Monday, October 27, 2014

A Linguistic Laugh

I saw this somewhere a week or so ago. I don't remember where, so I can't credit that site. But when I did a Google search, it came up with this location.

An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Current Concerns

One really big concern — possibly the biggest — has to be "What kind of extra-constitutional (if not flatly unconstitutional) actions will President Obama take after the election and before the new Congress is sworn in?" Highly likely, especially since it has been promised repeatedly, is an executive amnesty to "legalize" the illegal aliens living here.

Of course, we're also now aware that President Obama has delayed the release of information on next year's large Obamacare premium increases till after the election, too. We also learned in the last week or so that the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) diverted appropriations from development contracts for Ebola vaccines to contracts for unrelated things placed with Democrats' political friends. Was that corruption? Maybe, but based on other things we're seeing, it may have been simple incompetence.

Of longer-term concern are recently released figures showing where our government's budget dollars are going. It's notable that almost two-thirds go to income transfers — money taken from taxpayers who produce and given to non-taxpayers who don't. And that's the part of the budget that's exploding. Only about 6% of the budgeted money is spent on actually governing.

And then there's the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). We were told for a decade that no WMDs were found in Iraq. The New York Times and every Lefty in the country endlessly repeated the Democrats' mantra: "Bush Lied, People Died" or sometimes "Bush Lied, Thousands Died". (In making these statements, they all ignored the fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government used chemical weapons against Iraqi minorities and in the Iran-Iraq War.) Now, the New York Times has apparently, and belatedly, discovered that lots of WMDs — specifically, chemical weapons — were found all along. And they were found all over the place, not just in one location. Here's the map and notations from the New York Times article.

Perhaps the New York Times decided to make these admissions because some of the bases with stockpiles of chemical weapons have now been taken over by the so-called "Islamic State" in Iraq, as Bashar al-Assad's equivalents have been in Syria. These weapons have been banned by every civilized country on the planet, but ISIS has already been happily using them against their enemies — as did both Saddam Hussein (Iraq) and Hafez al-Assad (Syria) before them, and probably Bashar al-Assad more recently.

So how do we tell the difference between the "moderate muslims" and "peaceful muslims" on the one hand, and the uncivilized barbarians like ISIS on the other? I don't know of a way to make that distinction. Indeed, there may not be a way. I come to that conclusion because it appears the muslims can't determine who is peaceful and who is not, either. In fact, anyone (particularly any imam) who speaks out for moderate positions and against the barbarians is very soon killed. I suspect that's the reason for this:
Because you never know when some muslim barbarian will take offense to something you said or to something you did or to your existence, and decides to do something about it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Voter ID is a Fake Controversy

The Left tells us that a voter ID requirement — especially a requirement for a photo ID — will make it impossible for large numbers of people who don't have IDs to vote. Based on voting results in states that have voter ID requirements, that is a lie.

The Left also tells us that voter ID laws are a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise poor and minority voters. That is a damned lie promulgated for political purposes.

Both of these assertions rest to a substantial degree on the Left's assertion that voter ID processes are unworkable. They claim, in effect, that the people they claim to be protecting are too stupid or uneducated to know how to get an ID and/or too poor to afford one. Even with the Lefties' help.

I'm sorry, but that assertion is just plain stupid! You want proof? Look at India, whose poor and uneducated make the poorest and least educated people in the United States look very rich people with advanced degrees by comparison. And every voter in India has a photo ID. So much for unworkable.

The Left also claims that vote fraud occurs rarely if at all, and that such allegations are made for political purposes. The former claim is disproved by the news headlines. The latter is pure projection.

The purpose of voter registration is allow states and subordinate entities to verify individuals' eligibility to vote in that jurisdiction. The purpose of voter ID is ensure the person showing up to vote is the same person who registered.

This leads to two inescapable conclusions:

  1. The controversy over voter ID is a phony one — perhaps the ultimate fake controversy, unsupported by evidence or experience.
  2. Anyone who opposes voter ID requirements is objectively supporting vote fraud.

The Davis-Bacon Act

Clearing my desk (which has been needed for a long time), I came across a letter to the editor I had saved from the Albuquerque Journal some time ago. It provides an historical tidbit in a response to an earlier letter.

Roxanne Rivera-Wiest tiptoes around the racist oritins of the Davis-Bacon law.

She writes, "The initial reason for these depression-era prevailing wage laws was to prevent government contractors from undermining local wage rates by importing workers from low-wage areas."

More succinctly, the northern all-white labor unions wanted to prevent southern blacks — "workers from low-wage areas" — from competing in the construction labor market.

Davis-Bacon is one of the last remnants of Jim Crow and ought to be abolished.

Isn't it ironic that the party of Jim Crow, the Democrats, still supports this remnant of segregation?

Dave Thomson
Los Alamos

The paper headlined the letter Davis-Bacon has racist origin. And it's right.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today's Truth

It hasn't always been the case, but this is today's truth.

See here, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

When ISIS Attacks

This is an example of why watching the news lately is so frustrating.

From a Kurdish Twitter account yesterday, reposted at The Gateway Pundit today.

That, and stuff like this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Obama Intruder

An intruder got over the fence, across the lawn, and into the White House. We learned later that the intruder got a lot farther than that. How did he do it? Where did he hide? I saw two possibilities worth remembering.

I also saw one comment worth remembering about the resignation of Eric Holder as Attorney General.

"All good!"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Obama Repeats the Mistakes of the Viet Nam War

Candidate Barack Obama made a big thing in the 2008 campaign of promising that he would end "George Bush's War" and withdraw from Iraq immediately. In his 2012 re-election campaign, he made an even bigger thing of how he had ended the war in Iraq and brought all our troops home. Now, however, he's changing his tune. A video has been made of a group of Obama's 2012 campaign statements, with one of his more recent statements at its end.

(Click here to see the video.)

Now President Obama has decided to initiate a war. Again. (Remember Libya?) But he doesn't want to handle his war the way President Bush did. His base wouldn't stand for that! Plus, he's trapped himself with his own statements. So, as a direct result, President Obama has reportedly overruled all his generals and other military advisors, and keeps repeating his mantra that there will be "no American boots on the ground in Iraq" (and now he's adding Syria).

Of course, it's not really "no (American) boots on the ground" — it's "no (American) combat boots on the ground." In part, that's because we already have thousands of American boots on the ground in Iraq. But, of course, they're not "combat troops", they're security forces and military advisors. So, of course, they're not "boots on the ground." Because President Obama has said "I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission."

Along with that, President Obama wants to maintain tight control over what the troops other than ground troops do in carrying out his war. In fact, it appears President Obama's personal authorization will be required for every single mission — every single strike — in Syria. And it won't be very much different from that in Iraq.

So the US strategy will be, Obama says, entirely airborne — bombing strikes and Tomahawk missiles. There's a problem with that. It really doesn't work. There's also a reason for it.

To those of us of a certain age, this all gives us a profound sense of déjà vu. We've seen it all before. In Viet Nam. We had "advisors" there, and were promised no combat troops would be used. But they were, of course. And we had air strikes, all of which had to be approved in advance by Washington. It was driven by politics then, and it's being driven by politics now.

This strategy was a failure in Viet Nam. It got more than 58,000 troops killed and a lot more maimed. It's sure to be a failure here, too. President Obama's response? “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point.” He'd rather be surprised, just as he has been by all his other failures.

And that will produce the expected result.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"The Islamic State is not Islamic"

President Barack Obama said Wednesday evening that “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” He followed that up by saying “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

And Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) agrees with him.

Let's take a look at this logically.

  1. “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

  2. ISIS — which President Obama calls ISIL — unquestionably does condone such killing. So does al Qaeda. So does Hamas. So does Hezbollah. So does the Taliban. So does the Muslim Brotherhood. So does every major Islamic group. So does the Koran. So did Mohammed.

    Therefore, by President Obama's own logic,
  3. Islam is not a religion.

That seems clear enough to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/2001 -- Never Forget!

Our own generation's "day which will live in infamy."

It's the day we were attacked by uncivilized barbarians. We saw some of what they caused.

Their successors are even less civilized than they were. We hadn't thought that possible.

No, we must never forget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Albuquerque Area Readers Opine

There were a couple of "letters to the editor," published in today's Albuquerque Journal, that seem to me deserving of wider distribution. One identifies the key reason for the "do nothing" Congress.

Sen. Reid's desk is where bills go to die

The U.S. House is working, but the Senate is where the obstruction is.

More than 250 bills made it through the U.S. House — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate. Two hundred of the bills were passed in the House with unanimous support ... More than 90 percent of those bills passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support, and more than 100 were passed with 75 percent support of House Democrats. Over 50 were introduced by Democrats.

The U.S. House has passed dozens of reform bills for the VA — some bipartisan — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate; (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid stopped them. He didn't give senators the opportunity to even consider them. Over 30 jobs bills are also sitting on Harry Reid's desk, which he also refuses to even put up for a vote.

Senators are (more) focused on special interest groups than the "folks back home." The longer they're in office and live in Washington, the less they feel they need their constituents. You can't fix their arrogance and support for Harry Reid, but you can vote them out.

Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest is one of the small towns outside Albuquerque. Another is Ojo Feliz, from which comes a good suggested long-term solution.
Put limit on terms, not on corporate funding

RE: Sally-Alice Thompson's letter to the editor "It's Time to Control Money in Politics" (Aug. 26).

Thompson calls on us to support the so-called Democracy for All Amendment as an aid to getting rid of corporate funding of elections.

Basically, she's advocating removing the issue of constitutional protection of political speech from the courts and giving it to Congress so that members of Congress could determine who could engage in political speech and to what extent. This amendment, Brain child of (N.M. Sen.) Tom Udall, would more accurately be called the Incumbent Protection Amendment.

Thompson touches on the real source of the problem but skates right past it. "Why do congressmen so avidly respond to the wishes of the corporations rather than to the requests of the voters ... ? Is it because that's where they get the campaign funds necessary to keep them in their privileged positions?"

I suggest we come at the perceived problem of corporate money in politics by amending the Constitution to limit the terms of all members of Congress. If repeated re-elections are out of the picture, so is much of the opportunity for "you scratch my back — with campaign contributions — and I'll scratch yours — with legislation that benefits you." With term limits and a "cooling-off period" between holding public office and being allowed to hire on as a lobbyist for your favorite corporation, I suspect we could at least chip away at the self-anointed aristocracy that we have allowed our national legislature to become.

Giving Congress the power to aid its supporters and to shut out those who would criticize its members simply compounds the problem.

Ojo Feliz

Food for thought — and action.

Elite politicians disconnected from the people.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day, 2014

Mrs. Critter and I took off for Labor Day. We hadn't ridden the Rail Runner before, and thought it was high time we did. So we boarded the train this morning (Monday) and headed for Santa Fe.

On the way — both directions — we were joined by a lot of folks going to and from the 27th annual New Mexico Wine Festival in Bernalillo, not far north of Albuquerque. But many were, like us, going to Santa Fe. A major draw this weekend was the Santa Fe Fiestas, held continuously since 1712.

We enjoyed ourselves wandering about among the fiesta booths. We also visited a number of the shops on the Plaza, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, a short distance off the city's central square. And we had drinks and snacks (tapas, if you like).

In the late afternoon, we headed back for the train station for our return home.

All in all, our holiday jaunt was very enjoyable. It was inexpensive, and avoided hassles with traffic and parking — twin issues for so many visits to Santa Fe.

We hope your Labor Day holiday was enjoyable, too!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Middle East Update

It looks like President Barack Obama is about to send troops back to Iraq, and maybe to Syria. That's "boots on the ground" — or maybe not.

There may be other factors involved, as well. That's particularly the case because of the barbarous, completely uncivilized, and subhuman behavior of the jihadists who are the Islamic State's "fighters".

It appears we should treat this cancer while we wait, however, rather than waiting for that judgment. This would be in line with a statement attributed to a U.S. Marine (paraphrased): "It's God's job to judge the jihadists. It's up to us to arrange their meeting."

In the meantime, while we are watching events there, it would also be appropriate to keep in mind who the characters in this Middle East play are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reflections on Obama

President Barack Obama is in hot water again — this time for demonstrating his lack of actual feeling for others, including those caught up in the detritus of his policies. UPDATE: Now ISIS has beheaded a second U.S. journalist — Steve Sotloff — and President Obama couldn't even be bothered to make a statement. (end update)
UPDATE II: To be fair, Obama did finally make a statement on the Sotloff beheading. I think that's where he also made his self-contradictory statements about ISIS. (end update)

But you've got to understand a few things: Barack Obama loves his perks. Many would say they are the reason he wants to continue being President. But that's not quite right, because Obama is an ideologue. That's why he will say anyting he thinks will give him an advantage, no matter how temporary, whether it's something like his Foley statement or his statements on his decision (and campaign promise) pulling our troops out of Iraq.

All of which gives Obama a huge blind spot.
That and his (and his advisors') total inexperience in foreign affairs makes him and his team what he called another group.

Because his ideology is driving his actions, there are some areas and organizations he really has no use for. Those he disses, and dismisses, without a thought.

Obama's not dumb, though he sometimes seems so. It's just that, for example, his ideology says there are 57 states (all but two of which he has visited), so it must be so.

To me, the "bottom line" is this: Barack Obama is a failure as President, having damaged this country throughout his term.
And Jimmy Carter is no longer our Worst President Ever.

Just Because It's Funny

A new cell phone designed just for seniors.

(You younger people, have a senior explain this to you.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fundamentalist Islam Is Recent

Is the claim by fundamentalist Muslims, that they are working to re-establish the original, true Islam — as received by Mohammed — real or a is it a fraud?

Thus, Islamism represents a political ideology that claims to restore the pristine Islam of the 7th century and indeed appeals to Muslim history and sensibility, but in fact represents something new. As Roy notes, “The illusion held by the Islamic radicals is that they represent tradition, when in fact they express a negative form of westernization.”4
        4Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam, p. 20
Indeed, this claim to be restoring the "original Islam" seems to have developed at the time of the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920's, based on Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi movement (founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who was opposed by his own father and brother for his non-traditional interpretation of Islam).

This analysis may be accurate. If so, such an "originalist" cult appears to be a recurring theme within Islam, with the Assassin and Thug cults being its best-recognized predecessors. The new Islamic State is also part of this group. Other Islamic predecessors include the cult responsible for the vandalism long ago in Fatehpur Sikri, India's capital city during part of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, some of which is pictured here. These cults insisted that images of people and/or animals violate Islamic law, just as the Wahhabis preach. But the cult that vandalized Fatehpur Sikri was not characteristic of the Muslim Mughal Empire, which commissioned the beautiful carvings in their capital city. That cult developed in Afghanistan, just as the very similar Taliban did more recently — and, oddly enough, just as did the much more moderate Mughal Empire. (The Mughal Empire also did not agree with the cults' "convert or die" theology, as shown by the fact that the Emperor in Fatehpur Sikri had three wives — one Muslim, one Hindu, and one Christian.)

There must be a reason this kind of aberration keeps coming up within Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood's extreme version of Islam may be recent, but it represents a recurring theme within this "religion".

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Obama Parties While World Burns

President Barack Obama parties, ...
... dancing nearly every dance ...

... while the world burns at home ...
... and abroad, in violence ...
... and flight, seeking at least temporary safety, ...
... especially in areas occupied by ISIS.
A little girl beheaded in Syria, executed by militants because she was of a Christian family. Allegedly, Christian children in Mosul are being systematically beheaded and their little heads placed on poles in a park as a warning to others who love their children.
Islamists killing a woman by slitting her throat and capturing her blood in a bowl, holding her firm as her life literally drains from her neck. Such forms of execution are intended to intimidate others.

Events there are so bad that Pope Francis and the Chaldean Christian Patriarch have called for an armed response in the Middle East. But it's not bad enough for President Obama to interrupt his vacation, and only barely to interrupt his golf game.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Radiation Sense

A lot of people, especially in this country, are frightened and paranoid about anything that has the words "atomic" or "nuclear" associated with it. The same goes for anything associated with the word "radiation".

It shouldn't be that way. We all get some radiation dose. Some of that is from dental and medical x-rays. More is from naturally occurring doses. Those at lower altitudes get lower doses unless they live in an area of radioactive bedrock or similar materials. The higher the altitude, the less atmosphere shielding us from radiation prodoced above us.

In fact, — Remember Three Mile Island? There was no one who was in that nuclear plant through the entire time of the crisis there. If there had been someone in the control room throughtout the crisis, however, that person would have received less radiation dose than did every person living at 1 mile altitude (such as Denver and Albuquerque) during that same time period. But, somehow, this natural dose never seems to reach anyone's consciousness.

Now there has been an item or two published in the newspaper suggesting that radiation may not be so bad, even in much higher doses than commonly considered safe.

Maybe over time more people will develop a more realistic view of radiation. One can only hope.