Friday, November 28, 2014

Cruising the Web

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend quality time with friends and family. I had a lovely day with my family and am enjoying anticipating three more days before having to go back to work.

And Happy Black Friday to everyone. I intend to do all my shopping from the comfort of my own home computer so the day really has no meaning for me. But I hope everyone can find the perfect bargains and gifts out there. And I truly appreciate those who use the Amazon links on my page for their purchases no matter what you buy. Anything that is purchased by using my page as your portal results in at least a 6% commission from Amazon for me. And I use the money I earn to buy materials for my classes and students. It's a very large win-win for everyone. Thank you.

George Will finds much to bemuse him about our country today.
Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 people who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law, directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand that withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”

...The federal government, which has Tomahawk cruise missiles and Apache and Lakota helicopters, used the code name “Geronimo” in the attack that killed Osama bin Laden but objected to the name of the Washington Redskins. The Department of Homeland Security, unsleepingly vigilant, raided a Kansas City, Mo., shop to stop sales of panties emblazoned with unauthorized Royals logos. A U.S. Forest Service article on safe marshmallow toasting did not neglect to nag us: It suggested fruit rather than chocolate in s’mores. The droll Orange County Register wondered, “Why not replace the marshmallow with a Brussels sprout?” The federal government’s food police began cracking down on schools’ fundraising bake sales: Step away from those brownies and put your hands on a fruit cup.

Niagara County, N.Y., spent $700,000 of its Tobacco Master Settlement Money not on fighting smoking but on golf course equipment. In Seattle, the Freedom Socialist Party, which favors a $20-an-hour minimum wage, advertised a job opening for a Web developer to be paid $13 an hour.
And the tales of ridiculousness go on and on.

John Podhoretz wonders if one conclusion we can reach about the uproar over the failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson results from people having reallyforgotten was crime was like before the downturn in crime from the early 1990s.
The revolution in policing that swept through the nation in the early 1990s has changed American life so profoundly we can barely remember what it was like in the years when crime was the central domestic preoccupation of the United States.
Consider this: Nearly 100 million people in this country were born after the national crime drop began in 1994.
That means 100 million people think the way we live now is the natural state of things. Most of the rest of us have come to accept it as the “new normal” as well.
This has happened several times in our history. As the late sociologist Eric Monkkonen wrote in his seminal 2001 study, “Murder in New York City,” Americans have often responded to an era of relative calm by deciding that the authorities have been too restrictive and cruel — resulting in a subsequent period in which greater laxity led to higher rates of crime.
Americans today have either never known or have forgotten that that for decades, it was the working theory of police departments that their job was to respond to crimes after they occurred rather than to prevent crime from happening in the first place.
Charles Lane suggests that Chuck Schumer's recommendation that Democrats embrace government power while admitting that they made a mistake in totally changing the entire national health care system is just not the correct approach today.
Another interpretation is that Democrats have periodically won public favor by promising to wield federal power to address long-neglected social and political ills, then lost it again when big-government solutions proved unsatisfactory. Parardoxically, the party of government struggles to gain politically from actually being in government.
An amazing thought - results count and just promising unicorns and rainbows isn't enough.

Are people listening to Obama any more? It's been a long time since he could give a speech and it would actually have any effect.

Pollsters, reeling from the difficulties that they had predicting results in 2014 are considering new ways to gather data. One proposal, apparently, is to abandon trying to get a random sample and stead try to get "non-probability" sampling such as offering rewards for people who answer surveys.

Oh, this is the typically wonderful linguistic choice that one can expect from the Department of Defense. They've decided to change the name of "unlawful enemy combatants" captured by are armed forces to calling them "unprivileged enemy belligerents." That is so much better. I'm glad that the DoD is focused on the tough decisions.

The Washington Post reports on the extensive negotiations that went on to have Hillary Clinton make a speech at UCLA.
When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”

....The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details — from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.

Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.
Well, she wasn't able to negotiate much of anything when she was Secretary of State, but now we can see what she was saving up those negotiating skills for.

Three mistakes made by journalists reporting on Ferguson.