Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wacky Legislation

The legislature this year in Kentucky heaved itself into near hernia-mode in order to regurgitate what its supporters and at least one major media outlet consider wondrous life-saving laws, to wit, making available a drug called Suboxone (buprenophrine and naloxone) and clean needles to dope-heads in order to keep them from killing themselves. This action might even have been as important as the laws passed to make domestic stuff such as restraining orders available to teenage shack-ups who get in arguments they can't handle peacefully...the nanny-state in action.

Circuit Judge David Tapp of Somerset, Ky., in an article surprisingly published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, sort of blew the whole drug thing out of the water. He deals with these people every day and knows whereof he speaks, an important part of which is simply that exchanging one narcotic, Suboxone, for another merely redirects the path to self-destruction. The whole nine yards has to be financed by taxes so the citizens can feel good about saving humanity.

The most dangerous drug/narcotic to both self and others is alcohol but the solons in Frankfort, many topers among them, can't get exercised about finding a drug to stop the drunks from killing themselves and/or other people on the highways or, especially in the cities, with their Saturday-night-specials. Vis-a-vis the drug action, though, they probably would come up with something like legislating Old Grandad in favor of Four Roses in order to get sober, with the added boon of no needles needed.

The judge, using the stats, explained that the so-called drug remedial measures don't work anyway. People are still getting stoned by the bushels and crack-babies are still being damned into existence by women who subscribe to the “numero uno” philosophy and their old studs who just don't give a damn. Between 2000 and 2012, the newborn addicts increased by 2,741%, to 824, and those were just the ones identified in hospitals. A lot more will be discovered when they enter school if they live that long.

The judge didn't mention the needles, but it's a lead-pipe cinch that when a dope-head has a passion for a fix he'll use whatever's available from whoever's available at the time, even if the needle has been passed around through the whole county. The notion of AIDS and Hepatitis will not enter his foggy mind or the fact that anyone else such as wife or child will be affected when he brings in some germ or other or in his craziness afflicts bodily harm or decides to throw the baby in the well. The state's got him covered—either Suboxone, clean needle, or Eddyville.

The judge mentioned that the only way to discover if a drug-recipient is ingesting or injecting properly is via very expensive drug-testing, paid for by the taxpayers, of course. One wonders what would happen if the legislature, instead of pandering to the diversity crowd insisting that everyone be spared from himself, just pass legislation to the effect that every user is officially on his own by a date certain and that his only help will come from an undertaker when he's through with his self-destruction. After all, there's no law against suicide.

The judge mentioned that Medicaid in Kentucky paid about $27.6 million, second highest medicinal cost, for buprenophine products last year. Folks, at least most of the time, can't help getting sick and need medicine—no argument with that. But the ineffective dope-stuff costs could be eliminated altogether if other folks were told to “Just say no,” at least when they're in their close-to-right minds occasionally. Drunks are told to either do the 12-step thing with AA (mind over matter) or hurt themselves or others. Druggies are told to look to the state—your back is covered. The stupidity is obvious.

Oh yeah...the drug thing is necessary because it saves money in the long run, cutting the costs by keeping druggies alive and well currently, thus guarding against big-time costs later when they have to be institutionalized account fried brains and wrecked bodies. Egad!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nazis & Jihad

I've just finished reading Atkinson's extensively written trilogy concerning the North African and European theaters in World War II, probably close to 2,000 pages, not counting the voluminous notes, a detailed and often graphic depiction of the awfulness of armed conflict. In the latter part of the third book are descriptions of what the allies discovered in liberating the Nazi concentration camps, absolute chambers of horrors incomprehensible in imagination much less actuality.

Concomitantly, I've been watching the TV news outlets for a year now vis-a-vis ISIS, the nearest outfit I can imagine that's comparable to Hitler's nazis, absolute butchers and torturers without peer. These monsters are marching on Baghdad now and absent any help from the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians and Turks the Iraqi government will fold...or not, depending on help from the Iranians.

I watched via C-Span the other day a hearing before Senator McCain's committee regarding the ISIS problem. There was a panel of four headed by retired general John Keane, former Joint Chiefs vice chairman, to make statements and answer questions. The consensus was that the U.S. must “do something” short of sending in the marines, though military folks have a vested interest in making war. One of the panelists even suggested sending in up to 20,000 boots to ostensibly do everything short of fighting, which, of course, made no sense. There was the constant drumbeat that the U.S. is not winning the war in ISIS-land. What war? As the president said in his Memorial Day offering, the U.S. is not at war anywhere now. The war is between Muslims and they can handle that very well, thank you.

President Obama is right in sending in virtually nothing. The Iraqis are asking for more weaponry but anyone who saw the latest fiasco in Ramadi understands that anything given the Iraqis goes automatically to ISIS when the fighting starts because the Iraqi soldiers are not fighters, though supposedly well-trained for years by U.S. troops. They desert their equipment and would run for the hills if there were any. As it is, they just run for dear life. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that the Iraqis outnumbered ISIS forces in Ramadi but would not fight.

Obama learned a lesson in Libya, on which he waged unprovoked war for seven months in 2011 with nothing to show for it but the dissolution of the Libyan government and a nation torn to shreds, with U.S. weapons winding up in the hands of terrorists in Syria and ISIS. McCain was for that little war, as well as a war on Syria but, thankfully, Obama didn't listen. McCain had photo-ops in both places (though the latter location might have been Lebanon).

In the hearing, the usual things were discussed, even the use of special forces for specific missions as if that would solve the problem. A big deal was made for having more Americans on the ground to get intelligence and direct fire on proper targets, a near impossibility since ISIS operates in towns full of women and children, who are supposed to be spared from what bombs do—kill and maim. The latest news is that top dogs in Iraq have been moving their families out of the country for some time and that a gaggle of top officers were rounded up at the airport the other day just in time to keep them from fleeing the country, presumably to join their families.

McCain seems not to understand the difference between the U.S. killing Muslims and Muslims killing Muslims, which they do with great success every day, egged on by their religious honchos, who are perfectly willing for anyone other than themselves to carry out homicides or suicide/homicides, the latter—through imam-brainwashing—supposedly inducting them into paradise and the 72 virgins.

Supposedly, the U.S. is in the process of training 5,000 Syrians a year for three years to fight ISIS at various locations (Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia). Anyone heard anything about that lately? Al jazeera reported in February that the U.S. and Turkey have made a deal to jointly train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters, whoever they might be, presumably to fight Syria's Assad since they're “opposition” folks. Who knows?

McCain worries that Arabs are being brutally abused and killed by Arabs as if that hasn't been the case since Mohammad the caravan-bandit (Saudi Jesse James) pulled off his first raid a thousand or so years ago. ISIS thugs decapitate Christians and Jews, too. Saudi Arabia has just advertised for more be-headers because public convictions (such as they are) are on the uptick this year – 80 this year compared to only 88 all of last year. Everyone grieves for the innocent but the lesson of the last 12 years is obvious, to wit, Islam is a monstrous cult in which the sanctity of life is nonexistent and the Muslims have no conception of democracy. Enough American blood has been shed.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Church in Disarray?

The big (and joyful?) news in the mainstream media is that the number of Christians in the U.S. is dropping precipitously, by 7% just since 2007. Now, just 71% of adults claim to be Christian, down by 5 million in seven years, according to a survey of 35,000 adults by the reputable Pew organization. The decline for the so-called “mainline denominations” has been in effect for much longer, while the “evangelical” groups, though virtually stable now, have picked up members steadily for decades.

Often mistakenly referenced as a “Christian nation” account some early settlers simply fleeing religion-repressive governments in Europe, as well as strong religious convictions and church support among many if not most settlers and their progeny, the U.S. is merely a nation of Christians. There has never been a Christian nation, not even the Vatican in Rome, though Christianity has had a profound influence on history since the ministry of Jesus Christ. Immigrants especially in the 1800s and early twentieth century simply enhanced that circumstance in the U.S.

The U.S. situation is not surprising and reflects what has been happening in Europe, a gradual “falling away” (as the evangelists would have it) from the faith as material and personal considerations have replaced worship of God and the consequent behavior resulting from adherence to scriptural philosophies and dictates. Many theologians have embraced the notion that everything is relative and that there are virtually no absolutes, a very attractive circumstance to those chafing at any behavioral/social restraints.

Since 1960, the mainline denominations (United Methodist; Episcopal; Presbyterian (USA); Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Lutheran) have collectively lost 29% of their memberships, if not a fraction more, while the U.S. population increased by 81%. The World Christian Database pegs the membership of the Southern Baptist Convention (evangelical) at 20,678,000, though the SBC claims about 17,000,000. Accepting the latter indicates a gain since 1960 of 75% and holding.

The social upheaval of the 1960s-70s (flower-children, hippies, druggies, dropouts, war protesters, LSD-hallucinaters, etc.) began the slide away from religion. This means that a huge number have never been connected to a church or denomination, thus making organized-religion numbers only part of the loss-measurement. As the Pew Report noted, the unaffiliated comprised 23% of adults, a 16% rise since 2007 in the “millennial generation.” Those raised as Christians but have rejected the faith represent 19% of adults.

This ignoring of religion has happened concomitantly with the near-total disintegration of the African-American family unit, the disregard of both white and black for institutional marriage in favor of “roommates,” and the near-deification of homosexuality. Historians have developed these stages of national disintegration: (1) bondage to spiritual faith, (2) spiritual faith to great courage, (3) great courage to liberty, (4) liberty to abundance, (5) abundance to selfishness, (6) selfishness to complacency, (7) complacency to apathy, (8) apathy to moral decay, (9) moral decay to dependence, (10) dependence to bondage.

The. U.S. has just moved from step 7 to step 8, most graphically proven by the president's “evolving” from defining marriage as between a man and woman in 2008 to marriage between two men in 2012. This is the epitome of moral decay and recently proven by accounts of homosexuals bankrupting businesses operated by people refusing without adversely impacting anyone to violate their Christian beliefs. Step 9 is in sight as government gradually takes over every aspect of the citizen's existence, which leads to step 10, bondage to oligarchs (think North Korea) or to another country.

The slide to oblivion begins with people having faith as motivator and maintainer and ends with people abandoning that faith, the abandonment-rate accelerating currently. The object of worship now is political correctness in both government and church. How a preacher has the gall to perform a wedding of two men (at least without giggling) in light of Christ's unmistakable damnation of that boggles the mind; however, swimming against the current has always been hard. Just ask John-the-Baptist's head.

Thousands of churches have substituted entertainment for worship with rock bands producing a cacophony one might expect in a primitive tribe-celebration just preceding a dessert of missionary a la mode. Praise teams in their hole-y blue jeans do the gospel-rock and the congregants wave and weave in ecstasy; however, Christ was not about about ecstasy but about sacrifice and outdated things like marriage only between a man and woman, something foreign to the fat-cat religionists of today, who soon will sanction polygamy just as the Muslims do.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

College-Campus Common-Sense

On 10 May, the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., devoted nearly all of pages one and seven in its A section to the issue (used to be called problem) of sexual assaults on university campuses. This stuff pops up so frequently that it's become ho-hum, not least because neither the universities nor the paper will admit the root causes of assaults, real or imagined and including rape. Consequently, no serious effort is made to “do something.”

The usual rundown of statistics was presented, this time remarking the disparity between the number of reports of violence to campus police and campus counseling centers. Presumably, a report to a university-paid counselor would result in some action by that counselor more than just a conversation, but that seems not to be the case. This is a quote from one counselor: “I want to see every perpetrator go to jail, but that may not be the right choice for the victim.” So, the victim might as well have been in Philadelphia.

The big deal now is not “No means no,” but rather, “Yes means yes.” About this switch in semantics, a UK bureaucrat said this: “There's a greater level of consent and understanding.” The caveat: anyone who is impaired can't be accused of saying yes. One would think the same thing about saying no, but this is academia-think, often not susceptible to common sense. Apparently, saying yes puts an affirmative enjoyment on hanky-panky, whereas saying no is just so fun-negative. Egad!

Impairment was described in a survey used at Eastern from July 2014 through April—“without your consent account being passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated, asleep, threatened or forced.” Of 157 students surveyed, 28% answered yes to having been sexually violated on these bases. There was no definition of sexual contact, so one presumes it was what anyone (mostly females) said it was. With the exception of force, all the possibilities are self-inflicted, i.e., preventable through exercising common sense. It's hard to get drunk (or drugged) without drinking.

A classic example was given regarding how folks differ on that subject. Last year, a UK football player was accused of rape in a UK dorm. A UK hearing was held, with no comment made available to the public; however, the man, as a result, disappeared from campus and probable scholarship. When the case was presented to the Grand Jury, there was no indictment returned. So, the guy lost it all while the gal got her 15 minutes of attention (revenge).

The university is culpable because it maintains coed dorms and allows across-the-board visiting privileges in dorm rooms, both the result of incredibly stupid UK administrative decisions. Item: In January 2013, a female student charged her “friend” with rape in her UK dorm room. The case went to trial, with a verdict of not guilty. The male was sent home. Later in the year, the woman committed suicide.

The “rape problem” has been front and center in the military for years now. In both 2012 and 2013, the DOD gave the statistics for charges and convictions but also claimed that exactly 26,000 unreported assaults took place, coincidentally, for both years. How unreported assaults can be counted is a mystery. The latest statistics have just been released for 2014, an overall increase in assaults of 11% from 2013. There were 6,131 reported, mostly by women.

According to the DOD, 10,600 men and 9,600 women were assaulted in 2014 but didn't report the violations, for a total of 20,200, which, of course, is a decrease from 2013, not an 11% increase even if the reported cases were counted. The exact counts of unreported violations are suspicious, as are those especially of the men although the grand welcome of practicing homosexuals into the military might account for a sizable number.

College- and military-women claim victim-hood and addle-brained officials consider them a protected species, like a hippopotamus, which has a brain to body ratio of 1:2,789. Significantly, especially in university, most assaults are by acquaintances—date rape. With no witnesses, the obvious conclusion is consensual, so the gals need to use their brains for a change and not become “impaired.”

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Governmental Meddling

It's sorta been fun to witness the city fathers/mothers, mayor and Lexington Herald-Leader share a contretemps with the instigators of Centrepointe. The paper even made it an above-the-fold front-page spoof in the 09 May issue. One might get the idea that the world's existence hangs upon what happens to Centrepointe, though perhaps 90% of Lexingtonians couldn't care less about the future of the block-size, 35-feet-deep hole encased in concrete and prepared for most anything to be built there-inside and thereupon.

The grand plans for the block were engaged at exactly the wrong time, just as the ongoing recession began back in 2008-09, from which the country is still attempting to extricate itself, never mind the numbers put up by the administration indicating recovery. The actual unemployment rate is still at 12%, with more than nine million people still out of work.

Lost in all the furor is the pertinent fact that the government doesn't own the Centrepointe property. It can make deals—real or imagined—such as the one in December regarding “no work done in 60 days,” but it can't force the owners to do anything but pay taxes on the property; or, the Commission can attempt an “eminent domain” takeover, as happened regarding the infamous Kelo Affair of 2005, in which the city of New London, Conn., took a number of properties by this method so that a private company could “develop” the land at great profit. In an unbelievable decision, the Supreme Court upheld the government. That site stands undeveloped to this day, the property and business taxes not even a memory.

The developers claim they lost a potential client upon completion of the C-pointe enterprise as a result of the city's demand that the hole be filled (with dirt?) account violation of the “60-day-non-work” agreement, as if that would actually happen, though the city threatened to fill the hole itself. Meddling by the government, which has been operative since the buildings of no distinction on the block were demolished and the project deep-sixed account financial catastrophes, has been constant. The mayor wants to rearrange adjacent Vine Street, let Town Branch bubble-up from under the street, and institute some sort of canal and park...also not going to happen.

In the midst of all this, the paper wants the one-way streets north of Main made two-way despite a consulting firm, at a fee of $490,000, advising absolutely against two-way streets south of Main and indicating that the north side might be two-way without too much hassle, something that any observer can easily see would be so ill-advised as to be laughable, just as laughable as the Commission almost closing Vine at Broadway a few years ago. Imagine the kind of gridlock that would cause.

If nothing happens to Centrepointe in the next five what? Downtown Lexington is a business area mostly, with specific kinds of adjuncts such as entertainment venues and specialty stores that are not impacted by the big hole. Most citizens avoid downtown as much as they can not least because of parking problems and the absence of necessary retail outlets such as the ones sprinkled all over the city with their own parking lots and no lines for entry and exit. Think Kroger or Walmart or Lowes to get the picture.

The elitists have also decided that $38 million (wishful thinking...more like $75 million) should be spent on restoring the Courthouse. Tax dollars should not be so misused. The building is a wreck. Tearing it down would allow prime space for whatever the city solons think ought to be there. But if it must fill in Centrepointe, perhaps it could just move the old dilapidated courthouse into the hole...bound to be cheaper than digging up a few farms for dirt.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Broken City...Hopeless?

After every “racial” debacle there comes a time for government officials to reform the system. So...Baltimore. Usually, in a racial mess, real or imagined, the onus is on the white folks to remedy the ill they've caused. This was true vis-a-vis Ferguson (Brown) and Sanford (Trayvon), especially because both Attorney General Holder and President Obama, without knowing any facts, simply pronounced whites, police or otherwise, as instigators of racism and racial acts of violence. They attempted to ruin an innocent policeman (and did) and bring down a city but failed, though not for lack of trying.

Baltimore is different. Whereas Ferguson was administered by whites though two-thirds of the population was black, Baltimore, also two-thirds black, is governed by blacks. Whereas the Ferguson police force was practically all white, the Baltimore force is more than 50% black. In Baltimore, the mayor, police commissioner, patrol chief and fire-chief are black, as is the prosecutor of the six police-persons (3 white, 3 black) she has charged with serious crimes in the death of Freddie Gray, also black. The U.S. attorney general is also black as is, of course, the president and the appropriate Congressman, Elijah Cummings (lives five blocks from the action).

This makes the situation sort of like the Middle East, where the powerful Sunni military forces of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are faced with the need to exterminate the Sunni military force of ISIS. All three are waiting for the U.S. to “do something” rather than sully their religion by Sunni wasting Sunni. Thankfully, Obama has intelligently told them to take a hike or “do something” on their own. They could solve their problem in weeks, not months.

So it's been hard to blame whites for the Baltimore riots, unless the three black policemen can somehow be exonerated, leaving the three white officers as the scapegoats. A police sergeant in the case is a black woman, so the plot thickens, especially since the whole shooting match lies at the feet of the mayor, also a black woman, whose law enforcement agency (eighth-largest in the U.S.)—for which she is directly responsible—stood by on that Monday night while 100 small businesses were crashed into, looted, and burned while thugs ruptured the fire hoses in use by the black fire chief.

There's at least one plainly common sense argument that can be made regarding racial tensions, profiling and all the rest. More than half the police personnel are black, so put all the black police-officers in predominantly black areas of the city. Then, when a black policeman shoots another black, whether armed or not, the golden opportunity for burning-out and bankrupting small businesses will be lessened, Al Sharpton will not be brought in to provide the mayor's security and organize/inflame the looters. In fact, if the black officers shoot an unarmed or armed white person, there will be no white protesters to contend with, except perhaps for a handful of white college students protesting the white guy's right to endanger the policemen by just existing.

The usual cliches have been spouted – no jobs, gang violence, dope dealing (Freddie's profession), poor education system, racism. Ironically, Baltimore received $1.8 billion of stimulus money for “shovel-ready jobs” a short while back, but apparently the city profited little in the bargain, though maybe a few shovel-ready jobs popped up. More likely, the money was stolen or wasted or both.

The usual cry is in order—more money, especially for education. In Baltimore, the amount spent per pupil annually in public schools is $15,483, second highest in the nation. The graduation rate in 2013 was 68.5% compared to 81% and 84%, respectively, for the U.S. and Maryland in 2012. In Lexington, Ky., $12,578 per pupil was spent in 2013-14. The answer to the education problem is not money.

Every official involved, from the president on down and including the NAACP and other African-American groups, insists on tiptoeing around the problem, which is that African-American adults, especially the men, have reneged on their most important responsibility, that of nurturing the family and keeping it intact. Collectively, they have refused to accept the responsibility Nature, if not God, demands. Until this circumstance is reversed, the permanent and often criminal underclass will prevail. Translated: hopeless.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, May 01, 2015

Professor Makes Moot Point

Lori Hartmann-Mahmud is chair of the international studies program at Centre College, Danville, Ky. In a recent column in the Lexington Herald-Leader, she discussed the plight of the impoverished people in Africa vis-a-vis the recent events concerning Libya, to wit, the Christian Ethiopians slaughtered (beheaded) there by Muslim butchers and the 700 people who set out from Libya and drowned in a shipwreck-attempt to make it across the Mediterranean to Sicily or Italy.

She could have also mentioned the Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya by the Muslims in February. Perhaps they were trying to find work, as Professor Hartmann-Mahmud gave for the reason the 28 Ethiopians trekked across Sudan to hopefully make it across Libya and the Mediterranean to Europe. Regarding the beheadings, ProfessorHartmann-Mahmud said, “The immediate cause of death was religious extremism, but the deep determinant was poverty,” i.e., these poor souls wouldn't have been in the wrong place if they just had jobs.

Well...maybe. This was the line taken by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf in February, implying that the U.S. should either create some jobs or help poor nations develop economies that would create jobs (presumably an alternative to killing ISIS monsters), a bit ironic in that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month that 8.6 million potential U.S. workers are unemployed, so the powers-that-be, instead of fulfilling promises of job creation, have just eliminated the jobs lost in recession or determined that millions have just quit looking for work, or both, in order to contrive an unemployment rate of 5.5%, a huge example of disingenuousness. According to Forbes, the actual unemployment rate is 12.6%, so the U.S. can't even occupy its own workforce, much less that of other countries.

The professor picked Libya as her point of reference but she could as easily remarked the same situation with respect to Mexicans, Cubans and Central Americans trying desperately to get to the U.S. She would have been better served not to mention Libya since none of the tragedies she noted would have occurred there but for the callous, un-Constitutional and totally unlawful rape of Libya by President Obama from March to October of 2011, for which the number of civilian deaths in the un-provoked military assault has never been published. President Qaddafi was fighting al Qaeda in his own country when President Obama would not stop his murderous rampage until Qaddafi was dead, and it cost only $1.5 billion.

Fast forward to the present. As a result of the president's “little war in honor of the Arab Spring,” there is no government in Libya, which has been taken over by the Islamic thugs, both al Qaeda and ISIS, who are rampaging through sub-Sahara (those Ethiopians and Nigerians, for example – think Boko Haram) with the intent of establishing Sharia Law. This is a far more profound reason for the recent Libyan atrocities than just “religious extremism.” They would not have happened if Qaddafi had stayed in power overseeing his own civil war, nothing new for the Mideast—Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen—which is always comprised of civil wars.

The professor merely stated the economic obvious that could also apply to any large U.S. city, such as Baltimore currently, with the exception that the entitlement laws of the 1950s-60s, as well as subsequent enactments, actually constituted an attempt to address the problems of poverty. Baltimore has proven that laws are effective only when people take advantage of them...or not, as has mostly been the case. Unfortunately, in the third- or fourth-world regions she mentioned there's little hope.

When George W. Bush took office, he said there would be no nation-building, a promise not kept in the fiascoes of Iraq and Afghanistan, though the wars were necessary. President Obama made no attempt to nation-build or do anything else other than totally destroy a nation and get out. At least he learned enough in the Libya caper not to try that again, in Syria, for instance, notwithstanding his red lines.

The professor has a point; unfortunately, it is moot.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark