November 21st, 2011

Would those of you who are actual people let me know what your interests are?  Thanks.

It’s not clear that any of my subscribers are actually reading my posts, so I have abandonded blogging for now, and instead I post things on Facebook under Greg Bachelis.  Have a nice day.




November 20th, 2011

I like to post comments, when they are allowed, about articles and columns in the New York Times, Bloomberg View, Washington Post, Slate, and other online sites.  This is usually easy to accomplish, whereas getting a letter to the editor published is next to impossible. My goal is to be “discovered” by some site and invited to be a columnist.  Here are some examples of my deathless prose (and occasionally, poetry).

Column: “Secret Dread at Penn State” by Daniel Mendelsohn, the New York Times, November 19, 2011.

My comment:

Mendelsohn’s scenario is strictly a thought experiment, since a grown man would not be in the girls’ shower room. Even granting his assumption, there is a much bigger problem: He is conflating homosexuality with pedophilia. This was not gay sex, this was rape. The author is enabling those who think all gays are pedophiles. I don’t think the sex of the victim had anything to do with the reaction by the authorities. Disgust trumps squeamishness. What should have been hushed up was this column.

Column: “Catholic Bishops Issue Hollow Plea for Sympathy”, by Michael Kinsley, the Bloomberg View, Nov. 17, 2011

My comment:
Michael, I knew you were a secular Jew (like me), but since when were you an atheist? Not just an agnostic? And all this time I thought, as to your beliefs, it was “If Hitchens doesn’t mind, then Maher doesn;t matter.”
Note: Hitchen and Maher are both atheists. The quotation is a variation on the old joke: “It’s all a question of mind over matter. If father doesn’t mind, then mother doesn’t matter.”
Article: “Professor of Profits”, by Timothy Egan, the New York Times, November 16, 2011
My comment:.
I despise Gingrich as much as anyone, but equating his dalliance with Clinton’s is a false equivalence. Just look at Teddy Kennedy. Clinton was president and lied under oath.
This shows Washington is broken? Buying influence in Washington may be honored in the breach, but it nonetheless is a time-honored observance.
Column: “Obama’s ‘beautiful friendship’ with Wall Street”, by Joe Scarborough , Politico, Nov. 7, 2011
My comment:
Claude Rains also said, “Round up the usual suspects”, many of whom are in your camp, Joe.  Did you read about Geithner & Co’s sabotaging Obama’s attempts to rein in Wall Street at the beginning of his term?  I am shocked, shocked at how virtuous you have become, Joe.
Column: “Chris Matthews on JFK and Nuclear Pistols”, by David Corn, Mother Jones, Nov. 2, 2011
My comment:
Matthews gets the Cuban Missile Crisis backwards. JFK was “macho-man” and Khruschev “blinked”. As Art Buchwald said at the time: The difference between an offensive missile and a defensive missile is that an offensive missile is a defensive missile with your name on it.
(to be continued)


November 3rd, 2011

I hate to differ with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, but he was incorrect to mock Herman Cain, on mathematical grounds, when the latter said he wanted everyone to be in the top 1 % of income earners.  If everyone’s income is the same, then the top 1% of all incomes coincides with 100% of all incomes.

To give a more realistic example:

Suppose we have one thousand numbers in increasing order:

1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, … (975 numbers )…, 99, 99, 99, 99, 99, 99, 99, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100.

One percent of one thousand is ten, and the top ten numbers are 99 and 100, but 99 and 100 also constitute the top fifteen numbers.  I rest my case.

I should add that I think Herman Cain is trying to sell his book and is not a serious presidential candidate, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day!


October 26th, 2011

Tom Friedman has a column in the NY Times October 26th, entitled

Barack Kissinger Obama:  Why President Obama has been more successful at implementing George W. Bush’s antiterrorism policy than his own foreign policy.

In it he states:

Up to now, as a commander in chief in the war on terrorism, Obama and his national security team have been so much smarter, tougher and cost-efficient in keeping the country safe than the “adults” they replaced. It isn’t even close, which is why the G.O.P.’s elders have such a hard time admitting it.

But while Obama has been deft at implementing Bush’s antiterrorism policy, he has been less successful with his own foreign policy.  … Why is that?

True, he was naïve about how much his star power, or that of his secretary of state, would get others to swoon in behind us. But Obama’s frustrations in bagging a big, nonmilitary foreign policy achievement are rooted in a much broader structural problem — one that also explains why we have not produced a history-changing secretary of state since the cold war titans Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and James Baker.

The reason: the world has gotten messier and America has lost leverage. …

So, Mama, tell your children not to grow up to be secretary of state or a foreign policy president — not until others have done more nation-building abroad and we’ve done more nation-building at home.

(end of excerpt)

Where to begin? Friedman might as well have told the children to throw Mama from the train.

 Kissinger was a indeed a titan, and an (alleged) war criminal too. Just ask Christopher Hitchens.  Think “Chile – Allende – Pinochet” and “Argentina – The Disappeared.”  And don’t forget ”Real Politik” and Kissinger’s support for the crackdown in Tiananmen Square. The world has indeed gotten messier, and so has Friedman’s reasoning. He has everything tied up nicely in a bow and has truly become Tom Friedman – lite.

And finally, a couplet:

The old Tom Friedman could cook a good stew.
Now the earth is flat, and he is too.


October 20th, 2011

In his column , “Saving Shalit, Encouraging Terror”, (NY Times, October 19th) Walter Reich, former head of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, states that the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit will only encourage more terrorist attacks.  In stating this, he makes an elementary statistical mistake. The recidivism rate of the released prisoners has to be compared to the rate of crime-against-Israelis by other Palestinians in the same cohort. As this cohort numbers in the millions, one cannot simply jail all Palestinian men under the age of 40 to solve the problem.

Obviously, someone who is executed, rather than serving a life sentence, cannot be released to possibly commit murder again.  Israel rarely employs the death penalty, but it says it will do so against any released prisoner who subsequently murders one of its citizens.

PS (10/26) I spoke with a statistics expert, and he said there are too many variables to make the claim I did.  All Palestinian men under forty may not be as murderous a group as the prisoners who were released.