Combs Spouts Off

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Archive for August, 2018

Finally! Pat Bowlen nominated to HOF

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2018

If you’ve paid the slightest attention to sports news today, you already know that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has been nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It took long enough. Bowlen stepped down as CEO and turned the team over to a trust four years ago due to his Alzheimer’s disease.

Bowlen is often described as “a Canadian businessman,” but he’s actually an American businessman, born in Wisconsin, with degrees in business and law from the University of Oklahoma. He just happened to make tons of money in Canada, first as a lawyer and then in real estate, oil, and mining. But my impression (admittedly, from a distance with limited information) is that nothing meant more to him than the Broncos. He was certainly an actively involved owner on a day-to-day basis who had great relationships with his coaches and players. Check out the second and third videos embedded in the CBS Denver story linked above.

Current President/CEO Joe Ellis and former player Steve Atwater (who should also be in the HOF) delivered the news to Bowlen, who reportedly smiled when told of the nomination. That’s good. I’m glad he’s still aware enough to derive some pleasure from hearing the news.

Ten owners have preceded Bowlen into the HOF, and only three or four of those can hold a candle to Bowlen’s record of contributions to the league and accomplishments as a team owner. The record of the Broncos under his leadership speaks for itself: more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons; best winning percentage of any NFL team, and second-best of any professional sports franchise (I believe the best is the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, and — surprise! — Pat Bowlen owns that too).

Bowlen’s work on numerous ownership committees makes him arguably more responsible than anyone else for NFL football’s tremendous TV success and ascendancy to being America’s favorite sport. Are you one of the umpteen millions who enjoy Sunday Night Football, perennially the highest-rated show on TV by a large margin? Thank Pat Bowlen; it was his idea.

The actual vote on the nominees takes place February 2nd (the day after the Super Bowl), and the induction ceremony will be next August. All the experts I’ve heard say he’s a slam-dunk, that the vote will be basically a formality. I certainly hope so. And I hope when that happens, he’s still able to understand that he’s received that well-deserved honor.

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Fatally stupid

Posted by Richard on August 16, 2018

From The Daily Wire:

A young American couple who took a year-long bike trip around the world, believing that evil was a make-believe concept, took a fatal route in Tajikistan near the Afghan border, where alleged ISIS terrorists stabbed them to death.

Alleged? ISIS, which claimed responsibility, released a video showing the five men pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu al Baghdadi.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, 29, quit their jobs last year in order to make their trip. Austin was a vegan who worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Geoghegan, a vegetarian who worked in the Georgetown University admissions office.

Check out the picture of the couple accompanying the article. They look exactly as you’d expect such people to look. Young, idealistic, and clueless. All about rainbows and unicorns, at least figuratively.

I know, I sound cold, heartless, and cynical. Really, I’m not. I have great sympathy for their families and friends, and I’m saddened that they died such a horrible death. But ideas have consequences, and their delusional beliefs led to their demise. May others learn from that.

While in Morocco, Austin wrote:

… Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.

On July 29, the five ISIS men rammed their car into Austin, Geoghegan, and two other Western cyclists, hopped out, and stabbed all four to death. Thus providing Austin for one brief moment with a greater revelation.

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Guess who’s meddling in US politics now

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2018

An investigation by the Daily Caller News Foundation reveals that Iranian nationals are posing as anti-immigrant Americans as part of a campaign to defeat the repeal of per-country caps on the number of employment-based green cards (permanent resident visas) issued to mostly H1B visa holders:

Iranian nationals are impersonating Americans online to demonize Indian immigrants as part of a lobbying campaign against proposed legislation in the House of Representatives, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

Using Twitter usernames that read like foreign stereotypes of American names, they tweet obsessively at reporters and high-profile political figures about the threats they say Indian immigrants pose to America.

H.R. 392 enjoyed broad bipartisan support and has been incorporated into the Homeland Security appropriations bill as an amendment. Contrary to what many of the fake Americans’ tweets claim, it doesn’t increase either the number of H1B visas or the number of green cards issued. It simply eliminates the per-country limits on the latter.

To be clear, these people aren’t living in Iran and doing the bidding of the Mullahs. They’re Iranians who’ve fled from the Mullahs and are living in the US under non-permanent visas. Their greatest fear, I’m sure, is being forced to return to Iran. They’re desperate to not have their already slim chances at gaining the security of permanent residence status further eroded. So I’m quite sympathetic to their concerns.

But their tactic of ginning up anti-immigrant sentiment and encouraging the false belief that this legislation will lead to countless Indians taking “all the jobs of the US citizens” is deplorable.

Before I retired as a technical writer, I worked with a number of H1B visa holders from around the world, some of whom were lucky enough to eventually obtain green cards. They were, to a man and woman, highly skilled, valuable professionals in software engineering and related fields. On net, they didn’t “take Americans’ jobs”; they created far, far more jobs than they “took” by helping to develop new products and services (including innovative, patentable new technologies) that greatly improved video conferencing and collaboration, distance learning, etc. They were exactly the kind of people we should want to become Americans. The US would become wealthier (and create countless new good jobs) if it allowed more such people to come here. And to stay.

Probably the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Thomas Friedman about is his suggestion for an immigration compromise: build a high wall with wide gates. In other words, make it harder to come here illegally, but easier to come here legally.

Perhaps that would assuage the fears of these Iranians by making them feel less like they’re playing a zero-sum game rigged against them. Which they are.

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Another “do as I say, not as I do” Democrat

Posted by Richard on August 13, 2018

Episode #13,496 of Not The Onion:

She ran on responsible gun regulation, now she’s accused of killing her campaign treasurer

ATLANTA – A former Georgia Congressional candidate has been charged with murder after her former campaign treasurer was found dead inside her apartment.

Kellie Collins, of Thomason, turned herself into the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office just as authorities in Aiken County, South Carolina found the body of Curtis Cain, Collins’ former campaign treasurer.

Investigators said Cain did not show up for work on Tuesday, so deputies went to his home to check on him. That’s when they found him dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

In 2017, Collins ran as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican, for Georgia’s 10th District. She ultimately dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.

During the race, she touted her support for responsible gun regulation to protect the community.

The typical gun banner wants to disarm you and me because we lack impulse control and might in a moment of rage shoot someone. That’s called projection.

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Training kids to be school shooters

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2018

It started out as a sad, but not terribly important, news story. Authorities raided a squalid “compound” in New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border last Friday looking for a young boy kidnapped by his father. They found 11 children, ages 1 to 15, malnourished and living in terrible conditions. They arrested three women, believed to be the children’s mothers, and two men. And they found the body of a child, most likely Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, the boy they were searching for and the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, one of the men arrested. Sad, but still not terribly important.

Then came news making it much more important. According to prosecutors, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was training some of the children to commit mass shootings at schools. That link is to the story aired on Next on 9News. Mind you, I like Kyle Clark and Next on 9News, a refreshingly different and generally thoughtful and fair-minded local newscast. But in that clip, they go out of their way to reassure us that an outburst of “Allahu akbar” in the courtroom could be totally innocuous and no different than a Baptist shouting “praise the Lord.” Nonsense.

Siraj Wahhaj is the son of an infamous imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, of the radical Masjid At-Taqwa mosque. The elder Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a “character witness” for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “blind sheik” convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in the US.

Shouting “Allahu akbar” was innocuous, my ass. It was the war cry of a radical Islamist who won’t rest until every infidel converts, submits, or dies.

I guess we should have expected that radical Islamists would target our schools as a way of terrorizing us. Schools were one of their targets of choice in Israel until the Israelis ensured that every school had armed guards. Do you have kids in school? Have any of the staff at that school undergone FASTER training?

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Sarah Hoyt: Heinlein vs. Handmaid’s Tale

Posted by Richard on August 1, 2018

Have you read Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100? It’s part of his future history series (which you should read in its entirety, and which is, IMHO, the ne plus ultra of the science fiction genre). I haven’t read it in about 40 years (although I’ve reread some of his other future history stories since then). After reading Sarah Hoyt’s column contrasting it and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I think I’ll reread it. And I’ll continue to not read Atwood’s book and to not watch the Hulu series based on it (easy enough, since I don’t subscribe to Hulu and don’t intend to).

Hoyt’s column is impossible to excerpt in a way that does justice to it, so you just have to read the whole thing. But here’s the opening as a teaser:

I’ve been waiting for someone to accuse me of hypocrisy for liking Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100 (“If this goes on…”) and hating Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Mind you, I’m a libertarian which means being accused of hypocrisy is my bread and butter, and if it doesn’t happen at least twice a day I start feeling a little off.

The left, for instance, is fond of accusing me of hypocrisy for the stuff I write, since my moral and religious standing should not allow me to do that.  Not that I have a moral or religious stand (or rather I do, but often in a different direction from every other human being).  In other words, I’m often enough accused of hypocrisy for not matching their strawman of me, so that I expect to be accused of hypocrisy at the drop of a hat.

But there are substantive reasons why “If this goes on…”/Revolt in 2100 is a worthy contribution to speculative literature, while Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tail survives only by being mercilessly inflicted on school children by their progressive elders.  And the reasons go way beyond the fact that the blinkered Atwood refuses to be considered “speculative fiction” under the impression that science fiction is bug-eyed monsters ravishing beauties. (Yeah, she said that.  No, seriously.)  They even go beyond the fact that Robert A. Heinlein could spin a tale, while Margaret Atwood has the writing skills of a bad porn writer, easily matched by any of a dozen newby erotica writers on Amazon Lending Library who at least, most of the time, manage to make their porn titillating while she only manages to make hers stultifying.

The reasons are more substantive when you get to world-building and the nature of fiction.

Like I said, RTWT.

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