Saturday, November 24, 2012

Breaking Bad

I haven't been into regular TV shows for a long time, but this one has me hooked. It's about a high school chemistry teacher, with nothing to lose, who becomes a meth cook. No spoilers please, I have to wait until Season 5 catches up with Netflix. Maybe I'll re-run it in the meantime. I recommend it if you appreciate actors who make you forget other parts they have played (Bryan Cranston is no Malcolm in the Middle dad here). Really good character development, chemistry (between characters that is), and plot twists. Good stuff.

How New Regulations Cost Us Money

A frequent complaint about new regulations, other than additional red tape, restrictions and limitations on our actions, is that somehow regulations will cost us money. It's sometimes hard to visualize how that can happen when we talk about regulations in the abstract. Here's a good example of actual regulations that are putting unnecessary burdens on the day care industry (of all things): 

In the 2005-2006 legislative session of the Michigan House of Representatives, there was uproar by the daycare provider community when the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) held hearings regarding the implementation of numerous and costly new daycare regulations. . . . . While some of the new regulations were needed for safety reasons, many were punitive and costly. The Michigan DHS implemented most of them anyway. . . . 

What are many of these new educational requirements and why are they so costly? The new regulations include 'early education' academic requirements that the providers (now called teachers) must have. "While Gov. Bev Perdue announced recently that there would be no new rules allowed to encumber businesses, a universally applauded measure to help expedite the economic recovery effort, the wheels were already in motion for a new and particularly onerous regulation on childcare providers, known as Early Educator Certification (EEC). This new regulation will likely have a negative impact on the cost and availability of childcare in North Carolina." . . . .

These are the recommendations of the National Education Association to the federal government, "Lead teachers in private centers hold a minimum of an associate's degree in child development or early childhood education, all teaching assistants in private childcare settings hold a minimum of a child development associate (CDA) or a state issued certificate that meets or exceeds CDA requirements." . . .

On top of requiring these providers to go back to school and spend possibly thousands of dollars to obtain a degree to teach babies and toddlers, the states are actually decreasing reimbursement rates to providers who do not conform to the new educational regulations such as the case in Wisconsin. Daycare providers who are currently only rated as a two star and do not take the necessary educational classes mandated by the government to move up in the rating system may be forced to close their doors. . . . Some states, such as Massachusetts and Michigan, are also forcing the in-home daycares into unions. They are forced to pay dues whether they want to or not, which also decreases daycare provider's incomes.

There seem to be two things at play here: First, more regulations mean more requirements that have to be met and that costs money for such things as certification and education. With higher costs to run a business, business owners have to raise prices and increase customers. Second, if businesses have more costs and cannot make ends meet, they may be forced to close their doors.

Laws create incentives for human behavior - the incentive here seems to be to drive people out of business, which in turn decreases choice and may force parents into government provided care. While day care should obviously be a safe place for children, parents can choose what level of education they want provided to their children and the corresponding fee they want to pay for that care. It is not up to the state to mandate education levels of care providers beyond that which is required to keep the children in a safe environment. The higher costs of the day care owner are passed on to the parent, and this is how more unnecessary regulations are detrimental to freedom of choice in the market place.

Milton Friedman - Greed

Milton Friedman was an American economist and an advocate for free markets. He was a libertarian philosophically, but a Republican for expediency. He said, "I think the term classical liberal is equally applicable. I don't really care very much what I'm called. I'm much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person."  (Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law and emphasizes economic freedom). Friedman wrote Capitalism and Freedom in 1962, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. He died at the age of 94 in 2006. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Joe Hart's got some wheels!

Joe Hart, keeper for Manchester City, makes an awesome run and save:

The feds are working hard, even today!

"The Obama administration proposed at least 80 new regulations the day after Thanksgiving (go ahead and give ‘em a scroll-through for some good times), adding to the now 1,773 proposed in the last thirty days."

Did the U.S. just get played, again?


Egypt's President Morsi was recently elevated to the world stage by the U.S. when he was praised for playing a major role in Wednesday's tenuous ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. It was an unusual announcement by Sect. of State Hillary Clinton, that credited Morsi with leading the way for this agreement. To show his mutual respect, the next day Morsi proclaimed himself to be beyond the reach of the law which sparked more protests in Tahrir square. Tahrir Square should by now be well known as the place where 18 months ago, protestors against former President Mubarek rose up and eventually forced his downfall, with the support of President Obama. Protestors are back now because they feel Morsi has gone too far in establishing this protection for the new laws he has put into place which he claims are only temproary, and only for the specific purpose of prohibiting pro-Mubarek government officials from blocking Morsi's reforms.

The essence of Morsi's decree was that his actions would be exempted from all judicial review or legal challenge until a new parliament was elected. Currently there is an Assembly in place that is tasked with writing a new constitution, but things have been contentious and many non-Islamic representatives like the Coptic Christians have quit. Morsi claims things are moving too slowly toward democracy, so this decree will help alleviate a logjam. The new powers allowed Morsi to fire the general prosecutor and opened the door to allow retrial of Mubarek and his aides. The protestors believe Morsi's sweeping new powers will lead to a dictatorial state, not a democratic one.

With the delay of a written constitution, it could be an indefinite amount of time as to when a new parliament would be elected. This is at least several months, if not more, into the future. Until that time, Morsi now has the power to pass any laws without the ability of the people to oppose them. This action moves away from democracy, not toward it.

Democracy moves slow, and is intended to be that way. We often hear President Obama lamenting that he wishes he could just impose his will on Congress. His latest statement to this effect came a few days ago while he was giving a speech in Burma. Obama's continued disdain for the Constitution should be troublesome to all Americans. 

Now, how did the U.S. get played? Hillary Clinton and Obama both praised Morsi for his efforts to broker the ceasefire - the U.S. gave him credit in front of the world for being such a respectable and level headed leader in a tense situation. Literally, the next day Morsi imposed a law declaring himself to be above it. Now what can the U.S. say about that without losing credibility? Further, Morsi's action shouldn't really come as a surprise if people understand where he comes from - he has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, who advocate for sharia law to also be national law.

Democracy depends upon the voice of the people, not of just one person, so Morsi's actions are clearly antithetical to the promotion of a democratic state. The protests beginning again by Egyptian people show that they recognize Morsi's action to be in contradiction to what they believed the revolution, the Arab Spring, to be about - ridding itself of the dictator Mubarek. But now Morsi has pushed the U.S. into a corner. He secured U.S. aid to Egypt by brokering the peace, and the U.S. cannot withdraw from that promise without tarnishing its reputation even further in the region and the world. The U.S. cannot now say, "Yesterday Morsi was wonderful, but today not so much." That does little to affect Morsi, but damages the credibility of the U.S. Clever, no?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A small prayer today

"To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do." ~ Victor Hugo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Speaking Jack Kemp

From Breitbart's John Nolte:
The problem, of course, is not our faith or our core beliefs; the problem is that too many on our side are rhetorically unprepared and regularly caught off guard when these media moments arrive. The result is a gaffe that frequently damages more than just a single campaign. As we saw during the 2012 election, the media was able to take one dumb answer from a senate candidate about rape and abortion and use it to bloody the entire GOP brand.
This is a cultural problem, not a political problem -- the same type of cultural problem Democrats recently solved in their own party.

Go Commando

You can get the 2013 Royal Marines Go Commando calendar here. It's for charity!

You can see more of the monthly man shots here.

Is Clapper the New Fall Guy?

The DNI, James Clapper, is now saying that his office is responsible for the change in language in the original statements about Benghazi. This is different from what he said last week when he said he didn't know who changed the wording.
CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to "al Qaeda" and "terrorism" from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack - with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes. . . .
"The statement released Monday evening by the DNI's spokesman regarding how the Intelligence Community's talking points were changed gives a new explanation that differs significantly from information provided in testimony to the Committee last week," House Intelligence Committee spokeswoman Susan Phalen told CBS News. "Chairman Rogers looks forward to discussing this new explanation with Director Clapper as soon as possible to understand how the DNI reached this conclusion and why leaders of the Intelligence Community testified late last week that they were unaware of who changed the talking points."
Removing the specifics of "Al Qaeda" is not the problem, but misleading the public as to the cause of the attacks is. This is getting lost in the parsing of these statements. Who will admit to making up the storyline about the video, that was pushed for two weeks following Benghazi?

Bath salts in Belize

John McAfee is a person of interest in the murder of his fellow ex-pat neighbor in Belize. McAfee is reportedly into bath salts as a drug of choice. That may account for his truly odd behavior:
Software company founder John McAfee says he's hiding in plain sight, wearing a disguise as he watches police and reporters stake out his home - and blogging about it all.

"I adjusted my posture so that I appeared a good six inches shorter than my actual height and slowly walked up and down the beach with a pronounced limp, pushing an old single speed bicycle and peddling my wares to tourists and reporters using a broken English with a heavy Spanish accent. On my second day, while peddling small wooden carvings, I nearly sold a dolphin carving to an Associated Press reporter standing at the edge of my dock. He was pulled away from my enticement by an urgent phone call."

"Many have commented that these women were only with me because of my money - a fact that I have to agree with," he wrote.

No more privates in public

Is the right to free speech threatened if some restrictions are placed on when and where a person can be nekkid?

San Francisco lawmakers disappointed committed nudists on Tuesday by narrowly approving a ban on public nakedness despite concerns the measure would undermine the city's reputation as a sanctuary for free expression. . . . Wiener countered that it was inappropriate for hard-core nudists to wrap themselves in the mantle of personal liberty. "I don't agree that having yellow hair is the same as exposing your penis at a busy street corner for hours and hours for everybody to watch as they go by," he said.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This is one of six "spies" murdered in Gaza today. It reminds me of the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas many years ago. That was called a hate crime and his killers got the death penalty.

Update: Diane Feinsteinsaid, “I hope people see Hamas for what it is, and that is using their own people as human shields,” Feinstein said. “Putting these missiles and rockets in places right in the middle of residential areas, in homes and mosques and parks — you don’t do this. I mean, this borders on being an international war crime. Now the problem is, Hamas isn’t a member of either of the organizations — the Geneva Conventions or others that would hold this as a war crime. So, it’s a very difficult situation. Our solidarity has to be with Israel. This is a point where Israel has been under attack for a long period of time, and nothing has solved it.”

Uh, actually, something being a war crime does not depend on whether Hamas agrees to abide by the Geneva Conventions. The nature of the act does not change just because they haven't joined the club. The issue with this is that it's an internal conflict, rather than an international conflict. In internal conflicts, not a state v. state conflict, the full Geneva Conventions do not apply. This is clearly a crime because it appears those killed were not given due process before being executed. The technical charge of "war crime" still might properly apply under Article 3 of the Conventions that governs internal conflicts. Any application of the Conventions requires a multi-step analysis. If the motorcycle gang above can't be linked to an organized group, this couldn't be called a war crime, only mob violence or a riot.

Althouse: "It's not Watergate. It's a political witch hunt, ...

"It's not Watergate. It's a political witch hunt, ...: "It's a lot of Republican claptrap, another one of those conspiracy theories created out of thin air." Whoops. That's exactly what Republi...

"racist patriarchy of homophobic, intolerant nativists that exploited others"

Victor Davis Hansen:
"Ours is now instead a Galadriel’s mirror of the Balkans, of India’s castes, of Rwanda, but no longer of a multiracial melting-pot America, where our allegiances were to be political, economic, and cultural and not necessarily synonymous with how we looked. Obama’s identity politics would create a Frankenstein of patched-together victims, and yet he will rue that it is a different story to use such a creature for constructive purposes. Such monsters are quite valuable when running for office, but can turn on their masters when it is time to govern. . . . 

Only in the hyper-racialist America can we take quite distinct Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Chinese third-generation citizens and create from them the artificial rubric “Asian” in their shared antithesis to “white,” or  take disparate Cubans and Mexicans and likewise reinvent them as identical Latinos, or take Jamaicans, Ethiopians, and American blacks and call them all “African-Americans” on the similar logic of not being something equally artificial like white — which I guess covers Americans who used to be Greeks, Irish, Armenians, Jews, Poles, and Danes. . . . 

But stop and ponder the charges of prejudice. We have not seen a proverbial white male secretary of State since the inept Warren Christopher stepped down over a decade and a half ago. How could a sexist and racist country nominate and confirm a Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton as consecutive secretaries? Maybe such accusers confused State with the white-male-only office of attorney general? But no — there we have seen Janet Reno, Alberto Gonzales, and Eric Holder.  I don’t recall these congresswomen alleging racism when white males in Congress tore into Alberto Gonzales and forced him to step down from the office of attorney general. . . . 

So hard, this collective search of ours for victimhood. Elizabeth Warren is the ultimate expression of our anguished dilemma: when her gender did not quite land her onto the Harvard Law faculty, her self-referenced high cheek bones did — and her further assumption that she is a victim by assertion that she is a victim. In Warren’s case, we were to believe two things: she said she was liberal and Native American and — presto — she was; and second, therefore, all Native Americans are discriminated against and owed proper compensatory action — like being hired at Harvard in a manner her publications, or chance, or fate might otherwise not have ensured. I wager that those supposedly high cheek bones were worth five major scholarly books. Is she now the first Native-American woman in the Senate?

"Containing terrorism is morally corrupt"

Israel has invented a magnificent tool that allows those truly horrible people to continue fire lengthy cylinders full of explosives at civilian men, women and children, without having to confront too often the fact that those are horrible criminals who should be either dead or in prison. We call it the Iron Dome.
. . . .
The Iron Dome is a great technical device which cuts in half and even better than that the number of terrorist missiles entering Israel. So far it has failed only once, in Kiryat Malachi, this week, resulting in the killing of three civilians. But it has saved countless lives.
Iron Dome is the best terror-containing system known to mankind. The only problem is, containing terrorism is morally corrupt, and a society that dedicates its resources to continuing to live next-door to a community run by terrorists is inherently insane.
. . . .
In February, 2007, Defense Minister Peretz announced his choice of the Iron Dome as Israel’s defensive solution to this short- and mid-range rocket threat. The U.S. paid Rafael, Israel’s military industrial giant, upwards of $300 million to make it happen, and it is a marvel of technology. If you had a chance to watch the Iron Dome rockets meeting the oncoming Gaza rockets over the past week or so, it’s absolutely astonishing.
Except, here’s a true story: Back in mid-June, during the great Paris weapons show, the Rafael pavilion was absolutely the busiest around, and everybody wanted to look at the new, exciting, Iron Dome system, the greatest achievement in rocket defense ever. But by the end of the show, Rafael hadn’t made a single sale. The Arrow sold well, other systems did great – Iron Dome wasn’t moving. So they contacted their big clients, the serious ones, and asked what gives. And those clients told them no one except Israel has any use for these things. Because in any normal, sane country, if some hooligans were to start targeting civilians with rockets – the army would go and kill them.

Poor Joe Hart: Ibrahimovic's RIDICULOUS 30-yard overhead bicycle kick

Monday, November 19, 2012

"The California Republican Party is functionally dead."

"Not only did Golden State Democrats maintain control of every statewide elected office; not only did Gov. Jerry Brown's $6 billion Proposition 30 tax hike pass by solid margins; but Democrats also secured supermajorities in both state legislative chambers. Now, Brown and the Democrats can raise taxes by as much as they want.
"Don't think for a second that California's chronic deficits are caused by low taxes. Even before last Tuesday's tax hikes, California had the most progressive income tax system in the nation, with seven brackets, and the second-highest top marginal rate. Now it has the nation's highest top marginal rate and the nation's highest sales tax.  
"What are Californians getting for all this government spending? According to a new census report released Friday, almost one-quarter, 23.5 percent, of all Californians are in poverty. One-third of all the nation's welfare recipients live in the state, despite the fact that California has only one-eighth of the country's population. That's four times as many as the next-highest welfare population, which is New York. Meanwhile, California eighth-graders finished ahead of only Mississippi and District of Columbia students on reading and math test scores in 2011.
"Thanks to low taxes and simple regulations, Chief Executive magazine ranked Texas as the best state to do business in for 2012. Guess who ranked dead last? That's right, California. And not only does Texas (6.8 percent) have a far lower unemployment rate than California (10.2 percent), but, according to the Census Bureau, income inequality is worse in California than it is in Texas."
See also Sally Zelikovsky's Ruling Democrats Are Ruining California.

Who Is Susan Rice?

Susan Rice has a bachelor's degree in history from Stanford, and doctorate in international relations from University of Oxford, which she earned as a Rhodes Scholar. She is a native of Washington, DC, and turned 48 on November 17 (interestingly Condoleeza Rice, no relation, turned 58 over the weekend - her birthday is November 14 - making both Rices scorpios).

Susan Rice has held many positions in government under democratic administrations. She is a protege of Madeleine Albright who recommended her for assistant secretary of state for African affairs. (Interestingly, one of Condoleeza Rice's most important influence's was Professor Josef Korbel, Madeleine Albright's father, when she studied at the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. Korbel was the founder of the prestigious school. Korbel fled the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and was granted political asylum in the United States).

Among the positions held by Susan Rice are the National Security Council's director for international organizations and peacekeeping in 1993. In 1995 she moved to special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs. In 1997 she became the assistant secretary for African affairs. In 2002 she left government to be a fellow at the Brookings Institute, but returned in 2008 as presidential candidate Barack Obama's senior foreign policy advisor, and then to U.N. Ambassador in 2009. During the time that Rice held these positions, she was frequently the lead diplomat during troubling world events - Rwanda genocide in 1994, Tanzania and Kenyan embassy bombings in 1998, where she became well acquainted with the terrorist group Al Qaeda.

Rice has her defenders, most notably President Obama in last week's press conference, where he told Senators Graham and McCain to "go after me" instead of Rice. But she does have her detractors:
Rice has managed to make an impressive array of enemies — on Capitol Hill, in Foggy Bottom and abroad. Particularly in comparison with the other person often mentioned for the job, Sen. John Kerry, she can be a most undiplomatic diplomat, and there likely aren’t enough Republican or Democratic votes in the Senate to confirm her.
Back when she was an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration, she appalled colleagues by flipping her middle finger at Richard Holbrooke during a meeting with senior staff at the State Department, according to witnesses. Colleagues talk of shouting matches and insults.
Among those she has insulted is the woman she would replace at State. Rice was one of the first former Clinton administration officials to defect to Obama’s primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Rice condemned Clinton’s Iraq and Iran positions, asking for an “explanation of how and why she got those critical judgments wrong.”
Rice’s put-down of Clinton was tame compared with her portrayal of McCain during 2008, which no doubt contributes to McCain’s hostility toward her today. She mocked McCain’s trip to Iraq (“strolling around the market in a flak jacket”), called his policies “reckless” and said “his tendency is to shoot first and ask questions later. It’s dangerous.”
It was Rice’s own shoot-first tendency that caused her to be benched as a spokesman for the Obama campaign for a time in 2008. She unnerved European allies when she denounced as “counterproductive” and “self-defeating” the U.N. policy that Iran suspend its nuclear program before talks can begin. She criticized President George W. Bush and McCain because they “insisted” on it. But, as The Post’s Glenn Kessler pointed out at the time, European diplomats were rattled by such remarks because the precondition was their idea.
Rice’s pugilism provoked the Russians to weigh in this week in opposition to her nomination as secretary of state. The Russian business daily Kommersant quoted an anonymous Russian foreign ministry official as saying that Rice, who quarreled with Russia over Syria, is “too ambitious and aggressive,” and her appointment would make it “more difficult for Moscow to work with Washington.”
Compared with this, the flap over Libya is relatively minor — but revealing. It’s true that, in her much-criticized TV performance, she was reciting talking points given to her by the intelligence agencies. But that’s the trouble. Rice stuck with her points even though they had been contradicted by the president of the Libyan National Assembly, who, on CBS’s “Face the Nation” just before Rice, said there was “no doubt” that the attack on Americans in Benghazi “was preplanned.” Rice rebutted the Libyan official, arguing — falsely, it turned out — that there was no evidence of such planning.
Rice may lack the diplomacy required of a top diplomat, such as Secretary of State, but more importantly is the question of why she so adamently stuck with the story of the video being the spark for the Benghazi attack. Did she knowingly agree to be the face of the administration in misleading the public, or was she a dupe? There is no favorable way to answer that question.

"A few lewd exhibitionists are really ruining it for the rest of us"

San Francisco's freedom of expression is in jeopardy. Supervisor Scott Wiener (any relation to Anthony?) has proposed a ban on anyone over the age of 5 exposing private parts in public places. Exemptions will be made for permitted street fairs and parades.
Wiener said he resisted introducing the ordinance, but felt compelled to act after constituents complained about the naked men who gather in a small Castro plaza most days and sometimes walk the streets au naturel. He persuaded his colleagues last year to pass a law requiring a cloth to be placed between public seating and bare rears, yet the complaints have continued.

Stripped down to his sunglasses and hiking boots, McCray Winpsett, 37, said he understands the disgust of residents who would prefer not to see the body modifications and sex enhancement devices sported by some of the Castro nudists. But he thinks Wiener's prohibition goes too far in undermining a tradition "that keeps San Francisco weird."
"A few lewd exhibitionists are really ruining it for the rest of us," he said. "It's my time to come out now to present myself in a light and show what true nudity is all about so people can separate the difference between what a nudist is and an exhibitionist is."
The intent of a nudist and an exhibitionist may diverge, but the view stays the same. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Common Misconceptions About Libertarians *FUNNY*

T. Fehrenbach

You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, and wipe it clean of life - but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman Legions did - by putting your soldiers in the mud.

"Scores of Affairs" and the Effect on National Security

From 1953-1961, Allen Dulles was the CIA Director. Culturally, the 50s was a different era - more proper and repressed, less sexually free, but interestingly, there was more sexual privacy:
But private life for a C.I.A. director today is apparently quite different from what it was in the Dulles era. Mr. Petraeus resigned after admitting to a single affair; Allen Dulles had, as his sister, Eleanor, wrote later, “at least a hundred.”
Indeed, the contrast between Dulles’s story and that of Mr. Petraeus reflects how fully the life of public servants has changed in the United States.
Dulles ran the agency from 1953 to 1961, and he had a profound effect on America’s role in the cold war. Together with his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, he exercised enormous power and helped overthrow governments from Iran to Guatemala to Congo.
He was also a serial adulterer. Dulles was married in 1920, but he and his wife, Clover, had a difficult home life. She was sensitive and introverted, while he was handsome and charming — and a skilled seducer.
His affairs were legendary. The writer Rebecca West, asked once whether she had been one of his girlfriends, famously replied, “Alas, no, but I wish I had been.”
But consider this:
Petraeus’s downfall should prompt the intelligence community to make its own judgment call — to end the arbitrary and outdated rules that govern U.S. intelligence employees. These rules have damaged U.S. interests in the guise of protecting our security. On many occasions, they have resulted in the loss of the services, and even the loyalty, of experienced, highly trained people.
Two of the most egregious rules have been the CIA’s insistence on investigating foreigners engaged to agency employees and its own version of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” under which intelligence officers found to be gay lost their clearances or even their jobs. The latter policy was, fortunately, revoked in 1998 by executive order — not by the agency.
The security mavens will say that such rules have protected intelligence officers from blackmail. . . . . But the thought that a prospective spouse would have to pass a security check must have led many valuable intelligence officers to quit. And the thought that sexual preferences could cost someone her or his job must have led to other departures — or to officers not working to the fullest extent of their capacities, keeping their heads down to avoid attracting attention.
. . . .
The factors that contribute to a strong national security are not just the power and sophistication of military forces, or the reach of U.S. intelligence operations, but the morale and skill of the people who work for the system.
[T]he U.S. national interest . . . . is not served by security regulations that drive away talent. Redundant protections for secret information are important, but the system also relies on rules that are artifacts of the Cold War era and the social and political mores of that time.
And yet, Allen Dulles wasn't reigned in by the social and political mores of the times. Had there been more publicity surrounding his dalliances, and not the tacit compliance of the press, this may have been an issue. (However, because of his lack of secrecy, it does not seem that his own behavior would have been something that could have been used against him - and that is the key to what works in blackmail).
The ostensible concern about the Petraeus affair was the potential for blackmail. Yet it is far-fetched today to think that a foreign government would contrive an operation to ensnare a CIA employee through an affair, a foreign-spy spouse or an allegation of homosexuality. Our enemies are unlikely to bother with such complicated schemes. Instead, they buy information — the method that has remained tried and true — or attempt to hack it from the data-rich computer networks that the government is spending billions to defend.
This view reflects the movement of the CIA and other intelligence agencies away from on the ground intelligence collection - i.e., less and less interaction with individuals and infiltrating into enemy organizations and more movement toward paramilitary operations and electronic interceptions. If that is the direction the agencies decide to go then these rules may in fact no longer be necessary or functional. However, moving farther away from old fashioned intelligence collection would be a mistake - without cultural and situational understanding the electronic intercepts will fail to convey maximum information for analysis.
The agencies actually invite entrapment by maintaining archaic strictures that punish behaviors that may be considered objectionable but are in no way criminal. Doing away with double standards in enforcement is also vitally necessary.
Double standards - looking the other way for higher ranking officers is bad because of morale, not because of an effect on security. Blackmail is possible in any circumstance where the person being squeezed simply has something he or she does not want to reveal. Frequently it could be something criminal, but as seen this past week, it can easily just be something embarrassing (Dulles was probably immune because he failed to be embarrassed).

Whether or not there is a rule in place for prohibiting people to engage in certain behavior (like adultery or homosexuality), there is still a danger for security if that person does not want his or her behavior to be made public. The rules aren't so much antiquated as they simply reflect things that people may not want to have revealed. Although it may be to a lesser extent today, people still have secrets, and that's the crux of these old fashioned rules.

Weird story of the day

The principal of a District high school and two staff members have been accused of beating up a former co-worker after a homecoming football game. . . . Jarrett, a 19-year veteran of DCPS, was promoted in 2009 and ordered to turn around severely troubled Coolidge High. She is best known for hiring the first woman in the United States to coach a high school varsity football team.