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Showing posts from January, 2018

I have qualms about The Centrist Project

I've always thought of myself as a centrist. Two years ago, when the Republican presidential race was heating up, I said that there were three Republican candidates I could not support: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. I saw all three as extremists and as part of the problem of hyperpartisanship. I also saw all three as unelectable.

I underestimated how repulsed so many independents and Democrats were by Hillary Clinton.

In retrospect, I have to confess that I would probably have broken down and ended up voting for either Paul or Cruz, without enthusiasm but also with no real doubt that I could live with either of them in the White House much more easily than I could live with Hillary being there. Not so Trump, a lightweight, an ignoramus, and an unstable professional conman so unfit for the office that even then I realized that his election would be a threat to national security.

I supported first Jeb Bush and then Marco Rubio for the nomination. When Trump won it, I reali…

The White Wolf- and no, this isn't about 'Game of Thrones.'

As somebody who averages out around the center of the political spectrum, there are two things I've noticed about the cry of "racism."

The first is that it's often used inappropriately. Example:  the other day, the president of the United States was overheard referring to Haiti and a group of other desperately poor, predominantly black nations as "sh*thole countries." I watched David Brooks and Mark Shields on PBS  the next day bemoaning the "racism" of that statement.

But hold on. As lame as the remark was, it is not only possible but even likely that Mr. Trump wasn't thinking about race when said that.

Or simply wasn't thinking. This is, after all, Donald Trump.

Sure, he insulted a group of predominantly black countries, but not in a way that necessarily was racist, as opposed to insensitive, tactless, and downright stupid. It does no good to say that it was implicitly racist; maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. That's debatable, …

And speaking of that Leftist media bias...

... here's a good example.

The media tend to parrot the Planned Parenthood line on abortion. To hear them tell it, Americans are overwhelmingly and unambiguously pro-choice, and regard abortion as a woman's healthcare decision and nothing more. Yet for years, the polls have told a very different story.

A new poll just came out. Once more, it shows that Americans are pro-choice rather than pro-life by only the narrowest of margins and that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that there need to be restrictions on the supposed "right" to abortion.

Admittedly, this Marist poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus. But that in itself doesn't disqualify it, especially since the historic result of Gallup polls, to cite a representative sample of polls on the matter since Roe v. Wade was handed down, demonstrate resoundingly that public opinion has never divided the way the Planned Parenthood/Democratic/mainstream media narrative has suggested and that…

The press is not "the enemy of the people." But Donald Trump and his supporters absolutely ARE enemies of freedom.

"Enemy of the people" is a term Josef Stalin coined to describe his personal enemies. "Enemies of the people" inevitably ended up dead in Stalin's day. The term became so notorious that Nikita Khrushchev outlawed the term's use at the height of the Cold War! Even the leader of the Soviet Union thought that it was a dangerous term too volatile, too dark in its implications, and too dangerous to be used.

It's also the term President Donald Trump uses for a free press. That should send chills up and down the spine of any American with a bit of common sense.

It's one thing for a person to be upset with news coverage that puts him in a bad light. It's perfectly reasonable for a politician to see news coverage of what he does and says as unfair; most of them do from time to time, and the media would not be doing its job if such were not the case. But to label a free press across the board as "enemies of the people" isn't just jumping th…

Surprise, surprise.

What happens when you elect a man notorious for playing fast and loose with the law, a con artist famous for  routinely refusing to pay vendors and employees the amount agreed on and then telling them to accept the loss because it will cost less than suing him, who once insinuated that the father of one of his political opponents conspired with Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate JFK, who claimed for years on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that his predecessor was born in Africa, and who according to one study tells a lie every five minutes, as President of the United States?

Well, you get exactly what the watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) says we got when we elected exactly such a person in 2016:  the most unethical presidency in American history.

"Crooked Hillary," indeed. Donald Trump essentially pled guilty and voluntarily settled a civil RICO case for a fine totaling millions of dollars between his election as president and hi…

Some thoughts on the marijuana thing- which, since I've never used the stuff much, I can put together somewhat coherently

First off, yes, marijuana IS harmful. Some contemporary studies show that chronic use can cause a substantial drop in a person's IQ. It does brain damage which doesn't seem to be reversible.

I think it's ridiculous to compare marijuana to cocaine or heroin or other opioids. But it's also ridiculous to compare it with alcohol. Marijuana use has never had the social acceptance and cachet of beer or wine or cocktails. Prohibition sought to close the barn door after the cow had already escaped; the cannabis cow only has her front hooves out the door at this point. And given the unprecedented ignorance of the population of the Western world these days,  do we really need to be encouraging the use of yet another drug to muddle the mind?

I distrust the current spate of "scientific studies" purporting to show that marijuana is relatively harmless because the results of those studies publicized by the avid pro-pot population heavily cherry pick the data and because o…

The American Himmler is running for the Senate

When former Arizona sheriff and pardoned criminal Joe Arpaio was in office, his jail led the nation in inmates who hanged themselves. Conditions were that bad.  Inmates, including pregnant women, were denied proper medical attention.  He once tried to frame an innocent man for plotting to murder him; the man walked free when his attorney was able to prove in open court that Arpaio himself had invented the whole story in an attempt to send a man he knew to be innocent to prison.

Arpaio was very fond of arresting people for the crime of driving- or walking, or just being someplace he didn't think they ought to be- while looking Hispanic. His discrimination against people of Hispanic origin and his habitual abuse of their civil rights was serious enough that he was convicted and sentenced to prison.

President Trump once again displayed his disdain for the Bill of Rights, the law, our traditional American values, and common decency by pardoning the jackass. The president was right ab…

An update on the Direct Express travesty

"No mas," as Roberto Duran would say.

"Satis est," as Phillip Melanchthon would say,

Enough is enough.

My new Direct Express card didn't arrive. Turns out that despite my request that it be sent by expedited mail and my agreement to pay something like eighteen bucks for the privilege,  it was sent by ordinary mail anyway, and may not arrive until Friday (NOTE: It arrived on Saturday).

Today I opened a checking account at a local bank. Turns out that they are willing to open it in anticipation of next month's Social Security payment. In the future, my Social Security payments will be sent there. If problems should arise, I will no longer have to spend a week or more calling at all hours around the clock and never being able to talk to a human being. I will simply walk a few hundred feet up the Skywalk to a branch of my new bank and talk to a human being face to face. I won't even have to go outside to do it.

Supposedly the card could arrive tomorrow, but w…

DON'T use the Direct Express card for your Social Security payments!

Social Security checks are a thing of the past. Social Security has long since gone paperless. The United States Department of the Treasury recommends that Social Security recipients who don't want to have their payments sent to a bank account instead use the Direct Express card, which is administered by Comerica Bank.

The United States Department of the Treasury needs to think again.

Most banks either require minimum balances or create other hoops for account holders on fixed incomes to jump through. One bank that is quite popular in my area (but whose name I will not mention) requires no minimum balance and even offers "overdraft insurance" for account holders who also have savings accounts. They don't mention that the saving account IS the overdraft insurance- which, though not an unreasonable arrangement, nevertheless needs to be explained right off the bat. I was once employed by that bank and had the job of explaining all this to people after the fact. I suppo…

Why the Cubs should forget Yu Darvish and re-sign Jake Arrieta

My Cubs need one more starting pitcher in order to have a decent chance of getting back to the World Series. The choice is said to come down to re-signing Jake Arrieta or going after the Dodger's Yu Darvish, both of whom would probably cost approximately the same amount of money, I think it's a slam dunk- and not in the direction most Cub fans seem to think. In fact, most Cub fans seem confused about some basic things.

First, while Jake is older than Darvish, it's only by a few months. And Darvish has thrown over 400 more innings than Jake has. That's the equivalent of two full seasons! If the question is which is farther downhill in his career, contrary to what most Cub fans seem to think, the answer is clearly Darvish. Moreover, even though he has more miles on him, Darvish has never achieved what Jake has. And he never will. Darvish has never won the Cy Young award. And on top of it all, Darvish has had Tommy John surgery. Jake has not. Darvish is damaged goods.

Bu…

A modest proposal for a shocking innovation which is completely within the rules but which would, if adopted, revolutionize college football

I call it defense.

The idea- crazy as it may sound- is to supplement the scoring of points by your offense with an attempt to stop the other team from scoring them. Yeah, I know.  Really "out there," isn't it? But it has a history of winning not only games but championships. Modern college teams should try it more.

I'm a bit bummed about the Rose Bowl outcome but amused by the score. It seems that certain conferences aren't sure whether they're playing college football or high school basketball! I've noticed that in the scores of Sooner games. Last season the nation's college teams set a record by scoring an average of slightly more than 30 points each per game. That's a lot. Historically, that's a REAL lot.

The final score of the Rose Bowl was 54-48, though to be fair that was in double overtime. But to get there, the teams had to be tied 45-45 at the end of regulation! Last year was even worse. Southern Cal beat Penn State 52-49- in regulat…