Friday, February 27, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: UNC Shooting, the Media, and Evil

by Kit

Craig Stephens Hicks’ alleged murder of 3 Muslims at UNC’s Chapel Hill brought about in the media a brief surge of euphoria as they finally had their hands on a bigoted white conservative in a red state (purple, actually) murdering 3 Muslims. They ran it incessantly, raising questions about the hatred in America and pointing out that Christians can be just as violent as Muslims —that is until it was revealed that Mr. Hicks was not only an Atheist, in the sneering Richard Dawkins category, but a progressive liberal, who, according to his wife supported gay marriage and the right to an abortion (two stances that have nothing to do with a person’s views on race) and killed the 3 people not over their religion or race but because of a long-standing parking dispute.

The story lingered for a day or two before quietly slipping from the media’s sight. Now, this story, like Giffords mass shooting, Aurora mass shooting, and the shooting of Michael Brown, provides another example of the Mainstream Media (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) jumping onto a story they believe fits their own worldview, quickly constructing a narrative around it, only to see it be revealed that said narrative is completely false or things are far more complex than they appear.

Now, two things:

First, the media only considers the murder of non-whites news-relevant if the shooter is (1) white and (2) carried it out because of race/religion.

Now, in feminist media circles there is a thing called the Bechdel test which looks at films and asks the following questions about a film: (1) Does it feature more than one female character, (2) Do they talk to each other, and (3) Do they have a conversation where they talk about something other than a man? Now, even many feminists have pointed out its problems as movies such as Das Boot, Name of the Rose, and Stalag 17 would fail the test. Even Mulan fails. But even I can acknowledge it does raise a point about how women are written even if it misses the mark entirely (well-rounded characters are the problem).

Anyway, there is a similar test involving minority characters that runs along similar lines: do their interactions, or, rather, does their existence solely involve whites.

And it seems, the news media is only interested interested in minorities if their actions involve whites. Or to be more specific, as far as the media is concerned it seems members of a minority , unless said member is President, only exists when they are victims of white racism. How progressive.

Second, notice how the shooter’s wife was immediately more concerned about him being seen as a racist than as a person who callously took the lives of 3 other people. Claire Berlinski summed this up well:

“Have we actually entered a universe in which it sounds exonerating to say, “My husband shoots people in the head over long-standing parking disputes, regardless of their race, religion, or creed?””

It appears we have. It seems we have made such a monster out of racism that it dwarfs all other evils, making it an elevation of one’s character to discover that he would shoot a person in the head over a parking dispute whether he was white, black, or an Auburn fan.

He may be a callous, cold-blooded murderer who kills people over trivial parking disputes but at least he’s not a bigot.

Perhaps it is because the Left prefers the evils it can understand. Racism as an evil is easy to “understand” because it can be so easily attributed to “close-mindedness” or, as is common on campuses these days, “privilege”.

But the more ancient and universal evils; those listed in the Old Testament as Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, Greed, and Wrath are a bit harder to understand and, as such, the media prefers to avoid discussion of them. You see, they exist in the heart of every man, woman, and child, no matter how tolerant and accepting they are of people of other races, religions, and sexual orientations, as Mr. Hicks, displaying perhaps the ultimate dangers of Wrath, if his wife’s claim is to be believed.

And it is that existence that is the ultimate proof of the flawed and fixed nature of humanity that progressivism, with its utopian ideals and unconstrained vision for the world, denies.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

House of Cards vs. Alpha House

I don't know about you, but I am very excited for the next season of House Of Cards that will be available on Netflix tomorrow. If you haven't had the opportunity to watch the two previous seasons, you are missing a great show. Not only is this award-winning show groundbreaking because it is the first major episodic production to bypass traditional network tv by streaming directly to the consumer, Netflix has taken broken another tradition by making the entire 13-episode season available all at once to stream through their subscription service. And creating an entirely new kind of addiction for us to worry about - binge-watching.

House Of Cards, based on a BBC mini-series of the same name, is what I have deemed the "anti-West Wing". The main character, Frank Underwood is a conniving, scheming Senator from South Carolina who, along with his wife Claire, will stop at nothing to gain power. And I mean "nothing". I can't wait to savor the deliciously evil deeds Francis (played by Kevin Spacey) and his equally evil wife Claire (played by Robin Wright) have cooked up for the new season. There is nothing redeeming about either of these two characters as they lie, cheat, steal and kill their way across political landscape of Washington DC, but they make if so much fun to watch. But it got me thinking about my own prejudices too. I have to admit that I don't know if I love this show so much because of the stellar writing and acting of this show, or because the evil and mayhem is perpetrated by a "Democrat". I think it may clouding my judgement.

You see, in trying to harness the popularity of House Of Cards, streaming competitor AmazonPrime, has jumped on the original programming zeitgeist with their own originally produce show called Alpha House starring John Goodman as a slimy scheming Southern Republican Congressmen who shares a house in DC with four other similarly situated Republicans. It is kind of the same premise, but frankly, I just couldn't get through the first episode. I can't tell whether it is just not as well written or acted, or if it is because the main evil characters are evil "Republicans". Am I really that fragile?

Have any of you seen either or both of these show? Help me out here and let's discuss.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Panic and Oscar Night Peeves...

I am in panic mode because I just can't find anything that interests me to write about tonight. Does anybody have any ideas? Maybe a very brief Oscars recap...

I was going to wax poetic about the irony of Patricia Arquette's acceptance/political speech where she yammered on about "income equality for women" as she carried her $150K bag of free swag while wearing her free designer evening gown. But that's been done to death.

Or how the Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris was really great up to point where he stripped down to his tightey whities. Yeah, yeah, it was a sight gag for Birdman, but seriously. That was after the cringe-worthy and ill-placed snipe "It takes a lot of balls to wear that dress." after one of Best Documentary winners for "Crisis Hotline" about a VA hotline for suicidal soldiers reveals that her son committed suicide. Poor Patrick apparently wasn't listening to her acceptance speech on the backstage monitors while he was changing his tux for the umpteenth time. Well, at least he was still wearing clothes when he said it.

Or when Sean Penn jokingly exclaimed “Who gave this sonofabitch a green card?” when he was giving out the "Best Director" Oscar to his good friend “Birdman” director Alejandro González Iñárritu. That caused quite the stir with the Mexican/Immigrant lobby.

Or when they religated Maureen O'Hare's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar to a brief mention included with the other unworthy awards for primetime. In their defense, she was in a wheelchair and barely able to speak, but didn't she deserve a little more time and dignity for her achievements than that?

Or while AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs gave her very long speech espousing “We have a responsibility that no one’s voice is silenced by threats. A responsibility to protect freedom of expression,” all I could do was I inserted "except for conservatives" after every sentence.

I know, I am jaded. But I will say one positive thing - Lady Gaga has got some pipes! I am so glad she has finally gotten passed all of those ridiculous costumes that she was hiding behind and has shown everyone once and for all that she...can...REALLY...sing!

Anyway, anyone have any other favorite or peevish moments in the Oscars? As always feel free to change the subject to anything...
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Monday, February 23, 2015

At The Film Site: The Best of Reality TV

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Does Obama Love America?


Easiest article I’ve ever written. Later folks.

Just kidding. Let me explain my thoughts. And to do that, let me start by saying that I’m not a believer in any of the retardisms that have beset the talk radio “genoooine conservative” movement:
(1) Obama is not a Muslim, secret or otherwise. To the contrary, he strikes me quite clearly as an agnostic. Evidence? He is never seen worshiping. He has never demonstrated even the slightest knowledge of the tenants of any religion. In fact, whenever he talks about religions, he demonstrates a massive degree of ignorance. He also never makes religious references. And when he does talk religion, he speaks in rational third-person terms that belie a lack of emotional connection. Basically, his cold tone, his words and his ignorance suggest that religion is not part of his life and that he sees religion essentially as a crutch other people rely upon.

(2) Obama is not a communist sleeper created by the Boogeyman Saul Alinsky or any other communist, terrorist or whack job ‘60’s radical. All the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Obama is someone who generally leans left in the sense of believing in big government, but has no actual ideology to speak of. Not only has he never been able to enunciate an ideology, but he’s proven to be entirely detached when it comes to crafting an agenda... he can't even outline his ideas in a broad sense. Frankly, he’s just not smart enough or dedicated enough to have an ideology.

(3) Obama is not a black radical. He might not even be a racist actually. How do I know? Because I have more black friends than Obama does. Indeed, I can’t think of any black friends Obama has. All the friends of his of which we are aware are married, white couples with elitist pedigrees. And the few blacks in his administration were already in the Democratic system when he appointed them.
So what is Obama and how do I know he doesn’t love America? Obama is a guy who found himself at Harvard based on racial preferences. He apparently didn’t bother to learn anything, but instead took advantage of the condescending racism of white liberals who kept passing him along and patting him on the head telling him how great he was despite his lack of effort or skill. Essentially, he is the product of social promotion and, consequently, he suffers from a severe lack of skills combined with a near-narcissistic belief in his own abilities... after all, everyone has always told him he is right.

The people who told him he is always right are the friends he made along the way, who are elitist liberals who liked the idea of having an educated black friend. They taught him that being "enlightened" requires one to have a “nuanced” view of America. “Nuanced,” in this case means always balancing good with bad and bad with good to reach a “fair” result. Unfortunately, this idea also is debilitating because it makes it impossible to judge right from wrong. What's more, having been taught that it takes nuance to be enlightened, his friends taught him to look down upon average Americans, who they assured him are not nuanced thinkers and must be led to enlightenment.

The result of this is that Obama is a man who lacks an emotional connection to America and its people, whom he views as backwards and dangerous. As a result of this, he does not trust average Americans and he feels he must constantly rein them in. He is likewise indecisive because he can’t properly evaluate right and wrong, so he defaults to letting events settle themselves while lecturing us not to judge the situation. And finally, because of his arrogance and quasi-narcissism, he has no tolerance for criticism.

That’s Obama for you. He’s a man who doesn’t love American because he doesn’t love anything. He only knows that he is the smartest man in the room, that separating right and wrong is nearly impossible, and that the American public is dangerous.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: The Ukraine and ISIL

Two thoughts from Kit tonight...

By Kit

A massive but subtle split has occurred among journalists reporting on the Ukraine conflict about whether they should refer to the collapse of the Ukrainian ceasefire in the present tense or the past tense. Is it “crumbling” or has it “crumbled”?

The reason for the confusion is because of the insistence by pro-Russian insurgents (Donetsk People’s Republic) on the Hamas definition of a ceasefire; You will “cease firing” on us while we “keep firing” on you at our leisure. This week things revolved around a group of forces trapped in the town of Debaltseve, which is encircled by the Donetsk People’s Republic. The DPR said they could leave if they laid down their heavy arms and then left. The Ukrainian government was reluctant because the last time this happened the DPR shelled the retreating forces anyway but they have now withdrawn most of their forces from the city (with weapons).

Now the Guardian is reporting shelling and gunfire near other towns and the rebels appear to be advancing towards a key coastal city, the Ukrainian-held Mariupol. Debaltseve was an important rail juncture and its loss was a major blow to Kiev. The loss of Mariupol would also be a major blow and would allow Putin to ship arms to the insurgents by sea.

As Putin backs the insurgents with heavy weapons Obama, still unsure as to whether Ukraine should be given military arms, continues to supply the Ukrainian military with much-needed night-vision goggles.

ISIL (I’m an Archer fan)

As ISIL continues to behead and immolate prisoners and hostages and entrench itself in the territory it has grabbed a CBS news poll showed that 57% of Americans support the use of ground troops against ISIL. This is a huge increase from 47% support back in October. The current ideological breakdown is 86% of Republicans, 61% of Democrats, and 57% of Independents.

As for Obama, the President is asking for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIL —that would prohibit the use of ground troops. Also, it would last 3 years, going into his successor’s term.

As Obamacare unravels Obama’s foreign policy also appears to be falling apart.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caption This - Obama, the Jokester

I know you see the title and think this is going to be a creepy Biden photo. Yippee! But we've been there and done that. And anyway, that was just creepy Biden being creepy Biden. But what is this?

Shouldn't the Secret Service be doing something? I guess not since they are the same ones who forgot to lock the front door of the White House and allowed a crazy person to run around for a while. Anyway, this photo was taken to sell Obamacare...yeah, really.

Oh, yeah, the above photo is a snapshot from a commercial. Yes, this is what our President does while the world is blowing up around us...he makes a commercial to sell Obamacare for BuzzFeed...

Now if he could only decide what the "root causes" of all of those darn "extremists" are...[Hint: Jobs...]

Post your captions, comments, or just do what I am doing, and cower in the corner and breath very deeply until you calm down...
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More Bidenisms: A Joe Biden Kind of Day

It’s been a Biden kind of day. In fact, it’s been such a Biden kind of day that even the MSM has noticed. What has Biden done this time? Well, two things, and one has earned him to descriptor “creepy.”

Biden’s first Biden-like act involves Mr. Biden showing his racist side one again. Recall that in the past, Biden has told us “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking,” spoken of “typical whites” who have been “bred by experience” to be racist about minorities, told us that Iowa schools are better than DC schools because there are fewer blacks in Iowa, and described Obama as the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” So he has experience saying racially inflammatory comments. But then, “he’s just Joe,” so the left lets his racism slide.

This time, during a White House anti-extremism summit, Biden started talking about Somali cab drivers. He said this:
“I might add, if you ever come to the train station you may notice that I have great relations with them, because an awful lot of them are driving cabs, and are friends of mine.”
Apparently, the audience of Muslim community leaders of African descent responded with muted, uncomfortable chuckles.

Not satisfied with just a bit of racism, Biden then turned to creepy sexual behavior. As you might recall, Joe’s wife has a doctorate degree, which he describes as “a problem,” though his “wife Jill is drop dead gorgeous” and he would “rather be at home making love to my wife while my children are asleep.” Well, apparently, Joe has eyes for more than his wife. Note the photo below.

This is Joe lecherously putting his hands all over Stephanie Carter, the wife of Ash Carter, the new Defense Secretary. Even the MSM has dubbed this creepy. Personally, it just looks like Biden as normal to me.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Democrats Seek Relief from Obamacare Taxes...

In honor of the closing of the last open enrollment period for healthcare coverage that ended on February 15, I thought this was would be fun. Oh, this is so rich with irony I couldn't resist. Three Democrats who voted for Obamacare (a/k/a "Affordable" Care Act) are now squealing like pigs about the pending 2014 Obamacare taxes that are being levied this year against citizens who failed to purchase health insurance for 2014.

Sander Levin (D/MI - voted Yes), Jim McDermaott (D/WA - Yes) and Lloyd Dogget (D/TX - Yes) are having a change of heart. For the record, this is how they voted the first time...LINK Of course these three also voted "No" when others tried to repeal, but hey, who knew it could possibly have an impact on regular citizens? If they had only read the legislation the first time around, but as we know, reading is not a requirement for voting. But who could have anticipated this problem? Oh, yeah, we did. Because it is so special, I just had to copy the whole AP report in total for your pleasure. [Okay, I have added my own editorial comments...]


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The official sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law may be over, but leading congressional Democrats say millions of Americans facing new tax penalties deserve a second chance. [Penalities! No kidding?? When did this dawn on you?]

Three senior House members strongly urged the administration Monday to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year. [No kidding?? Why?]

The three are Michigan's Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama's law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010. [ Oh, no you didn't!]

The lawmakers say they are concerned that many of their constituents will find out about the penalties after it's already too late for them to sign up for coverage, since open enrollment ended Sunday. [No kidding?? Really?]

That means they could wind up uninsured for another year, only to owe substantially higher fines in 2016. The fines are collected through the income tax system.[Say it ain't so!]

"For the many families who may now be about to pay a penalty, there should be an opportunity to avoid both further penalties and to obtain affordable health insurance," said Doggett. [No kidding?? Why now exactly? Didn't you read the bill before you voted "Yes"?]

This year is the first time ordinary Americans will experience the complicated interactions between the health care law and taxes. Based on congressional analysis, tax preparation giant H&R Block says roughly 4 million uninsured people will pay penalties. [Oh, NO! Who knew this could happen??]

The IRS has warned that health-care related issues will make its job harder this filing season and taxpayers should be prepared for long call-center hold times, particularly since the GOP-led Congress has been loath to approve more money for the agency. [Yes, we must find some way to blame the Republicans...]

"Open enrollment period ended before many Americans filed their taxes," the three lawmakers said in a statement. "Without a special enrollment period, many people (who will be paying fines) will not have another opportunity to get health coverage this year. ["Special enrollment period" has been for two years now. Am I right?]

"A special enrollment period will not only help many Americans avoid making an even larger payment next year, but, more importantly, it will help them gain quality health insurance for 2015," the lawmakers added. [Again didn't they know? "Special enrollment period" has been for two years now. Am I right?]

So far, administration officials have deflected questions about whether an extension will be granted. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has authority to grant special enrollment periods under certain circumstances. [Hey, what happened to Kathleen Sebelius?? Oh, yeah, she was "resigned to spend more tiem with her family" after that unfortunate October 2013 Obamacare website fiasco...]

Supporters of the law say an extension would mainly help low- to middle-income uninsured people, the same group that Obama's coverage expansion was intended to serve. But Republicans may criticize it as another tweak to what they see as unworkable "Obamacare." [A little late that those Dems are now thinking of helping those "low- and middle income" people. But I thought it was the Republicans who hated those people??]

The health care law imposes fines on uninsured people whose incomes are deemed high enough to enable them to afford coverage. The goal is to broaden the pool of insured people, helping to keep premiums in check for everybody. [Oh, no! You mean there are people who make enough money, but can't afford Obamacare?? How did that happen??]

The law also offers subsidies to lower the cost of private coverage for people who don't have job-based health care. That financial assistance is provided through a new tax credit. [But, but, wasn't suppose to BE a tax, right?]

Although the tax credit subsidies cover most of the premiums for many people, the coverage requirement and the fines that enforce it remain deeply unpopular. [But, but, but how is it possibly "unpopular? They must be racists then, right?!]

And the cost of being uninsured in America is going up significantly. [No, really?? Who could have predicted?? Oh, yeah...Sarah Palin for one. Oooh that must hurt...]

For 2014, the fine was the greater of $95 per person or 1 percent of household income above the threshold for filing taxes. That fine will be collected when taxpayers file their 2014 returns. [That same IRS where Lois Lerner worked??]

But this year the fine will jump to the greater of 2 percent of income or $325. By 2016, the average fine will be about $1,100, based on government figures. [That's those who did not enrolled by 2/15/15, right? Oh, NO!!]

Polls show that many taxpayers are unaware of the potential financial exposure. [HOW...IS...THIS...EVEN...POSSIBLE???]

Floyd Cable, a real estate agent from Wichita Falls, Texas, said the escalating fines were part of the motivation for him and his wife to sign up last week. Both are self-employed, and stretching to pay health insurance premiums has been a struggle. [Good for you, Mr. Cable!]

"We have been going without insurance the last couple of years just because the rates are so astronomical," Cable said. [Really?]

But they were also concerned they could wind up on the wrong side of rising penalties. And, being in his early 60s, Cable said he recognizes the value of having health insurance against unexpected illness. [So, it was the possible penalties and not the fear of astronimical healthcare bills that was your incentive?? Hmmmmm....]

An extension would probably help people still on the fence, like he was. ["Fence"??? There's a fence? Oh, it's just on the borders where that would be racist, right?]

"Anything that could be done to give people more time to sort through this, is not only a good move for the administration, but just makes common sense," Cable said. [Oh NOW we are talking "common sense"! Reading the bill would have been "common sense" too, but why quibble now, right? And FOUR YEARS wasn't enough???? How slow do you read, Mr. Cable???]

Since both the subsidies and penalties under the health law are administered through the tax system, some experts have urged the Obama administration to permanently schedule sign-up season to overlap with tax-filing season.
[Yes, let's...if only someone...anyone had just read the legislation before they signed it into law...]

Now, it has been over four years since this legislation passed and countless articles, Op/Eds, blog posts, and chances to repeal/replace and NOW Democrats are having issues?? How is this possible? Frankly, I have no sympathy, but I do have a pounding headache...

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Hey, It's Only Rape

Let us revisit an NFL issue that is really about liberals. When the video of Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée in a New Jersey elevator hit the news, liberals went crazy and sanctimoniously demanded that anyone accused of domestic violence be immediately terminated and shunned by society without trial and rights be damned (“NO TOLERANCE!!”). I noted at the time that as always with liberals, this extreme reaction was just a knee-jerk response meant to satisfy their self-righteousness, and that before things were over, they would completely flip their “principled” positions. Not only did they do that, but now uber-liberal sportswriter Peter King is actually arguing that we should ignore serial rapes. No... I'm not kidding.

When the Rice issue first arose, every single liberal sportswriter I can name immediately dashed out columns trying to outbid each other on smug political correctness... Rice needs to be suspended! Suspended?! Heck, he needs to be banned for life! For life? You mean forever!! Hell yes! And the NFL needs to get back the money they paid him! And it doesn’t matter that his stupid fiancée doesn’t want him punished... victims can’t be trusted when they defend the accuser..

Essentially, no punishment was harsh enough. Rice’s rights meant nothing to these writers because they claimed that domestic abuse is such a horrible thing that ideas like innocence until proven guilty should be pushed aside. The allegation itself should be enough to destroy this man’s career and ban him for life, and shame on the NFL for not acting on this immediately!... that was the take every single liberal took on the subject.

But these are liberals who were doing the talking, and as I’ve pointed out many times, that means they make extremist snap judgments, which they immediately use as a way to smugly claim moral superiority and then judge conservatives harshly for not being as “enlightened” as they are. But they won’t stick to these extremist positions. To the contrary, they will reverse their position as the “fairness” of the situation shifts until they are actually taking the exact opposite position they originally took... though they will still wallow in their claims of moral superiority for taking the extremist position. Thus, when the situation is the powerful Rice versus a helpless woman, it is ok to punish Rice harshly because she is the victim. But once it becomes the powerful NFL versus the helpless Rice, then Rice becomes the victim and they see it as unfair to let the NFL harm him.

In this instance, it took a few days for the first liberal to break ranks. This liberal realized that by suspending Rice without a hearing, the NFL was harming the career of a young black man in violation of the union contract the NFL has with its players... and that’s just wrong. With a handful of additional players soon finding themselves suspended as well (this time without videos to bring out visceral emotions), the cabal of liberal sportswriters soon began to fret about the players’ rights and how the evil NFL was trampling all over them. Bad NFL! Why would you do such a thing?

Not only did these sportswriters attack the NFL for acting before all the evidence was in, but they wanted the NFL to wait to do anything until after the criminal trials were done. Moreover, they decided that banning a player for life was just too harsh. Why would the NFL ever think this was ok? In fact, not only was banning too much, but suspending the player with pay was considered too harsh according to these liberals. Yep. And they smugly proclaimed that they were the defenders of civil rights.

So that’s where things shook out. These liberal sportswriters claimed moral superiority because they took the principled position that someone accused of domestic abuse must be immediately terminated and shunned from society. Then they flipped that around when the NFL punished Rice and they claimed moral superiority for protecting the rights of Rice... the same rights they demanded to have stripped. Talk about ironic! And the whole time, they accused anyone who didn't agree with them of being evil. Amazing.

And now it gets worse.

Among the smuggest of these liberals was Peter King of Sports Illustrated. This guy is an obnoxious, brainless, groupthink-bound liberal who thrives on liberal smugness, all the while imagining that he is a moderate and that everyone except those crazy right-wingers must naturally agree with him. King went through the exact process outlined above, from demanding immediate execution without trial all the way to blasting the NFL for being too harsh. Now he’s done this...

King is one of the few voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And Darren Sharper is up for consideration this year for entry into the Hall. Who is Darren Sharper? Sharper is a defense back for the New Orleans Saints who arguably belongs in the Hall for what he did on the field. But there is another side to Sharper too. See, Sharper has been charged with drugging and raping three women in Los Angeles, two women in New Orleans and one woman in Arizona. Yep. He stands accused of drugging and raping six women!

Naturally, King is outraged by this and wants to keep him out of the Hall of Fame, right? I mean, if just the allegation of domestic abuse is enough to ban someone for life from the NFL without even waiting to see if the allegations are true and despite the pleas of the victim not to punish the player, then surely six separate rape allegations in three different states is enough to avoid giving a player the discretionary honor of being elected to the Hall of Fame, right?


King thinks the Hall of Fame voters need to ignore the rape allegations. Here is his reasoning:
I mentioned in this column last week that former Green Bay and New Orleans safety Darren Sharper would be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time in 2016. . .

Sharper stands accused of serial sexual assault in California, Arizona and Louisiana, in some cases by using drugs on the women he attacked.

So some media people, and quite a few fans, picked up on my note, and the reaction was intense: How can you consider a man sitting in jail, accused of drugging multiple women and raping them, for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

I understand the emotion involved in a case like this. The crimes are deplorable and reprehensible, and if true, Sharper should be imprisoned for a very long time. [BUT]

To clarify the way the Pro Football Hall of Fame works, we have a bylaw that says we can consider only football-related factors in determining a candidate’s worthiness for election....

Maybe you would say: If a candidate is convicted of a felony, he cannot get into the Hall of Fame. Leaving the scene of an accident is a felony. Arson is a felony. Selling drugs is a felony. Animal cruelty is a felony. Should those crimes be enough to automatically eliminate a candidate?

Maybe you would say: Don’t complicate things! It’s obvious that a very serious crime, such as murder or rape, should bar a candidate from the Hall. Obvious to whom? There are 46 voters for the Hall of Fame. Do you want to leave it up to the conscience of each individual voter as to what constitutes a crime serious enough to ban a person from the Hall?

I don’t. The voters for the Hall of Fame should consider what a player did on the field, and the influences of a coach on the game and how many games he won, and the contributions that other figures have made to the sport.

Beyond that, the slope is far too slippery.
Did you see that? Some voters might think rape or murder is a serious enough crime to consider, but King sees that as too dangerous of a slippery slope. Hence, he argues that the voters need to do what the bylaws say and ignore these rapes. Isn’t it funny how he took such a harsh position (ban a player for life and end his economic career) because of a single punch, which the victim doesn’t even want punished, but when it comes to something far less live-affecting (being elected into an honor society), he argues that we should overlook serial rapes. Un... f*cking... believable.

The hypocrisy of this is stunning.

Moreover, keep in mind that the left loves to accuse the right of condoning rape. Outside of a couple of religious zealots, however, no one on the right has ever condoned a rape that I am aware of. Yet, here is smug liberal King doing just that: “Ignore the six rapes because he deserves this award!”

Welcome to the mind of liberals.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Nature vs. Nurture vs. Free Will

[Ed.] Today we’re starting a new series. Our very own Kit often sends me emails dealing with topics he encounters at school which are rather interesting. I’ve asked him to turn some of these into quasi-articles so they can be shared with all of you. Tonight’s topic involves the nature versus nurture debate. Enjoy!

Nature vs. Nurture vs. Free Will
By Kit

The more I look at the nature vs. nurture debate the more I find it to be very inadequate. Though I lean heavily towards "Nurture" and the belief that the environment in which one is raised has a big impact on your adulthood, both fail to adequately explain why some people are good and others are bad.

The reason? Both leave out that frightening wild card: Free Will.

Or, rather, one’s choices becoming one’s habits. When a person makes one good choice it becomes easier to make a good choice in the future. Especially if it is risky. Conversely, if a person makes one bad choice it becomes easier for that person to make bad choices again in the future. These choices add up to habits, both good and bad, and those habits add up to form one’s personality.

I’ll grant that people who advocate Nurture/Environment/Culture do usually acknowledge free will, but those who claim Nature/Genetics to be the reason for good and bad behavior deny free will and the power of choice more sternly than even the most fanatical of Hyper-Calvinists. They firmly believe in the doctrine of Predestination, but one of random genetic mixing instead of divine sovereignty.

That is because Free Will is a Wild Card. Nature and Nurture are favored because they provide easy solutions. Nature opens the doorway to sterilization or brain re-wiring while Nurture says good parenting and good teaching.

However, if it is true that in any society a certain number of people will simply decide to be bad, for no clearly defined reason other than they want to do bad things and enjoy doing it.

Interestingly, while scientists and theologians have spent centuries struggling with this question, artists have long since answered it. Shakespeare understood it when he had Macbeth slip from war hero to mad tyrant as the blood he spilt when he killed King Duncan begets more and more blood, each act easier than the last, and when he had Prince Hamlet say to his mother, urging her to avoid the King’s amorous advances,

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,

“For use almost can change the stamp of nature”. Billy Wilder knew it. Spielberg knew it when he filmed Schindler’s List and compared Oskar Schindler to Amon Goethe. Both German, both Nazis, both lovers of wine and women, yet one was a hero and the other a villain. Why? Schindler decided to save life while Goethe decided to take it. No real reason, it is just what they chose to do.

The artist, who must make a living from delving into all of the facets of human nature, even when he is the son of a small town English glove maker and only had a “grammar school education”, seems to have a leg up on those who study it professionally at universities and seminaries.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Presidential Firsts and Other Fun Facts

Monday is President's Day. You know that holiday where we celebrate the collective birthday of all of our Presidents. Yeah, yeah, yeah...we all know how Barack Obama is our first black President, but there are many other Presidential "firsts" that came long before Obama.

Here are some fun facts and firsts from our other Presidents:

George Washington, our first President, is the only President unanimously elected. He also is the only president not affiliated with any political party.

John Adams was the first President to live in the White House.

Thomas Jefferson was the first President to shake hands with guests. Previously people bowed to Presidents.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Not knowing that Thomas Jefferson has already passed John Adams was quoted as saying "Jefferson survives," when he whispered his last words.

James Madison was the shortest and lightest President at 5 feet, 4 inches and about 100 pounds. And he was the first to wear long pants rather than knee breeches.

John Quincy Adams was the first President to be photographed. He was also the first President to be the son of another President.

Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. President born in the United States. The Presidents preceding Van Buren were born in colonies that later became states. Van Buren was the first to be born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidency, dying just 32 days after he was elected. He delivered the longest inaugural address at 105 minutes. He did not wear an overcoat or hat and afterwards developed pneumonia and died in the White House exactly one month after giving his speech, on April 4.

Millard Fillmore installed the first bathtub and kitchen stove in the White House. He also installed the first library in the White House because there was no Bible available when he moved in.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to wear a beard and the tallest president at 6’ 4". He was also the first president to die by assassination.

Andrew Johnson had no formal education. His wife taught him reading, writing and math.

Ulysses S. Grant was the first President to run against a woman candidate, Virginia Woodhull the nominee of the “Equal Rights Party” in 1872.

William Taft was the first to own a car. and, weighing in at 332 pounds, was our heaviest President. He got stuck in the White House bathtub the first time he used it and a larger one was ordered. And he owned the last "presidential cow".

Calvin Coolidge lighted the first national Christmas tree in 1923 on the White House lawn.

Warren Harding was the first President to speak over the radio.

Herbert Hoover was the first President born west of the Mississippi River.

Franklin Roosevelt was the first President whose mother was eligible to vote for him. He also served the longest as President, being elected to his 4th term before dying in office.

Harry S. Truman was the first President to give a speech on television and the first to travel underwater in a submarine.

John Kennedy is our youngest President when he was elected 43 years old. He was also the first Catholic President and the first to hold a televised press conference. Though Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he assumed the office at the death of William McKinley, he was not elected to the presidency until 3 years later.

Lyndon B. Johnson is the only President to take the oath of office from a female official, Judge Sarah T. Hughes.

Richard Nixon is the only Presdent to resign from office.

Gerald Ford became Vice President and President without being elected to either office.

President Jimmy Carter is the first President who was born in a hospital.

George H.W. Bush is distantly related to Presidents Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Benedict Arnold, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill.

Barack Obama, our first black President, collects Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comic books.

Any other Presidential trivia you want to add?

Oh, and just in case you have forgotten, Saturday is Valentine's Day. If you haven't gotten your cards, candy, bouquets of flowers, jewelry, or reservations at that romantic restaurant, you'd better hurry...
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Some Thoughts

I don’t have much for you tonight. Yeah. Sadly, little that is going on has grabbed my attention. So let’s do some random thoughts on various issues...

Williams Goes Down: It looks like the ever-growing list of lies Brian Williams told has become too much. NBC has now suspended him for six months. Interestingly, I see this as NBC hedging their bets. If they can find a replacement within those six months, then they will fire Williams after the suspension ends. If they can’t, this leaves the door open for NBC to let him return to his job. This delay also has the added benefit that whatever NBC finally does will happen long after the public stops paying attention. Smart moves by NBC.

Hillary Keeps Hurting: The left has never warmed to Hillary, and her campaign to date has kicked off very poorly. Not only did she sink in a sea of gaffes, but her obvious manipulations seem only to have angered the left further. In effect, she’s become the inevitable candidate who needs the election to get here fast before she implodes completely. Interestingly, she has all but vanished during the Williams scandal because she has a similar problem, and now we hear that her fundraising skills are proving to be quite poor too. Hillary already feels like damaged goods and every day the damage seems to grow.

Bruce Jenner Is What?: Apparently, Bruce Jenner is turning himself into a woman. Uh, ok. Frankly, anything is better than the mummified-Kardashian-sex-toy he had become.... but that’s not the point. The point is this: look, I don’t even pretend to know what is going on in the minds of transsexuals. Maybe this urge to change is as strong as they say... don’t know, don’t care. But let us be Frank (or Frieda): you aren’t changing your sex. What you are doing is surgically remaking your body to appear more like the other gender, just as someone may undergo surgery to make themselves look like a vampire or a dachshund. But no matter how many surgeries you have, you still have the same DNA. Why this bothers me is that the press runs with this idea whenever some transsexual “man” suddenly gets pregnant. The headlines scream “Pregnant man!” But that’s BS. An honest headline would be “surgically enhanced male-impersonator pregnant!” But that’s not as sensational.

As an aside, I find it interesting that we are told to accept gays and the transgendered as normal, but then the liberals in the MSM go all orgasmic over outing these people and holding them out like they are freaks.

Crazy Obama Criticism: I like to check in on some crazy bloggers now and then to see just how stupid they can get, and boy can they get stupid. Awash in conspiracy theories and vast amounts of hate aimed at anything establishment, these guys never miss a chance to buy into any outrage, no matter how obviously false or how hypocritical. The latest example involves Obama’s attempts to fight ISIS.

Naturally, these armchair uber-fuhrers have been savaging Obama for months now on his unwillingness to fight ISIS because Obama is a Bruce-Jenner-grade sissy. Well, now word is leaking out that Obama will seek an amazingly broad authorization from Congress to go to war with ISIS. You’d think these bloggers would be pleasantly surprised, but you would be wrong. To the contrary, now they are freaking out that Obama (and Boehner... always the evil Boehner) intend to plunge us into a war with ISIS. Huh? First, these people blast Obama for not going after ISIS militarily and they specifically mock Obama by accusing him of not “getting” that ISIS is at war with us.... and now they attack him for using the military and they mock Obama by accusing him of not getting that this could start a war. Hypocrites.

Spent Force: Speaking of ISIS, has anyone noticed that ISIS no longer scores any victories? Interesting, isn’t it? The problem is that their victories came in regions where the locals had similar religious preferences and were happy to join them against the central governments. Now that they are facing Kurds and Shia and other unfriendlies, this unstoppable force has been complete stopped. I guess they weren’t as unbeatable the MSM wanted us to believe.

Roy Moore(on): Down in Alabama, Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore just won’t quit. This guy lives for headlines and he loves to wrap himself in his Bible to help him score that attention. You might remember Moore from refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from the Alabama capital. Now he’s told Alabama’s lowest level of judges to ignore a Federal court order to start offering gay marriage. He claimed that Alabama was not bound by federal judicial orders unless they come from the Supreme Court itself. Well, the Supreme Court called his bluff and approved the order, but that didn’t stop Moore. Nope. He’s still telling state court judges to ignore the federal orders. Uh, this issue was solved in 1865 and again in 1965, Roy.

The problem with Roy is that he takes sensational positions just to draw attention to himself. And while some may applaud him for whatever stance he’s taking that particular day, the problem is that he knows he will lose, yet he misleads his weak-minded followers into thinking they are right, and his conduct is guaranteed to hurt the causes he adopts. It’s like having endorse your party. In this instance, Roy has simply reinforced the idea that the GOP is obsessed with gays and will shatter the Constitution to fight that losing battle. Ug.

As an aside, the Supreme Court’s involvement in this was highly unusual – it only acted because Moore is a jackass and it wasn’t going to let his challenge go without a response. That response, now suggests that my prior speculation about the court was right. Basically, they intend to call gay marriage a right very soon.

Robots Took My Job: Finally, there has been a lot of discussion lately that a quarter of the current jobs in the US will likely vanish in the next few decades to automation. This should come as no surprise as automation has been crushing the job market ever since the industrial revolution. And with the tech revolution, things only got worse. How much damage this does to the middle and working-poor classes is unclear, but it would certainly help if our tax code were re-written as I suggest in my book to make labor cheaper.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

UC Outdoes Itself

You know, it is hard to believe that the student politicians at the University of California who sit on the Board of Directors of the University of California Student Association (including UC Berkeley) could out-radical themselves, but they have. The student Board recently passed this mind-bending resolution Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California demanding that the University of California Board of Trustees "...refrain from making further investments, and to advocate that the University of California not make further investments, in any governments engaged in the violation of human rights or other behavior that fails to adhere to the University of California endorsed Principles of Responsible Investment".

Hey, and guess what country made their list as one of the "governments engaged in the violation of human rights"?

WHEREAS, The governments of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka and the United States have violated the universal right “to life, liberty, and security of person;” “to education;” to “privacy, family [and] home;” “to own property, and …[not to] be arbitrarily deprived of property”

Yeah, the United States. I am wondering if the student association really understands where a public University like UC gets their funding for all of those Women's Studies programs? Oh, and then there's those hefty government ("tax-payer") funded student loan programs, buildings, electricity and running water.

WHEREAS, The government of the United States of America is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians. The government oversees, by far, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies, particularly for drug-related offences. 400,000 undocumented immigrants are held in detention centers every year, and millions have been deported since the current Administration took office, and the government is directly supporting and propping up numerous dictatorships around the world with weapons sales and foreign aid.

WHEREAS, The University of California conducts research and accepts funding from the United States Department of Defense and the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), institutions actively involved in the United States’ military actions worldwide, on its Los Angeles, Berkeley, Irvine, Davis, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Francisco, and Merced campuses, thereby furthering and enabling military agendas..."

Well, at least they give the US a few crumbs of gratitude for not being the worst violator on the list...

WHEREAS, All of the above mentioned governments except for the United States are ranked low in terms of freedom, human rights, and democracy according to independent monitoring organizations including Freedom House and The Economist...

I say let's give them what they want...good and hard. Or maybe we can just roll our eyes, pat them on the head, and remember that these are the children of '70's and '80's wanted-to-be hippie radicals who missed out.

Oh, yeah, a few years earlier, this same august body of students passed a similar resolution to demand divestment of all investments specifically related to issues of corporate complicity in human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and elsewhere..." Though they do not specifically name "Israel" as their target for boycott, divestment in this earlier resolution, that's what they were going for. [Hey, at least in the newest resolution they actually name Israel]

"THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors of the University of California Student Association calls upon the University of California to dissociate itself from companies that engage or aid in systematic prejudiced oppression, whether this system targets people based on their religion, nationality, gender identity, race or orientation, by divesting from companies that participate in or profit from human rights violations.

Oh, the irony...I guess those bombs raining down on Israel from the "Palestinian Territories" are not "human rights violations" too.

Any comments?
[Revised at 11:40am to correct title...hey, that's what Brian Williams would do, right?]
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Monday, February 9, 2015

"My Pants Were On Fire"

The Brian Williams story keeps getting more and more interesting. Brian Williams, for those who don't know, is the face of NBC Night News. Unfortunately for Williams, he's duller than dirt. And to make himself more interesting, he's invented a tale or two that he likes to tell to spice up his life. Turns out that may have been a mistake.

When Williams ascended to the big chair, NBC thought they had finally found a replacement for the much-respected Tom Brokaw, who had anchored NBC Nightly News for 22 years. But Williams never did live up to Brokaw's appeal. In any event, NBC saw him as their best chance to win over audiences. Unfortunately, Williams has a few skeletons in his closet. The biggest of those is a tale Williams has been telling this since the Iraqi war about being in a helicopter in 2003 that was hit and went down. Turns out, that was a lie. Whoops.

How this was uncovered is really quite interesting. Ever since Williams first told the story, the soldiers who were with him at the time have been calling "Bullship!" on this tale. But they were ignored. Then recently, the story boiled over when one of the soldiers pushed the story on Facebook. At that point, Williams was finally forced to recant his story. Said Williams:
"I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in '08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp."
In other words, it was another helicopter that was hit and Williams was never in any danger.

Williams tried to play this off as a mistake and called it the haze of combat and the problem of memories, but no one is buying that. Then this weekend, word came that Williams is being investigated by NBC for other sensational claims he's made. In particular, they are questioning his story of seeing a dead body float past his hotel as he covered Hurricane Katrina. There will probably be more.

With word leaking out that NBC is looking into these lies, Williams announced that he would be stepping away from the Nightly News "for a few days." Whether this lasts longer than a few days and/or continues indefinitely will depend on the damage done to NBC's reputation from retaining Williams.

This is interesting on several levels. First, I find it interesting that Williams got away with this without any hint of danger for 12 years now. But now, based on things everyone already knew, NBC decided to discover Williams' wrongdoing and turn on him. I wonder what changed? Sadly, I have no answer for you on this one.

Secondly, I find it interesting how many journalists get caught telling serious lies. We've seen everything from pointless self-aggrandizing lies like those told by Williams to reporters who made up whole stories. There seems to be some temptation among prominent journalists to make news when the real news doesn't fit their desires. Even worse, the length of time it takes to admit these flaws and offer some punishment even after the lies and faked stories had become obvious should be shocking to the journalism industry, but somehow doesn't seem to bother them.

Third, I wonder what this means for Hillary, who told a nearly identical story about landing under fire in Yugoslavia. She made that up, as the troops present at the time have confirmed. Will this reach her as it reached Williams? Or will everyone continue to look the other way on her? Personally, I suspect they will look the other way because there is no one obvious to take her place. If she had an acceptable replacement for nominee, then I think the Democrats would now discover this lie she has been telling and be done with her. But since there is no real alternative, they will continue to try to stick our heads in the sand.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mercury Open Thread

I know that I said I would make it up to you for not being able to post on Tuesday, but blame Mercury. Yeah, that dastardly planet that goes all retrograde and makes life on Earth a living Hades.

So until Mercury gets its act together by the end of the weekend which by the way will end in a huge snow storm [Heck, why not?], we might as well enjoy the disruptions like getting caught at the airport for 12 hours twice in two days trying to get home and then when we finally land at our destination...we sit on the tarmac waiting for an hour to get to a gate...then just as we are about to deplane, the jetway gets stuck and we can't get off the plane for another 40 minutes. That's when I contemplated faking a heart attack just to move things along...then reconsider because spending another 12 hours at notorious Rikers Island...okay, my Mercury is really retrograding right now.

So forgive me. While I curl up in a giant ball and curse Mercury, let's open the floor to discuss anything...but Mercury. I hate Mercury.

By the way, have you read that Spanish scientists have possibly discovered two new planets beyond Neptune?
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Measles and Vaccines

by Kit

After over a decade-and-a-half of anti-MMR vaccine activism by celebrities, quack doctors, and (some) politicians the moment that many epidemiologists and pro-vaccine watchers of the movement feared has come true. In Disneyland a group of unvaccinated children contracted it and it has spread like wildfire. A headline for the Los Angeles Times gives us some idea of what has happened: “California measles: baby diagnosed, infants quarantined, day care shut.”

In California there are 92 case of Measles and “Cases connected to the California-centered outbreak have been confirmed in Arizona (five), Utah (three), Washington state (two), Michigan (one), Oregon (one), Colorado (one), Nebraska (one) and Mexico (two).” One of the California cases was a 12-month old infant, which is too young to be vaccinated for the virus.

The incubation period can last up to a little over two weeks so we may have to wait to see how big this thing grows but it appears the only thing that may stop it from actually killing people is the country’s 92% rate. Though that still leaves about 24,000,000 people unvaccinated for a disease with a mortality rate of 1/1000. And even if it does not kill can leave you permanently blind or deaf. Because of the vaccine, however, which is injected twice, first when you are 1 year-old and again when you are about 5 or 6, the US was declared Measles-free in 2000.

However, in 1998, the British journal Lancet published a study by British doctor Andrew Wakefield claiming that the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine can be linked to autism. Though not a single study by any other group has been able replicate these results and a British newspaper’s investigative report revealing numerous discrepancies and outright lies resulting in Dr. Wakefield losing his medical license (making him “Mr. Wakefield”), it has caught on like wildfire garnering support from celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Oprah Winfrey.

Anyway, the result of all this was a decrease in MMR immunizations, first in Britain then in America with immunization rates in certain Southern California schools lower than South Sudan. This meant a few years ago Britain saw a sharp uptick in Measles cases, including a few deaths (and a sharp increase in immunization rates from 89% in 2011 to 95% in 2014). Then last year, the US had 400 Measles cases and now we have a major outbreak centered around a major theme park and over 100 cases in a single month.

Since, as said above, children under a certain age those with immunity problems stemming from medical conditions or treatments like chemotherapy cannot be vaccinated that means infants and kids with leukemia are at risk because of Dr.— excuse me, Mr. Wakefield and his supporters.

As for Mr. Wakefield, despite Lancet revoking the paper and him losing his medical license in the UK, has developed a fiercely loyal following consisting of Christian fundamentalists, “all-natural” crunchy hippies, and, most infuriatingly, parents of children with autism searching desperately for some kind of answer with many anti-MMR advocates pushing “cures” as a means of removing the toxins that they claim caused autism. These include bathing in epsom salts, enzyme supplements, large vitamin doses, and bleach enemas. I wished I was making that last one up.

Unfortunately, this means that Mr. Wakefield’s debunked claims are not the province of one political party but firmly bipartisan with (thankfully few) supporters on both sides, including Robert Kennedy, Jr. and a Republican congressman and others willing to play it up for political gain (such as Obama in 2008). A Washington Post article described it as “uniting the tea party with limousine liberals”. The only time members of one party will push it more seems to be when they are out of power. The Democrats pushed it during the Bush era as proof of Big Pharma caring more about greed and profits than people while certain “genuine conservatives” have pushed it as proof of big government sticking needles into little kids. The want of power caused by the lack of it seems to have quite an impact on a person’s susceptibility to (or willingness to support) crackpot ideas.

And the fanaticism of these advocates needed to have been seen to be believed. When Dr. Paul Offit published his book Autism’s False Prophets, he and his publisher decided to cancel the book tour due to death threats and hate mail. When British writer Theodore Dalrymple, a conservative has written extensively on his time as a Doctor serving some of Britain’s poorest citizens and the afflictions of the Welfare State, published a column at City Journal criticizing the anti-vaccine movement the comments section of his article and his mail box were quickly inundated with accusations that he was receiving money from major pharmaceutical companies for promoting his pro-vaccine views. No proof was needed or offered except (1) he was a medical Doctor and (2) he was pro-vaccine. The anti-vaccine lobby operated on the assumption that anyone opposed to them was hurting children in order to make some money, which allowed them to think their enemies the most vile and evil human beings on the planet. Offit mentioned special vile aimed towards parents of autistic children who supported vaccination (which is where the majority actually stand). After all, what king of mother would support such wicked abuse of her own child?

But now appears to be a massive backlash against the anti-vaccine movement and, despite claims of some in the left-wing media, that open support for vaccination is firmly bi-partisan with Rubio, Jindal, Walker, Cruz, Ben Carson et al announcing their support for vaccination. Several congressman spent half a hearing this morning intended for influenza promoting the measles vaccine. Even Christie said vaccines are wise, only parting on whether or not they should be mandatory. Only one major politician has made statements leaning towards anti-vaccination; Rand Paul. Just about everyone else is firmly pro-vaccine. And, irony of ironies, anti-vaccine advocates are now complaining of anger thrown at them over the measles epidemic.

Edmund Burke once said “Example is the school of mankind and he will learn at no other,” C.S. Lewis said “Experience is a brutal teacher but by God do you learn.” Measles is proving a brutal teacher and a harsh school for America on the importance of childhood vaccinations and the folly of forgoing them on the basis of a lone quack doctor appealing to our fears and a celebrity mom’s opinion about what caused her child’s autism.

Now, on one final note. Jenny McCarthy, whenever someone pointed out that the science supports the pro-vaccine argument she would respond by saying “My son is my science.” Since the Measles epidemic hit, a 1986 pamphlet written by Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach, about the death of his daughter Olivia from the Measles in 1962 (before the vaccine was available). It is as if he is coming from the grave an responding to Jenny McCarthy by saying, “My science is my dead daughter!”

I think it is worth posting an excerpt:
Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn't do anything.

"Are you feeling all right?" I asked her.

"I feel all sleepy," she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

You can find the full link here: LINK.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More Interesting Obamacare Numbers

With Bev trapped in a world without Commentarama Access, I thought I’d share some interesting Obamacare numbers with you. The left has been screaming that Obamacare is working, and they point to various numbers to prove it. But there is something wrong with the numbers they use.

The first claim the left loves is that Obamacare has slowed the rate of growth of medical costs. In other words, while it’s still getting more expensive, it’s not getting as expensive as fast as it has been. As a result, Obamacare will cost 20% less than expected over its first five years.

Here’s the thing...

Obamacare will be cheaper, but not because it caused costs to go down. Instead, it will be cheaper because fewer people are enrolling. When created, the CBO expected 13 million would be signed up by the end of this year. They have since lowered their estimate to 12 million. Moreover, the real number is likely to be around 9 million. Nine million is 30% less than estimated. Thus, while Obamacare may be 20% cheaper, getting the reduction has been the result of cutting the number of participants by 30%. That’s nothing to brag about. Moreover, you would think that a 30% reduction in participants should lead at least to a 30% cut in costs, not a 20% cut. So any bragging about cost cuts is completely misleading the public.

A corollary claim to this is that by cutting costs, Obamacare has made Medicare cheaper as well. But that claim causes the same problem: the Medicare cuts are not the result of cost savings, they are the result of Obama simply removing those moneys from the Medicare program, i.e. rationing.

At the same time the left brags about the cost of Obamacare going down, they also like to claim that Obamacare is signing up more people than expected. But this is misleading. When the law was passed, the Democratic-controlled CBO estimated that 13 million would sign up by the end of 2014. By 2015, the number is supposed to rise to 21 million. But we aren’t even close to those numbers. Instead, Team Obama has revise the number down to nine million and now pats themselves on the back for meeting that lowered goal. Pathetic. That’s 43% of the initial estimate.

At other times, they combine Medicare/Medicaid signups, even though those people are counted separately under the CBO estimates.

What’s more, they now estimate that ultimately 31 million people will remain uninsured despite the program. But if that’s the case, then why did we do this? And how can the program be considered a success when it only reached 37% of the people it was designed to reach?

You tell me.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Mike Huckabee And the Gay Shrimp

For those who missed it, Mike Huckabee has been busy lately trying to get his name back in the news for a 2016 run. He seems to have decided that the one issue that might help him pull this off is gay marriage. For the most part, his comments are the usual stuff. Today, however, he said something interesting. Indeed, buried among a dozen or so comments about gay marriage bring about the end of the world, Huckabee said that forcing Christians to accept gay marriage is the same thing as “forcing Jews to eat shrimp.” Really?

This quote more than any other exposes Huckabee’s view of Christianity and it’s an aggressive view I really can’t support. Indeed, let's consider if these really are comparable things. By forcing a Jew to eat a shrimp, you are actively forcing that individual to engage in an activity that violates the dictates of their religion. Huckabee believes that imposing gay marriage into the law would be the exact same thing to Christians. But would it?

Well, no.

In Huckabee’s example, the Jewish individual is forced to engage in conduct they believe violates their religion. Nothing similar happens with gay marriage, however because no one is forced to marry someone of the same sex against their will. Indeed, no one is forced to engage in any conduct that violates their beliefs. The closest you can come is that the Christian individual will be forced to tolerate their neighbors engaging in behavior they consider to violate their religion. But that is truly, fundamentally different from being forced to actively engage in conduct violating your beliefs.... unless you (like Mike apparently) believe that Christianity requires one to control the behavior of others. That’s simply false, however. If you read the words of Jesus, as Mike apparently hasn’t, his teaching are packed with example after example where Jesus admonishes Christians to worry about themselves, and not their brothers or neighbors. There are even admonitions against politicking, though I’ll save that for another day.

Now, you could argue, I suppose, that the shrimp comparison works for those who are required to provide services to these gay people. But again, that seems an aggressive view of the reach of Christianity. Indeed, once again, the Christian isn’t forced to engage in the activity, they are simply prevented from discriminating in the providing of services to the public between people the Christian views as complaint with their views and others who are not. But this is just another form of the first point, and is no more valid.

The closest I can come to finding merit in Huckabee’s comparison is if you assume that by letting the government endorse gay marriage, the Christian is forced in some manner to support the practice through their tax dollars. I have more sympathy for this argument, except there still is lacking some direct link. The government spends so much on so many disagreeable things and the taxpayer pays so little toward this vast budget that the idea of “contributing” to any particular government spending is basically theoretical at best. In other words, my dollar will be spread over so many expensive causes that my contribution to any one thing is negligible. Moreover, Jesus dispelled this argument very quickly with his “render unto Caesar” quote, which makes it clear that Christians must obey the law and cannot be held morally responsible for acts done by the government in their name because they have no power to shape such acts.

Obviously, this whole issue gets into hair splitting. But what fascinated me about the quote was the sense I got from Huckabee that, in his world, Christians have a right to impose their will on others and being denied that right is the same as being forced to engage in the activity itself. If I’m reading Huckabee correctly here, then his view of Christianity is troublesome.


P.S. Up yours Tom Brady.
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