Monday, February 28, 2011

The Left Cries Rape | The Weekly Standard

Several friends have posted pieces on Facebook claiming the Right is trying to decriminalize rape, withhold protection from rape victims, make rape "not a real crime", and the like. Interestingly enough, when I read the stories, or look up the laws about which the hysterical fit is being thrown, I find they are either innocuous, or actually enhance protection for rape victims.

But it seems the left would rather accuse the right of aiding and abeting rapists than see more protection for victims.

The Left Cries Rape | The Weekly Standard

Jewish Groups Repudiate Jewish Funds for Justice Anti-Beck Effort - Big Journalism

Jewish Groups Repudiate Jewish Funds for Justice Anti-Beck Effort - Big Journalism
A Jewish group placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal, signed by 400 rabbis, calling for the censure of Glenn Beck.
Apparently, this group doesn't speak for all Jews.
Over the past few days, three of the groups used to corroborate the false charges raised by Jewish Funds For Justice have repudiated the letter arraigned by the George Soros proxy. All three weren’t contacted prior to the use of their names, disagreed with the thrust of the letter and were not happy that they were included. A fourth came out and said the letter was too one sided. Not surprisingly the only group/person not raising some objection to the letter has an association with George Soros.


Despite its best attempts to attack Fox News’ Glenn Beck, the vast majority people/organizations cited by the Jewish Funds for Justice as corroboration for their slander have labeled their open letter for what it is, a hypocritical effort on their part and by the 400 rabbis, to exploit the Holocaust for political purposes. I said it before and I will say it again, each and every one of those Rabbis should feel ashamed for their attempt to libel Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

MercatorNet: Is “Yuck!” a good enough reason?

MercatorNet: Is “Yuck!” a good enough reason?

It is my grave duty to inform you that the same is true of the discipline of ethics, where the most reasoned and convincing arguments nevertheless rest upon a set of basic assumptions which we simply must accept or deny. Those who best represent traditional ethics exist in a kind of parallel universe to most modern academic ethicists, and, it seems, never the twain shall meet.
Hence, such philosophers as the renowned and infamous Peter Singer can freely condemn the irrationality of moral intuition or “the yuck factor”, thereby defending in principle such remaining taboos as bestiality and incest.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Misrule by Decree”

Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Misrule by Decree”
All I can say is -- thank goodness! Three cheers for Obama's moral resolve and newly grown spine -- because that smirking trick of his clears the decks for for legal challenges to be answered by attorneys for House and Senate Republicans, who actually support traditional marriage and oppose the same-sex inversion of marriage.
But Obama, Holder, and the entire administration are now openly at war with traditional marriage while aiding and abetting same-sex marriage, and congressional conservatives have been given the green light to vigorously defend the sanctity and necessity of a legal marriage being between one man and one woman. That very fact means that DOMA has a much greater opportunity to be upheld yet again.

Inadvertently, the tremendous victory is ours, not theirs, a gift from the smug and cocky Left. As usual, "Progressivism" overreaches and draws back a stump, setting itself up for voter blowback as well.

The Non-Defense of DOMA

The Non-Defense of DOMA
We have a precedent. It will be interesting to see what people do with it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top Six Planned Parenthood Deceptions: In Order of Increasing Absurdity

The secret camera folks are at it again, and Planned Parenthood doesn't seem to have learned from experience.
Deception 6) "We reported this to the FBI"
Planned Parenthood wrote the FBI a letter a week after our investigation, only after they realized that Live Action had conducted the sting.They say this themselves. As much as they may pretend, Planned Parenthood was not attempting to help send human traffickers to jail; they were attempting to pre-empt the release of Live Action's footage.
If Planned Parenthood really cared about reporting potential sex traffickers to authorities, they would have called police while the pimp was in the clinic, or immediately after. Not wasting a minute. Planned Parenthood, where are the reports from the now SIX clinics we've released, that you immediately called the police?
Deception 5) Live Action Videos Are All "Doctored" and a "Hoax"
We have heard this tired claim from Planned Parenthood every time we release a video. Yet every time we've released a video, we post the full, unedited footage online for all to see, and send the full, unedited footage to state and federal authorities. Planned Parenthood can't argue with the full footage.
Planned Parenthood, if you really think our videos are "fake", "doctored" and a "hoax", why did you yesterday claim that you will be retraining your entire staff of 11,000?
Deception 4) "We are retraining our entire staff of 11,000″
First of all, we have heard the "retraining staff" excuse before.

When Live Action released undercover footage in December of 2008 showing the sexual abuse cover up of a 13 year old girl at Planned Parenthood, the organization called for "re-training". Clearly, that re-training (whatever it was) didn't last very long, if two years later Planned Parenthood workers are caught on tape working with human traffickers to provide services, ways to get around pesky parental involvement laws that protect children, tax-funded discounts and even business advice.
A final question: How exactly will Planned Parenthood be "training" it's staff? Will the training be a special seminar on how to recognize Live Action cameras?
Deception 3) Virginia Staff Acted "Professionally"
This is one of the most disturbing statements we have heard yet from Planned Parenthood higher-ups.
Virginia staff, on all four tapes released in Virginia, were very helpful to the self-identified pimp of underage sex slaves. Staffers assured him it was confidential, offered him information on how to get cheaper birth control (link: ), on how to get free STD testing, told him how to use the website and phone system  and even coached him how to use judicial bypasses to get secret abortions for his underage sex slaves.
This is not professional; this is criminal. It is criminal and incredibly offensive and harmful to the victims of abuse across our nation.
Deception 2) This is an "isolated incident"
Live Action has now released six more clinics in the past week, all showing Planned Parenthood workers, at all levels of the organization, willing to aid and abet the human traffickers of underage girls.
This is an institutional crisis that has engulfed the whole organization. No matter how many times Planned Parenthood's PR firm says "isolated incident", the growing body of evidence still stands.
Deception 1) We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse, and you should trust us.
If anyone can still believe this, I don't know if there is any evidence in the world that will convince them otherwise.

What If We All Were Rich?

Extrapolating from current trends.  Still popular.

via John Goodman's Health Policy Blog by John Goodman on 2/9/11

Barack Obama has said on numerous occasions that if you make less than $200,000 he wants the government to look after you, but if you make more than that you're on your own and can fend for yourself.
Okay, I know those weren't his exact words. But it's a reasonable approximation.
Now consider this. What if we lived in a world where the average family earned more than $200,000? What if almost every family earned more than $200,000? I'll tell you in a moment why it's reasonable to speculate this way and why it's relevant for current public policy. First, I want to consider the implications of almost everybody being rich.
For one thing, we could forget the funding problems of Social Security and Medicare. People who are rich can take care of themselves. In fact, without too much trouble we could cut the federal budget in half. We could eliminate the federal debt in fairly short order. Then we could cut everyone's federal taxes in half. We wouldn't need ObamaCare. There would be no appealing argument for card check. In fact, other than some environmental goals, the entire Obama domestic policy agenda would become unnecessary, superfluous and undesirable. Indeed, from the Obama administration's point of view, if everyone were rich there would be almost nothing for government to do!
Have I got your attention? Okay, now I'll tell you why this is not a pipe dream.
As Gary Becker pointed out the other day, from the middle of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century (about 150 years), real per capita income in the United States grew at an average rate of 2%. What if that growth rate continued for another 150 years?
If so, average income would double every 36 years. So today's average household income of $52,020 would exceed $100,000 (at today's prices) in 36 years and would double again to $200,000 after 72 years. Now if that doesn't knock your socks off, you need to know that 75 years is the planning horizon for Social Security and Medicare. It is smack dab in the middle of the retirement period for today's young people — people who think they are more likely to see a UFO than get the entitlement benefits they've been promised.
If we had to choose between shoring up today's entitlement programs and making sure that real income grows at 2% per year, shouldn't the latter be the more important goal? More specifically, suppose we have to choose between shoring up the entitlement programs with taxes on the rich (read: high taxes on capital) and a pro-growth policy (read: low taxes on capital). The choice should be a no-brainer.
Let's all get rich and make the welfare state a relic of the past.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wheel of the Year

Here, within this circle, we shall learn the dance of the Lady, Mother of all things, and her beloved, the Lord of Death and Resurrection.

This dance is ancient beyond time, yet eternally new. It is the dance of atoms and of particles that flicker in and out of existence in a wink. It is the dance of the sun and the moon. It is the stately dance of galaxies in their courses. It is the birth and death of our universe itself - the breath of the Gods. This is the unbroken circle, the Wheel of the Year. The circle is never broken, and its movement is never-ending.


The tale of the Lord and Lady is told again and again by every voice in all of time and space. Everything in the universe, from the largest to the smallest, relates the story in its own way and its own time. Their story rings across space and time, and in all the worlds that spin their way through eternity.

We shall follow this dance, in its many intricate steps. Indeed, we shall see this dance as many different dances, woven together into a tapestry of space and time, of light and life, and of mystery. We shall follow the story of birth and growth, of discovery and mastery, of age, ripeness, and decay. We shall pursue the twin mysteries of death and resurrection, and of love, without which none of the other mysteries would take place.

(From the introduction)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Steppenwolf Planets

This article looks at the possibility of rogue planets in interstellar space harboring life.  The only source of heat would be from the planetary core -- residual heat of formation and radioactive decay.  But given a thick enough insulating layer of ice, that could be enough.

A Steppenwolf planet’s lifetime will be limited by the decay of the geothermal heat flux, which is determined by the half-life of its stock of radioisotopes (
40K, 238U,232Th) and by the decay of its heat of formation.
These decay times are
15 Gyr, so its lifetime is thus comparable to planets in the traditional habitable zone of main-sequence stars (Kasting et al. 1993).
If a Steppenwolf planet harbors life, it could have originated in a more benign era before ejection from the host star. Alternatively, life could originate after ejection around hydrothermal vents, which are a proposed location for the origin of life on Earth (Baross & Hoffman 1985). If life can originate and survive on a Steppenwolf planet, it must be truly ubiquitous in the universe.
We have shown that a rogue planet drifting through interstellar space could harbor a subglacial liquid ocean despite its low emission temperature, and so might be considered habitable. Such an object could be detected and followed-up using current technology if it passed within
O(1000 AU) of Earth.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wheel of the Year - Now an e-book

The Wheel of the Year

This book is an exploration of the Wiccan Wheel of the year – the eight festivals of the year. This started out as a series of essays on The Witches' Voice. When I printed them out for a friend who was asking about Wiccan holidays, I realized I had the makings of a book.

The book is now available for Kindle users.

By the way, you don't have to buy the physical device. You can download a reader for your computer.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Math without a license?

I guess Mr. Cox needs a deriver's license.

via Hit & Run by Radley Balko on 2/4/11

A citizen in Raleigh, North Carolina presented the city a proposal to install traffic lights near his home. One city official responded by calling for the citizen to be investigated for what basically amounts to doing math without a license.
Cox and his North Raleigh neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road.
After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations responded with a sophisticated analysis of their own...
The eight-page document with maps, diagrams and traffic projections was offered to buttress their contention that signals will be needed at the Falls of Neuse at Coolmore Drive intersection and where the road meets Tabriz Point / Lake Villa Way.
It did not persuade Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the state DOT, to change his mind about the project. Instead, Lacy called on a state licensing agency, the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, to investigate Cox...
Cox has not been accused of claiming that he is an engineer. But Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report "appears to be engineering-level work" by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer...
Lacy said he had told the group last year that it should hire an engineer to make its case. He said he was surprised to see engineering-quality work in a report that was not signed by a licensed professional.
"When you start applying the principles for trip generation and route assignment, applying judgments from engineering documents and national standards, and making recommendations," that's technical work a licensed engineer would do, Lacy said.
Lacy is right. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if we let just regular, unlicensed people use sophisticated arguments when petitioning their government.
(Thanks to Michael Chaney for the link.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Redefining Rape?

I've been seeing posts on Facebook throwing hysterical fits over the Speaker's "evil plan to redefine rape". According to the posts and the online petitions, the Speaker is offering a bill that will redefine to mean *only* forcible rape. Date rape, rape while the victim is under the influence of drugs, rape of the unconscious, and so on, would not count as rape. Are Republicans seriously planning to redefine rape?
No, not quite. Salon has a <a href = "">piece</a> about it. It refers to HR 3, which proposes to limit funding for abortions. It doesn't specify that certain forms of rape are no longer criminal acts. It "merely" limits the forms of rape that will make the victim eligible for Federal funding for an abortion.
'The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion--
'(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest...
It all comes down to definitions.
In this case, rape remains rape, but only forcible rape qualifies for special coverage. In the same fashion, a law saying only murder with "special circumstances" qualifies for the death penalty is not "redefining murder". It's setting aside a particular class of murders that are subject to a particular action -- in this case, te death penalty.
Agree or disagree with the bill, the point -- the sole point of the original post -- is that the bill does not "redefine rape". It dec...lines to extend a benefit to a subset of people who might otherwise want it.
And for that matter, rape is handled under criminal codes at the state level and below, not at the federal level. I'm not sure a law redefining rape would make it past the Supreme Court.
Nevertheless, my Facebook post, where I point out the bill does not redefine the crime of rape, but "merely" states only a particular subset of rapes will be eligible for federal funding of abortions, drew more comments than I've seen in any non-celebrity posts. (Around 90 at last count). Granted, a lot of those were my responses to people, but even so, that's a lot of commenting. And what's interesting is the bulk of the comments focused abortions. Why abortion should be legal. Why people should get federal funding for abortion. Why it's wrong to deny funding for abortion.
A similar post, where I went specifically into the question of whether people who are victims of crimes should receive federal funds to be made whole, has been dead.
Conclusion: The passion in the discussion is not about rape. It's about abortion.