Thursday, March 31, 2016

Obama's Surprising Reversal On Islam

Obama's Surprising Reversal:

"Among the many intriguing revelations in Jeffrey Goldberg's recent interview with President Obama, one of the most surprising was that (privately, to be sure) the president has argued that there will be no comprehensive solution to Islamist terrorism until Islam reconciles itself to modernity...."

Syria And The Enemy

The "war" against ISIS in Syria has blinded people to this - the "winners" are merely the states that launched international war by proxy to begin with; beating up ISIS isn't accomplishing anything.

"We farmed the battle out to others who are no allies. Thus we've guaranteed intensified mayhem which sooner or later can reach our shores."

Meanwhile the Obama administration reacts to Iranian cheating on armament deals by continuing appeasement, (in keeping with his cowardice elsewhere) while whatever Europe is doing needs to be stopped and the opposite used instead.

New Data On CEO Pay

CEO pay is only five times higher than that of ordinary employees - nothing to be concerned about - yet liberals worry all the same that CEOs earn "too much."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Obamacare's Broken Promises

Obamacare at six years of operation has broken every promise made by it. Also a different look at where it didn't succeed, and a look at why it is killing Health Savings Accounts.

Concussion Demagoguery Continued

The demagogoguery we seem to always get about football and head injuries ramped up with a NY Times story about the NFL's research into CTE and questioning the sincerity of it. Recently we got a minor admission from Ann McKee, of BU's concussion research effort (whom an NFL official while in DC cited when he talked about links between football and CTE), where she said "we have no idea" what percentage of NFL players develop CTE. She insists it can't be rare because of the sample size she cites - but then red flags about the research should have first flown with discovery of CTE in people and players (notably Chris Henry of the Bengals, killed in a highway accident in 2009) who never had concussions; the "explanation" given is that an accumulation of little blows could cause such brain damage, but this amounts to changing definition or diagnosis to justify a conclusion rather than rethink the conclusion.

There is also the discovery of CTE in the likes of Raiders great Kenny Stabler - discovery even though he hadn't played in over thirty years.  

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians also raised eyebrows by angrily defending the safety of the game and mocking people for trying to prevent children from playing youth football - this even though Stanford researcher Ed Riley defended its safety back in 2015.   It earned a stupid retort in Sporting News that defined dumbed down demagoguery posing as sports writing. 

The demagoguery has to stop.  Football is a safe game and only getting safer, and Arians is right - you ARE a fool to deny participation in the youth game.

2017 UPDATE - the fifth International Conference On Concussion In Sport met in Berlin in late 2016 and around April 2017 was issued  the group's consensus statement.  

A key part from the consensus statement -
The literature on neurobehavioral sequelae and long-term consequences of exposure to recurrant head trauma is inconsistent.  Clinicians need to be mindful of the potential for long-term problems such as cognitive impairment, depression, etc. in the management of all athletes.   However, there is much more to learn about the potential cause-and-effect relationships of repetitive head-impact exposure and concussions.   The potential for developing CTE must be considered as this condition appears to represent a distinct tauopathy with an unknown incidence in athletic populations.   A cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been demonstrated between CTE and (Sports Related Concussions - SRCs) or exposure to contact sports.  As such, the notion that repeated concussion or subconcussive impacts cause CTE remains unknown.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Right To Work Laws And The Myth Of Income Inequality

There is a myth pushed on the Left that Right-To-Work laws have hurt working people by increasing "income inequality."  That disparities in incomes is no one's business to begin with of course doesn't resonate, but a look at the actual evidence indicates such laws have no negative impact.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hillary Happens, Again

Hillary Milhous Clinton had a terrible week.

Socialism Always Fails

There has been a new popularity for socialism, but like before it can never work.

No Case Against Victory Over Islamic Imperialism

The bombing in Brussels - where the perps were able to move unmolested because they have so many of them - shows anew the problem of Islamic imperialism, and yet the response of the West remains inadequate. The poor response showcases anew the willfull blindness of refusing to call Islamic imperialism what it is. This blindness also extends to domestic-based Islamic terrorism, shown in foolish criticism of Ted Cruz' recommendation to empower law enforcement against Islamic imperialism.

See also how submission feeds aggression, how the Islamic threat is growing, and that civilization needs to get serious.

The Left's Racism

Thomas Sowell looks back at leftism's racist history.

Monday, March 21, 2016

More Fontana Postmortems

The California 400 weekend is now past, but there remain some postmortems worth mentioning. 

The incident that had everyone talking was Danica Patrick's crash after tangling with Kasey Kahne. Kahne, not known for controversy on the racetrack, seemed surprised when Patrick swerved up toward him, while Patrick tore up yet another racecar in a career increasingly defined by torn-up racecars.

While she was wrecking again, her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse led a surprising surge into the top-5 by edging out Chase Elliott.  Stenhouse and the moribund Roush fleet haven't had anything to be proud of, but lately have begun regaining some ground.

The young guns may have a new member in Brian Scott, whop quietly drove Richard Petty's #44 to a respectable 12th.

Contrast these young guns with Austin Dillon, who won the pole but never led, struggled all race, and finished 24th.   He's still ahead of the game from where he was last year, but progress still isn't coming at the pace a lot of people seem to expect.

Haven't we seen this movie before?  Kevin Harvick leads the most laps and at the end doesn't have what is needed to win the race. 

Speaking of faltering, Martin Truex Jr's season has plummeted the last few races even as he led over twenty laps at Fontana - this of course is no thanks to Joey Logano, as Joey did it again in a wreck at Fontana.

Before the race weekend Brian France stated that "there is some interest by a couple of manufacturers" to race in Cup - with Rumor Control Central indicating Audi. We'll believe that when we see it, though one certainly wants Dodge to return as well as Honda to enter.

So it goes as the Easter Bye Week hits.

Fontana and The Neverending Politics Of Competition Rule Packages

California Speedway's reputation for NASCAR racing was considered low for a long time due to undercompetitive races there from its beginning, but the 2013 California 400 changed all that with a stunning final ten lap battle for the lead ending in a hard Denny Hamlin crash, a spectacular highside three wide pass by Kyle Busch, and the thwarting of Joey Logano in his debut season with Penske Racing.  

2013's 400 was amazing, and 2014's running also saw spirited racing for the lead, which made 2016's running with NASCAR's neo-5&5 Rule and a softer tire from Goodyear among the more anticipated events of the racing calendar.   But as Jimmie Johnson enters the Easter weekend with a late restart win over Kevin Harvick, the sport has to reexamine quite a bit after this weekend.

The weekend began with the Cal 300 for the Xfinity Series and the most bizarre finish in decades as Kyle Busch blew a tire, but several contenders ran out of gas, except Austin Dillon as he sqeezed through a hole around a Busch blocking attempt for the win.   The Cal 300 also saw something Fontana and other tracks have long needed - push-drafting, as the JGR Toyotas and Kyle Larson engaged in at least two efforts at push-drafting down Fontana's sweeping trioval, Larson even getting the lead for a moment thanks to a strong push-draft.

Come the 400 the racing up front in spots was good as well, but the issue that plagued the race, having also popped up in the Saturday event, was a very high incidence of tire failure throughout the field;  Kyle Busch's late tire failure set up the GWC-restart that won the race for Johnson when it appeared Kevin Harvick would waltz away while Kyle Larson blasted the inside SAFR barrier after a tire failure.

The incidence of tire failures - coming a week after numerous tire failures at Phoenix - was such that Goodyear actually had to address it during the race in the media; we got the usual "aggressive setup" cliché from varied analysts, but it begged the question that is seemingly never asked - why cannot Goodyear engineer these tires to where the teams don't have to put in "aggressive" setups?

Not that Goodyear hasn't gotten it right as far as forgiving, raceable tires go - in the radial era spirited battles such as the World 600s of 1993, 1995, and 1998, and the National 500 of 2000 that saw 47 official lead changes despite Goodyear incompetence that led to a tire shortage that weekend, not to mention memorable Pocono races in 1993, '95, '96, 2001, and 2009-10, Atlanta in the 1999-2002 period where four of its races combined to average 32 official lead changes a race, and the 1999 Yankee 400 at Michigan contested with a higher-stagger tire and thus witnessing a spirited fight for the lead in the final twenty-two laps, have all indicated a tire that racers were able to race hard on - and shown more recently with the Truck Series and several memorable races on intermediate speedways the last five years.

But the radial era has seen much incidence of "aggressive setups" and trouble as a result; the first famous such incident was the 1992 Virginia 500 at Martinsville where broken axles knocked out numerous contenders - the result of rearend cambering to get a bigger tire footprint onto the surface; NASCAR had banned parts to make the cambered rearend work, citing costs, to where team owner Larry McClure commented "If NASCAR keeps trying to save money we'll be out of business." 

The incident has been repeated, albeit in different form, at numerous races ever since, and it has been especially pointed during NASCAR's frequent campaigns to cut downforce, the 2004-7 period most notably seeing multiple spoiler reductions, tire changes, and swaybar changes, and no improvement in passing, to go with several bouts of "aggressive setup" fiascos.   It of course continued with the ill-fated Car Of Tomorrow.  

So we ask again -  can not Goodyear engineer a tire that is forgiving and raceable enough where teams do not need to run "aggressive" setups?   The Erik Jones-Kasey Kahne sidedraft epic at Charlotte in the Trucks in 2015 - that tire clearly allowed them to fight for the lead; can not Goodyear engineer a tire so the Xfinity and Cup drivers can race likewise, and do so with some significant frequency?


That seemingly no NASCAR journalist asks such questions speaks of the decline of journalism that is covering the sport.   Veteran NASCAR scribe Mike Mulhern addresses the tire issue recently in advocating that teams be given three or four different compounds - soft, hard, intermediate, etc.   Not only that, give teams different staggers - as longtime crewman Scott Cluka recently noted, the art of staggering tires was taken out with the switch to radials.


But the issue goes a lot further.   Part of the issue for Fontana is the worn-out surface, worn to the point it seems to be getting less safe to race on.   Drivers have long liked this worn out surface because of the surge in multiple grooves, but Fontana racing in the past on much fresher asphalt has seen some spirited competition, and a better tire would certainly open up more grooves on fresh asphalt.  Having to pit every 35 or so laps for fresh tires becomes expensive and frankly overkill, plus the idea of tire management really is not competitively appealing  - competition never means managing anything.

The weekend, like seemingly the entire season, was treated in media coverage almost as a referendum on NASCAR's low downforce package and as usual one looked in vain for any dissent from the view that low downforce has opened up passing and produced better racing.   High incidence of tire problems was a feature of NASCAR's past wars against downforce and we're seeing it again in 2016, meaning the same mistakes made by NASCAR in the past are producing the same results. 

The blunt truth remains NASCAR has seen close finishes in 2016 not because of low downforce, but in spite of it - a late yellow was needed for the photo finish at Phoenix and another late yellow allowed Johnson to storm past Kevin Harvick for the win.   Robert Barker's piece a few weeks back showed the futility of cutting downforce and also of soft tires, yet one would think NASCAR would figure out not to repeat the same mistakes.  


The bottom line remains NASCAR should not need worn-out asphalt et al to see better competition; everyone involved need to reexamine things because the racing has been decent, but it has seen a lot of trouble, trouble racing shouldn't have.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Appeasment Of Iran Hasn't Worked

Iran has been at war with the West since 1979 yet the US refuses to admit that appeasement isn't working, and we keep learning more about appeasement of Iran in the nuclear deal Iran has already broken.

Red Russia's Sham "Withdrawal" In Syria

Vladimir Putin's "withdrawal" in Syria is no withdrawal. Vladimir Putin's neo-imperialism is continuing as he shores up the terrorist Assad regime and gets military bases. It is also aligning itself with Iran.

Politicians Think Shakedowns Are Patriotism

Liberal politicians dictate to corporations and expect those companies to donate to them out of patriotism. They don't give companies any reason to trust them and Barack Obama proves that anew with his stupid criticism of companies who move their HQ overseas because of absurdly high US tax rates.

Obama's Neverending Cover Your Ass Campaign

Barack Obama always blames someone else. Whether it's trying to shoehorn a new Supreme Court nominee he objectively has no authority to install or blaming everyone else for his foreign policy failures, it's the same story for the archtypal Democratic Partier.

Governor Moonbeam's Debt

California is $220 billion in debt even as Jerry Brown lies about a "surplus."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Calming Down About Trump

Donald trump has gotten a lot of hate commentary and has shown serious weaknesses of thought - yet he remains the better of the choice of him or the Democrats.

Obama's Other Fantasies

Barack Obama's Atlantic interview further illustrates how out of touch he's always been with reality.

Israeli Settlements And Real Security

A longtime myt is that Israeli settlements in the West bank somehow lead to violence - the reality has always been the opposite.

Meet The New KKK - MoveOn

Meet - "the new KKK" - as it launches riots at Trump rallies.

NASCAR: California Here We Go Again

The Winston Cup and Xfinity series finish up their pre-Easter West Coast swing at Fontana, and with four races already in the books what has stood out so far is how much every race has become a referendum on NASCAR's neo-5&5 Rule. The cut in downforce has been lobbied for on the varied racecasts every week, and this lobbying - by Rusty Wallace and drag racer Ron Capps last week during the Phoenix race - has struck one as smacking of defensiveness as each race has seen some competitive moments but nowhere has the racing improved from last year or other recent seasons.

Of course loss of downforce has a proven history of not achieving what is advertised of it, and the angle of softer tires helps showcase the futility of the entire war against downforce as demonstrated by crew chief Robert Barker. The tire angle got hotter with five high-profile failures at Phoenix and the issue of melting beads reared its head again.  It remains that Goodyear needs to develop their tire to race more like bias-plies, which are far more forgiving and raceable; a better tire will help the issue of passing and mechanical grip.

For Fontana the age of the surface has also played a competitive role of recent - like Atlanta and Darlington the old surface wears out tires and that's played a part in the outcome.   The 2013 and 2014 runnings were two of the most celebrated in the track's history, with 2013 seeing the track's wildest finish.    Curiously Fontana has seen more than a few competitive races, notably the 2004-2008 period, yet it isn't viewed all that favorably among fans.

Entering the Fontana weekend the Big Four of the Cup series - Joe Gibbs, Hendrick, Penske, and Stewart-Haas - have won the races run so far; Harvick's win came with a racecar whose chief mechanic, Les Huntley, suffered a stroke before the Phoenix race, making the win all the more bittersweet, especially as the SHR team also was without shock specialist Michael McCarville, hospitalized after a bad snowmobile crash before the Phoenix race.

Among the darkhorses - legitimate and relative - entering Fontana, we've seen some quiet improvement in some of the sport's young drivers.   Austin Dillon managed just nine top-10 finishes in his first 85 starts and has three so far in 2016, and that's been it as far as the long-dormant RCR fleet has gone with Paul Menard being what he is and Ryan Newman as yet untracked.

The Roush and Ganassi fleets have been in even worse shape, with just two top-10s combined so far this season; Roush's lone top-10 came from Ricky Stenhouse while Kyle Larson had a seventh at Daytona and has been largely MIA since.

Leading the rookie race so far has been Ryan Blaney in the Wood Brothers #21, with consecutive top-10s and talk of moving him to a third Penske Ford.

A curious dive has been with Martin Truex Jr., who hasn't posted a top-10 since Atlanta.

Unflashy has been Aric Almirola, who hasn't led a lap or finished higher than 12th but has put Petty's #43 on a consistent run so far.

The BK Racing squad has struggled all year but got some respectability for Matt DiBenedetto at Phoenix.

So it goes entering Phoenix.

NFL: Endorsing A Concussion Demagogue And Declawing Goodell

The NFL is in DC this week and two stories have broken that are pretty big. The more immediate one is that the league and the NFLPA are negotiating a new player discipline policy that in essence declaws Roger Goodell. DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA says a new deal has to settle present controversies, notably the league's absurd punishment of Tom Brady.

That the league has come to this extends beyond punishment of players.   It basically serves as a fundamental rebuke of Roger Goodell's raison d'etre.  Goodell was elected NFL commissioner to reign in players whose off-field behavior had supposedly spiraled out of control - "the inmates were running the asylum" is the term I've heard used.   The problem quickly became that the players were not the problem; Goodell immediately made himself the problem by handing down punishments based on his own personal spite, and punishing players based on mere accusations.   Sports law professor Jeffrey Standen back during the Spygate fiasco showed how the owners themselves had serious doubts about Goodell's judgement to be commissioner, and now we've had nothing but proof he never should have been elected.

So it would seem declawing him on player punishments is but step one toward removing him from office entirely. 

The second story is that NFL official Jeff Miller, during a roundtable discussion in DC with Rep. Jan Shakowsky, answered a question about football concussions  - "Do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders?"  Miller replied yes by citing recent research by Ann McKee of Boston University.   That the league cited Ann McKee is surprising given what real science says, such as this piece on the study of six deceased CFL players, a piece that overall refuses demagoguery about football - "It is difficult to establish a definitive link between multiple concussions and the development of CTE" is the piece's conclusion).

McKee has been one of the more demagogic pushers of the myth of football killing its players - McKee's research (and that of the BU group in general) too often dumbs down the definition of brain degeneration by including as evidence of CTE the results of normal aging, and the research has been disputed by the British Journal Of Sports Medicine"McKee zealously looks for CTE and the methods she employs help her to find it." So why is the NFL endorsing a concussion demagogue instead of real science that puts icewater on McKee's premise? For that matter it seems the larger media has ignored any source of CTE information other than the BU group.

The game has been safer for so long that to let a group of academic demagogues set a sham debate about its safety is stupidity at its worst. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Doctors Without Freedom

Bernie Sanders lies about Cuba's repressive medical-export racket.

"Right after half-heartedly condemning Castro's Cuba for being authoritarian and undemocratic at Wednesday night's debate, Bernie Sanders made a pivot that was predictable to anyone who has ever eavesdropped in a coffee shop in Sanders's adopted state of Vermont: He rhapsodized on the wonders of Cuban health care. Cuba has made some good advances in health care, Sanders said. He then added, admiringly, that they are sending doctors all over the world.
On the latter point, Sanders is right. Cuban doctors have indeed done brave work in horrifying circumstances, such as Ebola-terrorized West Africa.
But it's precisely because Cuba is undemocratic that this is the case. Indeed, doctors from free countries, such as our own, often travel to troubled areas to provide medical care. The difference is, they are not sent by their governments: They go of their own free will."

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Sally Jenkins On The Continuing Goodell Lie

The NFL's appeal to the Second Circuit appeals panel to overturn the overturning of its suspension of Tom Brady got a lot of attention when new NFL lawyer Paul Clement repeated a lie told by Roger Goodell. Sally Jenkins dispels the lie.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Obama's Islamic Fantasies

This was first published February 9:

Barack Obama refuses to tell the truth about Islam - that it is a terrorist religion and that its followers need to stand up against it.

UPDATE, March 7:
We now have evidence the Obama administration is flat-out lying to preverse its fantasy about Iran, as Joe Biden's national security advisor, told a RAND Corporation conference that $100 billion released to Iran is being used for domestic investment - except the state-run Iranian press indicates it is being used for military efforts. And then we have evidence of Iranian sanction of terrorism in Argentina even though the Obama administration insists on lying about Iran - and the International Atomic Energy Agency is also lying.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Myth Against Boots On The Ground

First published February 10:

American special forces are involved in fighting Islamo-Arab terrorism but politicians keep campaigning against "boots on the ground," refusing to face that boots on the ground are what solve these issues of enemy aggression.

UPDATE March 2:
The myth against Boots On The Ground - shockingly - may now finally be seen as a myth by Barack Obama. He's been quietly escalating the fight against Islamic State terrorism - and evokes memory of the too-late conversion of Jimmy Carter.

UPDATE: April 7:
see also Max Boot's piece on Obama's secret escalation against enemy aggression.

And wouldn't you know it - Barack Obama is more openly admitting George W. Bush was right about Iraq all along.

Government's Growing Meddling

The myth persists about "special interests," and it continues to ignore how government dictates, not the other way around, and how government at all levels refuses to face it has no business policing what it polices.

Red Russia And The Assads

The "cessation of hostilities" in Syria of recent is nothing of the kind - it is but a victory for Vladimir Putin and his Syrian viceroy Assad. It has been in keeping with the Obama administration's appeasement of Putin and the West's refusal to understand that Red Russia is not and never will be a partner - only an enemy.

From Atlanta To Vegas

NASCAR now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson the winners at the Cup level so far and Vegas native Kyle Busch the point leader. The Vegas race comes amid continuing discussion of the Atlanta 500 and the low downforce package NASCAR ran. Most pieces on that race and the rule package merely regurgitate driver praise of the package, with Matt Weaver of Autoweek claiming it harkens back to old school racing, or "It was NASCAR as it was meant to be."

It was? 

A more sober analysis comes from Jared Turner, as aero tightness was brought back by this retro-5&5 Rule, a fact Kurt Busch noted afterward. Indeed, Matt Weaver's idea of "NASCAR as it was meant to be" would seem to be disproved by Atlanta's competitive apex as a quad-oval, which has been throughout NASCAR's downforce era, in races such as the 2002 Atlanta 500, the finish of the 2001 Atlanta 500, the 2000 Atlanta 500, or the 1999 Dixie 500, the most competitive Atlanta race (38 official lead changes) since 1982. All of these races (averaging 32 lead changes per race) came with high downforce, and the 2001-2 period was contested with a much harder tire, not to mention much fresher asphalt, making nonsense of Carl Edwards' statement "don't ever pave this place because it's the perfect racetrack."  Keep in mind NASCAR restarted its campaign to cut downforce at the start of 2004; Matt Weaver is quite wrong when he writes, "It starts with the sanctioning body for its willingness to reverse course and remove downforce from the cars after years of piling it on in the first place." 

Busch and others also noted the lousy condition of Atlanta's pavement, and the notion you can't race on fresh asphalt has never been believable (best shown last year at Charlotte with a high downforce race). This is where Vegas, with better asphalt, will give some answers about this downforce package we may not have gotten at Atlanta. 

We may also get some answers to whether car counts have been hurt by NASCAR's charter system, for it remains striking (and encouraging) that the NASCAR media took the sanctioning body to task for the low car count at Atlanta. The unofficial entry list updated March 1 shows 39 entries, another short field and thus a discouraging sign for this charter system.

Another discouraging sign for NASCAR - Atlanta's TV ratings were "its lowest overnight since FOX acquired rights" with a 27% drop, this according to the JAYSKI NASCAR page.  

Such trends don't beckon well as NASCAR looks for a new title sponsor for the Winston Cup series.   They also don't beckon well for the remainder of the 2016 season, a season that was supposed to be better.

As for the Vegas 400 the Hendrick and JGR juggernauts are the obvious early favorites, with Penske Racing curiously quiet so far.   Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are the torch-carriers for the lameduck Chevy fleet of Stewart-Haas but curiously haven't shown enough to outright win the race even as they lead more than enough to take them seriuously as contenders for wins.   That appears to be it as far as favorites right now.  

UPDATE, MARCH 14:  With the Vegas and Phoenix races NASCAR has had three races with low downforce and the result has been the same - no improvement in the racing. At Phoenix the MRN call featured commentary supporting the low downforce package by Rusty Wallace and drag racer Ron Capps and Kevin Harvick said his photo-finish win over Carl Edwards at Phoenix - set up after a late yellow in a race where the last lap was the only time he was challenged - was a product of the low downforce package. That such lobbying has intensified for an established rule is curious, but also an indication of defensiveness within NASCAR - this as crew chief Robert Barker offers a lengthy analysis of why Goodyear can't bring a soft tire to the races, an analysis that helps illustrate that NASCAR's war against downforce is self-defeating.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Where Regime Change Works And Where They Screw It Up

Regime change has quite often worked contrary to neoisolationists and ex post facto attempts to deny US success in Iraq and elsewhere. But with "leaders" like Hillary Clinton we get nothing but incompetence - as shown by (of all people) The New York Times.