Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Posting the truth on HuffPo

Thursday, November 7th, 2013


2,889 Fans · Semper Fi
I seem to recall they screwed over Dan Rather when he had actual, truthful evidence.

41 seconds ago

This comment has been deleted.”

The comment about Dan Rather referred to the Bush AWOL story. Kevin Drum when he was the blogger on Washington Monthly, investigated that story in 2004 and concluded there was no story. Rather later went with the story on the basis of Mary Mapes and was shown to be a fool when the “memo” proved to have been written on a word processor, not in existence in 1972.

For those a little hazy on the original September 8, 2004 story, Rather and his news producers presented documents they claimed “proved” that George W. Bush went AWOL from the Guard back in the 1970s. It wasn’t long before the veracity of the documents became an issue as typography experts began to realize that the lettering used on the documents would not have been used on documents in the 1970s.

I added a reply on HuffPo that contradicted the previous comment.

It was deleted by Huff Po. They have been “moderating” my comments for a while. Now, I have apparently been banished to conservative-land.

HuffPo is no better than Talking Points Memo.

A Little Shooting

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Seeing as how the gun control topic seems to be big now, I thought I’d post a few pictures of us shooting. After all, I’m an endowed life member of the NRA so I’m supposed to be a gun nut. The photos were taken at a family ranch in Arizona.

Here is the ranch with my cousin Kerry and his wife Sharon ready to go shooting.

Here are some of the guns we used. In deference to Diane Feinstein, we didn’t show the machine guns. The gun on the far left is a muzzle loader that is fun to shoot. Since it only fires one shot at a time, this would probably be permitted by Senator Feinstein.

Here is Kerry shooting an assault rifle, 1870 edition. Apologies to Diane.

Here I am firing an assault pistol, 1862 edition. It’s called an “old Army” design and uses black powder and lead balls. It can fire six shots in rapid succession so it probably should be banned.

Here I am assembling one of these scary looking shotguns. It is a semi-automatic and has a magazine that holds four rounds plus one in the chamber. I don’t know that it might be too scary for Diane.

Now, here is a photo that should go on the Brady campaign web site. Cindy is firing one of those dangerous semi-automatic hand guns that is “military style” as defined by Diane’s new bill. Kerry is shooting a safer revolver but it can still fire six shots in rapid succession.

This is a photo that would probably be a mystery to Diane or Mayor Bloomberg. It is called “shooting trap” a sport that us scary gun nuts like. Shooting sports are not hunting and they are not self defense. However, if you are going to know how to shoot a gun, you have to practice. People who have never held or fired a gun are doing a lot of talking about guns and usually don’t know what they are talking about. It is embarrassing to see some of these people pontificating on television who are obviously ignorant of the subject and make silly gaffes in terminology. And, importantly, we didn’t have any rocket launchers.

By the way, the black puff of smoke in the sky in line with Kerry’s gun shows that he hit the clay pigeon. Nice shot, Kerry.

Death Wish

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The Republican House members did not pass the “Plan B” legislation that would press President Obama to settle the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. They chose the perfect over the good or completely lost their nerve. It seems the revolt was mostly from the right, which demanded more spending cuts and increases in defense spending.

You would think that Romney had won the election and the GOP won the Senate. Boehner played a weak had well, and,if I were he, I would think hard about resigning.

Upstairs by the House floor, which was now closed after Boehner’s announcement, a handful of senior members discussed the whip count. They decided to go out for drinks near Union Station, in order to avoid their colleagues who’d be hanging at the Capitol Hill Club on the House side. “I don’t want to talk to the people who ruined this, at least right now,” a retiring House member told me. “They don’t get it.” Another senior member told me that Boehner was always going to struggle with the whip count since most House conservatives have little interest in seeing the speaker strike any kind of deal. “Boehner was trying to play chess and the caucus was playing checkers,” he said, sighing. “Boehner is willing to lose a pawn for a queen. I’m not sure about the rest.”

That’s how I see it. They wanted to act as if they had control when they don’t. Politics is often about image and “spin.” That was all Boehner had. Now the field is wide open for Obama to take control of the “tax cut” issue by letting all tax rates rise on January 1. Then a few weeks later, he can have the Democrat introduce a tax cut for the lower rate half of the public and take credit. The republicans will have to go along or face a real disaster in public image. They will have no leverage with the defense .

Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a conservative with libertarian leanings, was stunned. As he walked back to his office, he said the episode was unfortunate, even though he was planning to vote against the measure. For the past month, since House leaders booted him off the budget committee, he has been railing against Boehner for his management style. But even Amash wondered whether the House GOP was making the right move. “Too many people in there were arguing that this thing is a tax increase, and I don’t think that’s what Boehner was trying to do,” he said. As much as he disagrees with Boehner’s approach, even he regretted how the speaker’s plan was killed.

Even the opponents of Boehner’s plan are distressed !

Plan B was Mr. Boehner’s attempt to salvage some political dignity and a policy victory or two in return for conceding on tax rates. The bill wasn’t even technically a vote to raise taxes because the rates are set to rise automatically on January 1 if Congress does nothing. The bill also kept the estate tax at 35%, rather than going up to 55% as now scheduled, and it made the tax cuts on lower incomes permanent.

With a narrow deal on taxes, Mr. Boehner figured he could live to fight another day on spending. But it is a measure of the mistrust the President has engendered that many Republicans didn’t want to give up even this much on taxes in return for nothing at all.

The best scenario for the economy now would be for Mr. Obama to offer to extend all the tax rates for six months and start negotiating anew in January. That would give everyone the chance to decompress and back down from the barricades.

Does anyone believe that Obama will not overreach in the state of mind he seems to occupy ?

The Connecticut Massacre

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

There is information still coming to light about this awful case. Early reports, such as the name of the shooter and the alleged murder of the father, were predictably wrong. It turns out that the shooter, named Adam Lanza, a 20 year old with a history of odd behavior and some evidence of mental illness, such as autism, was living with his mother who was his first victim. There are a number of suggestive reports, that she decided to “stay home to care for” her 20 year old son.

The treatment of severe mental illness in this country has been altered for the worse by a movement that began in the 1960s when mental illness began to be described as a “civil rights ” issue. Several books and movies described abuse of power in commitment of the mentally ill. The first such movie was “The Snake Pit” in which a young woman is committed for what sounds like schizophrenia. The treatment of the time (1948) can be seen as barbaric but there was nothing else available. She did recover, although we know that without adequate treatment, recovery from schizophrenia is unlikely.

The movie that really devastated the mental hospital system was called “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and starred Jack Nicholson.

As I type this, a black professor of psychiatry is talking on the TV and discussing gun control !! His mention of mental illness is brief and noncommittal.

The movie was powerful in showing the Nicholson character as a guy who just is “different” and harmless.

The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs.

In 1963 Oregon, Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a short sentence on a prison farm for statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl, is transferred to a mental institution for evaluation. Although he does not show any overt signs of mental illness, he hopes to avoid hard labor and serve the rest of his sentence in a more relaxed hospital environment.
McMurphy’s ward is run by steely, unyielding Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher), who employs subtle humiliation, unpleasant medical treatments and a mind-numbing daily routine to suppress the patients. McMurphy finds that they are more fearful of Ratched than they are focused on becoming functional in the outside world. McMurphy establishes himself immediately as the leader; his fellow patients include Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif), a nervous, stuttering young man; Charlie Cheswick (Sydney Lassick), a man disposed to childish fits of temper; Martini (Danny DeVito), who is delusional; Dale Harding (William Redfield), a high-strung, well-educated paranoid; Max Taber (Christopher Lloyd), who is belligerent and profane; Jim Sefelt (William Duell); and “Chief” Bromden (Will Sampson), a silent American Indian believed to be deaf and mute.

Here is the picture of mental illness as a matter of civil rights. It was shown in 1975 when the deinstitutionalizing was already well along and it convinced the public, few of whom know anything of psychology, that mental hospitals should be closed. State governors, like Ronald Reagan in California, were only too happy to oblige. This is why I was not a Reagan fan before he was elected in 1980.

The new drugs, like Thorazine made all this possible. Patients on Thorazine made almost miraculous recoveries. at least until the side effects appeared.

The introduction of chlorpromazine into clinical use has been described as the single greatest advance in psychiatric care, dramatically improving the prognosis of patients in psychiatric hospitals worldwide[citation needed]; the availability of antipsychotic drugs curtailed indiscriminate use of electroconvulsive therapy and psychosurgery, and was one of the driving forces behind the deinstitutionalization movement.

Actually ECT or “shock therapy” was, and remains, effective for severe depression. When used on psychotics like schizophrenics, it often provided a period of a “lucid interval” that lasted for hours when the psychosis seemed to relent. The symptoms recurred but the hope of longer intervals resulted in repeated sessions. It was often depicted with convulsions and other horrendous effects but, in reality, anesthesia and muscle relaxants were used to avoid such scenes. Even insulin coma, which has a risk of damage from low blood glucose, was effective for periods when nothing else worked.

The alternative offered was outpatient centers, in California authorized by The Short-Doyle Act of 1957. There was never enough money and governors saw the closing of state hospitals as a budget issue, not a medical issue.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s counties contended that the state was not providing adequate funds for community mental health programs. In addition, several counties were receiving less funds on a population basis than other counties. This disparity was addressed, with varying levels of success, in both the 1970s and the 1980s with the allocation of “equity funds” to certain counties. Realignment enacted in 1991 has made new revenues available to local governments for mental health programs, but, according to local mental health administrators, funding has lagged behind demand.

And As a result of declining hospital population, three hospitals (Modesto, DeWitt, and Mendocino) were closed. Legislative intent was to have the budget savings from the closures go to local programs. The “money was to follow the patient.” This did not happen in 1972 and 1973 as a result of the Governor’s veto.

The patients released from state hospitals ended up living in the streets as “the homeless problem” exploded. Others filled the jails. In 2000 I was told by directors of homeless shelters in Los Angeles that 60% of the homeless were psychotic, 60% were drug addicts and half of each group was both. About 10% of the homeless are neither and are quickly moved to shelters and “SRO” hotels, especially if there are children.

What percent of shizophrenics are violent or capable of it ? A national study suggests that the number may be higher than we are usually told.

The 6-month prevalence of any violence was 19.1%, with 3.6% of participants reporting serious violent behavior. Distinct, but overlapping, sets of risk factors were associated with minor and serious violence. “Positive” psychotic symptoms, such as persecutory ideation, increased the risk of minor and serious violence, while “negative” psychotic symptoms, such as social withdrawal, lowered the risk of serious violence. Minor violence was associated with co-occurring substance abuse and interpersonal and social factors. Serious violence was associated with psychotic and depressive symptoms, childhood conduct problems, and victimization.

Since schizophrenia is life-long, usually beginning in teenage years in males and a bit later in females, the total period of exposure to the risk of violent behavior is high. Treatment with modern drugs reduces this considerably but most schizophrenics who are not under good supervision do not take their drugs.

The mother of the shooter was the registered owner of three guns, two of them pistols and one a “bushmaster” rifle. These are military lookalikes that are mostly in 5.56 NATO round calibres. They are also very expensive rifles. The rifle found in the shooter’s care was described as .223 calibre and the Bushmaster site does not include any of this calibre. UPDATE: I did not recognize the .223 as the same calibre as the 5.56 NATO round. It is the same. The .223 is in inches and 5.56 is millimeters. A momentary lapse.

He did not use the rifle anyway but what was the mother doing buying this for her autistic son? Pistols might have been for her own protection but the rifle doesn’t make sense except as evidence of enabling behavior by the mother.

I will add to this post as more information comes out. This looks to me like an incident of mass violence by a schizophrenic 20 year-old male with possible assistance by his mother in allowing him access to guns.

The mother is now being described as a “survivalist” and used to target shooting. That does not explain why she had guns around her psychotic son. “Autism” does not develop during teenage years. It is a phenomenon that is recognized in infancy. The term may have been used by the older brother as it is a less “disreputable” term for schizophrenia. If this represents a form of denial by the family, it may be significant.


Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Tonight I watched, for maybe the 50th time, one of my favorite movies. It is called “Overboard”, and stars Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. There is an inferior movie made from a very good book of the same title.

It is amazing to me that 25 years have passed since this movie was made. Goldie Hawn first came to my attention in Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-in in the 1960s. It is just amazing to me that she is still going strong.

Here she is at 67. God, I wish I could look that good at 67 !

Since the making of Overboard, she has been in a permanent relationship with Kurt Russell. Russell’s principle film role, as far as I am concerned, is as Wyatt Earp in the move “Tombstone.” He was a child actor and has made a number of movies but none that are interesting to me.

Goldie has two children from an earlier marriage, one of whom looks like her and is an excellent actress.

The movie was not well received at the time as it was a bit of a change from the usual movies that each would be expected to make at the time. With time, it has become a much more accepted film.

Hawn and Ruth Buzzi were prominent members of the cast of Laugh-In.

Here they are in 1968. Goldie Hawn is still beautiful at almost 70.

Why did Romney lose ?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Accounts from the Romney camp have described him as “shellshocked” by his loss. The enthusiasm and huge turnout for rallies must have given him a sense of victory but it was snatched away by Obama’s professional organization. The Huffington Post is not exactly a source of wisdom on this topic but it is useful to see what the left believes. There is, of course, a lot of nasty comments following that article but I don’t believe they have seen the truth.

Peggy Noonan seems to think she knows the answer and maybe she has a piece of it.

Mitt Romney’s assumed base did not fully emerge, or rather emerged as smaller than it used to be. He appears to have received fewer votes than John McCain. The last rallies of his campaign neither signaled nor reflected a Republican resurgence. Mr Romney’s air of peaceful dynamism was the product of a false optimism that, in the closing days, buoyed some conservatives and swept some Republicans. While GOP voters were proud to assert their support with lawn signs, Democratic professionals were quietly organizing, data mining and turning out the vote. Their effort was a bit of a masterpiece; it will likely change national politics forever. Mr. Obama was perhaps not joyless but dogged, determined, and tired.

OK but why ?


Joe Biden and the debate

Friday, October 12th, 2012

A clownish Joe Biden mugged, groaned and interrupted Paul Ryan for 90 minutes last night. It was an odd spectacle but, apparently, just what the Democrats wanted. He lied about the Libya story and now Bill and Hillary Clinton may be thinking rebellion. Biden strongly suggested that the State Department was to blame for the murders because they did not ask for more security, in spite of the testimony before Congress the day before. If Hillary thinks she sees the bus coming, she may jump ship and it won’t be pretty.

With tensions between President Obama and the Clintons at a new high, former President Bill Clinton is moving fast to develop a contingency plan for how his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should react if Obama attempts to tie the Benghazi fiasco around her neck, according to author Ed Klein.

Biden also lied about Iran and their nuclear ambitions. He dismissed the danger of doing nothing. He said they do not have a “delivery system.” They have a delivery system named Hezbollah. Iran may not have an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US, yet. If Iran were to choose to attack the US, a container ship and a US port are much more likely to be involved than a new missile. Certainly, Israel is within reach as are the countries of Europe. Saudi Arabia is within reach. The Sunni-Shia rivalry is sufficient motive but the other reasons should not be ignored. Iran is ruled by a sect of suicidal maniacs.

Ryan capably described the Romney-Ryan tax proposals and his Medicare plan. I expected the abortion question and I thought it was well handled. Biden, of course, lied about the administration’s rules for health insurance coverage of contraception and abortion. That is not a big issue for me as I am pro-choice but the dishonesty is annoying. The “47% issue” and Ryan’s mention of a “30% who are takers” will not bother many people who agree and the offended are likely Obama voters no matter what happens.

It will be interesting to see what the result will be. The left, of course, is excited by the nasty tone Biden adopted.

On their $5 trillion tax cut, Romney/Ryan really need to either start naming the loopholes they’d close to pay for it or just admit they can’t make it revenue neutral without whacking the middle class. The VP was appropriately relentless on this point. Even I’m starting to feel sorry for them every time someone brings up this little flaw in their plan. I suspect I’m not alone in realizing that this country simply can’t afford to elect people promising a tax cut of this magnitude who, when it comes to paying for it, essentially say “trust us, we’ll find a bipartisan solution.”

The “$Five trillion tax cut” has been thoroughly debunked, including Stephanie Cutter’s retreat from the claim.

But, as I pointed out, Gov. Romney has already taken capital gains and dividends-for example-off the table. Now, here’s the revealing part: Larry said, and I know many in the investment community, including Mitt, feel exactly the same way, “I don’t consider those loopholes.”

So, here is a lefty who wants to raise taxes on investment income and capital gains. I don’t see enough responses pointing out that this income has already been taxed as ordinary income. Mitt Romney and most investors had salary income, taxed at the rates of the time, which they saved and invested. The capital gains and dividend income is income that was already taxed once. The left simply does not understand this.

Ryan kept his cool and Biden played the fool. An Althouse was impressed as I believe many women were impressed.

As I said, I’m tired of the yelling. I found the debate really hard to watch, but I kept watching because I was committed to live-blogging. Even still, I got catatonic. There was a point when I didn’t write anything for 20 minutes and then I said:
Biden has been yelling at Martha Raddatz for the last 15 minutes (as the subject is war). It’s so inappropriate!

The previous post had been:
The stress level is rising. Biden is so angry. Why is he yelling? Ryan needs nerves of steel not to lose his cool. I’m impressed that Ryan, when he gets his turn, is able to speak in an even, natural voice. It’s hard to concentrate on the policy itself, because the emotional static is so strong.

That shows how I felt: pain. So here’s my question. Ratings were down, I see, but when were the ratings taken? In the beginning? How did the ratings drop off over the course of the 90 minutes?

I have seen many comments about people, especially women, turning off the debate because of Biden’s rudeness and blustering. The ratings were down and the question is when were the ratings surveyed ? Of course, last night was also a big sports night. I think Ryan did better than the initial impressions suggest.

If Obama uses the Biden debate tactic as a model for next Tuesday, the election may well be over.

Scott Walker

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

A lot of people heaved a sigh of relief last night when Scott Walker defeated an effort by the unions to recall him as governor of Wisconsin. The recall was about policy only and was an effort to punish him for introducing legislation that stopped the state from collecting public employee union dues and making union membership voluntary. The result has been a 50% or greater decline in union membership as government employees, including teachers, drop union membership and stop paying dues now that it is voluntary.

The recall effort capped an amazing period in which union members occupied the state capitol and spent months in raucous demonstrations and threatening actions toward Republican legislators. In 2010, the Republicans took over both houses of the legislature in the election that saw Walker become governor. Attempts to recall the Republican legislators narrowed the margin the Republicans hold in the state Senate, but seem to have failed again yesterday to change the majority although one seat is still not determined.

Ann Althouse, a law professor and libertarian, has covered the entire affair in great detail on her blog for the past year. The antics of the unions and government employees were amazing. They included teachers either abandoning their students to protest or taking the students to the capitol to participate. Parents were left to scramble for child care. When teachers were threatened with disciplinary action, doctors from the university hospital violated ethics by writing dishonest excuses for teacher absence. There have been some disciplinary actions taken against the doctors.

The significance of the recall frenzy cannot be overestimated. Public employee unions have become tremendously powerful in the past 30 years and their effect on government budgets is ominous. The city of Stockton California has been bankrupted by union salaries and pensions.

The city of Stockton, Calif., took a move closer to filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection late Tuesday night in the face of overwhelming debt.

The City Council, by a 6-to-1 vote, passed a resolution authorizing City Manager Bob Deis to declare Stockton bankruptcy if the city can’t reach an agreement with creditors that prevents insolvency by the time a state mediation process is set to expire June 25, said Stockton spokeswoman Connie Cochran.

The city of 300,000 owes more than $700 million in long-term debt to creditors, and officials there say it faces a budget deficit of $26 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1 due to financial problems that also include high retiree costs.

The city in February began negotiating with 19 parties, including retirees, city workers, bondholders and bond insurers under a new California law that requires municipalities to hold mediations before filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Union allies in the California legislature have attempted to block the city bankruptcy, and to prevent it from canceling union contracts, but the public employee unions also took a beating in the California elections yesterday. Among the lessons of the elections yesterday are warnings for Democrats that the public is growing impatient with public employee unions.


The Trayvon Martin case

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

There have been astonishing new developments in this case in the past week or two. Naturally, the new information is the work of private bloggers and it has not yet reached the news media. When it does, and it may not until the George Zimmerman case comes up for judicial determination, there may be an explosion.

First, the research done by bloggers began with Trayvon’s Facebook page, which until last week was on view. On it he had open discussions with friends about drugs, both marijuana and a concoction of Dextromethorphan, Arizona Iced Tea watermelon juice flavor and Skittles, the candy. These components, mixed together, make a cocktail which gives a potent high from sipping it over an hour or two. The mixture is referred to on the street as “purple drank,” and the process as “sippin.

Trayvon’s Facebook page contained many of the references to this cocktail. There is information that chronic use, which is evidenced by the entries on Facebook for nearly a year, can lead to brain damage and behavioral abnormalities. Some of that behavioral effect can be seen in the 7-11 video recently released. Some of the networks showed part of the video, edited and speeded up to make Trayvon’s behavior look more normal. The comments at most of the sites showing the video mention that his encounter with George Zimmerman was “moments later.” It was actually nearly an hour later and there is considerable discussion about what took place. Some versions of the video show three other men meeting Trayvon and may show him conducting a transaction with them.

He has an interaction with the 7-11 clerk. The audio is edited from this segment but the clerk points to a shelf behind the counter and shakes his head. That shelf is where Dextromethorphan is kept. The drug, also referred to as DXM, is the effective cough suppressant in cough syrup and those brands containing it are labeled “DM.” When I was a child, codiene, a more effective cough suppressant, was in popular use but abuse of it for recreational purposes made it prescription only. DXM is headed the same way for the same reason. In fact, chronic use of DXM is dangerous and may cause behavioral changes including rage reactions to minor stimuli. The Arizona Iced Tea watermelon juice flavor and Skittles were found in his pockets, as well as a lighter but no cigarettes.

The best site for explanation of this new information is here (a video), an here, and it is especially important to read the comments, which will take an hour, but there is a lot of information there. The reference to “Treepers” refers to the parent site, Conservative Tree House, a group site with two major bloggers, Sundance and Dedicated Dad, who tell most of the story.

Prepare to spend a couple of hours going through all this but it contains the answer to what happened, I believe. The purple drank concoction, is also referred to as “lean” because it makes the user lean and move slowly, which describes Trayvon’s behavior in real time in the 7-11. This has not yet hit the news, and may not until the court date, but it is powerful. There are also some suggestions from the Facebook entries that Trayvon was selling marijuana to classmates but that is secondary to the story of the shooting.

It is also significant that the father and the girlfriend went out to dinner leaving Trayvon and Chad, the son of the girlfriend, alone. The father turned off his cell phone when he went to bed and did not know anything was amiss with Trayvon until the next day. There are many questions about all this but most are covered at the links I provided.

The Mommy track

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

This photoshopped parody of a Newsweek cover is simply hilarious. Everyone knows that Obama’s sudden “conversion” to support of single sex marriage is pure fund raising pander. It might cost him some votes but black churches are unlikely to turn on him and the others who would be offended won’t be voting for him anyway.

The one beneficial effect is to instantly end the questions raised about evangelical support of the Morman candidate. Obama has consolidated Romney’s base for him in one statement.