Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

A familiar refrain

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2017

Regarding the “mentally disabled” young man who was held captive, tortured, and beaten for 24-48 hours in Chicago, with some of the torture streamed live on Facebook, there’s this news:

CHICAGO — Chicago police don’t believe a man beaten in an assault broadcast live on Facebook was targeted because he was white despite profanities made by the accused assailants about white people and President-elect Donald Trump, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Charges are expected later in the day against four black suspects, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press.

Repeatedly shouting “F*ck white people! F*ck Trump!” isn’t evidence of racial motivation, according to authorities.

I’m reminded of all the times that authorities have assured us that shouting “Allahu Akbar!” isn’t evidence of radical Islamist motivation.

And the establishment wonders why a large portion of the population views them with contempt.

UPDATE: Chicago PD has decided this was a hate crime after all. Under Illinois law, targeting someone because of either their race or their disability is a hate crime, so it’s not clear which they’re applying in this case. Note, however, that the video doesn’t record any of the perps shouting “F*ck retards!”

UPDATE 2: I should note that I’m not in favor of hate crime laws, especially not those that only apply to crimes against certain “protected classes” while ignoring hatred based on, for instance, nationality or profession. The depravity of these acts alone should be sufficient to warrant long prison sentences. That said, I think the motivation of the perps should be explored and discussed, and I think it’s fair to invoke it as an aggravating factor leading to a longer sentence; a perpetrator of violence motivated by hatred of a whole segment of society is more of a danger to the public than one motivated by a beef with a specific individual.

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The problem with DNA today

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2017

The next time you hear that the police have DNA evidence connecting someone to a crime, remember Michelle Malkin’s latest column, Forensic Nightmare: The Perils of Touch DNA.

The problem with DNA today is that we’ve become too good at finding it. It’s now possible to detect and analyze incredibly small samples of “touch DNA” — the epithelial cells that our skin sheds all the time everywhere we go. And those cells can then get transferred to who knows whom or where. Six degrees of separation, anyone?

You go to an office to drop off a job application and shake hands with the manager. She meets her husband for lunch, and they hug. Later that day, as he’s making the night deposit from his business, someone assaults him from behind and steals the money. Guess what? The police find your DNA on the back of his jacket. His assailant wore a mask, and the only description he can give is a white guy of average height and medium build wearing dark clothes. Hey, that’s you, isn’t it?

The problem is analogous to the problem caused by our ability to measure smaller and smaller concentrations of contaminants or pollutants. First it was parts per million, then parts per billion, and now we’re measuring parts per trillion. We’re approaching the point where we can detect almost anything almost anywhere. “The lake contains organophosphates!” “Detectable levels of arsenic were found on the playground!”

While there are some substances (like lead, which accumulates in the body) for which it’s fair to say that there really aren’t any safe levels, for almost everything else Paracelcus’ adage that the dose makes the poison is true. But people don’t know or tend to forget that (which radical environmentalists exploit all the time).

Just as tiny bits of your DNA can end up in many places, so can tiny bits of a farmer’s glyphosphate (Roundup). While both facts are interesting, they shouldn’t be assumed to prove that you, or the farmer, or Monsanto are guilty of anything or have harmed anyone. They merely demonstrate how good we’ve gotten at detecting stuff in very small quantities.

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Gary Kubiak’s retirement speech

Posted by Richard on January 3, 2017

For health reasons, Gary Kubiak has stepped down as coach of the Denver Broncos. If you’re at all interested in the Broncos, or in football, or just in how a man of great character handles the difficult task of announcing that he’s walking away from his dream job, you might want to watch his retirement press conference.


[YouTube link]

Sports reporter Mike Klis:

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Skenazy: worst free-range moments of 2016

Posted by Richard on January 2, 2017

Lenore Skenazy is the author of Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry), which started a national movement against helicopter parenting and bubble-wrap child rearing. I wish every parent in America would read that book and regularly visit her website. The smothering, over-protective, “all risk must be eliminated” style of parenting that she forcefully and persuasively rejects is, IMHO, the reason we have college students today who need counseling and “safe spaces” after encountering “Trump 2016” written in chalk on the sidewalk.

Shortly before Christmas, Skenazy posted her top 11 worst free-range moments of the year. Her number one is my favorite (i.e., most headdesk-inducing one):

The police chief of New Albany, Ohio, helpfully revealed the age that kids are old enough to start going outside on their own: 16. “I think that’s the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom.”

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Happy New Year 2017!

Posted by Richard on January 1, 2017

fireworks

Happy New Year! I can’t believe that at my advanced age I’ve made it past midnight. I owe it all to immoderate quantities of The Glenlivet and several wonderful interactions on my porch with the feral cat I’ve been befriending, whom I’ve named Bibi (and who now comes when I call her name).

Five months ago, Bibi wouldn’t let me get within 8 or 10 feet of her. Tonight, as I crouched down to give her a treat, she hopped up on my leg. Later, as I sat on the porch step sipping Glenlivet, she almost climbed into my lap to get a sniff of it. She rubbed up against my legs and the back of my hands on several occasions. I think we’ve made remarkable progress in our relationship, and it portends a wonderful 2017.

I hope you too have reason to believe that things got better during 2016 (hey, at least we avoided letting the Clinton crime family have another shot at the White House). And I hope that 2017 promises to be even better for you, as it does for me.

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Don’t donate to HSUS

Posted by Richard on December 29, 2016

If you’re considering some last-minute charitable donations this year, your local animal shelter or humane society might be a good candidate. But don’t be fooled and think that a donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will benefit shelter dogs and cats. It doesn’t.

2010-08-18_cat_surprised

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Polar vortex update

Posted by Richard on December 17, 2016

As of 11:23 AM, the temperature in Denver has risen to 0°, with a wind chill of only -11°. There’s a good 6-7″ of fresh snow in my yard.

The “climate experts” assure me that this is due to anthropogenic global warming. So I’m going to do my part and not drive anywhere for the rest of the weekend.

UPDATE, 10:30 PM: We topped out at 3° this afternoon, a new record low high. Earlier this evening, it dropped to -15°, a new record low. But recently the wind shifted from the north to the south, so it’s “warmed up” to -3°. So I guess the worst is over.

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Jill Stein’s great public service

Posted by Richard on December 15, 2016

Americans interested in fair and honest elections, and especially voters in Michigan, owe Green Party candidate Jill Stein thanks. Per Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily:

Jill Stein and her puppet master Hillary Clinton’s effort to stop the certification of enough Trump delegates to disrupt the Electoral College has run aground in the most delightful way.

In Michigan, where Trump has been certified the winner in spite of Stein’s efforts, Wayne County (Detroit), where Clinton overwhelmingly won, has come under fire explicitly due to the recount.  Turns out in 37 percent of the Detroit precincts more votes were cast than the number of people who showed up to the polls to vote. No one would have noticed if not for the personal enrichment recall scheme of the former Green Party presidential candidate.

The Detroit News quotes Krista Haroutunian, the chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers as saying, “There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal.”

Now Wayne County officials will be subjected to an audit by the Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, the exact kind of electoral proctology exam that every local official fears.

To make matters worse for Democrats in the state, Stein’s broad claims of voter fraud convinced the GOP majority in the state legislature to respond by passing voter identification legislation.  The exact type of legislation that the left has vehemently opposed.  Talk about open mouth, insert foot.

It’s a shame that Stein didn’t demand a recount in Illinois. It might have been quite interesting to see what such an effort revealed in Chicago. Although I suspect the crooked pols in Chicago are better at covering their tracks than those in Detroit.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Richard on November 24, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying this wonderful holiday, and I commend to you An Objectivist Ode to Thanksgiving by Jennifer Anju Grossman, the CEO of The Atlas Society, in which she offers “a Thanksgiving prayer that can appeal to secularists and religionists alike.”

For many Americans, Thanksgiving dinner begins with a prayer.

It is a chance to hold hands, to take a pause, to give thanks. Ayn Rand, firm exponent of reason and the originator of a philosophy for living on earth, would not have approved of praying to a deity.  Yet insofar as prayer is defined by the dictionary as a “solemn request or expression of thanks to an object of worship,” she certainly would have approved of a prayerful thanks during this holiday — and she did.

In one letter to friends — a Spanish painter and his wife — she emphasizes that she and Frank (her husband) wanted the couple “to come in time for Thanksgiving, so that we will have occasion to give thanks.”

After you read the rest of that, do me—and yourself—a favor and go read The real Thanksgiving story. And in case dinner isn’t ready yet and the ball game is boring, here are some other Thanksgiving posts you might enjoy:

  • 2007: This Thanksgiving, celebrate the producers — Features Debi Ghates’ wonderful explanation of what you should be thankful for and who you should thank.
  • 2008: Happy Thanksgiving  — A funny/sad story about kindergarten kids celebrating Thanksgiving. It features cops and accusations of genocide.
  • 2009: Thanking the producers again  — This time with lots of help from Jim Woods. Also, remembering the anniversary of the Jihadist attacks on Mumbai.
  • 2010: Best wishes for Thanksgiving  — Features John Stossel’s and Fouad Ajami’s thoughts on the holiday. You might enjoy Ajami’s thoughts on our Thanksgiving cuisine.

I’ll finish with a reprise of the song I posted last year. It seems even more appropriate after all that’s happened this year. If the election results have led to tension among your Thanksgiving guests, have them listen carefully to Don Henley’s “My Thanksgiving” (from the 2000 album Inside Job). It’s the perfect song for today, and one that hopefully will help them put any concerns and disagreements into perspective.


[YouTube link]

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mineSometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going throughThe last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion-well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lives

I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my ThanksgivingHave you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things areHere in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

I hope that’s as meaningful to you as it is to me.

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Leon Russell, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2016

I was terribly saddened this morning to learn that Leon Russell died last night. He was a tremendous singer, songwriter, and musician, and one of my all-time favorite artists. He was 74, and his death comes much too soon.

Leon Russell was also Sir Elton John’s idol and biggest musical influence. In 2010, the two of them reconnected and recorded a highly-acclaimed album, The Union. See my post about that to learn more and listen to just a few of my favorite Leon Russell performances. It includes Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Young Blood from the Concert for Bangladesh, one of the finest live performances ever recorded, a ten-minute tour de force.

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A salute to our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2016

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

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A reason to celebrate

Posted by Richard on November 9, 2016

No, I’m not celebrating because The Donald was elected. He wasn’t in my list of top ten candidates for president. If I’d bothered to put together a list of my top 100 (or 1000) candidates, he wouldn’t have been in that list either.

I’m celebrating because Felonia McPantsuit (as Kurt Schlichter dubbed her) won’t be bringing her toxic, Chavista-like mixture of unbridled corruption and radical leftist ideology to the White House. And won’t be carting out yet more of its furnishings after four or eight years.

Oh, yeah, and I’m celebrating because … no hanging chads!!

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Apparently, “spirit cooking” isn’t about cooking with booze

Posted by Richard on November 5, 2016

The hashtag #SpiritCooking keeps popping up in my Twitter timeline, with references to Wikileaks, John Podesta, and the Clinton campaign. So when I saw a YouTube video about it, I checked it out.

The guy who posted it, Mark Dice, appears to be a nutcase. But the information about Marina Abramovic, who is clearly a nutcase, appears to be true. Her email inviting John Podesta to a Spirit Cooking dinner also appears to be legitimate, and strongly suggests that he too is a nutcase.

I don’t freak out worrying about Satanists (or see anything specifically Satanic in this), but I think it’s pretty amusing. And another interesting data point about the kinds of people running our country. Enjoy.

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Read Scott Adams’ Blog

Posted by Richard on November 4, 2016

If you haven’t been reading Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ blog, you’ve been missing out on the most interesting contrarian commentaries of the election campaign.

I was motivated to post this by his post Unhypnotizing a Clinton Supporter, but he’s since added a new post about Trump’s “closing argument” final campaign ad.

You should read both. But really, just hit that first link to his blog’s home page. Then scroll down and read as much as you have time for.

UPDATE: I guess, since I’ve decided to vote for the asshole over the felon, I should go ahead and embed the Trump ad video. Especially since YouTube has warned me to “think twice before sharing” it.

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Steve Goodman would be so happy!

Posted by Richard on November 3, 2016

Cubs win! Cubs win!

If only Steve Goodman had lived to see it.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Steve Goodman was one of the finest singer-songwriters ever to walk the earth. He was a Chicago boy and a huge Cubs fan. Tragically, he died of leukemia at the age of 36 in 1984, just four days before the Cubs won the National League Eastern Division title, sending them to the playoffs for the first time since 1945.

It’s nice to imagine that there’s a heaven with Steve Goodman in it, and that he’s got a huge grin on his face as he declares, “Damn, I’m gonna have to write some new lyrics for that song!”

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