Sometimes the bear gets you

Within twenty minutes of each event’s ending today the Dodgers lost on a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth to the Rockies, the University of Hawai’i lost 28 – 0 to the U of Wisconsin (not really a surprise, but the 11 penalties for 100 yards was — disturbing) and the U of Arizona lost to UCLA 56 – 30 (a pretty big surprise).

Pour me another drink, barkeep.

“Christian,” huh?

This was the reaction when the lovely religious folk at the Value Voters Summit were told that Speaker John Boehner had resigned his post. Boehner has spent 25 years in public service, but to these charming people he is apparently the Anti-Christ.

The day after the Pope spoke to Congress and to us all about the Golden Rule, this is the reaction to a government worker’s leaving his job in part because people like those in that hall made it really difficult to perform it. To those people, unless you see and do things their way you’re the enemy.

But boy oh boy, accuse them of behaving in a non-Christian manner and get ready to duck.

My fellow Americans

include a whole bunch of stupid bigoted people, I’m afraid.

Carson, who drew widespread criticism after declaring on Sunday that the United States should not elect a Muslim president, is now raking in the cash from donors who share his anti-Islam sympathies.

“We sent out an email to Carson supporters, and we’ve never had an email raise so much money so quickly—it’s unbelievable,” John Philip Sousa IV, chair of the National Draft Ben Carson for President PAC, and great-grandson of the marching band icon, told The Washington Times.

Carson says he’s gotten more than $1 million in small donations since he made those remarks on Meet the Press.

Nobody ever said we had a lot of well-versed scholars in this country who understood Article VI of the Constitution, but I had thought the principle of separation of church and state was pretty widely known. Perhaps not always approved of but certainly understood. I guess I was wrong.

Greed ain’t good

At least not if it puts you in the public eye when you’re already under investigation for various criminal activities at the last company that employed you.

I’m talking about web-Shkreli-1-cnbcthis guy, of course.

Since at least in January, Shkreli has been under criminal investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, court records show.


The criminal investigation involves Retrophin, a public company where Shkreli served as an officer, director, and 10-percent owner of the outstanding stock before being ousted amid multiple allegations of misconduct.


The inquiry, according to court records and people with knowledge of the inquiry, involves such a vast number of suspected crimes it is difficult to know where to start. A quick summary of the government’s theory: If there was money, Shkreli took it. If there were facts to be revealed, Shkreli hid them. If there were securities laws, Shkreli broke them.

And that’s why Shkreli’s decision to dramatically raise the price of a decades-old life-saving drug—and then appearing on television, smiling broadly as he justified actions that put lives at risk—was such a bad move.

Prosecutors do like to charge public figures; the belief is there’s a deterrent value added that isn’t there when some equally bad but obscure crook is indicted.

The litany of things this guy is accused of is amazing.

According to the court records and people with knowledge of the case, the allegations against Shkreli that are under investigation involve insider trading, disguising the purpose of corporate payments for his benefit, defrauding shareholders by snatching business opportunities for himself, destruction of evidence, failure to disclose material facts to shareholders and other potential crimes.

Goodness, even for a former hedge fund manager, that’s sleazy.

Read the entire Newsweek story at the link.

Here’s good news

I’m supposed to have a routine blood test tomorrow, including cholesterol levels and other things which are affected if I eat. I have to fast for 10 or 12 hours.

The doc called me to tell me about the results of an x-ray done on my long-ago damaged and repaired knee and I had the opportunity to ask him “does fasting include coffee?”

He said black is fine, just no cream and sugar. I said “Thanks, doctor, you’ve saved my life!”

Two down, fourteen to go

I don’t need to put links up, do I? A week or so ago former Texas Governor Rick Perry withdrew from the race for the Republican Presidential nomination due to lack of public interest in him, and today current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did the same. He’s still in office, though, Wisconsinites, so keep your hands on your public rights and on your education system’s budgets.

Even in defeat Walker tried to self-aggrandize:

“Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Mr. Walker said. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same,” he said, “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”

“I am called to lead,” the man says. From behind, apparently.

Good riddance, sir. Your successful efforts to destroy labor unions in Wisconsin put the lie to any claim you might make to having the best interests of anyone but your wealthy donors at heart.

Used vinyl

My sister was in a “clean, sort and toss” mode the other day and found a box of vinyl records carefully stowed away in a plastic storage bin. Since she no longer has a turntable, she brought them over to me. Of about 20, I already owned six (Loggins and Messina On Stage, The Association’s Greatest Hits, a couple of John Denver albums and some others), which was a surprise. But there were Led Zep IV (aka Zoso, among other names), a couple of America albums, three or four contemporary 1970s Hawaiian albums (basically soft rock with steel guitar) and a dozen miscellaneous others.

After a minimal cleaning with an album dust catcher I put Side One of the Zep album on (Black Dog, Rock and Roll, The Battle of Evermore and Stairway to Heaven) and discovered it played beautifully on my 8-year-old Audio Technica turntable. I cranked up the volume to play it through my 42-year-old Pioneer 88 speakers and it’s plenty loud.

Have I got a cool sister or what?

This is Serbia?

Ever since the Balkan Wars of the 1990s I’ve been biased against Serbia because of its aggressive behavior toward its neighbors. Slobodan Miloševic and Radovan Karadžic were Serbian leaders who had no qualms about ethnically cleansing their country to be rid of all non-Serbs.

It’s a bit of a surprise to me, then, to see a Serbian leader say the following:

“What we expect from the E.U. is to tell us what the form of good European behavior is,” said Nebojsa Stefanovic, Serbia’s interior minister. “Is it what Germany is doing, where refugees are welcomed with medicine and food? Or is it where they are welcomed with fences, police and tear gas?”

The European Union, Mr. Stefanovic added, “needs to say not just what the law is, but what the European norm is, what the values are that Serbia should share.”

Granted that Miloševic is dead and Karadžic is in prison in The Hague, this sensitive approach to the problem is more than I expected from any Serb.

Contrast that to the Hungarian government which is fencing borders and tear gassing refugees. Their political leaders seem to have forgotten their history, when some 200,000 of their ancestors fled the country in 1956 when the Hungarian Uprising failed and Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest.

The Europeans are not covering themselves in glory in this crisis, but nobody else is either. Certainly the United States isn’t. One party’s leading candidate for President in next year’s elections got to the front by espousing the deportation of 11 million immigrants, legal and illegal, and only a couple of his competitors disagree. Our current President feels constrained by the rhetoric of the opposition party and has suggested we could take in 10,000 Syrian refugees. Croatia says there were 8,000 people who crossed its border from Serbia yesterday alone.

I don’t have any good solutions, but the world was able to solve a similar problem in the post-World War II era and it needs to work harder to find a solution now, 75 years later.