Monday, March 24, 2014

Wingnut on the Pulpit

Reverend John Koletas in Troy believes in keeping his flock well-armed.

After a sermon connecting the "Christian values" of America's founding fathers with the right to bear arms, an upstate New York Baptist minister has raffled off a new Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic rifle.

Jesus wept  blasted the money changers. I'm too lazy to look, but I'm sure the outcry would have reached Heaven itself if this had taken place in a mosque.

(Koletas) said in an online letter that he wanted to honor gun owners "who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media" and politicians.

He's going to have to kick it up some if he wants to replace Fred Phelps. Good news on the politician front. In my district, the contenders to replace Rep. Owens are in lockstep defending gun rights, Democrat, Republican and Green Party alike. There's voters in the hills of the Adirondacks.

Koletas has attempted to justify his bizarre giveaway by arguing that America “was built with the King James Bible and the gun" in a letter to his congregation.

Yes. Though I don't give present day gun owners any credit for the Trail of Tears or the building of America. To end with some good news, I was pleasantly surprised to see this today what with all the kvetching I see in the Post Star about the SAFE Act.

A year after the SAFE Act gun-control law was enacted, voters support it by a 2-to-1 margin.

What's better is that I found that on WHAM, the home of my favorite NY wingnut, Bob Lonsberry. And thank you Reverend Koletas for giving me an excuse to put up the Beat Farmers, yet again.

Reverend Alan Rudnick has a nice commentary on this issue at the Times Union and reminded me of a peace loving Jesus episode.

For even upon Jesus’ arrest, a sword was drawn by Peter, and Jesus prohibited him saying, ”Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” In other words, “if by your actions you encourage violence, expect violence to come to you.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

At Least He Didn't Call For Death Panels

I know Dan Altman is an economist, but he didn't make the case for me that "old people are sucking us dry" (and not in a good way). And I realize he likely didn't entitle the column, but I would think he'd have some input as to what goes above the piece. As someone who hopes to reach "entitlement" age someday and start sucking that sweet teat that gives government money I was glad to see him point out that:

By contrast, much of mandatory outlays are designed to prevent drags on growth. Reducing poverty and improving health among retirees and the elderly frees up time and resources for the working-age population. Undoubtedly, this is important to the economy as well.

So, he's not putting me in the wood-chipper yet. But, old farts are taking lots of government money that could be better spent?

This situation is not the fault of the elderly. They were promised certain benefits during their lives, and they are at least entitled to try to collect them. This is a time of sacrifice, though, and everyone -- including the country's seniors -- must surely give a little. The problem is that no sitting politician seems willing to ask them. 

I like the part about seniors being entitled to try to collect them. But anyway, it's really the fault of gutless politicians. Moving on from greedy seniors he makes the leap where I miss the connection, though.

As a result, the discretionary share of spending dwindles while mandatory outlays go unchecked. Some of the costs of this choice may already be apparent. Consider, for example, how the ratio of patents to GDP has evolved in the United States and other major economies. From almost identical starting points in 1991, China and Germany have managed to raise their productivity in terms of patent applications much higher than the United States has.

Altman notes Germany outspends us on science.
The German government now spends more than $240 per person on science, which would work out to more than $75 billion a year in the United States. But the combined budgets of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health come to less than $40 billion. 

Since I'm aware that there were people collecting social security long before le deluge started in 1991, I'd like to suggest an alternative hypothesis for our falling behind the Germans and Chinese. I could blame it in part on Jimmy Carter who got the notion of a Bible blessed president. And Ronald Reagan who carried it further with the full blessings of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and every other Christian con man out there. And the doves are still coming home to roost.

Forty six percent Americans believed in creationism, 32 percent believed in theistic evolution and 15 percent believed in evolution without any divine intervention.

I realize there are questions about evolution, but there are problems with trying to believe in two contradictory tales of creation in Genesis has its problems too. It could just be that Germany and China have a higher percentage of people who believe in science. There's hope, though.

The survey found that 50 percent of Americans "are convinced the climate is changing" and another 34 percent believe it "is probably changing." Duke said this is the highest level of belief in climate change since 2007. 

I don't know whether it is occurring. Since I don't have the time to become a climatologist, I'm casting my lot with the people who were not trying to sell me on Obama not being born in the US and other such rot. Best I can do. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trump For Governor

No, not really. Not for me anyway. God knows, I'd like to see him on the ballot, though. Apparently, there are Republicans in our fair state who are enamored of him.

For many in the crowd, the well-known Trump represents the Republicans' best chance at defeating Cuomo.

I'm too lazy to look through the internet and find any indication of how he polls with the hoi polloi like myself. Couldn't help myself. Not doing so well. Ironically, he reminds me of Andrew's father's famous rendition of Hamlet. Except, of course, while there may have been an element of self-promotion in Mario's dithering, Trump's is 100%.

I'm pretty sure the GOP of NY is not about to take advice from me, but I would politely tell The Donald to go away. Since that isn't likely to penetrate His Ego, I would ask to see financial statements proving He is actually a billionaire before His name will again be floated publicly again as a serious candidate for any office. Just a modest proposal.

Trump was greeted outside the restaurant by a couple of dozen opponents of the law, including Tommy Thompson, of Attica, who wore a Revolutionary War-style tri-cornered hat.

"I'd vote for Goofy if he ran against Cuomo," Thompson said.

Yes Tommy, you would. But will a more independent voter? Donald, we want to see your birth certificate financial statements.That's all you gotta ask him and he'll go away. Or maybe make him say his name backwards.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Freedom of Speech in Kansas

I'm so glad I don't use Twitter or much other social media. I'm considering a waiting period on blog posts for myself. Some cooling off time. If I lived in Kansas and was an educator I would make that an iron-clad rule.

In December the (Kansas Board of Regents) approved a policy that gives any state university’s CEO “the authority to suspend, dismiss or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media.”
“Social media” is defined in the policy as just about anything that involves electrons, from Twitter to Flickr, including, presumably, email.
“Improper use” includes the incitement of violence and the disclosure of confidential student information. Fair enough.
But “improper use” also includes more-vague offenses, such as use of social media that is “ contrary to the best interests of the university,” or that impairs “discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” or that “adversely affects the university’s ability to efficiently provide services.”

Hope for some people's sakes this doesn't catch on in blue states.

Thus the language of the proposed policy twice mentions “efficiency,” which in factories means balancing the cost of production with the saleability of the product.

Well, you say it's to improve efficiency. No ulterior motives. Alright, then.

I didn't even know colleges had CEOs.

SPECIAL ALERT: All you moonbats out there donating your hard-earned dollars to Democrats, take a good look at who you're sending it to.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a series of websites that look like they support a Democratic candidate for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the Republican Party instead.

Monday, February 3, 2014

America The Beautiful vs Some Ugly Americans

(Watch the behind the scenes videos, too. To steal from the title, America, the beautiful.)

But sadly, not everyone thinks so:
Coca Cola ad on Super Bowl -- American's brand? Hm. | Allen B. West - (Allen West's post also got a memeorandum thread.)

Why Coca Cola's Multicultural 'America the Beautiful' Ad Was Offensive - Michael Patrick Leahy - "Big Government"

The Worst Super Bowl Commercial: Coca Cola Butchers “America The Beautiful” With Multiple Languages | John Hawkins - Right Wing News

Coca Cola's pro-multuculturalism, anti-American "America the Beautiful" video ads | 24Ahead

Beck: Coke's Super Bowl Ad Was An 'In Your Face' Effort To 'Divide People' | Right Wing Watch (Predictably, Glenn Beck sees a conspiracy...and Coke is in on it. [They all are!!])

Coca-Cola Under Fire For Mostly Non-English Super Bowl Commercial Featuring 'America The Beautiful' - Now The End Begins

Coke Balkanizes USA With Super Bowl Ad | Warner Todd Huston - Right Wing News

Of course, these people are obviously not conservatives or Republicans (or have ever met or even stood next to anyone who was), and they are obviously not, NOT, NOT saying anything bigoted or xenophobic... Just ask this guy:

These conservatives are not the bigots you're looking for. Really. Trust them.

UPDATE: And now Charles C. W. Cooke's tweet doesn't exist either. A hallucination. Like it never ever happened.)
If you're seeing a photo of Cooke's deleted tweet, you're hallucinating.


Public Shaming - Speak English!: Racist Revolt As Coca-Cola Airs Multilingual ‘America the Beautiful’ SuperBowl Ad

So... I know which ad I'm voting for in the Ad Blitz. No pressure...but please think about it.

Also talking about it... (Good chance this list'll be updated as more people post):
Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” Super Bowl Ad Brings Out Some Ugly Americans |

Coca-Cola's America the Beautiful Super Bowl Commercial Sparks Outrage on Twitter | E! Online

#SpeakAmerican trends on Twitter after backlash of Coke's 'America the Beautiful' Super Bowl ad (video, reaction, poll) |

Allen West does not like you singing his America songs in your weird foreign mud-language | The Raw Story

Coca-Cola 'America the Beautiful' Super Bowl Ad Celebrates Diversity, Twitter Racists Explode (VIDEO)

Twitter Got Crazy And Ugly In Response To Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” Super Bowl Commercial | College Spun – Social. Local. Consumable. College Sports.

Dumb People Mad At Multilingual "America The Beautiful" Coca-Cola Ad

Coke’s ‘un-American’ Super Bowl ad sparks instant, intense outrage - BizPac Review

Coke adds life, advertising world � Balloon Juice (Thanks for the ear-worm, BJ)

Language Log � Coca-Cola's multilingual "America the Beautiful"

Coca-Cola's Multicultural Super Bowl Ad Really Angered Conservatives (Another memeorandum thread.)

Coca Cola Super Bowl Ad Inspires Racist Twitter Backlash | Mediaite

Superbowl Coke Ad Flushes Out Dumbest Bottom Feeders Of The Right | The Raw Story

Breitbart "News" Explains Why Coca Cola's Multicultural "America the Beautiful" Ad Was Horribly Offensive - Little Green Footballs

Allen West Will Be Haunted By The Horror Of The Coca-Cola Superbowl Ad For The Rest Of His Life - Happy Nice Time People

And sorta lost in the "'merka for monolingual 'merkins" kerfuffle: Watch now: Coca-Cola unveils gay-inclusive ad during Super Bowl XLVIII | GLAAD

In the spirit, I thought I'd end with this:
(I recall this controversy, too... It's like it's not patriotism unless it's their patriotism.)

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Good Day For Compassionate Conservatism

OK, I'm going to try to make up for saying nasty things aboot Mark Steyn yesterday. Today comes news of two conservatives promoting policies that appeal to us progressive moonbats. First up is Bernard Kerik. Yeah, I can't believe that one either. And yet there are people who say rehabilitation doesn't work. We're pretty sure he was actually in prison and not Obama Camp.

According to a report from the Huffington Post, Kerik, while speaking at a service center for former prisoners in Virginia, was blunt and straightforward: “The system doesn’t work.”

Kerik went on to describe the “broken” system in more detail, emphasizing the negative consequences of locking up so many people, often for nonviolent crimes like possessing small amounts of illegal substances.

He also argued against mandatory minimum laws, which deprive judges of the ability to render sentences they believe appropriate, often forcing them to send people into incarceration for longer than they would if given the choice.

Very nice, Bernie. I'm happy to see you have that come to Chuck Colson moment. Second up on my "I can't believe a Conservative is saying this" list for today is Ron Unz. He wants to raise the minimum wage! And he's a billionaire! I take back most of the bad things I've said about rich Conservatives. This does not yet apply to the Koch's.

(T)he case for raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour—the second highest statewide proposal in the country—isn’t even coming from a Democrat. It’s coming from California Republican multi-millionaire businessman Ron Unz, an ex-gubernatorial candidate, former publisher of the American Conservative and the lone sponsor of a 2014 ballot measure for a statewide $12 minimum wage.

And there's a chance he is not going to be tarred and feathered.

Prominent economists of all ideological persuasions long believed that raising the U.S. minimum wage would retard job growth, creating unintended hardship for those at the bottom of the ladder.

Today, that consensus is eroding, and a vigorous debate has developed as some argue that boosting the wage would pull millions out of poverty.

A moderate increase in the minimum wage won't raise unemployment among low-skilled workers, according to recent studies, many economists say. They are joined by some business executives who say they can live with that, especially if it's coupled with tax relief. 

What's good for Walmart is good for the US.

I would actually argue that if you are looking at a company like Walmart that is suffering economically these days, because so many of the Walmart shoppers are getting too poor to shop at Walmart, what you are talking about is shifting up to maybe $150 billion a year from the sort of families that don’t shop at Walmart to the sort of families that do shop at Walmart. Walmart raises their prices by 1 percent, roughly one time, and they get a huge amount of extra business.

I'm hoping that means their employees will be able to afford to shop there as well, even if they can't afford a model T.

Good on you as well, Ron Unz. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to happily "pull the lever" for a pol with an R after his name. You give me hope.

Happy Year of the Horse everyone! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

When Bad Things Happen To Bad People

I don't think it's really going to "kill" National Review. Pretty sure its supporters have deep enough pockets to cover any damages if they are even assessed. But Mark Steyn is probably the most dickish bastard to ever come out of Canada. Oops!

In July, Judge Natalia Combs Greene rejected a motion to dismiss the suit. The defendants appealed, and last week D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg rejected the motion again, opening the door for the discovery phase of the lawsuit to begin. That's not all. On Christmas Eve, Steyn (who regularly guest hosts Rush Limbaugh's radio show) wrote a blog post in which he excoriated Greene, accusing her of incompetence, stupidity, and obtuseness. 

I'm, of course, all for free speech even from cranks. But then, I have to rank good taste higher. And National Review has descended into bad taste and probably doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. I won't be contributing to the Mark Steyn Defense Fund anytime soon, if such exists, and I'm sure it does.

 Now, the lawsuit may well be dismissed down the road. But the longer it continues, the more likely it becomes that Mann will eventually prevail, either by forcing an expensive settlement or by prevailing in court and winning a substantial penalty from the defendants.
It's doubtful that National Review could survive either outcome. Small magazines often lose money and only rarely manage to break even. They certainly don't have substantial legal budgets, let alone cash to cover an expensive payout. Indeed, in 2005, Buckley said the magazine had lost $25 million over 50 years.

It lost a half million a year? Do these people even know how capitalism works? I thought they were the business savvy party. Well it can only help The Weekly Standard.

Today the magazine enjoys circulation roughly equivalent to that of The Nation, the American Left's leading journal of opinion, and more than twice that of William Kristol's The Weekly Standard, its primary competition on the Right.

If NR wants some advice, I would suggest they break Steyn's fingers and duct tape his pie hole. Just sayin'.

APOLOGIES: I should probably apologize to Mr. Steyn first, though I doubt he will read any of this. I don't agree with his politics, nor does he agree with mine. Very likely. Many of my comments in this post are, indeed, dickish. And for that I apologize to him and to Mr. Casper. I did not do my homework on this post and several commenters were good enough to point this out to me. I will try to make any future posts here more upbeat and factual. It would be cowardly for me to take the post down, so the only option I see is to leave this sincere apology as an end-note.   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well Done, Pete Seeger

Just wanted to note here the passing of Pete Seeger.

The banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage died Monday at the age of 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

“He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” Cahill-Jackson recalled.

That's a small bit of a very nice obituary at Salon.