Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm Taking a Knee on Taking a Knee

For John, BLUFI hope that no one is expecting me to respect NFL Players who take a knee for our mutual National Anthem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Ed Driscoll, of PJ Media and InstaPundit, today.

NEWS FROM TODAY’S PRE-GAME WOKE OLYMPICS:  “The Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots are playing in Mexico City today, but the kneeling protests did not stop at the border.  Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch, who has been kneeling for the U.S. national anthem all year long did so again Sunday afternoon, but then he stood up while Mexico’s national anthem played in the stadium.”
If it had been Beijing, China, there would have been severe consequences if he had knelt during the Chinese National Anthem.

On the other hand, I expect that here in America, where Lela Lee is selling a tote bag like the one below…

…they will be taking a knee until Soccer surpasses American Football as our Fall/Winter pastime.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Sadly, the local paper doesn't carry the Comic Strip "Angry Little Girls".

The Current Crisis

For John, BLUFIf all crimes are equal, then everyone deserves the same harsh punishment, but that is foolishness.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here are two articles that suggest we should be careful not to go on a witch hung with regards to sexual impropriety and in particular sexual harassment and sexual abuse.  It is easy to say "always believe the accusser" but the accuser is not always truthful.  The other thing is that if the accusation is wrong, where does the accused go to get his (or her) reputation, job, and savings back?

From The LA Times and Author Brendan O'Neill, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

I want to praise Jeremy Piven.  That’s a risky thing to do, I know.  Piven is one of Those Men.  One of those big entertainment figures who has fingers pointed at him.  He has joined Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and many others in facing accusations that he abused his power to sexually abuse women.

Yet Piven has also issued a principled statement that should give pause to all those taking pleasure in the #MeToo movement’s instant-destruction of men’s careers.

After describing the accusations against him as “absolutely false,” Piven laments the fact that “allegations are being printed as facts” and “lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence.”  He wonders what happened to “the benefit of the doubt.”  To “tear each other down and destroy careers based on mere allegations is not productive at all,” he says.

He’s right.  In defending himself, Piven is also defending one of the core principles of an advanced society: the presumption of innocence.

The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.

It is now astonishingly easy to ruin a celebrity or near-celebrity.  You can do it with a social media post.  Spend five minutes writing a Facebook entry about how so-and-so in Hollywood once did something bad to you and — boom — that person is done for.  You can dispatch him from polite society with a press of a button on your cellphone.The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.

I guess I would change the headline by deleting "legitimate" and replacing it with "actual".

From The New York Post and Author Andrea Peyser, 17 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s gone far enough.  What started as a necessary mass-rejection of sexual harassment and assault is sliding into absurdity and irrelevance.  A backlash is looming against the very people the spontaneous battle against sexual villainy was meant to help: powerless women and men.

The fight is being waged not with force, but with the rather bland Internet movement, #MeToo.  The battle by hashtag conflates genuine sex crimes with mere childish behavior — blending the Harvey Weinsteins and Kevin Spaceys with the Al Frankens and George H.W. Bushes.

How long before we stop taking victims seriously?

Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer and now staunchly liberal senator from Minnesota, has been tossed into the guillotine without a trial.  And while I reject his leftist politics — even more so his inability to be funny — I don’t think confusing childish, even lewd, behavior with clear, intimate violations helps anyone.  Rather, it threatens to make accusers, many of them women, appear unserious.  Or “hysterical,’’ to use a term commonly wielded against humans bearing XX chromosomes.

On Thursday, former Playboy model-turned-radio host Leeann Tweeden claimed Franken stuck his tongue in her mouth.  He claimed he doesn’t remember the tongue-lashing that evidently occurred as they were “rehearsing” a scene for a skit on a USO tour to the Middle East in 2006, before Franken was elected to office.  But there exists photographic evidence that he took things a few notches further.  Franken was snapped, with a doofusy grin on his face, groping Tweeden’s flak jacket-covered breasts as she slept.

Lewd and crude?  For sure.  Grounds for public censure?  Perhaps.  But potentially career-ending?  I don’t think so.

So, before we gin up another set of witch trials, we need to calm down a bit.

And, besides, I am tired of every week, or a couple of times a week, The Instapundit writing another blog post about some female school teacher having sex with one or more students.

It would be nice if we could all have a sense of proportion.  As cadish as Senator Al Franken was with regard to Ms Leeann Tweeden, he was no Harvey Weinstein.  And Actor George Takei is no Actor Kevin Spacey.  It is not about liberal or conservative principles, but about a sense of justice.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Second Pass of the Basket

For John, BLUFWhere does the second collection go?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This item is from The Lapanto Institute, Author Michael Hickborn, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s that time of the year again, and the second collection at Masses across the country will be going to fill the coffers of Saul Alinsky’s mechanism for the socialization of the Catholic Church.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the USCCB’s most recent list of organizations funded by the CCHD was published, and on the list are some of the worst offenders I have exposed over the years.  Without including any new information (which we will do as we are able to conduct a complete and thorough review … the USCCB didn’t give us much time to work with before this year’s collection), here are some of the organizations we have already exposed, which are continuing to receive funding from the CCHD.  This list will briefly touch upon the issues we found with the organization, and then you can click the link for greater details.

This is one of those "judge for yourself" kind of issues.

By the way, at The Immaculate today the Second Collection was for support of the retired Sisters.  A worthy cause.

Hat tip to my Wife.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Value of the Free Market

For John, BLUFIf you want to know what could go wrong without free markets, think of Venezuela.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My Middle Brother, the Progressive, was conducting an EMail exchange with his younger and older Brothers and one of the points he made was that when he listened to the readings at Mass they didn't seem to talk about Capitalism.  I think the point he misses is that the freedom provided by Christianity, halting though it may have been in implementation, allowed for the growth of free markets.  And, the Protestant Reformation was a further impetus to economic growth.  While this article in Bloomberg View doesn't approach the question from a religious point of view, it does make the point that poverty is reduced through free markets.

The sub-headline is:

Few things in human history have done so much to reduce absolute poverty.

The author is Professor Noah Smith.

Here is the lede plus one:

Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has a long and thoughtful essay about the shortcomings of neoliberalism -- the economic program of free markets and free trade. He writes:
Economists’ contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favor of more trade, more finance, and less government.  That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire.  The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.
As someone who has done decades of pioneering work in the field of trade and growth, and who has been intimately involved in practical policy-making, Rodrik is as much of an expert on this topic as anyone.  But although his criticisms are accurate, he overlooks much of the good that neoliberalism has done.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Implemented by men, all of whom have fallen short of the Glory of God.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Figuring the Future of Sen Franken.

For John, BLUFMaybe they will throw Bill Clinton to the wolves to spare Senator Al Franken.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Nate Silver, from the FiveThirtyEight Blog, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

At about 11:15 this morning, an hour or so after Leeann Tweeden published an allegation that Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota had groped and kissed her without her consent in 2006, I assumed that Franken was headed toward resignation.  I didn’t necessarily expect Franken to resign immediately or without putting up a fight.  But barring some highly exculpatory evidence, I expected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democrats to be pushing Franken out the door.
I would go with Mr Silver here, for the reason stated below:
In other words, I thought the Democrats had an opportunity to maintain the moral high ground without having to pay a political price for it.  They could keep the pressure up on Moore, who has put Republicans in a no-win situation in Alabama.  And they could help to establish a precedent wherein severe instances of sexual harassment warrant resignation.  In the long run, that might create more of a problem for Republicans than for Democrats, because the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment is conducted by men, and there are 265 Republican men in Congress compared with 164 Democratic onEs.
Bou, the women in Mr Silver's office didn't see it that way.

Maybe they would rather have a reliable progressive voter, who they have to slap away from time to time, than some Republican, no matter how clean his record.  It is an "economic" choice, with some things prioritized higher than others.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting Value

For John, BLUFWhen does impersonation increase the brand value of the person or product being impersonated?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Is this snarky on the part of The Wash Post and Opinion Writer Erik Wemple, from 16 November 2017?

Here is the lede plus two:

Dress professionally.  Show up at a lofty-sounding panel discussion.  Stand up when the moderator opens the floor to questions.  Grab a microphone.  Ask a semi-decent, relevant question.  Identify yourself as being from the New York Times, even though your byline has never graced its pages.

Who’s going to call you out?

Well, the New York Times, eventually.  According to a suit filed by the newspaper last week, one Contessa Bourbon has diluted the company’s trademarks by impersonating a New York Times reporter at think-tanky events over the past four years or so.  The alleged misuse of the newspaper’s name, contends the civil action, is a ploy used by Bourbon to “gain admittance to news conferences and other events and to attract followers on social media, when she is not and has never been a reporter for The New York Times.”

I am wondering if the Contessa can sue The Old Gray Lady, claiming she has increased the value of the Brand by just showing up and should thus be compensated?

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Job Gains Among Startup Firms in 2017

For John, BLUFThis is good economic news.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 November 2017.

The number of startup firms—firms that are 1 year old or newer—rose to 415,226 in the year ended March 2017. The number of new firms has recovered from a low of 326,091 in 2010. For the last 2 years, the number of startups has been above the 1994–2017 average of about 400,000.

The data itself can be found at this link.

This upturn started under President Obama, but the important news is that it continues.

Regards  —  Cliff