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    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Hobby Lobby Wins. Is it pyrrhic?

    The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby today in their case against the government to protect the owner's relgious freedom.  I am saddened that the ruling was won on a 5-4 count.  I find it amazing none of the 4 liberal judges could see their way to protect religious freedom and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  A law passed with vast bipartisan majorities in both Houses of Congress and signed into law by the notorious #warrioronwomyn, Bill Clinton. Apparently, the liberal judges feel it's more important to play politics with religion than it is to protect it.

    So, Democrats will try to make hay of this decision by claiming it's furthering a Republican #waronwomyn by denying the women who work for Hobby Lobby contraception, and they'll go on to claim that this decision denies all women the right to birth control, BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW THE GOP IS AGAINST BIRTH CONTROL AND JUST WANTS WOMEN TO HAVE BABIES AND STAY HOME AND COOK FOR THE PATRIARCHS.

    You do know that, right?

    What, you say, the decision doesn't actually do that?  That doesn't matter to the Liberals.  They were unable to read the Arizona RFRA changes that did nothing to promote discrimination against gays, and lied about that law until Jan Brewer vetoed it, and they won't speak the truth of this decision, either.  I can't blame them, because if people knew the truth, they'd really wonder why we were here in the first place.

    The truth is this law permits Hobby Lobby to not include 4 abortifacients in their health plan, while still providing a benefit for birth control methods more commonly (much more commonly) used by women.  It is the abortifacients that the religious nuts at Hobby Lobby object to, and that's all.

    But, as Mark Steyn points out today, the Left really pushes these things (like the Arizona law) because they are opposed to religious liberty.  Steyn correctly describes the administration's (and most Liberal's) view on this:

    "In Obama's view, "religion" is fine for a once-a-week hymn-sing with a couple of scripture readings but it cannot inform your life. Leave it in the umbrella stand by the front door as you head off to work on Monday morning. There is literally no point to "religion" under this shrunken definition, as the Europeans have begun to figure out. Eventually, even that Sunday-morning private members' club gets opened up to the Bureau of Compliance. Breaking news from our friends across the pond:
    Denmark Forces Churches To Conduct Gay Marriages
    It would be interesting to read the headline "Denmark Forces Mosques To Conduct Gay Marriages", but that's probably what it's going to take to bring a halt to the shriveling space for religion in the public sphere."

    Monday, June 23, 2014

    IRS Hearings Today: Their Email Sucks

    The IRS Comissioner, John Koskinen is up on the Hill tonight, testifying as to why they lost some thousands of Lois Lerner's emails.

    Tonight I have learned that the government has some pretty screwed up information retention requirements, and that the IRS in general is about where the rest of America is in IT maturity.  Democrats want to make it clear that the IRS's email problems are not anything a few hundred million bucks couldn't fix.

    I can empathize with the IRS's data retention problems.  They have massive volumes of email and like most businesses and organizations they have to manage that volume.  Server capacity and storage capacity is always a limited resource, so, they force their end users to save email locally (on their hard drives), which, apparently, in Lois Lerner's case, is what she did.

    This, of course, coupled with users who do not back up their hard drives regularly, leads to crashes and loss of data.  That's what conviently happened to Lois Lerner.  Of course, the IRS is attempting to find all her emails by going through the email of those she may have sent them to, or been included on, and, with luck, they'll find most of them.

    I have some questions:
    1. Did Lois Lerner routinely back up her hard drive, which would have included the impacted emails?
    2. What was IRS policy regarding the back-up of hard drives at the IRS?
    3. If Lois Lerner's hard drive was backed up, what has become of that back-up, and why hasn't it been restored? What are the retention requirements for these back-ups? Are back up tapes re-used (as is common), or are they archived?
    4. What exact efforts were made to retrieve the data off Ms. Lerner's hard drive, including forensic activity after it was not restored using traditional means?
    While Dems mostly preened (although some pointed out the IRS largely followed their rules here), there were some other good points brought up:

    1. Why did Mr. Koskinen not inform Congress immediately when emails under subpoena were learned to be lost?
    2. Who informed Mr. Koskinen that the hard drive was dead and the emails lost? How was this communicated? It is completely unbelievable to me, and obviously to Republican members of the panel, that he could possibly not know the answer to this question.  He seems to have lost his memory on this and on the next question:
    3. When did you learn the emails were lost? He claims it was "April"

    It's not unreasonable to believe that Lois Lerner's hard drive failed and that it took email with it.  It's convenient timing, but it happens.  The response to it is a typical IT response and a typical user wanting all their crap back from a drive they know they shouldn't have been relying on.  I really see no fault there on the IRS's part,  except this is a particular agency we'd expect to be a little more careful in their data management.  

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

    Al Gore - Dumber than Facebook Posters (you know who you are)

    I admit, many years ago, I was enamored of Al Gore.  He seemed cool yet nerdy, and scientifically literate, and as a young, nascent engineer, it was refreshing to have a Senator of national prominence who could speak the language of science.

    (He was also married to the music hating Tipper, and was pro-life, but that was before he had to appeal to national Democrats).

    But, that was before I attempted to read Gore's "Earth in the Balance."

    My first impression of Gore's pseudo-scientific tome was that it was unfootnoted, and my second impression was that it was unreadable drivel, filled with nonsensical science and conclusions.

    It didn't help that Al rode a submarine to the Arctic with B-1 Bob Dornan and one of my best froends at the time, and the report was "Gore is the stupidest man alive, and B1 Bob was on him relentlessly."

    Anyway, Al's out doing his usual schtick, blaming everything, including the Syrian civil war, on global warming.  

    I kid you not:   See: http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/06/19/gore-blames-syria-civil-war-global-warming

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    The Goreacle, Full of Contradictions

    In Al Gore's essay in Rolling Stone (no link, you can work for it), he says:

    "Enough raw energy reaches the Earth from the sun in one hour to equal all of the energy used by the entire world in a full year."

    Yet, this big, glowing energy ball has less impact on the climate than Mann's carbon burning.


    But wait, there's more. Touting the awesomeness of solar power and how the costs have come down:

    "Germany, Europe's industrial powerhouse, where renewable subsidies have been especially high, now generates 37 percent of its daily electricity from wind and solar."

    So, he admits that solar is only competitive where subsidies are "especially high" as some sort of victory for solar?

    Remarking on the closing of coal plants, he understates:

    "To be sure, some of these closings have been due to the substitution of gas for coal."

    Sure, Al, that would be most, or nearly all.  That, and the prohibitive cost to run coal plants due to government meddling.

    These are just in the first few paragraphs of an essay as tedious to read as "Earth in the Balance."  Irony of ironies is Rolling Stone dared to link to an article about the "10 Dumbest Things Said Abiut Climate Change" in the midst of this stupidity and obfuscation.

    It would be awesome if solar, wind, and nuclear (all carbon free energy sources) could safely replace fossil fuels in the electric grid.  Maybe they can,  I'd just like to see the government stop subsidizing the first two and lessen the restrictions on the latter (and more promising).

    Meanwhile, it'd be great if Al Gore would just exit the stage.  


    Friday, June 13, 2014

    The Obama Crack-Up

    Is the Obama administration less competent than even Jimmy Carter's?  

    At least Carter negotiated the Camp David peace accord, which brought a semi-lasting peace to the Middle East, while the primary foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama admin would seem to be plunging areas of the world formerly secure into bloody civil wars (Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Australia). 

    I guess we can always hope that Obama will see a crazed rabbit on the golf course.