Saturday, 24 January 2015

Reform is easy

Every time you squeeze silly putty, you re-form it.  Wily politicians who want to massage your wallet and cater to their donor base will introduce "A Bill To Reform Something" and the fifth estate is in rapture.
Yellow blob
being reformed
The presumption should be that every new bill will add some dysfunction and be more costly. Let the burden fall on the promoters to prove otherwise.  "Reform" is an empty term in politics.

ISIS eyes Mecca.

ISIS has an opportunity to become an empire after the death of Abdullah.  It's plausible that an attack breaching Saudi Arabia's northern desert wall will produce the same craven disorder the Iraq attack did.  Saudi troops may flee, abandon weapons and large numbers may swap sides.  (h/t smalldeadanimals for the link to global guerillas.)  Whoever holds Mecca and Medina is the de facto guardian of the spirit of the Islamic world.

Other points at Global Guerillas:  The Saudis have indoctrinated their population with Wahhabi doctrine that tends to like ISIS and small cells of militant believers can stir up mayhem to add confusion while the ISIS warriors race up paved roads in the desert.   Every win wins more recruits and ISIS has to have increasingly spectacular attacks to keep the spotlight and survive.  More borders will be redrawn, the US could end up with soldiers defending oil fields in Saudi Arabia of all places.
Backgrounder map from Global Guerillas
"If this doesn't occur, ISIS missed the opportunity  ...    ISIS is a theocratic network of networks that is both entrepreneurial and dynamic. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a theocratic hierarchy that's risk averse and inflexible. Which one wins?"
Also, we heard about the Israeli attack in Syria that killed an Iranian general but we didn't hear about a demoralizing ISIS attack two weeks ago that used insider information to kill the Saudi general in charge of the northern border.

ISIS in Mecca, no longer a black swan proposition.  The pooh-poohers should expect to be killed in ISIS land.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Government waste in the Stone Age.

The 5200 year old Newgrange monument in Ireland predates Stonehenge and is a perfect example of government waste.   Always and everywhere when the wealth of many is spent by a powerful few, the waste is prodigious.      The $1.1 billion loss to stop building the Oakville gas plant comes to mind.  At least the Neolithic Irish got something to look at.

2% useable space, unfinished.
The 48,000 square foot public monument has 1000 square feet useable inside space.  It was not a "billionaire's tomb".  For that 2% cultic drama space, leaders consumed the labour of two generations of the farming district.  They brought sea-shore stones for miles, apparently strapped to the underside of rafts that were lifted by the tide and dragged up-river and then across fields.  The showpiece rock slabs came from farther afield.  The skinny corridor lines up with the December 21st sun rise.  Well, that's nice but I could get the same effect with a couple sticks lined up in the dirt a hundred yards apart.  At the end of the day, there was a narrative that appealed to the Paddies, something like, "We're going to land a man on the moon" and they stacked rocks and dirt for their superiors instead of farming, finishing a task their dead grandfathers began.

To be clear, I'm not against waste.   It's nice to be rich and a show-off project can be fun.  I don't like someone else wasting my stuff for me.
Newgrange, Ireland, 3200 BC Farm District Project.


"Corrupt investigation produces corrupt reform": Sub-Prime Lending.

Democrats set up a fake investigation into the 2008 financial crash, burning through ten million dollars. 80 staffers were paid for and supplied to Democrats, none for Republican members.  The commission absolved the government, blamed capitalist greed, and called successfully for even more government.  To get there, they railroaded the Republican members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission into a blind corner. A new book by FCIS member, Peter Wallison,  details the shenanigans of Pelosi's friend, Angelides, who was put in charge.

-The commissioners weren't told when 100's of witnesses were being interviewed with no cross examination and under no oath.
-A memo from the Fannie Mae chief credit officer showed government policy drove risky lending. It was suppressed.
-That 3/4 of the nothing-down mortgages ended up on Fanny Mac and Mae books was suppressed.
-The draft was only shown the other commissioners the week before it was published and three quarters of the Republican dissent was deleted from the version sold in stores.

From the article:
"As a result, Fannie and Freddie, now under full federal control, are back making low down payment loans to low-income borrowers, and the Dodd-Frank-mandated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is forcing banks to ignore credit risks in the name of affordable housing. A corrupt investigation led to corrupt reforms."
Kabuki Performance

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Pravda headline: "Paris unity march brings many war criminals together"

You thought the march in Paris was standing against islamic terror? Pravda notes "Apparently, the president of Ukraine considers himself the most outstanding participant of the march" and ""The participation of scoundrels like Poroshenko in such events minimizes any positive meaning of this action. He tries to show that he is with Europe, marching along with European leaders and he is doing it while resuming military actions in the Donbass."

"USA harbors plans to decapitate Russia within minutes"
"Russia must keep USA at gunpoint"
"USA instructs Russian Central Bank how to strangle Russian economy".
And from the linked article:
"Russia's new sea-based cruise missiles reduce the military power of the United States on a vast geopolitical region from Warsaw to Kabul and from Rome to Baghdad."

You don't find this stuff in the Globe and Mail or Washington Post because we don't talk about our own country that way.  But Russia does.    Posturing and truth aren't very different.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Jihadists and Bank Robbers

Only 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent are robbing banks.  About the same number of jihadists are shooting RCMP,  driving over cops and invading Parliament Hill.  That doesn't mean we don't guard banks from thieves.  It should mean we target radicalized Muslims. They are a threat to public safety.

Some protest the Allahu Akbar murder types aren't real Muslims, don't speak for Islam.  But who does?  Islam has no popes and council of churches.  When they quote the Quran, yell "Allahu Akbar" with a weapon, and call us "Kafir",  that works for me.

"Unfortunately it has become a trend to copy the Khaleejihijab style, with people layering their scarves and using hair clips to create big, camel hump hijab styles. This is not only a deception but also a form of Tabarruj which is not only contradictory to the rules of hijab but also a destructive sin in the Sight of Allah swt."

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Put America's Enemies On Notice Now

Roger Simon advises the GOP to talk like a president now "because we don't have a real president at the moment and we are at war with Radical Islam".  Ignore protocol and buy prime time for the bully pulpit.  Say what Obama won't say about radical Islam and skip the State of the Union speech which would be be like "root canal surgery".

Take away line:  "I have a solution for Romney. He should throw caution to winds – BE THE PRESIDENT NOW!"  (Romney has the bucks to buy the time. Other campaign stuff matters less.)

Roger adds that Governor Bobby Jindal may have beat him to the punch with this speech in London.
Take away line: "Let me be blunt about this. I want America’s allies to trust us and respect us, and I want our enemies to fear us"

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cosby Show In Ontario Gets Ovation Or Did It Flop?

From Bourque I learn "Bill Cosby Gets Standing Ovation In Canada".  He's selectively quoting the BBC. From the Daily Mail I learn, "A cynical attempt to restore his good guy image... fails as he's greeted by empty seats, protesters and hecklers".  When observors trained to report get such different stories, is it a surprise that sexual immorality and political misdeeds are often concealed successfully?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Paris Bombing Is Business As Usual For Islam's Ugliest.

I was torn with anger by the Charlie Hebdo slaughter but this is business as usual for the Allahu Akbar warrior types.  We don't pay attention until it hits close.  I had a wonderful holiday in Paris and enjoyed being on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, but will never see Gombe or Mlang.  Other news in the last seven days:

Thirty dead today in Sanaa,Yemen, from car bomb outside the police college.  Muslim on Muslim.
One officer blown up in Cairo yesterday as he tried to defuse bomb in the street. Muslim on Muslim.
Four more bombs in Egypt this week at theatre and a mall but no deaths.  Muslim on Muslim.
Two dead from bomb in the Mlang market in the Phillipines.  Muslim on Christian. (Nails added)
Body parts after bomb goes off in Nigerian church  (Gombe).  Muslim on Christian
Tanker bomb in Anbar near the Saudi border.  Muslim on Muslim.
"Miscreants exploded crude bomb" outside Dhaka newspaper in Bangladesh.  Muslim on Muslim.
Car bomb at checkpoint kills 13 in Nigeria along the Potiskum-Gombe road. Muslim on fellow citizens.
Car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, was aimed at security people.  Muslim on Muslim.
And, odd man out, a home made bomb went off outside a NAACP office in Colorado Springs today. No one was hurt and a person of interest is white.    May be White on Black.

Update January 8th.  Up to 2,000 killed as Boko Haram burns town in Nigeria.  Muslim on Christian and Muslim.
Kaboom in Cairo..
No Mercy.

Free Snow

Seen in OK Falls, BC.

Dipped in Pig Shit

The "Allahu Akbar" murderers in Paris should be dipped in pig shit before being brought to room temperature.  This morning two gunmen slaughtered a dozen unarmed people at Charlie Hebdo, the Paris magazine which dared to publish Mohammed cartoons.  They think they are fine fellows.

 Rather than Avenging the Prophet, they made clear that the culture spawning them needs to re-qualify for admission into civilisation. We have our own little Zehaf-Bibeau shooting up the Parliament buildings as a reminder.  I like many cultures sharing life together in cities but cultural relativism as policy has failed. Remember the opposite of discrimination is indiscriminate.
Possible paris shooters

And from Obama, one tiny plus, one big minus.

And tweeted by Claire Berlinksi who had the misfortune to be on the scene:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 8.18.57 AM

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Lose Real Weight With Imaginary Meals

Stephen Leacock's famous story about the baby who swallowed a pill containing thirteen thanksgiving dinners (just add water) has been overtaken by real life. Roll back the obesity epidemic with a pill that mimics the body's response to food, turning fat digestion on and cleverly doing this in the guts, thus avoiding your blood stream where it would have turned on all the other organs that process dinner.  Fat is burned but you won't feel hungry.  With few side effects likely, expect human trials of Fexaramine soon.
"Evans wondered whether switching on FXR only in the intestines -- rather than the intestines, liver, kidneys and adrenal glands all at once -- might have a different outcome. "When you eat, you have to quickly activate a series of responses all throughout the body," says Evans. "And the reality is that the very first responder for all this is the intestine."
When the group gave obese mice a daily pill of fexaramine for five weeks, the mice stopped gaining weight, lost fat and had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels than untreated mice. In addition, the mice had a rise in body temperature -- which signals metabolism ramping up -- and some deposits of white fat in their bodies converted into a healthier, energy-burning beige form of the tissue. (Reported in Science Daily News).
Fexaramine acts on the FXR receptor protein that our own body turns on when we start a meal.    It "triggers the release of bile acids for digestion, but also changes blood sugar levels and causes the body to burn some fats in preparation for the incoming meal."

"I see from the current columns of the daily press that
"Professor Plumb, of the University of Chicago, has just
invented a highly concentrated form of food. All the
essential nutritive elements are put together in the form
of pellets, each of which contains from one to two hundred
times as much nourishment as an ounce of an ordinary
article of diet. These pellets, diluted with water, will form all that is necessary to support life. The professor looks forward confidently to revolutionizing the present food system." ..... The expectant whispers of the little ones were hushed as the father, rising from his chair, lifted the thimble and disclosed a small pill of concentrated nourishment on the chip before him. Christmas turkey, cranberry sauce, plum  pudding, mince pie--it was all there, all jammed into that little pill and only waiting to expand. Then the father with deep reverence, and a devout eye alternating between the pill and heaven, lifted his voice in a benediction.         At this moment there was an agonized cry from the mother.
"Oh, Henry, quick! Baby has snatched the pill!" It was too true. Dear little Gustavus Adolphus, the golden-haired baby boy, had grabbed the whole Christmas dinner off the poker chip and bolted it. Three hundred and fifty pounds of concentrated nourishment passed down the oesophagus
of the unthinking child.
"Clap him on the back!" cried the distracted mother. "Give him water!"
The idea was fatal
The water striking the pill caused it to expand. There was a dull rumbling sound and then, with an awful bang, Gustavus Adolphus exploded into fragments! And when they gathered the little corpse together, the baby lips were parted in a lingering smile that could
only be worn by a child who had eaten thirteen Christmas dinners."

Arab leader tells Islam's top clerics to stop scaring people.

Over-looked is Egyptian president al-Sisi's bold address to Muslim clerics, telling them to stop scaring the rest of the world and get some enlightenment.  New Years, he spoke at thousand-year-old al-Azhar University, the theological hub of the Sunni Islamic world. His sub-text is getting help to stomp down on the Muslim Brotherhood, his political opposition.  The plain text is extraordinary.  He calls for religious revolution to stop scaring the rest of the world.
``I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!  That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!   Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible! `   I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.     All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.  I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands. 
   Quoted by Roger Simon at PJ Media.
   Highlighted by Barrelstrength, another blog I enjoy reading.
   Overlooked by Americans who follow news religiously. "Surprised they hadn't heard about it, they agreed that the story warranted banner headlines world-wide.".

Related: "Sisi first Egyptian President to attend Coptic Christmas mass". Story in English from Egyptian paper, Ahram.

Marriage length inversely correlated to cost of the Wedding

The bigger the diamond and gold-plated the reception, the less likely the marriage is to endure. That's a takeaway from Francis and Mialon's much-downloaded study of 3000. Of course, the detail is complicated.

Modest expenses and lots of people attending the reception are a big plus.  Low cost and no ring and few people attending, not so good.  Ring over $2000 is a risk factor.  Over $20,000 spent is definitely not a plus for an enduring marriage when the woman is spending it and under $1000 is a plus if the man is spending it.  Going into debt for the big day is quite a stress factor,  not good.  The data is presented in dense tables but the preceding discussion is easier to follow if you download the free paper.

h/t Tax Prof Blog

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Sex while under the influence of youth

Controlling for age reverses the popular wisdom:  Living together before marriage doesn't cause divorce.  Doing so while under the influence of youth does.    Perhaps this explains why arranged marriages are fairly stable because adults are involved to set up and supervise until the bride and groom have grown up.   Being under 23 when you marry is a greater risk factor than cohabitation before the wedding.

The Council on Contemporary Families reports their findings.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

One liner for Butterfly Brains

Fractal theory updated for people worried about beaver methane:
"A beaver builds a dam in Siberia, and .. Hurricane Sandy prompts a thousand stupid op-eds halfway around the world. "

Don't be misled by the cute face on
this arctic ground squirrel.
Beaver and now even squirrel methane is a hard core worry for a few gentle souls and you can read more about it here. Cow farts were considered an assault on all we hold dear.  Now it's micro-aggression from smaller beasties.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

US Conservative Poll Has Interesting Take Aways.

From would-be presidents to supreme court justices and media figures, some 85 US Conservatives were rated by right wing blogs.  There are a few saints (Scott Walker, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell)  much admired and no negatives.   While George W is widely admired, his brother Jeb is not. Others touted for president like Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul have heavy negatives.  Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump have love-hate splits.  In the mostly positive column are Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Ben Carson,  Allen West, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio.   The one presidential saint is Scott Walker of Wisconsin with no whisper of criticism from this group and esteemed.

 Least loved is Megan McCain and her Dad's not far behind although David Frum, Peter King, Graham Lindsey, Karl Rove and Arnold Schwarzenegger fill the space between.

A significant takeaway is the gap between support for Tea Party principles and lack of support for specific Tea Party groups presently in the public eye.  This is a big opportunity for someone to articulate the values and step forward as a unifier.

Also striking is the open-mindedness of the right.  The most highly regarded besides Governor Walker include women (Mia Love and Michelle Malkin) and three distinctive black Americans (Thomas, Sowell and West).

In the media, Glenn Reynolds, Thomas Sowell, Michelle Malkin, Mark Steyn and Drudge are saints but others like Charles Krauthammer, Dana Loesch, Michelle Malkin and the Limbaugh brothers are almost as shiny, being admired and having few scorners.

The Chamber of Commerce is mostly "blah" with negatives, not what the Left would expect. The dreaded "blah" zone includes a lot of people who may be distinctive for good and bad reasons but just haven't much public recognition.

The Supreme Court numbers are interesting. Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are saints while John Roberts has a lot of negatives and Anthony Kennedy is a cipher.

I repackaged the numbers into a spreadsheet.  If you want a copy to search and graph, email me. The source poll from Right Wing News is based on data from 72 websites (which is a lot) but another 158 sites were contacted and didn't respond (which is also a lot.)