Thursday, January 31, 2013

Democrat Nativism

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (email him) is the only member of the Ohio delegation with an “F-“ rating from NumbersUSA.  But Senator Brown has at least one illegal invader he doesn’t like:

Stopping the Threat of Asian Carp

[A]ccording to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, some 450,000 people fish in Lake Erie annually – contributing about $680 million to Ohio’s economy. But our fishing and tourism industries are threatened by Asian carp.

Protecting the Great Lakes region and the Ohio River basin from Asian carp is about protecting our regional economy and the livelihood of thousands of Ohioans. These invasive species, with their voracious appetites, significantly alter the habitat – by crowding-out native bass, catfish, and walleye – and are also a threat to boaters. The time to act is now as Asian carp have already been identified in the Ohio River – at the mouth of the Little Miami River, near Cincinnati.

Although several federal agencies have already been combating Asian carp, we have yet to designate an agency as the lead. Simply put, we need a coordinated federal response.

Last June, I helped pass the bipartisan Stop Invasive Species Act to expedite a strategy to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. And though the bill was signed into law last summer, there is still more we must do. While we rightly focus on keeping the carp out of the Great Lakes in the Chicago region, we must also protect other pathways into the lakes.

That’s why I’m re-introducing bipartisan legislation, Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, with Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, to stop Asian carp from entering streams and rivers in our states.

The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act would coordinate a new federal effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Army Corps of Engineers, and state wildlife agencies to share best practices and technology to stop the threat of Asian carp. It would also require a yearly report to Congress on the efforts and movement of Asian carp within the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River region.

We must all work together to protect the Great Lakes region and the Ohio River basin from this invasive species. The Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act is another much needed step to secure the economic drivers shoring up Ohio’s multi-million dollar fishing and recreation industries.
Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator

Emphasis added.  Obviously.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Diversity Propaganda Watch: Φville Edition

My daughter came home from school all giggly about a wall poster she had spotted there and whose contents she had carefully copied down for our mutual amusement:

Our community is made up of people from many cultures and diverse backgrounds.  Look around.  We are all different!  These differences can enhance our relationships.  Diversity makes us unique!

For the record, here are my town’s demographics from

  • White alone - 8,655 (94.1%)
  • Hispanic - 163 (1.8%)
  • Two or more races - 139 (1.5%)
  • Asian alone - 124 (1.3%)
  • Black alone - 83 (0.9%)
  • American Indian alone - 17 (0.2%)
  • Other race alone - 21 (0.2%)

Candidly, I didn’t know we had 83 black people living here.  I’m curious where we keep them.

I’m proud that my daughter has developed an eye for this nonsense.

Friday, January 25, 2013

DOD Budget Follies

I have been saying for a while now, and will stipulate here again, that the federal budget must be cut, and defense spending, being a big part of the federal budget, must necessarily be a big part of the cuts.

How to go about this . . .

The smart way would be to, say, cut out the DBE programs that make the government overpay for everything by 10%, or cut the negative-value operations like “information assurance”.

But of course, we won’t do the smart things.  So, among the range of remaining alternatives, taking 10% off the top of everything is probably the least bad option among the likely courses of action.

Pursuant to this, there is talk of “furloughs” (i.e., unpaid leave) for civilian personnel.  Now, there is always a lot more talk of furloughs than there are actual furloughs.  A bit of Googling only found one actual DOD furlough back in 1995-1996, and I think the eventual budget agreement paid the furloughed civilians anyway.  I’m not smart enough to predict whether this particular round of furlough talk is just fear mongering (although I’m sure fear mongering is involved), or a warning of things to come.

On the one hand, a furlough would suck.  A furlough in the range being discussed -- 3-4 weeks – would suck a lot, but after taxes it’s not as bad as you might think.  Having said that, 3-4 weeks of extra vacation could be nice, so its a trade-off.  And Pentagon bluster to the contrary, if the furloughs are staggered, the mission will still get done well enough.

Except that the DOD’s decision making process is guaranteed to make the furloughs as unpleasant as possible.  Nobody will stand up and say, “okay, we’ll do the furlough.”  This was one of the lessons my very first division chief taught me 20+ years ago:  any concession will quickly become the new baseline for further negotiations.  But the drawback is that since the leadership refuses to plan for a furlough, we employees can’t plan for one either.    We will likely learn about the furloughs the night before they go into effect.  We won’t know for how long, and we’ll have to stand by the phone every evening to find out if we can come in to work the next day.  And get this:  the furlough days will be “non-consecutive”.  A day here, a day there:  no taking the two weeks off in Florida.

That’s what makes this process so painful watch, let alone go through.  Nobody – not the politicians, not service secretaries and chiefs – will make a decision until the absolute last possible minute.  Guaranteeing maximum pain for the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Everything you always wanted to know about government IT . . .

. . . but were afraid to ask:

Airmen urged to reenlist, extend current enlistment, retire, separate before Feb. 15

by Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

1/15/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials are encouraging active-duty Airmen who are eligible to reenlist, extend their current enlistment, retire or separate in March to complete these personnel actions through the myPers website and their base military personnel sections by Feb. 15 to avoid processing delays and military pay issues.

Airmen need to accomplish these actions because the Air Force is upgrading and transferring the Military Personnel Data System to the Defense Information Systems Agency's Defense Enterprise Computing Center in March. The upgrade project is scheduled to take about 23 days to complete, during which time, MilPDS will not be available.

So, hurry up, guys, and make those life-altering decisions right now because the goverment’s computer system will be going down for three weeks, and seeing as how we’re the military, we don’t have any backup or redundant system.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Malian Barrel o’ Monkeys

Gave me a giggle . . . sardonically speaking.

Behind the WSJ paywall now, but the headline says it all:

U.S. Delays Support [to Mali], Cites Legal Concerns

Right.  Because we all know how scrupulous the Obama administration is about following the War Powers Act, or any other laws for that matter.

Here is an NYT story that details how the Islamist insurgence were aided by U.S.-trained government military units that defected at the first opportunity.

The same American-trained units that had been seen as the best hope of repelling such an advance proved, in the end, to be a linchpin in the country’s military defeat. The leaders of these elite units were Tuaregs — the very ethnic nomads who were overrunning northern Mali.

So, drinking its own anti-racism Cool-Aid, the U. S. happily trained the very ethnic group whose loyalties lie with the Islamic world.  Good going, guys.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Medved’s Foolishness

Michael Medved:

With the president participating in successful last-minute efforts to prevent crushing, automatic, across-the-board tax hikes that would have done disastrous damage to the U.S. economy, it’s time for Barack Obama’s angriest critics to finally give up the paranoid fantasy that he’s some sort of alien agent with a secret agenda to wreck capitalism and weaken the United States.

Everything about this paragraph is wrong.  The tax increases to which Michael refers would take taxes up to the level that they were during the Clinton administration, which happens to be the last truly prosperous era we had.  Odd, though, that he doesn’t mention the spending cuts.

The real “fiscal cliff” is when we exhaust our ability to borrow money.  At that point, whether we cut spending or embrace hyperinflation, we’re all in for a pretty unpleasant drop in living standards.  The string of budget deals preventing us from getting our deficit under control only hasten that day.

No, Obama’s plan for the destruction of America is the same as the Republican plan:  keep importing foreigners through immigration.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bidirectional History

A social historian, observing trends in the public treatment of sex from 1960 to 1980 and projecting those trends into the future, could be forgiven for thinking that society would soon shed its remaining behavioral restrictions and reservations on our way to base animal behavior, for good or ill.

As Elusive Wapiti comments in my last post, however, what actually happened is a little more complicated. While it is true that many measures of sexual morality have continued their decline, they have also broken down along class lines. After a fling with divorce and teen sex in the '70s, the upper middle class has largely abandoned it.

Consider as well the treatment of sex in movies. There is little today's viewer of even "R" rated movies will miss out on, sexually speaking, but our imaginary historian, considering the early careers of Eva Ionesco and Brooke Shields, would have supposed that these media depictions would have involved ever younger teens, and even children.

And yet, by the rollout of Beverly Hills 90210, a show with no shortage of sexual themes, Hollywood had turned to using adults even in their mid to late twenties to play high school students. I understand this trend has continued, although I don't really know. (I've never seen an episode of Degrassi, for instance.)

The limited reversal of sexual trends after 1980 can be chalked up to our society's recurring moral panics about children, but I can't help but wonder if the social affects are double-edged. Television and movie audiences encouraged to regard "teen" sex as normal and healthy by watching physically mature 20-somethings are being sold a lie; if rather they were shown actual, still-developing teens, the audiences would likely be more conflicted about the message, if not entirely put off. And in fact, whatever their viewing habits, the upper middle class knows better anyway; it is the working class that has fell victim to the lie.

Is the tide turning once more? This Guardian article provides some useful history and quotes experts on all sides, but can't quite make up its mind whether adult-child sex is abuse or just another orientation.

Parenthetically, it is noteworthy that Brooke Shields, while still very attractive at 47, has not had the movie career I would have predicted from her Calvin Klein and Blue Lagoon popularity in the early 80s. She still acts, apparently, but not in anything I can remember seeing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Slope Keeps Slipping

The  good little liberals indulging themselves in a spot of moral outrage over Cord Jefferson’s Gawker piece on pedophilia (H.T.:  Trumwill, although Ace reported on it earlier) may reveal a residual moral sense not quite purged by their embrace of gay marriage.  But all their invective, justifiable as it may be, only reveal an unprincipled exception.  Having discarded the idea that sex has a moral purpose beyond what people decide to make of it, they have drawn an arbitrary line in the sand with regard to children.  Perhaps even Ta-Nehisi knows that in the long run it will never hold, and he is very afraid.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Flyover Birtherism

My readers who followed this story more closely can correct me on the details, but I remember how the MSM mocked those challenging Obama’s eligibility to serve as president when, after he presented his “birth certificate registration”, insisted that this wasn’t an actual birth certificate.

Well . . .

It happened that my wife went to the DMV the other day to get a driver’s license, pursuant to which she presented her still-valid out-of-state license, her marriage license, and what she thought was her birth certificate.  This turned out to be, not the birth certificate, but the birth certificate registration.  It had a seal, it contained all the same information, and was all that New York State provided at the time she was born.  It had been good enough to get a passport, marriage license, and driver’s licenses in at least four states, but now . . . wasn’t.  Evidently, the documentation standards have gone up, and nothing less than a birth certificate would do.

I will reserve judgment as to whether the more rigorous standards will accomplish their intended purpose, which I take to be keeping illegal aliens from getting official IDs.  But it is ironic that what Obama presents as evidence of presidential eligibility is not actually good enough to get a driver’s license anymore.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Why no cell fax?

Notwithstanding that scan+email has largely replaced the fax machine technologically, there are still occasions when someone insists that it’s the only way they can send and/or receive a document from me.  So, why can’t cell phones send and receive faxes?

There is apparently a hard-and-fast technological impediment I’m not aware of.  There are cell phone apps that let you upload a document to a paid service, which will then call the receiving fax machine on your behalf.  But that’s a sorry substitute for an app that has your phone itself dial the fax number and send it directly.

I have read that a fax machine needs a special chip that cell phones don’t have, modems don’t have any trouble, and can’t that functionality be implemented in software now?

The only possibility I can think of is something more fundamental:  land lines communicate at seven bits per sample, whereas maybe cell phones use fewer bits?  And there isn’t a fax protocol for anything less than seven bits?

Does anybody know the answer?