Apr 272015
 

So, the cops in the glittering example of Democrat-controlled Baltimore apparently caused a dudes death by rattling him around in the back of a van without restraints, snapping his neck. This, understandably, annoyed the hell out of the locals. Understandably, they protested. Understandably… the protests have turned into the stock-standard rioting, looting, trashing of police cars… and now, setting old folks homes and churches on fire.

Way to maintain the moral high ground, guys.

Large Fire Raging in East Baltimore Senior Center

According to CNN, the large building fully on fire in east Baltimore was the site of a newly constructed senior home sponsored by a church.

Plus:

Baltimore Rioters Set Fires, Cut Hoses

And:

CVS got employees out of Baltimore store just before looting and fire

Yup. One more place to avoid.

————–

Whenever there’s trouble, it’s important to look for the root cause.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mayors_of_Baltimore

Gotta go back to 1967 to find a mayor who wasn’t a Dem.

And then there’s this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_City_Council

Fifteen people. Guess how many Republicans or Libertarians on the current city council. Go on, guess.

So, we’re stuck with the chicken-and-egg quandary. Does overwhelming Democrat control cause a metropolitan area to decay into a blighted hellscape, or does the cultural corruption that results in a blighted hellscape also result in Democrats?

It seems that “everyone in city government is a Democrat” is a warning sign like someone shouting “Allahu Ackbar.” You can’t draw a causal relationship between the signal and the trouble, but you can pretty well assume that if you detect the signal, trouble is surely in the wings.

 Posted by at 7:04 pm
Apr 272015
 

Labour would outlaw Islamophobia, says Miliband in an exclusive interview

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband told the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi…

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ban agoraphobia? That, at least, is a fear that’s not particularly rational.

 Posted by at 12:34 am
Apr 262015
 

Surely this will lead to the greatest fighting force in history.

Army ROTC program allegedly pressured cadets to walk in high heels for ASU event

Note: there seems to be some confusion… the article describes Arizona State U, but links to images from the Facebook page of the Temple University ROTC program… which is in Philadelphia.

Temple_ROTC_s878x675

The cadets were reportedly threatened with some substantial repercussions unless they spent their own money to buy high-heeled shoes, spray paint them bright red and then wander about for some “Walk a Mile In her Shoes” political activism thing. Several issues spring to mind:

1a) The Army pressuring troops to engage in political activism? Really?

1b) If the cadets weren’t threatened, and volunteered willingly… political activism while in uniform? Really?

2) Ummm… in the Army, wouldn’t “Her Shoes” be the same combat boots the men wear?

3). Dude. Dude! Really??

4) I’m not an expert in such things, but are civilian high heeled shoes appropriate attire while wearing active duty military uniforms? Here’s a 304-page US Army Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I bet it has something to say on the subject.

The “walk” is in support of sexual abuse awareness, which is a valid enough issue on college campii these days. But wouldn’t a far better approach for an ROTC department be to offer the women on campus training in hand-to-hand combat and firearms use? Along with training the men on campus how to have some damned discipline? Rather than making the cadets feel like fools, doing something actually *useful* seems a better approach. But maybe it’s just me.

And whether this was mandated or entirely voluntary… the image of the future officers of the US Army in high heels seems unlikely to inspire fear in our enemies.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Apr 252015
 

Despite all the advance publicity, I somehow managed to not watch the interview with Bruce Jenner. Somehow, I guess it just didn’t seem all that important to me. Shocking, I know. But I surfed on by CNN just a little while ago to check up on WTF is going on in Nepal and Baltimore, and saw something that grabbed my attention:

Bruce Jenner comes out … as a Republican

“But not to get political, I’ve just never been a big fan. I’m kind of more on the conservative side.”

“Are you Republican?” Sawyer asked.

“Yeah,” he said with a smile. “Is that a bad thing? I believe in the Constitution.”

This should not *necessarily* be a surprise. Straight or gay, normal or “guy/gal brain in gal/guy body,” anyone can conclude that the best government is that which adheres to the Constitution, is fiscally responsible, strong on defense, etc. etc. (Granted, it’s a reasonable point that the current Republican party *says* it’s for these things, but acts otherwise).

In the current binary system, you basically have Republicans as the evangelical traditional Christians who want slightly smaller government, and the Democrats as the anti-religion, “yay for gay” progressives who want ginormous unstoppable government. Where does this leave an atheist or a gay feller who wants limited government? If they join up with the Republicans, they are joining a political movement that is filled with people who will at the very least glare at them, and will very often yell vile things at them. And thus the Democrats are the default for many people even though the bulk of their political ideologies don’t line up.

But I think that if most of your views line up with the Republicans… even if socially you’re *way* out of the Republican mainstream, a good case can be made that that is where you should go. And the reason is simple: the force of history is dragging the Republicans in the direction of social liberalization. Gay marriage, pot legalization and similar concepts would have been unthinkable in the Republican party not that long ago, but they are certainly creeping in the direction of accepting them.

But the Democrats? I don’t see them moving in the direction of abandoning socialism, or privatizing Social Security, or getting rid of the Department of Education anytime this millennium.

The Libertarians would seem to be the obvious place for people who hold the world view of “what you are or do icks me out, but so long as you’re not forcing it on me and mine, and not making me pay for it, what the hell do I care,” but, damn, what a clown-car of a political party. But perhaps as the pot legalization movement succeeds, and hopefully goes Federal, the stoner/weedwhackos will be less of an influence.

 Posted by at 10:44 pm
Apr 232015
 

Songs by Star Trek enthusiast played in court in bid to clear loyalist flute band members of playing sectarian tune outside Catholic church

Best as I can tell, some Brits played a tune that offended other Brits, and were arrested for it. I gather that the tune was entirely instrumental (flutes or some such), but the lyrics – which seem to involve Scottish people annoyed by Irish people – have been declared “racist” by a Scottish court. If the Irish and the Scots are different races… then what are the Irish and, say, Nigerians? Different phylum?

Getting arrested for playing a tune on a flute. Yeesh. Bad and goofy and politically correct as the US is… we didn’t part ways with the UK a minute too soon.

 Posted by at 3:31 pm
Apr 212015
 

So, first we have this:

Toni Morrison: ‘I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman’

Ms. Morrison is apparently an author of some kind (not science fiction, so who cares). According to the article, she thinks that America remains a terribly racist place, and that our racial problems won’t be over until two things happen:

1) “I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.”

And…

2) “And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

As for #1, the tale of Dillon Taylor comes close to fitting.

I figured #2 would be easy enough to counter. Surely white rapists of black women get convicted on a regular basis. But as it turns out, finding such a conviction is kinda difficult. According to the US FedGuvs Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Table 42. Personal crimes of violence, 2008:
Percent distribution of single-offender victimizations, by type of crime,
race of victim, and perceived race of offender

In short, whites were the victims of rape/sexual assault 117,640 times in 2008, while blacks were the victims 46,580 times. Whites were raped by other whites 74.9% of the time, and by blacks 16.4% of the time, and by other/unknown 8.7% of the time. These percentages kinda-sorta match up with the racial breakdown of US society as a whole. But where it gets interesting… blacks were raped by other blacks 74.8% of the time, by other/unknown 25.2% of the time and by whites 0.0% of the time. Once again: zero reported rapes of black people by white people. Granted, in the 25.2% of the time that’s “unknown” there could well be white rapists, but you’d generally expect that the breakdown of the “unknowns” to be more or less similar to the breakdown of the “knowns.”

What’s the lesson here? It’s pretty simple. For Toni Morrison to finally start feeling good about America… black people would need to start getting raped by white people at vastly higher levels than what’s currently happening.

This might not be what Toni Morrison actually wants. But then again, she’s  a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and if the Peace Prize is anything to go off of, the non-science Nobels are markers of incompetent dumbassery more than anything else.

 Posted by at 10:03 am
Apr 182015
 

NASA Says Nobody’s Getting to Mars Without Its Help

… NASA administrator Charles Bolden went so far as to say that “No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars.”

This can be taken two ways:

1) “NASA is just plain essential and nobody else has the smarts to do it.”

2) “Just you try, and we’ll drop on you like a ton of Federal bricks.”

Let’s *hope* that the true meaning is the arrogance inherent in #1. #2 would indicate serious trouble.

 Posted by at 4:14 pm
Apr 172015
 

This took long enough:

Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Allowing Nitrogen in Executions

Roughly 80% of the air you breathe in is nitrogen. Additionally, nitrogen is effectively inert… what you breathe in, you breathe out. Consequently, unlike carbon dioxide which is a biologically produced waste product, your lungs essentially ignore nitrogen. If the partial pressure of nitrogen goes up or down, your lungs don’t really care.

So if the nitrogen percentage goes up to 100%… your body doesn’t react. Unlike a small increase on CO2, your physiology doesn’t freak out. There no discomfort or pain with increased nitrogen. The only real effect if that it displaces the oxygen in your blood, and then in your brain. And the result of that is that within a few seconds, you simply pass out, and peacefully to most accounts. And within a few minutes, you are brain dead.

Breathing in nitrogen (or helium, freon, a few other gasses) is just about the most peaceful way to go. As a bonus, nitrogen is cheap, plentiful and easily produced. Unlike the chemicals used for lethal injection executions, nitrogen can be had from many, many sources. Unlike lethal injection chemicals, there’s no way to screw up nitrogen… just strap a mask over the face and turn it on. There is no such thing as a mammal that could possibly survive more than a few minutes on pure nitrogen, so there’s no chance of botched executions.

So why has it taken this long for it to be made available as a means of execution?

 Posted by at 5:01 pm
Apr 162015
 

College Apologizes for Serving Mexican Food During Sci-Fi Event

In short: Stevenson College in Santa Cruz, CA, held a sci-fi themed “Intergalactic Night.” Along with a “well, i guess they tried” series of sci-fi decorations, they had food. In the form of  buffet. Of Mexican food. Because even in a sci-fi setting, tacos are awesome. But guess what? People got all offended. I gather the illegal aliens on campus got in a snit about the association between Mexican food and science fiction aliens.

So, of course, sensitivity training all around.

Kinda curious how this effort to separate Mexican cultural elements from science fiction would play into the recent effort to enforce diversity in the Hugo awards… hmm…

 Posted by at 9:48 pm