Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling

So, here we have the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, a sports league where like 80% of the players are black, getting himself recorded yelling at his "girlfriend" not to post pictures of herself with black people and not to bring black people to the games with her.

I put "girlfriend" in quotes because she looks to me to be about 12 years old. And she happens to be half black and half Mexican.

WTF is with this guy?

In the meantime everyone is, rightfully so, incensed over Sterling's remarks about blacks but they're giving him a free pass on being about 75 years old, and married, with a 12 year old girlfriend. Oh, OK, maybe she's over 18 but not by a hell of a lot.

The Clippers, who are mostly black, are deferring to their coach, Doc Rivers, who is also black, to speak publicly about Sterling's remarks. Rivers is being calm, collected and professional about the whole thing.

Apparently there is some doubt about the authenticity of the recording and a lot of doubt about the details of how the recording was made. Doc Rivers is well aware of these things which is why he is treading lightly.

Besides, he and his team would like to do well in the playoffs even if the team owner is a putz.

Assuming the recording is genuine I think Mr. Sterling needs to be made aware that he is not welcome in the NBA. A strong suggestion that he might want to consider selling the team would seem to be in order.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dual Canonization

Tomorrow, in St. Peter's square, the Catholic Church will canonize two recent Popes. Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

The dual canonization is brought to you by a host of corporate sponsors including Nestle but dominated by Italian firms including energy companies Eni and Enel, a banking company Intesa SanPaolo and the railroad Ferrovie Italiane.

I love it.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this sainthood brought to you by Trojan condoms for that safe and comfy feeling.

John XXIII is getting a pass on the normally required second "miracle" and John Paul II is getting a pass on the normal five year wait time before the beatification process can begin.

In other words it's the Church desperate for some good publicity.

Needless to say I think the whole sainthood and miracles thing is a load of nonsense and John Paul II was about as close to a fascist pope as you can get but hey, it's the Church's sandbox, so I suppose they can erect sand statues if they really want to.

Another interesting tidbit is that there will be two living popes present. Current Pope Francis I and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The South Korean Ferry

I was going to let this one go but things are starting to spin totally out of control.

It was bad enough when the captain and crew were being accused of panicking and failing to issue the proper directions to the passengers. The delay in taking any action at all quite possible resulting in deaths that could have been avoided.

But things appear to be going downhill since then if you can believe that's possible.

Now we're hearing allegations that (1) the captain made an "excessive change of coarse without slowing down," (2) the ferry may have left port carrying three times its recommended cargo and (3) the ship's operators may have bribed government inspectors in order to get a clean bill of health for the ferry.

Really screwed up huh?

OK, accusations are not the same thing as a conviction but this is ridiculous. If the cargo and bribery claims are true, then it sounds to me like there are people who might be a lot guiltier than some crewman who panicked.

However you want to bet who's going to get the book thrown at them and who's going to get a slap on the wrist?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flight 370 Again

It's now been two weeks since the Australian PM announced that, based upon analysis of the satellite handshakes, that they were confident that Flight 370 went down in the Indian Ocean some 1500 miles off the western coast of Australia.

Since then a number of debris sighting turned out to be just discarded flotsam.

The latest leads are based upon a series of RF signals at 37.5 khz that may be from the planes data recorders. Or, they may not.

The radio pings have allowed the searchers to reduce the size of the search area but whether they're closing in on Flight 370 or something else is hard to say.

The fact of the matter is that with no debris there is no hard physical evidence that the plane is in fact anywhere near where they're searching.

Since I don't know the analysis they performed on the SATCOM communications, I don't know if this is an example of desperate people convincing each other that what they're doing is correct.

I don't know what the RF signals are although we do know with absolute certainty that 37.5 khz is the frequency that the block boxes on that particular Boeing 777 would use.

I'm tempted to predict the plane will never be found as that would probably guarantee they find it in the next day or two.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jesus's Wife Manuscript may be Authentic

The chemical analysis of a scrap of papyrus known as "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" appears to be authentic in terms of its age.

In the scrap Jesus refers to his "wife."

Of course simply concluding that the scrap isn't a medieval forgery like so many documents doesn't say anything about the accuracy of the text. So, I wouldn't start talking about a Mrs. Jesus just yet. Scholars aren't even 100% certain the word translated as "wife" means the same thing as it means today.

Afghan Security Forces Surprise Everyone

To the amazement of just about everyone, the Afghan Security Forces managed to protect voters and voting during the elections in Afghanistan.

Make no mistake about it this is pretty amazing stuff. The Taliban, who had threatened to disrupt the elections, were pretty much kept in check by security forces which earned themselves wide admiration for a job well done.

I wouldn't start celebrating the birth of democracy in Afghanistan just yet but this is a pretty good start.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Cases Move to Appeals Courts

The first Appeals Court hearing on the constitutionality of same sex marriage bans will occur in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Thursday. The court will hear oral arguments on the Utah ban overturned by a federal judge.

Federal judges in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia have also struck down similar bans. The Tenth Circuit will hear the case from Oklahoma a week after the Utah case.

Utah's legal brief argues that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples "helps prevent further erosion of the traditional concept of marriage as being principally a child-centered institution, one focused first and foremost on the welfare of children rather than the emotional interests of adults."

The state argues that children do better when raised by "a mother and father in intact families" and that changing what constitutes marriage "would likely reduce over time the proportion of children being raised in one of those arrangements."

Lawyers for the three couples challenging the ban counter that marriage is not "a zero-sum game that pits the needs of children against the desires of adults. To the contrary, marriage benefits the health and well-being of both adults and children."

I agree with that and there is also the position by most professional psychological organizations that there is little difference in children raised by homosexual or heterosexual couples.

Even if we concede that children are better off raised by a mother and father, being raised in a loving family with two mothers or two fathers is a hell of a lot better than being raised with no mother and no father.

Then there is the point that not all marriages are aimed at having children. Some couples decide against it; some couples find they simply cannot and some get married late in life beyond childbearing age.

In other words, Utah's argument is total crap and I suspect that Oklahoma's will be as well. I find it hard to believe that the Appeals Court will buy into the nonsense being spewed by the state of Utah.

It's all going to end up in the lap of the Supreme Court no matter what the Appeals Courts say but a string of victories in the Appeals Courts would make it harder for the Supremes to do something really stupid.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Supreme Court won't hear NM Photographer Case

The case of the New Mexico couple with the photography business that refused to take pictures of a lesbian commitment ceremony will not be reviewed by the US Supreme Court.

The couple had appealed to the Supreme Court based upon what they claimed was a violation of their 1st Amendment rights. A New Mexico Court had ruled that the couple had violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the New Mexico Human Rights Act.

The couple appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court which ruled against them saying that the business could be regulated because it is a public accommodation.  Now the US Supreme Court has refused to consider the case leaving the NM Supreme Court ruling in place.

One has to wonder what this means, if anything, for the Hobby Lobby case.

One-year Old Toddler Rescued at Sea

A one-year old girl who fell ill at sea on her family's sail boat has been rescued by the US Coast Guard, US Navy and California Air National Guard.

The Kaufmans had set sail on their 36-foot sail boat for an anticipated trip across the Pacific with the one-year old and her three-year old sister.

The girl became ill and the boat lost its steering and communications about 900 mile southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico. The couple sent a satellite call to the Coast Guard for help.

The Coast Guard responded by sending four California Air National Guard members to parachute near the boat while the Navy frigate USS Vandegrift sailed toward the crippled boat.

The guard members stabilized the child and then took the family to the warship on an inflatable raft. The Kaufmans sail boat, named the Rebel Heart, was sunk by authorities because it was taking on water and represented a maritime hazard.

The Vandegrift is expected to land in San Diego on Wednesday.

I'm happy the girl is safe but I sincerely hope the Kaufmans get presented with a whopping bill because, in my humble opinion, they are certifiable idiots.

First of all, who the hell sets sail across the Pacific Ocean with a one-year old and a three-year old on board? I don't care how experienced a sailor you are, I guarantee you the one-year old isn't very experienced.

Second of all, they lost both steering and communications at the same time? Nice way to maintain your boat Kaufman.

You can't keep people from doing stupid stuff and, at least this time, the Coast Guard, Navy and Air National Guard saved the one-year old from paying for the folly of her parents. Unfortunately, not all stupid moves have a happy ending.