LA Times Offers Simple Way To Fix Congressional Gridlock

If you’re like me, you probably gave a little sigh, maybe a bit of a jaw rub, perhaps a full facepalm, thinking that the LA Times suddenly is concerned about gridlock now that Democrats are in the minority, because they want to make sure that Democrats are able to get their legislation passed. And that’s certainly a valid thought. But, wait a minute, this is actually a rather good idea. Interesting that they didn’t bring it up when Democrats had some measure of control

(LA Times) There is a far simpler measure reform-minded members of Congress should consider: Replace the committee selection process and seniority rules with a system in which legislators are assigned to committees via a random draw. This straightforward reform, requiring nothing more than a change in each chamber’s rules, would go a long way toward restoring Congress’ power and relevance.

Committees are where much of Congress’ work gets done, where legislators debate technical language in bills and horse trade. Committees shape the legislative agenda, deciding, with limited exception, which bills the floor may consider.

Congress’ practice is to allow the two parties’ leadership-controlled steering committees to assign legislators to committees, which gives the leadership leverage over rank-and-file members. Breaking party leaders’ hold on committee assignments would reduce the pressure legislators feel to vote the party line instead of their personal or district preferences.

As Brian Feinstein notes, this would also reduce fundraising loads, as well as the ass kissing of Party leaders maneuvering by Congress critters for plum assignments. And, while committees would certainly lose some expertise

Perhaps most important, committees with randomly assigned members would be more likely to draft bills that reflect the broad preferences of Congress, and could therefore actually make it into law. The process would encourage compromise and dampen the influence of special interests.

It’s actually not that bad of an idea, but, I do have to question the timing, in that this idea didn’t come up during the tenure of Reid nor Pelosi and their clenched fist control. Perhaps it’s just serendipity. Ideas happen. Much like instituting a flat or fair tax, limiting the power of Congress over citizens and private entities, limiting the power of Party leaders over rank and file would be a good thing.

Of course, Congressional gridlock is rather a good thing, limiting the effect a far off Congress divorced from the Citizens.

Read: LA Times Offers Simple Way To Fix Congressional Gridlock »

Bummer: Hotcoldwetdry Alters Taste Of Wine

Because, as we all know, the climate has been perfectly stable over the last 4.5 billion years, until the invention of the fossil fueled vehicle

Global warming alters wine taste

Grapes such as pinot noir, merlot and chardonnay are now growing more quickly, subtly changing the compounds produced as they ripen and the synchronisation between maximum flavour and the ratio of sugar to acid, scientists said.

An increasing number of vineyards are thus struggling to identify the perfect moment for picking the grapes to ensure their wines retain their characteristic flavours, according to research by Kimberly Nicholas, associate professor of sustainability science at Lund University in Sweden.

“Climate change is beginning to affect the singular flavours that people expect from different wines the experience you come to know and trust from your favourite reds and whites,” Ms Nicholas said in a report in Scientific American.

Well, that’s it, we need to Do Something, to Spread Awareness, to pass regulations and restrictions on Other People!

Read: Bummer: Hotcoldwetdry Alters Taste Of Wine »

Dems Push Keystone XL Amendments That Could Make It Hard For Obama To Veto

One of the first things that will be taken up by the new GOP controlled Senate is legislation authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a cause celebre amongst Leftist activists. Why? It’s just one of those things, considering there are many other big pipeline projects that are being built or will soon be built, all without the same level of hysteria from the activists. Keystone has been approved many times through many studies, yet Mr. Obama has put off a decision. Congress has the statutory ability to authorize construction, and Democrats may help

(Politico) Senate Democrats are floating a handful of amendments to a Republican Keystone XL pipeline bill to prohibit exports of the Canadian oil and to push green energy as they prepare to take on the role of the minority party of the upper chamber.

“Consideration of this bill will provide us with the first opportunity to demonstrate that we will be united, energetic and effective in offering amendments that create a clear contrast with the Republican majority,” Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Vice Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) wrote Democratic colleagues Sunday in a letter obtained by POLITICO.

The coming days will be an important initial test for incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has pledged to have an open amendment process after he and Republicans frequently criticized how former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ran things.

Some of the amendments may pass, some will surely fail. You can see the main 5 that Democrats will offer up at the Politico link. Some are meant to be poison pills, but, if McConnell allows debate, something Harry Reid often refused to allow, Democrats can’t complain. The GOP could simply ramrod the legislation through, they have the votes, much as Democrats did during Harry Reid’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader. If the GOP can peel off some Democrats and get them to vote for Keystone, it will make it much harder for Obama to veto the bill.

Read: Dems Push Keystone XL Amendments That Could Make It Hard For Obama To Veto »

NY Times: Being “Arrested WIthout Incident” Is Totally Like #WhitePrivilege

So, here’s the deal: if you are arrested without being shot by a police officer, you must be Caucasian, so says the NY Times’ Charles Blow

Privilege of ‘Arrest Without Incident’

The day after Christmas, a shooter terrorized the streets of a Chattanooga, Tenn., neighborhood. According to the local newspaper, the shooter was “wearing body armor” and “firing multiple shots out her window at people and cars.” One witness told the paper that the shooter was “holding a gun out of the window as if it were a cigarette.”

She fired at many vehicles, then led the police on a chase, even pointing her gun at officers at one point.

Surely this was not going to end well. We’ve all seen in recent months what came of people who did far less. Surely in this case officers would have been justified in using whatever force they saw fit. Right?

According to the paper, the shooter was “taken into custody without incident or injury.”

Who was this shooter anyway? Julia Shields, a 45-year-old white woman.

Take a moment and consider this. Take a long moment. It is a good thing that officers took her in “without incident or injury,” of course, but can we imagine that result being universally the case if a shooter looks different? Would this episode have ended this way if the shooter had been male, or black, or both?

What he forgets to tell you is that the officers told her to drop the weapon, and she did. Just like happens many many times, regardless of race. We just usually do not hear much about these situations, because they are not quite as sensational.

It’s an unanswerable question, but nevertheless one that deserves pondering. Every case is different. Police officers are human beings making split-second decisions — often informed by fears — about when to use force and the degree of that force.

Here’s an answer: cops in more suburban and rural areas are often on less of a hair trigger than those in deep Democrat cities, which have lots of crime and violence on a constant basis.

But that truth is also the trap. How and why are our fears constructed and activated? The American mind has been poisoned, from this country’s birth, against minority populations. People of color, particularly African-American men, have been caught up in a twister of macroaggressions and micro ones. No amount of ignoring can alleviate it; no amount of achieving can ameliorate it.

Strange since so many of those “macroaggressions and micro ones” tend to occur in Deep Blue cities, eh? Charles goes through the list of the outrages, Michael Brown, Eric Garner (who was not shot), Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, and several others. All in Democrat areas.

Maybe one could argue that in some of those cases the officers were within their rights to respond with lethal force. Maybe. But shouldn’t the use of force have equal application? Shouldn’t it be color- and gender-blind? Shouldn’t more people, in equal measures, be taken in and not taken out?

Blow himself wrote it earlier (before qualifying it with raaaaacism), cops must make split second decisions. Sometimes that means shooting the perp. Sometimes, it means taking them into custody.

Why weren’t these black men, any of them, the recipients of the same use of force — or lack thereof — as Julia Shields?

Well, maybe you folks in Deep Blue Liberal areas should work on your racism.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

Read: NY Times: Being “Arrested WIthout Incident” Is Totally Like #WhitePrivilege »

Wind Turbine Collapses In 15 MPH Wind

The Belfast Telegraph reports it’s worth more, in the range of £2 million.

(Via Twitchy)

Read: Wind Turbine Collapses In 15 MPH Wind »

Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup

Happy Sunday! Another wonderful day in America. The sun is shining, the temps are warm, football! This pinup is by Al Buell, with a wee bit of help.

What is happening in Ye Old Blogosphere? The Fine 15

  1. Scared Monkeys discusses Mike Huckabee’s potential 2016 run
  2. Powerline has Sarah Palin’s response to PETA
  3. Legal Insurrection notes Dems now telling the GOP not to politicize the CBO
  4. Pamella Geller notes the increase in jihadi suicide bombings
  5. Moonbattery features DWS speaking in tongues
  6. Jihad Watch covers another peaceful member of the RoP in France
  7. Fire Andrea Mitchell features another peaceful member of the Democrat Party in Missouri
  8. Capitalism Is Freedom has the top 10 craziest things scientists thought to be true
  9. American Power notes Obama’s regulatory nation holding back the economy
  10. Allen West notes the media suppressing the truth
  11. A View From The Beach has botched environmental predictions
  12. 90Ninety Miles From Tyranny covers gun confiscation in NY
  13. Western Hero has 2015 prediction
  14. Weasel Zippers notes more violence targeting the police
  15. And last, but not least, The Daley Gator is happy about his Gators beating my Pirates

As always, the full set of pinups can be seen in the Patriotic Pinup category, or over at my Gallery page. While we are on pinups, since it is that time of year, have you gotten your “Pinups for Vets” calendar yet? And don’t forget to check out what I declare to be our War on Women Rule 5 and linky luv posts and things that interest me

Anyone else have a link or hotty-fest going on? Let me know so I can add you to the list. (BTW, since someone asked, the reason I leave links for the previous week up (or you might see a *) is because they are place holders for later in the day or for next weeks. Easier than rewriting all the time. Also, the listing order has to do with how they are added over time, not how good a post is. I just copy and paste from the previous week, then edit. If you see one of the *’s, go ahead and check out the blog anyhow, see if there is an update. I cannot update with my Android during the day.

Read: Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup »

The Great Pause Is Now At 18 Years, 3 Months

Despite all the yammering from Warmists about 2014 being the “warmest year ever!!!!!!!!”, a dubious allegation, based on estimates, and, really, even if their estimates are correct, can you tell the difference between 58.46 and 58.46? Anyhow, the satellites disagree. Anyhow, here’s Christopher Monckton of Benchley, with his monthly highlight (Warmists will surely attack him personally, because they have no way to counter the actual data, and, hey, personal attacks are what Lefties do)

Since October 1996 there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS [1] temperature plot pushes up the period without any global warming from 18 years 2 months to 18 years 3 months.

(WT note: if you hit the link you can click the photo and see it full size)

Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 3 months since October 1996.

The hiatus period of 18 years 3 months, or 219 months, is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend.

Of course, Warmists will call this “cherry picking”, since they completely misunderstand, possibly on purpose, that the time period is simply working back from current time. If you said that you’ve been at a company for the last 18 years and 3 months, that would not be cherry picking. Cherry picking is using a specific time frame, such as how many Warmists use 1960-1990 to establish a baseline, even though 20 of those years were seeing a reduction in temperatures, leading to news organizations and climate scientists to wonder if the Earth was heading into an ice age.

The Great Pause is a growing embarrassment to those who had told us with “substantial confidence” that the science was settled and the debate over. Nature had other ideas. Though approaching 70 mutually incompatible and more or less implausible excuses for the Pause are appearing in nervous reviewed journals and among proselytizing scientists, the possibility that the Pause is occurring because the computer models are simply wrong about the sensitivity of temperature to manmade greenhouse gases can no longer be dismissed, and is demonstrated in a major peer-reviewed paper published this month in the Orient’s leading science journal.

It’s only an embarrassment to the honest climatologists. The rest of the cult has all sorts of excuses, talking points, and distractions.

The basic point here, and I would highly recommend reading the entire article, including the “key points” near the end, is not that there hasn’t been any warming since 1850, because there certainly was. Nor that there were spikes, such as during the time period of 1979-1996 (1997-1998 are ignored, being part of a massive El Nino). The debate is not over warming, but causation. Warmists say it is mostly/solely the fault of Mankind. Skeptics say it is mostly/solely caused by nature. The primary culprit for Warmists is CO2, what they refer to as “carbon pollution”, despite being a trace gas necessary for life on Earth, and what you are expelling from your nose and mouth every couple of seconds or so. Yet, despite rising CO2 levels, we have an 18 year and 3 month pause.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

Read: The Great Pause Is Now At 18 Years, 3 Months »

Bummer: Urban Dwellers Power Supplies At Risk From “Climate Change”

Of, course, not because the urban residents, who tend to be much more Left leaning and believe in Hotcoldwetdry, push policies which reduce the available power from old school, and reliable, methods like coal and natural gas, and tend to be anti-nuclear power, in favor of unreliable and low throughput types like wind and power, which are not ready for primetime yet. Plus, there’s not a lot of land to build wind and solar farms in urbanized areas. And cities tend to use huge gobs of power. Nope. It’s something else

Study: Climate change raises risks of power outages

With flooding already on the rise along the East Coast, a new study led by the Johns Hopkins University suggests that urban dwellers may have more to worry about from climate change than just getting their feet wet if they live near the water. People in some inland cities who think they’re safe from tropical storms could find themselves in the dark longer or more often.

In the December issue of Climatic Change, researchers suggest that increases in storm frequency, as predicted by some climate scientists, are likely to aggravate power outages in hurricane-prone areas like Miami or New Orleans. But if hurricanes become more intense, as many climate researchers expect, the study found severe outages could occur in areas that now suffer relatively few storm landfalls — such as New York, Philadelphia and Hartford, Conn.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a wonderful Christmas. The entire article and study are an exercise in prognostication and might happens, based on computer models and wishful thinking. Wishful in order to push a political doctrine and keep the money train running. Do I need to rehash exactly how the predictions for hurricanes and tropical storms have failed? That there have been no major hurricanes since 2005, breaking a record previously set during the Civil War era? That there have only been two U.S. mainland landfalling hurricanes since 2008, and one could be argued as being only a strong tropical storm? That we were told that Superstorm Sandy would be The New Normal (Warmist love that phrase, and always in capitals), yet, nothing since (and Sandy was made worse by interaction with a cold front)?

Guikema and four colleagues attempted to evaluate how much more vulnerable East and Gulf coast communities might be if climate change alters hurricanes in any way — their frequency, intensity or landfall. The researchers worked with a computer model that Guikema had developed earlier for predicting the likelihood of power outages from tropical storms. For this study, they ran a series of simulated storms through the model to see how power grid vulnerability was affected by the range of possible climate-change impacts on storm behavior.

If anything, it would seem that “climate change” is doing a good job in reducing the power of Atlantic tropical systems, and keeping them out to sea. But, Warmists need to keep the hysteria and fear mongering at the forefront, so they rely more on computer models than real world data.

Read: Bummer: Urban Dwellers Power Supplies At Risk From “Climate Change” »

If All You See…

…is a horrible fossil fueled mower causing so much heat that it snows, you might just be a Warmist

The blog of the day is the First Street Journal, with a post on Democrats lying.

Read: If All You See… »

Anti-Police “Protesters” Release A List Of Demands

It’s great that people who have been engaged in violence, arson, threats, blocking traffic (which caused problems with emergency responses), and calling for the “dead cops” have a list of demands

(Daily Caller) There have been marches in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere demanding “justice” of some sort — or else there would be no “peace.” They’ve been invited to meet with President Barack Obama in the White House, been praised by the Mayor of New York and countless other Democrats. But what do they want, aside from “justice”? And what exactly constitutes “justice” in the minds of those laying down in traffic and in malls has always remained nebulous, but no more – they’ve been kind enough to put their “demands” down on paper.

On fliers handed out at the New York City protest on New Year’s Eve, the “#BlackLivesMatter” movement spelled out what they “demand.”

One such demand is essentially an end to access to the court system for police officers charged with a crime:

We demand a total independent investigative body that has full and total investigative powers, and unhindered access to any scene and full access to all evidence,” they write. “This investigative body will have full prosecuting power, and the authority to mete out punishment. This agency will have the power to immediately sequester any and all officers that are involved and/or on the scene.

The full list is here. I particularly like the first demand,

1) We demand an independent all elected Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Of course they do. And who do you think will be on this board in deep Liberal areas?

4) We the people demand that any and every officer accused of misconduct, abuse of authority, or the use of excess force be suspended immediately without pay, pending the outcome of the independent investigation.

Interesting. I wonder how they would feel if we substituted “teacher” for “officer”? Anyhow, these folks seem unfamiliar with the tenants of neither the Constitution nor the criminal justice system.

13) We demand funding to establish independent community policing agencies.

Wait, what? Am I right in assuming that they want government funding to create their own community policing force, made up of the same people who rioted, looted, assaulted, arsoned, and threatened? The same people who end the “demands” with

FREEDOM JUSTICE AND EQUALITY OR DEATH

That sounds rather threatening. Based on their actions these past months, and how the flier reads, it sounds less like “give me liberty or give me death” and more like a threat to murder.

Read: Anti-Police “Protesters” Release A List Of Demands »

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