Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Become a government official, get rich

The LA Times reports that the publicly-owned Los Angeles Coliseum has been paying union officials with suitcases filled with $100 bills.  The payments were allegedly arranged by General Manager Patrick Lynch and Events Manager Todd DeStefano. According to the LA Times the alleged scheme worked like this:
  1. Lynch and DeStefano paid union officials over $1 million in cash, sometimes in suitcases, to pay for stagehands or other workers at Coliseum events .  "[T]he Coliseum imposed no controls over whether the money ended up in the right pockets."
  2. The event promoters and Coliseum contractors then arranged payments (a) to Lynch in excess of $400,000 and (b) to companies owned DeStefano in excess of $2.2 million.
Are you looking forward to having the government run your healthcare?

Lynch and DeStefano no longer work for the Coliseum and, through their lawyer, deny wrongdoing.

Media hypocrite of the day: Brian Williams

Hat tip: Instapundit.

2 Democrats plead guilty in vote fraud case

The AP reports from Charleston, West Virginia:
Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman and Clerk Donald Whitten will plead guilty to charges that they attempted to flood the 2010 Democratic primary with fraudulent absentee ballots, becoming the latest southern West Virginia officeholders ensnared by an investigation into election fraud, federal and state officials announced Monday.

Bowman has agreed to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. He is accused of trying to stuff the ballot box in his favor while running for circuit clerk, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said. Whitten will plead guilty to lying to a criminal investigator for Tennant as her office scrutinized the influx of absentee ballots.

Allegations of improper absentee votes had surfaced immediately after the May 2010 primary. A judge that August threw out more than 300 contested absentee ballots, reversing Bowman's initial victory and securing the nomination for incumbent Circuit Clerk Charles Brumfield.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

California rules seem designed to help Democrats who want to stuff the ballot box with fraudulent absentee ballots. Makes me wonder what Bowman did in W. Virginia to get caught.

For honest elections, (1) absentee ballots should be limited to those truly absent on travel and (2) registration and voting should require photo ID. (Related: Is it racist to require photo ID?)

WELCOME to readers of Predictable History, Unpredictable Past.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of vote fraud:
Who counts ballots: SEIU union members
How vote fraud is done in New Jersey
Obama DoJ: vote fraud helps "increase turnout"
More vote fraud: New York State
How to buy a vote
NJ Dems demand equal rights for fraudulent voters
Nevada accuses ACORN of 39 felonies
Three Obama supporters plead guilty
Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty
An insider's guide to vote fraud
Vote fraud update
Absentee ballot and dishonest elections
Fraud and Deceit in 2004

2012: A New Beginning

Hat tip: Instapundit

PREVIOUSLY on Tea Parties in the San Francisco area:
Long Strange Trip: Hippies defend establishment; Tea Party protests (Jul 18)
A Tea Party greets Obama in San Francisco and the left is not happy about it
Collected photos of this year's San Francisco Tea Party events
Minutemen vs. May Day protesters in San Francisco
A tax day Tea Party breaks out in San Francisco's Union Square
A tax day Tea Party breaks out on the San Francisco Peninsula
3 in 10 Californians identify with tea party protests
To protest Obamacare, San Francisco holds a sick-in (Nov. 15)
A Tea Party greets Obama in San Francisco (Oct. 15)
Videos of the October 15 San Francisco Tea Party
San Franciscans speak to Nancy Pelosi (Aug. 14)
The San Francisco Tax Day Tea Party Protest in Pictures (Apr. 15)
Farmers protest in San Jose (Nov. 21).
Tea Party breaks out in Palo Alto (Nov. 21)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PuffingtonHost deplores "ignorance"

At the HuffingtonPost, Philip Goldberg complains about Rick Santorum's "ignorance":

In the run-up to the South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum continued his record-breaking run of irritating different segments of the American population. This time, the offended were Muslims and followers of Eastern religions. By extension, that would cover just about everyone from the farthest reaches of Asia to the west coast of Africa.

The offending statement, which contains onion-like layers of ignorance too thick to peel away here, was: "I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, 'Well, equality, we want equality.' Where do you think this concept of equality comes from? It doesn't come from Islam. It doesn't come from the East and Eastern religions. Where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that's where it comes from."

My initial reaction to this classic ethnocentrism was a combination of outrage and amusement. Really, is it too much to ask that a presidential candidate in this diverse society have a rudimentary knowledge of religions other than his own, and the decency to at least pretend to respect them?

At this point, Mr. Goldberg should enthrall us with extensive examples of Islam and Eastern Religions shaming the West into accepting their deeply-held belief in equal rights.  But, of course, he doesn't.   Instead he attacks Christianity:
[W]hat is there to say about a sanctimonious politician who is already famous for intolerance extolling equality in the language of in equality, especially when his own religion has demonstrated its commitment to equality with actions ranging from the Inquisition to the stubborn refusal to ordain women?
This, of course, completely misses the point.  No one claims that equal rights or other ideas of morality sprang forth in ancient times in their full modern form with immediate acceptance.  Nevertheless, it is still Western civilization that developed the ideal of equal rights and has been applying it ever more broadly.  Santorum is not my favorite politician, but he has a strong point here and the PuffingtonHost misses it.

Mr. Goldberg is a victim of oikophobia.

Occupy Portland blocks bridge, stops traffic

"We do not forgive. We do not forget." So say the Occupiers in Portland while blocking the Hawthorne Bridge and causing a massive weekend traffic backup. They disperse after the riot police show up:

If you want to win friends and influence people, creating a traffic jam is probably not a good tactic. But then, the left rarely thinks very far ahead.

PREVIOUSLY on the Occupy Wall Street movement:
Occupy Oakland: the devolution
Occupy Portland explains its rape policy
News media report on terrorists and patriots
Occupy Portland protester loses it in front of KGW news
Occupy Portland and Michael Moore's hypocrisy
A Visit to Occupy San Francisco: photo essay
Occupy Oakland and Marxism: a video

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pres. Obama is not carbon-neutral

Much attention has been given to Pres. Obama's traveling to a "clean energy" event yesterday in gas-guzzling motorcade. This is, of course, not new. Below is my video of Obama's motorcade going to the San Francisco Airport after an October-2009 fund-raiser in the City. Can you count all the vehicles?:

The kicker is that newspapers reported the next day that Obama spent the night in the City. This motorcade, with all its carbon emissions, was just practice.

P.S. Did you include in your vehicle count that there are multiple police vehicles blocking traffic at every cross-street along the path of the motorcade?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When ideology clashes with reality

Gay rights activists are outraged at a gay actress because she says she chose to be gay.  The LA Times reports:
Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon says she is gay by “choice” – a statement that has riled many gay rights activitists who insist that people don’t choose their sexual orientation.

Here’s what Nixon, who recently shaved her head to play a cancer patient in a Broadway production of “Wit,” told the New York Times Magazine:

“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”
It seems to me that gay activists have unnecessarily backed themselves into a corner over this. The case for gay rights should not depend on a claimed lack-of-choice.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Affirmative action backfire

The US Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear Fisher v. University of Texas, a case challenging racial preferences in school admissions. Two of the Amici briefs filed in this case are particularly interesting.  They argue that the effect of affirmative action has been the opposite of intended.  Ed Whelan of National Review writes:

I’d like to highlight a provocative new line of attack on racial preferences made in two of the amicus briefs—one by law professor Richard Sander and journalist Stuart Taylor Jr., and the other on behalf of three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow, and Todd Gaziano.

As Sander and Taylor summarize it, “a growing volume of very careful research, some of it completely unrebutted by dissenting work, suggests that racial preferences in higher education often undermine minority achievement.” This research focuses on the so-called academic “mismatch” effect of racial preferences—that is, the effect of placing the recipients of racial preferences in more advanced academic settings than their objective qualifications would warrant.

It is, of course, not surprising that anyone who is overmatched by his academic environment would tend to do poorly compared to others who are well matched for that same environment. (Sander and Taylor note that the “median black receiving a large admission preference to an elite law school … ends up with grades that put her at the 6th percentile of the white grade distribution.”)

But what recent research has discovered, according to the two amicus briefs, is the more striking finding that, across various measurements, the recipients of racial preferences perform worse than similarly qualified minority students attending less elite institutions. For example, mismatched students transfer at a higher rate out of science majors, are less likely to pursue a doctorate, are less likely to become college professors, have lower graduation rates from law school, and have much lower success rates on bar exams. Again, in each case the comparison is to similarly qualified minority students attending less elite institutions, so the broader implication is that racial preferences affirmatively harm many of their intended beneficiaries. [Emph. added]

Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe has more on this (hat tip: Instapundit).

PREVIOUSLY on affirmative action:
California offers tutoring only to those qualified racially
Asians try to cope with racist university admissions policies
Justice Scalia on the incoherence of Affirmative Action law
For liberals, "affirmative action" means "keep the Asians out"
Liberals oppose even research on the issue of whether affirmative action works
High school implements race-based punishments for misbehavior

Friday, January 06, 2012

Is it racist to require a photo ID to buy drain cleaner?

CBS reports from Democrat-run Illinois:
CHICAGO (CBS) – A new state law requires those who buy drain cleaners and other caustic substances to provide photo identification and sign a log.
Republican efforts to require photo ID for voting are labeled as a return to the racist "Jim Crow" era (examples are here, here, and here) and provoke outrage. However, don't minorities, the poor, and the elderly need to buy Drano too? Where is the outrage?

WELCOME to readers of Instapundit, the internet's blog of record, and also to readers of Hogewash.

UPDATE: From the comments, Portland, Oregon, a trendy liberal city, requires a photo ID to buy spray paint. Still more racism?

Is DoJ funding ACORN's spinoffs?

How does the Department of Justice spend the settlement money that it receives?  Judicial Watch reports (hat tip: Instapundit):
Judicial Watch has investigated this controversial arrangement and in 2010 sued the DOJ to obtain information about the policy directing big portions of cash settlements from its civil rights lawsuits to organizations not officially connected to the cases. In response to JW’s lawsuit, the DOJ was forced to acknowledge that it has no official guidelines regarding “qualified organizations” that get leftover settlement funds and that it doesn’t monitor how the money is used.  

In the Countrywide case, details of the unscrupulous arrangement are buried deep (page 10 of the 17-page settlement) in the court document where Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial

Corporation agrees to pay to resolve allegations that it discriminated against qualified black and Hispanic borrowers. The lender denies all of the charges, but wanted to end the case and caved into the government’s terms.

Here’s a synopsis straight out of the court settlement; all money not distributed to allegedly aggrieved persons within 24 months shall be distributed to qualified organizations that provide services including credit and housing counseling, financial literacy and other related programs targeted at African-Americans and Hispanics. Recipients may include “non-profit community organizations that provide education, counseling and other assistance to low-income and minority borrowers…”

This language essentially comes from ACORN’s mission statement. [Emph. added]

To summarize, DoJ doesn't know where the money goes but their policy, such as it is, seems written to send it directly to ACORN.  (ACORN, after it became known for support of vote fraud and international-child-sex-slavery, has since reorganized under different names.)

How can it be that the Dept. of Justice spends money without monitoring "how the money is used"?   Shouldn't that be a crime all by itself?

Nevada accuses ACORN of 39 felonies
Another ex-ACORN worker pleads guilty
The hypocrisy of ACORN and others on minimum wage
Think about it: When you feel threatened, isn't "Heidi Fleiss is my hero" the first thing you blurt out?
NY Times kills ACORN story because it would make Obama look bad
ACORN and vote fraud in Ohio

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Democrats and their kool-aid

Ed Driscoll reminds us today of the 909 people who died ("drank the kool-aid") in Guyana on November 18, 1978, at the direction of Rev. Jim Jones. Before moving to Guyana, Rev. Jones preached in San Francisco where, as documented here, he was celebrated for his active support of the Democrat party. Below, for example, is a photo of SF Mayor Moscone and Rev. Jim Jones greeting then VP-candidate Walter Mondale at the airport in 1976:
Rev. Jones was a strong supporter of Moscone and, some say, instrumental in his election as mayor in 1975. Walter Mondale later wrote praise for Rev. Jones.

And here is Rev. Jim jones with another politician he supported, Gov. Jerry Brown:

Who is Rick Santorum?

Rick Santorum is currently popolar as the not-Romney candidate in the Republican presidential contest. He may technically not be Romney but he is certainly not the leader that the Tea Party wanted. For example, here he is in an 8/4/2005 interview with NPR [Hat tip: Cato@liberty] explaining his opposition to to personal autonomy and his support for keeping government "in the bedroom":
One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. You know, the left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they touch each other. They come around in the circle. This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.
[This statement is in the audio of the interview but NPR, curiously, did not include it in the transcript.]

Later in the interview (c2:27 in the recording), Santorum says that the science classes should be teaching "the problems and holes, and I think that there are legitimate problems and holes, in the theory of evolution."

If Rick Santorum is the not-Romney, then I might rather have Romney.

UPDATE: Here is another instance of Rick Santorum attacking the TEA party and libertarians:

More at LegalInsurrection.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

4.5 Billion to die this year, or maybe not

In 2007, The Canadian, which bills itself as a "socially progressive and cross-cultural national newspaper," warned of a possible global warming disaster to occur by 2012:Since the world population in 2007 was only 6.6 billion, the claim that 4.5 billion of us would die by 2012 is non-trivial.

In science, hypotheses ("theories") are tested against experiment. Hypotheses which fail to agree with experiment are to be discarded.

Newspaper reporters operate by a different standard: if something is scary and attention grabbing, then it should be printed before anyone has a chance to refute it. In John Stokes case, he has been promoted to National Co-Managing Editor at The Canadian.

Hat tip: WattsUpWithThat.

PREVIOUSLY on global warming:
More ethics problems among Global Warming "scientists"
Global warmists propose mass killing of animals
Democrat: Global Warming will destroy Washington DC by the year 2000
Earth Day: environmentalism and the test of science
The collapse of the UN IPCC's credibility
Yet another UN IPCC Glacier-gate scandal
UN IPCC claims of melting Himalayan glaciers exposed as fraud
Environmentalists at war with environmentalists over green energy
EPA's new global warming rules, illustrated
California global warming rules backfire
France's carbon tax ruled unconstitutional
UN IPCC responds to Climategate with wild accusations
Surprise: EU's carbon trading riddled with fraud
Global warming and the test of science, III
Global warming and the test of science, II
Global warming and the test of science, I
141 scientists wrote letter to UN challenging global warming hysteria.
Ma'am Sen. Boxer for and against climate whistleblowers.
BBC propaganda on global warming
Climate alarmist Phil Jones to step down pending review
Why Penn State's investigation of its global warmist will go nowhere
Former boss calls James Hansen call an embarrassment to NASA
NASA's global warming scientists caught hyping false data
The resemblance of global warming true-believers to Islamists
James Hansen "muzzled" by Bush White House?

The slow death of democracy in America

If you live in a small city, say population less than 100,000, and you are upset about something the goverment is doing, it is very easy to find the mayor and give him a piece of your mind. This is less helpful than it used to be. Mayors and other elected city officials have less and less control over local affairs. Much of city funding now comes from states along with state mandates that local officials are powerless to change.

This process is continues to evolve. The State of California has given authority over local zoning and development issues to unelected regional government organizations. In the San Francisco Bay Area, this regional bureaucracy is known as "OneBayArea." To maintain the pretense of democratic approval, OneBayArea holds "public workshops" to discuss their plans and get public input. Participants at past workshops report, however, that workshop leaders claimed they couldn't answer questions because "there wasn't time" exposing the process as a sham. In the upcoming series of workshops, they are trying a new tactic: they are limiting participation and requiring pre-registration, a process which likely favors politically preferred groups.

If OneBayArea decides that your city must rezone its downtown or build high-density housing someplace inappropriate, who do you complain to? You are unlikely to get face time with the Governor unless you are known as a successful campaign donation bundler. You might be able to complain to your state assembly representative but he is but one of 120 legislators in the capitol and likely not even on the relevant oversight committee.

The end result of this process is that, in a maze of overlapping layers of bureaucracies, responsibility is lost.

The bureaucrats like it this way.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Obama administration is supporting immigration fraud

The Daily reports:
Higher-ups within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are pressuring rank-and-file officers to rubber-stamp immigrants’ visa applications, sometimes against the officers’ will, according to a Homeland Security report and internal documents exclusively obtained by The Daily.

A 40-page report, drafted by the Office of Inspector General in September but not publicly released, details the immense pressure immigration service officers are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security.  . . . .

[H]igh-ranking USCIS officials said the pressure has heightened after the Obama administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as director in August 2009 during an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, bringing with him a mantra of “get to yes.” . . . .
Civil servants who oppose the push for illegal immigration are punished:
At least five agency veterans seen as being too tough on applicants were either demoted, or given the choice between a demotion or a relocation from Southern California — where their families were — to San Francisco and Nebraska, according to sources and letters of reassignment provided to The Daily.
PREVIOUSLY on immigration:
Obama policy: give citizenship to convicted terrorists
Feds cede border to smugglers. Warn citizens to stay away
Obama administration overturns rule of law on immigration
Pro-illegal immigration protesters confront Minutemen in San Francisco
Amazing: NY Times editors thought illegal immigration was legal
California pays for schooling of Mexicans who live in Mexico and only cross the border to go to school
Political bias on Spanish-language TV network Univision
British pop star denied visa to US. Should she have tried to get in illegally instead?
Sex slave ring arrested. Pro-illegal advocates object.

California offers student tutoring but only for students belonging to the right races

One might have thought racial discrimination is prohibited in the US. It isn't. Take, for example, this announcement from the University of California at Berkeley seeking students to apply for tutoring jobs:

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program

Seeking UCB Science and Engineering Students to tutor students in the following
Berkeley-equivalent classes starting Spring 2012 semester

CHEM 1A, CHEM 1B, CHEM 3A/B (organic), BIO 1A, BIO 1B,

Tutors will be working with community college students who are preparing to be competitive transfer applicants to the University of California. Students being tutored are participants in the UCB NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) program. The program’s goal is to increase the number of people from African American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander backgrounds in biomedical fields. [Emph. added]

While there is no mention of restricting tutors by race, Berkeley apparently intends to offer its tutoring services only to students belonging to approved races. The Federal government is so pleased with the racial outcomes that Berkeley has achieved so far that it gave Berkeley an award:
In announcing the award, U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha J. Kanter declared "it is vital that we increase degree completion among Latinos.”

Californians passed Proposition 209 to outlaw racial discrimination in education. Prop 209 does allow for racial discrimination if, as in this case, it is needed "to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state."

In 1865, the abolitionists won the Civil War but, since then, the segregationists seem to be winning the peace.

PREVIOUSLY on racism:
For liberals, "affirmative action" means "keep the Asians out"
Occupy Portland protesters hurl racist taunts an African American
Democrat: "Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men"
The subtleties of White Privilege
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

Monday, January 02, 2012

An Ivy League education

The CBS/AP reports that Columbia University will offer college credit for protesting:

Columbia University will offer a new course for upperclassmen and grad students next semester. An Occupy Wall Street class will send students into the field and will be taught by Dr. Hannah Appel, a veteran of the Occupy movement.

The course begins next semester and will be divided between class work at Columbia’s Morningside campus and fieldwork that will require students to become involved with the Occupy movement outside of the classroom. . . . .

Will the course be unbiased?

Appel is a staunch defender of the Occupy movement, in her blog she said that, “it is important to push back against the rhetoric of ‘disorganization’ or ‘a movement without a message’ coming from left, right and center.”

Appel told the New York Post that while her involvement with the movement will color the way she teaches it will not prevent her from being an objective teacher. [Emph. added]

Does that sound likely to you? Me, neither.

The existence of a course like this is just another indication that the burst of the higher education bubble is long overdue.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The dumbing down of America

The Obama administration is floating the idea that the government should prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to have a high school diploma.  For each individual applicant who is a high school dropout, the Obama administration proposes [full text here] requiring the employer to follow a process to "determine whether a particular applicant whose learning disability
prevents him from [graduating high school] can perform the essential functions of the
job, with or without a reasonable accommodation."

The bottom line is that, if implemented, this will be very expensive for employers.  Whether an employer chooses to (a) implement a complicated procedures for each dropout who applies, or (b)  hire high school dropouts where they used to hire high school graduates, or (c) retain lawyers to defend the employer from discrimination lawsuits, this will waste a lot of money.   Economically rational employers may decide simply to move operations offshore.

The Washington Times has more on this action by the EEOC.
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