Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cruising the Web

I'll be vacationing for the next week so I don't know that I'll have time to blog. Enjoy the end of July.

You might have been complaining about the coverage of the birth of the royal prince, but geez, isn't that a lot better than contemplating the creepy sleaziness that is Anthony Weiner or wondering about what goes on in that marriage with his wife, Huma, taking on the role of her mentor, Hillary Clinton, in trying to deal with the sliminess of her hound dog of a husband?

Okay, he's disgusting, but I can't resist. It sure beats worrying about what will happen to the pensioners in Detroit. What type of guy continues sexting after he lost so very publicly his career and endangered his marriage and while his wife is pregnant? And how does he have such hubris to think that this won't come out or that he could withstand the public glare of a run for mayor of NYC or, when it does become public, bring his wife to come out and claim that this is just a private matter. At some point, the public must evaluate the judgment of someone running for political office and Weiner's behavior was so egregiously sleazy that everyone must doubt his judgment in spending half a year after his first scandal sending texts about his sexual fantasies, most of which can't be printed in the press, to a 23-year-old liberal activist at the same time he was posing for a profile about his comeback for People Magazine.

Though New Yorkers might prefer to having a mayor who spends his time sexting out pictures of himself to young women and calling himself Carlos Danger than one who wants to limit the soda that they buy or whether they take the escalator instead of the stairs.

The President and his supporters might like to blame crime in black neighborhoods on insufficient gun laws or stand-your-ground laws, but there are a lot of actual facts that such claims ignore.
Maybe it’s time the president notices that inner-city gun laws aren’t being adequately enforced. For example, in 2012 Chicago was the murder capital of the U.S. Incredibly, also in 2012, Chicago ranked dead last when it came to enforcement of federal gun laws....Meanwhile, criminals who try to buy guns aren’t being prosecuted. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), in 2010 of the 6 million Americans who attempted to buy a gun about 76,000 were denied. Of those, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) referred 4,732 cases for prosecution. Of these, just 44 people were prosecuted and 13 punished.

What this means is that people with criminal records in Chicago are not only aware that the chances of being prosecuted for having an illegal handgun are low, but they also know they likely won’t be prosecuted if they pay someone who has a clean record (a straw purchaser) to buy a handgun for them. This is the real moral issue that needs to be addressed. Blacks are being killed almost every day in Chicago. To save lives in the inner cities, gun laws need to be enforced.

Next , law-abiding citizens need the ability to apply for and obtain permits to carry concealed handguns. Instead of creating a class of victims while not arresting and prosecuting the bad guys enough, how about allowing good citizens to utilize their Second Amendment rights?
Here are 20 things that 20-year olds don't get.

Ramesh Ponnuru excoriates the new federal guidelines from the Obama administration on how colleges should deal with sexual-harassment charges. These new policies were revealed in a letter sent to the University of Montana that set forth new criteria that should be a model for other colleges and universities.
The letter criticized the university for defining “sexual harassment” too narrowly. The school had disciplined people only for conduct so “severe” and “pervasive” that it created a “hostile environment.” Instead, the federal government said, colleges should treat “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal” conduct, as harassment. Such conduct, the Office for Civil Rights has explained, runs the gamut from “making sexual propositions” to “spreading sexual rumors.”

The university also erred, according to the letter, in saying that conduct qualified as harassment only when “an objectively reasonable person” would find it “offensive.” Harassment may occur, then, when someone’s conduct triggers even an objectively unreasonable complaint. The federal government has put universities on notice that they need to take any complaint, however little merit it may seem to have, very seriously.

The letter went on to instruct colleges that “taking disciplinary action against the harasser” may be appropriate, and even required, before the investigation into the complaint is finished -- that is, before it is determined that the “harasser” is actually a harasser.
Apparently, the Education Department doesn't need no stinkin' presumption of innocence or freedom of speech.

Jonah Goldberg analyzes Helen Thomas's career and the encomiums offered up on her death.
Still, as time went by, the awards poured in as Thomas became a Washington institution, with cameos in Hollywood movies and even “The Simpsons.” But the “odd thing about her awards and citations,” Chait noted, “is that they almost never mention any specific contributions she has made to journalism save for being female and, well, old.”

Or as journalist Andrew Ferguson once put it, “Everybody admires Helen, though nobody can tell you why.”

The best answer I can come up with: She had a long tradition of existence.
And for her disgusting comments about Israel and praise for Hezbollah. No wonder Hamas issued a statement of praise after she died. As Jonathan Tobin writes,
As for Thomas’s line about throwing the Jews out of Palestine, the attempts to soften its impact by her friends still fall flat. The reporter wasn’t talking about Jewish settlers in the West Bank. She was referring to all six million Israeli Jews who, she thought, ought to go back where they supposedly belonged, to Germany and Poland. We are supposed to give her a pass for that because she was either elderly at the time or because she was the child of Lebanese immigrants, who brought their prejudices against Jews with them. Though she subsequently attempted to weasel her way out of the dustup with a statement that expressed her wish for peace, it was clear that she thought such a peace ought to be based on Israel’s eradication. This wasn’t so much, as the Times wrote, an “offhand remark” as it reflected a deep-seated hatred for Israel and its Jewish population that had characterized much of her reporting and writing throughout her career. That her fans are willing to regard this as not germane to the main story about her achievements is to be expected. But let’s ask ourselves how her stature would be affected if her offhand remarks, even in her dotage, had been aimed at African-Americans, rather than Israelis? Rationalizing or minimizing her prejudices for the sake of preserving Thomas’s reputation is intellectually indefensible.
Today Obama is going to try to connect himself to Lincoln once again by traveling to Galesburg Illinois, the site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate, to deliver yet another speech on the economy. As we wait for that speech, the National Journal revisits the speech he gave a couple of years ago in Detroit where he described Detroit as a city that is coming back due to his bailout of the car companies and federal investments in the supposedly soon-to-boom green energy industry.
In other words, the Detroit-area advanced-battery industry Obama said "barely existed before" his 2011 speech now … barely exists.
Obama also saluted the White House decision to make Detroit one of its six pilot cities in the "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" program.
"We're teaming up with everybody—mayors, local officials, you name it—boosting economic development, rebuilding your communities the best way," Obama said. "This is a city where the great American industry has come back to life and the industries of tomorrow are taking root."
The biggest accomplishment of this program in Detroit is the demolition of a public housing project. There are also hopes, diminished by the bankruptcy proceedings, of building a $100 million light-rail line. Other "accomplishments" include a "text my bus" system "to provide more reliable information on transportation schedules"—this in a city that has lost half its bus service since 2005 and where budget cuts have eliminated overnight service. The "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" program also envisions the possible development of a regional transportation authority for Detroit.
With public housing being demolished, a text system for late or nonexistent bus service, and a federally funded lithium-ion battery factory that never met its hyped employment plans and then fell into bankruptcy, does any of this sound like, as Obama said, the foundations of a "city where people, brave and bold, courageous and clever, are dreaming up ways to prove the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in our history"?

Detroit's failings are many and its debts staggering. Obama did not cause them. But his economic remedies and intervention have achieved little. And his unhinged enthusiasm about what was happening in Detroit in 2011, and how it fit into the larger story of American economic life, provides an inconvenient backdrop for Obama's economic address Wednesday and those that follow.
See which countries in Europe other Europeans like or don't like. Hint: Russia and France are not that popular.

Apparently, actual prisoners don't react to the prisoner's dilemma the same way that students volunteering for an experiment do.

Detroit was an experiment that resulted in municipal suicide.
The city undertook a controlled experiment in what happens if you are governed by a toxic combination of Great Society big spenders, race hustlers, crooks, public-sector unions and ineffectual reformers. It spent and misgoverned itself into the ground. It tried to defy the axiom of the late economist Herb Stein that “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Detroit’s bout of self-destruction lasted for a few decades, and now may finally stop only when there is little left to destroy.

The city was at the pioneering edge of urban liberalism and discovered that all the social spending in the world doesn’t deliver order, family stability, education, economic dynamism or effective governance. In the hands of Detroit’s rotten political class, it proved inimical to all of those things.
Imagine this, the federal government that loves to prosecute oil and gas companies for killing any protected birds are choosing not to prosecuting and are even under-reporting the number of such birds killed by wind farms. Some bird deaths are more important than others.

Amazingly, when given the freedom of choice, Wisconsin's government workers choose not to join unions.