Archive for April, 2012

When Idealism Meets Reality

This is just Human Nature 101, but too many folks just don’t understand that.

Apparently, many students don’t like the idea of redistribution – but, only when it applies to their grades. Redistribution of their GPAs (grade point averages) to poorer students, they say, is unfair. But, those with lower grades don’t seem to mind benefiting from the hard work of their “greedy” high-achieving classmates.

Young America’s Foundation’s fourth annual GPA Redistribution Petition and Video Contest has produced yet another stellar student entry, this time from Carthage College. This year, the national public policy debate has focused on "fairness" through taxing the wealthy in an attempt to redistribute wealth. Many young people support this socialistic policy.

Yet, when students at Carthage where asked if they would be willing to sign a petition to redistribute GPA points from the top 10% to the rest of the college, most of them said NO. One student said, "No, because I worked hard for my grades!"

Another said, "At Carthage, each student has an equal opportunity to get the GPA they desire." And another, "I don’t want my GPA being taken away from me if I had an ‘A’."

When the petitioners told students that oftentimes outside factors leave students at an unfair disadvantage, a student said, "No. I’m low-income and a minority, and I have a fairly decent GPA, so…"

Fittingly, some of those who are not in the upper 10% welcomed the free points. "Why not? I’m down," said one student with a low GPA  (eagerly signing the petition), but then the student’s friend standing next to him said, "It takes away from people working hard… and obviously it’s paid off with their higher GPA." Later in the conversation, when the first student told his friend to sign the petition, the friend responded, "How about trying harder for a semester?"

I wonder if these students will understand how this applies to their vote in November.

Here’s the video.

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    Things Heard: e219v1

    Good morning.

    1. Let’s see, if a few percent change in a “part-per-million” gas can change climate can sucking many megawatts out of air movement and changing wind patterns change it? Hmm.
    2. World War II and an obit.
    3. The use of a second language, use it to consider the pros and cons of your nuptials?
    4. This blog series is a lot of fun. Here’s part 1part2, and part 3.
    5. Queen Tamar.
    6. Now that the President has decided to hype is “Obama slaying” in the partisan election campaign … details come out that aren’t exactly helpful to his hype.
    7. Air vs air and air vs mud.
    8. Ms Warren and  on again/off again minority status.
    9. Beef, birth, and micro-economics.
    10. Deft.
    11. An insight into why the “world building” in Hunger Games was scant. (hint: it wasn’t the point)
    12. Sleep (deprivation) and perception.
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      Fabuluos Food Foto (# 015)

      The breakfast burrito at Fantastic Cafe, in El Segundo, CA.

      Near LAX, and near the ocean, Fantastic Cafe offers up a great breakfast burrito for a very reasonable price. I asked for the bacon version and was pleased to find out that the standard breakfast burrito composition here is to combin bacon, sausage, and ham! Yowser! Also, lots of potatoes and cheese (and, as you can see, it’s a healthy proportion). Pico de Gallo, and house green hot sauce, on the side.

      Enjoy!

      - image © 2012 AR Lopez

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        Defending the Indefensible

        That’s what Byron York thinks is the job of the Obama administration’s solicitor general, Donald Verrilli. First it was ObamaCare, now it’s the Arizona illegal immigrant laws. John Hinderaker notes some of the disconnects that Mr. Verrilli is desperately trying to connect.

        Justice Sotomayor was commenting here on an extraordinary aspect of the Obama administration’s position, to the effect that it is OK if individual Arizona law enforcement officers decide to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, but if the state directs them all to cooperate, it is somehow unconstitutional. The Obama administration literally argued that for a state to engage in “systematic cooperation” with the federal government on immigration is unlawful. We can’t blame Mr. Verrilli for his inability to sell that bizarre argument. We do blame Barack Obama and Eric Holder for trying to assert it.

        Of course, what is going on here is that the Obama administration doesn’t want to enforce the immigration laws that Congress has enacted. The essence of its position in the Arizona case is that the federal government has the right to decide not to enforce the law, and if it so decides, then no state has the power, under the Constitution, to do anything that would tend to enforce those federal laws. So if the Obama administration decides that it will gain political advantage by ignoring federal laws against illegal immigration, states like Arizona just have to take the consequences without complaining.

        Mr. Verrilli has to twist himself in knots to try to defend the indefensible; a government that chooses which laws to enforce and which to ignore, and which want to force states to tow their particular line. The states will have none of that, and this case will determine whether the federal government can, indeed, actually legislate by ignoring laws it doesn’t like.

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          Things Heard: e218v4

          Thursday … and finally back home.

          1. ‘Cause profiling is just WRONG!
          2. Black. (me too)
          3. 21st century perceptions of the possible and Ezekiel.
          4. The short answer “no”, the long answer “it’s complicated”, the truth … well, he could kill it if he wanted to apparently he doesn’t so that “short answer = no” has a slight malfunction.
          5. The zero bound and the bank.
          6. polite protest.
          7. Acronym vs Kipling. I’ll go with the latter.
          8. Strong women don’t need muscles or guns.
          9. More background on Mr Zimmerman for the Zimmerman/Martin kerfuffle discussions.
          10. So, true or not? Did you see a better short video segment yesterday?
          11. An interesting point, the legal arguments are entirely disconnected from the non-legal ones.
          12. I think it’s the meta-ethical capture of the Left by Consequentialism.
          13. And when you add the high cost of tax collection … yikes.

          Well, that should do for today. Have a good one y’all!

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            An End Run Around the Constitution

            Remember when George W. Bush was "shredding the Constitution"?

            As a senator and presidential candidate, [President Obama] had criticized George W. Bush for flouting the role of Congress. And during his first two years in the White House, when Democrats controlled Congress, Mr. Obama largely worked through the legislative process to achieve his domestic policy goals.

            But increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.

            Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers. When he announced a cut in refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages last month, for example, he said: “If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”

            Aides say many more such moves are coming. Not just a short-term shift in governing style and a re-election strategy, Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive use of executive action could foreshadow pitched battles over the separation of powers in his second term, should he win and Republicans consolidate their power in Congress.

            Congress is as much a part of the Constitution as is freedom of speech and the Commerce Clause. Yet Obama is willing to do an end-run around the representatives of the people. Isn’t that what Democrats have accused corporate interests of doing? Bribing Congress and ignoring it both result in a less representative government. But since he’s a Democrat, then it’s OK with those Occupy Wall Street types.

            And the media, predictably, are defending him.

            Mr. Obama got fed up, finally, last fall, according to Mr. Savage’s article, and the result was the “We Can’t Wait” project, which has led to dozens of executive actions on a range of issues, including jobs for veterans and fuel economy standards.

            Unlike the Bush/Cheney team, Mr. Obama did not take office with the explicit goal of creating new powers for the presidency. That was not part of his agenda. Moreover, his executive actions often are more modest in their effect than the White House’s public relations team might admit.

            Government by executive order is not sustainable in the long-term. Nor is it desirable, whether you agree or disagree with those orders. But in this particular case, there may be no alternative.

            "He didn’t mean to, but this nasty ol’ Congress just won’t bow down and do his bidding, so there may be no alternative." I would remind Democrats that there are more Republicans in Congress precisely because he got his way so much when Democrats had bigger majorities. By doing an end-run around Congress, he’s trying to nullify the results of the last mid-term election; your votes.

            For the Left, it’s not so much about principle as it is about politics.

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              Things Heard: e218v3

              Good morning.

              1. Off the beaten track information regarding Mr Wood.
              2. Music and … heaven?
              3. Misquote is a political strategy, alas practiced on both sides.
              4. Our government overreach in action.
              5. Beauty and church adornment.
              6. Advice and academia from a very fast man.
              7. Competition and moving power down not up.
              8. Blank bang and the 3-d printing process.
              9. Intimations of danger.
              10. I disagree. It seems to me that wisdom/fool has a similar relationship as saint/sinner, the more you increase in wisdom the more you feel yourself to be the fool.
              11. Yikes. And … it seems to me America and China would have a different reaction in the ensuing tort courts … and I’m not of the opinion that America is better in that regard.
              12. Not getting “the sisterhood thing”.
              13. Next stop the shooting range?
              14. Marines then and now … which approach was better?
              15. So, four strikes?
              16. And a verse to recommend to close out this list.
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                Things Heard: e218v1n2

                Yikes, I’m running late. A few links?

                1. A little political humor.
                2. Not getting the IVF press.
                3. Of drugs, alcohol and policy.
                4. Of Obama’s reaching for (more) executive power, here and here. Ya think “ineffective Senate (legislature)” was not a reason Rome went Imperial? It worked so so well for them.
                5. So, the BBC takes a story … and where do they go with it? The question is, are liberals offended by this too?
                6. A little size disparity.
                7. A metaphor for the nanny state? (see item #4).
                8. Well, they grow on trees ya know!
                9. question asked, why is this more than a 2 hour trial?
                10. A question about Colson and the Watergate kerfuffle.
                11. The problem of positive errors.
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                  Friday (well, Monday) Link Wrap-up

                  Being on a business trip for a week makes it hard to keep up with blogging. And being on the US west coast helps with the realization that the world doesn’t revolve around Eastern time.

                  On with the links.

                  Obama is invoking Reagan a lot these days, trying to promote his agenda. But as Steven Hayward notes, Obama takes Reagan’s words out of the context of the politics and the times in which they were spoken.

                  Just prior to Reagan, Jimmy Carter worked with the dictatorship of North Korea to send food in return for not pursuing  nukes. In light of the recent (failed) N. Korea missile launch, you have to wonder why we thought it was a good idea to strike bargains with megalomaniacs.

                  The Hillary Rosen remarks, condemning Anne Romney for being a stay-at-home mom tipped the hand of the Democrats as to what they really think of women who make that choice. (Because, as with everything else from the Left, it’s not about the principle so much as it is the politics). On the Right, some were suggesting that we don’t need to worry about this because it means stooping to their level to respond to "Rosen-gate". But Ben Howe points out that, yes, this issue is worth our time and effort to respond to.

                  Irony Alert: For the third year in a row, Democrats punt on the budget, while at the same time accusing the Paul Ryan budget of being irresponsible.

                  Abortion as religion, with Planned Parenthood writing the prayer book.

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                    Charles Colson, RIP

                    From Fox News:

                    Watergate figure Charles Colson, who turned to religion, died Saturday at a Northern Virginia hospital after a brief illness, according to a family spokesman. He was 80.

                    “This is a time of conflicting, colliding emotions for all of us,” said Jim Liske, the chief executive of the Lansdowne, Va.-based Prison Fellowship Ministries that Colson founded. “We grieve that our brother, our founder, our inspiration is no longer with us. But we rejoice that Chuck is with Jesus, we rejoice as we reflect on his life and legacy and that we could be a part of that, and we rejoice when we think of all the redeemed in heaven who will greet him and thank him for the role he played in their salvation.”

                    Colson was the author of numerous books his most famous being his autobiography Born Again which tells his compelling story of coming to faith in Christ prior to going to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.

                    He was also a compelling speaker and boldly proclaimed Christ at every opportunity. My wife and I had the privilege of being in the audience at his acceptance of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion at the Universty of Chicago in 1993. In the midst of a highly ecumenical service with representatives of every major religion, Colson bravely and unashamedly proclaimed the gospel. Many who disagreed with him walked out during the speech. However, reading the text nearly twenty years later still gives me chills.

                    Chuck Colson made a tremendous impact on many believers all over the world. His story is a true story of redemption and the power of Christ to change lives.

                    Rest in peace, brother.

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                      Things Heard: e217v1

                      Good morning. Christ is Risen! (response:  He is Risen Indeed!)

                      1. On our American reticence to share our problems (and consequently the impolite nature of noticing others problems as well).
                      2. On further thought … perhaps it would be better if one didn’t give it further thought.
                      3. Global warming and some IPCC predictions.
                      4. While on the subject of warming, “All that’s Fit is News” isn’t that the NYTimes motto? And heck, if the news doesn’t fit stretch it.
                      5. Missing. Why sundering is a good thing.
                      6. Weaponized food.
                      7. How not to correct a stereotype.
                      8. Yet another remark on the Derby kerfuffle.
                      9. Shrubbery … I guess the Monty Python/Holy Grail piece wasn’t the last word. The Administration wanted to get some laughs too.
                      10. More Obamacare Constitutionality issues.
                      11. “Unworthy priest” is after all enshrined in the liturgy.
                      12. Our President … a good bad example for industry?
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                        Things Heard: e216v5

                        It is Good Friday for the Eastern Church (hence me). East and West are one week off this year.

                        1. Evidence of a horrible maths educationUncountable? No. The set of English words is actually finite, which is not even countably infinite (like the natural numbers).
                        2. How to never be bored. Practice skillz.
                        3. So, an Obama lie? or is he unaware of his income or the contents of the bill?
                        4. Akin to the burning bush?
                        5. Probably not as damaging to ones reputation as being menaced by a rabbit while canoeing.
                        6. A thought experiment, kind of like the torture one I posed years ago (which was “is it torture if neither interrogator or victim remember the event”)
                        7. A Marine who had not been not forthcoming about his prior career to his mates (and why).
                        8. One more from the military front, but hey, you saw that as frontline news already on ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, &etc. Right?
                        9. Breaking news, cats play with their food. Oh, wait … that’s not news is it.
                        10. Quite rightly went out of fashion” (hack spit) What!?
                        11. Texas and weather.
                        12. “We think it’s important” is not a limiting principle (which is still out missing apparently).
                        13. The Dale.
                        14. Search engine advice for dining.
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                          Friday Link Wrap-up

                          A federal government out of control. Without any evidence, Attorney General Eric Holder took a woman to court for obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic. The judge threw out the case and ordered the government to pay $120,000 to the woman. Yes, it’s good that the woman was compensated, but this case should have never gone to court.

                          I think Julian Assange has been irresponsible for dumping secret data that, in many cases, has put lives at risk or tipped our hand to enemies. Still, it’s nice to know that, in all that, George W. Bush has been vindicated in his handling of the Iraq/WMD situation.

                          I agree with the sentiment that the teen’s shirt said, "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe". However, I also think that the folks he thinks need that message aren’t, for the most part, homophobes either, if, by "homophobe" you mean "someone who agrees with 2000 years of Christian teaching".

                          Global Warming Update: "The number of [polar] bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt."

                          James O’Keefe is at it again. He, a white guy, to prove that voter fraud really is simple, something that Attorney General Eric Holder denies, was able to (almost) vote in the primary as Eric Holder himself, a black guy. Extremely easy.

                          An atheist who threatened to sue over a Nativity scene, was helped in his time of need by the very Christians he had threatened. Result: He’s now a Christian preparing to enter the  ministry.

                          John Stossel, libertarian and (when he was at ABC News) a contrarian in the media, describes the liberal bias at his old network.

                          Ever since Jimmy Carter got snookered by giving food to North Korea in exchange for an empty promise not to pursue nukes, we keep hoping that they’ll change their mind about belligerence if we bribe them well enough. It hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. A dictator that will spend who knows how many millions on a missile program while his country starves is patently not concerned about his people. Period. No amount of appealing to his better nature will change that. Now that N. Korea has test launched (what Rick Moore calls) a "three-stage artificial reef", now we’re serious. Now we mean business. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

                          Civility Watch: "Moderate Caucus" chairman, a Democrat, tweets, "Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams."

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                            Links for Friday, 13 April 2012

                            Women, interested in firearms… in California?
                            Yes! On March 24th the Women on Target event, held at an outdoor shooting range in southern California drew 100+ women for 100 slots. The event was designed to familiarize women with the sport of shooting – and was taught by women, with the men delegated to workhorse duties.

                            There is still hope for Kalifornia.

                            ###

                            Do as I say, not as I…
                            Evidently, Bill Cosby has weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case. From ABC (emphasis added),

                            “We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby said in his first public remarks about the case, published today.

                            “Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Cosby added. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations.

                            “When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.”

                            Yikes!

                            Flash back to 2005, in this New York Magazine article titled, New York’s Gun Culture (emphasis added),

                            Who’s Packing Heat?

                            Taxi Driver star Robert De Niro is one of New York’s most famous gun owners, as is his friend Harvey Keitel. Others on the list include Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (a former Marine), Don Imus, Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Howard Stern, Tommy Mottola, and Donald Trump (just one pistol, says his spokeswoman, who didn’t know the make).

                            Let’s hope that Bill doesn’t ever carry his gun.

                            ###

                            Of course, if we can’t trust Neighborhood Watch members to carry, then at least we can trust the police?
                            Only until their guns “accidentally fire”. From CBS Chicago (emphasis added),

                            An off-duty Chicago Police officer was wounded Thursday night when her gun accidentally fired.

                            Police say the female officer was in the 2100 block of East 71st Street when her gun went off around 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

                            Again: guns don’t “accidentally fire” nor do they “go off” all by themselves.

                            ###

                            Not heeding the fact that guns don’t accidentally go off can be deadly
                            From South Carolina,

                            The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has identified the man killed following an accidental shooting that occurred Monday at a North Charleston gun range.

                            According to witnesses at the gun range, Patteron was shooting on a lane when he stopped to inspect the weapon. He turned the handgun toward himself when it discharged, striking him.

                            ###

                            “That is what you get. If you out doing something you ain’t supposed to be doing, that is what happens”
                            Another homeowner protects herself by using her firearm.

                            ###

                            More young people are killed in Chicago than any other American city
                            Yet, Chicago had a ban on handgun ownership from 1982 until 2010 (and still tries to make it difficult to own a firearm).

                            So much for the notion that banning guns reduces crime.

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                              Fabulous Food Foto (# 014)

                              The Oklahoma Skillet, from Flappy Jack’s Pancake House, in Orange, CA.

                              The foundation of this monster breakfast is a thick layer of fried potatoes, followed by a heapin’ helpin’ of bacon, cheese, and scrambled eggs. The best way to attack this bad boy is from the top down – that way, after you’ve filled up, and you still have lots of potatoes left, you simply take them home.

                              Enjoy!

                              - image © 2012 A R Lopez

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