October 22, 2014

Why Would Any Man Vote Democrat?

It's a bizarre question, but Grim gamely provides a response.

Questions like this are nothing more than brazen appeals to identity politics. Are you black? How could you *possibly* vote for a party that doesn't have put social justice and civil rights front and center? Are you female? How could you *possibly* vote for a party that doesn't put so-called "women's issues" ahead of everything else?

Are you Hispanic? How could you.... Well, you get the picture.

Right leaning pundits have been lambasting such gender and race based appeals for as long as I can remember. But these days we're expected to find a group to identify with and put the supposed interests of our little tribe first. The rest of the country, apparently, can go straight to hell in a handbasket. We recognize nothing greater than our own perceived self interest.

We're all single issue voters in a nation full of complex questions with no simple answers. A nation where the legitimate competing interests of all kinds of people - black, white, rich, poor, male, female, liberal, conservative, religious and secular - must constantly be balanced and prioritized.

That's what America was supposed to be about: that balancing process.

It was bad enough when only one side was doing this. If we've sunk this low then we really are doomed.

The times, they are a-changin':

Earlier this month, a coalition of some 20 African American Democratic leaders called a news conference to endorse the GOP candidate, state Rep. Rick Stream. Armed with voter registration forms, activists like Seals have been roaming black neighborhoods urging people to vote for anyone but the Democrat.

The plan is not only to beat back a local candidate they view as particularly unfriendly to black residents, but also to present a show of force to Democratic leaders all the way up to Sen. Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon. By switching their allegiance in this election, these African Americans hope to demonstrate that their votes should not be taken for granted.

Ted Hoskins, the mayor of nearby Berkeley who has endorsed Stream, rattled off a series of slights and sins. They range from the governor’s decision to back the controversial prosecutor in the Brown case to the Democratic Party’s anemic support for the incumbent county executive, a black Democrat who was ousted by a white challenger during the August primary.


“This is about the total disrespect white Democrats have demonstrated against the black community,” he said. “This time, we are going to show them.”

It could be a difficult feat. A Republican has not held the St. Louis county executive’s position in 25 years.

The phrase, "Be careful what you wish for" comes to mind.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:35 AM | Comments (27) |TrackBack (0) |

October 21, 2014

Downstream Effects of Sequester Cuts to DoD

This doesn't sound good:

The U.S. Navy’s elite cadre of fighter pilots—made famous by Top Gun—are not flying nearly often as they would like. Instead, many of the Navy’s elite Boeing F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter squadrons are sitting on the ground with only two or three flyable jets available. The rest of the jets are awaiting maintenance for want of critical spare parts—and some of those parts are being cannibalized from brand new jets in an increasingly vain attempt to keep squadrons flying.

...Sources tell The Daily Beast that there are dozens of jets awaiting maintenance—and most of the planes are less than 10 years old, which by aircraft standards is practically brand new. Effectively, dozens of brand new jets worth billions of dollars are sitting on the ground useless.

Some drop in readiness is normal. Whenever a Navy squadron comes back from a deployment onboard a carrier, it loses some of its roughly 12 jets and readiness plummets before building back up. There is a rough floor of about six aircraft that a unit is supposed to have even at low readiness levels. “They have gone below that minimum,” one source said.

The result is that the Navy’s fighter pilots are not getting necessary training to operate their pricey machines in combat should the need arise. Given that the nation is once again at war, that need could arise again sooner than anyone expects.

The problem is neither the Navy nor Boeing has enough trained engineers to inspect and perform needed repairs on the various versions of the F/A-18.

One of the main causes of the problem, according to multiple sources, was the congressionally mandated sequester that automatically cut the Pentagon budget.

Money that was cut during 2012 budget year is only now having a real impact because the skilled engineering force of engineers and technicians at various government contractors were laid off and found other jobs since then. The result is a massive backlog of aircraft that must be repaired.

The Editorial Staff don't have much insight into the aviation community, except to recall that pilots are required to fly a certain number of hours to keep up their skills and proficiency. So in addition to the obvious effects of equipment shortages, there's a safety problem to be considered.

During the sequester fight, there was a lot of uninformed talk from both sides about how little impact cuts to the Department of Defense actually had. This ties in with a long term tendency to eliminate so-called "redundancy" (labeled "inefficiency"). Donald Rumsfeld was big on this, and it never made sense to us.

During wartime, a LOT of equipment is ridden hard and put away wet. Sometimes, it's not worth the cost even to bring it home. In war, things break - either from constant use or as a result of enemy fire. The DoD procurement process is anything but simple and speedy. Contracts that get cancelled now can take years to be resubmitted, approved, and executed.

In what sane world does anyone expect that equipment that is broken/worn/left behind won't have to be replaced? Where the DoD budget needs reducing is all those feel-good, touchy feely add on allowances the Democrats were screaming for during the Evil Bu$Hitler Era. As with so much else in our national infrastructure, we've replaced long term investment in vital public goods like roads and bridges with short term payments that go directly to individuals (and which do NOTHING to enhance the welfare of the country in general).

Scary, scary stuff.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:51 AM | Comments (8) |TrackBack (0) |

Isn't "Celebrity Dachshund" Somewhat Redundant?


Posted by Cassandra at 08:44 AM | Comments (5) |TrackBack (0) |

October 20, 2014

Chart Interpretation for Bloomberg Dummies

Chart illiteracy: there has got to be a word for it somewhere. At any rate, the tragic inability to decipher fairly simple charts weighs heavily upon our sorely abused Brain Housing Group of late.

Speaking of which... how on earth does one get this assertion (bolded text below)...

Women fighting for a broader presence in the upper levels of management face at least one very personal obstacle: Most workers don’t want them there.

...from this study?

Americans are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss (33%) to a female boss (20%) in a new job, although 46% say it doesn't make a difference to them. While women are more likely than men to say they would prefer a female boss, they are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss overall.

The study didn't ask whether women should be bosses, or even whether they belonged in upper management. It asked men and women whether would rather have a male boss, a female boss, or whether the sex of their boss is unimportant. Here's the breakout for a mixed sample of men and women:

46% had no preference (this was the most popular response)
33% preferred a male boss
20% preferred a female boss

Now we realize that math is difficult for the intrepid journalists at Bloomberg, but last time we checked, 46 + 20 = 66% of the mixed-sex sample either don't mind or actively prefer a female boss. Now let's look at the breakout for a sample composed of just women:

34% had no preference
39% preferred a male boss (this was the most popular response)
27% preferred a female boss

Again, 34 + 27 = 61% of women (we're pretty sure that's "most women") either don't mind or actively prefer a female boss. So actually, whether you're asking a mixed male/female group or women only, "most people" (roughly two thirds -66% or 61%, respectively) have no objection to having a female boss.

How on earth does this become "most people don't want women in upper management"? The most interesting insight we got from this study is that women are more likely than men to view workplace issues through the tawdry lens of discriminatory gender stereotypes:

comparison.png

We can't help noting that the Bloomberg article was written by two women. Figures...

*sigh*

Posted by Cassandra at 02:36 PM | Comments (13) |TrackBack (0) |

OMG!! THOUSANDS OF CENTRAL AMERICANS HAVE ENTERVIRUS D68!!!!!11!!

This kind of idiocy (from Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks) begs to be fisked within an inch of its miserable life:

“Immigration is part of Ebola, is a part of this new virus – I say ‘new’ in quotations marks because it’s relatively new to the degree we’ve seen it in the United States of America that taking the lives of American children, that is causing partial or complete paralysis of American children. All of this is related to immigration because some of these diseases are coming from abroad. By way of example, there was a study in 2013 – I think it was called the enterovirus that is causing the paralysis and death of young children in America – that thousands of residents of Central American countries were found with this illness over a year ago in 2013.

We touched on this topic last week, but we're still seeing volunteer clowns everywhere we turn. Unfortunately for them, the study doesn't say anything even close to what Brooks (and far too many other bloggers) claim it does. Let's walk through Brooks' claim step by step:

(1) Step 1: "...thousands of residents of Central American countries"...

The total number of patients studied (taken from 8 different countries, only 2 of which are in Central America) was 3375. Only 246 of them came from Central America:

central_amer.png

Now unless Rep. Brooks and every blogger who has cited this study are using some kind of newfangled math (perhaps Common Core?), it is impossible to get "thousands" from a sample of 246, not all of whom even tested positive for any of the 100-odd types of enterovirus. Thus, simple examination of the first part of his claim is sufficient to show that this man has absolutely no idea what the study he's flogging actually says. But hey, this is fun. Let's keep going.

(2) Step 2: "...were found with this illness". Again, the study says nothing of the kind. Or even anything close. "This illness" is one of about a hundred known strains of human enterovirus (HEV): Enterovirus D68. So, how many TOTAL cases of human enterovirus (of ANY kind) were found? From the study results:

Overall, HRVs and HEVs were identified in 16% (548 samples) and 3% (84 samples) of the ILI cases, respectively.

That 3% (or 84 cases) is comprised of all types of enterovirus, not "the specific strain currently spreading in the United States. And the 3% was taken from 8 different countries (not just Central America). So once again, clearly the people citing this study either haven't bothered to read the [short] summary or can't interpret a chart to save their own lives. It's right there in black and white. It's even in English.

Now let's move to the chart I keep seeing. Due to the extremely graphic [pun fully intended] nature of this chart, I have hidden it below the fold so as not to send the unwary reader into sudden and fatal cardiac arrest:

Continue reading "OMG!! THOUSANDS OF CENTRAL AMERICANS HAVE ENTERVIRUS D68!!!!!11!!"

Posted by Cassandra at 08:45 AM | Comments (8) |TrackBack (0) |

October 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

When that 3 a.m. phone call comes in, who's going to pick up?

“They said I’m not supposed to call that number and to call the C.D.C. I call the C.D.C., and I can’t get someone on the phone,” Mr. Watters said. “When I do get someone on the phone, I get disconnected.”

We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

Posted by Cassandra at 05:00 PM | Comments (4) |TrackBack (0) |

October 15, 2014

Your Moment of Zen for Today

"Viral Turnip" sounds like a great name for a rock band.

Continue reading "Your Moment of Zen for Today"

Posted by Cassandra at 01:47 PM |TrackBack (0) |

He's a Lover, Not a Fighter

Ladies and Cruel, Patriarchal Hegemonists, we bring you Dr. Cornell West:

(KMOV.com) – Activist Dr. Cornel West said it was important for him to get arrested during demonstrations in Ferguson to “show how deep the love is.”

Kinda says it all, doesn't it?

Posted by Cassandra at 01:35 PM | Comments (3) |TrackBack (0) |

"Ordinary Editing" Circular Transparency Alert

Glenn Kessler, the WaPo Fact Checker, examines the White House claim that changes to a draft Inspector General report on Secret Service misconduct in Cartagena were "part of the ordinary process of editing the report.’”:

The White House pushed back hard against a report in The Washington Post that, during the probe of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, senior White House aides did not thoroughly investigate information suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member.

One key element of the article concerned a separate probe by the Homeland Security Department’s Inspector General’s office, which had uncovered additional evidence from records and eyewitnesses who had accompanied the team member in Colombia. The article reported that David Neiland, the IG’s lead investigator, “later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.

The White House told reporters that a bipartisan Senate report had found that the redactions were part of the normal editing process. This statement was, to say the least, misleading. In Kessler's words:

...this was not actually a finding but merely a claim made by, among others, the very person whose credibility is questioned throughout the report.

The person whose credibility was being questioned was Charles K. Edwards, who was accused of directing the redactions in the first place and who (conveniently) resigned before further hearings into his alleged misconduct could be held:

Continue reading ""Ordinary Editing" Circular Transparency Alert"

Posted by Cassandra at 08:46 AM | Comments (2) |TrackBack (0) |

Unexpectedly!

Surpise, surprise, surprise. Vonderrit Myers, the St. Louis man recently shot by an off duty police officer, had gunshot residue on his shooting hand and the weapon found at the scene (an uncommon model that just happens to match the one Myers was holding 2 days before the shooting in photos on social media) had been fired several times:

Ballistic evidence shows Myers fired three shots before his gun jammed, Dotson said. Police said they recovered the gun, which was reported stolen on Sept. 26.

Roorda said the gun in the photo was an exact match for the gun found on Myers after his death.

"This is a distinct-looking gun, not one seen on the streets very often," he said.

Roorda called political leaders who blamed the police for Myers' death "irresponsible and despicable."

"The allegation that the young man had nothing but a sandwich was a silly allegation proven quickly to be untrue," he said.

The officer fired off 17 rounds. Preliminary autopsy results show Myers was struck six or seven times and died from a wound to the head, according to medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham.

Online court documents show that Myers was free on bond when he was killed. He had been charged with the unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, and misdemeanor resisting arrest in June.

The officer's attorney, Brian Millikan, said the shooting was "a traumatic event in his life." He said the officer is undergoing counseling.

Obviously a frame-up:

St. Louis Police Officer’s Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda said, “With regards to the firearm that`s depicted on social media, there would have to have been an incredible conspiracy for the officer to pull off, as it`s been alleged, throwing down or planting a gun that just happened to match the gun portrayed on social media.”

Roorda also announced that suspect Myers was certified as an adult when he was 16, after being arrested for shooting someone in the leg. Myers was not convicted.

If only someone would host a beer summit.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:28 AM | Comments (18) |TrackBack (0) |

The Predictable Result of Ferguson Hype

Not something to be proud of:

I’m a cop. A few weeks ago, two of my beat partners and I were called to an apartment in a fairly nice complex to help a mother and father with their 16-year-old son.

The son had no criminal history, and by all accounts was a decent kid. But he was having some problems at home — breaking things and making threats with a knife — and the parents needed our help.

When we finally located the son, who is of mixed ethnicity (Dad is white, Mom is Hispanic), he instantly began cussing and yelling at us. He took a fighting stance and said he was not going to do anything we told him.

Luckily, we were able to calm him and get him into handcuffs without any blows being thrown.

We asked why he was so hostile toward us. His response? Ferguson. The cops couldn’t be trusted because of what happened in Ferguson, Mo. He told us that he wanted to kill all white cops because of what “they” had done to Michael Brown.

...Since the shooting of Mike Brown, and the month-plus-long circus that followed, the number of law enforcement officers being shot in the line of duty has skyrocketed, but the average citizen has no idea this is happening.

...Did you know that in just three days last week, six cops were shot in the line of duty, one of whom was killed?

Oct. 7, Chicago: One officer, a captain, is shot in the face and chest. Other officers at the scene take fire and are pinned down by the suspect.

Oct. 8, North Las Vegas: An officer is shot during a gunfight with a suspect.

Oct. 8, Phoenix: An officer on a traffic stop is shot in the face. The suspects flee; the officer calls for help. Two other officers arrive and start rendering aid, only to come under fire from the suspects who circled back and attacked the responding officers.

Oct. 8, Oklahoma City: Two officers are shot by a suspect during the same event.

Oct. 9, Midland County, Texas: Sgt. Mike Naylor is shot and killed while responding to a report of a sexual assault.

Where are those stories in the national news?

What does it say about the media who make a victim out of a criminal, and ignore the good guys being injured and killed trying to keep society safe?

People ask me if things are different for cops since Ferguson.

Yes, yes they are.

Posted by Cassandra at 08:02 AM | Comments (1) |TrackBack (0) |

October 14, 2014

Things the NIH *Did* Have Enough Money For

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If so, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins must really admire Barack "The Buck Stops There" Obama, whose legendary ability to blame everyone but himself for his administration's incompetence (if only there were an elected official whose job it was to run the Executive Branch!) is rapidly gaining Guinness Book of World Records stature. Dr. Collins recently blamed complained his agency's failure to produce an Ebola vaccine on a lack of funding.

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.” … “We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference,” he said.

Oddly, despite lacking funds to develop a vaccine for a deadly disease with death rates between 25% and 90%, the NIH had plenty of money for far more urgent tasks like these:

$2.4 million for a new condom whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud

$939,000 study: Do male fruit flies prefer younger females?

$257,000 to create a website for first lady Michelle Obama's White House garden

$592,000 study: chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators

$117,000 study: most chimps are right-handed (who knew?)

...and these:

$325,525 study: wives who remain calm during marital spats are happier.

$666,000 study: why do people watch re-runs on TV?

$702,000 study on impact of TV's and gas generators.......in Vietnam

$500,000 in federal $$ on canine beauty products

$90 Million in taxpayer funded grants to China

Betsy Newmark goes on to note:

...NIH funding has doubled since 2000 and the funding for the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases went from $1.8 billion in 2000 to $4.3 billion in 2004.

Kinda makes one nostalgic for the Evil Bu$Hitler years, doesn't it? But wait - there's more where that came from!

... cuts that have happened over the past few years are due to sequestration. Remember that idea originated in the White House and it was passed by both the GOP House and Democratic Senate.

Y'all remember the sequester, don't you? The one that Obama promised (Holy Insurance Cancellation, Batman!) would not happen?

Last fall during the third Presidential debate, President Obama laid this stunner on a waiting nation:
“First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen."

Something Congress proposed? Not according to Bob Woodward:

No one disputes the fact that no one wanted sequestration, or that ultimately a bipartisan vote in Congress led to passage of the Budget Control Act. But the president categorically said that sequestration was “something that Congress has proposed.”

Woodward’s detailed account of meetings during the crisis, clearly based on interviews with key participants and contemporaneous notes, make it clear that sequestration was a proposal advanced and promoted by the White House.

If only there were a profession whose job it was to protect the President. And no, we're not talking about the Secret Service:

... it is strange to see prominent journalists, notably Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, react to ostensibly forthright critiques of Obama's policies by expressing shock at the disloyalty of former administration officials, as if the highest loyalty they owe is to the president rather than their countrymen or the truth. Perhaps it is to be expected that the ruling elite would extol a self-serving variation on omertà. To see members of the press police that code is confounding. The matter at hand is the wisdom of U.S. policy in both Iraq and Syria. Milbank's curious focus: "Leon Panetta, other former Obama subordinates show stunning disloyalty." He goes on to write that "the lack of message discipline is puzzling, because Obama rewards and promotes loyalists. But he’s a cerebral leader, and he may lack the personal attachments that make aides want to charge the hill for him."

Why would a journalist lament a dearth of "message discipline," a euphemism for willful lying? And ponder the "charge the hill" metaphor. It implies an enemy shooting at the man charging up. In this case, the "enemy" would seem to be those who criticize Obama's foreign policy, whether other politicians or journalists.

More message discipline - that's the ticket.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:23 AM | Comments (10) |TrackBack (0) |