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The GayPatriot Report is LIVE – Tonight at 9PM Eastern

Two very special guests join me on The GayPatriot Report this evening. First at 9PM Eastern, the author of “Bullies” – Ben Shapiro.  Ben and I will discuss the book as well as Ben’s run-in with Piers Morgan and how to combat the cadre of leftist bullies dominating the airwaves these days.

At 9:30PM, I will be joined by Zeke Stokes, Communications Director for OutServe/Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

OS-SLDN supports, defends and empowers LGBT service members, veterans and their families. Our mission is to strengthen military culture by securing equal opportunity, equal protection and equal benefits, without threat of harassment or discrimination, for LGBT service members and veterans.

Zeke and I will discuss the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary and how gays in the military are reacting, given Hagel’s past.

It should be a great show!  Please tune in at The 405 Radio Network and feel free to call in: 877-297-8022.

Or listen live right here!

 

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Watcher of Weasels–last nominations of Jan. 2013

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:50 pm - January 31, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Submissions

NC: Are Virtual Charter Schools The Next Advance In Education Reform?

My new piece is up at Watchdog Wire, North Carolina.  After all, it is School Choice Week!

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Profiling mass shooters

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:25 pm - January 31, 2013.
Filed under: Second Amendment,Sex Difference

Via Andy at Ace and Wired, comes this report from DHS (New Jersey branch) on the commonalities of mass shooters. A few key ones:

  • Male between the ages of 17 and 48. (Fits with Dan’s earlier post.)
  • Usually no prior military service. (Goes against a stereotype favored by some on the Left, of the rampaging psycho ex-soldier.)
  • Usually acts alone. (Columbine was an exception.)
  • Usually uses a semi-automatic handgun. (So, the banning of so-called “assault rifles” would accomplish… ?)
  • Usually “no pattern or method to the selection of victims.”
  • But, nearly half of the shootings (13 of 29) were at a workplace and done by an employee or ex-employee. Warning signs would be a sudden increase in the employee’s: absenteeism, drug/alcohol use, poor hygiene, depression, withdrawal, resistance to change, mood swings, angry outbursts, suicidal comments, comments about “putting things in order”, comments about problems at home, comments empathizing with previous mass shooters and other criminals.

The shooters include whites and non-whites (I did not see any obvious racial pattern).

The report states that “Most of the active shooters took their own lives or were shot by responding police officers.” But it also indicates that it takes 10-15 minutes, typically, for police to get there; during which time people are sitting ducks.

The report is not useful for drawing conclusions about the role of armed civilians. First, it looks at only “the 29 deadliest” of mass shootings in recent years. Almost by definition, those would be the ones where an armed civilian did not quickly stop the shooter. (The ones where an armed civilian did, would tend to have lower casualty counts.) Second, the report simply does not discuss the role of armed civilians, one way or the other. Whereas we know that, in at least a few shootings, armed civilians slowed the shooter, or occasioned his thinking “game over” and taking his own life.

The self-appointed 99%

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:52 pm - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Dishonest Democrats,Occupy Wall Street,Unhinged Liberals

It turns out that they were predominantly rich – and white.

This will come as no surprise to those familiar with the hypocrisy of the Left and of the media, and as well, the role that the ‘rent-seeking’ (i.e., lazy) type of rich person has always played on the Left.

Obama team blames others for economic contraction

On March 19, 2009, President Obama told Jay Leno that ‘one of the things’ he was ‘trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.‘”

The recent Yahoo! headlines suggest that his team is not heeding that advice:

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 10.16.50 AM

With news that Q$ GOP, expected to increase by just over 1%, has dropped 0.1%, the Democrat’s team, as the outset of Obama’s second term is, well, looking for someone else to blame:

The White House on Wednesday blamed the devastation from Superstorm Sandy and disruptions from deep scheduled spending cuts for the surprise 0.1 percent drop in gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2012. It was the first such contraction since early 2009 when the country was in the grips of the Great Recession.

Republicans need to both press the Democrat to articulate his plans for economic growth–and present their own alternative as well.

Betting on Illegal Immigration

President Obama was in Las Vegas yesterday, pitching his plan for “comprehensive immigration reform” and claiming credit for Monday’s “bipartisan” proposals on that matter.  Although it cost a fortune for him to make what is essentially a campaign stop in Nevada just to make a speech that he could have made in Washington, the implications of the speech having been given in Las Vegas, a city best known for gambling, were not lost on me.

The more I think about it, the whole idea of “comprehensive immigration reform” as a way of addressing the problem of illegal immigration is really the consequence of a number of bets made by members of both political parties and by the illegal immigrants themselves.

Here’s a summary of a few of them, along with a quick assessment of some of the odds involved in each.

Obama is betting that he can snooker enough Republicans into going along with what is essentially a ploy to secure a large voting bloc for the Democrats, a bloc that will partake of many government services and will continue to vote for the expansion of government power.  He is betting that with enough illegal immigrants rewarded with legal status and placed on a path to citizenship, he will be able to turn “swing states” such as Nevada and Florida into reliable states for Democrats and that he may even be able to chip away at Republican margins in strongholds such as Arizona and Texas.   And if he gets everything he’s asking for (and the way the current reports sound, he just might), his odds of achieving all of those things seem pretty good, indeed.

He is also betting, though, that if he doesn’t get everything he wants, or even if he gets some of it, he and the Democrats will have another issue with which to bludgeon the Republicans.  The odds of this happening are excellent.  Any Republican attempts to oppose his proposals will be branded as racist and xenophobic, and Democrats and their allies in the media will be able to attack Republicans over this issue for years and years to come.  In fact, I’d say that the president has already won this side of the issue, just by getting a few Republican lawmakers to come to any sort of “bi-partisan” agreement concerning immigration reform.

Then there are those Republican lawmakers who were part of this agreement.  Their motives are mixed, but at least a few of them are betting that if the “bi-partisan” proposal passes both houses of Congress and illegal immigrants are granted some form of amnesty and some are put on a path to citizenship, then suddenly, out of the blue, a large block of these new voters will start voting Republican for reasons that no logical or well-informed person could rationally believe.  Furthermore, some of them appear to believe that if Republicans compromise with Obama and enact “bi-partisan immigration reform,” then suddenly the Democrats and the media will stop saying so many bad things about Republicans.

Do I even need to explain why both of these are bad bets and why any Republican who goes along with any “bi-partisan” “comprehensive immigration” proposal endorsed by Obama is going to regret it down the line?

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Finally, there are the illegal immigrants themselves.

A few years back, I rented a film called The Visitor on DVD. The film is intended to be a parable about illegal immigration. A college professor from Connecticut goes to his apartment in New York to find an illegal immigrant couple squatting there without his knowledge. At first he asks them to leave, but then when he realizes they have nowhere to go, he invites them to stay.

(more…)

Why don’t advocates of global warming making weather forecasts?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:15 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Climate Change (Global Warming)

As we shiver here in Los Angeles with unseasonably cold temperatures which seem to have spread beyond the Southland, I wonder again where is all the global warming the the various environmentalists around town have promised.

It seems that whenever I ask them if there’s a formula to forecast the weather for the coming years, they hem and haw and promise that it will be warmer, but few offer actual temperature ranges.  Last week on Powerline, John Hinderaker posted a piece suggesting why this may be.

John cited a number of failed predictions of the past, notably those made by Paul R. Ehrlich, asking whether the Stanford biologist was the most consistently wrong man in history.  in 1968, Ehrlich made many predictions, forecasting, for example, mass starvation in the 1970s and depletion of the world’s resources in the 1980s.  Those of us who survived those decades know just how wrong he was.

In an update to his post, John quips, “Note that the global warming hoaxers have learned from their forebears: they generally avoid making predictions that are falsifiable in a time frame that would cut off their gravy train.”  So that’s why they don’t offer such predictions; they don’t want to provide data which might allow skeptics to question their science.

Big government means more chain stores

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:30 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,LA Stories

Monday night when returning from our Meatless Mondays Steak Dinner, I asked a reader who had traveled with me to there event if he noticed that there were more chain stores opening up across LA.  On the way back from Burbank (to West Hollywood), within fewer than five minutes, we passed a new Walgreen’s and two Rite-Aids, one of them new.

There do seem to be more such drug stores opening up across LA, not to mention fast food restaurants, with a Chipotle replacing a flower shop on Melrose and La Brea and what appears to be an Old Navy moving into space on Beverly vacated by an independent furniture store.

Given that big companies have large staffs to help them maneuver through regulatory hoops — and making the cost of compliance (through economies of scale) cheaper per storefront than for an independent operation, it seems that big government makes it easier for the big guys and more challenging for individual entrepreneurs.

Ironic that more often than not, those who lament the increasing presence of chain stores tend to vote for the politicians whose policies serve to give a competitive advantage to those chain stores.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  David Boaz suspects

. . . there might be two things going on. Chain stores probably have efficiencies of scale, bigger marketing budgets spread over more stores, more research on what consumers like, etc. But yes, it is also often argued that compliance is easier for larger companies. They have lawyers, HR departments, and so on. Charles Murray — maybe in his book “In Pursuit” — has argued that increasing complexity requiring verbal and paperwork skills benefits educated people — the sort of people who write regulations and get hired by big companies. Small business folks may be less likely to be college-educated and proficient at navigating bureaucracies.

David’s book Libertarianism: A Primer is quite a good read — and highly recommended.

Can you measure happiness?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:37 am - January 30, 2013.
Filed under: Happiness,Random Thoughts

When a friend linked an article recently on the world’s happiness countries, I wondered about the study’s metrics.  Can people in one country really be happier than those in another, provided each allow its citizens an adequate amount of freedom — and security?

That study linked Ireland and number 10, yet when I traveled in Europe, the Irish were clearly happier than the Swiss (ranked ninth) and those in Finland and the Scandinavian countries, all nations ranked higher than the Emerald Isle.  And the Portuguese (not on the list) seemed almost as happy as the Irish.

This article, interestingly, did link happiness to the free market:

Happiness means having opportunity – to get an education, to be an entrepreneur. What’s more satisfying than having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?

It does seem there is a link between hard work and happiness.  I find that the days I work the hardest, particularly on a project I enjoy, are the days I am the happiest.

On Sunday, on blog talk radio, blogress Amy Alkon featured Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, who has just published a book, The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does.  It does sometimes seem that what we think will make us happy doesn’t, but what shouldn’t does.

There is a definitely a link between work which leads to accomplishment and/or reward and happiness.  And some lazy people I know do seem very unhappy.

A case for conservative optimism

To some degree, I regret not having blogging during the fiscal cliff negotiations.  They may, to be sure, represent a low point for congressional Republicans, but they may also represent a turning point.  The once-divided House Republicans emerged unified from their Williamsburg retreat.  And Congress has now disposed of one of the few issues Obama emphasized in the campaign — and demagogued after his victory — increasing taxes on the wealthy.

He will not longer be able to use that issue (i.e., “tax the rich) against Republicans as effectively as he did in the campaign.  And he now gives Republicans a chance to remind Americans about the second part of his “balanced approach” to deficit reduction: spending cuts.

Las Friday, we learned that despite his successful reelection campaign, President Obama does not have the power he needs to “fundamentally” transform the nation as he would like.  The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the incumbent’s attempt at constitutional overreach, striking down his use “the Constitution’s recess appointment power to make appointments despite the absence of a recess” to appoint members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

This ruling will make it relatively easy for employers to challenge all the pro-union rulings the NLRB has made since Obama announced the appointments.  The Democrat cannot willy nilly put policies into place increasing regulation and giving more power to favored special interests.

And despite a largely favorable press, Obama’s current approval rating hovers just below that of George W. Bush at a similar point in his term, indeed, as George Will observed, the Democrat enjoys “the lowest approval rating (according to Gallup, 50 percent, four points lower than that of the National Rifle Association) of any reelected president when inaugurated since World War II”, with the eminent pundit opining that the incumbent’s “contradictory agenda [is] certain to stimulate a conservative revival.” (more…)

Writer’s Quarantine Coming to an End?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - January 29, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Literature & Ideas,Writing

Now editing the sixth chapter of my fantasy epic, I am beginning to find the flow that should make it easier for me to write on a routine base — and have time for other pursuits.  Just last night instead of sketching out notes for the next chapter, as has been my wont while finishing one chapter up, I found myself mapping out the next four — and finally getting the main characters out of the fortress city of Nah-nathas and onto their adventure.

It has been an interesting process and I’ve been trying to take notes about it.  At first, it was kind of overwhelming to find a story that had been kicking around in my head coming together as a written narrative I can share with others and possibly publish.  And as I realize how much of a commitment I am undertaking as I begin to appreciate how much work is left to be done, even with the six chapters that are now “presentable.”

Unlike the time in the 1990s when I made the choice to write my first novel, this time I know that just following through on the inspiration, writing the story that just comes to you (and even manages to move others), is not enough to sell the book.  This time, I am aware that I could succeed at a writing a novel, but fail at earning a living from it.

Still, the story is there and continues to come to me, like old memories suddenly rediscovered when dipping a pastry into a cup of tea.  I finally understand why the dragon is not doing as the Dark Lord would have her do when he summoned her, why she threatens to frustrate his schemes to extend his domination over this imaginary world that exits within my mind — and now increasingly on my computer (and in the hands of friends).

As the novel emerges, as the characters find names and create relationships, I do find myself thinking again about politics — and expect to start blogging at a more regular pace, though perhaps not the same pace as I had before I started finding a means to share this story.

Dianne Feinstein: Negligent, or ignorant?

HotAir kindly posts this picture of the good Senator:

Feinstein holding a rifle with her finger on the trigger

As Ed Morrissey puts it:

…did no one ever tell Feinstein to keep her finger off the trigger of a firearm unless ready to shoot? Shouldn’t a politician attempting to lecture us on gun safety know something about it herself?

For the record, here are FrontSight’s Four Universal Firearms Safety Rules:

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle (the front of the weapon) cover (point at) anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger and, in fact, outside the trigger guard.
4. Be sure of your target and what’s in line with your target.

Feinstein appears to be violating (possibly) all four rules. She appears to be in a crowded room, on an elevated platform, with people spread out before her (such as the photographer who took the picture from one side), and small awareness of her gun possibly pointing down into some of the people (on the other side). And, her finger on the trigger. None of which is careful handling of the weapon, like it could always be loaded.

Occupy Washington!

A few days ago, Kurt posted on this speech by Daniel Hannan. I agree that it’s brilliant, in how much it packs into a short space.

Kurt’s angle was, Who are our Hannans? But I would like to get into the substance of what Hannan said.

You may disagree, but I find that any of Hannan’s major points (summarized below) could be expanded into a worthy discussion.

  • The 2008-9 bailouts, and the money-printing which continues today (another form of bailout), are an ethical crime. In effect, they transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the largest banks.
  • (more…)

Why so much anger on the left?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:31 pm - January 28, 2013.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

Perhaps, it’s that I have not spent as much time as I normally do reading blogs and considering political posts on Facebook, but when I have done, I have seen a lot of anger — on both side of the political aisle.

What strikes me, however, is not the anger on the right — for that has cooled considerably since the debacle, but that on the left, all too many still fuming against Republicans, few showing any confidence in Obama’s agenda.  They talk more about GOP obstruction than they do about Democratic policies.  (As if they take for granted that Republicans will obstruct anything merely because Democrats propose it.)

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but save for talk about increased firearms regulation, I’m not seeing Democrats and other Obama allies talking much about their agenda.

And I see a lot of Facebook posts not just attacking Republican ideas, but also conservative individuals.

Just an observation.

North Carolina Suffering High Unemployment & High UI Tax Burden

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 4:41 pm - January 28, 2013.
Filed under: Carolina News,Economy,Watchdog Wire - NC

My latest post is up at Watchdog Wire – North Carolina.

FAST TRACK EXPECTED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM

Business owners in the state of North Carolina have been increasingly feeling the crush of the cost of unemployment taxes following the economic collapse in 2008.

Small businesses have been especially hard hit in keeping up with this tax burden as the rolls of the unemployed have swelled to record numbers.

Hopefully for the Schulz’s and other employers in the Tarheel State, the General Assembly is poised to take quick action.

Read the whole thing!

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Meatless Monday LA Steak Dinner, Tomorrow, January 28

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:05 pm - January 27, 2013.
Filed under: LA Stories

Just a reminder about our next Meatless Monday steak dinner tomorrow Monday, January 28.

Drop me a note to RSVP and for details.  Our next dinner on Monday, February 25 will feature a special guest from the Carolinas.

National Review Institute Summit:
John Hood Discusses Power of Republicans at State Level

One of the panels today at the National Review Institute’s Summit was “Solutions from the States.” The topics ranged from the transfer of income from high-tax to low-tax states, the impact of pop culture on conservatism and how to change it, and the broad wins at the state level that the Republican Party has had over the past several election cycles.

To that last point, John Hood – President of the John Locke Foundation – spent a few moments with me talking about how the strength of the state-based Republican Party can be translated to national prominence.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

A Social Disease?

I work in a very liberal environment, and over the past few years, I have come to wonder at the fact that the vast majority of the folks I have kept in touch with from high school, college, and graduate school are overwhelming left-leaning.  Until recently, I even found logging on to Facebook depressing, simply because the vast majority of my Facebook “friends” are Obama voters.

Although I can understand how and why I ended up with such a large collection of liberal friends, acquaintances and colleagues–from about the age of 16 through my late twenties I fancied myself a “moderate,” and I have spent most of  my adult life in or on the margins of the academic world–I can’t help but feel dismayed that so many of the folks I know have clung to the leftism of their youth with the zeal of the true believer.

Blogger Assistant Village Idiot has written many excellent posts over the years on the nature of what he considers “tribal” thinking when it comes to political, social and cultural identity.  He wrote a great one two weeks ago where he reflected on the nature of contemporary liberalism as primarily a social phenomenon:

I have declared many times that liberalism is more of a social than an intellectual set of beliefs.  Certainly, liberalism is enforced socially rather than intellectually (though the claim of intellectual superiority remains, and is in fact part of the pressure).

He goes on to cite examples from the current TV show Portlandia which illustrate the techniques of liberal social “enforcement” at work through the application of “self-righteousness,” the use of “public shaming,” and the threat of being “cut off from the group.”   Read the whole thing, and be sure to watch some of the clips, too, if you’re not familiar with the show already.

Most readers of GayPatriot are more than familiar with the shock, disbelief and horror (along with much more mean-spirited and vitriolic reactions) voiced by “liberals” when we express conservative views or even when we question standard liberal talking points and “conventional wisdom.”   Likewise, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of referring the seemingly more open-minded among them to an article, website, book or movie which they never even look into.  One reason for their reactions is that, because of the social conditioning perpetuated by aggressive liberals and the propagandizing of the educational establishment, most contemporary liberals aren’t prepared to engage intellectually with ideas outside of a narrow range of approved opinions, and so they quickly turn to insults, name-calling, ad hominem attacks, and other forms of invective. (more…)

“Mean World” Syndrome

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:27 pm - January 26, 2013.
Filed under: Pop Culture,Random Thoughts,Social Issues

I’ve forgotten where I stumbled across this term, Mean World Syndrome, although it was yesterday!

“Mean world syndrome” is a term coined by George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is…”You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behaviour,” [Gerbner] said. “It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.”…

…Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are claimed to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they may be able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence…

What do y’all think of this idea?

I have only a few scattered fragments of thought about it, so far. First, I’m suspicious of anything that smacks of Behaviorism. But I also notice that this idea isn’t the standard fare, that our violent media culture somehow programs us to do violent crime. It makes a different point: that our violent media culture (and I would count TV News shows, in that) has given us all a darker vision of the world, making most people a little more frightened and suspicious. True/untrue/?