The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Appeals courts shoot down Catholic groups in contraception mandate cases « Hot Air

On Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit rejected (PDF) the University of Notre Dame’s argument that the accommodation regulations require it to contract with an insurer which, because of the contract, then provides contraception coverage to Notre Dame’s employees. The decision is a master work in missing the point. Notre Dame had argued that such a contract violates its religious opposition to contraception. Bizarrely, a divided panel of the court held that, “Although Notre Dame is the final arbiter of its religious beliefs, it is for the courts to determine whether the law actually forces Notre Dame to act in a way that would violate those beliefs.” The panel decision goes on in conclusory fashion to note that “Notre Dame thus could ask [its insurance provider] to outsource contraception coverage for both students and staff to an entity that does no business with Notre Dame,” despite the fact that requiring Notre Dame to ask its provider to facilitate the contraception coverage is precisely the activity Notre Dame finds violates its religious beliefs.

via hotair.com

From the new and improved Posner. For the pragmatics to change, the election returns will have to change.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russia demands blogger identities from Google, Twitter, and Facebook « Hot Air

It’s also a moment of truth for the tech giants, too. Google infamously knuckled under to China’s demands for censorship and cooperation against dissidents last decade as the price for access to their vast market. Six years ago, CEO Eric Schmidt suggested, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place[.]” They’ve since toughened their stand on censorship and governmental interference, mainly because their customer base got irate over Google’s actions.

via hotair.com

What to do, what to do.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Planets, Priests and a Persistent Myth - WSJ

Ask a Catholic audience whose name they associate with the Catholic Church and science. “Galileo!” they shout. Ask them about Lemaître, Grimaldi, Stensen, Secchi—or Piazzi—and you get blank stares. Is it any wonder the science-religion warfare myth persists?

via www.wsj.com

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peggy Noonan on trigger warnings

Here

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democrats' Vanishing Future - NationalJournal.com

May 21, 2015 One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama's tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.

But less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party's Senate races. It's awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak, Indiana's Baron Hill, and Ohio's Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats' Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.

via www.nationaljournal.com

Well I hope so.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sons

It's all rubbish of course but I like it.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Gunfight, Not a Riot: What Happened in Waco | National Review Online

The shootout between members of rival outlaw motorcycle gangs in Waco has brought out a great deal of stupidity on the left — too much stupidity to catalogue, in fact. But let us look at a few lowlights.

via www.nationalreview.com

I think I feel a Sons of Anarchy embed coming on.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maggie Gyllenhaal: At 37 I was 'too old' for role opposite 55-year-old man | Film | The Guardian

Maggie Gyllenhaal was told by a Hollywood producer that she was too old, at 37, to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man, the Oscar-nominated actor has revealed.

via www.theguardian.com

She doesn't look too old to me.

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Siberian wolf bone shows dog domestication much older than previously thought, researchers say - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Previous research based on genetic data from modern-day wolves and dogs estimated dogs were first domesticated 11,000 to 16,000 years ago based on an estimate of how quickly mutations occurred across the genome.

But recent genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone fragment, likely part of a rib, found below a frozen cliff in Siberia has shown canine domestication may have occurred much earlier.

via www.abc.net.au

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pit bull kills dachshund; man kills pit bull | San Diego Reader

Palmer and Rebecca collected their surviving puppy and went for a drive. “We decided to leave the house because of the anger and grief for Otto’s death and the accumulation of events during the past two hours.” While in the car, they got a return call from someone at animal control. “I discuss with animal control if they will come get the dog, they say no because it was no longer in my yard. I believed the pit bull still posed a danger to myself, my family, and my property.” Palmer said he pleaded for someone to please come deal with the pit bull. “I was in total disbelief at animal control’s unwillingness to respond,” he stated.

via www.sandiegoreader.com

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Arrest Made in Washington Killings - NYTimes.com

In addition to striking a deep nerve in the most elite circles of Washington, the case has also raised soul-searching questions about why, when so many people die violently in impoverished parts of the city, these murders have attracted so much intense news coverage and discussion.

via www.nytimes.com

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

For Robert Downey Jr., Forgiveness Transcends Mistakes

That was, again, more than three years ago, and despite Downey’s impassioned plea, Gibson is still persona non grata in Hollywood. But Downey hasn’t let up trying to revive a fellow addict’s career. He’s now saying the only way he’ll do another Iron Man movie is if Gibson is allowed to direct it. Of course, there’s always a chance Gibson really is a monster. But I choose to take Downey’s word that it’s time to forgive, because I’d rather live in a society where we err on the side of too much forgiveness than not enough.

via thefederalist.com

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

So long, sucker: man sneezes out part of toy dart after 44 years | UK news | The Guardian

A man who regularly suffered a blocked nose can finally breathe easy after he sneezed out the cause – part of a toy dart that had been stuck up a nostril for more than 40 years.

Steve Easton, 51, often had a case of the sniffles or a headache and put it down to hay fever. But his nasal passages are now clear for the first time since childhood after one big blow cleared the problem.

via www.theguardian.com

I'm relieved for him.

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ancient cannibals liked their meat smothered in chilli sauce: Study | Weird | Ne

Researchers have found evidence a cannibalistic tribe that lived in Mexico more than 2,500 years ago liked to season its human meals with chilli peppers and brightly coloured spices that stained the victims' bones.

via www.torontosun.com

yum yum

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Graduation days

(This is a family life update. You are strongly cautioned to avoid reading it, and I'm not kidding.)

This last weekend we trekked up to Berkeley to witness second son Patrick's graduation from Cal. First son Luke graduated at the end of the fall semester, but we are celebrating his graduation concurrently. The other two boys got to watch and learn.

Patrick graduated summa cum laude in Classical Languages, which is no small feat. He is more than modest. He seems to think this is some kind of mistake or embarassment.  He got the summa and was awarded the book prize (I forget the donor) but claimed he did not deserve it because he did not plan on pursuing Latin further, which I have to admit, shows a certain wisdom. The powers that be seemed to stretch the definition of the award somewhat. They gave it to him anyway. The Classics department is small and their ceremony was cozy.

Luke graduated having taken introductory courses in about five or six different languages at USD. He doesn't really know any of them, but at least he has a good basis for choosing what he will do next.  I intuit graduate school for him. He carries a book bag with him wherever he goes and says things like, "I'm reading this great book about the rehabilitation of injured soldiers from WW1 . . . " and thinks that's more or less normal.  He doesn't like school but he seems to like very much what it is about.

William finished up his freshman year at Cal and seems to be majoring in Portugese, and is working on some big Brazilian art project bringing dancers and so on to visit the US.  No, he's not gay.  We met his girlfriend, a charming girl from Oklahoma, whose parents are from Bengal, so that's interesting.

As Mark has told me at least three dozen times, Cal can expect to have a fantastic basketball season, as they have landed not one, but two five star recuits, as ranked by ESPN or somebody. He can tell you their names, records and hopes for glory, but it's in one ear and out the other for me. Mark still has hopes for an NBA career but I think reality is beginning to seep in, which is fine.

The highlight of the trip was a great dinner hosted by they boys' aunt Crystal who lives in San Franscisco in one of those old, beautiful Victorian houses.  The dinner was Coque au vin, with a great rose, and a to die for Chocolate cake for desert.  I overruled LWJ's attempt to give me a small slice and enjoyed a manly sized piece, which in the event I could not quite finish. I really must lose weight, starting tomorrow.

On the drive home we stopped at a Starbuck's in the heart of Silicon Valley, on Sand Hill Road.  Dear lord, what a scene. They were radically collaborating in there, thinking outside of the box, imaginging the future and generally making pests of themselves. It was not very relaxing but I felt better after my Venti latte (with an extra shot).

So congratulations to Luke and Patrick upon their graduations and to all members of the class of '15. Sure, it's something of an ordeal for your parents, but it's probably worth it. It prepares you for supporting us in our old age.

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The New Jews of Harvard Admissions - WSJ

Here’s hoping the next stage of the affirmative-action debate in higher education finally has arrived.

via www.wsj.com

It's too true. You have to be better than great to get into Harvard (or Yale, Stanford, etc.) if you're Asian or if you're just ordinary white boy or girl. My boys didn't bother applying to them even though they had 800's in verbal, very high in math, and lots of extra cirrucular activities. They didn't have that extra je ne sais quoi, that extra sparkle, that inside connection, legacy, racial goodness or whatever. Also, I didn't have the dough. But, if they let in more Asians, they'll be letting in fewer legacies, Jews (it's very different since the days of the anti-Jewish quotas) and children of the ultra-rich. This is one thing Oxbridge has gotten right. Compared to the US, they are really, strictly, no kidding, a meritocracy when it comes to admissions, with none of that extra sparkle BS. Well, maybe just a tiny bit from the interviews, but those tend to be academic.

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Kirsten Powers: Singling Stephanopoulos out misses the point

Presuming guilt among Republicans and goodness among Democrats is so reflexive and rewarded in today's mainstream media culture, it's not that hard to see how Stephanopoulos truly would not have understood he had an egregious conflict of interest as he faced down Schweizer. Like a fish doesn't notice the water, today's mainstream journalists are impervious to their bias in favor of Democratic candidates or liberal issues. They believe they are being objective because they have mistaken their ideological belief system for truth. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has noted repeatedly, "The facts have a liberal bias."

via www.usatoday.com

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Green Behind California's Greens by Steven Malanga, City Journal Spring 2015

In the fall of 2010, an army of California groups—including blue-collar unions, small businesses, manufacturers, and big energy companies—tried to persuade voters to suspend the state’s rigorous anti-global-warming law, which mandates a rollback of greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels. The advocates for delaying the law argued that, with an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, California needed to focus on creating jobs and couldn’t afford costly new measures to slash carbon emissions, such as requiring utilities to generate power from renewable sources. But what proponents of the jobs measure, known as Proposition 23, didn’t count on was the financial might of California’s environmentalists. In just months, greens raised three times as much money as the initiative’s supporters. As the Los Angeles Times put it, the environmentalists then “steamrolled” their foes with a $30 million campaign that deployed television ads featuring Hollywood celebrities, millions of mailings, and hundreds of thousands of robo-calls and text messages. One environmentalist described the coalition that crushed Prop. 23—comprising entertainers, hedge-fund honchos, technology billionaires, and the many organizations that they back—as “the new face of the environmental movement.” It wasn’t the face of the movement, though, but its pocketbook that won the battle.

via www.city-journal.org

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How the ‘ick factor’ could doom Hillary — and her party | New York Post

Another day, another three Hillary stories — all of which continue the ongoing tarnishment of the Clinton brand.

via nypost.com

Ick and double ick.

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cats and dogs? It's raining spiders, mate - Times LIVE

The phenomenon of spiders falling from the sky - commonly known as "spider rain" - is not uncommon across parts of Australia.

via www.timeslive.co.za

Eeew.

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Four found in D.C. fire were slain, police say - The Washington Post

Lanier said that three victims suffered blunt-force or sharp-object wounds and that all four deaths in the upscale neighborhood near the vice president’s residence were being investigated as homicides.

via www.washingtonpost.com

This is a puzzler. Very upsetting for my friends with kids at St. Albans.

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Asian Americans file complaint alleging discrimination in Harvard admissions - The Washington Post

More than 60 Asian American organizations filed a complaint (see below) with the federal government on Friday alleging that Harvard University discriminates against Asian Americans in the admissions process and calling for an investigation.

via www.washingtonpost.com

Harvard discriminates alright. It's just a matter of whether they can convince a court it's alright to do so.

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UCSD professor explains nude classroom exercises. | UTSanDiego.com

“I hope in the end that through these gestures, the artists will locate in one of them a sort of radical rethinking of what their aesthetic research and logic had been and what it might be afterward,” Dominguez said, explaining how the performances are intended to energize the students’ creativity.

via www.utsandiego.com

Seems pretty stupid.

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Army's elite Delta Force kills top ISIS official, Abu Sayyaf, in rare Syrian raid | Fox News

A team of Delta Force commandos slipped across the border from Iraq under cover of darkness Saturday aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft, according to a U.S. defense official knowledgeable about details of the raid.

The U.S. team killed leader Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, Umm Sayyaf, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said. No Americans were injured or killed in the operation

via www.foxnews.com

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The latest lunatic postmodern target: Motherhood | New York Post

The title of Kathleen McCartney’s op-ed: “Time to rethink our social construct of motherhood.”

In the body of the article, McCartney argues: “Motherhood is a cultural invention. It reflects a belief adopted by society that is passed down from one generation to the next.”

via nypost.com

Not shocking if you hear of this stuff all the time. If you use "gender" when you mean "sex", you're part of the problem.

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pope Francis to canonise Palestinian nuns - BBC News

Now for the first time, Palestinian Catholics will also venerate two saints who lived in the Holy Land in modern times and were native Arabic speakers.

Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy are among four 19th Century nuns who are being canonised by Pope Francis in Rome on Sunday.

via www.bbc.com

May 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donation disclosure issue snowballing for ABC News, Stephanopoulos - The Washington Post

An honest mistake is when a Fox News reporter on location in Baltimore thinks he sees a shooting that didn’t happen. An honest mistake is when the New York Times inaccurately states the subject of the 2012 movie “Mansome” as Charles Manson, not male grooming. An honest mistake is when NPR wrongly states that the methane emissions related to livestock come via fart, as opposed to belch.

Stephanopoulos’s missteps diverge from this model.

via www.washingtonpost.com

May 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Congress Botched the IRS Probe - WSJ

Two years ago this week, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information confirmed what hundreds of tea party, conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel organizations had long known: The Internal Revenue Service had stopped processing their applications for exempt status and subjected them to onerous, intrusive and discriminatory practices because of their political views.

via www.wsj.com

The tax lawyers should have their bow ties taken away.

May 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Stephanopoulos tarnished his credibility by hiding his Clinton Foundation donations | Fox News

Let me be blunt: For George to give money to the Clinton Foundation, out of all possible charities, knowing full well that Hillary was gearing up to run, is a grave error in judgment. For him not to disclose this to his network or to viewers—especially when he was aggressively interviewing “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer about that very foundation—is unthinkable. And for ABC to brush this off as an “honest mistake” is embarrassing.

via www.foxnews.com

I daresay.

May 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Politico: Washington Free Beacon Broke Stephanopoulos Clinton Foundation Story

So how did Politico break the George Stephanopoulos Clinton Foundation donations story? Actually they didn't break it at all. The story was shopped to Politico after the Washington Free Beacon made inquiries to ABC News about Stephanopoulos' contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Apparently ABC News thought Politico would offer more favorable coverage so they leaked the story to Politico. However, to his great credit, Politico writer Jack Shafer not only acknowledged the crucial role of the Free Beacon but was also highly critical of ABC News for this tactic. 

via newsbusters.org

Slimy.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Atomic wedgie killer tells Oklahoma judge: 'It's like a bad dream' and says he only meant to embarrass 'bully' stepfather | Daily Mail Online

Davis pleaded guilty on Monday to first-degree manslaughter for giving his Stepfather Denver Lee St. Clair a wedgie so powerful it killed him after a fight over Davis' mother on the night of December 21.

via www.dailymail.co.uk

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Not a Fan of Mad Men? You’re Not Alone. -- Vulture

In 2011, cultural critic Daniel Mendelsohn penned a 4,000-word review laying out a case against Mad Men in The New York Review of Books. This was no unhinged rant but a calm, blow-by-blow critique of a show that had just wrapped its fourth and arguably most beloved season (the one with “The Suitcase”). Mendelsohn’s piece wasn’t a total takedown — it explored what he called Mad Men’s “irrational,” nostalgic appeal, which Mendelsohn himself found fascinating. But his words touched a nerve, leaving fans stunned by how broadly and unsentimentally he dismissed significant swaths of the show: The writing was “extremely weak,” he wrote, the acting “bland,” and the plotting “preposterous.”

via www.vulture.com

My father in law was a Mad Man and he said it wasn't anything like that. He watched a lot of TV but he disliked the show. I find it boring but stylish.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why People In Finance And Insurance Are The Unhappiest Employees | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Rounding out the trifecta of terrible traits for finance and insurance workers is the lack of recognition and appreciation. An overwhelming majority (80%) revealed they were poorly valued at work. Worse, they felt that their work was only evaluated on what went wrong or could have been done better.

via www.fastcompany.com

Even worse than lawyers.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish | TIME

The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.

via time.com

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

GOP Must Ban Stephanopoulos From Participating In 2016 Debates

After being questioned by the Washington Free Beacon about large donations he made to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News disclosed to Politico that he had funneled $50,000 to the tax-exempt organization in 2013 and 2014. Stephanopoulos’s secret donations to the Clintons’ non-profit came while he was professionally covering the family for ABC News. And then, after he was busted by the Free Beacon, he decided to leak the news of his secret Clinton cash contributions to Politico in order to deny Free Beacon its scoop. Classy, huh?

It gets even worse, though. It wasn’t just that Stephanopoulos made the contributions while he was supposed to be objectively covering the Clinton family on behalf of a major broadcast news organization. It’s bigger than that. Just last month, Stephanopoulos interviewed Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, a blockbuster investigative expose of the Clinton Foundation’s finances. Not once did Stephanopoulos disclose his cash ties to the Clinton Foundation. Stephanopoulos, who we are supposed to believe is an objective journalist, deliberately chose to hide the fact that he was a Clinton Foundation donor.

via thefederalist.com

no brainer.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)

George Stephanopoulos' 2016 Role Suddenly Less Certain Amid Criticism Over Clinton Foundation Donations

NEW YORK -- ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos' status as a journalistic gatekeeper in the 2016 elections took a hit Thursday after it was revealed that he gave $50,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The donations, which were sitting in plain view on the Clinton Foundation website, had gone unnoticed until the conservative Washington Free Beacon began asking questions Wednesday night. ABC News confirmed the donations to Politico Thursday morning.

via www.huffingtonpost.com

Geez I hope he's not a gatekeeper. Honestly.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amtrak crash: Engineer has 'no recollection,' lawyer says - CNN.com

(CNN)What was Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian doing and thinking when his speeding train careened off the rails in Philadelphia, killing eight people and sending over 200 more to the hospital?

He can't say.

via www.cnn.com

He has a good lawyer.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unhappy Days for America by Nicholas Lemann | The New York Review of Books

But Putnam brings special abilities to the subject. His prominence has given him access to copious resources. Murray’s book was based mainly on other people’s published research and his largely suppositional evocations of two places he called Belmont and Fishtown. Putnam, who thanks thirteen “generous supporters” (mostly major foundations), six members of “the administrative side of our operations,” and dozens of field researchers, experts, colleagues, and local observers, was able to send interviewers to look firsthand at life in nine widely scattered sites in addition to Port Clinton. In Our Kids each of a series of chapters combines a summary of quantitative research findings with vivid ethnographic accounts of the lives of actual people, though, in accordance with social science rules, Putnam doesn’t give us their real names (indeed, he tells us, in most cases he doesn’t know their real names). And Putnam writes clear, impassioned, accessible prose that brings two generations’ worth of academic findings into range for people who don’t study these subjects for a living.

via www.nybooks.com

The author of Bowling Alone is no bargain, I'll tell you. Go ahead and read the book, but I don't advise talking to the guy. I heard him speak shortly after the first election of Prez O, and I'd have to score it as one of those painful experiences that took a while to recover from. He spoke of how he was glad that we had elected such an "elegant" man as president. Sort of like Adlai Stevenson, only black! What a deal. He ridiculed Bush as well. There was a stand outside where you could buy his book, even though the event was strenuously, otherwise, non-commercial. Bowling alone is bad. That will be $25 please.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Democrats’ Baffling Behavior - WSJ

The year isn’t half over, and already more than a few things in the Democratic political world have left me puzzled—and in some cases downright mystified.

via www.wsj.com

I bet Bill has had bariatric surgery. He looks good. On the outside.

I'm not sure Hillary is crazy. Laying low now may be her best bet.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google under fire from academics over 'right to be forgotten' transparency - Telegraph

Google’s process for dealing with EU ‘right to be forgotten’ requests looks likely to come under new scrutiny, after a group of 80 leading academics – including Prof Ellen Goodman from the Rutgers University School of Law and Julia Powles, researcher at University of Cambridge – wrote an open letter to the search giant demanding greater transparency.

via www.telegraph.co.uk

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The long drive to end a pregnancy | The Washington Post

Back in the clinic, when the surgical part of the abortion was over and she was again in the recovery room, Emily had decided to add her own entry to the diary of experiences. She wrote out a few lines from a T.S. Eliot poem that she liked, and another by Pablo Neruda. She wrote, “I loved my baby, Bo, dearly, and I hope in the coming years I will believe that this was the best decision for both of us. He will be in my heart and on my mind always.” Then she wrote another sentence, addressing the child she would not have. “I know you would’ve been a beautiful joy in my life, and I can only hope and strive one day to be the mother you deserve.”

via www.washingtonpost.com

A long ride for both of them.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chicken Embryos With Dinosaur Snouts Created in Lab

Chicks with dino-snouts? With a little molecular tinkering, for the first time scientists have created chicken embryos with broad, Velociraptor-like muzzles in the place of their beaks.

The bizarrely developing chickens shed new light on how the bird beak evolved, scientists added.

via www.livescience.com

Let's make direwolves!

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Animal cruelty is a reliable predictor of criminality — which is why the FBI is taking it more seriously

What do Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer and a host of other serial killers have in common, besides killing enough people to merit their own mortuaries? The answer, according to published reports, is that as children they tortured animals. Dahmer tortured frogs, cats, and dogs, decapitated them and mounted the heads on sticks. His own puppy suffered this fate. Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, kept pet rats and tortured them according to the recent book One of Us. It is the escalation from animal abuse to human abuse seen in the cases of Dahmer, Breivik and other criminals that have helped put a bigger legal spotlight on animal cruelty.

via www.rawstory.com

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Christopher Awdry: why sour Lefties are wrong about Thomas the Tank Engine - Telegraph

When the Telegraph revealed that the classic British children’s character Thomas the Tank Engine was a figure of hate among some Left-wing parents and academics, readers registered their astonishment – and irritation.

via www.telegraph.co.uk

Oi vay. There's nothing good they don't hate.

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Field, Mellow Edition - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ

I find myself feeling mellow on the subject of 2016. I have nonspecific affection and sympathy for everyone. Actually when I think of the Republican field the picture that comes to mind is of Cloris Leachman in the movie “Spanglish.” Merrily: “I love you. I love everybody, that’s what killed me.” I am interested that wherever I go people say “Who’s going to win?” and when I say I have no idea they say, “No, really?” There are many Americans these days who think there are other Americans who have the lowdown inside scoop and should share it. I told a woman the other day that when I ask 20 Republicans who they like I get a lot of different answers including, often, “I don’t know.” She looked skeptical. Who do you like, I asked. She said, “I don’t know—any of them!” Republicans strike me right now as both chipper and dour. Chipper: Whoever we get, it will be better than the guy in the White House. Dour: But maybe America will just go for Hillary. They all follow the polls. They should take heart from the terrible pre-election polls in Britain. There may be a lot of shy Tories in America, too. Slay me, Nate Silver.

via blogs.wsj.com

I want some of what she's smoking.

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How the religious makeup of the U.S. has changed | Deseret News National

A dramatic rise in the number of spiritually "unaffiliated" Americans, mirroring a decline in the number of American Christians, has occurred in the past seven years, signaling significant changes for mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church, a new report reveals.

According to the "America's Changing Religious Landscape" survey released early Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of Americans claim a Christian label, down from 78 percent in 2007, while 23 percent identify as "religiously unaffiliated," which includes atheists, agnostics and those who are spiritual-but-not-religious," up from 16.1 percent seven years ago.

via national.deseretnews.com

May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

94-year-old man finishes college 76 years after first enrolling - CBS News

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A 94-year-old man will be one of the oldest graduates in the West Virginia University history when he receives his diploma Sunday.

via www.cbsnews.com

How will he pay off his loans?

May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kirsten Powers: The Rise of the Intolerant Left | Christianity Today

Andrew Sullivan, a commentator who is gay and among the first to publicly defend same-sex marriage, summed up the decision poignantly: "When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance." His quote appears among many that draw attention to an intolerant tolerance that Kirsten Powers believes is on the rise. The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech (Regnery) is the Fox News commentator's new book, a journalistic polemic on the many Americans on the cultural and political Left who have forsaken some of their most cherished values, including free speech.

via www.christianitytoday.com

She looks like a porcelain doll.

May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LAUSD Board Candidates Bennett Kayser and Ref Rodriguez Face Off to Determine the Fate of Charter Schools | L.A. Weekly

"There's a big difference," she says. "At the charter schools, they told them they had to go to university. In Franklin High School, they don't even care about the kids."

via www.laweekly.com

About a year ago, my son William (Cal '18) saw something interesting on the freeway. It was a little pickup, a parody of the landscapemobile (mower, weedwhacker, etc., in back) that had to have 300K on it, tooling down the road in the slow lane, and on the back window, two stickers, one from Brown and one from Stanford. Only in America, William said. OK, so there's some affirmative action involved, but you still have to be on top of that particular heap. Charter schools help.

May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

When coyotes attack

(This is a family life update. Reading it is opitonal.)

I have not done a lot of family life updates lately, for several reasons. First as my children grow older and learn what the web is, and that they can spend almost all their time plugged into it, I find they object to being blogged about.  They prefer to construct their own on line personas, through facebook or whatever, and I'm not to interfere with that. LWJ and I are not allowed on their facebook pages, but their aunts and uncles are; go figure. Secondly, oh well, you don't really care, do you? This is a post mostly about a new member of our family unit, the estimable Gandalf, now called Gandalf the Lion-Hearted.

Gandalf is a 20 lbs. Bichon Frise, which I would have said qualified him as a rat dog, though I admit that is pretty big for a rat. He had wormed his way into my heart before last Sunday night but the events of that evening have earned him a permanent place there.  I had taken Chopi (that's CHOH-pee, rhymes with Hopi), my new labrador puppy, and Gandalf out to relieve themselves for the night. As usual, Chopi returned to the house immediately with me and Gandalf went off towards the bottom of our driveway to explore. I called him back, which he of course ignored, and I went inside to put the Chope-meister to bed. What happened next is a little unclear. I was inside downstairs when Jeanne said she heard a terrible screaming which she said brought instantly to mind a large dog, like a German Shephard or Pit Bill, being attacked by a coyote.  She said it was a dog screaming and growling in terror.  Meanwhile, Gandalf came running into the house and then upstairs. Jeanne and I walked down the driveway and she saw a largeish coyote slinking away.  We looked around there and across the street, expecting perhaps to find the incapacitated victim, but no go.  Then we returned to the house and LWJ went upstairs and soon thereafter she started, well, screaming.  Little Gandalf was hiding in our closet licking at a large puncture wound, one of four that he was now sporting. Examination revealed him covered with fox-ears, missing patches of fur, with the four holes as well as minor abrasions, and a general appearence of being much diminished.  I love the little guy but Jeanne really loves him and she was in a state, but not so much as to lose her ever present presence of mind.  We bundled him up and took him to the Pet Emergency Center, the first rate 24/7 animal hospital that had saved Denali's life back in the day and nursed Biscuit through multiple snake bites.

I could sing the praises of the Pet Emergency place but suffice it to say it's what happens when free enterprise and state of the art animal care meet.  It was late but even so there was no wait and within 20 minutes we were hearing what the damage was.  Gandalf had been attacked but evidently the characteristic shaking that coyotes do to kill especially their small prey had not broken any bones or internal organs, at least on superficial exam.  Next they needed our permission to explore the wounds surgicially and if he had had his abdomen or lungs or perhaps some other vital area punctured, then they would need to open him up to repair the damage on the inside.  I defered to LWJ on this one and she gave them the thumbs up. Their description of what had happened to the critter and what they proposed to do was perhaps an order of magnitude more technical, but you get the idea.

Gandalf fortunately came out of surgery in good shape.  I took him home the next morning, he wearing his new cone of shame and frankenstein-like stitching on both flanks and four surgical drains.  He was gorped out on Tramidol so I parked him on the couch and we both watched Marley and Me for the n-th time. Even Chopi seems to have laid off his usual chasing and tormenting of his adopted older brother, for the time being.

When things like this happen, my usual reaction is to become numb and only later react with feeling to what has happened.  But on reflection, I think Gandalf's survival is a fairly remarkable occurence.  A twenty pound Bichon does not normally live through the attack of a good-sized coyote.  Gandalf must have fought like hell to survive and, with help of a lot of expensive medical treatment, looks like he will do so.  LWJ has decreed that henceforth he shall be known as Gandalf the Lion Hearted, and I think that's apt.  We forget that these small creatures want to live as much as we do. It's not the size of the dog in the fight.

May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)