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Blind Lemur Conservatives 2020 Predictions

Predictions for 2020

I kind of swiped this idea from the team over at Legal Insurrection. It seems like the kind of thing that one does in January. So, here are my predictions for events that we will see in 2020. No promises, this is a new one for me! Let's get going! National Predictions...

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.

Recent Posts

It Happened…

It Happened…

The IOC is allowing trans women to compete in the Olympics against biological women. And how does the IOC define a trans woman?

read more
Democratic Party Revealed?

Democratic Party Revealed?

Or, how is 'all hate speech' as a counter to Antisemitism in any way morally different from 'not all men' or 'all lives matter'? It isn't. Not at all. Due to the mainstream media giving Democrats cover, we get a parade of people treating Minnesota representative Ilhan...

read more
Direct Democracy

Direct Democracy

I saw this endorsement of direct democracy on Facebook, and had to, in the finest conservative tradition, pounce. Here is the image again: Ok, let's unpack that. Using the kind of self-serve kiosks that you see in newer McDonalds is funny, admittedly. Using them in...

read more
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.

read more
It Happened…

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...

read more
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...

read more

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.

Recent Posts

The Left Will Eat Itself…

The Left Will Eat Itself…

…but that won’t matter to the right, because they will still unite to attack us.

There is an inexplicable trend on the right to celebrate the left’s habit of attacking itself. This week saw ‘vagina cupcakes’ being attacked for excluding ‘women without vaginas’, and Will Smith not being black enough to play Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena Williams). And the right loves to point and laugh as the left attacks itself.

We really need to stop that. Why? Simple – it doesn’t mean anything in the bigger picture. Because in the big picture, the left will stop their internecine warfare to unite against conservatives and Republicans. Every time. See, they will always unite against conservatives because they have come to believe we are some kind of existential threat to the world. No, that isn’t hyperbole. They truly seem to hate us at a deep level.

And we have our own internal problems. Namely, we won’t unite to defeat them.

Instead, we support them over our own interests. Also, some Republicans are on record wishing Clinton had won the White House in 2016. And not just out-of-touch pundits. Our Libertarian cousins ran a vice-presidential candidate that openly endorsed Clinton…and he was running on an opposing ticket!

We need to get our own houses in order before we look to the left and smile at their infighting. We need to reunite the conservatives and the Republicans into a united front against the existential threats of socialism and runaway progressivism. We need to stop supporting the enemy…

And there is the problem.

Our leadership can’t even define who the enemy is. Instead, we focus on the players, not the game. We need to focus on the game for a change. Don’t attack Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Nancy Pleosi, Ilhan Kahn, or Elizabeth Warren directly. That generates sympathy for them, as the mean conservatives attack the helpless women. While I know that’s hypocritical, it was decided that was ok. So there it is. Attacking the people is useless in the grand scheme of it all.

Attack the philosophy, the plan, the position. Attack the person only in a head-to-head election.

Why do we not support the Green New Deal? Because that inane scheme would cost more than the GWP. Also because it is divisive and designed to fail. We don’t oppose it because Ocasio-Cortez backs it. Why do we oppose socialism? Because it is reductive, inhuman, inhumane, and causes suffering every time it is implemented. We don’t oppose socialism because Warren, Sanders, et al support it. Do you see the difference?

Positions, not people, are the right targets

By focusing effort on positions, we begin to show why we are a better option. We know we can’t convince people to not follow the Pied Piper down to hell. But we have to try to show them a better path. It is a harder path, to be sure. It is a path with no freebies. The left has trained people to believe they deserve freebies. Because of that, we face an uphill battle.

It is a battle we need to fight. There is no joy in copying the left’s return to enforced compliance with dogma. But come on, we need to at least be able to hold the line on core conservative beliefs. We need to clean our own house before we will be able to fight the left for the soul of our nation.

Unless we do that, when they stop infighting, they will overrun us.

It Happened…

It Happened…

The IOC is allowing trans women to compete in the Olympics against biological women.

I commented on my opinion on this previously.

But The Federalist’s Jessica Gulmire added a wrinkle I didn’t consider in her column about the IOC decision:

Viewership is what it’s all about. It’s no secret that the Olympic Games have been losing ratings for years. Blame their old-fashioned ceremonies, their cheesy endorsements, or the outdated network broadcast littered with commercials no one watches. Whatever the reason, they need something new, something fresh.

Women’s sports don’t draw the same ratings as men’s, unless of course we parade about in lingerie. It’s a harsh reality. That is what makes news of the change in the Olympic rules so defeatist.

http://thefederalist.com/2019/03/07/olympics-allowing-trans-athletes-compete-without-surgery-just-cynical-ratings-grab-womens-expense/

This is a valid point. Absent the outliers of gymnastics and skating, men tend to receive more coverage on a sport-by-sport basis. Last year’s Winter Olympics in were the first time that the total time shifted towards women. As shown here, excluding pair events, women’s sports received 52.2% of NBC’s total airtime. What is not shown is how much of that was due to who was participating. Famous female skiers, for example, or up and coming new snowboarders. Also remember, the numbers here are only NBC’s primetime coverage, not the coverage on all the other NBC stations, or at other times.

So, of course the money matters to NBC. That is how they pay their people and all.

The problem is, outside the freakshow aspect (and while I don’t subscribe to that, many others will), what is the attraction of biological men outperforming biological women? Especially to women? Especially to, perhaps, younger girls just starting out, who see in the plainest possible terms that there is no fair playing field for them anymore…

Just going to toss this out there then…how does the IOC define a trans woman? What threshold will they use? And how will that be received by the left (hint: poorly, no matter what they say)?

Democratic Party Revealed?

Democratic Party Revealed?

Or, how is ‘all hate speech’ as a counter to Antisemitism in any way morally different from ‘not all men’ or ‘all lives matter’?

It isn’t. Not at all.

Due to the mainstream media giving Democrats cover, we get a parade of people treating Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar like a silly child who just doesn’t understand. I would think that insulting too, but what do I know?

What I do know is she is simply cannot be unaware of what she is saying, especially when called out on it. So, instead of apologizing, and / or keeping her antisemitism private, she doubles down. House Minority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) excused her statements as the result of having to flee Somalia and live in a Kenyan refugee camp for some years. Then basically demanded the children of holocaust survivors check their privilege. After all, their families survived a program of genocide and industrial extermination…her family fled a civil war with the family intact. That is, make no mistake, a hugely impactful event in a person’s life. I do not for a moment doubt it had a profound effect on her and her family.

But I don’t think that is where Omar’s antisemitism comes from. Let’s be real here. The factions in Somalia were not backed by, connected to, or actually Jewish. Somalia is officially Sunni Muslim, with no other religions listed (legal?). And Kenya is, per the CIA World Factbook, 83% Christian (Protestant 47.7%, Catholic 23.4%, other Christian 11.9%), 11.2% Muslim, 1.7% Traditionalists, 1.6% other, 2.4% none, 0.2% unspecified (2009 est.). No mention of Jewish here. So Omar’s antisemitism must come from elsewhere.

Never assume malice where stupidity is an option?

It is also possible Omar is just a twit. Yes, it is right to examine our alliance with Israel. And to examine all alliances to ensure we see some benefit. Conversely, the Israelis should do the same. That’s normal. In this case, the US gains an ally in an unstable region; stands up for a democrats nation in a land of despotism, dictatorship, and monarchy; and we keep our moral obligation to prevent another Holocaust.

So is it possible that her repeated ‘dual allegiance’ comment is just ignorance? Maybe she doesn’t know that slander was used against Kennedy, because he was Catholic, Joe Lieberman, because he was Jewish, Mitt Romney, because he was Mormon. It is possible she missed that.

By her own rules, however, Omar has dual allegiance to ‘Palestine’. Is it a slur to say that any Muslim that supports the ‘Palestinians’, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.? If so, then the sword cuts both ways, and it is equally a slur to apply that to Jews.

Does who supports you matter?

I remember attacks on President Trump over receiving support from some distasteful sorts. I said at the time that if he didn’t seek them out, then how is he responsible for their other beliefs? That sentence is not great, but the point is, if hate group X supports me over a non-hate-related issue (say, lower taxes), how am I responsible for their other beliefs? Of course, that fell on deaf ears, because to a lot of people, nothing President Trump does can ever be good.

So to them, I say this – if President Trump receiving support from bad people stains him, how do you respond to former KKK leader David Duke’s support of Ilhan Omar?

In response to statements revealing Omar's antisemitism, David Duke calles MN Rep Ilhan Omar the "Most important rep in Congress"

Huh. Isn’t that something.

Of course, that is neither to her credit or debit. Omar isn’t responsible for Duke’s actions. That her actions were praiseworthy because of their antisemitism is her fault, however.

What is to be done here?

As much as I would like to see the Democrats condemn bigotry, I don’t expect it. They have bigotry too deeply ingrained in their party and ideological DNA to condemn it. I would like to see Omar stripped of plum committee assignments as a form of censure, which won’t happen either. Again, to the Democratic Party leadership, her bigotry is less important than the appearance of party unity. So, sickeningly, all is forgiven when the ‘right people’ are involved. The official line is rapidly becoming “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

All that aside (and that should be a post of its own, if I can find the right way to say it), what should be done about Omar vis a vis her position in Congress? The answer is ‘nothing’. The citizens of Minnesota’s 5th District elected her, they bear the responsibility for her actions. Ilhan Omar’s opinions were available, her prejudices and antisemitism known, and still they voted for her. This is on their shoulders. The whole idea of the republican system is that the people elect someone who shares their values and goals, and that person champions them in Congress. That the residents of MN-5 chose Ilhan Omar says more about them than it does about her. They elected an anti-Semitic bigot as the person who best represented who they are. Full stop.

It is important to note that my vague disgust with Omar’s beliefs and MN-5’s decision to select her is in no way an endorsement of physical action against her. It is not an endorsement of bigoted slander against her either. Omar is a citizen, who possesses the same rights to her religion as any other human being. Those calling for violence against her for either her statements or beliefs are in the wrong. Also full stop.

The residents of MN-5 would be well-served in selecting another representative in 2020. Maybe someone who isn’t so openly bigoted would be nice.

Direct Democracy

Direct Democracy

I saw this endorsement of direct democracy on Facebook, and had to, in the finest conservative tradition, pounce. Here is the image again:

Direct Democracy

Ok, let’s unpack that. Using the kind of self-serve kiosks that you see in newer McDonalds is funny, admittedly. Using them in the meme got me thinking. We are closer to national direct democracy than we have ever been.

And that is not a good thing. There are advantages to the republican form of government, not the least of which is a shield against mob rule. And make no mistake, that is exactly what direct democracy is – the rule of the mob. And no one wants that in their lives.

Liberal readers, consider that in direct democracy, if county X in state Y decides to outlaw homosexuals or illegal aliens, that’s the new law. Direct democracy for the win!

Conservative readers, consider that in direct democracy, if county X in state Y decides to outlaw fossil fuels, that’s the new law. Direct democracy for the win! And don’t laugh – see the Green New Deal and the inexplicably allowed to continue Juliana v. United States suit that seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

But that’s just the tip of the direct democracy iceberg

How do you enforce one citizen / one vote rules that direct democracy requires? With modern technology it’s pretty easy, actually. Just offer up a fingerprint or rental scan, then vote. Well, easy except for the infrastructure to actually do it, which isn’t the iceberg I’m referring to.

Anyway, no, the iceberg in this analogy is the question ‘who owns the data’.

Didn’t think of that one, did you? Who owns all that juicy biometric data needed to prevent vote fraud? The government? Google? Apple? Who do you trust to keep it secret, keep it safe?

I don’t trust the government. They left my personal data open to whomever (read: China) wanted it in the OPM hack. Others in the bureaucracy have been leaking anything to the press they think can harm the President for a few years now. No, I can’t actually trust the government to keep vital personal data safe.

Equifax is out – same reason. Google is out. They have too much data on us already, and as a private company must not be trusted to run an election. Which also kicks out Apple, and every other company in the world.

So who do you trust with your data?

And no, it won’t just be the biometrics to secure the vote

In order to function as a direct democracy, each voter needs to be registered to a state, county, township (if used), municipality, ward (if used), etc. That information includes your name and address, of course – it has that now. When you patch in the needed information to vote – a biometric scan of some form – you enter into a scenario where the risk of identity theft becomes greatly heightened. If I have your name, address, and fingerprint, I can unlock your phone or computer, and gain direct access to your deepest personal data. Easily.

But why use biometrics, why not use a smart ID card, like Homeland Security uses? First, of course, is cost. Second, how do you vote without it? We have people hieing unto their fainting couches at the mere thought of requiring easily-obtained ID, which is also needed for almost every other governmental, financial, business, or employment function. How do you think they would respond to requiring a fancy new ID?

Also, if you can loose it, it isn’t secure. Full stop.

So, to recap – direct democracy is technologically possible in a nation of 300+ million people. Direct democracy needs to have a secure and unbeatable way of verifying votes in real time, and that requires infrastructure that does not exist, and a level of network security that the US government has proven incapable of providing. This would also represent an expansion of the government, even if a logical one, and resisting expansion is one of our foundational beliefs.

In other words, direct democracy isn’t an actual option.

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.

It Happened…

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.

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