Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stop the Police State

With regard to the police state shutdown of Boston Ron Paul said,

Mr. Paul reminded the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was ultimately discovered by a civilian, and not due to police crackdown, Politico reported.
“He was discovered by a private citizen, who then placed a call to the police,” he said. “And he was identified not by government surveillance cameras, but by private citizens who willingly shared their photographs with the police.

In the meantime I had participated in a Facebook discussion on the same topic that went as follows,

April 20 near, IL 
I'm not sure what is scarier. The Boston bombing was a terrible tragedy. But the fact that authorities could shut down a city the size of Boston so easily is scary. It is good for a manhunt to ensue to catch these men who did the bombing, but if authorities can stop movement, transit, and all other forms of gathering so easily, what is to prevent the wrong person(s) in control of such things from doing so? And the, where is our "freedom?"
Rob U are way too paranoid. The people in this country would not take it for long even if it did happen April 20 at 9:03am via mobile · Like
Janet I think they had a lot of help from the public on that one. I would so co-operate with something like this. If the people had not wanted to co-operate, there would be no shutting down anything. April 20 at 9:40am · Like · 1
Grady Foster It is instructive that the second perp was discovered when and because people were freed to go out on and about their own business. When we depend on the police or centralized government to do a job alone there is trouble in the offing. The benefits of freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of belief are too innumerable to list or fully comprehend.  April 20 at 9:46am · Like · 2
Paul what if they didn't have guns, but those running the show did? Janet I think that people seem to be in a terrorist mode and will cooperate with a heck of a lot. Rather than paranoid, I think we need to think of the possibilities and think rather than just react. April 20 at 11:28am · Like
Steven Paul, the City of Boston did not require or force anyone to stay in doors. What they did do is strongly recommend for each person, and for the safety of the society as a whole, not to go out and risk the possibility of coming into contact with armed killers. This is no different than the government telling you to get in the basement of your home in the event of a tornado. At the end of the day you can still take a risk and go out in the tornado but it's at your own risk. April 20 at 5:26pm · Like
Grady Foster The Governor's stay in place "request" was widely reported in the media as an "order" and officials weren't exactly falling over themselves to correct or clarify that misinformation. With regards to the 2nd perp, society actually was made safe as a the direct result of an individual civilian taking initiative and coming into contact with the armed killer. That was a totally different fact situation from an approaching tornado, where in reality people are generally counseled to use their best judgment and aren't specially ordered to do anything. PS -- I know people who are alive today because they ignored the intercom instructions to stay in place in the 2nd tower at the WTC. The bureaucrats always want things as neat and orderly as possible -- that isn't the same thing as being safe. April 20 at 7:48pm · Like
Steven  Grady, I believe it is overwhelmingly accepted and common sense that you don't go out of your home, which is considered to be a safe place, when there is danger outside. Of course that doesn't mean that by staying in your home someone still won't break in but overall, it is understandably deemed safer to be located on the inside. I believe that an overwhelming majority of the people in Boston felt that their freedoms were never being imposed upon by the government's request / order to stay indoors while a dangerous killer was on the loose. April 20 at 10:41pm · Like
Paul Steve, I can't agree. If you went by that line of reasoning,no one would ever go outside. There is always danger wherever we are, especially in large cities. Whether it be from just accidents, to random acts of violence, to a dangerous killer, to gangs, to organized crime. Just from a few people you see here, not everyone, amongst millions of people, would choose voluntarily to stay inside. When violent criminals escape from prison, you don't see massive action of people not going outside. This, unfortunately, is the world in which we live. April 21 at 7:39am · Like

Grady Foster Steve, there are at least three options, stay inside and hope for the best, get away from the source of danger as safely as and quickly as one can (this is frequently the best option, even if that means temporarily increasing one's exposure to danger), or to confront and deal with the source of danger directly (possibly protecting others or allowing them to escape in the process). No centralized government authority is capable of deciding which option is best. Which of these options to use in particular situations depends on assessing on the ground, in the here and now, what is going on and acting accordingly. There is no such thing as single "common sense" fact free solution, but the government is really good a coming up with one that interferes with our freedoms. April 21 at 9:38am · Like
Steven  Grady, Paul, sorry not to respond sooner. It's Sunday.... In reading over your comments  I think we actually might be saying similar things but it's a matter of degree. For example, instead of locking down the whole city, perhaps you would accept or be comfortable with road blocks where each car passing a certain point was checked. Still, some people would feel that that is an imposition on one's freedom. From my side, I would not be comfortable if the government ordered everyone to stay inside for say 3 days. I would begin to worry that something is not right. I think this conversation is really about what our tolerance for what government requires us to do under a given situation. Grady, I do agree about one thing you said and that is there is, no single "common sense" fact free solution. However, what I don't agree with is that the government's motivation to have citizens stay inside for the day was to impose on one's freedom. That part is too much of a stretch. April 21 at 6:50pm · Like
Grady Foster Common sense prevailed after all in Boston -- Dunkin Donuts stayed open throughout. Cheers! http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2013/04/19/cops-request-dunkin-donuts-stays-open/a981LXWXrfuZAAgnIM1YjL/story.html

Monday, April 29, 2013

NYT Notices Disparities

I blogged last week on how Obama's money leveraging policies were driving increases in the wealth gap between upper and lower economic strata and how the gap seeps into racial divides.  Here comes the New York Times, noticing as well,

As of 2010, white families, on average, earned about $2 for every $1 that black and Hispanic families earned, a ratio that has remained roughly constant for the last 30 years. But when it comes to wealth — as measured by assets, like cash savings, homes and retirement accounts, minus debts, like mortgages and credit card balances — white families have far outpaced black and Hispanic ones. Before the recession, non-Hispanic white families, on average, were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families, according to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data. 
By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy.The dollar value of that gap has grown, as well. By the most recent data, the average white family had about $632,000 in wealth, versus $98,000 for black families and $110,000 for Hispanic families. 
“The racial wealth gap is deeply rooted in our society,” said Caroline Ratcliffe, one of the authors of the Urban Institute study. “It’s here, it’s not going away, and we need to care about it.”

As one might expect given its liberal blinders, the Times is blissfully ignorant of how Obama's print, borrow and spend policies have spurred increased disparities by inflating the values of financial assets, be that as it may.  

Two mitigation tactics are mentioned.  First, end the home mortgage interest income tax deduction (a huge middle and upper class tax subsidy) .  Second, sponsor some sort of savings program that helps working families build nest eggs of their own.  I support both, subject to irony.  Irony 1 is that ending the home mortgage interest deduction is exactly the sort of thing the could have/would have happened under a Romney style tax reform where tax rates are reduced.  There is no chance of that type reform occuring under Obama.  Irony 2, is George W Bush's social security reform proposal included a very generous government sponsored savings and investment program.  It was killed from the left.  Again, there is no chance of that type of reform under Obama.  Indeed, Obama's idea of reform is to punish people for saving too much.  Obama supporters -- you get what you vote for, as do the rest of us.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Second Coldest Start to Spring in US History

Grant application writers are panicking throughout academia.  The coldest was 1975.

I remember 1975 -- Lake Mendota wasn't clear of ice until May.  Brrrrr.

Politidumb of the Week

Sequester is the gift that keeps on giving. 

This week's Politidumb honor is awarded to no less than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Barack Obama's chief lieutenant in the United States Senate.  Ignoring, for example, expenditures on the stream of million dollar bus stops that could be stopped, Reid fear mongered Tuesday this week that the sequester could "cost this country - and humankind - a cure for AIDS or Parkinson's disease or cancer." 

Sadly, this is not a stand-up comic routine.  Reid's continuing incredulous crusade builds on House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer's (D - Mary.) claim last week that the Boston bombings were result of the sequester.  Last month Reid himself had linked unimplemented sequester cuts to the unfortunate accidental death of 7 marines during a training exercise in Nevada.

In early March House Democrat Maxine Watters (D - Mich.) claimed the sequester would cost the US economy 170 million jobs, which is about half again as many jobs as there are in the entire United States economy.   In February, Obama Education Secretary Arnie Duncan falsely claimed the sequester was costing 40,000 teaching jobs, when not a dime had been cut or a single pink slip issued. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D - Haw.) sounded an early phony sequester alarm, "the plain fact is, that will undermine our capacity for readiness at Pearl Harbor." The reign of sequester horrors started on February 19 when Barack Obama warned your house will burn down, your home will be burglarized, your children will be abandoned, the economy will fall apart and you will be unemployed if the federal government is forced to go ahead with 2 point something percent in spending cuts.

Thank you Harry Reid for keeping the tradition alive!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Explosive Growth in Disability Rolls

Nothing is broken.  Nothing is out of control.  Here is the report,
The nation's disability rolls continued to climb sharply, as 76,983 workers enrolled in the Social Security Disability Insurance program in April, according to new data from the Social Security Administration.
More than 300,000 have joined the program so far this year. The number of workers on permanent disability is now a record 8,865,586, a net increase of one million in just three years.
Today, 6.5 workers are on disability for every 100 who have a job. That's double the ratio from two decades ago. The number of people on disability has climbed almost sixfold since 1970. 
That influx has caused SSDI costs to climb faster than its dedicated payroll tax revenues. The program has been running a deficit since 2009, and will be insolvent by 2016, according to the program's administrators.
"The Social Security Disability Insurance program is growing at an unsustainable pace," Richard Burkhauser, an economist at Cornell University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told a congressional panel. 
Last year, the federal government paid $135 billion in disability benefits, which is more money than it devoted to food stamps and welfare combined.
Do not be concerned. Your elected, victim loving, bleeding heart leadership has a handle on this.  Move on.

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures
April 27, 2013
(click to enlarge)
Cattle, Black Angus
Bridger Range Western View
Bridger Range Eastern View
Bridger Range Eastern View
Space Shuttle Grounded in Montana as well.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Watching a Golfer Grow

Lone Peak's Tate Tatom
tees off on the first hole.
The young man I played with my first time out on the golf course this year need no longer go nameless.  Tate Tatom was lead story in today's Sports Section.  

Tate's mom and dad retired and moved to Montana with their school age children.  Imagine that!  They blogged their move and first year of residence.  Dad bragged on avoiding and then driving off the road into snow drifts, and spying bear; he reported about skiing, sledding and preparing for the winter.  The Tatom's taped a moose having its way in the back yard.

Getting back to last year's Class C state champion, Tate won the Manhattan (the other Manhattan, population is 1,520 in Gallitan County Montana) Golf Invitational at Bridger Creek Golf Course, in a playoff against last year's Class B state champion, who is rated 48th among prep golfers nationwide. Tate, a mere sophomore, is the best young talent I've ever seen.  His career has nowhere to go but up. We will be watching and reporting.  

The FAA Sequester

Love this view!

Oblama Reid and Pelosi

I don't do many horse race political posts, but this one is too good to pass up.  President Oblame'a, I mean Obama, loves to use Congress as a rhetorical foil, increasingly so as the years have passed making it harder and harder to blame George Bush.   It's a successful strategy -- but look at who Obama is dragging down the most.

Harry Reid heart stricken
 Nancy Pelosi wringing hands
on stage with Barack Obama

Congratulations Mr. President!  Keep up that bully pulpit thing!

The Hangover Doesn't Feel Any Better

I ranted on Facebook last night.  This,

Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 air traffic controllers and kept the air traffic control system humming and on course. At the direction of the White House, the partisan hacks in the Obama administration use modest budget restraint as an excuse to snarl the air traffic control system and create blockages. Barack Obama loves his politics and has nothing but disdain for ordinary citizens who get in the way of his exercise of political prerogative.

And this,

This Boston thing is getting curiouser and curiouser, smart strapping young man a resident alien on welfare, while on welfare flies back and forth to Russia staying months (where did that money come from?), leaving behind wife and infant daughter, develops somehow along the way expertise in building a range of effective explosives. I don't know where this all leads, but there is a lot to this story and we damn well better be told all about it. No Benghazi stonewalling on this or there will be hell to pay.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Obama Economy -- $$$, $$$$ and $$$$$

“For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class."
Barack Obama's second Inagural address, January 21, 2013.

There is a fool born every minute.  Obama thanks God for that.

It is shocking how foolish the American people are. They support Barack Obama and his policies because he supposedly promotes middle class values and has the interests of the 99 percent at heart.   The reality is totally different.  I am befuddled, perplexed, dumbfounded and dismayed by the ignorance and the gullibility of the average American. 

Obama's Money Printing Regime Works Overtime
The Pew Research Center released a new study this week which reveals the obvious – that Obama’s print (money), borrow (money) and spend (money) policy triad favors people with money -- the uppercrust. Obama is a money lever guy, not an economic leader. The money changer in chief doesn't understand or promote a value driven economy. Real exchanges of actual goods and genuine services drive value and build a strong, broad based and resilient economy and sustainable economic growth. The demand and production led economy that we should be building has attributes that reach into every household.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that what money leveraging does is help people with money!  Let me repeat, Obama’s policies help people with money!  It’s a rich guy’s game playing paradise.  You don’t have to believe me.  Look at the data.

 Pew studied the first two years (2009 through 2011) of the Obama recovery.   Pew's top line report breaks down the recovery between the lower 93 percent and the wealthiest 7 percent. 
During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the mean net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data. 
From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896. 
In other words the people who had money now have a helluva a lot more, while ordinary folk are deeper in the hole.

We can see more discretely who has benefited from Obama's recovery by looking at Pew's tabular report.  

There is a clear breakpoint between the 13 percent of households that have a net worth of $500,000 or greater and everyone else.  The upper crust's average net worth increased by $335 thousand dollars in the first two years of the Obama regime while every other group fell back.   Those that were in the hole fell back even further.  Money, money, money – you have it Obama enriches you.  If you don't, best of luck.

In the world of Obama wealth disparity has not merely skyrocketed among economic groups, disparities have also soared to record highs levels between whites and blacks, and whites and Hispanics. And those poor old seniors, the folks on whose behalf that AARP incessantly whines, they are gaining dramatically compared to the young people who actually work, and incomprehensibly vote for and support Obama.

The bottom line is clear.  I hope all the Obama supporters out there are feeling prosperous, because the data show, unless you were already rich, you are not. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Enough is Enough



Montana Senator Max Baucus to Retire

Max Baucus has been acting eight ways to Sunday like a senator who is fighting for re-election in red state Montana next year.  He built a $5 million campaign war chest.  He is fighting Democratic progressive colleagues on taxes.  He took on HHS Secretary and the Obama administration on the botched implementation of (the impossible to implement) Obamacare the week before last.  He sided with gun rights supporters across the board in Senate gun control votes last week.  And he has been touring the state and pressing the flesh with vigor.

Senator Max Baucus working the counter at Wheat Montana Bakery
Three Forks, Montana, February 18, 2013

Baucus surprisingly announced today he will not seek a seventh senate term.  

It is widely reported that recently retired populist governor Brian Schweitzer (D - MT) is interested in the post.  If Baucus retires early, Democratic governor Steve Bullock likely would appoint Schweitzer to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of its term.   Schweitzer is a strong gun rights advocate who has declared that he has no national political aspirations. 

BOZEMAN — Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says his position on gun control is one reason he couldn't step onto the national political stage.  Political pundits have mentioned Schweitzer as a possible candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports a bearded Schweitzer told some Montana State University students on Thursday that he couldn't give an acceptable answer to voters in states like Iowa and Florida if they asked him about gun control. He says his response would be something like: "You control yours, I'll control mine."
Schweitzer was governor for eight years before leaving office due to term limits. Schweitzer and a New York-based hedge fund are working to oust the board of Stillwater Mining Co., over its investment in a copper mine in Argentina and other mines in Canada.
It will be interesting to see how jumping out of the governorship into work for a New York hedge fund sits with Montana voters. Also, can the Republicans identify a candidate who breaks free from the establishment mold with a populist streak that counters Schweitzer's popularity? It will be political season strong between now and November 2014 in Montana.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Philadelphia Terrorized

Man dressed in camo occupying old crapped out car taken into custody.  Arrest shuts down Visitors Center at Independence Hall -- good thing not many Montanans visit Philadelphia.

No Doughnut Hole in Boston

Dunkin' Donuts came through to fuel.

Welfare State Grows Uncontrollably

That pesky recession thing ended four years ago.  And in the meantime, the baby boomers, whose aging numbers will swell the social security and medicare rolls, have barely begun to retire.  Who is left to work and support the system?   Sure as can be, progressive politics are undercutting our prosperity and will ultimately destroy our country's economic base.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Senator Jon Tester Believes in Washington

These days, when asking about gun purchases and background checks, public opinion polls give respondents a choice between universal background checks or not.  But this isn't really the choice.  For example, I remember a hike up nearby Mt. Ellis last fall when I came upon a father and his adolescent son.  It was hunting season.  Each carried a rifle, slung over his shoulder.  If there was a law requiring truly universal checks that would make the father a felon for giving his son a weapon.  That law won't happen.

People who care about guns and the 2nd amendment rights generally accept the concept of background checks, but not for private transactions.  They trust their state and local governments to a degree but not centralized power mongers in Washington, DC.  In their view, people who are not in the business of selling guns ought to be able to transfer firearms freely among themselves.  They wouldn't knowingly sell a weapon to a criminal or a nut.  The gun rights crowd thinks we have a system now that does a pretty good job at regulating gun dealers while maintaining individual freedom.  In states like Montana, the standard public opinion surveys are pretty much worthless.   

Jon Tester and VP Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber
Here comes Jon Tester -- re-elected by plurality vote, propelled  by left-wing dark money that attacked his Republican opponent and boosted the vote for a Libertarian candidate to the point where Tester could sneak in with a minority of the vote.  Tester is not supported, or trusted, by a majority of his constituents. Although Tester strives to maintain his "dirt farmer" image he's been bitten by most pernicious of bugs, the one that transmits Potomac fever.  

Earlier this week, in a blast email to constituents, Tester explained his "yes" vote on universal background checks as follows, promoting lockstep the prevailing progressive, anti-gun view on background checks:
Let me be clear: the proposed legislation would not have prevented a law-abiding citizen from purchasing a gun. It would not have taken away anyone’s gun. It would not create a national gun registry. And it would not ban assault weapons or limit magazine clips. I would not support legislation if it did any of these things. In fact, I voted NO on amendments that would ban assault weapons or limit clips.
The Manchin-Toomey amendment would have made our Second Amendment rights stronger. It ensured that you do not need a background check for transactions among friends or family members. It provided safe harbor to hunters and others who have a gun, but travel through a state with tougher gun laws. Under the plan, a law-abiding citizen could have still purchased a gun without a problem – but criminals and folks who are violently mentally-ill could not.
Note that there is nothing in Tester's statement about the who, what, when and why of newly ordered checks required by the bill.  It's a whitewash.  He is a master of the double negative.  Montanans refuse to fall in with Tester.  They agree with Senator Max Baucus who believes current law strikes an appropriate balance.   

The Independent Record newspaper in Helena (state capital) put out a survey that yielded a 3 to 1 response in favor of Baucus and  against Tester's vote.  Montanans aren't naive enough to believe that criminals will have a "problem" buying guns if Washington passes a law.  The Record readers don't automatically side with the pro-gun lobby either.  In a March survey they sided 62 to 38 percent against allowing concealed carry on Montana college campuses.   Jon Tester has a problem because there are a helluva a lot of people who believe his vote was wrong for Montana.  

Politidumb of the Week

The competition for this week's Politidumb award was pitched.   Leaders of the national progressive Democratic movement jostled and elbowed one other to make political hay from the Boston Marathon massacre.  They callously and  brazenly tied pet political agendas to the terrorist attack on innocents, before there was a hint of who the suspects might actually be, barely waiting for victims to gulp their last breath or to have their dangling limbs amputated and sewn off. 

Fastest out of the gate, was former White House advisor, Obama pal and confidant, Chicago based political consultant and NBC "Senior Political Analyst" David Axelrod, who jumped straight away to an unsupportable conclusion -- a tax protest.   He said that is what the President was thinking.  Axelrod's statement is most instructive for what it reveals about the progressive and presumptive presidential mindset -- taxpayers are the enemy.  Most of us are taxpayers David -- it's nice to learn of President Obama's regard.
Sadly a president thinking that the folks responsible for the mischief and mayhem are responsible taxpayers fits the uncorked mindset of the current Oval Office occupant incredibly well. 

Then comes Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic Whip who seems to care not a whit anymore about objective reality.   In reference to the sequester Hoyer said the Boston bombings are “proof that those automatic spending changes negatively impacted the intelligence community.”   What Hoyer didn't say is that he is unhinged because the sequester is hitting hardest high-income residents of the DC suburbs, including his Maryland constituents.  Fine job Steny, working to parlay the continuation of your constituents' gravy train off loss of  life and dismemberment of innocents.

Then Barney Frank opened his pie hole, claiming that the sequester hamstrung the government's ability to anticipate and respond to the Boston bom
bing. Frank called it a “teaching moment.” 
“And yes, I do want maybe for this to have some people be less enthusiastic about reducing our ability to respond to a crisis like this. You’re asking me am I trying to make an argument to affect how people make decisions about public policy? Absolutely, I think this is an important teaching moment about what we need if we’re going to live the way we want to live.”
When Hoyer and Frank went for the political kill, skimming Steny and bizarre Barney did not know that a fully funded FBI had interviewed and investigated the ring leading Tsarnaev and moved on.  Operating prior to the sequester and without constraint the FBI concluded Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not pose an actionable threat.  So much for the despicable money grab.

Still, the winner is the man who has made a career out of channeling the President of the United States. Congratulations David Axelrod for your Pogo moment. We have met the enemy and it is us.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Boat

Is there a fund for replacing David Henneberry's boat?

4/21:  Here's a link and another to David Henneberry boat funds.

5/1:  The boat fund has reached its $50,000 replacement goal, thanks in large part due to a matching pledge by the boat's manufacturer.  Thanks to all who gave.

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Pictures, April 20, 1913
The Mineral Museum, Montana Tech Campus, Butte Montana
(click for full size)

Gold Nugget, 27.495 Ounces -- Au ($38,611.23 bullion value at Friday's close)

Covelite -- Copper Sulfide

Annabergite and Gersdorffite -- Hydrous Nickel Arsenate and Nickel Arsenic Sulfide

Enargite -- Copper Arsenic Sulfide

Pyrite (Fools Gold) -- Iron Sulfide

Bornite (Peacock Cooper) -- Copper Iron Sulfide

Bellamy -- Our precious gem!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

University Censorship Portland Style

Three Forks, Montana
One of our favorite places to grab a bite to eat is the Iron Horse Café in Three Forks, Montana.  Three Forks is where the Gallitan, Madison and Jefferson rivers join to form the headwaters of the Missouri River before it begins its 2,341 mile journey across the northern tier of the United States to join ultimately the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri.  Three Forks is a celebrated Lewis and Clark encampment.  On their return trip Meriwether Lewis continued northeast along the Missouri River while George Clark branched off due east along the Gallitan River, headed towards Bozeman Pass, camping overnight at the mouth of Kelly Canyon within sight of our home.  Most everything Lewis and Clark is held in awe in Montana.  They survived an extraordinary journey that opened the American West.  But this story is not about Lewis and Clark, the men; it’s about Lewis and Clark, the law school, and its pathetic leadership.

The news these days has come to be everything but news – opinions, sources, views and feelings, anything but hard and objective fact, all filtered through political perspective.  It starts in the universities that train (I almost said "educate" here, but that implies a level of thinking and critical discourse that has been abandoned) our young adults.  This Lewis and Clark story reveals forces that create the sad alternative reality that news reporting has become.   The universities are building culture and journalistic process around image and communal acceptance.   Veracity and honest inquiry are the victims.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts
visits Lewis & Clark Law School
I don’t know what is worse, a university law school that has a public relations department, a public relations department that thinks it has the authority to censor news, a public relations flack who doesn’t understand the difference between news and promotional materials, or quiescent cub reporter students who allow themselves to be censored and are so ill-informed that they actually believe the Justice Department controls press coverage of the Supreme Court – all shielded by a law school dean’s offhand, milk toast reaction.  So much is wrong.  This is about a law school squelching speech, an institution where one might reasonably believe the administration has a passing acquaintance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and its prohibitions on abridging freedom of the press, and the underlying principles thereof. 
In early April, Chief Justice John Roberts visited the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon to observe arguments related to an environmental moot court advocacy competition.

Naturally, as The Oregonian reports, undergraduate journalist Anthony Ruiz wanted to cover the event for The Pioneer Log, the private school’s student-run weekly newspaper. He wrote a generally flattering article about the judge’s visit to the 80th-ranked law school in all the land (says U.S. News).

School officials then apparently strongly encouraged the newspaper not to publish the story. The reason for the censorship? The head of an American law school wanted the Supreme Court’s press office to approve the story before it was printed. 
The players in the censorship game commented as follows,
The Pioneer Log’s editor, Pillotte, told The Daily Caller that she has serious misgivings about the incident.

“I really regret not just going ahead and publishing the story,” Pillote explained, “but I felt extremely pressured by Lise Harwin, head of public relations. She sent me an email saying that Lewis & Clark respects freedom of the press, but she said this is a special case.”

According to Pillote, Harwin also asserted that “the school was following the rules of the Justice Department.”

Harwin told The Oregonian that school officials believed that the high court would want to evaluate the story before it went to press. She called the court’s press guidelines “rigorous and fairly exhaustive.”

Klonoff [the law school dean] told the local rag that he thought the office would be concerned about details printed in the student newspaper of a private college attended by about 2,000 undergraduates.

The law school dean said he was sorry the Pioneer Log missed its deadline.

Lewis & Clark Law School
Dean Robert Klonoff
It's a miracle that anything real gets reported.  The dean’s “Oh I’m sorry, but I thought” response is incredibly pathetic.  Why would the dean allow manipulative and deceitful publicity flacks to stay on payroll other than most times they get away with tilting the news?  Lewis and Clark’s dean, if he were driven by principle and integrity, would rid the school of its censorship minded flacks and eliminate the obsequious publicity machine.  Instead life goes on and the university sausage stuffer continues to wreak havoc.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Attack Re-Energizes Push for Truck Control Legislation

CNN has sourced the strategy for planting the type of deadly pressure cooker bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon finish line to the Al Qaeda Magazine Inspire.  The magazine laid out how to use the cooking device.

"The pressurized cooker should be placed in crowded areas and left to blow up. More than one of these could be planted to explode at the same time. However, keep in mind that the range of the shrapnel in this operation is short range so the pressurized cooker or pipe should be placed close to the intended targets and should not be concealed from them by barriers such as walls."

CNN also reported Inspire magazine provided tips on using a pickup truck as a weapon,

An article titled "The Ultimate Mowing Machine" calls for using a pickup truck as a "mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah." 

The article says that such a plan could be implemented in countries where people back the "Israeli occupation of Palestine, the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq or countries that had a prominent role in the defamation of Muhammad."

It said a four-wheel-drive pickup truck is needed -- "the stronger the better."  "To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control of your vehicle in order to maximize your inertia and be able to strike as many people as possible in your first run," the article says.

The media's revelation of this mow-them-down advice has renewed the drumbeat for pickup truck control legislation.  Early in the 113th Congress, Senator Jon Tester (D – Mont.) introduced truck control legislation that specifically targeted the “strong” pickup trucks preferred by Al Qaeda.  As originally drafted, Senator Tester’s legislation would have limited pickup truck ownership to a needs based ownership class and would have outlawed the use of pickup trucks by city slickers, suburban cowboys and gentlemen farmers.  The bill’s stringent ownership restrictions and resale regulations would have also prohibited pickup truck purchases by garden variety Al Qaeda terrorists. 

Pickup Pride Advocates
Though recently released studies provided empirical support for moving truck control forward, under pressure from pickup pride advocates (see picture on right) Senator Tester withdrew his proposed legislation. To justify his about face, the junior senator from Montana argued that pickup trucks were so intertwined with the pickup pride cultural core that pressing for truck control could violate the advocates’ civil rights.  Tester asked Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D – Nev.) to refrain from bringing the truck control legislation up for a floor vote.

Truck control coalition leaders, Hans Opelgänger, Director of Sustainability at BMW USA and Sven Olafscar, Managing Director of Volvo USA, hope the Boston tragedy will spur recognition of the need to regulate pickup trucks and re-energize truck control legislation.  They are asking that truck control supporters visit their website  www.wedontbuildpickuptrucks.com for information on what can be done to support the cause.