Turkey politicians guilty of fowl play with Chick fil-A; feathers ruffled at Glaad

Chick fil-A is evidently run by a moron whose instincts with cooking are somewhat more successful than his PR efforts.

Statistically, probably about half of CEOs are opposed to gay marriage.

Most of them have better sense than to say so publicly though.

So do we figure out which CEOs are homophobes and the enlightened boycott half the companies in the world?

Well that would be a bit hard on the half of their workers who aren’t homophobes.

Come to think of it, half the workers at companies who have a CEO that is in favor of gay marriage are probably against it. So maybe we should boycott everybody.

Well, if you are truely enlightened and believe in human liberty then you don’t believe in thought crime.

A bunch of politicians have egg on their faces for forgetting that there is a first amendment and declaring that they would use their governmental power to prevent Chick fil-A expansion. Now if they DON’T approve the expansions they are leaving themselves wide open.

But the core ethical issue here goes beyond the constitution. If you believe in an open society you cannot regulate what other people think. You are supposed to be able to have profound disagreements with a person but be able to shake his hand and have a beer with him and be able to act civilly towards him. If you can’t do that you don’t get it.

Whether the opinion is right or wrong isn’t relevant. If you are entitled to shut somebody else up because you think he’s wrong then other people are entitled to shut you up because they think you are wrong.

It is relevant whether an opinion is just an opinion or an incitement to violence. Not another kind of incitement. Inciting people to make a decision one way or another on legislation via due process is legitimate. That everybody has access to due process through the legislatures and courts is what prevents us from returning to the stone age and going at each other with pointed sticks.

I note that most states still don’t have gay marriage and opposition to gay marriage would have been uncontroversial ten years ago.

I note that the opponents to gay marriage have been playing by the rules, taking their stands in legislatures and courtrooms, where such agreements belong.

Targetting politicians for such views is fair game. They aren’t selling chicken. They’re asking for a mandate to change laws or to keep them the same. Chick fil-A has a mandate to cook chicken.

We don’t need a left wing version of the committee on un-american activities destroying people for their personal views.

The left in recent years has started to attack the system that allowed civil liberties to advance over the past 60 years, winning over time in the courts and the legislatures. The right wing for the most part did not engage in collateral attacks to destroy anybody advocating for that progress.

Do we really want to change the game so if Steve Bezos of Amazon donates to gay and lesbian causes the right wing boycotts Amazon and tries to destroy him?

Do we want right wingers retaliating against Anderson Cooper?

This goes beyond constitutional issues. The right has known forever about the political views of various influential people and apart from a few whackos on the right haven’t tried to do anything about it.

It can’t be a constitutional rule because you can’t legislate or codify where people eat, what tv they watch, etc. But it is a ground rule, that people used to understand implicitly, that there are certain lines you don’t cross. And it is a rule that is frankly more important than anything that can be put in any constitution.

There is another aspect of the “debate” to consider. To date Chick fil-A has been a relatively minor player, maybe even in a bit of trouble if the recent announcement was a desperate cry for attention.

You would think that the one thing that the left would have learned in the past 150 years is that, for example, if you want an author to be read, the best thing you can do for him is ban his books, thus rocketing him to international fame and saving him from obscurity.

The Chick fil-A guy of course violated another kind of unwritten rule by raising an issue totally unrelated to his business. But if he was seeking attention, he got it.

He had a tiny portion of the fast food market. Now the over 50% of people who oppose gay marriage in the areas that his restaurants are clustered may be tempted to go there in a show of solidarity. If you check on the restaurants now don’t be surprised if they are packed.

Think, people.


Olympic bore-fest begins

What do basketball, football (soccer) and boxing have in common? They are the only olympic sports that anybody watches on TV when the olympics aren’t on.

Of those three, the boxing won’t feature any of the top boxers in the world because they are pros, and the basketball isn’t competitive. If the US doesn’t win gold with that the players are going to go into hiding.

In other words, it’s a lot like the winter olympics, which features a very competitive and exciting hockey tournament along with a bunch of stuff nobody cares about.

Some of the sports belong in the mix because they are a nod to the ancient games, or show historically relevant feats of skill.

Other things are just weird, maybe even included just to generate interest through controversy, like gymnastics and equestrian and trampoline and synchronized swimming. It isn’t possible to have objective criteria for these pseudo sports which guarantees endless controversy.

Introducing new olympic sports is easier if they are marginal and disorganized, hence the lineup of competitions that nobody cares about outside of the olympics.

The really interesting olympic competitions, like hockey, soccer and basketball, including the best professionals, required negotiations between the olympics and powerful existing sports groups.

Such groups often have their own world championships and may want some advertising revenue or other compensation for risking their players.

If a shot putter gets injured at the Olympics that really isn’t going to affect his day job back at Walmart much. If a sports star with a $100 million ten year contract gets injured at the Olympics that is a problem. Owners may want something in return for their waivers to allow such players to play in a competition that they don’t benefit from.

So the Olympics continues to be primarily boring competitions tha range from archaic to esoteric to asinine.

How about baseball, cricket, rugby, poker, chess, billiards, go, backgammon, bridge or scrabble?

Poker especially would lend itself more to the Olympic tendency to split hairs in search of medals.

In the case of swimming that has resulted in the silly phenomenon of some people calling Micheal Phelps the greatest olympian of all time.

All of his medals are in swimming sprints. There aren’t a lot of non-sprints in Olympic swimming, I guess because they drag on too long for the TV audience.

He also got a lot of medals for sprint relays. Given the US talent pool it isn’t hard to get gold in the relay if you have the gold medalist in the individual contest backed up by other serious swimmers including usually one or two other medal contenders.

So Phelps gets a zillion medals for doing the same thing over and over again. Seriously, why not add 50 meter, 150 meter and 250 meter competitions as well so he can double his medal haul without doing anything different?

With poker you could at least get a range. Limit, no limit and pot limit poker all have different strategies and there are other games besides Texas Holdem. For someone to win golds in limit, no limit and pot limit they would need at least some range of skills. Head to head competitions vs large table competitions would also offer range.

Head to head you have to be aggressive and be prepared to take a stand, every hand deciding when to fight and when to back off. In a big table it’s about reading the table. If the other players are passive you bully them and take most of the hands. If the other players are too aggressive you set traps to score big and sit back and let them self destruct.

Considering how many popular games are online, maybe in the future electronic games should be added in to the mix.

It must be half the synchronized swimmers in the world are at the Olympics, because who does that? Why not say, Starcraft?

I don’t find that obscure, boring activities become more interesting because people that excel in them can jack up their country’s stats and nationalist fervour.

I take it that puts me in a minority. Even the most mundane or insipid activity seems to become interesting for the masses (or enough of them to generate ad revenue) if their country might win a medal in it.

I just wish they would introduce more interesting competitions

Scandal with US olympic trials


The body of Jeneba Tarmoh clearly crossed the finish line first, which I understand is the criterion. There was no dead heat to resolve with a run-off.

The unknown runner beat the one with endorsements. So be it. It’s the same rules for everybody.

Tarmoh probably wouldn’t have won the run off, especially in the mental state where the injustice of having to re-earn the right to represent the US was weighing on her.

Whether it was sponsor pressure or an unethical desire for additional visibility for commercial reasons, officials tampered with the outcome of a race for reasons that had nothing to do with their official duties. They should at least be fired, banned for life from involvement in sports, and the situation should be reviewed for whether they committed an offense.

Top world security priority- stop Chinese aggression in the South China Sea

Each nation has a 200 mile exclusive economic zone into adjoining sea or ocean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_waters
Scarborough Shoal, recently occupied by the Chinese, is well within Philippines economic zone territorial waters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ph_Territorial_Map.png

However, it is apparently not within an area covered by other treaties…which should be redundant. China already has no business being there as a matter of international law.

China is a signatory of the Law of the Sea and has ratified it.

The United States is in a weak position to stand up to China on the issue because the US has not signed the treaty. Apart from the US, only banana republics and land locked territories have refused to sign the treaty. The US will have little moral standing to criticize China on the issue while itself repudiating the same treaty.

China’s most recent breach of the treaty is the most aggressive yet, purporting to set up a “city” on a reef that is either in the economic zone of the Philippines or Taiwan. I consider that to be an act of war.

The longer this nonsense is allowed to escalate, the more difficult it will be to get China to back down.

China’s position that it owns all of the South China Sea to about 50 miles from the coast of each of the other nations bordering the sea is indefensible and a violation of international law.

This needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets any more steam.

The US should be pulling its’ navy away from the middle east, where it serves no purpose other than provocation, and re tasking those vessels to the South China Sea.

China is becoming ravenous for resources and if the aggression is left unchecked it is going to happen on land too. Free market superpowers always engage in imperialist conquest if they can get away with it.

This is a far worse threat than North Korea, Iran, Syria and all the other miscreants combined.

Something like Nato needs to be formed in the other Southeast Asia countries right away.

There has to be a carrot as well as a stick so that the Chinese can save face while backing down.

Meanwhile, Romney out of the blue came up with the idea that Russia is the greatest security threat in the world today and still hasn’t retracted that piece of idiocy.

Putin is less than ideal but is the best alternative, especially for us. He’s conservative, shows no interest in foreign adventures, stable and predictable. He’s interested in defending what he’s got and not interested in risking it all to get more. With Putin there are clear bright lines and the international players know where they stand. He is willing to reduce their nuclear arsenal, which is especially important from a succession point of view. The world cannot afford to risk him being replaced by an imperialist nationalist. There’s too many wild cards out there already.
Somebody needs to brief Romney on what’s happened in the past 25 years while he’s been in his ivory tower.

A negative side effect of quantitative easing

When the Fed releases a new QE, that pushes markets up as banks and other parties invest more in the markets.

That doesn’t just inflate the stock markets, it also causes a commodity bubble.

In some areas of the world that will cause mass hunger and civil unrest.

Closer to home, increasing food and gas prices reduces the money that people have to spend in other areas of the economy. QE leads to inflation of commodity prices and damages the economy in that way in the medium to long term.

In other words, unless QE3 is needed to prevent some actual financial armaggedon in the short term, it will always be the wrong choice.

Bulgaria bombing- troubling questions

The western press initially released an unsourced claim that the bomber was somebody released from Guantanamo.

The Bulgarian leader doesn’t seem to think so: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/24/12931949-bulgarian-pm-conspiracy-behind-suicide-bomb-plot?lite&__utma=238145375.1647607126.1343172533.1343172533.1343172533.1&__utmb=238145375.0.10.1343172533&__utmc=238145375&__utmx=-&__utmz=238145375.1343172533.1.1.utmcsr=msn.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/&__utmv=-&__utmk=160131710

It is interesting how anybody could almost immediately ID such a person from a grainy indirect photo, and how the world was almost instantaneously told that a number of jews were on the bus.

The Isrealis also almost immediately declared that it was an attack on Jews by Hezbollah and Iran. The rational for going after Jews that were in tourists in Bulgaria of all places is never explained.

Anybody waiting to do a suicide attack on Jews visiting Bulgaria might have to wait an awfully long time, and to have advance knowledge of their itinerary suggests sophistication, resources and purpose way beyond some suicide bombing cretin.

If somebody wanted to execute a bunch of random Jews there are plenty of places that they could be more effective just doing it in the street with no preparation at all.

So if the jewishness is not coincidental then it is a targeted killing.

The reason why these particular Jews would be targeted is never explained. If true somebody went to an awful lot of trouble.

The Bulgarian PM says there is some evidence of a conspiracy. If that is bourne out by evidence, the methods described are well known Mossad methods of assassination.

If the Bulgarian PM’s assessment is right, it looks like Isreal put a hit on some jewish people for some unknown grievance and is using that as a pretext to beat the war drums about Iran.

It reminds me a bit of the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing, where the racists were all speculating about muslim terrorists.

My first thought then was, most Muslims couldn’t even find Oklahoma on a map (hell, I couldn’t without the name printed), the symbolism is nil and the story doesn’t make sense. Blowing up a government building in Backwater USA sounded just like something an anti-government poor white trash right wing militia nutbar would do. And sure enough.

The prevailing narrative about the Bulgaria bombing has the same false ring to it. It makes absolutely no sense as a jihadist target. Coming half way across the world from Guantanamo to declare war on Judaism in Bulgaria is incoherent. I don’t see any indication that the person alleged to be the bomber in the prevailing narrative had the requisite connection to Bulgaria to have some personal axe to grind there. Why travel the world in the name of a Jihad and then blow yourself up in the middle of nowhere? Only a Bulgarian native with little outside exposure would develop that kind of tunnel vision.

If the attack was targeted it is highly unlikely that the person who brought the bomb on board was still on board when it exploded, unless he (or she) didn’t know what was in his baggage. People with the degree of organization required to plan and organize the logistics of such a targeted attack aren’t going to gratuitously blow themselves up. It’s pointless and undisciplined. It may result in unnecessary clues left behind. Only moronic cannonfodder mindlessly blow themselves up.

The only way Isreal would announce prior to any investigation or evidence that Iran and Hezbollah were behind the attack would be if they already knew that nobody else would be likely to claim responsibility. Meaning that they had inside information on the attack. If somebody else had claimed responsibility they would look pretty stupid.

I don’t have any problem with them taking out a known terrorist in Dubai using similar methods but using the same tactics on apparent civilians and using that as a pretext for war is a new low, even for Isreal.

Was Jessica Ghawi /Redfield target of Colorado massacre?

Jessica Ghawi was a small time reporter with big time aspirations in Colorado. While on a trip to Toronto she allegedly narrowly missed being in the middle of the Eaton Centre mass shooting, and claimed to have some psychic premonition that saved her.

Her only other blog entry is more or less how she enjoys using men.

James Holmes, the Colorado shooter, was a geeky neuroscientist who went off the rails in some way that is not presently that clear. He had problems finding employment and for an unknown reason was in the process of quitting his PHD program.

He had set up elaborate booby traps at his home and was carrying some serious assault gear, which suggests premeditation for some time in advance. He didn’t just pick up a gun and head out the door. He had to source all these things and they aren’t the kind of things that an upper middle class geek would normally have the connections to get. The bomb making suggests perhaps internet research.

Jessica Redfield’s (her pen name) alleged Toronto escape could easily have come to his attention if he was researching other mass shootings.

Her alleged premonition would probably have been annoying to a neuroscientist and combined with her views on men would make her a natural target for this particular wacko.

She tweeted her intention to go to a midnight showing of the Batman movie around 5:30 the same evening which may have dramatically narrowed down her location as well as time frame.

What are the odds of being present at two unrelated mass shootings so geographically separated in such a short time period? That’s hard to calculate but I think ones odds are worse for getting killed by a meteorite.

With those odds I’d start with the assumption of a connection. There is no other apparent connection than in the mind of the killer, and it would be consistent with the profile for that kind of person.

Interestingly there is another unusual Toronto parallel, in an very recent unrelated Toronto case, some lunatics booby trapped their home and the police have been spending days clearing it and it has been making big news.

Shortly thereafter this cretin does something similar, for no obvious purpose. That kind of elaborate booby trapping is rare and it looks to me like Holmes was scanning the news for this kind of issue.

There isn’t too much you can learn from this other than that it is a good idea to make sure that psychos don’t get guns. The general right to bear arms doesn’t mean that everybody is entitled to a weapon.

There are millions of people with a similar profile, most of whom will never attack anyone. Putting them all in locked wards would be unjustifiable and expensive.

On the other hand, the killer’s mother didn’t seem surprised. That in itself doesn’t mean much- in almost every family law case where the man owns guns the woman will say that he’s unstable and has guns and I’m afraid he’s going to shoot me. It doesn’t happen very often.

There needs to be a process where if a concerned citizen makes a report of that nature that the person who is the object of the report not be allowed to buy guns and that any guns already owned be seized, pending a psych evaluation.

I’d like to see a requirement that anybody seeking to carry get a psych evaluation first for the police to keep on file, but that would probably be an impossible sell in the US.

Not least because it is hard to think of a good answer to the question “why do you want a gun”. “Self defence” suggests both paranoia and that you’ve already worked it out in your head and decided that using it on another person is an acceptable outcome. The first psychological step towards becoming a killer has already been taken.

Ideally guns should be seen as a burden and responsibility, because they are designed to take lives. As soon as there is a gun in a fight, everybody is all-in.

People that think that way however are less likely to desire a gun.

Most people that buy guns are going to do it because it makes them feel more empowered in some way, and that is a dangerous way to feel when holding that kind of responsibility.

Most people that want to show they’re “the man” will buy a new car, or stereo or computer, something like that. A woman might buy a new dress or something else.

If that void has to be filled by a gun instead and that’s how you compensate for insecurities, there’s something wrong with your wiring.

Statistically, it is very rare for guns to be used on muggers or burglers. It is several hundred times more likely that any victim of a given gun will be a member of the family that bought it rather than a mugger or intruder.

When you see a tragedy such as is in Colorado, you need to either consider that acceptable collaterol damage for the Republican/NRA gun policy, or if it isn’t acceptable, do something about it. Their policies make this kind of tragedy inevitable.