sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 31, 2013

Focus

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:38 pm

What’s the most important issue facing the country today?  If you listen to pundits on the right, it’s Syria.  And yeah, there is much to relish in Obamster’s foreign non-policy bloopers.  Personally, I like Sarah Palin’s take on the situation: Let Allah sort it out.  But, lets face it, since our President declared that some sort of red line was crossed, it would be nice to deliver the consequences, belatedly, and even if he, our President, went back on his “red line” line and threw the ball into Congress’s court.  (Since when does he defer to the legislative body?)

While I enjoy ridiculing of O’s foreign non-policy as much as any other blogger, I don’t think there is much at stake in this conflict.  American boots are unlikely to touch the Syrian ground, and while we are going to waste considerable treasure firing missiles in the desert, I can live with that.  Sure, it feels good to expose the failures of our first post-American President to the middle-of- the- road voter… but wait, what if this middle of the road is about to shift to the left, significantly?

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to Mickey Kaus:

But I’ve always wondered: How were they actually going to pass an amnesty bill in the GOP House without anyone noticing?  Even if the MSM cooperates by playing down the issue? The debt ceiling/Obamacare fight isn’t enough to distract the base forever.  We’re no longer shocked by the NSA and IRS tax exemption stories, everyone’s picked their side–another scandal isn’t going to do the job. You’d almost need a war or something. And that’s not about to happen.

I’m just a little blogger who typically writes about off-beat topics and leaves the big issues to big guys who cover them better than me. And yet, I am amazed by the lack of focus on the current version Amnesty this summer, even when it’s proponents sound confident.  Did we concede?

August 22, 2013

Bay Area Liberals to Bay Area Blacks: Stay Away

Filed under: Bay Area politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:59 am

An In-N-Out hamburger contains 19 grams of fat. What would Michelle Obama say?

Residents of Alameda, a middle class Bay Area suburb, don’t patronize politically incorrect food joints, but, being caring, gentle people, they are concerned that someone else will. Particularly, Oakland Blacks:

Plans to build a new In-N-Out Burger at the foot of the Webster Tube have sparked concerns that the hamburger restaurant will attract crime, with hundreds of residents voicing their opposition to the planned restaurant over crime, traffic and other concerns. Even District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has weighed in, asking the Planning Board on July 23 to consider the crime she thinks the restaurant could bring.

The n-word is not mentioned anywhere in the news item, but we all know what they mean:

“We have people coming to what can be considered a vulnerable site in Alameda. It’s easy in and easy out, no pun intended, with the Alameda tube,” said O’Malley, who noted the high number of robberies in Oakland [italics are mine, –ed.] and said that city’s high crime impacts surrounding cities too.

We all know that virtuous people don’t eat fast food, but does hamburger consumption lead to crime? Not according to police:

“There’s no absolutes. We won’t know for sure until it’s in there,” Acting Police Chief Paul Rolleri said. “Based on what I know, at this point, I’m not concerned that it’s going to be a big problem for us.”

[…]But police in four East Bay cities that are home to In-N-Out Burger – all four of them near major freeways – said the restaurant hasn’t been a bigger problem than similar businesses.

“I can tell you it hasn’t been a burden in that regard. And it certainly hasn’t generated more calls for service than any other like businesses in the city (that) I am aware of,” Pleasant Hill Police Sgt. David Downs said of In-N-Out, which he said has been in Pleasant Hill for a year.

“As far as the business in our town, they’ve been a good business,” he added. “They haven’t caused us any undue problems, and I don’t anticipate any in the future.”

Fremont Police Detective Bill Veteran said his department gets “very few” calls for service from In-N-Out Burger. “It’s no different than any late night fast food restaurant that we have,” Veteran said.

Veteran said that any type of business open late could be “more problematic” than one that closes earlier. Still, he said Fremont’s In-N-Out is “not a problem.”

A staffer with the Livermore Police Department also said that city’s police haven’t had an issue with In-N-Out.

San Leandro Police Lt. Randy Brandt said that city’s In-N-Out, which sits on what he called “probably one of the main arteries of the East Bay,” hasn’t generated a lot of police calls. He said the department does get a lot of shoplifting calls from the city’s nearby Target. (The San Leandro In-N-Out sits in the same shopping center as a Walmart, and a strip mall is across the street; Target is about a mile up the road.)

Brandt was loath to draw a connection – or to say there isn’t one – between In-N-Out and crime.

“The correlation between In-N-Out and crime would be really hard for us to figure out,” he said. “I haven’t heard any negative stuff at all.”

Truth be told, gastronomic hostilities go both ways around here. For instance, a friend of ours who once went to buy BBQ in a non-diverse area of Oakland was received unenthusiastically and returned home to find they had served him basically a bag of  bones. He shrugged it of, as most whites around here shrug this kind of stuff off.

UPDATE: Welcome Legal Insurrection readers!  many thanks to Professor Jacobson for linking.

August 2, 2013

Dump Gazprom, Anyone?

Filed under: Russia — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:26 pm

It’s one thing to be outraged by the Russian anti-gay law that was passed unanimously by Duma in June and signed by Putin the following month.  The law bans “homosexual propaganda” to minors, public manifestations of gay lifestyle and voicing support for the gay community.  88% Of the “citizens” of the country whose president runs sexed-up campaign ads approve of the bill.

Although some wide-eyed Americans think that the ban means something very narrow, like no more gay pride parades, we can realistically expect the law to be applied in whatever manner pleases the Kremlin.  All the while Nazi homophobes across the Russian Federation (and I mean Nazi homophobes*) feel emboldened.  In the wake of the law’s passing violence against sexual minorities skyrocketed.

Innocence: Russian teens beating up on a propagandist of “non-traditional sexual relations” around the time of Duma’s signing of the anti-gay law

Politics of Russian homophobia work in not so mysterious ways.  The increasingly unpopular Putin needs a scapegoat which he found in the increasingly unpopular sexual minorities (some attribute populist homophobia to weak masculinity).  Russia is dying, its birthrate is low, for which desperate elected officials blame homosexuals, which makes perfect sense considering that gays comprise about 1% of the total population.  Dear friends, “homosexual propaganda” must be the reason Russian women abort more than a million children each year (if we believe the likely conservative official number).  Westerners find it hard to imagine, but this one million figure represents a sharp drop from the Soviet-era highs.  And, oh, in the Soviet times homosexuality was criminalized.

Foreigners and their decadent news organizations are subjects to the same penalties as Russian nationals plus deportation.  A group of Dutch filmmakers arrested for interviewing a 17-year-old homosexual about his view of gay rights in Russia. But did you hear about the 50K sex trafficking victims in Moscow?  (For some reason it feels very satisfying to sprinkle my post with statistics in re Russian moral degeneration).  Many of said prostitutes are orphans Americans can no longer adopt.  I’m sure this whole mess has something to do with the said group of Dutch filmmakers.

With the 2014 winter Olympics coming up, Putin found himself in a sensitive situation.  Exception will be made for the Sochi games (or not).  I look forward to watching Putin maneuver between whipping up homophobia at home and needing to attract the Olympians and the spectators from abroad.  A side drama: the IOC having to coddle every petty dictator (and Putin is by no means a petty dictator) on one hand and appease the Western Left on the other.  Wow!  Pass the popcorn.

The reaction of the Western “LGBT” community was predictably inane.  Egged on by the likes of the eternal teenager Dan Savage, they came up with a novel idea — boycott something.  Something like vodka because vodka is a Russian word, you know.  And so gay bars across the US and Canada made a public spectacle of “dumping Stoli”.  Curious: Did they purchase some extra bottles in order to “dump” them?

And why Stoli?  Stolichnaya sold in Russia is a government-owned.  But Stolichnaya sold elsewhere is manufactured by a privately owned international corporation with only tenuous connections to Russia.  The company sponsors gay pride events worldwide, and, I’m tempted to think, it’s the overexposure that landed the vodka on community organizer crap-list.  The brand is so ubiquitous, it was the first thing to pop into activists’ minds.

Even if Stoli was made in Russia, private enterprise is not what’s wrong with the country.  Heritage Foundation puts Russia at number 139 of its 2013 Index of Economic Freedom worldwide.  It’s notoriously corrupt, the bureaucracy is vast, the laws are applied capriciously, capitol is hard to come by.  Only 22% of gross domestic product of Russian Federation is generated by small and medium size businesses.  Half of the country’s economy is the government, with natural resources comprising 17% of the GDP.  Former Russian sub-president Dmitry Medvedev correctly saw the public sector dominance as a problem.  (And how pathetic it is that 20-some years after the Soviet collapse there isn’t even a Russian consumer product for the West to boycott?)

In their latest video, Russian punk collective Pussy Riot attacked Russian Federation’s omnipresent oil and gas industries likening Russian Federation to Iran and UAE.  Most compatriots don’t share Pussy Riot’s views, of course. They think of the state as a benevolent provider and redistributor.  According to a December 2012 poll, nearly every other Russian dreams of working for Gazprom, a major state-owned natural resources company.  The number of aspiring Gazprom employees rose by more than 10% over three years.

This is not going to end well. Technological advances made drilling possible just about anywhere — in North Dakota, Australia, Israel — you name it.  The prices of fossil fuels are declining, and Russian economy is about to go in a tailspin.  This is the reason for rising opposition, and for the need to scapegoat gays and lesbians.  Empowering the individual to take care of his economic destiny is one way of addressing Russia’s problems.  Empowering the individual will also create a more tolerant society.  But I’m not holding my breath.

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For the record: Gay Russian Neo-Nazis exist.  Everything Neo-Nazi exists in Russia.

August 1, 2013

One Would Think The Pythons Were Anarcho-Capitalists

Filed under: politics, society, whatever — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:20 pm

We recently had to review Ministry of Silly Walks for Our Children.

“You see, there is Defense, Social Security, Health, Housing, Education, Silly Walks.”  Once upon a time liberals ridiculed the stuffy establishment.  Now they get appalled by the “no-government conservatives”.

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