Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Close to greatness

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh (bane of Bears fans when he was in Chicago) is claiming that his team is close to greatness.  Well, as far as I know, the Buckeyes are still 190 miles away in Columbus, but perhaps he's referring to the Spartans in East Lansing, a mere 64 mile drive?  I'm pretty sure that he's not referring to State College or Madison, both of which are about 390 miles away.

Oddly, the closest to football greatness the stinky weasels get this year--unless they beat the Buckeyes of course--is the 45 mile drive to the home of the Motor City Kitties.  So I'm thinking Harbaugh is showing some clear signs of having participated in Michigan's "General Studies" program.  And go Bucks!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Whine of the day

Hilliary Clinton, one to make a big deal of how one ought to accept the results of elections--at least prior to November 2016--is apparently still trying to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Donald Trump's win.  It is as if she is unaware that many voters, including this one, might have seen her illegal server and dealings with Russian uranium companies as a bad sign.  It is as if she's forgotten that she didn't even bother to campaign in crucial swing states.

Or, it is as if she knows that "journalists" for fish-wrappers like Mother Jones aren't going to point out these obvious facts, and that she'll be able to keep getting six figure paychecks for content-free "speeches" to the already persuaded.  Honestly, I can see a bit of bias in journalism, but maybe, just maybe, we ought to be open to the obvious?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the lack of touch

Helen Smith links a great piece about how our current horror of being accused of sexual impropriety, probably along with the nation's dismal marriage rate, is leading more and more men (and all of us) to be brutally isolated from physical touch.  Along these lines, it reminds me how encouraged I was when my daughter came back from a short term mission trip to Spain, and she and the other high school girls had decided they'd greet each other in the Spanish way--with a kiss, just like the New Testament describes no less than five times. 

Most of us probably wouldn't be comfortable going that far, but there's a tremendous amount of good to be had from simple touch. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Some good points here

Here is a very good piece on the difficulties faced by fundagelicals (like myself) in the age of Roy Moore.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Asking the right questions

In a 60 minutes interview detailing her experiences with former doctor Larry Nassar, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman goes at least halfway through a "five whys" root cause analysis to approach the question of why this issue has remained relatively quiet for decades.  Notice that she answers the question of "why didn't people speak up?" with "because they were afraid to", and then she asks the question of "why were they so intimidated by the culture?". 

Count me jealous--not only an amazing gymnast, but a natural for the various professions of problem solving.  Well done, Aly.  Anyone who works with children ought as well to note her question, and take steps so nobody ever has to ask it regarding their organization.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Time to drain the swamp

It appears that the Department of Defense is routinely failing to report criminal convictions to the Brady background check system, including for the (redacted) who shot up a church in Texas.  Just as in many, many other cases, heads need to roll over this, and quite frankly I think we need an auditor to make sure that court martials do indeed report things like domestic violence.  In the case of the (redacted), his crimes really amount to aggravated assault if not attempted murder; we are not talking about a borderline case where someone yelled at his wife and was prosecuted for it.

Yes, it would kill a certain number of military careers if these convictions were faithfully reported, and that's probably why they were not.  But if these men are not safe to their families, exactly why would we assume they'd be safe around their fellow soldiers?

Long and short of it is that those who failed to report convictions need to lose their jobs, and we the taxpayers should end up paying significant damages to those hurt and killed in the recent atrocity.

History of Hollyweird...

....is summarized by this article about something Maureen O'Hara said in 1945; that she understood that her refusal to lie down on the casting couch and be sexually harassed and abused had cost her parts.  And as my family realized there she is again as we enjoyed yet another of her movies, we can have only disdain for those who treated her this way.  After all, she'd been a significant part of the Oscar-winning film How Green Was My Valley; it wasn't like she was jockeying for parts as an extra or the guy in the red shirt in Star Trek landing parties.  How much more cinematic greatness would the world have had if only the producers could have kept their attentions to their wives?  For that matter, how much more income would the producers have had?

Moreover, given that when O'Hara started her career, the Hays Code had only existed for about eight years, it's hard to believe that she was running into something new in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  So when you're looking at something that....stretches the envelope in terms of filmmaking, what you're looking at, in a manner of speaking, is the results of a century of grooming.   

Friday, November 03, 2017

Happens in my town all the time

In Germany, a large zucchini has just been mistaken for a WWII bomb.  Now granted, more often the problem with zucchini around where I live is that churchgoers who don't lock their cars get them filled with zucchini from well-meaning "brothers in Christ", but sometimes, you know....

....and a Chicago thug learns the hard way that crime does not pay....OUCH.   Good shooting, Mr. Pouncy.  No word yet on whether he has received a rare humous "Darwin Award."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation Day!

First of all, a link to the 95 Theses.  Thank you, Martin, and thank you, Gene Veith.

And if you're observing Halloween--"which is Irish, by the way"--a little bit by Remy about the most terrifying thing about the holiday; you might be triggered.  H/T Powerline.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Back to theology

This column is very interesting; more or less, it chronicles a group of men I'd characterize as "rules fundamentalists" and how they approach some issues of personal behavior.  More or less, you've got beer-drinking, beard-wearing, cigar-smoking "young, restless and Reformed" men talking about how they can enjoy pop culture on the one side, and on the other, you've got rules fundamentalists arguing that all this is evidence of being worldly.  The links are informative, ....sad to say.

Why "sad to say"?  Simple.  In general, the fundamental side of the argument is simply assuming that it's wrong to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, listen to heavy metal or rap music (especially as part of church services), get a tattoo, view an R rated movie, and the like.  On the flip side, the Reformed side seems to be, to an extent, simply assuming their permissibility. 

The closest I saw the "rules fundamentalists" come to an argument is to assume that heavy metal and rap are driven by drugs.  OK, so we have a guilt by association fallacy that ignores that a fair number of rappers and heavy metal musicians are in fact teetotalers, but more importantly, if we do guilt by association, it's going to get very quiet in church when every musical genre contaminated by drunks, stoners, fornicators, and the like is eliminated.

It's not a surprise, to put it mildly, that such a discussion doesn't go anywhere, and it's objectively harmful to Christians to have rhetorically vacuous arguments presented by so-called theological leaders.  If they can't adhere to Informal Logic 101 when it comes to hot button issues they've theoretically done a lot of thinking on, that is going to inform the response when they attempt to preach on the arcane details of Hebrews or Obadiah, or delve into prophecy. 

There may be good, sound arguments for and against all of these issues, and I'd love to hear and read them.  Sad to say, I haven't, by and large.

Note: I refer to "rules fundamentalists" instead of "legalists" because few people who like their rules would fess up to trusting in them for their salvation.

Green cars? Not so fast

Now the report here from Xinhua is not exactly scientifically written, but apparently a study done by the Australian Automobile Association indicates that hybrid cars are typically using about 59% more fuel than advertised.  You can also find it from ABC in Australia and other sources.  The environmental lobby of course denies the claims and blames lax sulfur standards in Australian petrol for the issue, but the ugly reality is that AAA has their data, and they're standing by it.

Now that doesn't indicate that your neighbor is not in fact getting 50mpg in his Prius, but it does suggest that the regulators--at least Aussie regulators--are not doing terribly well in correlating laboratory tests to real world conditions.  This is really the same thing that European and U.S. regulators learned about the VW TDI diesels.  By the time regulators figured out that the engine was (ironically) burning rich to pass NOx emissions standards, millions of vehicles had been sold worldwide.  When getting around environmental rules is worth billions, you will find carmakers hiring smart engineers to do exactly that.

One might figure that a smart approach might be to simply shift the tax burden from the income tax to consumption taxes and let people make their own decisions.   I'm guessing that upon receiving the bill, people just might do what it takes to make things cleaner on their own.  We might even find that GE would stop sending a chaser plane after Jeff Immelt's private jet.  (yeah, Jeff, we totally believe you when you say you believe in global warming with that one)

One other place I'd love to see some work; I would love to see what happens to CO production by hybrid cars.  The catalytic converter works best when hot, so it stands to reason that if you're turning the engine on and off, you're going to be having nice bursts of CO emissions as that vehicle--say a Prius taxicab in New York City, Houston, or LA--goes about its daily rounds.  You've also got the reality that engine tolerances, and hence hydrocarbon (lubricating oil) emissions, will also change/increase with this thermal cycling.

Yes, I'm saying that it's possible that the hybrid requirements in NYC are making the air dirtier there.  Wouldn't that be ironic?

Friday, October 27, 2017


Back in my school days, I participated a bit on my school's speech and debate team, and on the more debate side of things, one of the things we knew was that U.S. News > Time >>> Newsweak.  Newsweak was, more or less, a step up from The National Enquirer, Vogue, or the Weekly World News, but it was not a real source you'd want to cite in competition.

Fast forward to today, and the Newsweak of old looks like The Economist in comparison.  How so?

They actually printed this article, which asks why all of the "conservative loudmouths" are Irish-American.  Not only is this rather crude and bigoted, but it suggests that the author is apparently unaware of non-Irish (except on St. Patty's Day of course) and vocal conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, Jonah Goldberg, and a host of others.  "Professor" Van Gosse's students need to know that apparently, he lives under a rock and has no understanding of the thinkers of the past 40 years.  Tuition refunds at Franklin & Marshall are in order.

Happy Belated birthday....

...to a future prison inmate.  Lord willing, you'll be able to write her at 1000 University Drive SW, Waseca, MN 56093.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Just make a scene

Larry Elder recounts his experience with Harvey Weinstein.  No, he didn't grope Elder or worse, but in an exchange over the issue of the Iraq war, Elder arguably got the better of Weinstein by making a scene and not backing down.

Now Pervert Pig is probably going to be porcus non grata in Hollyweird for the foreseeable future, but those who'd like to stop future sexual predators there and elsewhere have a script for how to deal with such chazzerim.  You make a scene.  Your girlfriend gets groped by a producer?  Make sure he gets embarrassed in front of his peers; don't just whisper that he'd better not do that again.  And yeah, if he tries being the bully, making him look like this attempted robber might not be a bad idea, either.  I'm not one for watching awards shows, but maybe if they started looking a little bit more like this, I could find some time, especially if Porcus Maximus was playing the part of Will Danaher.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A good sign

Michelle Malkin reports that it's not just Harvey Weinstein facing the music for his past behavior, but also Terry Richardson.  More or less, what is going on is that people are realizing that the behavior of both is classic "grooming", humiliation of the actress or model so that they will be willing to participate in ever more degrading movies, pictures, and the like.  In other words, what you see in the image is what that woman has already experienced in real life from producers, directors, photographers, and the like.  Yes, there are exceptions, but the widespread accusations, and the simple proverb "casting couch", suggest that this is the rule.