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Thursday, August 28, 2014

I've got a bad feeling, a helpless feeling.

Russia invades Ukraine. The Ebola plague continues to spread exponentially. ISIL forces take more territory and commit further brutal atrocities. The economy continues to stagnate, and honesty, with war and rumors of war, it's got me wondering, what's next?

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I spend my days distracted. I can't concentrate completely on any task because in the back of my mind I'm waiting. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop or the sword to fall. I talk with co-workers and they also feel a similar unease. Obama fiddles while America burns or maybe he rearranges the deck chairs while America sinks. Pick your own cliché because there's something rotten in Denmark, is my feeling. Mitt Romney's famous "forty-seven percent" have already grown to more than fifty percent according to the Census Bureau. There are less people working than there are people who collect welfare.

So on the one hand it's war and rumors of war, on the other it's a plague, and all I can do is wait and worry. And while waiting occasionally I cringe as I imagine the crack of the whip or the fall of the sword. I wait blindly in the dark for the peal of thunder as the first of the Seven Seals is opened at last.
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
I've never felt this level of pressure before. I feel, believe, have a hunch, or perception that we stand at the brink.

When I was ten years old I got a miniature collie, a Sheltie, for my birthday.

One day when "Foxie" was ten months old, she got outside through a not quite shut front door while my grandmother and I were unloading groceries from the car. She made a beeline straight for the road—a fairly busy road. I watched parallelized as a car doing more than forty miles per hour ran over her, and screeched to a halt with smoking tires fifty feet down the road. It all happened in an instant. That feeling, that helpless feeling of impending doom as I waited to assess the final outcome is what I feel today, every day. Foxie wasn't run over by the tires. The car body passed over her without crushing her. She was greasy and scared and she ran yelping to me for comfort. As I gathered her up, I remember falling to the ground shuddering in relief as the adrenaline continued to pump through me. That feeling of impending doom is the feeling I feel everyday now. Back then when my arms were full of groceries and my puppy first pushed her way through the front door I was a bystander completely helpless. That's the way I feel, now.

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't think anybody does, but I've got a really bad feeling about it, a helpless feeling.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Laying blame in Ferguson is like peeling an onion

No one seems to be talking about the daily threat to life and limb that police officers endure. There is almost no reporter attempting to discuss what is really going on. This huge man, a thug, having robbed a store and beaten up the clerk, was resisting a police officer's repeated verbal commands. A thug who obviously thought the police were on to him and his criminality. It ended the way Michael Brown wrote the script of his life. There lies the blame for it all -- in a pool of his own blood. Thank goodness it wasn't the other way around, with another officer gone, trying to do his job in service to the community.

The police have every right to turn these neighborhoods into militarized zones with curfews and crackdowns. And more than that, an obligation to bring order to these inner-city cesspool plantations created by Democrat policies. Entitlement programs give rise to feral living and immorality -- especially after the people turn against law and order, equity and justice, civility and right, and stampede the businesses of others and take that which is not theirs. What do you do with an entire community of thieves?
Well, David S. Whitley, how did they become a "community of thieves?" Are you suggesting that this is their normal state of being? Furthermore, can't you see that the in-your-face provocation of cops dressed as storm troopers literally throwing their weight around, tossing tear-gas grenades, shooting rubber bullets, pushing, shoving, arresting, in ghetto neighborhoods—where they hate cops anyway—is insanely misguided, and perhaps intentionally so?

Looking at the raw numbers, the facts are clear: Police shoot civilians at four times the rate that civilians shoot cops. I'm not suggesting that this is bad. I'm not admitting that it's okay. What I'm saying is that perhaps police training should focus less on the gun and more on the people. To my mind, both Darren Wilson and the Ferguson police department are somewhat complicit in this entire destructive debacle. Isn't it possible that all of this could have been handled differently? Perhaps there wasn't an opportunity. Perhaps their wasn't sufficient training or equipment. Perhaps training officers to draw and fire as a reflex is a mistake.

I'll start with this presupposition: an individual law enforcement officer's success is defined not by how many crimes are prevented, but by how many criminals are put in prison. A patrols officer's success is not determined by how many people are obeying the speed limit, but by how many speeding tickets are handed out. Time after time in case after case law enforcement success is determined not by how many victims are hurt but by how many criminals are punished. Can't you see how horribly misguided our system is?

Not to put too fine a point on it, the job of law enforcement should be to decrease the instances of law-breaking. That is all. Instead it seems to me—albeit through my own admittedly limited viewpoint—that law enforcement has forgotten what they are actually supposed to be doing and instead are engaging in pure one-upmanship and grandstanding simply for the notoriety and the admiration of their peers. The object of law enforcement should be much more about preventing crime, and not nearly so much about solving it after it's already happened. Law enforcement should be proactive not reactive. The example in Ferguson Missouri is merely another case in point.

Lacking specific information about the Ferguson case, I'm not going to level accusations regarding the criminality of the shooting or lack thereof. I think we'll all agree however that the militarization of law enforcement has in recent years become more and more obvious and ominous to all of us who watch it happen. But there's a whole lot more to consider.

Consider the outraged population in Ferguson demonstrating peacefully. They may not yet be throwing bottles and rocks, or setting fires, but even lacking these outward signs of rage, don't believe for one second that they are not all enraged to the breaking point. The protesting blacks in Ferguson all have one thing in common: they don't like the police. In a word they HATE the police. Police have come to symbolize and represent the systemic lack of black wealth, status, and power. The black race's near inability to shape their own destinies, to live as free men, to matter at all is expressed in this animalistic chaotic self-defeating violence that just won't go away.

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't say the rioting blacks in Ferguson who blame whites in general and the police specifically are correct in their judgment. Obviously black people themselves are the primary cause of their own misery. Whether they realize it or not, they are the architects of their own ghettos and their own prisons. They've built prisons for their own minds and there they are kept—or perhaps the better turn of phrase would be—there they stay.

The liberal left's decision to "empower" women by separating the fact of fatherhood from the responsibilities of fatherhood is the single most attributable cause of their suffering. We know from countless studies that children who grow up in families lacking a father-figure have vastly lower chances of positive outcomes. Another factor that must be considered in black suffering, is the negative consequence of being a studious black. Blacks reading text-books are ridiculed and tormented by their less studious peers as "acting white." Therefore consider their lives:
  • Everyone they know lives in section 8 housing
  • No father at home
  • Everyone they know buys food with an EBT card
  • Peers ridicule anyone who succeeds at school
  • Street gang members are admired
  • Popular entertainment features profanity and violence
In the computer programming profession we have an often used acronym: GIGO. It means garbage in garbage out. Well GIGO applies to people and society also. In the ghetto it's also garbage in garbage out. We're not going to turn out civilized productive members of society from the urban jungle where we house, clothe, and feed the savages who've enchained themselves therein.

How did these urban jungles develop? It was a series of ostensibly well-meaning, but ultimately misguided decisions by our leftists in Washington. Lyndon Banes Johnson famously stated to two governors on Air Force One:
"I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."

"These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference."
So there's the picture drawn for you. There's the powder-keg all set up next to the munitions factory with the fuse sticking out. Now, some would argue that Darren Wilson lit the fuse. Others would argue that it was Ferguson police wearing their battle armor, wielding their AR-15s and arriving in their armored Humvees and half-tracks, who lit the fuse. There are plenty of people around the country who place the blame solely on a trouble-making eighteen year-old who was apparently a strong-arm robber who needed cigars to roll his marijuana blunts with. We can argue back and forth about who lit the fuse of this powder-keg but I'd like to know who the son-of-a-bitch is who made the powder-keg and put it there in the first place.

The evidence I've seen places the blame primarily on the left, on the entitlement society, on presidents past and present who continually exacerbated an ever worsening situation until today we're at the verge of a full-on race war. And maybe, just maybe that was the plan all along?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh noes! Computer climate models are deniers, too!

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show temperature trends over the last 10,000 years there seemed to be an evident problem.

Zhengyu Liu from the University of Wisconsin says that data from observation suggests that the Earth is cooling while the physical data suggests the complete opposite.

The problem has been termed the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has tremendously important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models. The authors have however emphasized that this does not negate the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century. The question however remains, who is right? Liu suggests that maybe none of us are completely right, he suggests a data problems or perhaps a model problem, for example some physical mechanisms may be missing from the model.
Have you ever wondered what is wrong with some people? Their actions simply make no sense, whatsoever. In the Global Warming debate, there is this cadre of hardcore die-hard left-wing maniacs nuts and moonbats, possessing a near messianic zeal to drag mankind—some of us kicking and screaming—back to our pre-industrial roots. If you look back at that pre-industrial 'golden-age,' you'll find famine, plague, pestilence, grinding poverty, high infant mortality, and early death.

They say we have to stop the carbon emissions. They say we're filling up the air with our exhalations, engine exhaust, and coal-powered electrical plant emissions. Not just the USA, but the entire world must change—and soon—or it's "pockseclipse full of pain!"

There's a term for the world these climate "scientists" want: Dystopia. It's the stuff of both history and science-fiction. But see, now that's all going to change! Now that scientists have admitted discovered that their computer models are massively costly mistakes, publicly funded catastrophes, asinine boondoggles, etc., finally they'll all go back to doing their scientific investigations using that old dust-covered relic known as the scientific method ... won't they?
The Frustrating Climate Change Memes That Just Won’t Die
By Rebecca Leber @rebleber

Whenever I write about climate change, deniers quickly respond that I have it all wrong. Global warming actually stopped over a decade ago, they say. Sometimes they even supply a chart. Yesterday, I wrote about why this argument is completely wrong and why this myth persists. I cited a NASA scientist in my defense. But the reaction was more of the same: On Twitter, some called me a liar or, at best, willfully ignorant of the giant hoax.

Really, why don’t these memes ever go away? Climate deniers twisted NASA atmospheric scientist Norman Loeb’s words last week when he tried to explain that the recent slowdown in temperature rise, something scientists have observed for a while, is very much consistent with global warming. The reason: Oceans are heating up, while surface temperatures are still at their hottest. The deniers never tell that part.
Both of the articles that were quoted in this blog were published today, August 12, 2014. One article refreshingly offers hope that actual scientists using actual scientific observation might one day somehow derail the established IPCC Pharisees riding their gravy train down to Dystopia Town.

The other article is the kind we see much more commonly. It was yet another in the litany of jeremiads lamenting we oafish global warming deniers. It was yet another mocking screed published by the same sort of dunce who persists in arrogantly flaunting their wholly unearned degrees and laurels. It was yet further evidence that a degree is a net negative. After four or more years of "higher" education, graduates walk away from these storied campuses more ignorant than the day they first walked in.

The pseudo-intellectual rabble who currently infest modern-day universities are the sort who never once in their entire lives questioned the asinine dogma handed down by latter-day climate Pharisees. Warmists decided on a goal—a drastic reduction in humanity's average standard of living. They invented a plausible rationale—CO2 was acting as a green-house gas causing increasing global temperature. Finally, they gathered together, and circled their wagons. To them measured debate consists of simply mocking anyone who questions their "science."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A little concerned about Ebola yet?

The African Ebola outbreak may or may not have caught your attention, but it would be wise to remain extremely vigilant. While the relatively light sprinkle of disease remains far away in Africa, if it spreads widely through Nigeria—the most populous country in Africa—it will become increasingly difficult to control the outbreak and the light sprinkle of disease will grow into a torrential downpour of literally biblical proportions.

All the talking heads assure us that there's nothing to worry about. Go on about your business they say. Nothing to see here. Move along. They assure us that our chances of catching Ebola are so minuscule that it might as well be an Ebola lottery ticket. The headline at the Boston Globe asks: What are your chances of getting Ebola?. Reading the story assures us that there's absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact we should be more concerned about the flu:
News about the widening Ebola outbreak seems to get more alarming by the day. So far, roughly 1,700 people have been infected and over 900 have died. Last Friday, the World Health Organization said the spread of the virus was outpacing their response. And two American doctors who contracted the disease have been taken back to the US for treatment.

If these headlines have left you wondering whether we are fast approaching a global pandemic with scenes reminiscent of movies like “Outbreak” and “28 days later,” here are two things to keep in mind.

First, while Ebola is an extremely virulent disease, its impact pales in comparison to other global killers like measles, AIDS, or even the flu.

Second, the likelihood of Ebola spreading across the US is vanishingly small. It isn't a particularly contagious disease, and in a developed country with strong health infrastructure, it probably wouldn't spread much at all.
It turns out that in the United States the mortality rate for the flu is about 15 per 100,000. That's a little over one hundredth of one percent, or one in 6666 people.

As for measles, even before the vaccine, the mortality rate was infinitesimal, but today it's not really a factor at all. Finally there's the HIV virus that causes AIDS. It is of course still a deadly disease that is incurable and often fatal. However, if you simply refrain from having unprotected sex and sharing needles, you're just not going to get it. So please allow me to dispense with patronizing reassurance number one. This Ebola outbreak is killing six out of ten. That's Russian Roulette with four chambers loaded. Comparing Ebola to the flu is like comparing a tsunami to a frog leaping off a lily-pad in some pond.

As for bromide number two: Ebola's basic reproduction number is lower then some of mankind's previous plagues, but even so it's still above one. That means that a person with Ebola on average is likely to spread it to at least one to four other people—and possibly considerably more. What that means is that if Ebola comes here, it's likely to spread—if slowly. Diseases that can spread do spread. Short of declaring martial law and forcing everyone to stay in their homes, contagious diseases are simply going to spread.

One last thing to think about. Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist organization is already in the Ebola infected area. What is to prevent one or more infected terrorists from coming here and intentionally spreading the virus? The symptoms aren't visible or detectable until as many as twenty days after initial infection. Therefore, if they could spread Ebola here, why wouldn't you suppose they would? An Ebola infected terrorist feverishly trying on a hundred different shirts at Wal-Mart would be terrifyingly effective. As would a symptomatic terrorist pushing his way through a crowded subway during rush-hour.

This current Ebola outbreak may well be contained and eventually die out, but blithely publishing pacifying platitudes and bromides in that smug supercilious way that media figures do when they feel safe in their snug little cocoons does a great disservice to their readers. Don't try to scare us, but also, don't try to coddle us either.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if obsessive compulsive disorder might not be a survival trait. I've often sneered at the nervous-nellies who first swab their shopping-cart handles with a wet-wipe before touching them, but perhaps there is literally a method to their madness?