It's Friday: Things I think about

It was refreshing in the extreme to hear BBC interview a Muslim leader strongly condemning the violence at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

As my smart international-oriented readers know, Al-Shabaab, a militant "Muslim" terror group, attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, rounding up people and forcing them to recite passages from the Koran. Those who could not recite correctly were shot, according to reports. Sixty-seven people dead. Grim recovery efforts are still underway.

Kudos to the BBC for seeking out and broadcasting interviews with real Muslim leaders in Kenya. These righteous Muslim leaders called out Al-Shabaab for what they are militant "goons" and not "real Muslims."

Man, I don't hear that enough on American teevee. Way to go, BBC.

Now this is transparent

After five years of hearing President Obama drone on about how transparent he is, now comes an event that really is transparent -- transparently bad.

The president's former top aide, Jim Messina, has landed a cushy green energy job with a company that recently received a big, fat government contract from Obama's DOE.

He got the job, LanzaTech said, because he as a "proven ability to merge technology, messaging and communications in support of ideas that transcend 'business as usual'."

I kid you not. They actually wrote that. Jim Messina "transcends" business as usual. Uh, like helping get that government contract? Of course not.

Wink-wink. Nod-nod.

'Rhapsody in Blue'

Had the pleasure to see Alan Alda's one-man show Tuesday at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. I very much like Alda's work, especially his movie "Four Seasons." But I guess I'm not that much of a celebrity follower (sorry, Norm!) because I did not know until that night that Alda'a father was Robert Alda. who played George Gershwin in "Rhapsody in Blue," which opened 68 years ago last Sunday.

Before my time, but nevertheless, time does fly by.

Wrong Way Beltway

This will surprise no one, except those who might have thought it could have been worse.

The latest "wrong track" poll says that 68 percent of Americans think the federal government is going the wrong way. Which raises the question: Who the hell are those 32 percent who think we're on the right rail? Brother, we need to cull those folks from the herd and give them a closer examination.

PS: On a related note, in an attempt to pay off debt, the DNC has slashed in half the price it charges to have a picture taken with Barack Obama.

If the president is half price, how much would the DNC have to pay you to pose with Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.

I saw that in the movies

If I've seen it once, I've seen it a dozen times on teevee and the movies. Some guy or gal chokes in a restaurant and some actor playing a doctor performs an emergency tracheotomy with a pen and pocket knife. You've seen it, right?

Well, it actually does happen and it actually did happen last Monday in Bakersfield, Calif.

So, let's hear it for Dr. Royce Johnson, the Kern Medical Center's chief of infectious diseases, and the handy pocket knife and pen. At a dinner of top doctors and community leaders in the area, Dr. Johnson (not an actor but a real doctor) saved the life of Kern Community College District board trustee Pauline Larwood, who was choking on a piece of meat.

You can see the Associated Press story here. It's a keeper.

Guns shoot, killers kill

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Democrats and the White House renewed their incredibly clumsy efforts to ban automatic weapons, as if that alone were the problem.

Of course, the kind of gun isn't the problem at all. The problem is the people shooting the gun, or wielding the knife, or driving the car or throwing the rock.

So, a woman asked Vice President Joseph Biden what she could do to protect her family. He said: “Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun.”

And now, as Joe Biden's bad karma would have it, the guy who killed people at the Navy shipyard in Washington, D.C., this month wasn't armed with an automatic weapon, he killed people with ... wait for it ... a shotgun.

Isn't it time we stop doing the stupid dance on violence?

Guns are not the problem. Killers are the problem.

Let's focus on how we can help people before they snap. It's harder and it's more complex. But that's how life is. We will get nowhere propping up faux issues just to make us feel like we're doing something.

How 'bout it, people. A little clear thinking, please.

Higher minimum wage = fewer teen jobs

Conservatives and economists always warn the soft-headed about the dangers of raising the minimum wage, but they never listen. It makes them feel good to raise the minimum wage, but all it does is increase teen unemployment and otherwise become a drag on the economy.

Here's a pretty good graph to prove the point.

You will see that as a rule, those states with higher minimum wages also have the higher teen unemployment rate. It's not a coincidence.

It may sound counterintuitive, but if you really want to help kids get jobs, lower the minimum wage -- or better yet, exempt them from the minimum wage.