Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Globe Stumbles

For John, BLUFRespect for the ideas of others seems to be slipping.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today's edition of The Boston Globe has a long article in the "K" Section (Ideas) refuting that there was an Easter Resurrection.  The name of the article is "What happened on Easter?"  The writer is Ms Ruth Graham and it is an interview with Scholar Bart Ehrman.

So, on the highest holy day of the Christian Faith, in a year when Western and Eastern Easter come at the same time, their Lordships at The Globe think it is OK to put up a pretty long item (page K1 and K3), debunking the faith of millions.  I am now waiting to see them do something like it regarding Islam, but I am not holding my breath.  I don't recall them being too strong on how wrong it was for the Department of State to condemn the videographer out in California who made the 15 minute clip talking about the oppression of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

I suspect The Globe suffers from The Yale Disease.

But, it is Easter so we should be open to forgiving.

And, yet, it is tacky to publish it on Easter.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The On-Line title is "A provocative new theory of Easter".  Maybe they think Christians don't do the Internet.
  Some may recall this incident by remembering how the Department of State tried to blame the Benghazi imbroglio on this video, rather than the planned attack that it was.  National Security Advisor Susan Rice hit five prime time news shows with this bit of disinformation/maskirovka.

Happy Easter

That is it for this fine Sunday morning.

Oh, my youngest Brother sent an early EMail that just said "He's Up".

Says it all.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Iranian Terrorist to the UN Hq in NYC

For John, BLUFThe President is a hypocritpolitician, but doing the right thing here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I didn't want to cite The Washington Examiner, but The International New York Times failed to mention the use of a dreaded "Signing Statement".  You know, that terrible disruption of the Constitution that President George W Bush used to use, and about which Senator Barack Obama of Illinois used to complain.

From the Washington Examiner article:

President Obama on Friday signed into law a bill authored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would bar an Iranian diplomat from entering the United States, but immediately issued a statement saying he won't enforce it.

[President] Obama decided to treat the law as mere advice.  "Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress's concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation," Obama said in his signing statement.

"Nevertheless, as President [George H.W.] Bush also observed, "curtailing by statute my constitutional discretion to receive or reject ambassadors is neither a permissible nor a practical solution."  I shall therefore continue to treat section 407, as originally enacted and as amended by S. 2195, as advisory in circumstances in which it would interfere with the exercise of this discretion."

[President] Obama frequently criticized President George W. Bush for such signing statements during his 2008 campaign. “Congress's job is to pass legislation," he said, as The Daily Beast recalled. "The president can veto it or he can sign it.”

“It is unconscionable that, in the name of international diplomatic protocol, the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard for the status of our diplomats when they were stationed in his country,” Cruz said when he introduced the bill.

The legislation was directed at Hamid Abutalebi, whom Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tapped as U.N. ambassador, because of his alleged role in the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.  Abutalebi insists his role was limited to translation and negotiation.

Well, I can see Senator Cruz's point, and the President's.  And I am glad the President is not letting himself be bound by previous statements and commitments.  Besides, this could be the kind of thing that might seal a larger deal.

Here is the take from Legal Insurrection.

Regards  —  Cliff

Texas Governor Candidate in Trouble

For John, BLUFThe best we can hope to do is ensure turnover.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Remember Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, the great hope of the Democrat Party, earlier this year?  Their nominee for Governor, a job that, we were told some 14 years ago, is worthless.

We now have this item from PJ Media, "Wendy Davis’s Deals Are The Subject Of FBI Corruption Investigation".

If she was a Republican I would assume it was really all about the IRS trying to take away the tax exempt status of this or that organization, but she isn't.  And, I hope for her sake, it is the Easter Triduum after all, that she is innocent.

At least she is no Leland Yee.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

That Top 0.1% Problem

For John, BLUFIt isn't the top 1%, it is the top 0.1%.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The question of wealth inequality is out there, from the Occupy Wall Street Movement to French economists.  Because it is catchy and easy to grasp the expression "Top 1%" is used to capture the issue.  Truth being the first victim, so here we have the real number being the Top 0.1% of people representing this yawning gap in wealth.  And this morning from the Quartz site we have this:
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century went on sale in the US this week, and its central message can seem like a prophecy of doom.  It is that capital tends to accumulate faster than the economy grows in the long run; wealth thus concentrates in the hands of a few; and the egalitarian, upwardly mobile America of the mid-20th century was more a historical aberration than the natural order of things.  Through their research into income inequality, Piketty and his colleague Emmanuel Saez provided the “1% vs the 99%” narrative that drove the Occupy Movement.

But what’s often missed, as Quartz’s Tim Fernholz found out when he talked to Piketty, is that the 42-year-old French economist is actually rather optimistic.  To those who say that a global wealth tax, his proposed solution to inequality, is something that Americans would never accept, he retorts that nobody in 1910 thought the US would ever have income taxes, or more recently, that Swiss bank secrecy could ever be broken.  A wealth tax, he suggests, could replace a tax on property, making it popular with middle-class homeowners and giving politicians a lever to push it through.

But whether Piketty’s optimism is misplaced, or even whether he is right, matters less than the fact that, by framing the problem in these clear terms, he has enabled a public debate.  “Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the same way we used to,” wrote Paul Krugman, who knows a thing or two himself about changing economic discourse.  Another legendary economist, Paul Samuelson, once said, “I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.”  If Piketty’s work influences the terms in which politicians fight their battles, he too may end up having more influence than many of them.—Gideon Lichfield

OK, I don't have a lot of respect for Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, who, per Gawker, just took a $225,000 pa job teaching one course a semesteryear, beginning year two.  I wonder what all the underpaid Adjunct Professors think of that?

Here is a Quartz ten question interview with Author Thomas Piketty.

I am not so sure I can get all the worked up about the super-rich.  My focus is on those who just scraping by, and how we can improve their lot, and on those who have fallen into some sort of poverty trap, where their moral outlook is one of living off the work of others, and how we can help them develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and for others.  Those are two different points and people fall all along a spectrum from one point to the other.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, April 18, 2014

Regional and Cultural Differences

For John, BLUFNot everything called a rose smells as sweet.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here I am, sitting in the Parking Lot of the Hanscom Air Force Base Base Exchange, eating a plain bagel with cream cheese.  I realize that the Dunkin Donut version of Cream Cheese does not taste like Philly, and isn't as good.

I wonder why that is?

Regards  —  Cliff

Sen Markey vs the Fax Machine

For John, BLUFThese things happen from time to time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In yesterday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun was an article on page 2, by Reporter Andy Metzger, "Markey says he'll secure transit funds".  In the article, our Junior/Maryland Senator, Ed Markey, says:
A member of Congress since 1976 when he was first elected to the U.S. House, Markey put his D.C. longevity in perspective, noting that a once-futuristic piece of telecommunications technology had seen its dawn and dusk during his years in office.

"America had yet to invent a fax machine.  There were no fax machines," Markey said.  "I've now been in Congress and around so long, today there are no fax machines.  That's how long iI've been in Congress.

That quote suggests that either (A), Senator Markey has been in Congress much longer than he claims or (B), Al Gore had not yet invented the Fax Machine in 1976.  There is the alternative, that Senator Markey doesn't really understand the story of the Fax Machine, which raises the question of what else he doesn't understand.  But what would that say about Commonwealth voters?

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  When I started typing up this item I had a PS that said that I would give you a link to the story in The [Lowell] Sun, but while their Tech folks say the site is up it isn't.  Reminds me of the story about Bill Gates at the rifle range, explaining not hitting the target.  "It's leaving this end OK."  The good news is the site is back up and running.