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Archive for February, 2013

Cartoon of the Day

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Rookie Blows Up Combine’s Lineman 40 Yard Dash Record

With these sort of size and speed, you’d think he’d be a Special Teams coach’s dream.  Imagine all 306 lbs. of this guy coming at you during a kick-off.

Talk about your human wrecking balls.

It’s been said that any play in which an offensive lineman has to run 40 yards in a straight line in probably a bad idea, but that doesn’t stop the NFL’s evaluators from studying just how well the big men run the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. This year, those NFL guys got a real treat, as Arkansas-Pine Bluff tackle Terron Armstead set a recent combine record with an unofficial 4.65 40-yard dash. His official time, announced later, was 4.71, but this still exceeded the previous mark since 2006 of 4.84, set by Allen Barbre in 2007.

Amstead just beat out Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, who ran an official 4.72, and whose stock has been rising steadily since he impressed everybody at the Senior Bowl. While Armstead is NFL Draft Scout’s 10th-rated offensive tackle, Johnson is third behind Texas A&Ms Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Fisher ran a 5.05 40 and Joeckel’s was even higher, but don’t expect that to affect their draft stock. More than with other positions, NFL teams will go back to the tape with offensive linemen for the real story.

For linemen, things like how many times they can bench press and their speed in “the shuttle run” matter a lot more than their 40 time.  The only thing that is required to be fast for most NFL lineman is their learning curve in understanding blocking schemes and how fast their feet move when it comes to making and sustaining blocks.

Still, this is rather frightening to think of a lineman with this kind of speed.

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CBO Reports Stimulus Damaged Country Long-Term

Of course, this was known when it was first proposed.  We were mortgaging the future (in debt) for short-term gain after all.

No wonder this report came out on a Friday.  It’s bad news that no one of a Keynesian economic perspective will want to hear.

The American Thinker blog finds that the heart of the report is of course buried on Page 8:

ARRA’s Long-Run Effects

In contrast to its positive near-term macroeconomic effects, ARRA will reduce output slightly in the long run, CBO estimates-by between zero and 0.2 percent after 2016…

ARRA’s long-run impact on the economy will stem primarily from the resulting increase in government debt. To the extent that people hold their wealth in government securities rather than in a form that can be used to finance private investment, the increased debt tends to reduce the stock of productive private capital. In the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollar’s worth of private domestic capital, CBO estimates…

Over the long term, the output of the economy depends on the stock of productive capital, the supply of labor, and productivity. The less productive capital there is as a result of lower private investment, the smaller will be the nation’s output over the long run.

In short, government spending adds weighted debt to the economy, private investment spending adds growth to the economy.

Anyone want to take a guess what we’ve been doing for the bulk of the last decade?

But what about the metrics of the economy you have to be asking yourself?  How did they do?

Not great either:

CBO estimates that ARRA’s policies had the following effects in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2012 compared with what would have occurred otherwise:

• They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent,

• They lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.1 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points,

• They increased the number of people employed by between 0.1 million and 0.8 million, and

• They increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 0.1 million to 0.8 million.

The effects of ARRA on output peaked in the first half of 2010 and have since diminished, CBO estimates. The effects of ARRA on employment are estimated to lag slightly behind the effects on output; CBO estimates that the employment effects began to wane at the end of 2010 and continued to do so through the fourth quarter of 2012. Still, CBO estimates that, compared with what would have occurred otherwise, ARRA raised real GDP in 2012 by between 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent and increased the number of people employed in 2012 by between 0.2 million and 1.1 million.

Notice that they’ve stopped using the phrase “saved and created jobs” a long time ago.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Dr. Fredric Wertham Remains Comics Greatest Villian

…and now there’s proof he likely falsified his data, lied about his findings and apparently even manipulated his interviews.

“Seduction of the Innocent?”  try “Seduction of the Weak-minded” who bought into it.

While the findings of Wertham (who died in 1981) have long been questioned by the comics industry and its advocates, a recent study of the materials he used to write “Seduction of the Innocent” suggests that Wertham misrepresented his research and falsified his results.

Carol L. Tilley, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, reviewed Wertham’s papers, housed in the Library of Congress, starting at the end of 2010, shortly after they were made available to the public.

In a new article in Information & Culture: A Journal of History, Dr. Tilley offers numerous examples in which she says Wertham “manipulated, overstated, compromised and fabricated evidence,” particularly in the interviews he conducted with his young subjects.

Drawing from his own clinical research and pointed interpretations of comic-book story lines, Wertham argued in the book that comics were harming American children, leading them to juvenile delinquency and to lives of violence, drugs and crime.

“Seduction of the Innocent” was released to a public already teeming with anti-comics sentiment, and Wertham was embraced by millions of citizens who feared for America’s moral sanctity; he even testified in televised hearings.

Yet according to Dr. Tilley, he may have exaggerated the number of youths he worked with at the low-cost mental-health clinic he established in Harlem, who might have totaled in the hundreds instead of the “many thousands” he claimed. Dr. Tilley said he misstated their ages, combined quotations taken from many children to appear as if they came from one speaker and attributed remarks said by a single speaker to larger groups.

Other examples show how Wertham omitted extenuating circumstances in the lives of his patients, who often came from families marred by violence and substance abuse, or invented details outright.

Wertham is pretty much seen as the man who did two things:  1) He gave the world the cultural “joke” that Batman and Robin were gay long before Burt Ward and Adam West did it back in the late 60s with the phrase “old chum” on national television.  2)  He pretty much killed the industry for about eight years.

“Seduction” came out in 1954 and by 1957, Marvel Comics forerunner, Timely Comics had a series of mass layoffs which nearly killed the company.  For two years, the only employees doing comics were Stan Lee and two or three freelance artists doing Western and romance comics.  (Jack Kirby didn’t come on-board until 1958 and only after he had no where else to go.  Bad blood already existed between him and Lee from an incident which led to Kirby’s termination from Timely in the 1940s.)  Books like Justice League, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the Avengers were years away and only after DC Comics led the way first with rebooted versions of their classic heroes like “The Flash” and “Green Lantern” led the revival.

In the meantime, all publishers policed themselves through “The Code,” short for the self-censoring “Comics Code Authority.”  The Code pretty much banned any horror, crime, and terror comics until the mid-to-late 70s.  For years, you couldn’t do a story at any of the publishers which included the classic horror monsters of werewolves, vampires and zombies.

Wertham would have hated “The Walking Dead” one can only guess.

But the real irony to the “Seduction of the Innocent” saga is that for what would sound like a Wertham was a few centuries ahead of Brent Bozell and the Family Television Council, he was actually a practicing liberal.  His early studies of segregation were written about in the briefs used for Brown vs. Board of Education.

The Times says as much:

Michael Chabon, who researched the early history of comics for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” said that while Wertham had been viewed as “this almost McCarthyite witch hunter,” he was actually “an extremely well-intentioned liberal, progressive man in many ways,” providing mental health services to minorities and the poor.

But of “Seduction of the Innocent,” Mr. Chabon said: “You read the book, it just smells wrong. It’s clear he got completely carried away with his obsession, in an almost Ahab-like way.”

Word was that Wertham then wanted to spend most of the 1960s going after television, but apparently couldn’t get a publisher.

Guess it was one of those “good intentions” things the Left keeps lecturing us about.

Anyway, fast-forward nearly 70 years and what do we have?  A comic book industry that is now more-or-less a loss-leader for major media conglomerates so they can make movies out of the properties.  It’s watchdog is no more — the Code officially went under in 2011 — and its iconic logo is now owned by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a group dedicated to end censorship of the comic book industry.

Wertham will probably go down in history as a crank on the same level as Tipper Gore when she went after the music industry in the 1980s.  Frankly, people are going to snap the same ways they always have — lousy childhoods filled with violence, uncaring parents who ever never there and of course — they just might be wired that way.  No media (or weapon) has been known to change that.

Of course, it is a lot easier to blame a medium or a weapon than it is to blame the parents.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Quote of the Day

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL / Rainbow/PUSH) at his hearing pleading guilty for a number of federal offenses.

“Sir, for years I lived off my campaign,” Jackson told the judge. “I used money I shouldn’t have used for personal purposes.”

“I did those things,” he said more than once, referring to the information provided by the prosecutor.

At 11:12 a.m. EST, the judge officially declared him guilty.

Funny, I guess learning off his father — who’s been rumored to been doing the same from Rainbow PUSH for decades — doesn’t pay off.  Makes you wonder how up-to-date Gwen Moore’s campaign books are.

It’s been how her son and sister have been making their living for years.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Remember: Sequestration is the White House’s Idea

We’re in an all-out blitz by the Obama press machine to try to stop the mandatory spending cut ($85 Billion) before the March 1 deadline, one thing you won’t be hearing a lot — at least from Democrats — is that the entire thing was Obama’s idea.

Ironically, it is CNN which is the first out of the box to remind us that before their prime-time programs try to tell us otherwise.

 I have some concerns about the sequestration, most of them about where it will be applied in the Pentagon; which is already working lean after four years of Obama and “smart-lean” of former George W. Bush SecDef Robert Gates.

The rest?  Federal government deserves a hair cut, even one as minor — and it is minor in a $3.6 Trillion budget — as this one.

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SCOTUS Rules U.S. Custody Laws Apply Internationally

This is a long way from being decided — the mother has been in Scotland now for years with the child in question — and like any other custody fight, it has been messy.

But this is a huge win for not just the father hoping to have some custody and say over his daughter, but in any future custody battle where one parent believes the way to avoid U.S. custody laws (and extradition) is to just flee the United States.  The actions of the SCOTUS today serve as a way to prevent this option in one of the most legally brutal fights out there.

The United States court system doesn’t lose jurisdiction in international custody disputes simply because the child involved is no longer in the country, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

That unanimous ruling is the latest in the battle between a U.S. soldier, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lee Chafin, and his estranged Scottish wife, Lynne Hales Chafin, over their daughter.

Chafin wants to appeal a federal judge’s decision to let Lynne Hales Chafin take their daughter back to her native Scotland. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Chafin’s appeal was moot because the 6-year-old girl has now been in Scotland for more than a year, and that his only remedy is in Scotland’s courts.

Chief Justice John Roberts said that was wrong. “Such return does not render this case moot; there is a live dispute between the parties over where their child will be raised, and there is a possibility of effectual relief for the prevailing parent,” Roberts said. “The courts below therefore continue to have jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of the parties’ respective claims.”

The Chafins married in Scotland in 2006; their daughter was born in 2007. The family lived in Germany until Chafin was deployed in Afghanistan, and mother and daughter moved to Scotland. Chafin transferred to Alabama in 2009, and was joined by his family the next year.

The Chafins agreed to divorce in 2010, and Lynne Chafin was deported in February 2011.

She sued to take her child with her, citing the 1980 Hague convention on international child abductions, which is designed to return children illegally taken from member countries. She said their daughter’s residence was Scotland, and that her husband illegally retained the child in the United States. A federal judge agreed, and ordered the girl be taken to Scotland. The judge also refused to stay the order. The mother and child boarded a plane and left the country.

Chafin appealed to the circuit court, which said the case was moot because the girl was in her official residence of Scotland.

That doesn’t matter, Roberts said. Chafin has a right to make a claim, and a possibility of success, which eliminates an argument of mootness. And the fact that the girl is in Scotland doesn’t matter, he said.

There is a long way to go in this, but at least it gives parents in international custody fights a fair shot after the shock of seeing their ex-spouse jump on a plane with their child and until today, little they could do about it.

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