View 756 Friday, January 04, 2013
One reason for not doing breaking news is that unless you have original sources you have no idea of what is really happening. You can’t rely on journalism, or at least not on what you can find with standard on-line search engines.
Yesterday the news was full of reproaches for the Republicans for not voting in the Senate-passed bill for the relief of the victims of Hurricane Sandy. My local Fox News station had a live interview with Republican Representative Peter King denouncing the House Republicans for putting off the vote. Governor Christie was even more vehement. The Republicans were being petty and vindictive, they did not like the Northeastern states, and that’s why they were doing this to the victims of the hurricane. Usually conservative talk show hosts joined in the chorus. There were no serious reasons for not supporting the bill already passed by the Senate. It had to be pure meanness.
This morning’s Wall Street Journal informs us that the $60 Billion Relief Bill which the Republicans refused to vote on contained considerable pork:
Look at some of what was in the $60 billion bill: $150 million for Alaskan fisheries; $2 million for roof repair at the Smithsonian in Washington; and about $17 billion for liberal activists under the guise of "community development" funds and so-called social service grants. Far from being must-pass legislation, this is a disgrace to the memory of the victims and could taint legitimate efforts to deal with future disasters.
California Republican Darrell Issa had it right when he told Fox News that "They had the opportunity to have a $27- to $30-billion legit relief package, packed it with pork, then dared us not to vote on it."
A $9 Billion Relief Bill was passed by the House this morning. It is a pure relief bill without funds for Alaskan fisheries (one does wonder why Alaskan fisheries were in a bill for relief of New York and New Jersey), and the various pork allocations in the original bill will have to be voted on in a separate action.
Of course it’s possible that the Senate will restore the Bill to its full $60 Billion magnificence and send it back to the House along with a media storm of contempt for the House for being prejudiced against New York and New Jersey. I will not be surprised if that happens.
We have now gone over the fiscal cliff, sort of, and not gone there, sort of. The President got a tax raise on”the rich”, as well as a 2% tax raise on everyone with a job, all without having to make any spending cuts whatever. The US continues to borrow about 40% of all the money it spends. The budget deficit continues to grow.
Note that the tax increases the President demands are on income, not on wealth. The effect of this is to prevent anyone not already rich from having any hope of becoming rich, while not changing the fortunes of those already rich. Someone must pay for entitlements: let it be those who want to become rich, not those who already are. If you are born rich you may be able to graduate from a major university without owing tuition debts. If you are not born rich, or your parents are on wages which might be high enough to pay your tuition were it not for the income taxes but cannot do it now, you will come out into the world with a lifetime debt. Unless you are part of the hereditary aristocracy. Many colleges allow free tuition for children of tenured faculty members.
Note that there is an addendum to the “rape fatwa” story in yesterday’s view. That is, I put in additional material after the initial publication.
My local Fox News station seems to think that the most important story is one of a pornographic film made in about the year 2000 that features a young looking girl, still unidentified, who may or may not be under the age of 18 (which is the legal age of consent in California). Federal agents found from the video that this took place in the San Fernando Valley, and local police agents took over, along with an appeal to the public. The daughter of the older woman in the video was found. She claims that the girl, said to be 13 years old by a medical examiner from the pictures, was an 18 year old addicted public prostitute known to everyone in the neighborhood, and that her mother (also a prostitute) and the unidentified girl were hired by the man in the film. The news continues to break. Resources continue to be added to the hunt. There has been an arrest. The US Attorney for this area is preening on the air. The girl has not yet been identified, but the film was made in Encino. The Department of Justice is sparing no expense in this matter. A charge has been made against John and Jane Doe for conspiracy to make child pornography. They could get fifteen years. The US Attorney says he may even be able to get 30 years. He has an affidavit from a credentialed pediatrician who says the unidentified girl in the picture is 13 years old. An arrest was made in the middle of the night, and the investigation goes on, no expenses spared. The US Attorney preens. Stay tuned.
For those wondering, I am not in favor of kiddie porn videos, but I do not see this as the kind of crime that needs a great deal of attention from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency; it would seem to me there are far more pressing problems for the understaffed ICE than ten year old videos of a young woman ho may or may not have been victimized, but who has yet to be identified or come forward to complain about her mistreatment – and if she did come forward it’s a matter for the state of California where the crime took place. I have stories indicating that the current, on-going sex slave trade continues and there are insufficient resources to do anything about it.
There is also a search for a cartoonist who made a video sex film featuring a girl said to be 15 years old. The girl is a puppet. It is said to be important to find him, presumably for torturing electrons. Apparently that hunt is not one in which no expenses are to be spared.
We have a number of unsolved gang murders in Los Angeles. There is no word on the resources to be devoted to these matters. There are also accusations that the police have used their authority to obtain sex from undercover informants for letting them turn informant rather than being arrested and put into the system. One of the officers was said to show up at the woman’s apartment, drunk, at frequent intervals saying she had not done enough for him lately. The officers have been sent home with pay, although one is said to be in Las Vegas at the moment. The Police Union is upset that there has been an announcement that there is an investigation: the announcement is a violation of the rights of the police. After all these were drug addict prostitutes, and this has been going on for years, and you can’t believe these people, and Internal Affairs didn’t think they could be prosecuted, and…
Of course people make up stories about the police all the time, and it is important to protect the police from that sort of thing; but it is also important that flagrant abuse of authority be discouraged. Endless investigations with neither announcement nor charges don’t accomplish much.
In New York a court has ruled that a citizen who gave the finger to his wife while driving can sue the police who stopped him and arrested him on suspicion of domestic violence: the Court ruled that the gesture is an age old symbol of insult, and it isn’t illegal to make that gesture to your wife, so the police had no cause to chase him down and arrest him.
In Kansas the state is suing a male sperm donor who, apparently as a favor, donated sperm to a lesbian couple who wanted to have a baby. They have since separated and the birth mother is unable to support the child. The sperm donor father is now being sued for child support. He is, after all, the actual father of the child. This may or may not prompt some attention to the legal implications of same sex marriage. Had the lesbian couple been married, would that have transferred the obligations of fatherhood to the spouse who did not bear the child?
Isn’t following breaking news fun?
I confess that I have been depressed since the election. That is a mistake of course. The world goes on, and the principles haven’t changed.
Some years ago I pointed out that there were good reasons to believe that causing plankton blooms could both reduce the CO2 atmospheric content and also increase the food supply. Apparently the Haida have discovered this and have used the technique to increase the salmon available (the tribe has traditional fishing rights). Apparently the professional greens do not like this. Think of that….
© 2013, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.