Saturday, December 20, 2014

Knives Are Dangerous Weapons!

In the nation/state's never-ending quest for the risk-free, the common knife, a tool with a history of many thousands of years,  has morphed from one of man's earliest accomplishments to a deadly threat, especially to the garrison mentality, as we read here. The Ramsey County Courthouse, a location that is ordinarily literally crawling with well-paid and highly-trained law enforcement personnel, can't allow the presence of an edged tool. Sure, there's always the potential that some malhechor could behead a sheriff's deputy in the second floor men's room but how likely is such an event? How often, in previously easy-going times, were judges, witnesses and defendants stabbed during courtroom proceedings? Aren't there other common items that could also be used to inflict mayhem? A honed dinner fork could be used to poke out an eye. A sturdy ball point pen, with some slight modifications, could easily serve a similar purpose. It might be best for all visitors to the court house to strip down to their undies so the coercion complex can go about its business without worry.

Jackson Pollock ‘Naked Man with Knife’, c.1938–40
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2014
Jackson Pollock's "Naked Man With Knife"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Minnesota Velodrome Looking At Uncertain Future

As this article in Twin details, the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, MN, a northern suburb of the Twin Cities, is facing structural deterioration that will require significant repairs with major expenses in order to stay in operation. An uncovered, outdoor facility built in 1990, the bicycle track has now endured 25 years of humid, muggy summers and frigid, snowy winters that have taken a toll on its surface and substructure. Sunday night many of the riders, fans and other interested souls gathered at the Fulton Brewery in downtown Minneapolis for a fundraiser to assist the effort in keeping the 250 meter track viable for a few more seasons.

The Problem With Background Checks

The Wall Street Journal finally realized what myself and a few others have known for some time, that the adoption of background checks by private business is creating a class of unemployable, unhousable people. Their front page story in this weekend's edition calls attention to the issues faced by business human resources departments that are caught between possible legal responsibilities in hiring felons and mandates by the EEOC that require them to consider those same felons for employment. Tsk, tsk.

Sure, it's a problem for the business community, when the satisfactory or ideal candidate for an open position is a convicted felon. Dissatisfied customers can use the presence of a felon on the job in adverse legal proceedings. Who needs the grief? But this is more than just a hassle for HR departments.

The guys with the real problems are the felons themselves. They've become basically unemployable in the normal economy since they can't pass a background check. Once they fail a background check, they know it's a waste of time to even apply for another position. Employment isn't the only problem for them. Failure to pass a background check usually means they can't get rental housing, either. And having once failed the background check, they can never pass it again. Since this is the case, the unemployable felons (Once a felon, forever a felon.) can only increase in number. It's said that there are now 48 million felons in the US.

Nevertheless, ex-cons need to eat, get out of the rain at night and wear clothes. They're unlikely to commit suicide. In fact, they're more likely to be killed. Having a rap sheet a mile long, Eric Garner was unemployable and lucky to be able to peddle loosey cigarettes to make ends meet. That is, he was until the NYPD put him in a strangle hold.

What's the future in the land of the free and the home of the brave look like for felons, and non-felons as well? First of all, the growing number will create another class that will have to survive outside of the economy. Gray market businesses will spring up to supply their needs and use their labor. Since the only sources of income for background check failures will be the generosity of their friends and family, the dole, black market employment or crime, they'll continue to be an ever bigger problem for the nation/state.This particular nation/state, the US, was founded by Puritans and while their religious outlook has disappeared, their ethics and morality survive to this day, enshrined in the tenets of capitalism. These tenets do not include the number one in Christianity, forgiveness. God may forgive but the nation/state? Never.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Orange County Sheriff Blames Illegal Behavior on Poor Organization and Training

The home of Disneyland and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is also headquarters of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, under the control of Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. This agency has come under scrutiny for its extensive use of jail cell informants, awarding money and perks for testimony and recorded confessions, refusal to share information with defense attorneys, and then lying about it. As related here, Sheriff Sandra has the situation under control and it was all just a  little mistake. Everything's OK now.

Poor organization and training is the problem. It's not that the principals involved are criminals themselves or even just unethical, it's just that they don't know the regs, aren't able to tell right from wrong. With an effective bureaucracy and the correct instruction none of these sheriff's office employees, all of whom are beyond reproach, will continue to do things that are illegal. They simply didn't know that defense attorneys are to be provided access to prosecution records and they weren't aware that perjury is a crime.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Optum Pro Cycling Announces 2015 Women's Team

As usual, there are some departures and arrivals at one of the most successful American women's cycling squads in the aftermath of the 2014 road racing season.

Canadian all-rounder Denise Ramsden, originally from the remote community of Hay River, Northwest Territories, has decided to throttle back her racing somewhat, turning down a contract extension with Optum and joining the Trek Red Truck team. Criterium star Lauren Hall and 2013 national road racing champion Jade Wilcoxson are also leaving the team.

Canadian climber Lex Albrecht will be rejoining Optum after having been gone for two years. Veteran Ally Stacher moves over from the Specialized-Lululemon team, time trial specialist Allison Tetrick arrives from Astana-Be Pink, Canadian track rider Jasmine Glaesser and collegian Ariane Horbach are also joining the Minneapolis-based crew that includes triple Canadian champion Leah Kirchmann, NRC national champion Janel Holcomb, Brianna Walle, Maura Kinsella and Annie Ewart.

Ally Stacher
Lex Albrecht
Allison Tetrick

Jasmine Glaesser
Ariane Horbach

The Utility of Macro-Economic Statistics

In this piece on the Cobden Center website Dr. Frank Shostak explains why dubious government economic statistics are meaningless in the free market:

"What possible use can an entrepreneur make out of information about the rate of growth in gross domestic product (GDP)? How can the information that GDP rose by 4% help an entrepreneur make a profit? Or what possible use can be made out of data showing that the national balance of payments has moved into a deficit? Or what use can an entrepreneur make out of information about the level of employment or the general price level?"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Union Officer Receives Medal Of Honor Now For Actions In 1863

This story in the Washington Post tells us about First Lt. Alonzo Cushing, who was killed in action at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. After years of lobbying, a Wisconsin woman has convinced the powers-that-be to award the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Cushing for his efforts in leading his company in the defense of the charge made by the Confederate troops led by Major General George Pickett.

It's nice to know that the US Congress and the Department of Defense have the time to investigate the merits of a soldier's bravery in an incident that occurred 151 years ago. And then take the action necessary to recognize it. Not to denigrate this bravery but what does the award actually signify? Lt. Cushing and his immediate descendents, should he have had any, are unaware of it.

This quote gives some idea of the thinking behind the medal:

“The idea is that it shouldn’t just sit on someone’s mantlepiece and just stay there,” said Jessica Loring. “It needs to be shown so people today can understand the price of making our country free and the sacrifice it takes. We want to bring Alonzo to life in what he did for this nation.”

Does looking at the Congressional Medal of Honor, and perhaps a sepia-tinted photo of the recipient, really help people to understand the War Between the States? Does celebrating the bravery of one particular individual among a cast of thousands give us some insight into the most traumatic era in American history? 

The battle and Cushing's contribution to it didn't do much for the freedom of the Confederates involved. He was just one of over 600,000 American men and boys, from both the north and south, sacrificed on the altar of the nation/state.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Columbia Heights Needs New Library

In an apparent rejection of the sacred concept of recycling, voters in the Minneapolis inner ring suburb of Columbia Heights are being asked to vote "yes" on the financing and construction of a new library. The existing library, on 40th St. NE, looks like this:

It's a building full of the regular library stuff, books, periodicals and now computer terminals for the free use of patrons. There's a section for children and bathroom facilities downstairs.

Three blocks away, on 43rd St. NE, there's a building that a short time ago housed a supermarket but is now vacant. It's a one-story facility with plenty of room for educational materials and easy access for the crippled. Lots of free parking, too.  But it doesn't seem to have been considered an option for a new library.

An article in a local newspaper describes only two options, retention of the existing library or construction of a new one. The idea that another building could be adapted to a new use seems to have escaped the minds of the pro-library contingent.

The election results included voter approval of bonding of up to $7 million dollars for a new library, per this story.  Thirty-two percent of the city population voted in the election and the bond issue was passed by 8 % of the city's residents.  Although one could say that the deciding vote was worth $7 million, each of the votes cast that approved the issue could also be considered to be worth $4413.19.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Six Schools "Locked Down" Over Student Gun Sighting

Six schools in the Macalester-Groveland and Highland Park neighborhoods of St.Paul, Minnesota were locked down on the morning of October 30 when a student on his way to class at Cretin-Durham Hall notified school authorities that he had seen an individual getting out of a car with a gun in his hand, says Twin After 25 minutes of searching, police gave the all-clear and life returned to as normal as it gets in the capital city.

Just three days ago I noticed that a man searching through the used parts bins in a bicycle shop a short distance from Cretin-Durham Hall was openly wearing an automatic pistol in a holster on his hip. Others noticed as well. Nobody called the police or reported it to a school principal. Maybe the guy was a cop. On the other hand, he might well have been a serial killer. We probably should have called the police and let them determine the facts. Can't be too careful.

A few years back, University of Minnesota police were informed that an individual had carried a cased gun into Northrup Auditorium. The facility and those nearby were locked down while they were searched. The cops found an electrician with a cased high-dielectric tool. Can't be too careful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moose Races This Weekend!

Embedded image permalink The annual Alaskan moose racing season begins this year on Halloween weekend.

Wiggle Honda Cycling Team Makes Some Changes

Rochelle Gilmore's talented Wiggle Honda women's cycling team is undergoing a turnover in personnel now that the road season has come to an end. Youthful Aussie sprinter Chloe Hosking has moved south from the Norwegian Hi-Tec Products squad, along with team mate Elisa Longo Borghini. Climbing specialist and winner of the Giro Donne Mara Abbott, Belgian star Jolien D'Hoore and newly-wed Audrey Cordon-Ragot are also among the new members of the team, joining current stars Giorgia Bronzini and Emilia Fahlin and others.

Chloe Hosking

Elisa Longo Borghini

Mara Abbott


Belgian champion Joliene D'Hoore

French newlywed Audrey Cordon-Ragot

Monday, October 27, 2014

California Highway Patrol Steals Nude Pictures From Women's Cell Phones

Want to look at and share photos of naked ladies you meet on the highway? Get a job with the California Highway Patrol.

If a an attractive young lady is arrested in California, her cell phone is confiscated and the arresting officer searches it for nude photos. If he finds some he then sends them to fellow cops and buddies. According to this article in the Contra Costa Times this has been standard procedure for CHP personnel for years. Society supplies firearms and sophisticated electronic equipment to degenerates so they can indulge their perversions while operating in an official capacity, pretty much immune from repercussions. Except when one of them makes a mistake.

In this particular incident, even though the woman involved had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, charges against her were dropped in the aftermath of the disclosure of the nude photo sharing. Why would such be the case?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Interstate Cigarette Smuggling

This piece from the Vice website gives us some fascinating insights into the dynamics of cigarettes and taxes. The moralistic, do-gooder, prohibitionist elements of post-Puritan American society have yet to subvert what remains of the Constitution to the extent of a tax structure that would make cigarette prices the same from one state to another. There is a federal tax of $1.0066 per pack of weeds but the state tax hit varies considerably. Missouri, the least predatory state in nicotine taxation, adds only .17 to the cost of 20 Marlboros. Those same coffin nails will cost an extra $4.35 if purchased in New York. Additionally, some cities slap on an extra charge for polluting the air as well.  Chicago ($1.18), Cook County ($3.00), Illinois ($1.98) adds $6.16 to a pack of cigarettes, the highest levy in the country.The Big Apple gets $1.50 and Anchorage $2.206.

Not surprisingly, entrepreneurial souls have taken advantage of the disparity in taxes to satisfy the wants of the less enterprising by selling imported cigarettes in packs or singly on the street. This article from the New York Times tells about "Lonnie Loosie", a felon that, in the day of the comprehensive background check, will never be able to get a "real" job. He makes ends meet by peddling single smokes for .75, each, two for a dollar, and a pack of the popular Newports for $8 on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Interestingly, some of his customers are women that work in nearby offices who arrange their purchases by cell phone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

OH, NO! California Law School Grads Can't Find Jobs!

In a tragedy of epic proportions graduates of Whittier Law School and other California legal diploma mills are having a problem finding employment in their chosen field. According to this almost funny OC Register article would-be prosecutors have ponied up $42K and more a year and still have to make espressos to pay their student loans off.  Tsk, Tsk.

While schools like Stanford and UC Bezerkley still seem to place their ambulance chasers in legal occupations, those exiting lower tier schools like Whittier aren't being pursued. Isn't this what supply and demand is really all about? We would hope that a surplus of attorneys would mean lower legal fees but that won't be the case. These legal geniuses, a quarter of whom can't pass the state bar exam, all want to work for high-profile legal firms or, better yet, as prosecutors and public defenders on the guaranteed government payroll with fabulous health and retirement benefits. It'll be  pleasant day when the number leaving the legal profession exceeds those entering it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lionfish Taking Over The Oceans!

As part of our never-ending mission to alert the populace to the dangers from the animal kingdom, we present the latest horror story of alien invasion. Joining the coyotes in California's Orange County and the raccoons in Toronto, Ontario, are lionfish in the waters surrounding Florida. Since their spectacular appearance immediately attracts attention, these piscine carnivores can't sneak up on the locals, they're instantly noticeable.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

VG-10 3 1/2" Blade Folding Knife

A description, and a picture of what could be the knife carried by veteran sniper Omar Gonzalez when he leaped over the fence surrounding the White House on September 20th and dashed as far as the East Room of the Holiest of Holys. If indeed that is the knife he was carrying and he bought it himself, then he spent over $140 for this simple tool, a relatively expensive model.

" The affidavit contradicts initial reports by the agency that the man was unarmed," it says here. Ergo, anyone carrying a pocket knife is considered armed, whatever results that might lead to.

Knives are used for all kinds of common chores, sharpening pencils, peeling apples and potatoes, opening envelopes, slicing steaks, etc. They're not generally regarded as weapons, though certainly they could be used as such and have been. The daughter of screen goddess Lana Turner extinguished her mother's gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompinato with a kitchen knife.

Other common tools also make effective weapons.  An ice pick is a particularly dangerous item, even if not used as a weapon. Hat pins, when women wore hats, were used by ladies in danger to repel unwanted attention. It wouldn't be particularly difficult to cause serious injury or worse with a knitting needle. Many other tools made of hard materials, hammers, wrenches, pliers, bars, could also be used to injure an innocent politician. Isn't it time that all hard and dangerous implements be banned from our nation's capitol?

 Now, get this: a one-time prison guard that currently represents Lackawanna County in the Pennsylvania state legislature exchanged gunfire with an assailant in Harrisburg not far from the state capital complex, as we learn here. The Democrat is licensed to carry a firearm, as you might expect, since he has been a member of the state coercion complex at a lower level than he occupies presently. But is he authorized to fire it at someone else? We have, after all, only his and his legislator pal's testimony about this incident. If an unelected pleb fires a gun near the capital grounds in even an inconsequential state like South Dakota or West Virginia they're liable to spend some time in an office explaining it all. How much different is this affair than the George Zimmerman one, except for the lack of a body?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coyotes Threaten Seal Beach, California, Raccoons Go After Toronto

The city of Seal Beach, California has implemented a program to trap and "euthanize" coyotes that have invaded the seaside municipality on the western edge of Orange County. These aliens have made their unauthorized presence known by allegedly attacking a dozen pets, presumably dogs, and have been seen at least 99 times so far this year as we learn in this article from the Orange County Register.

So far, three of the blood thirsty canines have been captured and put to death by a private contractor hired by the city. An extremely intelligent animal, as animals go, successfully trapping the wily wild dog is no easy task. They've been on the list for local extinction all over the country for years but continue to maintain their range in the wild and have extended it to the suburbs and even in heavily populated areas. Can't have that. Can't have Fluffy become a sandwich for one of these uncivilized varmints.

A few years back an incident that involved the death of a small dog in a Milwaukee suburb wasn't witnessed but was attributed to a coyote attack nonetheless. The Journal-Sentinel said the response to its coverage generated more mail than any previous story ever. Today, cheeseheads are being advised to get used to urban predators.

A Chicago study has found that coyotes are everywhere in one of America's largest cities and have positive aspects, controlling the exploding population of another urban invader, the Canada goose, and rodents that have been a problem since cities came into being. City dwellers will probably have to get used to the usually invisible canines.

Across the continent, sophisticated Toronto, Ontario has problems with intelligent raccoons that seem to be able to force their way into almost any garbage container, per this story.  People just prefer that wild animals stay in their normal environment on the Discovery Channel.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

From One Who Knows, Conrad Black Has This To Say

Conrad Black, himself railroaded by enthusiastic and dishonest prosecutors, has written a piece about the same warped American non-justice system regularly mentioned here. Black has led an interesting life, as presented in this Wikipedia post.

Bill Gates Could Be Proving That He's Now Rich

Articles in the Wall Street Journal and Blood Horse say that Microsoft co-founder and one of the world's wealthiest men, Bill Gates, has purchased the southern California property Rancho Paseana from diet maven Jenny Craig for $18 million. Craig and her late husband Sid were major players in California thoroughbred racing for some years and the property was used as a training and lay-up facility for their racing stable, which included stars like Dr. Devious, Sidney's Candy, Paseana and Candy Ride.

Of course, the true indicator of wealth, admission to the company of the world's richest, is the incredibly expensive hobby of thoroughbred racing. Bill Gates, while being constantly portrayed in the media as one of the world's richest men, has yet to start setting fire to money by indulging in the sport of kings. Hopefully he'll begin to do so from his new base near the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Trainers, jockeys, grooms, and bettors would all welcome a Gates money infusion in a sport that's been in a downward spiral for thirty years.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anchorage Cops Want More Part-Time Work

This story from ADN tells us about the problem of 80 "nuisance calls" to Anchorage police this year in the area of the Walmart  in mid-town Anchorage. It doesn't say who makes these calls or if the calls are generally made by the same person. Once the number reaches 100 calls in a year, the business is subject to a $500 fine for each such call and responsible for a program to alleviate the problem.

Two things. First of all, city code aside, is Walmart, or any other business, responsible for the behavior of people that are on or near its property? Is a bank responsible if someone sticks it up? What type of program is a business expected to initiate to solve this problem? The fact is that any private business is very much limited in what they can do to legally influence public behavior. Just about all that they can do is refuse to admit individuals to their premises. That leads to the second thing, which we're seeing in other localities as well. Local police agencies want businesses to hire security to discourage antisocial or illegal behavior. Law enforcement doesn't seem to have the resources to carry out this mission, which is, in fact, their reason for being. What they want businesses to do is hire off-duty cops to provide security. This gives the overworked cops a well-paid respite at a desk inside the Walmart door so they don't have to respond to calls during their actual duty hours.

In further news from the land of the midnite sun, the city of Anchorage is taking Uber, the ride-sharing company, to court for making life tough for the cab companies. It seems the free-wheeling days of happy Anchorage are now a thing of the past.

 A similar situation exists in the Dinkytown neighborhood adjoining the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Rambunctious collegians occasionally overstep the bounds of civilized behavior in the aftermath of Gopher athletic victories or defeats. The obvious remedy for this is a continuing presence of paid off-duty cops.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

US Men Win Track Gold In Team Pursuit At Master's Worlds

Twin Cities track Methuselahs Dan Casper, James Tainter and Tim Mulrooney, together with 1988 Olympian David Brinton, have won the gold medal in the 45-54 age bracket of the team pursuit competition at the World's Masters Track Championships at the Manchester Velodrome in Manchester, UK. Congratulations to these dedicated athletes.

Local track star and Doctor of Physical Therapy Linsey Hamilton takes her talent to the international stage for the first time and hooks two bronze medals.
Minnesota all-around competitor Tim Mulrooney.

Minneapolis firefighter and defending individual pursuit gold medalist Dan Casper wins a silver this time.

Reliable regular at the National Sports Center Velodrome Pat Whelan collects a silver in his age group on day three of the competition.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Evelyn Stevens Goes to Boels-Dolmans

American cycling queen Evelyn Stevens has moved on from the US Specialized-Lululemon team to Netherlands-based Boels-Dolmans Cycling. A three-time member of the world champion team time trial squad, Stevens adds yet another dimension to a group that already includes World Cup Champion Lizzie Armitstead; New Yorker Megan Guarnier; Polish two-time world scratch race champion Katarzyna Pawłowska and Ellen van Dijk, four time world individual time trial champion.

Alligators An "Invasive Species" in Minnesota

What should a Gopher Stater do when they see a 3 foot + alligator lurking in the weeds near their mailbox? In this particular case it seems as though the right thing to do was done by Helen Zumbaum, who called the Anoka County Sheriff's Dept. to report the sighting. A cursory attempt was made to capture the dangerous creature but finally there was only one option left, kill it with two shots to its reptile head with a Glock. As an invasive species, it's obvious that alligators can't be allowed to establish a presence north of the 45th parallel. Allowed to reproduce in that area it's entirely likely that in a short period of time, geologically speaking, these carnivores would, through Darwinian natural selection, eventually grow fur to protect themselves from the un-Floridian climate. It's terrifying to think about them laying in wait behind a snowbank to capture some innocent third grader hopping off the school bus. Thank goodness we don't have to worry about it for now, at least in northern Anoka County.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

According To Oswald Spengler

Oswald Spengler wrote the spectacular opus The Decline of the West shortly before WWI and the book was published in Germany in 1918, provoking universal reflections on man and civilization. The following passage is found on pages 104-105 in volume 2 of the 1961 Knopf edition:

When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard "having children" as a question of pro's and con's, the great turning-point has come. For Nature knows nothing of pro and con. Everywhere, wherever life is actual, reigns an inward organic logic, an "it," a drive, that is utterly independent of waking-being, with its causal linkages, and indeed not even observed by it. The abundant proliferation of primitive peoples is a natural phenomenon, which is not even thought about, still less judged as to its utility or the reverse. When reasons have to be put forward at all in a question of life, life itself has become questionable. At that point begins prudent limitation of the number of births. In the Classical world the practice was deplored by Polybius as the ruin of Greece, and yet even at his date it had long been established in great cities; in subsequent Roman times it became appallingly general. At first explained by the economic misery of the times, very soon it ceased to explain itself at all. And at that point, too, in Buddhist India as in Babylon, in Rome as in our own cities, a man's choice of the woman who is to be, not mother of his children as amongst peasants and primitives, but his own "companion for life," becomes a problem of mentalities. The Ibsen marriage appears, the "higher spiritual affinity" in which both parties are "free"--free, that is, as intelligences, free from the plantlike urge of the blood to continue itself, and it becomes possible for a Shaw to say "that unless Woman repudiates her womanliness, her duty to her husband, to her children, to society, to the law, and to everyone but herself, she cannot emancipate herself." The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of "mutual understanding". It is all the same whether the case against children is the American lady's who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne's who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine's who "belongs to herself"--they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful. The same fact, in conjunction with the same arguments, is to be found in the Alexandrian, in the Roman, and, as a matter of course, in every other civilized society--and conspicuously in that in which Buddha grew up. And in Hellenism and in the nineteenth century, as in the times of Lao-Tzu and the Charvaka doctrine, there is an ethic for childless intelligences, and a literature about the inner conflicts of Nora and Nana. The "quiverful," which was still an honourable enough spectacle in the days of Werther, becomes something rather provincial. The father of many children is for the great city a subject for caricature; Ibsen did not fail to note it, and presented it in his Love's Comedy.

At this level all Civilizations enter upon a stage, which lasts for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms, and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile. At the last, only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements. This residue is the Fellah type.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Ludwig!

Today, September 29, is the birthday of Ludwig von Mises, one of the great economists, teachers and thinkers of all time, who would have been 133 years old if only he had laid off the cigarettes and schnapps.

More Federal Cops Chasing State Counterparts

The Feds seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to trap state officials. Maybe this is because a state judge is unlikely to resist arrest in any meaningful fashion but it appears more likely that the they wish to assert their central government authority over the provinces. This story from the city of brotherly love shows how far they're willing to go. In order to trap a judge that had fallen from favor they created not only a crime but a ficticious defendant. The best part of this little morality play is the fact that all the judges involved, members of the bar with the special qualifications required to determine the fate of others, hire other attorneys to represent their own interests.

Of course these judges are the arbiters of civilized society, as graduates of law schools they're better than us at separating right from wrong, legal from illegal. They're the priesthood of the agnostic society. We're lucky to have them around.

Judge Dawn A. Segal was allegedly asked for help by Judge Joseph C. Waters. Now facinga probe, she denies wrongdoing.
Judge Dawn A. Segal, one subject of the federal probe.
David P. Khoury, imaginary felon.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wounded Bear Mauls Ineffective Hunter

Somewhere near the rural community of Duxbury, Minnesota a bear is wandering around in pain after being wounded by a hunter and then being stabbed by the guy when Mr. Bruin returned to talk the situation over, as we learn in this account. If you read the article linked, you'll notice that the hunter is referred to more than once as a "victim". Sorry, but the bear is the real victim here. He wasn't airlifted to a sophisticated trauma care center after being wounded while out doing his bear business. Nothing against bear hunting but let's face it, the bear is at something of a disadvantage or these mighty hunters wouldn't venture out in the woods attempting to kill one. When Nimrod fails at dispatching his quarry, well, things like this can happen. It ain't like the bear attacked him while he sat on the couch watching the Gophers maul the Wolverines.

Additionally, in the religion of the outdoors it's a cardinal sin to fail to pursue and dispatch a wounded animal of any species. Even a duck or grouse isn't supposed to be left to suffer. In the case of a bear, there's not only the suffering of the animal to consider but also the danger that an angry bear presents to some innocent bystander on a stroll through the forest. The article doesn't state if Pine County sheriff's deputies are actively pursuing the dangerous bruin through the swampy countryside of the upper St. Croix Valley.
Don't fool around with this guy unless you're serious. He will be.

Robert Poli, who led 1981 strike that led Reagan to fire traffic controllers, dies at 78

This WaPo obituary sheds some light on the man that led the most unsuccessful work stoppage in American labor history. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed executive order 10988 that permitted collective bargaining with the federal work force. Things mushroomed from there. However, even though federal, and ultimately other public employees, were able to organize, they weren't in exactly the same position as unions in the private sector. When someone goes to work for the federal government they sign an oath not to engage in a work stoppage. Going on strike not only violates this oath, which is grounds for mandatory dismissal, but also violates the law. When Poli advised his membership to engage in a work stoppage, he gave Ronald Reagan, once the head of the Screen Actors Guild, license to fire them. Planes continued to take off and land with replacement workers drawn from controllers that honored their oath and trained military personnel. Poli disappeared from the national spotlight and the public employee unions suffered a real but temporary setback.

Crash in Women's Elite Race at 2014 World Road Racing Championships

This disastrous crash in the most important race of the year eliminated the entire Canadian team. Karol-Ann Kanuel suffered a fractured hip and Leah Kirchmann a broken collarbone. Joelle Numainville, recovering from a serious concussion, received a blow to the head and Lex Albrecht injured her elbow so badly that she was forced to withdraw from the competition. A sad result for a group with justifiably high hopes earlier in the day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Protecting the Elected

The man that's a fish bone in the gullet or an errant golf ball from the most powerful position on earth, US vice president Joe Biden, made a trip to Aspen, CO last weekend that put the financial crunch on at least two counties that provided security for the visit, as the local press describes.  The idea that it should take 40 black SUVs to provide protection for this fraud is preposterous on its face but why should these local agencies even be concerned about his short stay in the Rockies? Perhaps there's some federal law, regulation, executive order or administrative fiat that requires the law enforcement personnel of Mayberry, RFD to drop whatever they're doing and erect traffic barriers whenever the Secret Service says they must.  Nonetheless, there are various levels of cooperation, the sheriffs, who are in many ways the most powerful officials in America, have a certain amount of discretion in affairs like this. They should use that discretion.

Back on the Potomac tidewater, some disturbed individual successfully scaled the fence surrounding the White House and actually managed to enter the holy sanctuary before the legion of Secret Service praetorians managed to subdue him and haul him away. The noteworthy aspects of this event were that the intruder wasn't filled with bullet holes and that, horror of horrors, he had, on his person, a folding knife with a blade 2 3/4 inches long! Within the living memory of many Americans, the possession of a small jack knife was almost mandatory for any normal boy or male adult. It's not a weapon but rather a tool, the regular use of which is one of the differences between us and monkeys. Yet the media is aghast that anyone can come within a Miguel Cabrera fly ball of a politician with an edged item normally used for sharpening pencils and peeling apples.

Pre-Columbian native Americans, and even pre-historic Europeans, employed stone axes. While they may have been flaked down to a taper, these items weren't really edged tools. They weren't very sharp. They were more on the order of sophisticated clubs. Today, as a result of our advanced technology, we have hammers that are much nicer and more effective than those primitive tools. How much longer will it be before the media makes breathless comment on a felon having a framing hammer in the trunk of his car after being stopped for having a faulty headlight?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Annamieke van Vlueten Leaves Rabo-Liv For Bigla

Dutch national road racing champion in 2012 and current Dutch time trial champ, Rabo-Liv rider Annamieke van Vlueten has moved her operation to the Swiss Bigla racing team. An integral part of the squad that has helped world and Olympic champion Marianne Vos to become perhaps the best cyclist on earth, van Vlueten, in her prime at 31 years of age, now joins a different team where she's likely to be the star, rather than a member of the supporting cast.

Update: Leading the Rabo-Liv team time trial riders in the world championships at Ponteferrada, Spain, Annemieke struck a barrier in a roundabout, causing a crash that  left star rider Anna van der Breggen with a broken pelvis. Van Vlueten has been forced to withdraw from further competition at the worlds with a foot injury. This video shows the crash. 

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Anne-Mieke gives us the thumbs up from her hospital bed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Joe Biden Proves He's Out Of Touch By Using Term "Orient"

The man that's a fishbone in the gullet or an errant golf ball away from the presidency of the most powerful country in the world has continued his career of verbal gaffes by referring to the area of the world between the Black Sea and the International Date Line as the "Orient".

This is unacceptable vocabulary because? The word itself comes from Latin and means "East", it doesn't refer to people. It doesn't have a racial, ethnic or religious component. In this article that describes the simple VP's verbal transgression the statement is made that "The terms “orient” and “oriental” are considered widely outdated and offensive to Asians." What determines when a word is "outdated"? How could it be offensive to Asians? What about the term "Asians", itself? Have we taken a poll of people with origins in the land mass east of Europe to see if they're satisfied with that word? Maybe it's offensive as well. In Minnesota it's now verboten to refer to an invasive fish species as an "Asian carp" because that somehow offends the Orientals.

Verbal denigration of "the other" has been a feature of human communication probably since humans moved on from monosyllabic grunts. In the case of the US, there's never been a shortage of derogatory nomenclature for those lower on the social totem pole, although some are more disrespectful than others. The use of mick, kike, wop, polack, greaser, spic, slopehead, gook and other terms has fallen into disfavor except in situations where the individuals to which they refer are not present or some secret agent of the thought police might be near. But there isn't a correspondence between these nasty expletives and a geographic term like "Orient". I hadn't considered it but perhaps the company advertised as "Northwest Orient Airlines" beginning in 1949 failed to change its name quickly enough by not dumping the "Orient" until after its merger with Republic Airways in 1986. In fact, the airline doesn't exist in that form any longer, having been absorbed by Delta. Delta was never known as "Cracker" Airlines or "Redneck" Airways, despite generally buzzing around the Atlanta area.

Kids Can Stare At People

For reasons I don't fully understand children stare at me. They probably stare at others as well. They might very well stare at any stranger or person with an appearance they consider unusual. It's doubtful that most people are offended by a child's intense gaze and if they were what could they do about it? Anyway, my question is, "When and how do children learn NOT to stare at strangers? I don't remember anybody ever telling me that it's socially unacceptable to stare at someone, although I may have forgotten such an instruction. I've never told my kids not to stare at people, either. This is a subject that deserves some serious study.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Property Rights, Treehouse Edition

An anonymous neighbor, unhappy with the presence of a treehouse next door, began the process of its removal with a complaint to Minneapolis zoning officials and now the unregulated structure has to go, according to this story in the Star-Tribune. An earlier story contained more details.

  As usual in these cases, the offended party, the complainer, the imposed-upon individual, remains anonymous. The city is probably correct in demanding the destruction of this hold-over from another era. As it's not as regulated as even a playhouse there's always the possibility that some unscrupulously clever social misfit or an organization along the same lines could build a tree manufacturing facility unhampered by city codes and zoning restrictions. Or arboreal housing units that could be inhabited by undocumented aliens. In fact, if treehouse owners allowed Honduran children to move in they could probably get city funding for carpets and electricity.

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Death Penalty, This Time For A Cougar

News erupted through the media yesterday of the unprovoked attack on a six year-old boy hiking with family members by a mountain lion near the wilderness village of Cupertino, CA, also the home of Apple, Inc., a company that makes popular electronic devices, not a grower of fruit, as this article explains. Fortunately the toddler was saved by his quick-thinking father and has since been released from the hospital after treatment for bites.

Once again, an animal is being judged in human terms and will be, as they say, "euthanized" for showing the temerity to consider a small human as food. When and if a cougar is found and killed its DNA will be matched to samples found on the victim to determine if, indeed, this particular individual is the bad guy. If not, no doubt the search will continue. What the status of a dead but innocent cat will be isn't mentioned.

There's something of a Darwinian selection process being invoked here. If proven aggressive and dangerous animals of a given species are killed and not allowed to reproduce, over time the remainder will be more and more friendly toward man, the peaceable kingdom will have arrived. On the other hand, it might be assumed that all large carnivores are a danger to humans and when they prove this on an individual basis must be done away with. Both thoughts have a certain validity.

In any event, people prefer their animals on the Discovery Channel, not in their backyard.

A cougar. This isn't the cougar that attacked the little boy. Nobody got a photo of that one. This is a picture of some other cougar but it's probably just as dangerous as the one stalking hikers near the Apple, Inc. headquarters. Hopefully, it's been dispatched as well, sent to a taxidermist, and its preserved form displayed at some popular sporting goods store.