Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hyperbole Abounds

Fox News ran an article about huge crowds at Road America for last week’s Indycar race. Go read the article and tell me what’s missing. Did you spot it?

There is not one single picture of the “huge crowd” presented. Only one picture of a grandstand is shown, and it was taken from half a mile away so that you might not notice that there are only about twelve people in it. That grandstand is crowded compared to all the rest.

The video clip presents some angles that show groups of people that look like a crowd, but if you watched the race on television you would soon realize that those were nothing more than isolated groups. The parking lots were less than half full, and the stands were worse than that.

There was a NASCAR road race at Sonoma the same weekend, a race which has historically drawn huge crowds to California’s wine country. Crowds were even more pathetic that those at Road America. The grandstand at the start/finish line was less than half full, and the rest of the stand had handfuls of spectators.

Reminds me of the other California race, where the track manager claimed that the empty stands were because, “everyone is under the stands shopping.”  I’ve been to that speedway, and I’ve been under those stands. There is no shopping worthy of the name. How long does it take to buy a beer and a hot dog?

Notwithstanding the hype of its proprietors, motorsport racing is a dying act in this country.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Visual Evidence

Waishington InsidersJust in case we had any doubt that Elizabeth Warren is an empty suit, here we have visual proof.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Universal Health Care

Universal health care? It really shouldn’t be very hard to decide in favor of it.

Back in the dark ages of this nation we had fire protection that functioned on the same basis that health care does today. There were privately owned fire fighting companies which sold their services to homeowners who could afford to pay for them. Some homeowners could not afford coverage and left their homes not covered. Believe it or not, people even paid for different levels of coverage.

If a home caught fire the company which was paid to protect it came and put the fire out. Companies which were paid to protect nearby homes came and prevented those homes from catching fire. Homes without protection caught fire and burned to the ground.

It was a disaster, though, because some companies did a lousy job and came to the scene and didn’t put the fire out. Or they didn’t come to the scene at all because they were dealing with somebody else’s house fire. Or because all the firefighters were all drunk. Fires spread because, “Hey, we’re not paid to protect that house.”

Then somebody said, “You know what? We need universal fire protection.”

So today when you have a fire the truck shows up and they put out the fire. Done. The fire captain doesn’t ask to see your insurance card before he lets his guys get out of the truck, and no one discusses copays or deductibles. They put out the fire, roll up their hoses and leave.

People wind up standing out in the street holding signs saying “Thank you firefighters.”  I’ve seen it many times. They are holding those signs and they have tears in their eyes. We've had universal fire protection for a couple of centuries now. No one seems to think it isn't working, no one dislikes it, and for damned sure no one wants to change it.

But when someone says “we need universal health care” he is shouted down with cries of “socialism” and “you’re fucking nuts” and "government takeover," in many cases by the same people who just months ago were holding signs saying, “Thank you firefighters.”

Dump Trump?

Just in case the "common man" thought that "government by the people" is still a viable concept in the United States, please notice that after a large majority of the Republican voters chose Donald Trump as the nominee for the presidency, the Republican elite, such as George Will, are either leaving the party to "vote for Hillary," or are openly seeking ways to reject his nomination at the party convention. The senior member of the Republican Party will not endorse him.

Those who govern do not care what the "common man" wants. That is not surprising; they have not cared for many decades. What is surprising is they they no longer even pretend to care.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Frantic Fear Mongering

Rory McIlroy will not be going to the Olympics because of the Zika virus, apparently fearing that he might get the virus, become pregnant and have a microcephalic baby.

I wondered what the hell McIlroy was going to do at the Olympics, and then found out that golf has once again become part of the Olympics. It was dropped in 1904 but reinstated this year. I think being frightened of the Zika virus sort of verifies that golfers are not Olympic caliber athletes and that golf is not an Olympic sport.

The media hype over this virus passes comprehension.

The virus has been around since 1947 and has never been considered anything other than a minor irritant until the American media picked it up this year. There has never been any suspicion that it caused anything other than mild, transitory symptoms, even in children. Even now, in the face of all the media hype, there is no direct evidence that it causes anything other than that.

The CDC released a news item on April 13 of this year headlined, "CDC Concludes Zika Causes Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects."

The body of the piece then proceeded to say that the headline was actually false, saying that, "The report notes that no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects."  They did not, in other words, find any mechanism whereby the virus does the damage, and their conclusion is based entirely on studies of the "correlation is causation" nature.

Further, the studies appear to have been selected to suit their preconceived position, because New England Complex Systems Institute included in their studies one in Columbia where nearly 12,000 pregnant women infected with Zika virus were found to have developed zero microcephaly cases. This organization was not as arrogantly positive as the CDC, but reported with a somewhat more scientifically open mind that,

“In light of this evidence, NECSI says the cause of microcephaly in Brazil should be reconsidered. One possibility that has been raised is the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is applied to drinking water in some parts of Brazil…”

So I think Rory McIlroy could probably go to Brazil and,
so long as he didn’t drink the water, get as pregnant as nature will allow him to get.

And be sure to remember one thing about the media. They do not care whether it is true or not. They only care that it is dramatic and that it will get attention.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I Beg Your Pardon?

Picked up a new antibiotic for the cat yesterday. The instructions on the bottle, with a childproof cap no less, say, "Give one half of a pill by mouth at bedtime."

Wait a minute. We're dealing with a cat, here. Following those instructions would use up those thirty pills in about two days. My wife finally decided it meant that we should pill the cat at our bedtime, which makes more sense in some ways, but less in others. Like giving instructions to a human, "take one pill by mouth at high tide."

Molly doesn't much give a shit one way or the other, but...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dancing to the Symbols

Elizabeth Warren has endeared herself in popular liberal politics, and there is considerable clamor to have her run on the national ticket with Hillary Clinton. Clinton, it is said, has Warren on a “short list” of three candidates being vetted for that position.

This demonstrates my point about liberal popular politics being more interested in symbolism than substance. Warren is certainly articulate and has a nice line of invective against Wall Street, and recently against Donald Trump, but in substance, in terms of experience and accomplishment, she is an empty suit.

A Harvard law professor who served an appointment overseeing the infamous TARP, she then served in an appointed position overseeing the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her ivory tower approach created so little teeth that almost no one knows that the bureau exists eight years later.

In four years in the Senate she has introduced one bill on her own initiative; an affair having to do with student loan interest rates which has languished in committee without so much as a vote for cloture and is a prime example of empty symbolism in any case, because interest rates are not what’s wrong with student loans. The problems with student loans are that they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, and that they exist at all due to the atrocious cost of higher education which necessitates them.

She has not raised her voice in support of any other specific measures in the Senate in any meaningful way, but has been pretty much a “place holder,” voting on issues in the manner that the party instructs her to vote. She has spent her time in the Senate travelling to New York to rail against Wall Street and economic injustice without actually doing anything to reign in the first or correct the second.

Despite Warren’s complete lack of any foreign policy credentials whatever, and her apparent disinterest in domestic policy beyond Wall Street, she has become the darling of the liberal wing of the Democratic party and forced Hillary Clinton to adapt her campaign strategy accordingly.

Notwithstanding Clinton’s assertion that a running mate would have to be someone “entirely ready to become commander in chief,”  she allowed it be known that Warren was one of three people being considered. This was a sop to the left wing of her party and illustrates that Clinton’s campaign is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Appalling Symbolism

Democrats are on fire to “do something” and, as usual, what they want to do is entirely symbolic and is, in this case, governmental thuggery of the worst kind.

I have no real issue the gun control aspect of this latest Democratic exercise in grandstanding, but the “no fly list” is an abomination in conception and in execution, and to use it as the basis of an abridgement of constitutional rights is an abuse of power of the highest order.

A person can be placed on the list based on mere suspicion, and virtually every name on the list is placed there on that basis. The list is conviction with not even a pretense at due process of law. One cannot challenge his placement on the list, has no right to face the accuser, and is provided no right to assert innocence. Many people are on the list and do not even know they are on it.

This is what our popular politics has devolved to; cheerleading for morons who grandstand in the seat of government to demand unreasonable removal of civil liberty in an act of empty symbolism pandering to fear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Presented (Almost) Without Comment

From “Club Orlov” on where we are headed,

"Last New Year's eve in Cologne, Germany, a mob of around a thousand male migrants attacked and molested a large number of women. There were some German men on hand; did they defend their women? No, they didn't. Or take the recent incident in Orlando. Conspiracy theories aside, there were over 100 people there against one gunman. Did any of them rush the gunman? The first 10 might have gotten shot; but the next 10 could have piled on, dropped him to the floor and stomped on his neck, ending the incident. But that didn't happen, did it? Where was their killer instinct?

By way of contrast, consider the incident that took place in Murmansk, Russia, where some migrants that had been expelled from Norway for bad behavior started behaving impudently toward some Russian women at a night club. The local lads didn't like that at all. According to some reports, the police showed up when the situation was already well in hand, and did their best to show that they are no slouches either. Result: 18 rapey migrants ended up in the hospital, 33 in detention, all begging to be sent home. If you are thinking that these people aren't quite civilized, then perhaps you are right, but we need to further process this thought.

You see, when your civilization is collapsing, civilized people become a liability. It may not even be just a question of culture or society; it may be a question of breeding. Just as you can breed hunting dogs to specifically disable certain instinctive behaviors—pointers don't attack the prey but stupidly stand there pointing; retrievers stupidly carry the prey back instead of eating it on the spot—you can also breed a race of men that don't defend their women but stand there stupidly waiting for the police to show up and maybe do their job.

The selective breeding works like this: keep arresting all the men who exhibit normal violent responses to violence and sending them to jail, where the only relationships they can have are homosexual ones and don't produce any offspring. Then the only men who are left on the outside and able to breed are the docile, tame ones, and over just a few generations they produce a breed of docile, tame humans who stand around watching strangers manhandle and molest their women, or wait for a lone gunman to get around to shooting them, hiding in the bathroom and furiously diddling their phones."

I would add that when you have a generation of men who were raised by helicopter mommies, who were not allowed to even walk home from school on their own, whose mommies solved problems for them, then when the shit hits the fan they will be hiding in the bathroom on their iPhones, calling their mommies to ask what to do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


So much for the claim that California’s raise in the minimum wage would not be accompanied by any negative consequences. The grocery workers union is voting on authorization to strike today and the projection is that the vote will be heavily in favor of the strike.

Grocery stores are trying to “reduce costs in the wake of California's minimum wage increase,”  which seems a bit contradictory until one examines what the contentious issues are. The issues are not wages, but involve fringe benefits and the rate at which wage increases are accrued. Since the beginning wage is increasing, employers want to slow the pace of wage increases and to increase the workers' contribution to the cost of health and pension benefits.

I have no dog in this hunt, but I don’t know why anyone would be surprised by this. Do not be surprised if food prices increase.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Democracy Dies

The Democrats have their "superdelegates" who answer to no one in electing the party's nominee. They are not the deciding factor in Clinton's coronation, but between them and the media the deck was heavily stacked in her favor.

Republican leaders are denouncing Trump in wholesale lots. I may agree with their sentiment, but in doing so they insult their voters. The man is the choice of the people of their party and these elites are openly rejecting the choice made by their voters.

Both parties have now reached the point that they openly display the degree to which they disdain the people whom they supposedly represent. They no longer even pretend that we have democracy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Embrace Panic

Democrats in the Senate are staging a dramatic filibuster right now to enact legislation which would “prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms.”  Let’s abandon the constitution altogether and simply send all suspected terrorists to Guantanamo.

Oh wait, George W. Bush already did that. We didn’t like it, or at least we pretended not to. If we did it today we would be sending more than half a million people from this nation there, at least half of them American citizens.

The Department of Homeland Stupidity has gone ape shit with these “terrorist watch” and “no-fly” lists, and even they admit that many of the names on those lists do not deserve to be. This legislation does not seek to prevent “suspected terrorists” from buying assault rifles, it seeks to prevent them from buying any firearms at all, and so Senate Democrats now want to deny a constitutional right based merely on being suspected of a crime.

Almost eight years after we threw innocents into Guantanamo merely because some angry neighbor sold them to us for a $500 reward, we are denying the protection of our constitution to people without due process of law, based merely on suspicion.

Don’t applaud these idiots. They are engaging in demagoguery, appealing to the base fears of people cowering under their beds. We are a better nation that that, or at least we were at one time. We were a nation which honored the rule of law.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Abandoning Logic

After 9/11, we banned knives and box cutters on airplanes. We then banned liquids of more than 3 ounces. We understood the connection between these things and the loss of life that followed.

So why can’t we understand the connection between assault weapons and mass shootings?

This is an illogical and absurd argument, but I’m not going where you think I’m going.

The connection between box cutters and loss of life was a “one off” event, one which depended entirely on the element of surprise and which cannot be repeated now that we know what can happen. Even if knives and/or box cutters made it onto the airplane, the chain of events would not and could not take place as they did on that fateful day.

The connection to liquid is even more absurd. No liquid explosive has never been successfully deployed for a terrorist attack, or even developed for use outside laboratory conditions. No liquid explosive has ever led to one single loss of life, so “the connection between these things and the loss of life that followed” is a completely spurious argument.

The TSA search process is almost entirely “security theater,” and serves almost no purpose other than to deliver a sense of comfort to the flying public, and a false sense of comfort at that, since there is often cargo which accompanies passengers on those flights which is not screened or searched.

The loss of life caused by assault rifles is fairly clearly documented, however, and there is little doubt that more stringent regulation would significantly save lives. We need, though, to have cogent and reasonable argument to that point, not absurd appeal to unreasoned fear.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fighting Fire With Good Thoughts

A article regarding the “terror issue” carries a subhead, “Trump's bluster will only appeal to his hard-core backers; Hillary can address the issue properly — with reason.”  I didn’t bother to read the article.

Only a Hillary Clinton follower would think of addressing the “terror issue” with reason. If that could be done, it would not be a “terror issue” and we would not be waiting in lines for hours and taking off our shoes at airports, which is an utterly unreasonable act.

FDR said that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” and then he locked up all Americans of Japanese extraction in internment camps. Clearly, his reaction to Pearl Harbor was not to “address the issue with reason.”

Actually, no matter how much Democrats would like to hide from truth, the more terror attacks there are in this nation between now and the general election, the higher is the chance that Donald Trump will be the next president. I do not applaud that truth, but

Before you jump in my shit, yes, I know my references to FDR are with respect to two different issues. That does not invalidate my point. It actually reinforces my point, and in spades; think about it.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Still Bouncing Back

MollyMolly has survived two full years of intestinal lymphoma, and is still unfazed by the twice-daily medication routine which includes pills and shots. She shows no effects of the issue other than occasionally not wanting to eat.

Yesterday was one of those days. She didn’t eat much of anything overnight and wasn’t interested in breakfast, just went in my office and hung out in her bed. This is the point at which her Mom generally goes nuts, opening five different cans of food and trying to persuade her to eat, something which the poor damned cat just doesn’t want to do. But Mom is out of town today.

Dad is more low key. I waited until about three hours after the medication, one of which is an anti-nausea shot, and brought her some tuna. She decided that yes, she certainly could snarf down some tuna, and damned near licked the glazing off the bowl. By noon she had polished off the 3oz can of tuna and was in the kitchen yammering at me about the despicable and intolerably empty condition of her food dish. By bed time, mine that is, she had polished off two more cans of regular cat food and this morning she was demanding breakfast as usual.

Cat bounces back pretty good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Not In The Mood

The political scene has just been too nasty and dispiriting for me to be willing to comment on it, capped by the media finishing the Democratic primary election before the voters did, naming Clinton as the nominee before voters in California even started voting. They are not allowed to publish results before the polls close, but apparently they can do so before they open.

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, Hillary Clinton won the primary election on a day when no one voted, which pretty much tells you what the status of democracy is in this nation.

Friday, June 03, 2016

I Don't Get It

The media greatly exaggerated the “violence” which occurred when Trump appeared in San Diego last week. Thee dozen arrests were made, but all were released. There was only one physical confrontation caught on film, which was shown over and over again.

That being said, it seems police are not doing as well elsewhere and Trump protestors, many carrying Mexican flags, are behaving very badly against people who are attending to hear Trump speak. What are they trying to accomplish with this kind of thing?

I don’t get it. They are accusing Trump of hate, and then they are shouting obscenities and throwing eggs and missiles, and attacking people who are peacefully going about their own business.

It seems to me that they are confirming Trump’s accusation that Mexicans are lawless thugs. As reluctant as I am to agree with anything Trump says, I’m not sure what other conclusion to draw from persons waving Mexican flags and physically attacking a peaceful assembly.