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9/11

It has been 18 years. We need to remember something today. We need to remember that intolerance of those who chose to be different killed almost 3000 people. Many innocent of anything more than not praying to a specific name of God. Many as heroes, rushing in to save...

What Is Blind Lemur Conservatives?

It began as a joke – something so obvious even a blind lemur could see it. The Democrats seem canine-centric (Blue Dog, Yellow Dog), so I figured we on the right could use a fun animal, and frankly, lemurs are all the rage! So I hear. Kinda. Anyway, after deciding that the leadership is so inept that a blind lemur could lead better, I decided to create this movement. And perhaps even spin it off into the real world. Stranger things have happened.
Biology vs Psychology

Biology vs Psychology

In which we dive headfirst into one of the most contentious issues in the nation today. Trans representation in sports. Ok, so not the earth-shaking one you might have expected. But this is an issue that has some connection to a lot of what is, perhaps, wrong about...

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Another Chicago Election Thought

Another Chicago Election Thought

A key takeaway in this election is that I am filled with a schadenfreude-like glee at one result. Susana Mendoza came in 5th. I wish it was 14th, personally. But I'll take 5th. Why, you might ask, do I care about this, as I have no connection to her, and don't live in...

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What Is Blind Lemur Conservatives?

It began as a joke – something so obvious even a blind lemur could see it. The Democrats seem canine-centric (Blue Dog, Yellow Dog), so I figured we on the right could use a fun animal, and frankly, lemurs are all the rage! So I hear. Kinda. Anyway, after deciding that the leadership is so inept that a blind lemur could lead better, I decided to create this movement. And perhaps even spin it off into the real world. Stranger things have happened.
Is Criticism of Captain Marvel Legitimate?

Is Criticism of Captain Marvel Legitimate?

I remember it vividly. There was outcry from the media and the fandom over a casting choice. The broad consensus seemed to be that it was pretty much the worst casting decision for the character. Although there was some dissent on who was the right actor for the character. Friends in the fandom and I all agreed, we didn’t think it would work, but we would likely see the movie anyway.

The year was 1988, the actor was Michael Keaton. The movie was Batman.

And we were all wrong, it worked really, really well. As have many other questioned (by one or many) casting choices. Examples range from John Boyega as Finn (because someone may have complained about a black Stormtrooper?), to Daisy Ridley as Rey (or so I am told?), to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (honestly, the only complaint I ever heard about her was that she was too thin…), to the cast of the reboot Ghostbusters. All worked. All were controversial to varying degrees, but all worked out. When you think back, I am sure you will remember more – and not all worked, but many did. Hell, I remember joking about Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan as an action hero. But three Matrix movies and two John Wicks later, we have the odd transposition of John ‘Neo’ Wick as a aged slacker in Bill & Ted 3?

The more things change, right?

I bring this up, because we are again in the throes of another stupid casting controversy. Which now, in the age of the internet and instant validation for any and all opinions, means controversy over the movie itself. Before it is released, of course. That is actually one of the key points – real controversy lasts through release, manufactured controversy ends with release. If there were really any problems based on gender or race, they wouldn’t go away with a good performance. The Kelly Marie Tran / Rose Tico issue began after release. She wasn’t an issue until then. So the issues were real, even if they were with the character and our society is too stupid to distinguish between the two.

With Captain Marvel, I see a movie with a main character that is…off. Brie Larson’s facial expressions seem to be either ‘this is so stupid I can’t believe it…must not laugh’ or ‘I don’t get it at all, my agent did this to me, must look serious’. Again, this is based on nothing but the trailers. Actual footage may have different looks happening, we will see.

Worth noting that Jude Law is wearing the same expression. I have seen more of his movies than Brie Larson’s. I have seen two with her in it – Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Kong: Skull Island. It is six for Jude Law, including Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow, Enemy At The Gates, eXistenZ, Gattaca, and his Sherlock Holmes movies. So I know both of them can, in fact, have a range of facial expressions. They just, in the trailers, don’t really seem to here.

For now, it looks like the only fun being had is from Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury. Which is fine, that would be a fun movie.

I do want to see if the so-called controversy over this lasts past opening weekend. If the controversy vanishes, then there is a good chance it was manufactured – either for laughs or to keep the property in the media / social media cycle.

But there is more to be concerned about…

Captain Marvel has, as the main (so I hear at least) villains the shape-shifting Skrulls.

I don’t like that. I have never been a fan of the Skrulls. Green-skinned, pointy-eared aliens that can look like anyone. It is a bit of a too-on-the-nose warning about Canadians, and while it is true that they look just like us, and speak mostly like us, that doesn’t mean they are infiltrating and undermining our society! Canadians, or Soviets, either way, really.

The reason I dislike bringing them in is because it carries so very much baggage with it, and feels like a setup for ‘no, that wasn’t REALLY Character X, just a Skrull!’ as a way to undo the Snap. Like the ill-fated Daredevil movie, there is also far too much background to fit into a single movie, and still have it’s own plot in there too. Which makes me worry that Captain Marvel will fall on the Green Lantern / Daredevil end of the quality spectrum. Not a place anyone wants to be.

Are the Skrulls actually representing something darker?

Further, if the Skrulls are just there to serve as fake heroes, fallen to Thanos, that changes them from Soviet analogues to something far worse. It makes them into whipping boys (aliens?). And there is a really bad connotation there:

A whipping boy was a slave who suffered corporal punishment on behalf of his young master.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipping_boy

So, are we introducing these aliens just to kill them off? Are we going to try to tell the Kree / Skrull War storyline? Or are we just lazy about it all now, and tossing in a set of instant baddies who don’t take much work?

Taking that further, the Skrull are presented as a classic ‘evil race’. Like the poorly written Drow, everyone is evil! Which is also problematic. We get too much of that kind of crap in reality. We have progressives dividing the world into ‘white’ and ‘not white’ as synonyms for ‘bad’ and ‘good’, and conservatives branding all liberals as pro-infanticide. Neither is right, and both are their own kinds of evil. So adding in the ‘evil Skrulls’ into an already hot mess of social discord seems tone-deaf at best, and the cinematic version of the Limp Bizkit performance at Woodstock 99 at worst.

Biology vs Psychology

Biology vs Psychology

In which we dive headfirst into one of the most contentious issues in the nation today.

Trans representation in sports.

Ok, so not the earth-shaking one you might have expected. But this is an issue that has some connection to a lot of what is, perhaps, wrong about the country or world today. And that connection means that this issue is something of the canary in the coalmine for how we view science, individual rights, individuality, and fairness.

The short form is that in several sports, mostly track so far, biologically male individuals are claiming they identify as female, and competing as such. Honestly, I can’t speak to the gender dysphoria they are experiencing. That is between them and their doctors.

What makes this issue interesting is that the boys are dominating the competition, in every case that has been published. Which makes sense. Biologically, the average male is bigger and stronger than the average female. This isn’t sexist or dismissive, it is science. And when that biology is still intact, the resulting person is, again on average, bigger and stronger. And that comes out in athletic competition, of course. This is why there is a segregation between men and women. Men have specific biological advantages over women in physical contests.

Trans Inclusion > Integration?

What is interesting is that while activists and progressives are all in favor of trans inclusion in sports, they are not agitating to integrate the sexes in sport otherwise. Which is, again, obvious. Obvious, as in opening physical competition to males and females, in the same contest, will mean the functional end of women participating in these contests. No one likes to play when they know they cannot win.

So what is the answer? The easy one is to enforce male/female splits based solely on biology. That returns us to the prior status quo, and is the fairest solution across the board. Yes, the few female-identifying trans athletes will have to compete against…their biological peers. This is in no way unfair, as it allows apples:apples competitions.

For those who seem to claim the mantle of ‘science party’, they want to ignore science at every turn.

I will never understand the concept or experience of a trans person. I don’t believe, however, that they should be excluded from things for that reason alone. Would I, as a woman, be creeped out by an obvious male in the bathroom with me? Yeah, I probably would. Has there been an epidemic of rapes or assaults, no…but they have indeed happened. But to tar every trans person for the crimes of a few is to tar every black person for faking a hate crime. That is not how it is supposed to work. In social life, trans people belong as much as any other person. In fact, as with every minority, I support full integration without reservation into society. And I am on record saying this elsewhere.

One of the thing the left hits with the most is that ignoring science doesn’t make it go away (usually this is about climate). Ignoring biology doesn’t make it go away either. No matter how much someone wants it to.

Another Chicago Election Thought

Another Chicago Election Thought

A key takeaway in this election is that I am filled with a schadenfreude-like glee at one result.

Susana Mendoza came in 5th.

I wish it was 14th, personally. But I’ll take 5th.

Why, you might ask, do I care about this, as I have no connection to her, and don’t live in Chicago? That’s easy. About 4 months back, she won reelection as Comptroller for Illinois. And just over a week later announced she was running for Mayor. In my mind, she committed fraud against the voters of Illinois, and should be stripped of her position.

When someone stands for election, they are entering into an agreement with their supporters – they will do what you hired them to do. By turning around to run for another office immediately, you have betrayed that trust.

Stop laughing. I know, it is Illinois, and honest politicians are rarer than unicorns with four-leaf clovers sprouting from their horns. This is my blog, so I get to complain about what bugs me, and this is a big one.

And it isn’t just Mendoza. I was not pleased with McCain when he refused to step down from Congress to run for President in 2008. I knew he was going to get clobbered, and didn’t so he had a job, but the gesture matters.

Mendoza’s decision was especially vile since she insisted she was not running during the comptroller campaign.

Hey, Susana, if you can’t be honest getting the job, how can we trust you to be honest in the job? Oh, right. We can’t.

Incompetence

Incompetence

In 2002, a tanker carrying 9,900 gallons of gas exploded under a bridge in Birmingham, AL, killing the driver, and causing the steel supports to sag around 10 feet on one side (3m).

That was January 5th.

On January 21, 2002, work began on the removal of the 290′, 6 lane section.

On February 27, 2002, the bridge was reopened to traffic.

37 days, start to completion. 53 days ahead of schedule (and 53 days post-accident). Brasfield & Gorrie quite rightly received numerous awards for this project (ABC Excellence in Construction, ABC National Eagle Award, ASCE Civil Engineering Award, The Engineering Hall of Fame)

I lived there, and drove past this daily to and from work. The bridge is not a simple arch over the road. Beside being 5-6 lanes wide (merges happen), the span is on a 60 degree skew with super elevation transition in two directions with a ridgeline. It’s complicated. And this 37 days included teardown of the damaged span. Oh yeah, and they only got to close I65 northbound (which was under the span) to set the girders for one 24 hour period.

By way of comparison, D Construction, Inc. of Coal City, IL should be awarded the Golden Raspberry versions of Brasfield & Gorrie’s awards. They are the contractor working on IDOT project 003-60T44, the repair of the bridge on Cicero Ave. (IL50) over I-57 in Country Club Hills. Which is the bridge I cross daily on the way to work. The project was slated to begin 05/29/2018, which seems about right. It was slated to be completed (both north and south lanes) no later than 11/16/2018. Specifically, the parameters stated:

The Contractor shall be required to complete all bridge deck related work requiring permanent lane closures and open all traffic lanes on the bridge by November 16, 2018.

https://apps.dot.illinois.gov/eplan/desenv/030918/003-60T44/60T44-003.pdf

If you look on the IDOT ‘current permits’ page, you see a rather different date for completion. 06/30/2019. Honestly, since they have yet to complete one side, I really doubt that date is even in the realm of possibility.

Why? Well, when they began, it was pretty standard stuff – crews there tearing up the old deck, getting the rebar out, and so on. But, as fall hit, suddenly work stopped. By the original full completion date, I would see workers maybe one or two days every week or so. Then once in three weeks. I don’t think that anyone has done actual work since December.

I get it, it’s cold, a bridge over an interstate, all of that makes sense.

But it’s been 274 days, and the rebar isn’t even finished yet. On the first half of the bridge. The bridge in Birmingham could have been rebuilt from scratch more than 7 times in the time it is taking D Construction to get to not-even-half finished. Let that sink in. This bridge isn’t curved, is narrower, and doesn’t need to be totally removed before work can begin. And the rebar on the first half isn’t done, 274 days later.

Oh, and there is supposed to be construction beginning on a huge logistics hub soon. Just south of this bridge. Which you must cross to get to the site from I-57. And to I-57 from the site. Logistics…as in shipping. As in this bridge needed to be finished on time to accommodate the development’s needs (plans include four distribution warehouses totaling 1.4 million square feet) and support the economic growth it should bring to the area.

Time to step it up, D Construction, and get the bridge finished.

Lightfoot vs Preckwinkle

Lightfoot vs Preckwinkle

So Chicago gets to choose between, barring a wild swing from the mail-in ballots, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. No Republican even bothered running, this is a single-party city. The only candidate I even remotely liked, Garry McCarthy, got trounced, receiving 2.7% of the vote (13,000ish votes).

 

So, not only will the first black woman become mayor of Chicago, but this may be the first contest between two candidates with first names that are 4 letters long ending in ‘i’.

 

Of course, I don’t live in the city limits, so I don’t really have a horse in this race. That said, I can’t figure out who I want to win.

 

On the one hand, as a victim of her tenure as President of the Cook County Board, I want Preckwinkle to lose. Badly. Her plan to ‘fix’ things is to tax them to death, then never use the revenue to fix things. The illegally implemented soda tax went to fatten a Teamster’s Union contract, not fix things.

 

On the other hand, if she wins, she is Chicago’s problem, not Cook County’s. Admittedly, the deeply corrupt Cook County Democratic Party still runs the county, so things won’t get better exactly. This must be how Arkansas felt about Clinton during the 1992 election.

 

I was pondering this last night, when Preckwinkle came on the news to deliver her speech. The content of her speech was mean, needlessly. She was attacking Lori Lightfoot out of the gate, when she could have chosen to be a gracious sort-of-winner (Chicago requires a majority to win, so there is going to be a run-off on April 2nd). But she didn’t. Preckwinkle went low. She seemed pissed off that she wasn’t cleanly coronated, which suggests she is a moron, since a clean win in a 14-candidate field, which included a Daley, wasn’t even a possibility. Preckwinkle just seemed like the proverbial ‘mean girl’. She even poached Trump, pledging to “make Chicago great”.

 

Lori Lightfoot’s speech was much more humble – thanking people (not just dropping names, thanking volunteers) for nearly 5 minutes of a 12 minute speech, one that attacked the machine, but not her opponent. One with personal notes and hope. Plus, her campaign logo is better, with the lighthouse theme. So there’s that.

 

So, even though it leaves an angry, and (based on the response to the soda tax thing) likely vengeful Preckwinkle with her death grip on the county, I have to hope that Lightfoot is elected Mayor of Chicago. If only to deny it to Preckwinkle.

 

And yes, no matter who wins, it is likely Chicago loses. I just think they might lose less under Lightfoot.

S.311 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

S.311 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

The idea that 44 sitting US Senators voted to not protect babies who survive attempted abortions is abhorrent. Much like the Democrats march towards open advocacy of infanticide, this is the kind of thing that turns the stomach.

But it didn’t fucking happen.

I made that big, so read it again. It. Didn’t. Fucking. Happen.

What did happen is that 44 US Senators voted to oppose cloture on the bill. In short, they voted against ending debate and forcing a vote. Yes, there is a real chance they meant that as a way to kill the bill, and that is speculation on my part given the current climate of litmus tests and hyperpartisan politics.

As with any legislation, it is worth taking the time to read the actual document. It can be found at https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/s311/BILLS-116s311pcs.pdf. It is pretty plain language – if an abortion fails and results in a live birth, that baby is to be accorded all the same required efforts and services as any other (intentional) live birth. That is, transport to hospital, neonatal care, etc. It also specifically states that if said baby is killed postpartum, then it is murder (fucking duh).

What is interesting is § 1532 (c) – the bar to prosecution. Since abortion is legal, the mother is shielded from prosecution for any crimes related to the abortion. This is important because in the result of a live birth, the attempted abortion could be construed as attempted murder. This bill prevents that. Strongly. It reads:

“(c) Bar To Prosecution.—The mother of a child born alive described under subsection (a) may not be prosecuted for a violation of this section, an attempt to violate this section, a conspiracy to violate this section, or an offense under section 3 or 4 of this title based on such a violation.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/311/text

It also specifically allows the mother to seek legal relief for the botched procedure (that’s fancy talk for sue them). While it limits statutory damages to three times the cost of the abortion, it allows punitive damages and “objectively verifiable money damage for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of subsection (a);”.

I get that abortion is one of those tricky things that makes everyone slightly uncomfortable, at various points and levels. It was forced into legality in the worst way possible, and has been a subject of argument since then.

But that was 46 years ago.

It isn’t going anywhere, and I wish my fellow conservatives would understand that. Oppose it on moral grounds, yes. It is morally repulsive when it is used as ex post facto birth control. But we need to be honest, and abortion needs to remain safe, accessable, and legal. At least until no one is ever raped. Which isn’t going to happen in any future that we get to live in.

Back to the vote. 44 Senators, all Democratic (and Bernie) votes to oppose cloture (3 Republicans didn’t vote). As cloture needs a 3/5 majority (or 60 votes), that blocked cloture. As I opined above, this is likely meant to preview votes on the bill itself, but is not, in fact, a vote on the bill. While organizations like Planned Parenthood chose to lie about the bill, stating that it limited abortion, the simple reality is in the bill as introduced.

So, here are the Senators who, it seems, object to protection for babies born after attempted abortions:

Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)

Hassan (D-NH)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Rosen (D-NV)

Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Sinema (D-AZ)
Smith (D-MN)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

 

It will be interesting to see what happens next. The bill may still make a floor vote, and at that time, we will see who votes to not protect newborns.

More On Jussie Smollett

More On Jussie Smollett

Quick note – spell check knows his last name. That says something.

Anyway, breaking this morning is that Mr. Smollett not only paid friends to stage an attack, but also sent the ‘suspicious letter’ the week before. The letter is going to be the main problem, as it is not only potentially violations of various federal Postal laws (and they do not play around), but by adding crushed Tylenol into the envelope, it becomes a potential federal charge of false information and hoaxes and mailing threatening communication. Or has in the past, in similar cases. Those charges alone could result in 5 years in prison.

I would argue that the charges should include a first and second count of, as phrased in 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1, Hate Crime. By making each event a separate offense, there is a stronger message sent to the kinds of scum who perpetrate these fake crimes. Per 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1, the penalty for one offence is a Class 3 felony (2-5 years), and the second is a Class 2 felony (3-7 years).

Look, the point of severe punishment is to deter criminals. If we continue to treat people who fake these crimes as minor criminals, we will continue to get more of them. After all, if it works, they stand to gain substantial benefit from the lie. Look at Mr. Smollett, his role on Empire was reinforced as vital, he was put in front of more positive media than he could have ever expected otherwise, and more people than ever knew who he was. The media (CNN, NBC, etc) jumped to his defense, celebrity media defended him as a near-martyr, Democrat presidential candidates fell all over themselves to compare this event to a lynching, and demand the CPD find the monsters who did this horrid event.

Well, they did. To the surprise of no one who pays attention to not only human nature, but the trend of fake hate crimes, it was Mr. Smollett himself.

The motivation was money. Reports are that the estimated $65,000 per episode ($1,170,000 over an 18 episode season) wasn’t enough. For clarity, I make less than $65,000 per year. Not going to find any sympathy there.

Because faking this kind of thing makes the next actual victim’s story less believable, I want to again call for the laws to be changed, so that a false report of a crime carries no less than the same penalty as the crime reported. Preferably the punishment for the reported crime, plus the maximum punishment for the false report itself. Report a rape that never happened, be sentenced under the rape guidelines. Or worse. There needs to be a change in how we address these things, and punishing them accordingly is a place to start.

It won’t happen, of course. Defenders of Mr. Smollett are already lining up to say that while he lied, he told a bigger truth – that this happens on a daily basis and is ignored. I call bullshit on that – if it were such a frequent crime, someone somewhere would be sounding an alarm, and the ‘news media’ would have picked up on it, if only to blame Trump somehow. But there isn’t such a cry, so we can infer this isn’t common.

Mr. Smollett needs to be the example – his lie was national news, unlike the others who lie about this – and the message needs to be sent – no more.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

When do sins ‘fall off’? This has become a topic of discussion in American politics, with the revelation that the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, appears in either blackface or KKK robes in his college yearbook; the Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, stands accused of the nebulous term ‘sexual assault’ (the one account made fully public sounds a lot like rape, but that’s not the term used anymore, I guess), and Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar continues to support and express antisemitism.

With the exception of Ilhan Omar, who basically continues her antisemitism, can the elected leaders of Virginia be forgiven? Should they?

Let’s do the easy one first, Lt. Gov. Fairfax. He is accused of not only criminal action, but the kind of criminal action we don’t take seriously enough. He continues to deny it, but is being treated as if he is guilty – his firm removed him, and there are calls from his party to step down or face impeachment and removal. Of course, this is being handled far, far differently than the accusations against Justice Kavanaugh, which were far less serious, less provable, and not from his own team.

Almost like the Democratic Party didn’t care at all about the accusations, only the politics of preventing a Trump SCOTUS appointment. But that was obvious at the time.

So, Justin Fairfax should probably resign, and defend the accusations. If they have merit, then he should face consequences for them, if not, the accuser can face their own consequences.

As an aside, those who level false accusations of serious crimes should face the penalty for the crime they faked – their selfish actions only make it harder on the next real victim. And yes, if that penalty is life in prison, then so be it. We would see far fewer fake rapes and hate crimes if you faced actual prison for the accusation.

Anyway, Lt. Governor Fairfax is in a bad spot, and is going to pay a hefty price. But not for his sins – remember, these were reported before he was elected, and they were ignored. So if they are true, his (D) shielded him from the consequences, and the media provided the usual level of cover to keep the story from being spread.

No, in a horribly ironic twist of fate, Justin Fairfax is going to be Ralph Northam’s whipping boy.

So, Governor Northam’s yearbook. Some facts to ponder – that has been ‘out there’ since it happened, and ignored. Of course. See (D) shield above. But when Northam spoke in support of a bill that legalized infanticide, he crossed the line, and the page was leaked to the media. Conservative media. Who spread the hell out of it, and forced the mainstream media to notice.

I won’t say he is racist or segregationist. I don’t know his history. For all I know, this was a theme party, and he was as uncomfortable as the picture makes people today. Who knows. What is known is that he thought it was a good idea to dress in either blackface or a KKK uniform for a party. That is not great judgement.

But it is college, and bad judgement is part and parcel. Should he be run out of public life on a rail because of one event?

Personally, I say no, of course not. That is absurd.

But that isn’t the system we have, is it? In the system we have, which is intended to be used only against certain people of course, that one error should be his end, he should never again be allowed to associate with anyone. His career over, unemployable, and driven from the public square – that is the price demanded by the media and progressives.

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

One rule for everyone – this shouldn’t be a far-right paleo-conservative position.

But that doesn’t answer the question, does it? Can there, should there, be forgiveness for past sins.

And yes, the answer is yes. Without the potential for some form of forgiveness or remission of sins, no one is made better – or made whole. Religion knows this, and always has. You have to have a means to repair your transgressions against the God, or why would you not continue to harm the group by sinning? And so it is that you confess, pray, sacrifice, or whatever to regain approval.

In the new religion of Politics, there is no such mechanism, and we are beginning to see the problems that causes.

With his, correct, assumption that there will be no forgiveness for his actions, Northam has taken the only course possible – no retreat, no surrender. And to the people who are offended or hurt by the photo, too bad (I would argue that unless there is personal connection to being harmed by the Klan or similar, your offense shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but that isn’t how this works). It is the right call in this climate. If he resigned, he would face a rough future, and his family might be punished too. In all, sticking it out is his only play.

If we had a forgiveness and redemption mechanism, the answer would be different. Look, he did something offensive and stupid, and had to know it was both offensive and stupid, and he should face some consequences. Should have then too, by the way. There needs to be a way to get past it though – and reading ‘Roots’ isn’t the answer.

I may not know the answer. I think it involves actual work to repair any harm done, and some time out of the spotlight to make the repair work personal, not a show. Then, once there is personal forgiveness (those he wronged forgive him), the society should too – and then he can begin working back to where he was. We shouldn’t brand people to keep their sins always front and center.

Not holding my breath, really.

Green New Deal

Green New Deal

Introduced yesterday in both the House and Senate (identical text, so far as I can tell), the self-proclaimed “Green New Deal” is the sort of red meat that is designed to freak out the Republicans, energize and rally the neo-socialist and progressive Democrats, and send a shot across the bow of the establishment Democrats who are not on board with the Dem’s flirtation with the socialist agenda.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

What it isn’t is any kind of legislation. These are ‘Sense of the Chamber’ resolutions, a type of bill used to express an opinion, but which is not binding in any way. These have been used to make political statements, and to express thanks. I think it is important to put this in the correct box – it isn’t pending law, it is puffery and opinion without any regard to how it would be implemented.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

Reading the proposal, we see a bunch of ‘Whereas’ statements that are dubious. For example:

  • More predictions of imminent climate collapse & disaster – the same thing we have been hearing for over 20 years, with the same ‘we only have a decade to save the world’ mentality.
  • They claim US life expectancy is declining, which is not inaccurate, but is also not connected to the environment. The CDC identified unintentional overdoses, suicide, and chronic liver disease (drinking related?) as the drivers for a down tick of a tenth of a percent. Nothing in the GND would address that.
  • The usual pablum about the rich being richer, the poor poorer (but never about the poor being richer than at any previous time in history), and so on.

This leads to the ‘so FDR had the New Deal’. Which they forget didn’t work. It took WWII for the Depression to end and “…created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen…” And yes, in 1941 ” indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth” didn’t see the same benefits as whites. That was then, this is now. I would point out that factory jobs and serving in combat were things that the elderly, disabled, and youth were not allowed to do (and still aren’t, depending on the disability).

Then comes the fun part, the Resolved section. And the stupidity.

Section 1

Not much here to complain about – this isn’t bad. Except for 1E (emphasis mine):

to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”);

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text?format=xml&r=1&s=1

Huh? Repairing it how? By forcing people now to pay for the sins of maybe their ancestors? Good luck with that. I am not even sure how that would work, and absent a time machine won’t undo what was done. Punishing people today for actions before their birth is insane.

Section 2

Here we go!

  • “accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization”. Not a great beginning, very Soviet in tone. But let’s see where it goes…
  • Sections A & B are ok, nothing too wacky here. Look, climate change is a thing, even if ‘global warming’ isn’t. Not convinced we are the sole cause, but it is still something to be aware of, and compensate for. That is all A & B are calling for.
  • C is interesting, because it calls for things that don’t exist, and have never been shown to function at the scale demanded. Which is fine, but you have to accept that if so-called green energy was a valid alternative, it would be in greater use. After all, if it worked, and eliminated the need to buy fuel, what utility wouldn’t jump on that as a way to increase profits? They aren’t, because it doesn’t scale.
    • What does work are nuclear plants, which are never part of these proposals. Pebble Bed Modular Reactors would provide power without the (minimal) risks of other reactor designs, and without the insane pollution from coal.
  • E is where it goes so far off the rails, the bill might as well be called Green Plan 9 From Outer Space. E reads “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;”. Dafaq? All buildings. WSO estimates 120 million buildings in the US. As of 2015. Let’s be stupid, and assume an average cost to replace of $1M per (less on houses, far more on commercial buildings, but this is to prove a point). That is $120,000,000,000,000 – 120 trillion dollars. At the $1/second, that would take something like 3.8 million years to spend. it is more than 6,000 times the 2017 US GDP. Statista estimates the GWP – the gross world product in 2017 at about $80 trillion dollars…so this would cost 1.5 times the world’s gross production in 2017. I believe the term ‘economically infeasible’ was coined specifically for this. And remember, that is at an average of $1M per building, which is probably far below the actual costs.
  • I actually like G – cleaning up farming to remove pollution and increase soil health – this is important to the continued feeding of the world, and should be looked at seriously (by which I mean no one supporting this nonsense should be anywhere near it)
  • H is probably were the remove cars bit was, but it is not there now. I don’t support this in the least. Limiting mobility is among the first act of tyrants, and the ability to relocate is crucial to a free people.
    • Further, this Sunday I plan to drive to Michigan City, about a 2 hour round trip, costing $10 in gas or so. On public transportation, it would take at least 2 hours each way, cost at least double, and with Greyhound require an overnight stay. This is not better, and anyone who thinks it is is insane.
  • I is vague puffery designed to make people think their overlords care. Seriously. This is such a central-control document that a bit about community-driven projects is almost insulting.
  • J through N isn’t bad either – more about cleaning up polluted sites and reducing pollution. I can’t see anyone not liking that.

Section 3

Um, this is an interesting part. Section 3 reads, in whole:

a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text?format=xml&r=1&s=1

With that many ‘cooks’, there is exactly zero chance of anything being done. Zero. So, yes, let’s make this happen!

Section 4

Goals and projects!

And this is all Dem talking points in written form. Worth noting that as currently on the congress.gov site, there is nothing about paying people to not work. That was likely in a draft version, and removed before introduction. Basically, this is all saying ‘we want to make high-status and high-pay jobs for everyone’. Which is nice. Impossible, but nice. Universal employment is only a reality in command economies, and those always fail.

Always.

The whole thing just stops here – there is no wrap up or conclusion statement, it just ends. That seems fitting, since it is so absurdist that any conclusion would be laughable.

But here is the problem. This is a roadmap to what they want. Thinking people look at it and see insanity and a massive lack of comprehension of costs and economics, but they don’t. They see an aspirational document, and a set of goals to be forced on the nation, for their own good. A lot of us saw Hillary Clinton as a threat because she is a true believer – someone who would aspire to tyranny for our own good. Unfortunately, we have a collection of people in the Congress who are just as bad. And their branch of the government is tasked with passing laws, unlike the President.

Finally, if you think this isn’t going to matter, isn’t going to be the goal for the statists and overlords in the Democratic party…remember that President Trump’s candidacy was also considered a joke. Yes, you should be worried.

More On Jussie Smollett

The Jussie Smollett Saga

2AM January 29th. Chicago, IL. It is about 6 degrees out. Possibly cooler based on location (the official readings are taken about 15 miles NW of where this story begins).

According to Jussie Smollett, who is on the show ‘Empire’ on Fox (which I have never watched nor been interested in watching, so I had never heard of this guy before this event), he was on the phone with his manager and walking back from Subway when two people accosted him, shouted various racist and anti-homosexual slurs at him, beat him, poured a chemical (often reported as bleach) over him, and tied a noose about his neck, then fled.

This is the kind of horrible crime against someone for unimportant differences that we need to stamp out. This is, and must be, unacceptable in a civilized society.

But did it happen?

read more…

The Erasure of Monica Rambeau

The Erasure of Monica Rambeau

Who?

Monica Rambeau, the second Captain Marvel, after the death of the Kree Captain Mar-Vell in 1982. Monica took on the name from 1982 to 1996. After her came Genis-Vell (original’s son), Phyla-Vell (daughter), Khn’nr (Skrull), Noh-Varr (for like one storyline), then Carol Danvers in 2012.

2012.

But, I hear you saying, they also erased all the Kree Captains Marvel too! Yes, and when the Kree arrive to complain, it will be interesting times indeed.

The difference between Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau is pretty black and white really. As in, Danvers is white, Monica Rambeau is black. Which makes for an interesting moment in the culture wars. Since the upcoming movie is getting the same treatment as Black Panther did – the ‘suck it white males, deal with an unapologetically non-white(or non-male in this case) hero!’ Except here, Marvel/Disney decided to wipe out the non-white Monica Rambeau in favor of a white Carol Danvers. Oh, she is apparently given a token cameo moment in the movie (as a child, no less), but this could have been her movie, just as easily as it is Danvers’.

And the backstory works better too:

Monica Rambeau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to Frank and Maria Rambeau. She was a lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol, and operated as a cargo ship captain. Trying to prevent the creation of a dangerous weapon, Rambeau was exposed to extra-dimensional energy. As a result, she was thereafter able to convert her body to energy. After this event, the media dubbed her “Captain Marvel”. She decided to use her powers to fight crime under that name, but was later told by Ben Grimm that the name had originally been used by the late Kree hero Mar-Vell. Grimm assured her that “Marv wouldn’t mind. I probably ain’t the only ‘Thing’ in the world either.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Rambeau#Origin

Hell, she even led the Avengers (which, I know, wouldn’t exist in the MCU at that time), something no other Captain Marvel has managed to do. And Disney reduced her to a child.

So, I guess, under the current rules, that means supporting the Captain Marvel movie means supporting the erasure by whitewash of Monica Rambeau, a black woman who was Captain Marvel for 14 years. Longer than anyone else, including the original.

At least they didn’t release it during Black History Month…

 


And when I went to verify the release date, I was stunned to find Google doing this to Samuel L Jackson…wow. It must have come from their Virginia servers…

 02/07/19 at 11:05 AM CST of the Google information about Captain Marvel, showing them truncating Samuel L Jackson's name to 'Sam'
S.311 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Rushing To Condemn

I stayed off Twitter on Sunday. Less as an intentional action, and more as I just didn’t check it because I didn’t think about it.

So this morning, when I saw the counter of unread posts, I knew one of two things had happened – either William Shatner (@williamshatner) had been really bored, or an outrage mob had formed, and I missed the endless ‘wait for all the facts’ posts. And the self-congratulatory ‘I waited’ posts.

It was the latter.

Honestly, the original story no longer matters. We had the usual arc – thing happens; is wildly misreported (usually that means ‘the opposite of the truth is reported’); people overreact (including calls for violence against the assumed perpetrators); so-called calmer heads call for not violence, but public shaming and endless apology-making with a side of ‘ruin their lives/fire them/expel them’; real story comes out; the rabid hate contingent vanishes; the rest try to pretend they didn’t call for a life to be destroyed; the media pretends they will do better next time.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

With the media firmly on one side of the political spectrum, we can imagine who the players are, and how Twitter didn’t respond. It is a bit sickening, frankly.

I won’t bother adding the ‘gee, this is why you never trust Twitter / media reports for at least 24 hours’ bit – it’s obvious and overdone. I do wish we would learn from that at some point though.

What makes this worse is that the same people being wrong on events a staggering amount of the time insist that any call for them to actually get facts before abandoning the principles of journalism is going to destroy the nation. Amazingly, it won’t. Their insistence on putting their personal partisan political agenda in front of the facts just might.

Chicago Police & Crime News

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  • MEGA!!! October 19, 2019
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    Does anyone at Media Affairs own a dictionary? Because this is about the stupidest statement we've ever read:An electronic message board along Lake Shore Drive near Soldier Field was changed overnight to read, "Kill cops," according to Chicago police.The vandalism was reported about 6:20 a.m. Friday, but police spokeswoman Karie James said it was not […]
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