Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Close Encounters

According to the site Space Weather, the last two days have seen small asteroids whiz past Earth just .1 and .05 Lunar Distances away. That's at the closest 8,000 miles away. There are geosynchronous satellites farther away than that.

The asteroids were really tiny though, 23 meters and 7 meters long, respectively.

Anything further away from us than the moon, 1 Lunar Distance, is a long way away. Small fractions of that is very close indeed. See it here.



Ugly Freakin' Übermensch

Here are four NAZI party members singing in front of a Woolworth Store in March, 1933 during one of the innumerable Jewish Business Boycotts. The two in the middle, with the Sam Browne belts, are I believe SA, Sturmabteilung, although one has a jacket and one doesn't. The SA was purged and superseded by the SS, Schutzstaffel, a little over a year later.

Jesus, these guys are ugly, doing an ugly deed, for an ugly regime. The sound I hear in my head looking at them is cacophony too.

NAZIs, I hate those guys.


Monday, May 28, 2012


Comparing the NYT Editorial Board to Rep. Pelosi and Other Democrats

The NYT today has an editorial saying the lawsuit of a number of Catholic charitable entities is a big nothing. Remember when someone asked then Speaker Pelosi if the individual mandate in Obama Care was unconstitutional. She, incredulous, replied "Are you serious?" Serious as a heart attack, granny. I am unwilling to predict what will happen to the individual mandate when the Supreme Court writes its opinion on the subject in a few weeks because I believe in jinxes, but it was clear during the oral arguments that several justices were taking the argument of the mandate being unconstitutional very seriously indeed.

The idea that a redefinition of just who is a religious organization (which the regulations do seriously redefine in Obama Care regulations) is a big nothing is just plain, 9-0 wrong. See Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC here. All the justices take the first amendment very seriously and zealously guard the freedom of religious organizations (like church schools) from governmental overreach. The contraception mandate is in very serious legal and constitutional trouble.

It would be difficult to tell you how blind to the obvious the NYT is in its opinion piece today. Here is but a tiny example. After arguing no organization is exempt from "neutral laws of general applicability", the editorial states:

And there was no violation of religious exercise to begin with. After religious groups protested, the administration put the burden on insurance companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to women who work for religiously affiliated employers like hospitals or universities — with no employer involvement.
Well, for every Catholic entity which is a self-insurer, and there are plenty of those, the insurer mandate dodge clearly doesn't work. However, the Catholic entities who have health insurers, as has been pointed out, have to pay the insurer to provide the objectionable items and services. There is no functional difference between who ultimately pays for the items and who actually hands them or partial reimbursement out. This argument that the problem is fixed by the accommodation is stupid, self imposed blindness.

You probably ask how can the NYT get it so wrong? Jonah Goldberg has a whole book about how the left blinds itself to other views. The editorial in question is merely another example.

I predict a rude awakening coming. Very rude indeed.

UPDATE: PowerLine is onto the NYT's miserable excuse for legal analysis and comes to the same conclusion with the added feature of an expert in the field (Michael McConnell) opining along the same lines and further.

Money quote from an account of a discussionon the subject by the good professor:

He explained that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 makes it clear that the federal government may not “substantially burden” the exercise of religion unless it is furthering a “compelling government interest” and employing the “least restrictive means” of doing so.

In this case, he said, it is “rather obvious” that the mandate imposes a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion by requiring religious individuals and organizations to participate in something that they consider gravely immoral.

Furthermore, in granting an exemption at all, however narrow, the administration was acknowledging that “this would be a burden” on the free exercise of religious groups that find it objectionable, he said.

He added that the mandate would impose a substantial burden even with the administration’s promised accommodation, which he said is “no difference in substance whatsoever” than the original regulation.
Turning to the standard for a “compelling government interest,” McConnell explained that the federal government issued the mandate because it believes that contraception coverage is important and wants to place the cost of covering it on employers.
This is “not a compelling interest at all,” he said.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The Whole World is Watching

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)


Friday, May 18, 2012


Clinging to the Old Paradigm

Here is the headline for CNN's coverage of the release of information about the Trayvon Martin shooting:

Police: Trayvon Martin's death 'ultimately avoidable'

And here is the support for that headline:

The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog (sic) in an effort to dispel each party's concern...
This paragraph is the impression (opinion) of a police officer and it is meaningless for several reasons.

1) It has nothing to do with a single element of 2nd degree Murder or any lesser included (like manslaughter). Florida Law does not have any language in its homicide statutes that starts, "Unless the encounter was ultimately avoidable..."

2) This is not an opinion rationally based on the perception of someone there as no police officer was there at the scene until after the shooting.

3) The opinion that 'nothing would have happened if...' is rank speculation not admissible as evidence in any court I've ever been in.

So of all the bits of information revealed yesterday to seize on for a headline, this 'ultimately avoidable' is about the least important of the lot.

So why did CNN cling to this meaningless bit of speculation for highlighting?

Because the talking heads there were such supporters of the narrative where Zimmerman was a racist, vigilante murderer, they are unable to abandon it, no matter how worthless the so called support of that narrative now is.

Oh, by the way, has anyone at CNN or MSNBC apologized for saying Zimmerman was not attacked or injured by Trayvon based on the earlier leaked surveillance tape at the jail, on which no detail was evident? I didn't think so.

Unless there is something more out there not yet revealed, I predict a dismissal by the judge prior to trial.

UPDATE: Check out this question and answer about this case. It would have been shorter just to say "no."

Q. Has any solid evidence emerged after all these months of media frenzy that the story George Zimmerman told the police wasn’t true?
Steve Sailor *

A. Some Sanford officers were skeptical about certain details of Mr. Zimmerman’s account. For instance, he told the police that Mr. Martin had punched him numerous times, but they questioned whether his injuries were consistent with the number of blows he claimed to have received. They also suspected that some of the threatening and dramatic language that Mr. Zimmerman said Mr. Martin used during the struggle — like “You are going to die tonight” — sounded made up.

That's it? No wonder they're going after 2nd degree murder if the number of punches Zimmerman took and some of the things Trayvon was saying to him might have been exaggerated, at least in the eyes of some of the police officers investigating. /sarcasm.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


Now We Know Why He Was Walking a Long Way in the Rain for Skittles

In the Trayvon Martin killing case, where Mr. Zimmerman seems to have been charged with 2nd degree murder by unethical prosecutors for solely political reasons, there will be a huge document dump this afternoon. True crime junkies will have a field day. A little information leaked out early. Trayvon Martin, says the autopsy report, had THC in his blood and urine. A 17 year-old, smoking pot? Knock me over with a feather.

Not exactly a drug to make you more aggressive, or so I've heard. Still the apocryphal derivation of hashhish is from assassin as they supposedly got high in order to go murder people. Hmmm.

As a former prosecutor, I think I know a bad case (a dog) when I see one and what I see now of this case is a cloud of fleas.



Great Wall

Some sections are kept in good repair. And some aren't.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This Can't Be Right

This is supposed to be an accurate depiction of all the free water on the Earth's surface down to the bottom mud and rock sucked up and placed in a sphere over the center of the United States. The sphere has a 700 Km radius, half the Moon and about the size of Rhea, a moon of Saturn. But, wait, we're the freakin' blue white jewel of the galaxy, the water planet, 70% water (that's just the measure of what's on the surface). I'm having trouble accepting this as I thought the oceans were deep. Guess not. More like a thin schmear.


(h/t APOD)



My Favorite Year

Paris, 1968 (h/t This Isn't Happiness)

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Friday, May 11, 2012


Grand Central Terminus

I can't look at this picture without hearing that song from the musical Hair--Let the Sun Shine in...


Some Smart Girls Are Easy

In college I sometimes used a very esoteric poet I had just read and studied to try (and, alas, usually to fail) to get smart girls to sleep with me. With Neruda I had minor success. I've used T. S. Eliot, just as our President did with the non-composit girlfriend Alex McNear (except I memorized The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock rather than The Waste Land, there's nothing sexy about The Waste Land). I think Obama's Eliot ploy worked. He seems to have snowed Ms. McNear as well as Meghan Daum, who writes hagiographically (and apparently without a trace of self awareness of how silly she sounds) about the question her piece's headline poses: Is Obama "Too brainy to be president?"

I'm not making this up; it's real. Go here to see.

Here is the college brilliance of our President, preserved by Ms. McNear and as quoted but Ms. Daum:

He calls "The Waste Land" "an ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats" and encourages McNear to "read [Eliot's] essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he's less concerned with depicting moribund Europe.... Remember how I said there's a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism — Eliot is of this type."
[What does Münzer (Müntzer?) have to do with The Waste Land? I say nothing at all, but I'm apparently less brainy than the President, or Ms. McNear or Ms. Daum, although I'm not the only one to think the quoted portions are both pretentious and a little vapid.]

Ms. Daub's breathless work here is just another version of the President is the smartest man to ever hold the office.

Yeah, right.

Until I see his SATs and his transcripts from Occidental and Columbia, he is a 100 IQ Chance the Gardener and certainly the worst President we've had to suffer though since Wilson.



Been There, Done That, Got the T Shirt

Faithful readers of this blog, all one of you, know how much I hate (yes, I'm using that word) Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. I hate him as much as my ex-wife admires him. He might have been OK early on as a revolutionary thinker, before he obtained hand guns, but after the tragedy of the revolution in Cuba in 1959, he became, as is typical on the left, a political murderer. I believe he took sexual pleasure from shooting people in the head, which he did dozens of times before his farcical campaign in Bolivia in 1967, where he was captured and executed. There is no doubt he was after 1959 a quintessential lefty totalitarian.

Anyone who wears a t shirt with his iconic Commie Revolutionary photo on it is an idiot. (Wearing a t shirt with a photo of Che wearing a t shirt with Che on it is OK as dadaist commentary). But the misguided worship of Che seemed for a while to have abated and I felt better. So this photo comes as a bit of a shock, just as I was beginning to warm up to John Lennon, too.

Don't believe me on the murder stuff? Look here for a first step on the road to truth. Here is a second step.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Getting Right to the Point

It usually goes with any debate (although I notice it more with liberals debating conservatives) that as soon as one side starts losing the argument, that loser goes ad hominem. I believe you lose the argument when you start to call the other one bad names. It's like a poker tell.

I used to try to analyze the Saturday columns lefty David Sirota wrote for the Denver Post, but I quickly discovered there was no there there. There was no real substance to analyze. Recently I learned Mr. Sirota has a morning talk radio show, and I listened to it for a while this morning. Here was his topic:

Is everyone who opposes gay marriage a bigot?

See how Mr. Sirota skipped the messy argument on the merits and went straight to name calling?

I have to ask if calling everyone who disagrees with you on a social/political issue a bigot is a good way to advance your arguments?

How about this topic:

Is everyone who calls everyone who disagrees about a social/political issue a bigot an asshole?

I kinda think so.

I'm not a bigot about anyone (other than Algerians--long story) and certainly not regarding sexual mores (other than criminal behavior). Nor am I afraid that I am the same as gay men sexually, which is what homophobia literally means. I oppose my friends' view who think there's something wrong with gay people. I stand up for their equal treatment both before the law and socially. I think gay people should have equal rights regarding long term relationships. I just ask that they not call it marriage. Here's why:

The primary purpose of marriage is procreation and preparing the children produced to have children themselves (in fact, this is the single rule for all life--just read Darwin). It takes a long time to help a child become an adult healthy in body, mind and spirit--at least  an eighth of a century and more likely a quarter. That's a long time. It's difficult. It takes real commitment. The best way to do it is with a mom and a dad. Thus the gold standard for producing good adults is what, remarkably, has been the traditional definition of marriage. Let's leave polygamy for another day. Oh, and yes, I'm aware that 20% of married couples won't be able to have children.

What the liberals like Sirota appear unable to grasp is that they want to chuck the traditional definition of marriage and replace it with: You can marry whomever you want, or, perhaps more narrowly, whomever you love deeply and want to enter a committed monogamous relationship with. If that is what the majority of Americans vote for (state by state, as there is no method available for national plebiscite), I won't complain. So far, however, it is 32 to 0 against voting to have the new definition. That's a lot of bigots. No wonder Mr. Sirota (and his ilk) seem to hate the United States.

Here's the rub, a slippery slope argument (which I admit up front is weak but still there): If you sanction gay marriage, replace the traditional definition, you have no logically coherent argument against the guy who wants to marry his sister, two women, or his dog. No argument.

I'm not comparing gay marriage to incest, polygamy or bestiality, I'm just saying you have paved the way for the exact same "civil/equal right which you're a bigot to disagree with" argument Sirota and his ilk are using now. Other than the slight disadvantage of not having the preferred mom and dad raising the child, there isn't any harm in gay marriage, other than it makes it impossible to oppose other forms of marriage, which really are harmful, without hearing the exact same argument and name calling (if you're as narrowly focused as Mr. Sirota) used against you.

If I sent this to him, if he read it, I believe he would dismiss my arguments and call me a bigot. Why bother with the actual intellectual effort of examining your belief when challenged?

I'll still send it to him and report back.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Thought of the Day

The empowering message of feminism is that all women are victims.

Robert Stacy McCain


Wednesday, May 02, 2012


War Is Hell Photos

Frozen corpses of German Soldiers at Stalingrad, probably February 1943.
Burned to death Iraqi soldier in the hatch of an APC during one of the Gulf Wars. He looks pretty pissed off.

Mussolini, his mistress and other Italian Fascists meet a bad end in Milan near the end of WWII in Europe in 1945.
Russian soldiers unfurl the red Soviet flag over the unused since the 30s Reichstag, during the capture of Berlin in April 1945. I've always liked this photo because the soldiers look about the same size as the architectural sculptures. Almost all of the soldiers on top of the Reichstag that day carried submachine guns, PPS 42s or PPSh 41s, but they also carried German handguns rather than Soviet designs. They guy helping the soldier with the Soviet flag has two watches on.
Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili, Stalin's oldest son, captured during Operation Barbarosa, lies dead across the high voltage wire at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp on April 14, 1943, or so the Germans claimed.


Funny Because It's True

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Thought of the Day

Imagine if President Nixon had decided to base his 1972 re-election campaign on the boast that he landed on the moon. His predecessors tried and failed for eight years. It wasn't an easy decision--what if something went wrong? But that's why you hire a president, to make those gutsy calls. Which path would George McGovern have taken?

That's analogous to President Obama's effort to campaign on the killing of Osama bin Laden. His absurd braggadocio is turning one of the few successes to occur under his leadership into a political liability.

James Taranto

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Opening My Eyes

As I walked out of Starbucks this morning with my big latte and a Danish, I overheard some 20somethings discussing the Jews in very unflattering terms. Not good.

I'm OK with pointing out the minor differences between ethnic groups and I do it, as I suspect everyone does, a lot; but to ascribe a special evil to one group, or to suggest that one group should not have the same rights and responsibilities as any other group, is beyond the pale. If you even have vague inklings along these lines regarding the Jews (or anyone else, for that matter) you had best keep it to yourself, because if I hear it, you are dead to me (like Fredo to Michael) forever after.

Forever after.

The experience was a minor bummer, as we used to say.


Putting the Spring Cross Quarter Day to Good Use

Eugene Volokh comes up with a very solid idea today. Let's use the former Commie Holiday, May Day (a Cross Quarter day), to mourn and remember the nearly 100 milliion political murders by the International Socialists in the 20th Century.

Money quote:

May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so. I suggest that May Day be turned into Victims of Communism Day….
The main alternative to May 1 is November 7, the anniversary of the communist coup in Russia. However, choosing that date might be interpreted as focusing exclusively on the Soviet Union, while ignoring the equally horrendous communist mass murders in China, Camobodia, and elsewhere. So May 1 is the best choice.
Yeah, let's do.

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