Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cold weather death toll 40,000 in UK alone

 Cold weather caused an added 40,000 deaths in the UK this year.

Telegraph UK

The cold weather death toll this winter is expected to top 40,000, the highest number for 15 years.
The figures were described as a “tragedy for the elderly” by campaigners who warned that not enough was being done to protect pensioners from unnecessary deaths in cold weather.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: “Excess winter deaths look like rising above the exceptional 2008-09 total and potentially reaching above 40,000 - and that is a disaster for the elderly in Britain.
“Winter deaths are a tragedy for families of those affected but it appears the underlying causes of these deaths have still not been properly addressed.

From the beginning of December until January 16, there were 8,800 more deaths than average of 25,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Boycott Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis before Indiana

All the good people are rushing to be the first to condemn Indiana for passing a law that says you can have religious values that actually mean something. Like your decisions are based on your values. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is off to a fast start. He went in to work on a nice Saturday to rush his announcement that he will ban city employees from traveling to Indiana. Seattle Times 

But Murray didn't announce that he will ban city employee travel to Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis. They all in states that have laws to the same effect. And Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island and more, according to Chicago Tribune. And there is a national law, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993.

Chris Gahl, a vice president of Visit Indy, said the [Indiana] tourism agency was pointing out to convention planners that cities such as Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis are in states that already have such religious-objections laws.

Seattle Times again.

ADDED: Hugh Hewitt succinctly covers (1) how LGBT has gone from wanting tolerance to wanting legal standing to now wanting government to force absolute equality on us. And (2) how the US has been well served by balance between state and church, but the LGBT wants to overthrow that balance by force of law.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Protectionism is trickle-down economics

When people propose to impose restrictions on trade their intent is to help the workers by preserving jobs and pay. But research finds that is not the result. Almost all the benefits go to the companies, not the workers. "But the companies might pass on the benefits," you say. They might, but it's up to owners/managers whether they trickle it down to their employees.

On the other hand, free-market capitalism most benefits those at the bottom. Then as they have more work and more pay they buy more and the benefits "trickle up." According to a study by William Nordhaus of Yale at NBER (pdf) only 2% of the value of technology advances go to the business owners; the rest to the workers.

Via A Force for Good

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We are paying convicting child molesters

Freedom Foundation pointed out in February that teachers are collecting lavish pensions despite having lost their teaching licenses after being convicted of horrific sex crimes against children—including their own students.

Why should my tax dollars pay these convicted child molesters? Some are receiving over $3,500 per month and have received far more than they paid in.

Generic Freedom Foundation (They talk like there is an older entry, but I can’t find it. They don’t even link to their own original stories, so I can’t.)

KING 5 News. Follow with caution. I detest web pages that shout at me, like this one. (I close them as soon as the sound blasts.)

And now the story has gone national at Fox News - video link.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Feds search Washington State Auditor Kelley's home

Federal agents searched Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley's home Wednesday. Since the Tacoma News Tribune did not disclose his party we know Kelley is a Democrat. 

Tacoma News Tribune

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tunisia's wonderful Bardot Museum and Dougga

Tunisia Temple of Jupiter at Dougga

Tunisia had preserved many of its ancient treasures at National Bardo Museum. It’s too bad people are learning about it due to a criminal attack murdering tourists there today.

We spent twelve days in Tunisia in October, 1981, with our daughter Heidi who was 4 years old and toured Bardo Museum. After over 30 years I remember huge mosaics - the pictorial/historic ones. There were also geometric ones; as I recall the latter were always floors. I also remember a baptismal in the shape of the cross, more like a plus-shaped cross. Yes, North Africa was a center of Christianity before invasion and victory by Muslims.

See for yourself - National Bardo Museum

Even more memorable was seeing the sites of ancient ruins. Carthage didn’t have much to see, because it is on the coast and easily invaded. Much better preserved was Dougga. See the pic of the Temple of Jupiter and its  theater is in good shape. Our friends told of us similar Roman ruins in France where every step was worn way down by hordes of visitors over the centuries, due to better accessibility.

Carthage was the first place a man came up to me and said “Look at these” and showed me coins. “They are from the time of Emperor X. I will give you a very good price.” Did they expect me to believe that!? Of course the same thing happened at least once at every ancient site.

But... I remember mosaics at Dougga that we were walking on that were coming apart, because no preservation had been done. It’s shocking to see something man-made over 2,000 years ago falling apart, while local guides are giving tours every day.

See about Dougga at Historvius

Photo: Temple of Jupiter at Dougga, Tunisia. From Historvius.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bach in the Subways March 21

J S Bach 330 birthday

To celebrate Johan S Bach’s 330th birthday musicians in 129 cities will play his music in public places. Saturday, March 21, 2015. And the prestigious locations include my neighborhood!

Seattle Bach Orchestra will perform at Third Place Commons * in Lake Forest Park at 10 am. Pianist Linda Ganier will follow at 11:15. Link and Link

For all Seattle-area performances see Bach in the Subways. Many are outside. A piano on Beacon Hill will be so busy it might start smoking. Some are “marathons” of four hours or more.

* Third Place Commons is in the upper level of the Lake Forest Park Town Center at 17111 Bothell Way NE>

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Keep Washington Competitive

Keep Washington Competitive is a coalition that promotes bilateral trade in Washington (that is, both imports and exports). It is a coalition of business, unions, agriculture and trade organizations.

Keep Washington Competitive

From their “about" page:

Our objective is to foster a regulatory environment that encourages investment in Washington’s trade industries. Ensuring our state is positioned to thrive in the increasingly competitive national and international marketplace for foreign trade will require:

A timely regulatory review process lasting no longer than 18 months for proposals meeting Washington’s high environmental standards.

An environmental framework that is predictable and obtainable, focusing on the needs of communities where projects are to be built, rather than speculative indirect impacts.

A commitment to promoting trade growth and the diversity of employment opportunities that sustain Washington’s middle class.

Now they are focused on three issues:

  • That SEPA reviews be done in a timely fashion
  • Make the Harbor Maintenance Tax more fair
  • Water quality standards that are workable.

Their news links are on this page 

KWC Home

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hillary thinks we are stupid

Hillary email

Does Hillary really think we will believe her? She seems to think we will on these points:

- That she would have to carry two phones to have two email accounts. We know that’s not true!

- That the purpose was not to hide her communications from oversight. We don’t fall for that!

- That she only deleted emails that were personal. We don’t fall for that!

- That she has already turned over all emails of concern. We don’t fall for that!

But we do believe her on this:

“I have taken unprecedented steps…” That part of the sentence is true, not the rest.

Question for her: “Madame Hillary, it would remove suspicion if you would  turn the server over to a third party to check it. Will you?"


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Libre - Economic freedom for Latinos

Libre is an organization to promote economic freedom principles for Latinos. From their mission statement, note the principles:

is a 501(c)4 non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that advances the principles and values of economic freedom to empower the U.S. Hispanic community so it can thrive and contribute to a more prosperous America.

LIBRE is dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives that protect our economic freedom.

They have current events on how to become a home owner, health care and school choice.

More at Fausta at Da Tech Guy.

Persecuted church: ISIS attacks in Syria

Christians in Syria say ISIS is attacking them Khabour River in northeast Syria. Over 262 Christians have been abducted and “asked” to covert to Islam. I wonder why there is talk of Islam. Our President tells us every day that ISIS has nothing at all to do with Islam. He says the “I” in ISIS instead stands for … 

ISIS “asks" that Christians cover to Islam. To convince them to ISIS first kidnaps them.


This is my second (almost) weekly update on persecution of the church.

China is vulnerable to breakup

WSJ Great Hall of the People China 3 2015

Veteran China watcher David Shambaugh thinks the political break up of China is inevitable and is now on its way. The iron rule of Communism is unstable and the point of no return has been reached.

I am no China scholar, but I have been watching for this. I have never been to China, but when changing planes in Taipei in 2007 a young woman from Taiwan told us that there are huge problems in China with poverty, pollution and authoritarian government at all levels riding the backs of restless people. So she thought Chins was on its way to a crisis stage. So I have been watching...

Wall Street Journal (requires registration; might be found by a search)

He highlights five signs. The first:

First, China’s economic elites have one foot out the door, and they are ready to flee en masse if the system really begins to crumble. In 2014, Shanghai’s Hurun Research Institute, which studies China’s wealthy, found that 64% of the “high net worth individuals” whom it polled—393 millionaires and billionaires—were either emigrating or planning to do so. Rich Chinese are sending their children to study abroad in record numbers 


Second, since taking office in 2012, Mr. Xi has greatly intensified the political repression that has blanketed China since 2009. The targets include the press, social media, film, arts and literature, religious groups, the Internet, intellectuals, Tibetans and Uighurs, dissidents, lawyers, NGOs, university students and textbooks.

In other words: repression of every means of expression and almost every group.

Read it for the rest.

See also China leadership’s “analysis” of why the Soviet Union broke up. "Of course the problem was not Communism…” WSJ

Pic: Meeting of People’s Congress in Great Hall of the People, Beijing, this week. Wall Street Journal

Sunday, March 01, 2015

To make it easier, not harder (Obama) to save for college

Pres. Obama wants to increase taxes on savings for college. But something is happening in Congress.


… So last month, when President Obama proposed taxing 529 plans, people were understandably outraged.

Why would we make saving for college even harder? We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules — well, that’s what 529 plans are. They empower families to set up accounts for their children — right from when they’re born — and then down the line they can use that money — tax-free — on books, fees, tuition, and room-and-board.

All told, there are nearly 12 million of these accounts open in all 50 states. That’s up from 1 million accounts in 2001. Why would we stop that growth? So the government can take even more of the money we’ve worked so hard to put away?

Thankfully, after a public outcry, the president was forced to drop the idea.

But we can do more. With all the challenges middle-class families are facing right now, we need to make it easier — not harder — to save.

That’s why the House acted this week to expand and modernize 529 plans.

Our plan will do a few simple things.

First, to adapt to the times, we clarify that computers are qualified expenses under 529 accounts. Second, we remove unnecessary paperwork burdens for the administrators of these plans.

And third, we allow families to re-deposit refunds from colleges without taxes or penalties. This might be useful if something happens and a student has to withdraw early for an illness. It’s just good peace of mind to have.

I’m pleased to report that the bill passed with more than 400 votes. Now we just need President Obama to help us get this done. Together, let’s make sure that 529 plans will be there for middle-class families for years to come.