Tuesday, May 05, 2015

People who belong in a convent......

Now this might come as something of a surprise to you, because I am a Baptist, and ordinarily, I think that cloistering is an un-Biblical way of interacting with the world.  But in some cases, I will make exceptions, and here is one of them

More or less, National Review has located a young lady who is doing Antioch College one better by not only insisting on verbal permission before going to the next stage in romance, but is also saying that sometimes when she says "yes", she really means "no", and any man who proceeds on her yes that really means no ought to be liable to rape charges.  Apparently a lack of ESP is not a defense in such a situation.

Now if they go for written permission, you could have the fascinating spectacle of a young lady being tried for perjury while her lover is tried for rape, but I thing the best cure is prevention; young lady, if you're so confused over romance that you're not quite sure what you mean when you say "yes", then maybe convent life is for you.

Or, speaking a little more charitably, the writer is a Yugoslav-American who apparently not only has problems with how to give consent in intimate matters, but even has trouble with traditional Mediterranean-area family greetings.  I'd have to suggest that some time with a competent counselor might be just the ticket, whether her name is "Mother Superior" or not.

Friday, May 01, 2015

The science on HPV vaccination

First of all, a disclaimer; my children--the oldest 16--have not had the HPV vaccination yet for a simple reason; they are at low risk for sexual activity, and I'd like to wait until (a) they're more at risk for having sex and (b) even more data is in on the safety of the vaccine.  It's interesting to note that the vaccine has also been improved since the doctors first started offering it, and it now covers about 90% of HPV virii known to cause cervical cancer.  Not to gloat, but it's a good move. 

That said, here is an article about the study that finds, allegedly, that HPV vaccination is not linked to risky sexual behavior or promiscuity.  Summarized, they found that 4 of 1000 recipients of the vaccine had had an STD in the year before receiving the vaccine, and 6 of 1000 recipients had an STD in the year afterwards.  In contrast, those not receiving the vaccine had suffered an STD in the year before 3 of 1000 times, and after vaccination suffered an infection 4 of 1000 times.

The researchers do an interesting trick; instead of processing the overall numbers (say 600 vs. 400 infections among 100,000 teens in each group), they contrast the increases in STD infection as a % increase (50% vs. 35%, and we're not accounting for the second significant digit yet) instead of a comparison of the raw rates.

Now this makes some sense, as the incoming difference--.4% vs. .3%--is also statistically significant. Most likely, parents who felt their children might be promiscuous are getting their kids vaccinated.  That leads to a number of interesting questions, like what is the Pareto of diseases?  I would assume far fewer vaccinated children get HPV--does that mean a large portion of infections are bigger deals like herpes or (God forbid) HIV?

But the gorilla in the room is actually the overall rate.  CDC data indicate that most become sexually active in their late teens and contract 4 STIs over the next 20 years or so, --which would be a 20% annualized infection rate, not a .4-.6% infection rate.  In other words, the study is most likely of kids in their early teens or before, and thus had little chance of measuring the real risk of higher sexual experimentation after Gardasil was administered. 

In other words, yet another study that almost seems designed to come up with the standard narrative.  Your tax dollars at work, I guess.  Sexual behavior studies on kids who still think the opposite sex has cooties.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm not a master negotiator, but....

.....it strikes me that John Kerry could get the Maersk Tigris and its crew freed in about an hour if he simply noted that if the crew and ship are not freed quickly, there will be no lifting of sanctions and no agreement regarding its nuclear program, and that the U.S. will insist on full implementation of the nonproliferation treaty that Iran has signed.   If they balk, you blockade their ports and (a) don't allow them to export petroleum and (b) don't allow them to import gasoline. 

Kerry and Obama's inability to negotiate from a position of strength is a pathetic sight, to put it mildly.  God help them when they're in a position of weakness.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More thoughts on Baltimore

One would first of all figure that someone who had worked for 20 years in the South Side of Chicago might figure out that all the money and "help" we've poured in there wasn't exactly working out for people here.  But evidently I am too optimistic in that regard.

On the flip side, it's worth noting that nothing the KKK ever did ever came close to the nastiness of what the Nation of Islam just did to Baltimore; bring in thugs from three different street gangs to terrorize the city.  The KKK and related bigots lynched about 3400 people in the South over the course of a century.  The Crips, Bloods, "Black Gorillas", and other street gangs kill about that many blacks every year.

With friends like the Nation of Islam, who needs enemies?

Monday, April 27, 2015

A thought for those in Baltimore

I get the anger over the death of Freddie Gray.  Put gently, having experienced "rough rides" in a variety of vehicles, it's extremely unlikely that his injuries resulted from anything but some form of brutality--a brutality compounded by the failure to get prompt medical attention.  I get the anger that it all came to a head over a weapon that is only slightly more dangerous than my Swiss Army knife.

But that said, a quick plea for those who are there; remember that the Crips, Bloods, and Black Gorillas (their name for themselves, not anything I made up!) are 100 times more dangerous to black people than are the police.  Remember also that when a cruiser is burned or an officer is injured, you the taxpayer are on the hook for the cost--which includes what happens with the Crips, Bloods, and Black Gorillas are controlling the streets of your city.  Don't think for a moment that possible employers will ignore riots when they site--or do not site--new facilities.  You can still seem the damage in Detroit and Watts nearly half a century later.

Maybe it would be better to help the police get body and dash cameras so that the police know they're being watched, and so the next tragedy is resolved by "roll tape" instead of a riot.  Your fifty bucks for either new police cruisers or a dash camera--and by the way, if you choose the latter, you've got a much better chance of being employed to be able to pay it.

One final note is that if indeed Nation of Islam is involved in bringing thugs to your city, maybe a note to the new attorney general regarding RICO might be in order too.  And ask her, and her boss, why no federal authorities came to help, despite having advance warning.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hilliary Clinton signals her appreciation for the First Amendment.....

.....by noting in a public speech that she thinks that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."  Sounds like she has the same appreciation for the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment as does Barack Obama, infamous for suing nuns to force them to buy birth control.

Honestly, how do people with this view of the First Amendment ever pass a bar exam?  The hopeful thing here--per dear sister Elspeth's comment that the fix appears to be in regarding putting Hilliary back in the White House--is that Hilliary appears to be collecting errors like the Cleveland Indians like the Chicago Cubs in their traditional "June Swoon". 

The bad news for the country is that she won't be called away to tour with AC/DC until they get a new drummer.  And obviously Phil Rudd wouldn't be the first criminal with who Hilliary has been closely affiliated.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Earth Day

Don't forget to cut down a tree or something. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Still can't read the label

Apparently now that Kraft has taken artificial colors and such out of their Mac & Cheese, Mrs. Obama now is OK with it.  Of course, I'm sure that whey powder--the actual "cheese dust" so abhorred by the Obamas--will still be high on the ingredients list.

Wait until she finds out that almost all cheddar--the real cheese she favors--also features artificial colors and preservatives.  It's amazing what harm someone can do when one is too lazy to read the label, but has political pull.

But Bill would never do this

It boggles the mind that our country is simultaneously (a) sending an aircraft carrier to intercept Iranian support of terrorists in Yemen and (b) contemplating releasing fifty billion dollars in Iranian assets frozen in response to terrorism.  At what point does the President's Constitutional prerogative to set foreign policy end and treason begin?  We seem to be getting at least close.

I would have hoped that hosting a Holocaust denial conference would have kept Iran on our "excrement list" for a long, long time, but apparently that level of thinking is beyond the Light Worker.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I'm seeing a pattern here.....

Now of course readers of my writing know full well that I am not a huge fan of President Obama for many reasons, but certain things have happened in the past few years which suggest that he's not really President at all, but rather someone we remember all too well from Hope, Arkansas--and I don't mean Mike Huckabee.

What do I mean?  Well, both the Secret Service and the DEA have become embroiled in scandals involving their employees and prostitutes (DEA agents apparently sleeping with hookers provided by the drug cartels no less), and no less than Eric Holder was forced to issue a memo noting that hiring prostitutes was inappropriate behavior.  Icing on the cake--or on the blue dress as it were--was provided as a DEA manager was forced to admit that agents who had slept with prostitutes supplied by drug cartels could not be fired because of civil service protections.  And of course, all this after General Petreaus resigned after being found having an affair.

Perhaps it is possible that the same guy who wrote about wearing lewd t-shirts in the presence of his imaginary girlfriend is responsible for this, too, but I just can't get past the fact that this is vintage Clinton.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cool technology....

....automaker Volvo has come out with a "lifepaint" that apparently more or less glows in the dark, can be sprayed on bicycle or even clothing or helmet, is invisible in normal light, and....washes off readily.

One little improvement would be great; make it oil based and permanent.  Oh, wait, looking at the bottom....here we go.   Given my nasty sheet metal allergy, I might have to look into it.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Chutzpah defined......

......is a President who smoked and lived in one of the most polluted cities in the country attributing his daughter's asthma to global warming.  Now part of me wants to point out that global warming isn't a firmly established fact, that nobody's pointed out a clear path of consequences, and all that, but it pales before something else.

That the President apparently did nothing to help his daughter avoid the triggers of asthma.  Speaking as a person who grew up with the disease, I'm sure that the Obamas were told about the things that trigger attacks--stress, smoking, pollens, pollution, and the like--and my parents did their best to reduce my exposure to these.  God help you if you'd decided to smoke around me--you would have heard in no uncertain terms how that kind of nonsense wasn't appropriate.  

Not so the Obamas.  Apparently allowing his daughter to breathe wasn't a big enough reason for Dear Leader to quit the cancer sticks or move out of the city, and the shame of smoking for a decade around his asthmatic child wasn't enough for him to hold his mouth instead of blaming his daughter's sickness on global warming instead of his own selfishness.

And this is the guy who thinks he's got the prescription for what ails us in medical care.  Now I'm not a doctor, but if I had to guess what ails him, this would be my first guess.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Helping out the rival school

Many people many be unaware that only 70 miles or so from the nation's premier land grant university, there is another school that is also in the Big 14 10 that has had some sad times in sports.  They didn't even make the NIT in hoops, and they haven't mad much success against rivals like the premier land grant school and The Ohio State University (not just any old Ohio State U.) lately.

So what gives?  Well, apparently this lesser school has a case of the Bunnies, and their students have apparently gotten to the point that they cannot handle the movie American SniperTreatment for this condition is often unsuccessful, but I'm told the judicious application of movies featuring John Wayne or Chuck Norris often is very helpful.

Helping out an alma mater

Got a fundraising call from the institution that granted me my MSEE last night, and I asked the young man on the other end of the line who Buffs fans hate on now that they're not getting thrashed most years by the Cornhuskers.  He was thoughtful, and in light of the rather poor performance of the Bunnies (oops, Buffs) the past few years, he really couldn't identify any teams that could be rivals.

Looking at the schedules, one could posit that it might be the "Fightin' Utes" or the Rams of Colorado State, or possibly even the Rainbow Warriors of Hawai'i.  Now as appropriate as "Rainbow Warriors" would be as a rival to a politically correct campus like Boulder, I really don't think that the Bunnies' recent record of nonviolence on the gridiron can be adequately matched even by Hawai'i.

So who ought to be the rivals for the Bunnies?  I really don't think they need to look outside Boulder for a worthy rival, the "meditating monks in saffron robes" of Naropa University.   They've already got the incense down, too.

Don't ever say I never did anything for my alma mater now.  And for further hilarity, the Bunnies' football site has the banner "Sustainable Excellence Initiative" across the top.  Yup, that's what I think of when I think of a school that's gone 2-10, 4-8, 1-10, and 3-9 in the last four seasons.  What about "Return to Mediocrity" instead?

Problems with college loans

Good friend Jim posted an interesting bit about a young man who managed to trap not only himself, his wife, and his children in a morass of student loan debt, but also his mother.  Or....maybe not.  When I looked at the article, I decided to get a bit curious and see what I could learn.

The first thing I noticed is that the man's problem isn't primarily student loans, but rather medical costs.  For whatever reason, some serious medical issues for his sons have made it impossible for him to pay off student loans.  So I Googled his name and found his LinkedIn account.

What did I find?  Well, he'd apparently gone to a private school in Pittsburgh that, with an 80% acceptance rate, can really only be described as "less selective" in terms of choosing students--US News characterizes them as "selective", but most schools worth attending qualify as  "more selective", "very selective" and such.  In US News-speak, "un-selective" more or less means the college takes anyone with a pulse, much like car loans.  He's got a "sports business" degree, took out $88000 in debt to get it, and he's been working as a bank teller and insurance salesman since graduation. 

In other words, he's got six figures of debt (after penalties for late payments) for a degree he's never used in his work.  Moreover, the work that he did obtain probably didn't give him stellar medical benefits--this may explain the medical bills he's got.

One of the most interesting things I noted is that if my estimate of his college costs is correct, his loan amount equals tuition, fees, and room & board for four years.  Translated; he doesn't seem to have tried to work his way through college.   I know from experience that he could at least have covered most of his room & board by working just 20 hours per week--40-50 hours per week in the 15 weeks of summer and about 10 hours per week while taking classes.  Combine this with going to a state school--there are nine near Pittsburgh--and he could have graduated without debt.

What this means?  Well, not that we need to forgive student loans.  It means that this young man made just about every mistake in the book financially--he did not work during college, took out huge amounts of debt, and got a worthless degree in the process.  For the rest of us, it means that we need to pay attention to Ben Carson's most recent column and stop graduating financial illiterates.

Or, put a little less politely, when the STEM kids are making fun of your major, it's probably a bad idea to go deeply in debt to get your degree.