Stones Cry Out http://stonescryout.org If they keep silent... Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:25:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Stones Staying Silent … For Now /?p=6683 /?p=6683#comments Sun, 01 Nov 2015 13:00:13 +0000 /?p=6683

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]]> As you may have seen, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, participation has dropped off quite a bit from our heyday. I’ve been wondering for a while now if we should shelve the blog entirely. My posts are basically the transcript of portions of my podcast, and I’ve spent more time with that than blogging; either on my personal blog or SCO. I think there has been something of the decline of blogging except by the big media guys or independent bloggers with a huge following. Hey, even the venerable InstaPundit joined the Pajamas Media group.

SCO has had great a 10-year run; 3 under Rick Brady and 7 under me (I had no idea it had been that long). But it’s been a few years since it’s been a vibrant blog, both regarding writing as well as attracting comments. So I think it best that, at this point, we give the old girl a rest.

We’ll keep the site up, and if we decide to relaunch sometime in the future, we’ll just pick up where we left off. Or perhaps we’ll do something completely different; a podcast, perhaps?

Anyway, we want to thank all our readers for your time and support. And whatever you do, keep crying out.

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/?feed=rss2&p=6683 2 A Win for Religious Freedom … Of a Sort /?p=6688 Fri, 30 Oct 2015 21:24:00 +0000 /?p=6688

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Let’s see if this sounds familiar. An employee is hired for a job, but at some point that employee is asked to do something that is against their religious beliefs. They refuse to do it, and consequences ensue. What consequences? Well, if you’re a baker, a photographer or a pizza company that wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding, that generally means a hefty fine and sensitivity reeducation. If you’re a county clerk that won’t issue same-sex marriage license, that means jail time. If you’re truck drivers that refuse to deliver alcohol, that means … the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the EEOC – goes to bat for you and sues the trucking company for not creating a religious accommodation, and you walk away with $240,000.

What a minute, what? Yup, you heard right. OK, well then, is that progress? In one way, it certainly is, though the federal EEOC is really late to this party. Hobby Lobby, Kim Davis, and various small businesses could have really used help over the past few years, but it’s nice that the federal government is finally waking up. Can we expect this same action in the future?

Well, I guess it all depends. I would like to point out that all these victims were Christians, except the truck drivers that got federal help and the windfall. In a move that makes the feds look like their picking and choosing which religions get protection and which don’t, they were Muslims. Now, this is just one situation, but given all the other opportunities for the feds to help Christians which they passed on, it really does look like they’re playing favorites, which the Constitution forbids.

In a statement, the EEOC said, “We are proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices. It’s fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.” Apparently, as long as you’re not Christian.

Remember this during the next brouhaha about religious freedom. Watch how this administration acts. For those of you who value religious freedom, and that should be all of you, their actions should let you know what they think of the First Amendment.

I’m actually happy for those Muslim truck drivers. They should have gotten a religious exemption. And this is good news for religious freedom in general, because now anyone can point to their case as a precedent. My fear, however, is that this will go down the memory hole the next time a Christian is on the chopping block.

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The Free Market Wins Again /?p=6686 Wed, 28 Oct 2015 21:22:00 +0000 /?p=6686

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If you know the name Martin Shkreli, it’s likely because news stories about his popped up on your Facebook or Twitter feed. I saw articles about him from folks who don’t usually post about current events, but what he did had many people in an uproar.

He was criticized last month after his Turing Pharmaceuticals company announced an increase in the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per capsule after buying the rights to sell the drug. Daraprim is the only approved treatment for a life-threatening parasitic infection. Many of my more liberal friends used this to “prove” that the free market has failed, and that government must step in to assure affordable medicine for all. The uproar caused Shkreli to reconsider the price hike.

I came somewhat to his defense, noting that the reason he was able to acquire the rights to the drug was because the previous company wasn’t making a profit. So instead of those needing the drug being left high and dry, someone with enough money to do so kept it from going away entirely. Clearly the previous company didn’t price it well enough to keep it around, so an increase was inevitable. But I, too, thought the price hike was rather over the top.

But in steps the free market. In a situation where one company is price gouging, the opportunity for another company to work it to their advantage is ripe. Which is exactly what happened.

A San Diego biomedical company on Thursday announced it’s selling an alternate medication to Daraprim for $1 a capsule, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Mark L. Baum, CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, told the paper that one catch is that its formula isn’t FDA-approved and may be sold only through a doctor’s prescription to a specific person. He added that the process of getting FDA approval would take years and cost millions, while not filing keeps prices low and profits higher.

Some folks seem to think that making a profit is evil in and of itself, never mind drug manufacturers doing it, but without profit, there is no money to research new medicines. And part of the cost of that research is the government. Ironically, it’s the government that some folks believe can save us from these price hikes. Sorry, when government gets involved, that’s not what happens.

So somehow, without a new law being passed or a new rule being created by the FDA, the situation rectified itself, and those needing help now have a lower-price option than even before Shkreli bought the rights.

Hillary and Bernie seem to think that government is our savior in all things, and that the free market has failed. Well, it’s not, and it hasn’t. Without government’s help, the price of medication has gone down, rightly punishing a bad decision on the part of one company. You can thank the free market for a lower price, and the choices you have. When the government screws up, you can’t just switch governments, but you can switch corporations far, far more easily.

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Good Guys With Guns, and the Root Cause of the Violence /?p=6681 Fri, 16 Oct 2015 16:25:00 +0000 /?p=6681

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In discussing the gun issue on Facebook from my personal account with some friends, a couple of studies were referred to me that show, generally, more guns, more murder. Now, it kinda’ does make sense that the more guns you have in an area, chances are the more gun violence you’ll see. But my issue with these kinds of studies is that they just count guns, as if it’s the guns acting on their own.

But consider this. If you compare the number of guns in gangland Chicago vs the number in a quiet suburb of gun-loving Texas, you’d see pretty quickly that just counting numbers of guns is misleading. It depends on who has them. And what has been clear from what we see is that highly restrictive gun control law shift the balance from the good guys to the bad. The UCC shooter had more guns on him than those who were physically carrying one among the campus population. And in fact, the UCC shooting is something of a microcosm of my point.

When the shooter arrived, the number of guns on campus increased dramatically, and he started killing with them. More guns, more murder. But then, twenty minutes later, the armed police arrived. When faced with good guys with guns, the bad guy with a gun killed himself. More guns…less murder.

So who had the guns made all the difference. And when UCC needed help, who did unarmed security guy call? Guys with guns.

So the mantra of the pro-gun crowd is that a good guy with guns will stop a bad guy with a gun. ThinkProgress, the liberal blog, noted an MSNBC report of a guy who did have a weapon on campus, and suggested there were others. So see? A good guy with a gun didn’t help the situation! Well, if you actually listen to the guy talk, he said he was quite a distance from the building where the shooter was, so that going that distance with an active shooter around would make them targets, and having to go that far they might be mistaken by the police for the bad guys. If the shooter had been close at hand, though, he was ready.

So here’s a guy being a responsible citizen, keeping himself and others out of the line of fire, not acting like a vigilante and not trying to hunt down the shooter. If he’d tried and gotten hurt, he’d likely be castigated by ThinkProgress as proof that good guys with guns are no protection. Instead, he used as an example that good guys with guns are no protection. They get to grind their ax either way. Only if he’d acted irresponsibly and it happened to work could he be in any way shown as an example of a good guy with a gun. But then ThinkProgress, I imagine, would rightly suggest that this was a bad idea in general. No matter how it worked out, they get to use this story in pursuit of their agenda.

Look, nobody ever said that a good guy with a gun is a guarantee of a particular outcome. But if you criminalize self-defense, if you outlaw the carrying of a weapon by otherwise law-abiding citizens, you can be guaranteed that there will be no one available to help out. As Glenn Reynolds often says, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

People often try to get to what they call the “root cause” of crime. Some say that poverty creates crime. If that were so, we should have had an explosion of it during The Great Depression. If that were so, the wealthy Osama bin Laden shouldn’t have been a problem, or Bernie Madoff, or any of a number of white collar criminals. If poverty is a contributing factor, seems it would be hard to spot a trend.

Let’s stick with mass shootings for a moment. There’s a link in the show notes to an article showing that mass shootings have been getting more frequent, even before Sandy Hook. It’s to an article in Mother Jones, which is a magazine and website with a decidedly liberal political bent, so folks who often dismiss information because it was reported by Fox or Breitbart can’t just handwave it away. President Obama was right that it seems he’s coming out to do press conferences quite a lot after these incidents.

But what has changed? Our gun laws are pretty much the same as they were under George W. Bush. And if the guns in these shootings were obtained illegally, it should be no surprise that criminals don’t obey the law. We had a recession, but, if you listen to the administration, the economy has been looking better all the time. And if you look at the motivations of these shooters, few if any had an economic motivation. What about mental health? Many of these shooters had issues in that area, but then again, we’ve had guns and mental health issues in this society for over a century, but haven’t seen anything like this in the past. So is it more complicated than that? Perhaps. But perhaps not.

I want to turn to some time-tested wisdom, in updated language, that explains this pretty well.

Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild, but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse. Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—they’ll turn out delightful to live with. If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

These are the words of a government official, King Solomon, as written in Proverbs 29, and from The Message translation. It really brings out much of the meaning of the Bible if the King James Version seems a little opaque.

There is much in here about discipline; internally to ourselves and externally to those in our charge. But it comes down to that last part. “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves…” King Jimmy phrased it, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” What has been happening in our society? The influence of the Christian church has been waning. You don’t have to be a theologian or historian to notice that. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is part of the church is watering down or outright rejecting of some of its own teachings. But our society has also decided that moral restraints are not needed, and everyone should do what they want.

And, indeed, some have done exactly that. Some Facebook friends have told me that they believe human nature is essentially good. But Solomon, thousands of years ago, saw human nature for what it was, and realized that only God can change it, in the individual and in society at large. Are we just harvesting what we planted? Solomon figured that out. I think we’ve forgotten it.

I’d say, “pardon the sermonizing”, if I thought this wasn’t useful, but I think it most definitely is. It wasn’t some feel-good words over a graphic of a sunrise or a flower. It was, I believe, the truth, and a truth that has been the truth for a very, very long time.

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Closely Held Corporate Policies /?p=6677 Wed, 07 Oct 2015 20:19:00 +0000 /?p=6677

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An Office Depot in Schaumburg, Illinois refused to print flyers with a prayer on them. The prayer would be distributed by pro-life women praying for the people in Planned Parenthood. The prayer asked God to work in the hearts of the workers to convert them and stop performing abortions. The women tried to get Office Depot’s Office of the Chairman to reverse the decision, but was told that wouldn’t happen.

The company claimed the prayers advocated the persecution of people who support abortion, and so they wouldn’t print it. So now, praying for conversion, enlightenment and salvation is considered an act of persecution. You know, it doesn’t matter your religious beliefs, how can anyone consider that the slightest bit of persecution?

If a Christian printer were given a flyer to print that advocated something he or she disagreed with on religious grounds, you know what the outcome would be? And yet Office Depot can come up with its own policy out of thin air, refuse to take some business, and few even take notice.

The double-standard is persecution, especially when it includes excessive fines and re-education. Yeah, yeah, it’s nothing like how Christians are persecuted under ISIS or the Chinese government, but it’s indicative of a trend in this country that goes against the tolerance that the Left claims to revere.

I’ll say it again; businesses are allowed to decide who they’ll do business with. They are all equal in this regard, but apparently some are more equal than others.

Related to this is an article that asks, “Is the Left Losing Their Hold on Pop Culture?” It provides a few quotes from celebrities who, while clearly on the Left otherwise, standing up for Christian bakers, and Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. Here’s one to consider:

Once again, the gay community feels the need to be sore winners. Is it so difficult to allow this woman her religion? Or must we destroy her in order for her to betray her faith. No matter how we judge, it’s truth. The rights we have all fought for, mean nothing, if we deny her hers.

If you don’t recognize the name Christopher Ciccone, that’s OK. I wouldn’t have either if he hadn’t been identified in the article as Madonna’s openly gay brother. Just a few people are quoted, but it at least gives me hope that the over-reaction from the Left on these issues are at least causing the more sober thinkers on the Left to reconsider the slippery slope that they’ve put us on. I guess the question is; how big an impact is this having? The article I reference in the show notes does indicate a 4-to-1 agreement with freedom over force, which is an encouraging sign. But businesses are still being put out of business over this, so it seems that we’ve got quite a vocal minority winning the day.

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Nobel Regrets /?p=6673 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:14:00 +0000 /?p=6673

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Quick trivia question: Who won Nobel Peace Prize in 2009? The answer; newly-elected President Barack Obama. And the obvious follow-up question is, why? To his credit, he wasn’t sure why either. The thought was that this would encourage him to be a peace-maker. A new book is at least shedding some light on the regrets that the Nobel committee had in making that decision.

In a new memoir titled "Secretary of Peace: 25 years with the Nobel Prize," Geir Lundestad, the non-voting Director of the Nobel Institute until 2014, writes that he has developed doubts about the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to grant Obama the Nobel Peace Prize over the past six years. While the prize was designed to encourage the new president, it may have not have worked out as intended.

When I posted this on the “Consider This!” Facebook page (my podcast), listener Pil Orbison said that, while President Obama wasn’t a Helen Keller or Indira Ghandi, no two Nobel prizes are alike. She said that what Obama did for the economy and healthcare certainly gave others a better outlook on our nation, and no other President could have done that.

Let’s set aside whether or not what Obama has done has improved either the economy or health care. The Nobel Peace prize is for what you actually have accomplished, not for what the committee hopes you will accomplish. That standard isn’t applied to any other Nobel Prize. They don’t give out the Chemistry award for what someone might discover, or to someone who shows promise in that field. The Peace Prize has, or should have, the same criteria.

Sure, the Nobel committee can have whatever criteria they want, but this article shows what can happen when you pin your hopes on a guy just because of his politics or the promises he made on the campaign trail. Politicizing the prize cheapens it for those who truly deserve it; people like Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malala Yousafzai, or PLO terrorist Yassar Arafat. Oh yes, he got one too.

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The Guns of Oregon /?p=6671 Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:14:00 +0000 /?p=6671

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On October 1st, 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer went onto the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, went into a classroom, and started shooting. As I write this, the death toll sits at 9, with 7 wounded. It shocked the nation, again. As it should. The President of the United States held a press conference to express condolences to the families of the victims, as he should. The problem was, he didn’t stop there. He followed up his comforting words immediately with fightin’ words.

Just 6 hours after the shooting, and when details about it were still very sketchy, President Obama came out with guns blazing, so to speak, pushing for more gun control. We didn’t know the name of the shooter, we didn’t know how he got the guns, and we weren’t even sure of the casualty count. But none of that mattered to him. I understand and share his anger and frustration at the various mass shootings in this country, but even before we knew any relevant details, he was out there calling again for “common-sense gun-safety laws”.

This is a classic mistake that politicians of both parties make; jumping the gun, so to speak, in order to make political points while the emotions are high. They propose new laws in order to be seen as doing something, even if that something would have done nothing to solve the problem at hand. They try to get their agenda passed because something must be done, and this is something, so it must be done.

Those who despise the Patriot Act should realize that part of the reason it passed was because it was “something”. I think the Patriot Act has actually kept us safer, but it did indeed go too far in certain areas and needed to be scaled back. Passing gun control while emotions are high, and before we even know where our current laws failed, would make the same exact mistake. Keep that in mind. The President said that he thought this issue should be politicized. Sorry, but that’s the worst idea ever.

One thing I’m concerned about is that banning or confiscating all guns would result from a too-quick reaction. Now, before you say, “Come on, no one’s suggesting banning guns”, let me give you a quote from President Obama’s press conference.

We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.

So then, what were Great Britain’s and Australia’s answer to the problem? Banning and confiscating guns. So yes, people are talking about it. The President himself is talking about it. So you can’t just dismiss that argument.

And has it worked for those countries? No, it hasn’t. In the case of the UK, a decade after a near total ban on guns, gun crime had doubled. And what about Australia, where they banned many guns and did a forced buy-back program? From 1997 until 2003, gun murders did in fact drop. Three percent. After 6 years, they dropped just 3%. Is it working for them? I guess it depends on your definition of “working”. Oh, and during that same time period, firearm deaths in America drop by 10 times as much.

And one more thing to consider regarding gun control laws; these mass shootings keep happening in gun-free zones. Some on the Left have tried to argue that the UCC campus was not a gun-free zone, because Oregon law allows those with state concealed-carry permits to bring them on campus. But campus rules don’t allow you to bring them into buildings, which is their right. And if you don’t have a concealed carry permit, the school doesn’t allow you to have a gun without their expressed permission. So it’s as gun-free as they could possibly make it, legally.

The bottom line: Gun control isn’t working. Criminals choose the path of least resistance, and gun-free zones, and unarmed citizens, are right in the middle of that path.

So the obvious question is; what does work? Well, if you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while, you probably know what I’m going to say. So instead of rehashing my thoughts, you can click here to hear or see (via full transcript) any episode where gun control is mentioned. In that category you’ll find episodes talking about how Israel has stopped school shootings by allowing teachers who have served in the Israeli Defense Force to carry guns at school and on field trips, or the result of the Washington, DC gun ban, or the Harvard study showing that banning guns doesn’t decrease the murder rate, or the UN maps showing that where gun ownership is higher the homicide rate is lower, or how relaxing some of the incredibly restrictive gun law in Chicago dropped the homicide rate to record lows.

Dispute the facts presented if you like, but the President appealed to the authority of opinion polls rather than the facts. He mockingly asked whether people really believe what we need are more guns. He also said, “We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.” Yes, well tell that to the people in the cities of Chicago, or Baltimore, or Washington, DC, or any of a number of other cities where gun restrictions have served to only increase the deaths.

You know what 9 dead and 7 wounded is called in Chicago? Saturday. The facts are out there, Mr. President, if you have the courage and honesty to deal with them. Otherwise, you can go off half-cocked, so to speak, appeal to emotions, and pass bad legislation. Your choice.

I share the President’s frustration regarding mass shootings in this country. I also see how the steps we’ve taken to reduce them have failed miserably; something he apparently doesn’t notice. Or won’t.

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Links: 2015-09-03 /?p=6668 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 02:05:14 +0000 /?p=6668

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Links found around and about these here interwebby things.

  1. Of Mr Obama and Mr Trump.
  2. Social or geographical structures and people living in them.
  3. Cute and effective, which probably means Roger Goddell wasn’t involved, heh.
  4. Not held back by Star Trek (bad) doctrine.
  5. Yah think?
  6. So the clerk arrest is “bad optics” … speaking of which
  7. A drone meets its match.
  8. A subtitle for the “Black Lives Matter” crowd.
  9. Or your dating methodology suffers a systematic error (like you got the age of the parchment not the text).
  10. Ms Clinton’s email problem.
  11. Cruz gets it wrong. Look if you call one side hypocritical, don’t turn around and do the “other sides” version of the same hypocritical nonsense.
  12. On the county clerk … seems to me if she wanted to do what she is doing and avoid the legal problems, she should have read more Kafka. Bureaucratic runarounds have been around a long time. In some place they are probably an art form (see Havel).
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Kentucky Cloaking, err, Clerking Devices /?p=6666 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 01:43:45 +0000 /?p=6666

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So, the lone Kentucky clerk is now in jail. On charges? Of contempt. Well, h*ll, I’ve bushels contempt for a whole lot of jurists, elected officials, and public scalawags pretending to serve the people while most assuredly not doing so. I hadn’t realized holding in contempt those well deserving of same is actionable.

Her jailing is apparently (“bad optics”) is a meme going around. Ya think?

But aside from that, this jailing is done by the feds. This is a state (actually county) clerk enforcing state laws. Her failure to do so doesn’t violate federal statutes, but state ones. Apparently the state hasn’t decided to censure her or prosecute. What is odd that … those who think this sort of thing is wrong, fully supported those who decide that the biased non-supporting of federal immigration statutes by just deciding not to is in the purview of the federal law enforcement and prosecutors is just peachy.

Either supporting the law (all of them) is the job of the President, the Attorney General, and every public official on regards to immigration and every other statute on the books … as well as by county clerks or disobeying such statutes because they are inconvenient or against some personal principles is ok. Both are wrong nor neither. You cannot and maintain any principles declare that these statutes can be disobeyed by those you like and those you don’t like can’t.

Which reminds us, why exactly is Ms Clinton not being arraigned on security related charges? Hmm. Could it be politics. See above. If the clerk goes to jail, so should Hilary. They could share a cell. Last thing I read about Ms Clinton’s “emails not marked confidential” included an email detailing all the known locations of North Korean nukes. On what planet does anyone pretend that isn’t confidential or higher in security clearance (answer apparently: Democrats with inactive grey cells).

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Links: 2015-09-01 /?p=6664 Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:08:11 +0000 /?p=6664

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Around and about (from North Las Vegas this week)

  1. Trump and verse in the context of the Stasi.
  2. “Science” figures out repentence and forgiveness are useful. How clever.
  3. But, don’t dismiss science, they give you 6 foot scorpions to dream about.
  4. Of word vs deed. Gosh, I hope there is a place to spit when I actually hear someone use a term like “xe” or “zir”.
  5. Sometimes I wonder if it is the error of Star Trek and their “Prime Directive” crap that keeps us from actively opposing ISIS with little more than harsh words.
  6. This post, reminds me of an anecdote set in British colonial India. A Brit military chap is arresting some blokes for burning a woman after the death of her husband. He is informed by the outraged locals that “we have an ancient custom of doing so”. He replies his people too have an ancient custom of arresting people who burn women. Multicultural-ism is all well and good. It’s useful to understand the ways of thinking of the other guy. Doesn’t mean however, that your way of thinking isn’t actually wrong or even not better.
  7. Micro-aggressions noted. Those who promote a “theory” of micro-aggression may want claim that saying “affirmative action is racist” and/or “I believe that the most qualified person should get the job” are racist, wrong and “micro-aggresions”. They’d be 100% completely wrong. If you want to claim something true is false, go right ahead. But you’d still be wrong.
  8. Speaking racism of a more obvious sort, one of the main organs of the left gives a good one example of that.
  9. I remain confused about the Senate vote/non-vote for the Obama/Iran “deal”. If it isn’t ratified by 67 Senators, it’s not a treaty and isn’t binding. It’s not law and it’s not going to survive a President who doesn’t support it.
  10. On the basis of this, I’ve started reading this. Coincidentally I’d also picked up and started reading another book by the same author, Rob Roy.
  11. Your President’s (likely racist) legal eagles in action.
  12. An “ethical” question. My answer is no. And that the only person you can ethically suggest to sacrifice for her sake is your own.
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Dan Price’s $70,000 Gamble, 4 Months Later /?p=6660 Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:13:00 +0000 /?p=6660

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Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to April, 2015. Back in that day, Dan Price set the liberal’s hearts all a-flutter when he announced that he would pay all his people, over the course of 3 years, a minimum of $70,000. At the same time, Dan, the CEO of Gravity Payments, would drop his own salary from $1 million to $70,000 as well.

Those pushing for an increase in the minimum wage loved the idea. With no more than an announcement in hand, they proclaimed his move as an example others should follow. Again, all they had was an announcement. They proclaimed victory even before the new pay scale was in place, because for these liberals, intentions are more important than results.

Now here in August, we have a few results, and they’re not looking good for Gravity Payments. First off, some clients – some put off by what appeared to be a political statement, some by a concern that the fees will rise – dropped the company. Gravity has assured clients that the fees will stay the same, but there’s a perception working against him, that you can’t raise the cost of doing business without offsetting at least some of that cost. Maybe that’s all perception; we’ll see. But if you have a vendor that could be increasing its costs, it only makes sense that you might want to look for a cheaper vendor.

On the other side of the coin, Gravity Payments got more clients who appreciated the political and social statement that Dan Price made, and signed on. It appears that they did offset the number of clients who left, but for now, the economic impact of the new clients isn’t enough. New clients take over a year to be profitable for Gravity, so it’s not just a 1-for-1 trade-off. And he’s had to hire new employees to deal with the new clients, at the new, higher pay rate, which, again, impacts the bottom line.

But here’s the effect that surprised me the least. Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit. Two may not seem like a lot, but it’s a rather small company. This was in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. For a large swath of Gravity employees, there is no such thing as “merit pay”. The lower tier of employees gets the same amount regardless of their productivity. Even one of the employees in that tier quit because he saw how it “shackles” the low performers to the high performers.

In speaking about his ideals, Price had this to say, quoted in the NY Times:

“Income inequality has been racing in the wrong direction,” he said. “I want to fight for the idea that if someone is intelligent, hard-working and does a good job, then they are entitled to live a middle-class lifestyle.”

No, see, that’s the issue, and it’s why some of his better employees are leaving. These raises were not based on how hard you worked, and that’s going to give observant workers some cause for concern.

And then there’s the big bombshell. While not directly related to the pay raise, a lawsuit brought by his co-owner and brother may be more than the company can handle. With profits going more into salaries, there is a decreasing amount available for a rainy day, or for a buyout demand. Y’know, regardless of the merits of the case, sometimes a business needs cash sitting around to be able to handle such situations. Otherwise, any hitch in the revenue flow could put them, and their well-paid employees, out of business. Sometimes those big profits are a cushion to keep any bumps in the road from causing folks to lose their jobs. Those who dismiss that don’t, I think, understand the gravity of the situation.

Dan Price might be learning by experience, but I fear the lesson is being lost on others.

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Becoming Pro-Choice /?p=6658 Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:11:00 +0000 /?p=6658

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Becoming pro-choice is not something that happens often. Heck, switching sides is rare enough, regardless of where you’re going from or to. But J. L. Pattison, in a blog post entitled, “10 reasons why I’ve decided to become pro-choice”, makes some points that really are worth checking out.

In fact, he’s almost convinced me, which, if I may be so bold, is saying something. I’m not sure I’m completely on board – not all of his points are equally good – but he made me consider this.

The link is in the show notes, in case you want to find his arguments, but I want to highlight the first one here, just to give you an idea of his power of persuasion.

1). Although I am personally opposed to the practice, I do not want to impose my moral values upon others. So if someone else wants to hunt lions, then who am I to judge? My motto is: If you don’t like lion killing, then don’t kill one.

OK, you can exhale now. You really do want to check out the link to this in the show notes. The other 9 “reasons” do basically the same thing; turn abortion pro-choice arguments on their head and expose the inverted priorities of a society that values the life of a lion in a country they probably couldn’t pick out on a map, over the millions of babies killed since Roe v Wade. I call them “babies” because that’s what Planned Parenthood calls them when referring to their organs, harvested for profiteering. Also, because that’s what they are.

Oh, and in the 3 weeks from the beginning of the release of those videos exposing Planned Parenthood, the media have reflected, and some might say “supported” or “egged on”, those inverted priorities. During that time, the 3 broadcast networks spent 92 minutes on Cecil the Lion, and 20 minutes on the videos and subsequent political fallout. Yup, that liberal media.

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I’m No Expert But … This Isn’t Passing the Scratch/Sniff Test /?p=6656 Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:17:14 +0000 /?p=6656

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Mr Rowe writes:

Drawn in part from the writings of Christian Reconstructionists, that narrative recasts modern-day Republicans as the racially inclusive party, and modern-day Democrats as the racists supportive of slavery and postemancipation racist policies.

Here’s the problem with casting Democrat’s as the drivers behind confronting racism in the 50s and 60s in the South. Look at these two lists, here and here. Note the dates and party affiliations of those Governors of those two very very Southern (and presumably at one time, quite racist) Southern states. Recall also Mr George Wallace. Democrat? Yes. Hmm.

It may very well be that in the north of Mason Dixon line Democrats (union + intellectual elite driven) parties opposed racism and that is what the Democrats perceive as their legacy of opposing racism. But to deny that in the South the dominant party during the racial turmoil in the South was not both opposing racial integration and rights and was in fact part of the Democrat party is revisionist.

If accurate this wiki article supports the “it’s more complicated” than claiming one party or the other was complicit/non-complicit in enforcing racism and racially unfair policies.

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Links: 2015-08-04 /?p=6652 Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:01:53 +0000 /?p=6652

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My excuse these last weeks is my schedule, work about 11 hours, drive (60 minutes round trip) to swim, swim (about 90 minutes total), eat, sleep and so on leaves, will no time for much. Anyhow, I’ve been reading (audio tapes driving to/from Illinois to Ohio has included a Vaclav Havel biography, a Dan Simmons Sherlock Holmes story, and the Zombie book “Warm Bodies” which made for a fun film and an ok book). As for Mr Havel, I might have to read a play or two, but I thought his observation regarding foreign policy apropos for the recent Iran “treaty” (scare quotes required, oddly enough). Mr Havel pointed out that if a government lies consistently to its own people you can’t trust it not to lie to foreign powers, in fact it is less likely to be honest with foreigners. Oh, and Katie Ledecky is completely amazing.

Links?

  1. Some guy killed a lion. I think I overheard that lawmakers were suggesting new laws. Wonder if they realize prize hunting in much (most/all?) of Africa normally goes to supporting their habitats, so making that illegal will be less good, not better for lions and such.
  2. Convenience is not always your friend … as long as you really trust everyone you come in contact with the unimportant things like continued living.
  3. Saving money or not … A question asked and another answered.
  4. And our government remains clueless about so so much.
  5. Why exercise is necessary.
  6. Public schools do indeed waste stupendous amounts of money.
  7. Ok. Fine. He wasn’t a “hero” but he was the most interesting character in the story.
  8. If this statement “Does the fact that every US ally in the Middle East, Arab and Jew, opposes this deal mean anything ?” is true, the deal should die. (more here)
  9. What makes an author great?
  10. Ms Clinton and her bad investment advice.
  11. Displaced humans, not just in abundance in Syria.

Question? Why do people think this Iran deal is going to be part of Obama’s legacy if, because it is not a treaty, it will only survive on the forbearance of his predecessor (as it is sustained only by Presidential executive order). To be a treaty which would in fact bind future Presidents it would require ratification by two thirds of the Senate.

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Regarding Inside/Out /?p=6650 Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:08:22 +0000 /?p=6650

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My wife and I had a “date night” cinema viewing Saturday. We saw the Pixar Inside/Out at the dollar theater.

I thought the notion that the “joy”-self was identified as the primary ego/self driver for the pre-teen child an interesting notion that might be plausible for most healthy happy kids. Also plausible is that emotional maturation consists in part (mostly?) with bringing a more complex emotional group to drive “self” image.

I’m less certain that emotional selves get lost in the inner mind in times of emotional crises.

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Charlie Hebdo Follow-up; Surrender /?p=6646 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:52:00 +0000 /?p=6646

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“Je Suis Charlie!” That was the hashtag activism that came out of the Islamic extremist attack on the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, in response to their cartoons of Mohammed. It was the most French many of us had ever spoken, defending a satire magazine that most of us had never heard of prior to that.

I don’t like it when cartoonists mock Jesus, but in America the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and so they are allowed to. In France, this same idea was behind the Je Suis Charlie movement. We will not be intimidated by extremists.

Right up until we are.

Recently, the Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief, whose name is in the article in the show notes and which I will not attempt in case I butcher it, waved the white flag of surrender and said that the magazine would no longer draw cartoons of Mohammed. A dozen of his colleagues died for, and the world erupted in support of, their right to mock. All that was for naught. Violence prevailed. The terrorists won.

To be sure, you can understand their concern. Who wants to poke that particular hornet’s nest again? Why put yourself in that literal line of fire? But his reasoning seemed to be strained. He claimed, “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions.” Perhaps, although the offices were not shot up by enraged Evangelicals, cantankerous Catholics, agitated Jews, or belligerent Buddhists. In fact, the terrorism perpetrated worldwide has predominantly come from one particular religion, but it’s not politically correct to notice that. Oh, and interestingly, no word from Charlie Hebdo about no longer drawing cartoons mocking Jesus. They know perfectly well that the Christian response will most likely be a strongly-worded letter. #ReligionOfPeace

So just in case you were wondering whatever happened to all that solidarity and righteous indignation spent in the service of free speech, that’s what happened. The French surrendered.

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Black Votes Matter /?p=6644 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:49:00 +0000 /?p=6644

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Juan Williams is gobsmacked. That’s a good word for it, when a guy just cannot fathom why his team’s losing, even though the reason is obvious to me. In an article he wrote for the website The Hill, he was expressing his disbelief that the Democrats were losing the “voting rights” issue; that is, the voter ID issue.

Even most black Americans — people who, overwhelmingly, don’t vote Republican — currently favor new requirements for voters to have photo identification. Three-quarters of all voters — people of all races and political parties — favor such laws, according to polls.

The black support for photo identification of voters can only be described as amazing.

Well Juan, it just seems to me that black Americans, overall, seem to highly value their right to vote. That’s not amazing; that’s American. Juan tries to tie the voter ID issue to the poll taxes and literacy tests of yesteryear, but that’s entirely upside down. A poll tax was to prevent black people from voting. Voter ID is to protect black people’s vote. #BlackVotesMatter

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Can a Business Decide Who They Will Serve? Yes. /?p=6642 Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:46:00 +0000 /?p=6642

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I’ve not lived in a state that has the Whataburger chain, but I know that folks who do love their stuff. The Whataburger chain in Texas decided recently that it would not allow the open carrying of guns in any of its restaurants. Management said that some patrons felt uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm. They will, however, still allow those carrying a legal concealed weapon to enjoy their burgers on the premises.

Let me just say that I will defend Whataburger’s right to deny service to open-carry patrons. It’s their right to determine who they will and won’t serve, or who they allow on their premises, even if what those patrons are doing is perfectly lawful. They can conduct their business as they see fit, and potential customers can choose to eat where they want. This is what we call “freedom” and “the free market”.

But boy oh boy, if they are ever asked to cater a same-sex wedding, they’d better comply. It’s much less dangerous to the life of your business to exclude lawful gun owners. If you think it’s silly to create a hypothetical situation where someone would ask Whataburger to cater a wedding, just ask Memories Pizza in Indiana how silly it is to ask a hypothetical question about catering a same-sex wedding with pizza. But you may find that difficult to ask; their answer closed their business. #LoveWins?

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Lessons From the Greek Tragedy /?p=6640 Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:42:00 +0000 /?p=6640

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Imagine, if you will, a guy who fills out a loan application, but lies on it about his current financial situation, or he tells the truth about his bad situation but signs a promise to get his financial house in order if he can get this loan. Now let’s say he doesn’t make the changes he promised, but spends the money on the same things that got him into the mess he was in before the loan. When it’s time to make payments on the loan, he complains he doesn’t have the money and wants to renegotiate the terms of the existing loan and get a new one.

You’re the loan officer. What do you do? The guy’s telling you he needs the money to eat and to pay his other bills. But he didn’t change his free-spending ways like he promised and now he’s in a bind again. Is it prudent to give more cash to a guy who can’t change his spending habits, and can’t repay what you’ve already given him?

No, it’s not. That’s not being heartless; that’s just being a good steward of the bank’s money. And if you keep giving this guy money, and he doesn’t repay it, what about the depositors who’s money it is that you’re handing out? When they need their money, where will it be?

The guy I’m talking about is the country of Greece. And just like Margaret Thatcher’s description, their socialism was working great, right up until they ran out of other people’s money. You can only soak the rich for so long, and so they went to the European and international banks for bailouts. And more bailouts. But each time, though they promised to mend their free-spending, socialist ways, they didn’t and wound up in the same situation.

There are 2 major problems that this situation has highlighted. First, the European Union has certainly caused state sovereignty to seep out of the individual countries, such that it’s understandable why citizens of Greece would be insisting that the EU be held at least partially responsible. If Greece must bow to the EU on some matters, the EU must be willing to help. With great power-grabs come great responsibility.

But the other major problem is one that our own country needs to come to terms with. The Greek government got in over its head with promises it made to various groups. Welfare, pension, and other government payments got to the point where merely servicing those was drowning the country in debt. They made the promises, so they had to keep them. And when the government over-promised, the people voted in politicians who would give them more stuff, until the government had to tax and tax, and borrow and borrow, to keep up. And all that taxing and borrowing reduces economic growth and devalues the currency. So more taxing and more borrowing, and the death spiral continues.

So then, who should pay for the bad choices of the Greek people? Should we allow the Greeks to default on their obligations, and then have the German and the French people have to bail out their banks? How in the world is that fair? “But what about the Greek people?”, those on the Left were asking when those Greek people voted to stiff their creditors. “Why should they be punished for the actions of their government?” Well, because they voted for the guy who squandered the money and walked into the bank to ask for more. And if the Greeks are let off the hook, there are other European countries looking to try the same ploy. I’m looking at you, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The problem is that the Greeks poked a big hole in their own boat, and no amount of bailing by themselves will keep them afloat. More bailers, if you will, would help, and the EU is going to continue to help in the bailing, but the Greeks need to agree to quit making the hole bigger, and take steps to plug it. That’s going to take some hard choices on their part, but that’s the problem with socialism. Once you get used to the idea of free money and benefits, you get to thinking that they are your “right”. Going back to fiscal responsibility is a much harder road to travel.

The Greeks are learning that lesson. Well, I hope they are. I’m not so sure after they voted to default on their loans. I also hope that we’ll learn it, too. But I begin to wonder about my fellow countrymen when I see how popular presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is, who is an avowed socialist. “Ignore the News, Vote for Sanders!”

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Marriage, Obger-thing-fell, Heresies, and What Not /?p=6634 Fri, 17 Jul 2015 02:24:57 +0000 /?p=6634

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Well, Doug just posted some excellent thoughts on marriage and the recent High Court ruling. Here’s my 2 cents (the going rate I might add, a bargain? You decide)

Over and over and over from the Christian opposition to SSM we hear that they (we) oppose same sex marriage (and indeed relationships) because homosexual sex is sinful. This is the wrong reason, I think. Yah yah, that’s a sin. But … look at it this way. If you have one individual, in one universe he gets married to another dude. In another he doesn’t. It’s not unlikely that he has a similar quantity of sex in both universes, but in the first … its less random, less disconnected, with fare fewer people, and possibly ultimately less sinful. That homosexual sex is sinful isn’t what is wrong with same sex marriage. It’s not like you and I don’t breed sin in our lives like Fibonacci’s rabbits ourselves (don’t look at me like that). What is wrong with it is that it promotes and continues to solidify a wrong conception of what marriage is about (this post says more about this point better than I could, so go read it, then come back).

If you study church history, you will discover that every historical Christological heresy (the nature of Christ, human, divine and such) was and often is still being recapitulated as an ecclesiastical heresy (That is to say, what is the Church?). There is a good reason for this. The reason for that is pretty obvious when it comes down to it. The body of Christ on earth (after Ascension) is in fact, the Church. So there should be no surprise that heresies (wrong notions) of “what is this called Christ” copy over to heresies of what is this same thing (Christ) here still on earth. What does this have to do with marriage? Well, for the current marital discussions we recall Paul teaches us, in marriage after some subtle instructions on how to treat with each other, that the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the Church. Furthermore that this relationship is a mystery. Now, first off, don’t get too worked up about the term “mystery”. Remember the best definition of mystery is a thing that you can’t explain very well, or at all, in words but must experience to understand. But the connection to Christology is the same. We are discovering that these Christological hersesies? Well, they are recapitulating as “What is marriage” heresies for exactly the same reason. Fortunately, as in the prior paragraph, another author at the site linked above explains that point from the Orthodox perspective far better than I can.

Ultimately this is the reason Christians, cannot back down on the marriage question (for there is little question about balancing the small good of perhaps less sin, if the consequence and mechanism for that is promulgating heresy). This thing the state and for that matter the left elite and many others calls marriage. How they define it. How they understand it. Well, it’s a is indeed a”thing”. But that “thing” isn’t the same as what we understand the word marriage to mean. It might have been better if the Supreme court had nationalized a legal structure called fleem. In which two persons, the glissord and the fleeger are contractually (until they choose to dissolve the fleem) bound together and enjoy the following state privileges (and it will be up to the legislature now to go to their chambers and define for us what privileges are granted to those joined in fleemhood.) Well, actually they did exactly that. But instead they chose to confuse all of us and not use a new word. They didn’t call it fleem or even iglifu. They used a word that used to and for many still does mean something completely different. Keep that in mind in the discussions that follow.

 

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