21,000 teachers, 1,500 college deans, and has detained 9,000 soldiers during the aftermath of the attempted coup.

Trump says....The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania's speech than the FBI spent on Hillary's emails.

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland closed down this week because students said they wouldn't feel safe with hundreds of police officers (security for GOP convention) that were going to be housed on campus.

Members of an American-backed rebel group in Syria beheaded a young child in a grisly execution video.

Ted Cruz refused to endorse Trump at the GOP convention and was booed. His wife, Heidi, was also booed as she was escorted from the stage. (I had high hopes for Cruz when he was elected Senator but he's turned out to be a weasel.)


Hmmmm. Racist police officers, or something else?

Perhaps it will turn out that the latest assassination of police officers, this time in Baton Rouge, is unrelated to the hatred fomented by the Black Lives Matter movement. Perhaps the gunmen were members of militia groups aggrieved by federal overreach, say. But the overwhelming odds are that this most recent assault on law and order, taking the lives of three officers and wounding at least three more, is the direct outcome of the political and media frenzy that followed the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, less than two weeks ago. That frenzy further amplified the dangerously false narrative that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today.

President Barack Obama bears direct responsibility for the lethal spread of that narrative. In a speech from Poland just hours before five officers were assassinated in Dallas on July 7, Obama misled the nation about policing and race, charging officers nationwide with preying on blacks because of the color of their skin. Obama rolled out a litany of junk statistics to prove that the criminal justice system is racist. Blacks were arrested at twice the rate of whites, he complained, and get sentences almost 10 percent longer than whites for the same crime. Missing from Obama’s address was any mention of the massive racial differences in criminal offending and criminal records that fully account for arrest rates and sentence lengths. (Blacks, for example, commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at about 11 to 12 times the rate of whites alone.) Instead, Obama chalked up the disparities to "biases, some conscious and unconscious that have to be rooted out . . . across our criminal justice system."

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Trump to fire Obama appointees

If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump's White House transition team, said the campaign was drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

"As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people," Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters and two participants in the meeting.

Christie was referring to Trump's starring role in the long-running television show "The Apprentice," where his catch-phrase was "You're fired!"

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Who has contributed most to civilization?

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, questioned the historical contributions of nonwhite "subgroups" during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, igniting swift backlash online.

Mr. King spoke during a panel discussion, led by the MSNBC host Chris Hayes, about the racial makeup of the Republican Party on the first day of the party’s convention.

"If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face," Charles P. Pierce, a writer at large at Esquire magazine, said during the panel discussion.

In response, Mr. King said: "This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"

"Than white people?" Mr. Hayes asked.

Mr. King responded: "Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization."

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Whatever happened to Wordstar?

One of the most interesting stories in the history of computing surrounds the dominant word processor of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Wordstar.

The brains behind it included industry pioneer Seymour Rubenstein, who much later developed a spreadsheet product called Surpass which became Quattro Pro. Rubenstein had worked for IMSAI under his then mentor Bill Millard where he ran into superstar assembly language coder, Rob Barnaby. After his stint with IMSAI and after working on a banking system for Credit Suisse Rubenstein decided to start a company. He began studying the Datapro reports on dedicated word processors and decided he wanted to do a software company. He called it Micropro International. The first two products were a word processor and a sorting program which he got Barnaby to code. In just a few months, while coding two products simultaneously, Barnaby produced Supersort and Wordmaster which were released in Sept of 1978 at a computer show in New York. Rubenstein sold $12,000 worth of the programs at the show and was in business to stay.

Dealer feedback for Wordmaster indicated that there was a need for built-in printing. Word processors at the time typically had separate programs you ran to print the documents after you edited them. The Electric Pencil, arguably the first modern word processor incorporated printing in the program and dealers wanted the Micropro product to do the same thing.

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Tesla in trouble?

While much of the recent public attention surrounding Tesla has focused on the car's self-driving or "autopilot" feature, which was implicated in the May 7 deadly crash and has resulted in a NHTSA probe as well as a potential SEC inquiry into whether the company misled investors by not reporting the death at the time of Tesla's May equity offering, the real problems facing Tesla is not so much whether its cars are safe but the increasingly evident lack of demand at any price point.

Last month, Tesla cut the base price of its Model S sedan to $66,000; this happens at a time when Tesla has missed its sales targets in the first two quarters this year. Then earlier today, Musk also added a lower-priced version of its Model X crossover. The new Tesla Model X 60D is priced from $74,000, $9,000 less than the Model X 75D. Equipped with a 60kWh battery,

But the real sign that Tesla is concerned about flailing demand for its cars came later in the day, when Tesla said it had discontinued its resale value guarantee program that assured buyers that cars would retain value over time.

As Reuters adds, the discontinuation of the buyback program, as of July 1, shows the company stepping back on a pledge begun in 2013 that Tesla would buy back its cars financed through specified loan partners for a predetermined resale value after three years. The program was intended to help Tesla control its secondary market and assure buyers that cars would retain value.

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