Mark O. Archives

Links: 2015-09-03

Links found around and about these here interwebby things.

  1. Of Mr Obama and Mr Trump.
  2. Social or geographical structures and people living in them.
  3. Cute and effective, which probably means Roger Goddell wasn’t involved, heh.
  4. Not held back by Star Trek (bad) doctrine.
  5. Yah think?
  6. So the clerk arrest is “bad optics” … speaking of which
  7. A drone meets its match.
  8. A subtitle for the “Black Lives Matter” crowd.
  9. Or your dating methodology suffers a systematic error (like you got the age of the parchment not the text).
  10. Ms Clinton’s email problem.
  11. Cruz gets it wrong. Look if you call one side hypocritical, don’t turn around and do the “other sides” version of the same hypocritical nonsense.
  12. On the county clerk … seems to me if she wanted to do what she is doing and avoid the legal problems, she should have read more Kafka. Bureaucratic runarounds have been around a long time. In some place they are probably an art form (see Havel).
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    Kentucky Cloaking, err, Clerking Devices

    So, the lone Kentucky clerk is now in jail. On charges? Of contempt. Well, h*ll, I’ve bushels contempt for a whole lot of jurists, elected officials, and public scalawags pretending to serve the people while most assuredly not doing so. I hadn’t realized holding in contempt those well deserving of same is actionable.

    Her jailing is apparently (“bad optics”) is a meme going around. Ya think?

    But aside from that, this jailing is done by the feds. This is a state (actually county) clerk enforcing state laws. Her failure to do so doesn’t violate federal statutes, but state ones. Apparently the state hasn’t decided to censure her or prosecute. What is odd that … those who think this sort of thing is wrong, fully supported those who decide that the biased non-supporting of federal immigration statutes by just deciding not to is in the purview of the federal law enforcement and prosecutors is just peachy.

    Either supporting the law (all of them) is the job of the President, the Attorney General, and every public official on regards to immigration and every other statute on the books … as well as by county clerks or disobeying such statutes because they are inconvenient or against some personal principles is ok. Both are wrong nor neither. You cannot and maintain any principles declare that these statutes can be disobeyed by those you like and those you don’t like can’t.

    Which reminds us, why exactly is Ms Clinton not being arraigned on security related charges? Hmm. Could it be politics. See above. If the clerk goes to jail, so should Hilary. They could share a cell. Last thing I read about Ms Clinton’s “emails not marked confidential” included an email detailing all the known locations of North Korean nukes. On what planet does anyone pretend that isn’t confidential or higher in security clearance (answer apparently: Democrats with inactive grey cells).

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      Links: 2015-09-01

      Around and about (from North Las Vegas this week)

      1. Trump and verse in the context of the Stasi.
      2. “Science” figures out repentence and forgiveness are useful. How clever.
      3. But, don’t dismiss science, they give you 6 foot scorpions to dream about.
      4. Of word vs deed. Gosh, I hope there is a place to spit when I actually hear someone use a term like “xe” or “zir”.
      5. Sometimes I wonder if it is the error of Star Trek and their “Prime Directive” crap that keeps us from actively opposing ISIS with little more than harsh words.
      6. This post, reminds me of an anecdote set in British colonial India. A Brit military chap is arresting some blokes for burning a woman after the death of her husband. He is informed by the outraged locals that “we have an ancient custom of doing so”. He replies his people too have an ancient custom of arresting people who burn women. Multicultural-ism is all well and good. It’s useful to understand the ways of thinking of the other guy. Doesn’t mean however, that your way of thinking isn’t actually wrong or even not better.
      7. Micro-aggressions noted. Those who promote a “theory” of micro-aggression may want claim that saying “affirmative action is racist” and/or “I believe that the most qualified person should get the job” are racist, wrong and “micro-aggresions”. They’d be 100% completely wrong. If you want to claim something true is false, go right ahead. But you’d still be wrong.
      8. Speaking racism of a more obvious sort, one of the main organs of the left gives a good one example of that.
      9. I remain confused about the Senate vote/non-vote for the Obama/Iran “deal”. If it isn’t ratified by 67 Senators, it’s not a treaty and isn’t binding. It’s not law and it’s not going to survive a President who doesn’t support it.
      10. On the basis of this, I’ve started reading this. Coincidentally I’d also picked up and started reading another book by the same author, Rob Roy.
      11. Your President’s (likely racist) legal eagles in action.
      12. An “ethical” question. My answer is no. And that the only person you can ethically suggest to sacrifice for her sake is your own.
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        Mr Rowe writes:

        Drawn in part from the writings of Christian Reconstructionists, that narrative recasts modern-day Republicans as the racially inclusive party, and modern-day Democrats as the racists supportive of slavery and postemancipation racist policies.

        Here’s the problem with casting Democrat’s as the drivers behind confronting racism in the 50s and 60s in the South. Look at these two lists, here and here. Note the dates and party affiliations of those Governors of those two very very Southern (and presumably at one time, quite racist) Southern states. Recall also Mr George Wallace. Democrat? Yes. Hmm.

        It may very well be that in the north of Mason Dixon line Democrats (union + intellectual elite driven) parties opposed racism and that is what the Democrats perceive as their legacy of opposing racism. But to deny that in the South the dominant party during the racial turmoil in the South was not both opposing racial integration and rights and was in fact part of the Democrat party is revisionist.

        If accurate this wiki article supports the “it’s more complicated” than claiming one party or the other was complicit/non-complicit in enforcing racism and racially unfair policies.

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          Links: 2015-08-04

          My excuse these last weeks is my schedule, work about 11 hours, drive (60 minutes round trip) to swim, swim (about 90 minutes total), eat, sleep and so on leaves, will no time for much. Anyhow, I’ve been reading (audio tapes driving to/from Illinois to Ohio has included a Vaclav Havel biography, a Dan Simmons Sherlock Holmes story, and the Zombie book “Warm Bodies” which made for a fun film and an ok book). As for Mr Havel, I might have to read a play or two, but I thought his observation regarding foreign policy apropos for the recent Iran “treaty” (scare quotes required, oddly enough). Mr Havel pointed out that if a government lies consistently to its own people you can’t trust it not to lie to foreign powers, in fact it is less likely to be honest with foreigners. Oh, and Katie Ledecky is completely amazing.


          1. Some guy killed a lion. I think I overheard that lawmakers were suggesting new laws. Wonder if they realize prize hunting in much (most/all?) of Africa normally goes to supporting their habitats, so making that illegal will be less good, not better for lions and such.
          2. Convenience is not always your friend … as long as you really trust everyone you come in contact with the unimportant things like continued living.
          3. Saving money or not … A question asked and another answered.
          4. And our government remains clueless about so so much.
          5. Why exercise is necessary.
          6. Public schools do indeed waste stupendous amounts of money.
          7. Ok. Fine. He wasn’t a “hero” but he was the most interesting character in the story.
          8. If this statement “Does the fact that every US ally in the Middle East, Arab and Jew, opposes this deal mean anything ?” is true, the deal should die. (more here)
          9. What makes an author great?
          10. Ms Clinton and her bad investment advice.
          11. Displaced humans, not just in abundance in Syria.

          Question? Why do people think this Iran deal is going to be part of Obama’s legacy if, because it is not a treaty, it will only survive on the forbearance of his predecessor (as it is sustained only by Presidential executive order). To be a treaty which would in fact bind future Presidents it would require ratification by two thirds of the Senate.

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            Regarding Inside/Out

            My wife and I had a “date night” cinema viewing Saturday. We saw the Pixar Inside/Out at the dollar theater.

            I thought the notion that the “joy”-self was identified as the primary ego/self driver for the pre-teen child an interesting notion that might be plausible for most healthy happy kids. Also plausible is that emotional maturation consists in part (mostly?) with bringing a more complex emotional group to drive “self” image.

            I’m less certain that emotional selves get lost in the inner mind in times of emotional crises.

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              Well, Doug just posted some excellent thoughts on marriage and the recent High Court ruling. Here’s my 2 cents (the going rate I might add, a bargain? You decide)

              Over and over and over from the Christian opposition to SSM we hear that they (we) oppose same sex marriage (and indeed relationships) because homosexual sex is sinful. This is the wrong reason, I think. Yah yah, that’s a sin. But … look at it this way. If you have one individual, in one universe he gets married to another dude. In another he doesn’t. It’s not unlikely that he has a similar quantity of sex in both universes, but in the first … its less random, less disconnected, with fare fewer people, and possibly ultimately less sinful. That homosexual sex is sinful isn’t what is wrong with same sex marriage. It’s not like you and I don’t breed sin in our lives like Fibonacci’s rabbits ourselves (don’t look at me like that). What is wrong with it is that it promotes and continues to solidify a wrong conception of what marriage is about (this post says more about this point better than I could, so go read it, then come back).

              If you study church history, you will discover that every historical Christological heresy (the nature of Christ, human, divine and such) was and often is still being recapitulated as an ecclesiastical heresy (That is to say, what is the Church?). There is a good reason for this. The reason for that is pretty obvious when it comes down to it. The body of Christ on earth (after Ascension) is in fact, the Church. So there should be no surprise that heresies (wrong notions) of “what is this called Christ” copy over to heresies of what is this same thing (Christ) here still on earth. What does this have to do with marriage? Well, for the current marital discussions we recall Paul teaches us, in marriage after some subtle instructions on how to treat with each other, that the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the Church. Furthermore that this relationship is a mystery. Now, first off, don’t get too worked up about the term “mystery”. Remember the best definition of mystery is a thing that you can’t explain very well, or at all, in words but must experience to understand. But the connection to Christology is the same. We are discovering that these Christological hersesies? Well, they are recapitulating as “What is marriage” heresies for exactly the same reason. Fortunately, as in the prior paragraph, another author at the site linked above explains that point from the Orthodox perspective far better than I can.

              Ultimately this is the reason Christians, cannot back down on the marriage question (for there is little question about balancing the small good of perhaps less sin, if the consequence and mechanism for that is promulgating heresy). This thing the state and for that matter the left elite and many others calls marriage. How they define it. How they understand it. Well, it’s a is indeed a”thing”. But that “thing” isn’t the same as what we understand the word marriage to mean. It might have been better if the Supreme court had nationalized a legal structure called fleem. In which two persons, the glissord and the fleeger are contractually (until they choose to dissolve the fleem) bound together and enjoy the following state privileges (and it will be up to the legislature now to go to their chambers and define for us what privileges are granted to those joined in fleemhood.) Well, actually they did exactly that. But instead they chose to confuse all of us and not use a new word. They didn’t call it fleem or even iglifu. They used a word that used to and for many still does mean something completely different. Keep that in mind in the discussions that follow.


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                Riddle Me This Mr Lynch

                So, public tar and feathering was proper and righteous when a baker refused to bake a cake for a wedding ….

                Would a Black owned bakery be similarly treated for refusing a family baking a cake in memory of their ancestors bearing the Battle Flag of the Army of North Virginia? Hmm?

                Hypocrisy runs rampant in the public square, eh?

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                  Of Sign, Symbol, and Culture

                  In 1977 I was passing through Chicago with my family (I was just finished my first year of High School), we’d gotten off the train and were wandering around downtown Chicago prior to renting a car and driving up to Wisconsin to visit grandparents (both my mother and father’s family lived south of Madison in a small town and a farm … for kids, the farm was way way more fun). There was something of a kerfuffle near city hall. Seems some KKK boys were having a parade. Do you think that parade would be allowed today? I’m doubtful.

                  A decade or so later, PBS had a hour long program that I recall about four small sub-cultures in retreat. French speaking Quebec and their separatist movements, the Basque, and two others which escape my memory. At the end, they had an editorial verbal essay about how cultures often go to separatism and similar gestures to maintain a cultural identity in the large wash and mix of our modern Babylon.

                  Seems pretty obvious that events and symbols which evoke pride in accomplishments past are one of the obvious means of doing that. Sometimes these symbols are not quite untarnished, but it seems uncharitable in the extreme that those who hold to those symbols are not remembering the good, but the bad instead. That some evil and some insane men cling to those same symbols on account of the tarnish does not change that we should remain charitable. Read the rest of this entry

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                    Baseball Silliness

                    So Max Scherzer almost pitched a perfect game (stymied apparently by a guy leaning into a pitch to get a hit-by-pitch call). Now a perfect games is all good (9 innings 27 batters). You could of course improve on that.

                    • Impossibly perfect game of the first degree, nine innings 27 strikeouts.
                    • Impossibly perfect game 2nd degree, nine innings 27 pitches … all hit in play for an out on the first pitch.
                    • Impossibly perfect game third degree. Pitchcount exactly 81 pitches. All strikes, three pitches per batter. No foul balls on the third pitch to any batter.
                    • Impossible virginal perfect game, Pitch count exactly 81, all strikes no batter touches a ball.

                    Any more suggestions for improvements?

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                      Links: 2015-06-11

                      1. Your feel good story for the day. (HT)
                      2. Mr Schraub shows is partisan bent … in that it was very partisan of him that he twigged on that and not, say, birth citizenship queries aimed at Mr Cruz (or the somewhat silly NYTimes “expose” pieces demonstrating Rubio had (gasp) some parking tickets a few decades ago).
                      3. A freaking felony? Truly!! Stupidity squared.
                      4. I think what underlies this post is one of the things separating the left from right. The left thinks our civilization is robust and strong. The right knows it is not … tell me what caused the decline and fall of Rome? How do you know that won’t happen to us too? Read too the Dominic Flandry novels by Poul Anderson for a vision of life during the decades and centuries of the decline. As goes the predominance of the our Protestant work ethic and our can-do attitude about what is possible so goes our future.
                      5. Pointing out the problem with we’re not charging you with a crime, but your response to our investigation … that was criminal.
                      6. Squid farmers on Mars, “so who should have won the Hugo?” Hmm. The Martian never won. That was in the top 3 best sci-fiction novel of the last decade or two. How’d that get missed?
                      7. To cheer up the conservatives, a reminder … the failure and fall don’t happen over night.
                      8. Freedom of speech on campus … and a confused girl.
                      9. The Urkainian conflict as war as UFO.
                      10. Big data and the government. The author the linked letter has trust in the government. Look, Google and lots of big retailers know lots more than you’d expect about you and so does the government. But for myself, I’d trust Google further with that then the state. I know why Google (as proxy for commerce) wants that data. They want to sell me stuff, but not randomly, they want to be able to sell me stuff that I actually want when I actually need or want it. Just recall the recent IRS partisan attack on conservative groups and ask yourself if you really think our state can be trusted not to abuse their data, haven’t abused that trust already.
                      11. Considerations of Pacific conflict and geographical implications on the same.
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                        Scattered Thoughts on Law and Ethics

                        Take two sets of actions and deeds, in the first set we have “things which are moral” in the second “things which are legal”. There may be overlap. Observing the fights about various things in our (mostly urban/rural cultural divide for which party serves as proxy) like marriage, divorce, abortion and so on .. many if not most people confuse the two and figure what overlap there is (most killing for example) is intentional and what is moral and what is legal in a “good” society would be a very close if not exact match. This. Is. Wrong. Very wrong. It is an unconstitutional and un-American idea.

                        Here’s the thing. The purpose of the law is to structure our society to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and happiness != pleasure but the meaning Aristotle and the like intended).  This structuring of law as constructed in our country leaves morality out of the metaphysical framework underpinning it. “Life, liberty and the pursuit …” is not the 10 commandments. It isn’t a call to act rightly. It isn’t a prescription of how to act or think. Our law is not encoded so that we will be righteous by what ever meta-ethic you or I live by. But free, alive, and able to pursue excellence.

                        This isn’t precisely true however. You notice our founders made particular exceptions for freedom of religion and the law subsequently has made a point to encourage religious practice. Many, especially of the academic left and press think religion and it’s place in our society is a relic and it’s time has passed. It might be worth noting a really good start in this discussion which shouldn’t be ignored is first to read through this discussion. Then argue from there.

                        This realization that law and morals (personal ethics) are independent has consequences. For example,

                        1. For most, what is moral should take precedence. If you must do something because it is right, you must do it even if it is illegal.
                        2. Take abortion as an example. If you think abortion is immoral, don’t do it and don’t advise those around you to do it. If you want to argue that it should be illegal those arguments shouldn’t center on how it is immoral but how it doesn’t exactly give a chance at, erm, life, liberty and pursuits to those who are among the weakest and smallest in our midst (there’s a Rawlsian argument to be made there). You could point out that excluding people from personhood based on particulars of their existence and not the ontology of their being has a very poor history of human rights vis a vis the 20th century. There may be good arguments on the other side of this question, but they are not known to me so I won’t attempt that. Similar “life &c” argument can be made with respect to most, if not all, of those things over with the rural/urban cultural divide quarrels.
                        3. Moral instruction for children, an essential responsibility of parents, is quintessential. This is the most important thing a parent can impart to their child. Why? Because the civil environment (law) does not do that. But you can’t be happy (see link above) without ethics. After all ethics can be succinctly coined as a study in what is good (and doing that). Without know what excellence is, how can you be happy?
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                          Gosh, If You Could Do That Over … (a better answer)

                          On Iraq Invasion … Answer:

                          How many iterations do I get? I mean, we know a lot now about what worked in Iraq and what didn’t. If I knew what worked I could alter my tactics and strategy and do it far better the next time. But … that might not get it quite right, can I do another iteration and fix what doesn’t go right the second time? Be kind of cool, run the Iraq war like Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow”. Gosh we could do lots of things if we could replay hundreds of times. Now you can run this both ways from the onset to do nor not to do. But when you have replay ability clearly “do” is the correct answer, because gosh, whenever you say “do” you can replay until you get it perfect. If you “don’t” then there is no action, so no replay. So apparently the question real question at hand is “would you like a perfect Iraq invasion” or “no perfect invasion”. Clearly perfection is better.

                          Follow-up on this question is to ask the questioner first what thing in his life he’d most like to redo. And perhaps as well, to suggest some of the things you’d start doing differently in your re-do.

                          That’s the “interesting” answer. Now less “clever” answer but smarter political tack, which was a path not taken, is to turn the question on your political opponents, that is to ask about decisions made by those whom you see as your adversaries whether they’d redo their decisions. Like regarding Obamacare, Libya, or the early Iraq pullout, any “redo” or second guessing there?


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                            A Link (and some remarks): 2015-05-13

                            1. Syria. So a year or so ago, our President “drew a red line” in the sand taking a “hard stand” against the use of poison gas. Assad (and/or the opposition) used said gases after he said that. Turns out that “red line” meant, “let’s talk”. Supposedly back then Mr Putin hornswaggled the President diplomatically and brokered a wonderful deal which satisfied everyone. Except, now there are reports that weaponized chlorine gas has been in use for some months in Syria. Why isn’t that bigger news? Why isn’t it talked about. I don’t get it.
                            2. So the Clinton’s both of them, are scum. They’ve been involved and complicit in so many scandals and have so many items of pure greed and corruption laid to their feet that the mind boggles. Yet somehow, because “they’ve done it before” nobody except the opposition party seems to care. I really really don’t get it. I’m not saying that they need to go to jail (though that would be nice) but … that seems a very low bar. “Not going to jail” is no reason to listen to speeches or pretend you’d vote for them.
                            3. Mr Schraub (and lots of other people especially on the right … which Mr Schraub certainly isn’t … ) get affirmative action exactly backwards. Affirmative action is wrong not because it “helps” minorities at the expense of other (mostly missed minorites, e.g., Asian Americans) but because it is harmful to those it supposedly benefits. Those on the right gripe about aff/action for the wrong reasons. Read Clarence Thomas’ remarks on why he thinks his Yale law degree wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Or watch (or recall) the movie “Tuskegee Airmen”. The critical error by the openly bigoted people running the training squadron was that making things very very hard creates an elite unit. And how do you destroy the moral and capabilities of a group? Lower the expected standards. Aff action is wrong because it is harmful to those it pretends to help. This should be obvious to everyone observing it. So the point regarding Ms Clinton and Mr Obama gets it hind end foremost. They overcame the deleterious effects of affirmative action. This, on their part, is commendable … but any advantages they received from it is likely dwarfed by the disadvantages (again, read some Thomas on the subject and learn).
                            4. And a last snipe  at his post… Mr Schraub writes “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were and are every bit as qualified and meritorious as your typical President before them” … hmm. Mr Obama was less experienced and qualified as Ms Palin and as qualified as Mr Cruz and about Ms Clinton, well, we the prior point and remind everyone that for example selling US Uranium ore rights to Russian plutocrats to raise money for your PAC is the apparently exactly the kind of qualification Mr Schraub applauds. I remain ignorant of the methods and metrics people use to determine (and those on the left seem very very sure about this sort of things) how “qualified” or “smart” a politician is. As above, I don’t get it.


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                              Links: 2015-05-11

                              What’s gnu?

                              1. So. Some possibly ISIS inspired Islamic fellows decided freedom of speech isn’t for them and attacked a group who purposely insulted their religion (which reminds me, if you can’t depict Mohammed with pictures why it both a common name and people with that name have pictures taken and published). Be that as it may, the usual suspects some out with remarks.
                                1. A liberal commentator invites the attacked groups leader and declares her interview to be filled with hate. Except alas, said hate is nowhere to be seen. Methinks the accuser self-labels himself as that which he accuses.
                                2. A cartoon in response.
                                3. And a column on freedom of speech (in which said cartoon was first seen).
                                4. more here.
                                5. The liberal response in a nutshell. (apparently … you can recall their not-similar reaction to, say, “piss Christ”)
                                6. Is this related or not?
                              2. Grist for the Indiana bakery discussion.
                              3. An interesting division by sex in the motives of serial killers.
                              4. A suggestion of a famous art piece’s interpretation.
                              5. Loss of credibility has consequences.
                              6. Journalistic malpractice on display.
                              7. The fine print on Obama/Kerry’s Iran centrifuge deal.
                              8. A very cool time-lapse sequence.


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