Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Friday, February 17, 2012

You Must Choose Wisely

In Tennessee, if you are opposed to teaching 12 year old kids about sexuality, safe and unsafe sex practices, and the societal implications of different sexual preferences, you are an intolerant hateful bigot who needs to be shunned, and driven from polite society.

On the other hand, if you think your 12 year old child should be able to read his Bible, and talk to other children about it while at recess, you are a religiously intolerant hateful bigot who needs to be shunned, and driven from the public school system.

I'm sensing a trend here. What do you think? And do you want to be on the side that our society has apparently chosen?

About 10 years after Jesus was crucified, James, His brother, wrote:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

(James 4:4 ESV)


And in case you think I am selectively quoting or cherry picking, the same idea is expressed elsewhere. For example,
  • John 15:19

    If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

  • 1 John 2:15

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

  • Matthew 6:24

    No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.


A lot of Christians want to ignore these verses because they are hard. They require us to stand for God even when our world stands against Him. Sooner or later, everyone who names themselves after Jesus the Christ will be called to stand for Him against the world.

Where will you stand?

Posted by Rich
Religion • (3) CommentsPermalink


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The New Gatekeepers

I've been blogging since 2002. My output has waxed and waned from time to time, but I'm still here, pounding the keys and cranking out the words. And during that time, I've heard many stories from the traditional media outlets about how blogging was a fad that would fade away, and would never produce anything of lasting significance.

As usual, they got the story half right.

The fad bloggers did fade away. They came, they blogged, they went, and now they Twitter, or play on Facebook, or share pins on Pinterest.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the extinction of blogging; it didn't happen. Some bloggers rose to national prominence based solely on their scribblings. Blogging organizations sprang up to harness the talents of these energetic individuals who, as it turned out, did have something to say that was worth hearing. Advertisers joined the party and suddenly, people were making a living writing a blog.

And all the while, traditional media continued to sound the death knell for blogging. Their favorite refrain was "You never get original content from bloggers. They are always writing about something we covered first. They're just parasitic wannabees with an ax to grind."

And again, they got it half right. For a long time, opinion blogging did dominate the blogosphere. A blogger would read something interesting, link to it, then provide their own thoughts about it. For a while, that was enough. The novelty of having this new voice was sufficient. But then, a man named Fisk changed things forever, and in the process, gained lasting fame as his name became a verb. Fisk wasn't a blogger; instead, he was a member of the traditional media. He wrote an article so egregiously biased, not to mention just plain bad, that bloggers took it apart line by line, revealing inaccuracies, logical fallacies, and incredibly stupid conclusions. The better bloggers did so with such skill and precision, and not a little humor, that "fisking" became a very popular past time in the blogosphere.

This is where blogging began to grow up, because in order to fisk an article, you had to know the subject in significant detail. In some cases, the blogger was already an expert in the subject, which was why they chose it to fisk. But in many cases, they had to do some research to accurately assess the story's strengths and/or weaknesses. The research could involve looking up past statements made by the writer, or a political figure, or digging into old stories to find accurate information, or even calling participants in the story to get their take on the article. This 'fact checking" process became very similar to that followed by traditional reporters as they built their stories. Bloggers began developing a skill set that would not be out of place in a traditional newsroom.

The ability to spot an evasion, or deception in a released statement.

A strong grasp of the history of the subject,and an ability to detect when that history was being misrepresented.

Knowledge of the resources needed to research background information.

The importance of providing source materials to allow the reader to fact check for themselves and to make up their own minds.

Bloggers learned these skills on the job, as it were, and given that most of them were driven by their own passion, they learned quickly and well.

At the same time, traditional media outlets began changing their approach to reporting. Profit became important, which led to downsizing, which meant fewer stories produced, and even less research. Speculative stories, ones that called for investigation and development before producers could determine whether they were publishable or not became more rare, replaced by easy stories based on public statements and press releases.

Traditional media began to produce less original content than the new media.

So they changed their argument. Bloggers were producing original content, but they were sloppy, inaccurate, and not subject to "the layers of editorial oversight" provided in the traditional media.

Jayson Blair, Eason Jordan, and Dan Rather took care of that argument fairly quickly.

Media budgets continued to decline, along with circulation and ratings, and bloggers continued to both break news and cover news, and the latter with a thoroughness and level of specificity that traditional media couldn't touch even in their golden age. Bloggers don't start as journalists; they start as experts in something else. Lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers, all are represented among bloggers, leading to a communal level of knowledge far exceeding that available to traditional news media. In a way, every blogger is both a journalist and an expert source rolled into one. The traditional media can't compete with them.

The New Media, began to supplant traditional media as the 'go to' source for original news content. Consider that the story about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden was broken by social media on Twitter, not CNN. Traditional media outlets were trying to adapt, but faced tough climb. A Twitter feed is great, but if it is not updated frequently with additional information, it grows stale rapidly. People will look elsewhere for the breaking details, and once they leave a source, they don't come back. People read a paper to find out what happened yesterday. To find out what's happening today, they go to the new media.

The Knoxville News Sentinel is a prime example of this. They work hard to get the initial story posted to the web, but it might take hours or days for an update, especially if the event occurs after 5PM. They still march to the beat of the 24 hour news cycle, and they just can't shake it. Facebook is a better source for current information than KnoxNews.com.

Traditional media survived as long as they did only because there was no other option for the people. If they wanted news, they had a limited choice of sources. Because their choices were so limited, people believed that the service provided by the media was good.

They had no basis for comparison.

Now they do, and the people have woken up to the sad fact that the traditional media sucks at what they do. They got complacent, and worse, arrogant. They decided that not only should they report the news, they should decide what was news, and what wasn't. From there, it was a small step to start shaping the news, shading coverage to fit into a certain philosophy, or ideology. Papers, news channels and magazines developed editorial slants. The news became less about the facts and more about the narrative. Then bloggers came along and challenged the narrative and all hell broke loose.

So, why the history lesson?

Well, if you've been reading here much lately, you know that I've been following two closely related stories, the Richard Baumgartner mess, and the death of Henry Granju. While I am friends with Henry''s mother, I have no personal interest in the Baumgartner case, except for how it relates to the handling of Henry's case, but the link that interests me even more is how the KNS has handled both stories. In both cases, there has been a ton of information available to the KNS that they have chosen not to report, or to delay reporting. There is no doubt in my mind that they are shaping coverage in order to protect their interests, rather than serving the public interests. Just this week, the publisher of the paper, Jack McElroy wrote with approval on his KNS blog about how a reporter was "grabbing the spotlight." I always thought that in journalism, you were supposed to see only the story, not the journalist. But here he was, holding out this reporter as a shining example of the cream of his particular crop. What was really funny was the article he wrote just a day earlier, justifying why this same reporter was able to work in the courtroom for years with a judge who repeatedly reported to work drunk or stoned, yet she never noticed until the tail end of his last trial, and then accepted without question a lame excuse.

I'm not saying everybody at the KNS is inept or corrupt; I am saying, just as Eason Jordan said about CNN, that those at the top of the KNS food chain are working to shape their coverage of the news to maintain their access to the folks who run the Knoxville and Knox County government, and that they are more interested in covering their butts than the news. I am saying that the traditional media, KNS included, has as its first priority making a profit. After that comes shaping the news to fit their preferred narrative. Covering the events that make the news is further down the list. That shift in priority means that their coverage will be based on profit first, and accuracy/relevance second. It means that publishers will write self aggrandizing pieces to to cover up journalistic failures, and that puff pieces reinforcing established orthodoxy will replace investigative reporting. Speaking truth to power has been replaced by speaking pravda for power.

I am saying that traditional media has become what they accused bloggers of being all along, sycophantic parasites with an ax to grind.

Yeah, I know. That's pretty harsh. I'm tarring with a broad brush. So let me be more precise. I'm sure there are good solid ethical journalists out there, still working hard to write the truth, and not twist the facts to fit some preconceived agenda. I'm sure there are people out there dedicated to delivering the story as it happens, with opinion clearly separated from fact, and analysis clearly identified as such. I'm sure that there are individuals out there who will still take the time to do basic research, to seek out experts and become knowledgeable about a subject before they write about it. I'm pretty sure that all of these folks are out there, hammering away at their keyboards, and cranking out the words.

I'm also sure that most of them are bloggers.

Posted by Rich
Blogging • (0) CommentsPermalink


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cognitive Disconnect or Misplaced Priorities?

A Libertarian will say:

"I could never vote for Rick Santorum because he's against federal funding for rubbers."

And then say:

"I am voting for Ron Paul because he respects the Constitution."

Last time I checked, there was nothing in the Constitution about providing high school kids with condoms so they can have sex without consequences.

There's also the whole "I don't care if radical Islamist nations get the atomic bomb. It's none of our business" thing. That just scares me. If you can honestly say that ending funding for rubbers is a down check but allowing an enemy nation to acquire nuclear weapons is not, then I have to say that your grasp on reality might be a tad loose.

Posted by Rich
Politics • (1) CommentsPermalink


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Law and Order: East Tennessee Style

Donk Donk

In a story ripped from the headlines, a criminal court judge presides over the trial of a the woman accused of killing her second husband. In a bizarre twist that could only be true in Hollywood, the woman is suspected of also killing her first husband, the former District Attorney General, an act that propelled the sitting judge to his current position. Coincidentally, the death of the former DAG resulted in the current DAG, a man who ran against the former and lost,being awarded his position by the governor.

During the trial, the judge is abusing alcohol and prescription pills, causing his staff to cover up for him and reschedule trials for days when he is sober. The trial ends in a hung jury.

In the meantime, the woman is charged with the murder of her first husband as well, and the judge makes sure he gets that case as well, then proceeds to block all motions favorable to the prosecution, including exhumation of the body for forensic examination.

The episode closes with the judge in retirement on a full pension, the woman being convicted of murdering her second husband, but charges dropped on the first, and the first conviction in danger of being overturned based on the inebriation of the judge.


You know, Hollywood would never buy this story. It's too unbelievable.

Donk Donk

Posted by Rich
News • (1) CommentsPermalink


Monday, February 13, 2012

George Lucas, Meet George Lucas

Yeah, in the grand scheme of things the delusions of a filmmaker seem pretty small. But to those of us who were around when Episode IV A New Hope was just simply Star Wars, it matters, damn it!

George Lucas has slipped so far into fantasy land that he thinks he can explain away one of the worst mistakes of his film career.

No, not Howard the Duck; any movie with Lea Thompson can't be all bad.

I'm talking about the revised 'gunfight' between Han and Greedo.

According to Lucas, the millions of people who remember Solo blowing that poor green bastard away have just been imagining things all these years. Lucas says that Han never shot first; that it was a piece of sloppy film editing that made it look like he fired first.

There's one problem with that little bit of revisionist history. In the novelization of Star Wars, written by Lucas, it says otherwise.
"Going somewhere, Solo?"
The Corellian couldn't identify the voice, coming as it did through an electronic translator. But there was no problem recognizing the speaker or the gun it held stuck in Solo's side.
The creature was roughly man-sized and bipedal, but its head was something out of delirium by way of an upset stomach. It had huge, dull-faceted eyes, bulbous on a pea-green face. A ridge of short spines crested the high skull, while nostrils and mouth were contained in a tapirlike snout.
"As a matter of fact," Solo replied slowly, "I was just on my way to see your boss. You can tell Jabba I've got the money I owe him."
"That's what you said yesterday-and last week-and the week prior to that. It's too late, Solo. I'm not going back to Jabba with another one of your stories."
"But I've really got the money this time!" Solo protested.
"Fine. I'll take it now, please."
Solo sat down slowly. Jabba's minions were apt to be cursed with nervous trigger fingers. The alien took the seat across from him, the muzzle of the ugly little pistol never straying from Solo's chest.
"I haven't got it here with me. Tell Jabba-"
"It's too late, I think. Jabba would rather have your ship."
"Over my dead body," Solo said unamiably.
The alien was not impressed. "If you insist. Will you come outside with me, or must I finish it here?"
"I don't think they'd like another killing in here," Solo pointed out.
Something which might have been a laugh came from the creature's translator. "They'd hardly notice. Get up, Solo. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. You've embarrassed me in front of Jabba with your pious excuses for the last time."
"I think you're right."
Light and noise filled the little corner of the cantina, and when it had faded, all that remained of the unctuous alien was a smoking, slimy spot on the stone floor.
Solo brought his hand and the smoking weapon it held out from beneath the table, drawing bemused stares from several of the cantina's patrons and clucking sounds from its more knowledgeable ones. They had known the creature had committed its fatal mistake in allowing Solo the chance to get his hands under cover.
"It'll take a lot more than the likes of you to finish me off. Jabba the Hutt always did skimp when it came to hiring his hands."
Leaving the booth, Solo flipped the bartender a handful of coins as he and Chewbacca moved off. "Sorry for the mess. I always was a rotten host."


And there it is, written by the man himself. Greedo never even got a shot off; as Luca wrote, his fate was sealed the moment he lat Han get his hand under the table.

I feel better now.

Posted by Rich
Commentary • (5) CommentsPermalink


How Do You Get a Comment Thread Shut Down at KnoxNews.com?

Link Henry Granju's death with the current investigation into Judge Baumgartner and possible corruption within the Knox County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office.

Sorta make me wonder, "What are they scared of?"

The latest started Sunday when Jaime Satterfield took time off from the dance floor to write a new in-depth article rehashing the information known about Richard Baumgartner's activities and adding some new information, including allegations that Baumgartner had intimidated courthouse employees into giving him their prescription drugs. The story traced Baumgartner's rise to power, starting with the alleged murder of former District Attorney Ed Dossett by his wife Raynella, which propelled both Randy Nichols and Baumgartner to their positions as District Attorney and Criminal Court judge. The article puts all the pieces into place for the first time, providing a good summary of the story to date.

But what was really interesting was the direction the comments took.

The first interesting comment came from Martha Dooley, who claimed that Sheriff Jones, contrary to the story, was not a frequent visitor to Judge Baumgartner's chambers, that nobody had ever reported the judge's drug use to the Sheriff, and that accusations that the KCSO had helped cover up Baumgartner's alcoholism and drug use were completely baseless.

If we take her at her word, then the only people in Knoxville and Knox County government that hadn't heard about Baumgartner's drug use was the KCSO.

Sadly, that isn't completely implausible given the KCSO's woeful record busting drug dealers.

It was the next exchange that really got interesting, and caused the comment thread to be shut down.

In response to one reader's comment that the scandal had grown so large that 60 Minutes, 20/20, or Dateline should come in and investigate, another reader replied that Dateline was already here, investigating the handling of the Henry Granju investigation, and that they would certainly take an interest in this prominent prescription drug case.

The comment was deleted.

The poster repeated the comment, questioning why it had been deleted, and that comment was also deleted. Other comments followed, and were just as quickly deleted. And shortly, comments were closed, keeping anybody from reading about the Dateline investigation.

The question is simple; why did the KNS feel that mentioning the Dateline story on Granju violated their commenting policy? After all, the KNS wrote at least three stories featuring Granju's name in the headline while the text of the story specifically claimed that the story had nothing to do with him. Why would they be so sensitive about bringing his case up in relation to the Baumgartner story? Is there a connection? If so, why are they trying to keep it quiet?

Or are they afraid of Dateline? It must be embarrassing for a newspaper to have a national news magazine come in and cover a story that the newspaper claimed didn't exist. Remember, the KNS, through Jaime Satterfield, performed an in depth review of the case files released by the KCSO, and proclaimed that the investigation was complete, thorough, professional, and resulted in no prosecutable acts by anybody.

And now here comes Dateline, investigating the same story and finding enough information to warrant devoting significant resources to airing the story. Incidentally, background investigation has already been done, and film crews were in Knoxville for about a week, performing interviews and laying groundwork for the next round of taping.

I don't blame the KNS for being embarrassed, but they should have been embarrassed by the shoddy brand of journalism they practice, and not just that it is now being revealed to the world.

My take on the whole mess hasn't changed. I believe corruption is rampant within Knoxville and Knox County and it will take a serious outside investigation to even begin to root it out. I believe the DA's office, the KCSO, and a portion of the KPD are all compromised. I don't trust anybody in the County government, particularly anybody associated with former Sheriff Tim Hutchinson. I believe that when the story finally breaks, we're going to see corruption revealed that dwarfs the Blanton pardon scheme.

Most of all, I believe that the folks who should be monitoring our government for corruption, the local media, are also compromised, especially the Knoxville News Sentinel. While Jack McElroy will claim that his paper is above reproach based on the article Satterfield just wrote, there is one inescapable fact that he can't ignore. This story has been going on for 2 decades now, and widely known for almost 10 years, yet the KNS either didn't notice, or didn't care.

So I'm not surprised they shut off the comments. If it does turn out that there is a connection between the Granju case and the Baumgartner story, at least beyond the obvious link of Brad Hall's involvement with both, then the KNS will look even more weak than it already does.

UPDATE! Comments are back on, although any that relate to the Dateline investigation have been censored, and at least one commentor has had their posts pulled completely, without even a placeholder remaining. When the paper of record begins to memory hole the fact that an adverse comment even exists, they've left journalism and are firmly engaged in propaganda.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Catholics Paying for BIrth Control is Like A Muslim Charity Serving Pork Chops; So Why Force It?

It's just wrong!

The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


So, three separate issues are dealt with in this, the First entry of the Bill of Rights:
  • Freedom of Religion

  • Freedom of Speech and the Press

  • Freedom to Assemble and Petition for redress of grievances


You should notice that the construction of the Amendment treats all three parts as equal; none are dependent on or subordinate to another. Each stands complete in itself. You also should notice that I divide them up a bit differently than do most people talking about this Amendment. I link freedom of speech and freedom of the press as one unit and I do this because the punctuation tells me to. Each section is separated by a semi colon, while components with the section are separated by a comma. For example, freedom of religion is broken into two parts, the prohibition against establishment, and the prohibition against restraint. In a like manner, the Amendment calls out freedom of the press as part and parcel of freedom of speech. And to finish this comparison, the right to assemble is joined to the right to petition the government.

Now is also a good time to point out that the language of the Amendment does not grant rights to the people; instead it is clearly prohibiting the federal government from infringing on those rights people already possess. That's an important concept that forms the basis for our Constitution. One of our Supreme Court Justices was quoted recently as saying the US Constitution did not provide a good model for a modern Constitution because it didn't do enough to recognize foundational human rights. The only way for her to make that statement was to willfully ignore that the US Constitution was written specifically to recognize and guarantee those rights, and it is only through the activity of jurists like her that those protections have been mortally weakened.

But that's a post for another day.

So, there are two pieces to the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment. The anti- establishment clause, and the free exercise clause. The anti-establishment clause states that the government can do nothing to indicate that it favors a particular religion, or religion in general. This section has been interpreted increasingly broadly to the point where a poster demonstrating the rule of law through the ages can be removed from public property for an image of the stone tablets representing the Ten Commandments. This compares well to the broad interpretation of the freedom of assembly clause, which has been used to justify the violation of local, state and federal laws by OWS and other protest groups. On the other hand, the second portion of the religious freedom clause has been under increasing attack over the last couple of decades. Rather than being interpreted as a broad restriction of the government's ability to restrict religious expression and activity, it has been instead been interpreted as an increasingly narrow band of allowed activities for the religious adherents.

This latest ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is another example of the secular state working to minimize and marginalize religion.

But that, too, is a post for another day.

Today, I want to talk about why the Obama Administration would be so intent on restricting faith based hospitals from carrying out their mission.

Faith based churches have been placed in a bad position. They have only a few options.
  1. They can comply with the law, abandoning their religious principles.

  2. They can ignore the law, paying fines to continue operating in accordance with their religious principles

  3. They can reject serving patients who are not members of their faith

  4. They can shut down their hospitals and clinics altogether


Option 1 diminishes the role of religion in public life, restricts the free practice of religion guaranteed by the Constitution and according to spokesmen for the Catholic Church, is not an option.
Option 2 places a significant financial burden on church clinics and hospitals, making them less able to serve their communities. Some smaller facilities may not be able to afford to remain in business, and may have to shut down.
Option 3 would be cruel, and potentially illegal, a violation of anti-discrimination laws, but is presented here for the sake of completeness.
Option 4 would mean a significant loss of beds in most areas, reduction in the amount services available, as well as the quality, and would drive prices for care up. Catholic spokesmen have already said that this alternative is more preferable to them than complying with the ruling.

Every option outlines reduces services, raises prices, or both, while at the same time making faith based clinics and hospitals look like the bad guy. My thought is that this is exactly what the Obama administration wants. By driving a major player out of the market, costs will increase while availability will decrease, leading to a situation where the people will once again demand that their government "Do Something!" without ever stopping to consider that the crisis will have caused by their government "doing something."

Within 18 months, I predict we'll see government advocates pushing for an expansion of Obamacare to make up for all the private clinics and hospitals that have been driven out of business by this and other regulations. The cost for that expansion will be another increase in the federal government's control over our lives along with another large chunk of the American economy being taken over by the state.

Not a pretty picture.


Posted by Rich
Politics • (0) CommentsPermalink


Monday, February 06, 2012

Halftime in America?

Clint Eastwood claims that his Super Bowl commercial was completely apolitical in intent, and that he believes politicians from both sides of the aisle would do well to embrace the spirit of the ad.

Okay.

Other folks claim that it might as well have been a campaign ad for Obama. The overall theme is that America is in half time. I'm sure it is a coincidence that Obama would like to believe his Presidency is only half over as well.

It's interesting that the commercial never mentions Chrysler, referring repeatedly instead to Detroit. I guess it's make an ad about "American Spirit" and the resurgence of the American Auto industry when your company is owned by an Italian car manufacturer.

Yep, Chrysler's majority owner is Fiat, the Italian car company. Funny, Clint must not have gotten the memo.

There's a lot of things he didn't talk about. Obviously, he's an actor, reading from a script, but at some point, ethics have to be considered.

Consider this rewrite:

It's halftime. The teams are in their locker rooms, discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half. One team has a big lead; the other is bogged down in a morass of poor defense and a lackluster offense. But rather than change their scheme in order to compete, they complain that it isn't fair that they should have to catch up to the other team. They should get a second chance, wipe the scoreboard clean, and start all over again. And some new rules as well. They need help in order to match the other team, which is playing harder and smarter.

It's the same way with America. We're at halftime, and we're trailing. People are out of work and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what somebody will do for them to bring them back. And they're all scared because this isn't a game. They need help to be able to match the others who worked, saved and invested.

The people in Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But a government bailout gave them yet another chance at a level playing field by penalizing the car maker who succeeded; the government breathed new life and new money into those who failed. They changed the rules in the middle of the game to help the failed companies to survive.

And now it's time for them to do the same for us.

I've seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life, times when we didn't understand each other. Seems that we've lost our heart at times. The fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see the lies for what they were. Rather than deal with harsh truths, we sought refuge in fantasies of fairness, in equality of outcome rather than of opportunity.

But after those trials we all rallied around what was fair and ignored and denigrated any who refused to see our passionate commitment to our vision of fairness.

Because that's what we do. We find tough times and if we can't find one we will make one; a crisis brings change, and we can manage that change to the benefit of ourselves, regardless of the rule of law, justice, or the Constitution.

All that matters now is what's ahead. How do we come from behind? How can we take from others and give to ourselves? How do we marginalize success and how do we win? Detroit's showing us it can be done. With a willingness to do whatever it takes, regardless of the consequences, we can achieve victory. The race goes not to the strong, but to the favored; the rules change to help those who would otherwise fail.

Slowly, but surely, the ability to excel is marginalized, penalized, until it dies. This country can't be knocked out with one punch. It takes the accumulation of hundreds of jabs and body blows before greatness can be destroyed. We lose an election and get right back up again and file lawsuits, obstruct progress, occupy government buildings and do whatever it takes to impose our agenda. And when we do, the world's gonna hear the whine of our eco friendly electric engines.

Yeah; it's halftime America. And our second half is about to begin.


This message has been brought to you by http://www.shotsacrossthebow.com. The author will be buying Ford products only, and asks that Mr. Eastwood please not shoot him.

Posted by Rich
Sports • (0) CommentsPermalink


Friday, February 03, 2012

Speaking of Labor

A couple of days ago, I linked to a story that showed that the narrowest gaps in economic opportunity for African Americans and Latinos were in the South and the West, while the worst gaps were in the North East and Upper MidWest. If you remember, the map looked like this:
image

Well, I've got a new map for you today, this time from the National Right To Work Committee, showing the states where Right to Work isn't just a good idea; it's the law!
image

Notice anything? Let's make it more obvious.
image

Once again, the states with the most economic freedom are the states with the greatest economic opportunity for minorities.

Posted by Rich
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How to Reduce Unemployment Without Even Trying

Reduce the workforce.

All day today I heard the news trumpeting that the unemployment rate fell to a new low and that the recovery must be really getting underway, just in time for Obama's re-election.

Well, not so much. It turns out that the reason the unemployment rate went down is not because more people are working, but because the BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics removed just over one million people from the workforce!
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month!


Charts:
image
image

This is just sad. Fewer people with jobs, but in order to re-elect a President, we are being told that unemployment is actually going down.

Even sadder is the number of people who will buy into the lie because they desperately want to believe it.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, February 02, 2012

We Found Those Missing Busts!

Presented without comment for your entertainment.
KPD, Knox DA raid, padlock four 'head shops'
On the other hand:
Knox County sheriff reveals 'puppy mill' raid

Posted by Rich
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Equality is a Bitch!

Via Linoge

At Vox Populi, a different slant on the capsized cruise ship:
Women have methodically attacked the concept of male duty and honor through every possible means for the past ninety years, and now they are whining that they don't get special treatment simply because a ship happens to be sinking. Why, exactly, should any man "prioritise women, expectant mothers and children"? On what grounds can they be reasonably expected to do so, those outdated traditional grounds that the schools teach is hateful, sexist, and bigoted?

Those big, burly crewmen shoving aside women as they prioritized their own escape should have been wearing t-shirts that said "this is what a feminist looks like".

Personally, I'm old school, raised in the South and "women and children first" is in my blood. However, that is not politically correct in today's world. "I am woman; hear me roar!" leads directly to "Every man for himself!"

Equality has a downside; you no longer merit special treatment or consideration.



Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Little Good News for a Change: Knoxville Makes the Top 25, and You’ll Never Guess for What

With all the negative press we've been getting lately, not to mention our own contentiousness, we sometimes forget that Knoxville isn't that bad a place to live. And in a story posted today in USA Today, the Urban Institute ranked the largest 100 cities for their racial opportunity gap, and Knoxville is ranked as having the 21st smallest "opportunity gap" for Latinos. We're in the middle of the pack for African American opportunity gap at 56th, but the biggest surprise was that overall, the southern states, you know, the Republican dominated strongholds where we cling bitterly to guns, religions, and racism, were actually the places where African Americans and Latinos saw the most opportunity and the least disparity between them and their neighbors.

Imagine that.

The worst areas?

The Democrat dominated North East and the union dominated states of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. AKA Obama's base.

These numbers come out of the Urban Institute and are based on 2010 Census data.

A while back, I wrote about a theory I had about the two political parties. Back in school, I was taught that the Republicans used to be all about freeing the slaves and bringing civil rights to minorities and that Democrats, particularly the Southern variety, were dyed in the wool slaveholders and racists, until suddenly, for no particular reason, they switched sides in the 1960s. Republicans became the evil racists while Democrats burned their Klan robes and became the minority man's best advocate. My theory was that they never really switched sides, that Republicans held tight to their values while Democrats mounted the biggest con job in the history of the world, building a new system of slavery called welfare and affirmative action.

Everybody laughed at me.

Look at the map below the fold and see if you still want to laugh. Who is providing economic freedom, and who is maintaining economic slavery?


Posted by Rich
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Martha Boggs: Hero of Tolerance

Ms. Boggs was on the radio this morning explaining all about why she threw Sen. Campfield out of her restaurant on Sunday.

Here is some of what she had to say:
He’s passing legislation that is restricting the rights of an entire segment of our society and obviously exercising my freedom of right for refusing him service to make a point that his actions are not acceptable.

First, Campfield can't pass legislation. He can only write, sponsor, or cosponsor it. And according to the State Senate Website, Campfield has sponsored 139 bills this session, only 1 of which has anything to do with homosexuality, and that one, SB 0049, or the "Don't Teach Gay" bill, is, according to Ms. Boggs, "pretty much a non-issue."
It was just that I didn’t want a man with that much hate and that has tried to legislate hate in my restaurant.

Again, one bill that's a non issue out of 139. Where does she get the "legislate hate"?
We live in a community where people just vote that straight party line. You’ll have someone who runs for mayor, deserves to win but people went into that voting booth and just pressed straight ‘R’s down on their ballot without knowing anything about the people they were voting for.

Is Ms Boggs aware that Knoxville mayoral elections are non partisan? And that both candidates in the run off were Democrats? I'm not entirely certain what people's voting habits have to do with this, but I'm beginning to suspect that her problem with Sen Campfield begins and ends with the "R" after his name. Or do Democrat voters not vote the straight party line? Isn't that where the phrase "yellow dog Democrat" came from?
It’s a sad fact that Tennessee has the worst voting record of people going out to vote; We’re second worst to Texas on the amount of registered voters that actually vote. And that is why idiots like Stacey Campfield get put into office.

Those stupid R voters! And those darn lazy D voters!
And it’s not just about the “don’t say gay” thing, teaching homosexuality in school, which is pretty much a non issue.

So, she's thinks Campfield's bill is pretty much a non issue. So why is she so mad at him?

Radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill read SB 0049, the "Don't Teach Gay" bill to her and she had no objections to it at all, since it is a fairly reasonable bill. Instead, she spoke out against another bill:
Well, why don’t you read the license to billy bull[sic]?


The bill she referred to is HB 1153 SB 0760. This bill was not sponsored or co-sponsored by Campfield and is dead in the State Senate. So what does that have to do with her hatred of Campfield? Not much, but it sure sounds good.

By the way, the Bill does not make it permissible to bully gay students. Instead it puts the emphasis on preventing all bullying, regardless of target.

Oh the horror!

Ms. Boggs go on to demonstrate her tolerance:
If there was a group of people, it would be discrimination if it was a group of people. But he is an individual. There was a Ku Klux Klan rally outside my front door last year. I had both sides of those people in here.

The KKK? And "those people!" We know what "those people " is a code word for!
So Fred Phelps and his church would be welcome because they are a group of people. Campfield isn't because he's an individual. Something tells me that her grasp of the law is about on par for a cook.
If he thinks his rights are violated, he can come see me about it. I‘ve only got about 50 lawyers in here that come to eat lunch here every day...they will be glad to represent me. He can bring it.

Wow. Now she's quoting George W. Bush.

So, crusader for the downtrodden or hateful old biddy....you make the call.

For me, that's the last I'll post on this. Either you get it or you don't. Either we are all equal under the law, or we aren't. If we offer special protection to certain groups, we are saying that equal protection no longer exists. We go from being a nation of laws to a nation ruled by special interests and protected groups.

I know which I prefer and I'll cling to that even if I have to defend a grandstanding boob like Campfield.



Posted by Rich
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