I understand that Washington, D.C., is completely shut down. I bet Obama is blaming the Republicans. And Mitch McConnell is calling on members of his party to compromise.
Posted by Richard on January 23, 2016
Posted by Richard on January 18, 2016
One of the sad aspects of growing old is that the people whose music was an important part of my youth keep dying. In the past year or so, we’ve lost too many. B.B. King and Alan Toussaint. Yes founder Chris Squire (Rick, I’m sorry I never posted that tribute you wanted). Billy Joe Royal. The Easybeats’ Stevie Wright. Three Dog Night’s Cory Wells and Jimmy Greenspoon. Just recently, David Bowie.
And today, the Eagles’ Glenn Frey. Don Henley released a wonderful tribute to his friend and bandmate:
“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved is wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year ‘History of the Eagles Tour’ to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”
A lot of people have forgotten (or are too young to know) that the Eagles began as the backup band for Linda Ronstadt.
One of the best concerts I ever saw was the Eagles playing in a great big field on a farm in East Tennessee somewhere, with a “quadrophonic” sound setup: four giant speaker towers at the four corners of the audience area. IIRC, that was in the summer of 1974, because the playlist was mostly from Desperado and On the Border (my two favorite Eagles albums). The opening act was Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, which sounds inappropriate genre-wise, but it actually worked quite well.
Goodbye, Glenn. You’ll be missed. But you’ve left us with a marvelous legacy.
Posted by Richard on January 10, 2016
Article V of the Constitution provides for two means of amending the Constitution: Congress can propose amendments (two-thirds of each house concurring), the process with which we’re all familiar, or a convention of the states can propose amendments (two-thirds of the states concurring). In both cases, the approved amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of the states.
The convention of states idea has been kicking around for some time among people concerned about the inability to constrain an out-of-control, overreaching federal government. It seems to have picked up steam after the 2013 publication of Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments. A number of different groups are working toward some kind of Article V convention; some want to limit it to a single amendment (e.g., balanced budget or term limits), while others, like Levin, want multiple amendments around a single subject (limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government). Texas Governor Greg Abbott made news this past week by jumping aboard. His proposal seems at first glance to mirror Levin’s proposals and the Convention of States Project (which Levin has endorsed).
One of the most influential supporters is Rob Natelson, a senior fellow at Denver’s wonderful Independence Institute, which hosts the Article V Information Center, an invaluable resource on the subject.
For an overview of the key players and an assessment of the movement as of November 2015, see David Guldenschuh’s Heartland Institute policy brief (PDF, 40 pages).
The Article V idea has drawn opposition from a number of people and groups on the right who claim that Congress would have too much power to define the rules and control the process, and that there would be no way to limit the scope of such a convention to what the proponents want. They worry that the Second Amendment could be rewritten and other grievous harm to what’s left of our freedoms could be done. Chief among them are Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society.
Also opposed is Colorado’s Dudley Brown, who is rallying opposition through his two gun-rights organizations, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) and the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). (Interestingly, the Guldenschuh PDF I linked to above is on the NAGR website, even though Guldenschuh is an Article V proponent.)
One leftist group is pushing for an Article V convention specifically to prohibit corporate campaign contributions, overturning Citizens United. But contrary to the claims of some Article V opponents, George Soros is not supporting the Article V movement, and in fact, Soros-funded groups (including Common Cause) have denounced the idea.
The Convention of States website has a ton of information countering the critics and their concerns about a “runaway convention,” etc., which I’ve only begun to explore.
Based on what I know now, I’m cautiously inclined to support an Article V convention of the states, either for a single amendment (as a test of the process) or for a carefully crafted single subject as proposed by the Convention of States Project. The arguments for it seem more persuasive than the arguments against it. And I’m much more inclined to believe the folks at the Independence Institute than Schlafly and the Birchers. How about you?
Posted by Richard on January 9, 2016
Charles Hugh Smith has an interesting post about how the world-wide orgy of “stimulus” spending, with money created by expanding debt, is working (emphases in original):
We can summarize the official “solution” to the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008 in one line: borrow and blow trillions–of yen, yuan, dollars, euros, reals, you name it.The goal of borrowing and blowing trillions was to re-invigorate “growth”— any kind of “growth,” no matter how wasteful, unproductive or even counter-productive it might be: wars, nation-building, ghost cities, needless MRIs, useless college diplomas, bridge to nowhere–anything the borrowed money was squandered on counts as “growth” in the Keynesian status quo.Unsurprisingly, this strategy yields diminishing returns as the negative returns on all this debt-fueled spending piles up. While the yield on the “investment” is either negative or only fleetingly positive, the interest due on the debt is forever. That’s the source of diminishing returns in a nutshell.
Here’s one of the graphs illustrating the point, but go read the whole thing.
Posted by Richard on January 8, 2016
Another instance of sudden jihad syndrome: A Philadelphia police officer, Jessie Hartnett, is lucky to be alive after being shot at 13 times as he sat in his patrol car at an intersection. The assailant, Edward Archer, is in custody and has confessed. Archer said he did it in the name of Islam and has pledged loyalty to ISIS. Archer’s brother told a local reporter that Archer had made the hajj.
Brother: Suspect had made pilgrimage to Mecca, was upset over police treatment of African-American men. @FOX29philly 10p
— Sabina Kuriakose (@SabinaKuriakose) January 9, 2016
Philadelphia’s mayor, however, wanted to make something clear:
After police confirmed that the suspect who attempted to “execute” a Philadelphia police officer on Thursday night claimed to have done so in the name of Islam, Mayor Jim Kenney told reporters on Friday that the attack is not connected to Islam in any way.
“In no way, shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teachings of Islam have anything to do with what you’ve seen on that screen,” Kenney said. “That is abhorrent. It’s just terrible, and it does not represent the religion in any way, shape or form or any of its teachings.”
“This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers,” he added. “[It] has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
Mayor Kenney claimed instead that it has something to do with “too many guns on the street.” Turns out the gun was a police officer’s, stolen from his home two years earlier. Not from a gun show or the internet. Oops.
Archer fired 13 shots at Officer Hartnett at point-blank range and only hit him three times. I guess Hartnett is lucky that Archer spent a lot more time reading the Koran than practicing his marksmanship.
Posted by Richard on January 8, 2016
An inert U.S. Hellfire missile sent to Europe for a NATO training exercise in 2014 was mistakenly shipped to Cuba and has been there ever since.
Though the missile does not contain any explosives, The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. officials are concerned that Cuban authorites may share the missile’s sensors and targeting technology with countries like Russia, China and North Korea.
May? It’s been there a year and a half. The targeting technology is probably already in the hands of every unsavory regime from the DPRK to Iran and may well be for sale on the darknet.
Several people familiar with the case told the Journal that the incident is the worst example of sensitive military technology falling into the hands of a nation under U.S. sanctions that they can recall.
According to the Journal report, the missile was properly shipped to Spain, where it was used in the exercise. It was then supposed to be taken on a roundabout journey back to the U.S. via Germany. Instead, the Journal reported the missile was loaded onto an Air France truck that took the cargo to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where it was put on a flight to Havana.
The Journal reported that federal investigators were working to determine whether the shipment was the result of a major error, or the work of international criminals or spies.
A U.S. official told the Associated Press that manufacturer Lockheed Martin was authorized to export the dummy missile for the training exercise. The official attributed the shipping error to Lockheed’s freight forwarders, and said the U.S. was working with Lockheed to get the device back.
I try always to remember Hanlon’s Razor. But in this case, William of Ockham has assured me that “major error” is nowhere near the simplest explanation. A much simpler explanation is that someone(s) perpetrated something similar to the FedEx shipping theft scheme unearthed last year.
And “working with Lockheed to get the device back”? Does Lockheed have some in with the Castro regime that I’m not aware of?
U.S. officials have been urging the Cuban government to return the missile, the Journal said, adding that officials don’t suspect that Cuba will try to develop similar weapons technology on its own. The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in July 2015 after more than 50 years of hostility.
Obama is willing to do whatever it takes (constitutional or not) to deprive Social Security recipients and veterans who need help with their finances of their Second Amendment rights. But he wouldn’t make restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba contingent on the return of that Hellfire? Has there ever been another instance of the leader of a country so clearly being an enemy of that country?
Posted by Richard on January 8, 2016
Leon Wolf reports at Red State (emphases in original):
The Washington State Human Rights Commission, a regulatory agency, has been empowered by the Washington State legislature to draft legally binding rules for businesses to prevent “discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender expression[.]” The commission has released its final rule, and boy is it a doozy.
Among other things, the rule makes it illegal to ask “unwelcome personal questions about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, or transgender status.” In other words, not only can women not prevent a person with full male equipment from entering their restroom or locker room, they can’t even ask what he is doing there.
Given that the rule applies to schools as well as businesses, your child can now run afoul of this law if they encounter one of the increasing number of prepubescent kids who are victims of the particular species of child abuse where parents tell their 8 year old kid they are transgendered.
As to what constitutes an “unwelcome” personal question about a person’s gender expression, the rule does not say; presumably, the person who is being questioned has sole discretion over whether to make someone into a lawbreaker or not.
The rule also makes it illegal for a business (including a school) to deliberately misuse the pronoun any person would prefer, thus meaning that Washington State has joined the city of New York in fining people who call human males “he” if they decide they want to be called “she.”
Our society has collectively lost its damn mind. It’s difficult to imagine a society so full of rot that it would allow a rule like this to be promulgated in a major political subdivision can expect to last for very long.
It is to laugh. Or to cry. Or maybe to engage in guerilla theater. What do you say, guys? Go to Seattle, join a gym, strut into the women’s locker room, and declare yourself a lesbian trapped in a man’s body!
Posted by Richard on January 3, 2016
As you probably know by now, a militia group, including members of the Bundy family, have occupied a closed headquarters building in Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge. They are there to protest the latest in a decades-long series of persecutions of the Hammond family by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management. The Last Refuge has the full back story; it’s a long read, but highly recommended. You’ll learn many things that will never be reported in the MSM (where this occupation is being called terrorism by the same people who called the rioting and looting in Ferguson and Baltimore “peaceful protests” and defended them as justified).
Stories like this one and the Bundy family’s are not unique, just more noticed (thanks to those militia protests) than the many other similar ones. It’s quite clear that the FWS and BLM (among other agencies) have been run by anti-capitalist, anti-private-property watermelons for decades, and that they’ll stop at nothing to wrest land, water, and grazing rights away from their rightful owners. There’s no point in posting an excerpt; you simply must read the whole thing.
Posted by Richard on December 31, 2015
Fascinating article at Priceonomics about the history of the Klu Klux Klan, focusing on its explosive membership growth and subsequent collapse in the 1920s. It seems that the KKK’s primary purpose was to milk as many racist rubes as possible in order to enrich those at the top:
Today, the Ku Klux Klan is one of the most extreme and reviled symbols of American racism. But there was once a time when the fringe hate group verged on “mainstream.” In the 1920s, its members numbered in the millions and made up a significant percentage of the US population. This is the KKK that claimed to control elections and counted U.S. presidents among its members. And it’s the predecessor to the group that, in fiction, threatened Atticus Finch in front of the steps of the Maycomb County courthouse for defending a black man.
But in 2011, Roland G. Fryer and Steven D. Levitt, the economist co-author of Freakonomics, looked into historical statistics about KKK membership and demographic, criminal and political trends at the time. And they found something surprising: a seldom-seen side of the KKK.
“Rather than a terrorist organization,” they wrote, “the 1920s Klan is best described as a social organization with a wildly successful multi-level marketing structure.” According to Fryer and Levitt, in its heyday, the KKK was a giant, perverse pyramid scheme. Instead of perpetrating a racist agenda, the KKK’s leaders exploited pre-existing, popular racism to make money.
They were very, very, very successful. …
RTWT. HT: David Aitken, who may someday post again instead of just emailing friends (but who am I to talk?).
Posted by Richard on December 30, 2015
The Savoy Masjid mosque in Houston was heavily damaged by an arson fire on Christmas Day, and firefighters had barely finished putting their hoses away before the cries of “Islamophobia” and “hate crime” began. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), supposedly a “Muslim civil rights group,” but actually a creation of and front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, called for a federal investigation into what they characterized as part of a nationwide wave of anti-Muslim violence.
Well, what do you know:
The 37-year-old man who has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a Houston mosque on Christmas Day attended the facility for five years and prayed there five times a day.
I’m so not surprised.
UPDATE: No, I’m not prepared to call it a false flag operation, although others have — plenty of them. To be a false flag operation, it must have been orchestrated by a government or organization, and there is no definitive evidence of that yet. It could be just one crazy parishioner motivated by who knows what.
But I’m not dismissing the false flag idea either. CAIR has certainly engaged in muruna many times (including its own efforts to portray the San Bernardino massacre and the Boston bombings as false flag operations and Muslims as the victims). And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Savoy Masjid mosque is heavily supported by the Saudis and full of Wahabbi literature.
Posted by Richard on December 29, 2015
Yes, John Effin’ Kerry has replaced Hillary as Secretary of State, but you can’t tell from the State Department’s year-in-review. It’s just so … Clintonesque. Reason Hit & Run has details:
Ahh, Syria circa 2015: an idyllic land of peace, prosperity, and security… said no one ever. Well, except for the U.S. State Department, which counts “bringing peace [and] security to Syria” among its top 2015 accomplishments. In a year-in-review post on the department’s official blog, it also takes credit for “step[ping] up to to aid the Syrian people during their time of need” and developing a plan for “political transition” that “is responsive to the needs of the Syrian people.”
… Other things the department sees fit to brag about as top 2015 accomplishments include “winning [the] fight against violent extremists,” by which it means holding a conference with that title; Secretary of State John Kerry assuming a two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council; and making a pie-in-the-sky pact with other nations to “end poverty” and “ensure prosperity for all.”
On second thought, it could fairly be called Kerryesque. Clintonesque and Kerryesque are very different stylistically, but actually have a lot in common. Mendacity, self-aggrandizement, …
On third thought, the State Department has been a cesspool for many years, so neither Clinton nor Kerry is entirely responsible for this latest bit of bushwah.
Posted by Richard on December 25, 2015
You know those African and Middle Eastern refugees flooding into Europe to escape poverty, war, oppression, or death (take your pick)? Some of them are outraged at the lack of amenities in the Italian villa (!) where they’re housed:
According to The Local, which cites the Italian-language La Repubblica, a group of two dozen Sub-Saharan African migrants in the town of Ceranova are outraged that a lack of free Wi-Fi at the villa they live in is preventing them from using Skype to communicate with family members back in Africa.
The protesters are also angry that the villa doesn’t have a professional cleaner to keep things tidy.
Sounds like they’re assimilating already. They’ve certainly embraced the European entitlement mentality.
Posted by Richard on December 24, 2015
I’m not a Christian, but I like Christmas anyway. So I wish people a merry Christmas. Apparently, some people are offended by that. I think anyone who gets upset about being wished a merry Christmas really, really needs to rethink their approach to life.
It seems that there are a number of such pathetic individuals around Greeley, Colorado:
GREELEY – Growing up in the restaurant industry, Brandon Bird says he’s seen it all. But for the first time in 40 years, the owner of Bulldog Deli and Pizza in Greeley says he’s never encountered backlash like he has in the past week.
“It didn’t occur to me that folks would take any offense or negativity at all in simply changing my billboard to saying Merry Christmas.” …
Read the whole sorry story. And then have a very merry Christmas. Oh, yeah, and a happy Festivus, too!
Posted by Richard on December 6, 2015
I didn’t watch the President’s prime-time speech tonight. But I took a quick look around the interwebs later, and I thought The Onion came up with a hilarious parody headline:
Obama: Increasing Gun Control, Rejecting Islamophobia Are Key to Combating Terrorism
Oh, wait. That’s not The Onion. That’s Slate. And they’re serious. He’s serious.
I guess I’m not all that surprised.
Obama did finally acknowledge that San Bernardino was a terrorist act. Prior to tonight, he, his lackeys, and their sycophants in the MSM had clung to the “workplace violence” theory to the point where it was laughable.
No surprise: Obama wants to trash the Second Amendment. He’s passionately opposed to discriminating against Muslims in any way, but he’s demanding that everyone on the government’s outrageous no-fly list be denied a fundamental human and Constitutional right without due process of law. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list, and it took him forever to get off. IIRC, at least 40% of the people on the no-fly list are there for no good reason.
Big surprise: Obama didn’t claim that limiting carbon dioxide emissions was the third key to combating terrorism. Maybe after the joke that was the Paris climate summit, he’s decided to cool it with the climate change rhetoric for a while.
You see what I did there?