Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photocells Trump Photosynthesis

                Finally! Something that appears ‘too good to be true’ turns out to actually be… true!
                The Associated Press  reported recently on an environmental dispute between neighbors in California. A man actually asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors because their towering redwood trees blocked sunlight to his solar panels. He wanted the neighbors to be forced to cut down the offending trees. The couple next door insisted that they should not have to chop down the trees because they were planted before the man installed the solar panels.
                Incredibly, after a six-year legal battle, a judge recently ordered the couple to cut down two of the redwoods, citing a little-known state law that protects “a homeowner’s right to sunlight.” This is the first time a homeowner has been convicted of violating the law, which was enacted nearly 30 years ago. The law, titled the Solar Shade Control Act, requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor’s solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Trees in existence at the time of the panel installation are supposed to be exempt. Perhaps the judge failed to read the fine print in this obscure law.
                The couple, who drive a hybrid car, argue that trees absorb carbon dioxide, cool the surrounding air and provide habitat for wildlife.
                The man, who owns a plug-in electric car, counters by saying his solar panels reduce carbon dioxide emissions far more than the trees do.
                “Experts” say clashes such as these will become much more common as the push for renewable energy strengthens and solar energy systems become more popular.


                Let the games begin!

There Is No Present Like Time

                                                              It’s About Time
                Obviously, New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on…time…and its passing. How it’s shaped us, and hopefully, we, it. We salute those we lost this past year and make resolutions to try to be better versions of ourselves in the year to follow.
                We have been granted the gift of voice, yet many remain mute. We’re granted the gift of passion, yet many stay passive. We have the ability to tell those we are close to what they mean to us, yet many of us decline to do so. At the end of our lives, if we have squandered time, if we haven’t taken advantage of the gifts of passion and thought and feelings and language that make us different from rock or sand or moss…what have we achieved?
                Don’t squander time of all things, as we are given so little of it. ‘Time is of the essence’ the saying goes. That is technically not true. Time is the essence. What is there without time? Could there be a ‘time before time?’
                It is time for us to speak. It’s time for us to do, to love, to experience new things.
                There is a time for us to be born, to live, to give birth, and to die. Let us make sure that, when it is our time to die, we have truly lived. ‘Time after time’ we here clich├ęs about time. “Does anybody really know what time it is?” Time and again. Time is running out. Time’s up. I don’t have the time. If only I had the time. Halftime.  Bedtime. In the nick of time. Father Time.
                Think about the most important relationship in your life. How has it changed over time? Why? Did you shape it or just let it happen? What have you done with your time…and theirs?
                Let us not just mark time. Let’s mark lives. We need to make a New Year’s resolution that we learn the value of time and appreciate it. Did we make our loved-ones lives better and richer during the immeasurably short time we are here on this planet? Did we do the things that might allow us the opportunity to walk forever with them in a heavenly light?
                Were you granted the ability to love, but remain reserved and distant? Scared? Were you granted the ability to experience joy and pleasure, but refuse to use it? Were you granted the ability to feel pain, but cannot bear to do so?
                It’s about time we show our spouses and loved ones the affection, respect and love they deserve. And we can do that, in part,  by respecting, appreciating and showing gratitude for the little time we have here on Earth.
                Let this shape our here and now, and not our distant future, and act accordingly.
                So, if your spouse snores occasionally, or takes more than his or her ‘fair’ share of the covers, if you don’t like it when they wake you up when coming to bed at night or leaving it in the morning, if you have no ‘time’ for romance…think about when they are gone. That first long, cold, dark night when you crawl over in bed and find that they are not there. And realize that they will never be there again.
                How brutal will that night be, when you reach out and there is no reassuring touch, no breathing, no “it’s okay honey, I’m here and I love you.”
                So the logical thing to do, the moral thing to do, is to act now how you would if, after that brutal, long, cold, dark night, you awoke to find your spouse next to you in the morning and realized you had just had a bad dream.  
               Because, one day, all too soon, it will not have been a  dream.                                               
                I myself have a couple of New Year’s resolutions this year,  but perhaps  our most important New Year’s resolution should be to fully realize how precious little time we have here in this life and to treat our loved ones accordingly.

                There’s no time like the present.

                                                                    **********************
                                                                        Happy New Year, All!
                                                                    **********************

( Following are the lyrics to a poignant Dan Fogelberg song, appropriate, I think, to this date and this post. NEVER let it be the “Same Old Lang Syne” in your life).

                                                            Same Old Lang Syne
Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stood behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didn't recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried

We took her groceries to the check out stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation lagged

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn't find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

She said she's married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn't like to lie

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn't sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude

She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was Hell

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another "Auld Lang Syne"

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And, as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain


Songwriters: Fogelberg, Dan
Same Old Lang Syne lyrics © EMI Music Publishing



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One Bathroom Fits All! (Gender Blender III)

                “New school bathrooms welcome all genders” read the headline in the December 26, 2014 Star & Tribune. (Emphasis mine). I would have thought “both” genders would be sufficient…and  shocking.  I was unaware, until recently, that there were more than two sexes. (Male and female. Yin and Yang. The potential for a biblical union of two becoming one whole). I was aware that we needed to update the trite old cliche’  “the birds and the bees” to “the birds and the bees, the bees and the bees, and the birds and the birds” due to the  omnipresence of homosexuality in the mainstream media. Now, however, total chaos has been loosed and all bets are off as to where this will take us.
                We now have birds and “bird-questioning”, bees and “bee-questioning”, birds who “self-identify” as bees, bees who “self-identify as birds”, birds who are becoming bees, bees who are becoming birds, bird-bees, bee-birds, bi-birds, bi-bees, polyamorous birds and bees (segregated and together), trans*birds, trans*bees, combined bird-bee spirits, cis-birds and cis-bees (boring sticks in the mud that they are), and we haven’t, apparently, even scratched the surface!
                The article states that, “these schools are placing Minnesota among a growing list of states taking steps to ensure that transgender and ‘gender non-conforming’ students feel safe and comfortable in school, whether that’s using the rest room or getting dressed in a locker room.” This makes the  heterosexual kids sound like an army of closed-minded bores just toting some sort of party line.
                And what about the thoughts and feelings of this vast majority of boys and girls? The 95% or more that aren’t GLBTG or ‘gender-questioning’? Are they going to feel, “safe and comfortable” in bathrooms and locker rooms open to everyone? Hell, most guys weren’t- and aren’t- very comfortable taking showers with other guys after gym class, seeing how they ‘measure up’, etc.
                Are most parents reallycomfortable’ with, say,  their 16 year-old daughter urinating in a stall next to an 18 year-old guy  dropping a deuce? Or having to insert a tampon? Or with not knowing what gender or genders are around her and what their level of confusion, curiosity, or experimentation desires are? Are most boys and girls? There is no possible way that the majority of students feel “safer and more comfortable” in that environment.
                Later on in the article, there is the recounting of the time a mother of a 9 year-old girl who "fell outside of the traditional gender binary” let her daughter use the men’s bathroom at a movie theater. “It was absolutely terrifying” she said. “As a parent, all you want is for your child to be safe. And I was worried she might not be safe.”
                Really?  You let your nine year-old girl use the men’s bathroom in a public movie theater and you claim all you want is for your child to be safe? Obviously, that’s not all you want. What trumped the fact that you were terrified  that your young daughter might not be safe in the men’s bathroom?
            
                All-gender bathrooms and locker rooms are a symbol of these schools being ‘welcoming’ places, according to their proponents.
                One of the leaders of a support group called “Transforming Families” stated that she felt that the movement to support transgender students was about 20 years behind that of gays and lesbians.    (Homosexuality was considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be a ‘mental illness’ until as recently as the 1960’s). 
               Yes, and the movements to support bestiality and incest are likely 20 years behind this one. In fact, according to some things I’ve read lately, in certain circles have they have already started. I am not equating homosexuality with these latter behaviors, nor even ‘trans-genderism’ to coin a phrase. But the demands that gay marriages  be seen as absolutely- and legally- “ equal” to heterosexual child producing unions and must be considered completely ‘normal’( with the partners eligible to receive any and all benefits that the heterosexual couples who brought them into this world may get) is absurd. We simply cannot consider agender, Trans*Female and Two-Spirit folks and behaviors as  completely  ‘normal’ without rendering the word meaningless and demeaning the inherent sacredness of the male-female relationship and anatomies.
                One of the students quoted in the article opined that “It’s a very basic right- to be able to use the bathroom and feel safe and comfortable.” That’s as may be, but transgender and gender-questioning kids already had their own bathroom at that students school. And all we’ve done is reverse the ratio of kids who feel safe and comfortable in the schools bathrooms and showers from 95% comfortable and 5% uncomfortable- or worse- to 5% comfortable and 95% stressed.
                Diversity.  Ain’t it grand?

                Except…wait a moment. One bathroom fits all? We can’t have a diversity of bathrooms, apparently.


Monday, December 29, 2014

North Korea Accidentally Insults Itself

               North Korea has denied involvement in the recent, infamous cyber-attack on Sony pictures even though it expressed maniacal outrage at the potential release of Sony’s comedic film “The Interview.” Now North Korea has  accused the United States of shutting down its Internet for over nine hours a few days ago in response to the cyber-attack. Their ‘National Defense Commission’ said President Obama was behind the movie’s release.
             Yes, I’m sure he thought of the idea, wrote the script and had control over production, as well. 
             In reality he couldn’t have, since he’s been too busy with other things.
Vacationing and golfing just for starters.

A spokesman for the North Korean government actually said, “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.” I don’t often defend this President, but obviously find this remark offensive, repulsive and ridiculous. And, I didn’t know monkeys could talk. It is the North Korean government, and their ‘spokesmen’ that self-evidently ‘go reckless in words and deeds.’
In attempting to insult the President, all they have achieved with this remark is to make themselves look even more ridiculous and pathetic then they did before. Well, that is remarkable, come to think of it.
Moreover, no one in North Korea other than  the top few  government leaders could possibly have known or been affected by the temporary shutdown…for two reasons. One, most of the people don’t have enough money to buy a loaf of bread, if there was one to be found, let alone a computer. And, two, they have the Fisher-Price, “Baby’s First Internet!” set-up over there. Everything is routed through China. What ‘content’ isn’t blocked or experiencing technical difficulties is too dull and propagandized for anyone to want to access.

So these three North Koreans walk into a bar and…
Guess I better not.


They take their comedy- and themselves- seriously in the Hermit Kingdom.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vicissitudes?

“Top officials from nearly 200 nations agreed to the first deal committing every country in the world to reducing the fossil fuel emissions that cause global warming” stated the New York Times article. Granted, it’s not binding, is voluntary and based on “global peer pressure”, but what the heck, it’s better than nothing, right?
The article closed by saying that “Obama wants to sign on to the plan because he sees his role in fighting climate change as a cornerstone of his legacy", he and his advisers say.
                Interesting that he wants his legacy to be one of “fundamentally changing (transforming) the United States,” indeed  almost every aspect of it socially, economically, historically, etc., yet also desires a legacy of fighting against climate change for all he’s worth.

                There is a hidden consistency here, to be truthful. They both lead to the near-total transformation, indeed evisceration, of the United States of America as we knew it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Double Standards

                 There exists a remarkable  phenomena in the political world. When Republicans are in the minority, they are universally  branded as ‘obstructionists’ if they try to uphold  the principles of the people who voted for them. “The people voted, they have spoken loud and clear, just let us  perform the people’s work” their opponents cry. Yet, when they constitute a majority, they are constantly told that they ‘have to reach across the aisle’ and work in a bipartisan and civil manner with the Democrats…or else minorities will be persecuted and nothing will get done. And we know how the people hate a stalemated, ‘do-nothing’ Congress. It is always the Republicans, especially the non-R.I.N.O.’s of course, that are asked to accommodate the other side!
                It’s a bit like the concept of ‘dissent’. When Democrats dissent from a Republican administration, it is universally proclaimed as ‘patriotic’, and even heroic. Remember the bumper stickers that were popular late in the George W. Bush administration? 'Dissent Is Patriotic?' (Or, 'Somewhere a Village is Missing It's Idiot')?
                However, when Republicans dissent from the Democrats position it is reactionary, racist, sexist, and/or damn near  traitorous!
                Absolutely amazing.
Remember the Kosovo War? The conflict had nothing to do with the United States’ national interest, but the Clinton administration stated repeatedly with trembling lips that everyone must support the military effort that our freckle-faced lads who loved baseball, apple-pie, their mothers and their country were expending in that arena. Vietnam, Iraq, Iran? Most of them denigrated our efforts in these regions, especially as time went by.
The War on Terror? Kinda bored with that. Let it go. We actually tried to officially and unilaterallyend” it. The President gave a speech saying, “the War on Terror is over”  back in May 2013. How’s that working out for us so far? I guess we can only fight so many existential threats at a time.


We need to put our precious resources into the fight against “the War on Women.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

President Obama Offers Amnesty To Wayward Voters

                

January 2, 2015
News Syndicate-
                President Obama outlined a new program earlier today that he said would “fix a lot of America’s problems while keeping with the spirit of fairness and decency that have been the hallmarks of my administration. Oh, and it’s also in the holiday spirit.”
                The President proposed to “grant amnesty” to all those Americans who didn’t vote for him in either of the past two presidential elections and “also to all those misguided but possibly well-meaning folks who voted for Republicans this past November.”
                The details of the proposal have yet to be worked out, but the President suggested he favors a “cultural exchange type-deal” whereby the misguided voters, instead of being “punished”- or harassed by the IRS or other Federal agencies- are instead granted amnesty and shipped to Mexico in exchange for illegal aliens who would be likewise granted amnesty upon arriving in the U.S.

                “This has the fairness and symmetry we strive to achieve. This is a win-win. The wayward American voters essentially get off scot-free and I was going to do the illegal amnesty deal anyway. Most of these voters are- uh, were- from suburban and rural areas that are already sparsely populated so they would need to be replaced in any case. This just ties everything up and puts a nice bow on it, I think.”

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Global Agreement To "Halt Climate Change!"

                The Obama administration reached an accord with China a few weeks ago, committing the two countries with the largest economies in the world to cuts in their carbon emissions.
                See if you can detect a slight difference in the wording the two countries used to describe their commitments. The U.S. “will cut emissions up to 28 percent by 2025. China, for their part, “will ‘decrease’ emissions by or before 2030.” ‘Decrease’ them by how much and from what? Will they lower emissions by a percent or two from 2028 to 2029 and/or from 2029 to 2030? And how come they get an extra five years to achieve this un-quantified and likely unverifiable goal?
                Perhaps their commitment isn’t as great?
                Shortly after the U.S. and China announced their agreement, U.N. negotiators and diplomats from across the globe met in Lima, Peru and eventually reached a general agreement on a plan to ‘halt climate change’ as some have termed it. (That would be an amazing success story if it came to fruition, as we’ve never been able to tell the planet what to do before and have it follow our instructions).
                How was this fantastic news greeted by ‘experts’? Most stated opinions along the lines of, “no matter the outcome of the meeting, it probably won’t be enough to stave off the significant effects of near-term global warming. It now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet’s atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.” According to a body of research, that is the tipping point at which the planet will experience such global warming- induced disruption that the world’s population and economy  would face significant threats.
                Talk about a buzz-kill.
                Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also expressed doubts. He said, “What’s already baked in are substantial changes to ecosystems, large-scale transformations.” Baked in? That doesn’t seem like  proper, disinterested, scientific terminology to me. I know no one around these parts felt ‘baked in’ last winter when it was routinely 20 degrees below zero or colder.
                 Isn’t it conservatives who are supposed to hate change? We are inclined to “stand athwart the world and yell stop!” according to many, including some of our own. And, I wonder, was the Earth any different in biblical times? How long have things been changing…or transforming?
                We can differ and bicker about what affect we have on the planet, but the Earth will do what the Earth has always done.


                And the sun also rises.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifts

                 I hope you all get to spend a few minutes- or more- with your family around the hearth and/or Christmas tree this holiday season. Of course, this time of year can be hectic, but let’s all try to remember that this season is about gifts. Not the ones we hope we get, but the ones we give…and the ones we have already received, but maybe don’t truly appreciate or recognize as the gifts they are.  Such as our very lives. Our family and friends, wives and husbands. Shared memories. Accidents we’ve survived or never had.
                I am always taken aback when I see, say, a wealthy young woman come out of a beauty salon when it’s very windy, and put her hands to her hair and shout something like, “damn it, my perm will be ruined,  why is this happening to me?”
                And on the other hand, I sometimes see, say,  a veteran in a wheelchair with no arms and/or legs, smiling and joking with others. It is a shocking mental juxtaposition. The healthy, wealthy, often very attractive woman, feels oppressed and unlucky. The vet with the grievous, life-changing injuries feels blessed and lucky to be alive. Circumstances don't determine one's  fate. It is one’s attitude and  fortitude.
                And speaking of grievous injuries and fortitude, there is the specter of Jesus on the cross. Life changing?
                For all of us.

                Resurrection.
                The greatest gift of all.

                Merry Christmas.




                

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

M.O.A. Protest/M.I.A. Protest

                Thousands of people- of all races-  descended on the Mall of America on Saturday, December 20th to protest the recent, well-known, deaths of a couple of black males at the hands of white police officers. These protests happened all across the country in one form or another and in varying sizes. In Ferguson, Missouri, stores were looted and vandalized.
                That’s an interesting, if illogical, reaction to indignant cries of innocents being the arbitrary victims of wrong-doing. These shop-owners, and their employees, had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged police ‘attacks’. Nor did they rob a convenience store earlier, rush a policeman or scuffle with one in his patrol-car. Most, if not all, didn’t have a criminal record.
                On the Black Lives Matter Face-book page, a statement  claimed “The police and security shut down the ENTIRE mall for hours- amazing work everyone!” Yes, that’s what we need, economic terrorism.
                So, now  a black man in New York City randomly assassinates two white police officers Saturday, December 20th. He had earlier announced, on an Instagram account, that he was going to take action against the ‘pigs’, stating “they take one of ours, let’s take two of theirs.” He used the hash-tag ‘Shoot-the-police’ among others. This, again, was a random killing of true innocents. Before shooting and killing the two police officers, he had gone to the home of a former girlfriend and shot and wounded her.
                How big will the protests be for the two randomly- murdered New York policemen? I’m guessing malls around America will soon be swamped with people irate over this injustice. Right?

                 

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Politically-Correct Jihad?

                 Several Islamic Jihadist groups have banned…smoking. Seriously. Yes, enslaving others, as well as gang-raping and beheading them, are considered time-tested and sacrosanct actions, duties in fact, but letting folks  smoke cigarettes, well, that is beyond the pale. Many of the Islamic militants consider smoking to be ‘slow suicide’ according to a blurb in the National Review. Got to get in tune with modern, politically-correct times! So now slow suicide via tobacco is unacceptable, apparently, but the quicker kind, as occurs with suicide bombers, is encouraged and, in fact, an express-route to a tobacco-free Paradise and the 72 virgins?
                Hmmm.
                And that’s not the only anomaly.
                The punishment for engaging in this behavior detrimental to one’s health, a habit that could take years off one’s life?
                The death penalty.


                Beam me up, Scottie.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays... Oh What The Heck, Merry Christmas, Texas!

                Texas has passed a new law that ensures its residents are free to use the holiday greeting of their choice- “merry Christmas,” “happy Hanukkah” or “happy holidays.” Amazing.
                According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the legislature wanted to make sure that students can exchange traditional holiday greetings- and display Christmas trees, menorahs and Nativity scenes at school as long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are included- without fear of sparking a lawsuit. Those crazy, right-wing zealots! How do they get away with this stuff- in America of all places?
                Why the need for the law? State Representative Matt Krause said, “It’s unfortunate we got to a place where we had to have a law that says it’s ok to say, ‘Merry Christmas’, but we started to see no Christmas trees, instead holiday trees, and people couldn’t sing ‘Silent Night’, changing the words to ‘cold night.’”
‘Cold night’ isn’t a neutered, unemotional, ‘inoffensive’ replacement of ‘Silent Night’, in this case it is  very nearly the antithesis of it.
                A winter party held last year at a Frisco elementary school banned any mention of Christmas and prohibited Christmas trees as well as the colors red and green. You banned those ultra-religious colors red and green? That should have made everyone see red. What if black was included, or yellow? Would that have been ok? What if the green was meant in tribute to Islam? Banned colors?! Colors? What’s next, we ban the numbers 9 and 7?
                Many say the law wasn’t needed. “I think it’s stupid,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas. “There is no ‘war on Christmas.’ There’s no need for this law.
                “It is just such frivolity,” she said. “There are important things for the Legislature to work on, and this isn’t it.”
                Like what, Terri? Making sure abortion is legal? “There is no ‘war on abortion’, Terri.”


                And, by-the-way, God had a choice. He chose a birth…that we all may live.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Abortion As Birth-Control?


                There are many in the ‘pro-choice’ movement making statements such as “abortion is just another tool in birth-control.” That is-or should be- shocking and disgusting. That is like saying that “the Nazi Holocaust was just another tool in the fight against over-population.” If we cannot recognize that anything might actually be immoral, especially the arbitrary taking of innocent life for our convenience, we are- at best- at a societal tipping-point. If we are so hyper-tolerant that we’ve become desensitized to any act, no matter how selfish and brutal, we are not likely to ever climb out of this cultural abyss. Worshipping only at the altar of tolerance, we lose sight of good and evil…or openly mock the concepts themselves in order to believe that they don’t exist. This hardy belief in the non-existence of any absolute ethical standards is a hallmark of modern day progressivism. They tend to place great faith in the meaninglessness of faith.
                This is just another irony from those who claim to want a kinder, more civil and civilized society or ‘community’. What they really want is what they think is best-and/or easiest- for them. They just don’t want to feel bad about it or have others question their motives and actions.

                Abortion as ‘birth-control’ or ‘prevention’ is ludicrous. By definition you can only abort what is already in existence or under way.
                 A few radicals even believe we should allow after-birth abortions to be put in the category of 'birth-control', which is ludicrous by definition. If the baby was born, there was a birth...that wasn't 'controlled'. There can be no such thing as an 'after-birth abortion'. That would be murder. 
                 We've certainly been remarkably successful in aborting logic and character.


Friday, December 19, 2014

President Offers To Normalize Relations With North Korea

December 23, 2014
News Syndicate-

                In yet another bold move that stunned many and  angered his critics, President Obama offered to normalize relations with North Korea earlier today, if the Hermit Kingdom would “Promise not to prevent us from releasing any more motion pictures in the future.
                “We need to talk reason, here. Britain didn’t threaten to blow up theaters across our country before the release of ‘the Patriot!’ I mean, come on. And we really wouldn’t want to let a small, starving, communist nation led by a pudgy little dictator tell us what movies we can and can’t release. That could make us appear weak.
                “But look, Cuba released just one American hostage and I normalized relations with them. I’ve gone around the Congress to try to ease tensions with Iran. So, if the North Korean government promises not to interfere anymore in our nation’s film and television industry, I will absolutely normalize relations with them. Because, you know, I can. Anyway, it’s obvious that, as with Cuba, our long-held policy of isolation hasn’t worked. Maybe if we opened an embassy there and installed, say, Dennis Rodman as an ambassador we could start working together to find common ground.”

                

Thursday, December 18, 2014

North Korea Announces Hollywood Sanctions

 December 22, 2014
News Syndicate-



                   The North Korean government announced today that, going forward, all future Hollywood motion picture and television story ideas and scripts will have to be approved by the ‘Dear Leader’ himself. The statement, issued by a high-ranking government spokesperson, read as follows:  “Since the American motion-picture industry has proven unable to police itself in terms of proper content, we are forced to perform that job for them. We simply cannot stand by while the U.S. cranks out unacceptable comedies that openly make fun of the sacred things in life, such as the people’s North Korean government and its Dear Leader.
                 "I must say, we did like ‘The West Wing’ though. Oh, and ‘Girls’ on HBO.”

                

California To Change Name?

January 29, 2015
News Syndicate-
The California legislature announced yesterday plans to permanently change the state’s name to “C-Forn.” The proposal will go before the state’s voters in a special election this November where the referendum on changing the state’s long-held name is expected to pass easily.
Sponsors of the bill say that the new name will be “cooler and hipper” and “more progressive.”
Nancy Pelosi stated that, “the new name is shorter, I think, and therefore easier to say. Also, nobody could spell California- or whatever- before, so that’s a plus too. And guess what? A lot of constituents couldn’t pick out our state on a map before, but since the proposed new name will be  shorter, that means each letter spelling out our state can now be much bigger on any atlas or map and therefore easier to see and read!”
Many C-Forn lawmakers brought up the fact that this proposal is in keeping with the “linguistic and nomenclatural changes that have been ongoing for years now.”
Pelosi stated, “look at Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, for example. Nobody calls him that anymore…it’s always ‘A-Rod’. Jennifer Lopez? I think not. It’s J-Lo. I mean, the television show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is now referred to as simply ‘HIMYM’, right? And it’s not ‘American Oil Company’ now, it’s Amoco.”
Other states have recently considered  shortening their  names, as well. Massachusetts is one state rumored to be considering the action. Moreover, there was a bill proposed in the Arkansas state legislature last session that would’ve shortened that states name to ‘Kansas’. It was tabled only after one member pointed out that there was already a state with that name, and that the change might invite  much confusion.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sony Hacked, North Korea Whacked?

                 Apparently the “Hermit Kingdom” wasn’t kidding. Late last June North Korea threatened to consider the upcoming release of a major Hollywood motion picture “an act of war.” (See my post- titled same-  of June 27th, 2014). The film, “The Interview,” is a comedy that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as television journalists involved in a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
                Now, the Sony Company has been the victim of computer hackers believed to be controlled by North Korea. Recently a “shadowy group calling themselves ‘Guardians of Peace’  escalated their attack beyond corporate espionage and threatened moviegoers with violence reminiscent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks” according to an article by the Associated Press.
                The Department of Homeland Security, stated the article, said there was “no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters,” but noted it was still analyzing messages from the group, dubbed the “GOP.” Of course.
                Security fears spurred Sony to allow theater chains to cancel showings of the film, the focus of the hacker’s mission to bring down Sony. Carmike Cinemas, which operates 247 theaters across the country, was the first to cancel its planned showings of the film.
                ‘GOP’ also released 32,000 e-mails to and from Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and other data files in what it called the beginning of a “Christmas gift.” The film was expected to hit theaters nationwide on Christmas Day. What a coincidence.
                The  rational response to this attack on Sony and the subsequent threats to American movie theaters nationwide would be to have every single movie theater in the country  offer showings of the film 24 hours a day.

                Or we could tell the North Korean government and its chubby little leader that the film will be considered a ‘documentary’ in the very near future.

All The News That Fits, I Print (Miscellany)

*From an A.P. report-
                President Obama on Friday urged the Senate to ratify a $1.1 trillion dollar, House-passed spending bill that has roiled his Democratic Party, judging it an imperfect bill that he says stems from “the divided government that the American people voted for.”
                Sniff.
Of course, if it contained everything he wanted, it would have been a perfect bill.

*From a report in the New York Times-
                The median net worth of white households was about 10 times that of black households in 2007. In 2013 it was about 13 times greater. In absolute terms black household net worth  was $19,200 in 2007. It was $11,000 in 2013, a reduction of 43%.  The median income of minority households fell 9 percent from 2010 to 2013, compared to 1 percent for whites.
                While all U.S. households have lower assets, the decrease has been more significant among minority households.
                How is that hope and change working for you minorities?

*Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who told groups in 2012 and 2013 that “the stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency”  were vital to passing the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly known as ‘Obamacare’, testified before congress this past Tuesday. He now claims his earlier remarks were glib and “inexcusably arrogant.”
                So that’s what we have to call the truth now, “inexcusably arrogant?” It seems to me that phrase better describes the political-correctness pushers and the President himself.

*From an article in the Minneapolis Star & Tribune-
                Washington County (Minnesota) has turned down several requests from atheists to preside over civil marriage ceremonies, predictably irritating some atheists.
                “If you don’t want to believe in a higher power, that’s great, no problem,” County Attorney Pete Orput said Friday. “But (the atheists) argument is that being an atheist is a creed. I argue that a creed is a belief in something and their view is somewhat of a nihilist’s. You can’t call that a religion. Belief in nothing is not a religion.”
                On June 19, Nicolas W. Meurett of Hudson, Wisconsin, registered (in an attempt to be granted permission) to  preside over civil ceremonies in Washington County with a “certificate of ordination” from “the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” He considers the Spaghetti Monster church group to be “intelligent satire” and said that he and his son joined it last year in reaction to U.S. school districts that teach creationism.
                The man considers “the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” intelligent satire…of intelligent design.
                Look around you. Look at the human body. The design is intelligent, even if not all of us are.

                

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Rule of Law?

                 A reporter for the Washington Post, who has been jailed since July, has finally been charged with something by  Iranian authorities in a 10-hour court session. However, he has not been told what the charges are. The court appearance of the reporter, Jason Rezaian, was also confirmed by his lawyer, who has not been allowed to defend his client.
                Be thankful for the rule of law and concepts such as  “innocent until proven guilty”, “a jury of your peers” and individual rights granted by the creator. As incredible as it seems, most of the world has historically been ruled by anything other than those precious tenets. That is still true today.
                Worse, we here in America are sliding in that direction. State your considered opinion clearly, honestly and unreservedly in an unapproved manner on matters of politically-correct dogma and you may well be shunned, silenced, browbeaten…or worse. Think I’m overstating it? Ask any conservative who’s been asked to speak at a college or university and subsequently been told that they cannot. Or one of those that were flatly refused a forum in the first place. Research the “Fairness Act” that was proposed a few years ago. Or look into the incredible case/plight of Mark Steyn, the remarkably talented writer/commentator,  who got into legal trouble for expressing his opinion on global warming and a certain professor’s ‘hockey stick’ graph purporting to illustrate the affects thereof.
                Consider the IRS scandal, the President’s own verbal ‘war’ with Fox News, the way conservatives in Hollywood are shunned and in many cases fearful of getting work if they should speak their mind. Contrast that with the constant inane leftist babble that comes out of the mouths of so many ignorant Hollywood stars or starlets. Those who toe the shallow, politically-correct line are front and center. They have no trouble procuring gainful employment, even if they could not pick out California on a map of the United States.
                One cannot logically pick and choose which aspects of the rule of law one likes and which aspects one does not, or which aspects benefit your group and which don’t. The aforementioned concepts underpinning the unbiased application of said law are mostly absolute and must be applied universally or not at all, or arbitrary yet extreme prejudice will result.
                You believe in “individual rights granted by the creator” or you don’t. It is impossible, by definition, for a sane person to believe in “individual rights granted by the creator to me- or my group- only.”  Yet some liberals apparently do believe this. The only other alternatives are that we have no rights or that they believe that rights are granted by other men, i.e.  government.

                Do your rights stem from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kim Jong Un Demands the U.N. Change Name

January 6, 2015
News Syndicate-             

Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, has now demanded that the ‘U.N.’ change its name. Recently he banned anyone else in his own country from having the name Jong Un, forcing thousands to change their names- or be nameless- with no prior notice.
In a speech delivered yesterday he stated, “I, Kim Jong Un, demand the United Nations drop the designation ‘U.N.’, as I am the only ‘UN’! They can either use the full name, United Nations, without every reducing it to ‘U.N.’ or, I suggest, change their name to  ‘Other Nations of the Earth that wish they were led by the Dear Leader (Kim Jong Un)!’  This could be shortened via acronym to ‘O.N.E. Dear Leader (Kim Jong Un)’ and even if it was referred to as the Un, at least it would be proper tribute to me.”
At the time of this reporting the United Nations was ‘considering’ what a United Nations spokesman referred to as the North Korean dictator’s ‘request’.

               

                

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dead Babies

                 Dead babies. Approximately one million abortions  are performed in the United States each year. Roughly one-third of American women have an abortion by age 45. Yet Katha Pollitt, a left-wing columnist has authored a new book “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” in which she avers that momentum is on the side of abortion opponents. Most in the mainstream media who’ve reviewed the book are lavishing it with effusive praise, touting its “intellectual vigor” and “moral clarity”, etc. Many take the opportunity to expound on their own abortions. The author is actually upset that even many “pro-choicers” speak of abortion as regrettable or even tragic and that anyone should believe that it should only be chosen after serious consideration.
                Yet it is the virulent “pro-choice” minority that somehow convinced the Supreme Court to rule that every state in the country must adhere to something at least similar to their desired policy.
                 Pollitt and her fellow  Kool-Aid drinkers actually claim that a living human organism lacks any moral standing because it is “the size of a lima bean.” Well, I guess size does matter. A matter of life and death, apparently. So much for the weak, the defenseless, the little guy or gal. (Especially the gal in many parts of the world. Female babies have been famously aborted in China, and in large swaths of the world young females have their clitorises cut out to deny them sexual pleasure. But, come to think of it, they’re about the size of a lima bean too, so no big deal). Yes, trivial matters concerning conception and the soul are moot depending on your size! Well, even that doesn’t matter as she goes on to state that abortions should be a viable alternative to contraception and should be legal thru the full term. And she seems to be impatient with the continued existence of pro-lifers. Well, that actually is consistent, as she is impatient with the existence of millions of “fetuses” as well. Intellectual rigor and moral clarity, you know.
                In reviewing this book, Slate’s Hanna Rosin writes that, “frankly, in 2014, it should be no big deal that in a movie a young woman has an abortion…and it’s no big deal.”
                That is simply not true. “Ladies,” your mother could have taken away your “right to choose” by exercising her own. Is that not a “big deal?”
                Instead of blasting those they disagree with and thanking the Supreme Court, perhaps they should be thanking….their mothers.

                

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This New Stadium Is For The Birds!

The Minnesota Vikings, the state of Minnesota (taxpayers) and the city of Minneapolis (taxpayers) are building a beautiful new football stadium scheduled to open in 2016. The Vikings will contribute $527 million to the project, the state $348 million and the city $150 million. Add it up and you have a preliminary cost of over a billion dollars. Its design will make it the near polar opposite of the reviled Metrodome it is replacing. That venue was a dim, dark concrete mausoleum in comparison. The new stadium will be cheerfully light, bright and airy, due to the extensive use of clear glass. Elegant and attractive, but functional. Fans are excited.
Bird lovers are not. The Audubon Society and other avian advocates are upset that the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) planned to use clear glass on the new edifice. Some have attended the monthly MSFA meetings to protest the use of this glass they say will potentially lead to thousands of migrating birds unwittingly flying into the building and dying. They are further upset that the team’s owners made the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to enhance stadium features like seating, concessions and elevators, all for the sole benefit of their fans (customers). The unmitigated gall!
To my knowledge there have been no candle-lit,  prayer-vigils for the birds yet. Bird-lovers wanted the team to spend an estimated $1.1 million to install ‘bird-safe’ glass instead of the clear stuff. The team and the MSFA declined, in part because the plain glass was already ordered and set for delivery. Now, however,  Minnesota-based 3M company is working with the team by testing an invisible film that could be used on the glass that would allow light to penetrate into the stadium and yet protect the birds. Fans would still be able to see the sky.
A co-founder of the Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds stated, “The fact that they’re considering an alternative tells us it’s not too late.”
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, is skeptical. She says it would be better to embrace a long-term fix, such as using fritted glass, now rather than later. The Vikings and the MSFA both say that fritted glass, with its dotted texture and appearance, would obscure the much-desired sunlight.
After the stadium bill was approved, publicly subsidized construction was required to be “bird-friendly.” Testing of the 3M film is slated to begin with this coming spring’s migratory season.
The MSFA had already agreed to a “lights-out” policy to help divert the birds away from the glass during migration periods. Does that mean the team couldn’t play night games during the fall migration season?! Or worse?
“Sorry, fellows, but we had to schedule you for six consecutive road games. Migration season, you know.”



Friday, December 12, 2014

U.N. Demands C.I.A. Torture Trials

                In an unprecedented act of humor hubris, top U.N. ‘human rights officials’ (say that out loud with a straight face) demanded that all senior U.S. officials and CIA agents who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush’s national security policy must be prosecuted.
                The U.N. ‘High Commissioner’ for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein stated, “In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed.” Thanks for the lecture, Zeid, but that is simply not the case. We do have the rule of law in the U.S., however. We don’t stone people for adultery here.
                Ben Emmerson, the U.N.’s ‘special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights’ (what’s with the titles?), said international law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who allow the use of torture, and this applies not just to the actual perpetrators but also to those who plan and authorize it.
                It is not clear how these prosecutions would occur. The United States is not part of the International Criminal Court and a referral of a torture case would require approval by the U.N. Security Council, where the United States holds veto power.
                There are few more historically scandal-ridden organizations on the face of the earth then the United Nations. There was the Iraq oil-for-food scandal. There was the illegal business ties involving the son of then Secretary General Kofi Annan, outright larceny in Geneva offices and many instances of wide-scale bribery and corruption for starters.
                Then there are the really ugly ones. In 2006 the U.N. ‘peacekeepers’ in war-torn Liberia exchanged food for sex from girls as young as eight. Over half of the girls 8 to 18 in many areas were thought to have been exploited. The U.N. knew about these allegations for over a year before doing anything about them. They eventually let a handful of the peacekeepers go, although some were  at least temporarily reinstated. There was a similar incident involving a boy in Haiti in 2012.
                In many cases the U.N. peacekeepers have had agreements with the U.N. that they could only be subject to discipline or legal action from their country of origin!  Hypocrisy?
                                                                      ***************
                The Russian government said the report provided “confirmation of gross, systemic human rights violations by the American authorities.” That statement was issued by Konstantin Dolgov, the ministry’s ‘commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law’ who called the report’s disclosures “shocking.” This is akin to the Third Reich having a ‘commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law’ or perhaps a ‘ministry for the humane treatment of those of Jewish descent.’
                The Russian Federation’s ‘ministry of justice’ is located in Lefortovo prison. There’s some dark humor in that fact.  Konstantin, is the ministry for human rights, democracy and the rule of law located perhaps in Lubyanka Prison, home of the infamous KGB, now FSB? Or is it in some other gulag somewhere? Is there a Crimean or Ukrainian branch?
                Finally, there was the  remark from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who opined, “What was deemed right and done back then in the fight against Islamic terrorism was unacceptable and a serious mistake. Such a crass violation of free and democratic values must not be repeated.”
                It wasn’t exactly the Holocaust, Mr. Steinmeier, was it?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Furfest" Disrupted In Chicago

According to an Associated Press report from Monday, December 8th, “Chlorine gas sickened several people and forced the evacuation of thousands of guests from a suburban Chicago hotel early Sunday, including many dressed in cartoonish animal costumes for an annual furries convention who were ushered across the street to a convention center hosting a dog show.”
So, one convention center was hosting a ‘furries’ convention and another across the street was simultaneously hosting a dog show. Then the ‘furries’ were put in the same convention center as the ‘doggies’. What are the odds? What are the odds that there may have been some confusion there? Reactions likely were priceless. Film at 11.
According to reports the source of the gas was likely chlorine powder deliberately left in a ninth-floor stairwell at the hotel. Investigators are therefore treating it as a criminal matter- as well they should.
Within hours, emergency workers decontaminated the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and allowed people- and furries- back inside. (I bet they were furrious!). “Six-foot-tall rabbits, foxes and dragons poured into the lobby,” according to the article. “’I think we’ll recover from this’, said Kit McCreedy, of Madison, Wis., his foxtail swinging behind him as he headed back inside for the last day of the Midwest FurFest.”  ‘Kit?’. Really? A fox?
Several thousand people attended Furfest, also called 'Anthrocon,' in which attendees celebrate animals that are anthropomorphic- meaning they’ve been given human characteristics- through art, literature and performance. (There is another dimension to the Furries which we won't delve into here). It is indeed a wild and woolly- okay ‘furrie’- world in which we live.


The poor hotel staff. I bet the place was a zoo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CIA Misleads The Nation

                               “CIA MISLED THE NATION ABOUT FUTILE CRUELTY”

                Thus screamed the headline on the front page of today’s Star & Tribune newspaper- above the fold- in ‘Pearl Harbor Attacked!’ fashion. Notice the absence of any qualifier, modifier or caution. This is absolutism. No gray area here. No journalistic skepticism. No allegedly misled, allegedly futile, or alleged cruelty. Things aren’t usually so black and white at the esteemed bastion of journalistic integrity.
                We know the newspapers are always utterly transparent with their readers, just by a careful, skeptical reading of this vey headline, in fact. Surely nothing misleading ever appears in newsprint. (And even if it did, what are the consequences? Congressional hearings and dismissals?).
                This alleged ‘mother of all scandals’ kind of falls a bit flat to me. Torture is not something that should be countenanced lightly, if at all. On that we can all agree. We can certainly debate the issues raised by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. We do not want to be known as a nation that conducts or condones real torture.
                That said, we can’t strip away or banish or completely neuter a vital piece of our nation’s security apparatus. We have the aftermath of the Church Committee hearings of the 1970’s to remind us of that. The simple, hard truth is, all nations need some sort of clandestine service. The more nations know about each other and potential adversaries intentions the less likely one is to make a tragic miscalculation.
                This report was commissioned and led by Democrats. The CIA contested most of the report’s  findings, as one would expect. Former CIA officials who were actually involved in the program wrote that the Senate report, “represents the single worst example of congressional oversight in our many years of government service.” Todd Ebitz, a CIA spokesman, issued a statement late Tuesday saying the report was, “like doing a crossword puzzle on Tuesday with Wednesday’s answer key” and did not reflect “how counterterrorism operations work in the real world.” I don't know, I wasn't there.
                We have to define what is ‘cruel’ and ‘futile’ against thousands of dead men, women and children in attacks such as 9/11. And also at our embassies and in malls, on trains, etc., around the world.
                Remember that in the days and weeks after 9/11 we didn’t know what was coming. It is easy to criticize now that we think we are relatively safe. We literally thought there could be a dirty- or suitcase- bomb. Nuclear material was unaccounted for. Then there was the anthrax scare and the hideous thought of biological or chemical weapons being used against us.
                If solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, water-boarding and/or forcing a terrorist mastermind to listen to Barbara Streisand songs 24-hours a day were honestly thought necessary to protect thousands of innocent lives,  I’m okay with that.
                Moreover, the report states that a total of three detainees were water-boarded! There has been so much talk about the controversial procedure for years and so many demonstrations and portrayals on television that I was given the impression (misleading?) that we were randomly water-boarding anyone with an olive-complexion  and a beard.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ingrained?

According to a report in the New York Times, “Americans and Europeans stand out from the rest of the world for our sense of ourselves as individuals. We like to think of ourselves as unique, autonomous, self-motivated, self-made. As the anthropologist Clifford Geertz observed, this is a peculiar idea.” This in itself isn’t particularly shocking news. We know- or should- that the United States was founded largely on the belief in individual rights…granted by the creator.
The article, written for the Times by a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, goes on to state that “people in the rest of the world are more likely to understand themselves as interwoven with other people- as interdependent, not independent. In such social worlds your goal is to fit in and adjust yourself to others, not to stand out.”
The crux of the article, however, was a study published this past May in the  journal ‘Science’ that “ascribed these different orientations to the social worlds created by wheat farming and rice farming.”  Really. You see, rice farming is complex, requiring complex irrigation systems that affect one’s neighbors and have to be built and drained each year. “A community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.
“Not wheat farmers. Wheat needs only rainfall, not irrigation. To plant and harvest it takes  half as much work as rice does, and substantially less coordination and cooperation.” The authors of the study in Science argue that over thousands of years, rice-and-wheat-growing societies developed distinctive cultures: “You do not need to farm rice yourself to inherit rice culture.”
You can see where this is going, the subtle bias towards those lovable dependent types who just want to fit in with everybody else.
In fact the article closes by noting that, “Wheat doesn’t grow everywhere. Start-ups won’t solve all our problems. A lone cowboy isn’t much good in the aftermath of a Hurricane Katrina. As we enter a season in which the values of do-it-yourself individualism are likely to dominate our Congress, it is worth remembering that this way of thinking might just be a product of the way our forefathers grew their food and not a fundamental truth about the way all humans flourish.” Wow.
If we don’t have a sense of ourselves as individuals we  possess no self-awareness and if we possess no self-awareness we can’t ponder our place in the universe, one of the defining- and endearing- traits of homo- sapiens. We get told by breathless schoolteachers that each and every snowflake is unique. Not us, though…in a perfect world. Wouldn’t want to ‘stand out’! This “peculiar idea” (why are all “peculiar ideas” nowadays the long-held, traditional Western ones?) has led to the freest, most successful society the world has ever known.
As for working hard and being able to coordinate with others in complex ways, we are the first and only country to land on the moon…and bring our astronauts safely back to Earth. Oh yeah, we did invent the assembly line and lots of other inconsequential stuff like that.
“Wheat doesn’t grow everywhere” is a moot point and almost as meaningless as “start-ups won’t solve all our problems” or “a lone cowboy isn’t much good in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” Start-ups provide many people with jobs and are a font of creativity, a lifeblood for the economy as a whole, in addition to providing a passionate outlet for those that bring them to life. Progressivism will not solve all of our problems either, and in fact will, as always, make most of them worse.
Then there is the closing shot at the soon to be ensconced Republican Congress. I don’t see much, if any, belief in rugged individualism among any of those who will comprise the new majority. (The country has, unfortunately, moved way too far past that quaint notion, and members of Congress like to be re-elected).
Finally, those who believe in the primacy of the individual- by definition- do not typically try to tell others what to believe or how to think.
Those of us unfortunate enough to have inherited the “wheat culture” values are not supposed to want to stand out, apparently. “Stand-out performer” or ”stand-out athlete” are terms that should go the way of the word “Redskins.”

Oh, well. I often like to go against the grain.



Monday, December 8, 2014

A Rolling Stone Gathers No... Evidence?

                Rolling Stone magazine ran a story recently in which it reported that a female student was gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity. Then it apologized to its readers this past Friday, when it said of ‘Jackie’, the woman who claimed to have been gang-raped at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on campus, “Our trust in her was misplaced.”
                Remarkably, and in near ‘ Monty Pythonesque’ fashion, Rolling Stone  apologized again yesterday for the way it worded its Friday apology. Apparently the “Our trust in her was misplaced” line struck certain critics as blaming the victim. Therefore the updated apology removes that line. In an attempted act of magnanimity, the magazine is now blaming itself for any mistakes made. And well it should. To wit, the magazine said it should not have agreed to Jackie’s request not to contact the alleged assailants to get their side of the story.
                The magazine’s managing editor, who, judging  by previous quotes,  thinks that Rolling Stone should be afforded the same journalistic credibility as  the Wall Street Journal wrote, “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie.” He continued, “We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.” Continue?
                Perhaps you should have investigated the events of that evening before publishing the story? Remember the Duke men's LaCrosse team ‘scandal’ of a few years back? Apparently, any female can go to a ‘news source’ and claim the vilest of assaults and be taken with complete credibility. Face value.
                We have had Presidents in recent years who have lied- under oath- about certain unfortunate ‘events’.
                When the sensational story broke, it rocked the campus, elevated the issue of sexual assault and led to protests, suspension of fraternity activities, and an emergency ‘Board of Visitors’ meeting.
                If Jackie’s allegations are true, the assailants should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If they are not, perhaps Rolling Stone will apologize for apologizing for their apology. If the allegations prove false, the victims will be the accused and their broken reputations and lives.
                Would that potential miscarriage of justice cause similar protests or even an emergency Board of Visitors meeting?
                Maybe Rolling Stone magazine would apologize to them?
_________________________________________________________________________________
Monty Python announcement #1: “The BBC wishes to apologize for the last sketch. Everyone involved has been sacked.”

Monty Python announcement #2: “The BBC wishes to apologize for the previous apology. Everyone responsible for sacking those who have been sacked…have been sacked.”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dirty Coal, Dirty Politics

                The dirtiest U.S. coal is becoming the most popular, according to a report from the Bloomberg News. It is, ironically, thanks to tightening emission standards forcing power plants to reduce pollutants. ‘Dirty’ coal has a greater sulfur content and  is found in great quantities in the Illinois Basin. Coal of this type costs less and/or has a higher heat ‘content’.
                Illinois sports the second largest coal reserves in the United States- 104 billion tons- enough to power the country for 163 years at 2014 consumption levels. (Remember ‘the Energy Crisis’? It was a crisis of confidence, creativity and diligence).
                Dirtier coal such as the Illinois Basin’s was left mostly unused after the expansion of the Clean Air Act and limits placed on sulfur dioxide emissions. Utilities then began to install scrubbers to remove the contaminants…or just closed down, as many did. Yet another rule, the ‘Mercury and Air Toxics Standards’, will take effect next year, again forcing coal-fired power plants to comply or go out of business. According to some energy consultants, by the end of this decade 67 gigawatts of coal fired electricity will have been closed down in compliance with the mercury rule. One gigawatt is enough to power 708,400 U.S. households, according to Energy Department data. Do the math. Staggering.
                It is estimated that 100% of U.S. coal plants will have sulfur dioxide removing scrubbers by 2025.
                Under the Obama administration’s new rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions, coal’s share of the country’s power generation will fall to 33% in 2020 and 30% in 2030, compared with what would have been an increase to 41% under existing rules, per EPA figures. Imagine the energy we could produce- and the resultant economic expansion and job creation that would ensue because of lower energy prices- if we didn’t place such an incredible burden on all aspects of our extraction and energy industry!
                Yet, with all the requisite scrubbers installed, any remaining U.S. coal-fired plants will be keen to utilize the cheaper, hotter, dirtier coal.
                Illinois. Renowned for dirty coal and dirty politicians. It seems they both come out on top in the end.
               

                

Saturday, December 6, 2014

An Ode To Google

                I write about some serious (and some not so serious!) topics in this blog. This blog sits on a Google-based platform. My views are, I know, not always in harmony with Google’s or likely many/most of its employees. I suspect that in many cases they are, in fact, opposed to ‘theirs’.
                That is why I am taking the time and space to thank them. Believe me, it is not a               sycophantic or ‘kissing-up’ gesture. I, with my tiny new  blog, have not been asked to write anything nor would bring any discernible benefit to them.
                We live in a hyper-sensitive, politically-correct country and world. Some of my views don’t resonate with everyone. That’s okay. I  do try to tell ‘the truth’ as I am given the ability to see it. And I also wish to entertain with obvious parodies, ala’ “the Onion”. (I do not possess quite the talent of some of the writer’s in that now nearly Iconic publication, but I have fun doing it).
                That said, this is still, apparently, America and the truly important things are overriding and hopefully everlasting. First and foremost freedom of speech, without which all other freedoms go away. Please know no matter my views, I do not advocate violence against any group or individual and will not unless, as do terrorists and  world wars, they present an existential danger to the United States and its citizens. Some might be shocked to know that I wouldn’t care if all my best friends were African-American, or that I had a gay friend and that I don’t believe all Muslims  have terrorist tendencies. But that doesn’t obscure the fact that I don’t believe in the full-on recognition of gay marriage as equal to heterosexual marriage, for example. And I will keep writing what I believe, as passionately as I can.
                Hopefully I write with enough competence and cleverness, at least on occasion, to keep you all interested. Thank you all for visiting this blog.
                Thank you Google for this (free) platform. And for reaffirming that this is still America, after all.

                Seriously.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Translogic

                  The Minnesota State High School League overwhelmingly voted to open up girls sports to transgender (those kids who were born male but “identify” as female) student-athletes yesterday, December 4th. In fact, 18 of the 20 board members voted yes, with one courageously abstaining. One voted no.
                “ALL kids deserve respect,” read some printed signs held by supporters of the measure and provided by  the group ‘Transforming Families.’”
                Estimates by the Transgender Law Center itself, based in California, put 0.3% of the population as transgender. In truth, the other 99.7% were ‘disrespected’ (to use a newly-minted verb I dislike and rarely acknowledge).
                To wit, the Minnesota Family Council, a Christian-based advocacy group that promotes and defends biblical principles in public policy matters, proposed a bylaw change stipulating that a student’s sex at birth be used to determine eligibility.
                It wasn’t even considered.
                That proposal was backed by a petition of over 5,500 people and a mix of 28 public and private high schools. Those numbers equate to percentages that are many times greater than the percentage of transgender kids in our schools. Whose voice is being ignored?
                The board’s vote also added “transgender language”  to its 'fair hearing' procedure.
                League Executive Director Dave Stead said, “There was nothing that was done today that would prevent a school from being a member of the High School League. Not one scintilla.”
                Poor use of the language aside, that is technically true.
                And utterly meaningless in the larger sense.
                There is nothing keeping Protestants or Catholics from joining the Muslim Brotherhood, either. Or joining a Paganism group. Except of course for deeply held beliefs, and some of the more fanatical Muslim’s desire to convert or enslave  those who disagree with them.

                “Translogic” has won the day.